Trading Places; An Interview Brian Purington of My Education

My Education member Brian Purington and his family will be departing Austin permanently to live in New Zealand in about two weeks. During our conversation, Purington reveals to me that his wife has recently accepted the position of Director of Content with Lightbox, a streaming television service that is similar to Netflix and Hulu here in the United States. The move will be a homecoming of sorts for Purington’s wife; growing up in Auckland, she moved to London to work at MGM studios for five years. When the couple met at SXSW, Purington convinced her to move to Austin where she accepted a position at Austin Film Society. Now that the couple have a child and a chance to set up somewhere that won’t be so foreign, Purington foresees the relocation to be beneficial. “I think it would be good for the baby,” he says. “Her parents live five blocks from there, so having them around to help. We could go out to dinner together occasionally, which we haven’t been able to do the past year and a half. She can actually go out and see my band play (laughs).”
When we spoke over the phone, Purington admitted to be being a little bit apprehensive regarding moving away from a town he’s lived in since 1999. Only being an hour’s drive away from his hometown of San Angelo, Purington grew up with aspirations to perform in punk bands in Austin. “We would sneak off on weekends and see all of the great Austin bands perform,” Purington says. “I got really enamored, so I as soon as could (after high school), I moved to the city.” The tone in Purington’s voice begins to sway when he talks about the small things regarding the town that’s been so good to him. “I play in a lot of bands here and have a large network of friends,” Purington utters. “I was just dropping off some of the My Education records at Waterloo and I know the guy doing consignment; I recorded his band five years ago. I’ve known the owner for twenty years. What it’s going to be like moving somewhere I go that I has a record store that I don’t anyone? (Laughs).”
After Purington folded up a band that went under the same name, the evolution of My Education has constantly grown over the years. Touring heavily in the US and Europe, the group released their latest album – and Purtington labels as the best to date – Schiphol on March 3 via Headbump Records. The process to put together Schiphol began shortly after My Education’s 2013 spring European tour. Having played twenty shows in twenty-one days, Purington and drummer Earl Bowers went back to work shortly after returning home. An ample amount of time was spent on choosing carefully where the want to record and with whom. Recording in Public Hi-Fi studios in Austin, TX in spring 2015, My Education enlisted producer Mike McCarthy to helm the recording session. “I really liked the second Trail of the Dead record (1999’s Madonna) and the Spoon records,” Purington says. “He’s easily the most knowledgeable engineer I’ve worked with, as far as watching him work.”
In many ways, the dark ambient instrumentals on Schiphol center on feelings of paranoia, loss, fear, and the desire to escape. Without a singer in the band, My Education’s Schiphol roams freely with ringing guitars and buzzing strings. The title of the album, according to Purington, essentially captures a yearning to be somewhere else; the looming move to New Zealand weighed heavily on him could be viewed as contributing factor. “We few around a couple different ideas…a few other German words that didn’t sit right,” Purington said. “Eventually we settled on the name of the airport because we really like that airport a lot (laughs).”
Taking into account that the band has over six hundred shows under their belt (all posted with a brief summary on the group’s website filed under ‘Past Shows’ courtesy of Purington), there’s no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Purington informs me a couple of Austin shows and a European tour in the fall are set. In the meantime, Purington will savor his time left in Austin. He has booked SXSW showcases with My Education and two other band’s he’s involved in locally. As for what he will do once he arrives in Auckland? “I know a number of other musicians over there, so I’m sure I’ll get something going over there.”
My Education’s latest Schiphol  is available now via Headbump Records.
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