Set 29 | Mountain Natives
Philip and Loren Pappas of Mountain Natives met at an open mic some ten years ago in Dallas. Looking back, it seems incredibly fitting that their first encounter was through a medium of music. At the time they met, Loren was living in Georgia and was only in town to visit her father in North Texas. Loren recounts the first time hearing Philip play, “There was something really interesting that happened that he did, so you were only allowed to play two songs at this open mic, and he was playing a song… but then he switched in the middle of the song to a second song, and I knew that it was a second song within one song but to everybody else they thought it was one song.” Loren remembers standing up to get closer to the stage because she thought she had heard the second song somewhere before. “After the show was over I got really close to him because I really thought, like how do I know you? I legit feel like I know this person.” That initial moment of ineffable recognition wouldn’t see itself materialize until two years later when the two reconnected. It was history from that point forward.
From there Loren moved back to Texas while Philip was finishing up his bachelor's degree, and though the two had been playing music at home with each other and around at open mics, it wasn’t until Philip faced a cancer scare shortly after graduating college that they decided it was time to chase after what they truly loved – music. As is the case with many musicians and artists alike, overcoming that initial hurdle and submitting to the pursuit of your craft can be tough. The first step is the most difficult. “There’s a lot of people that don’t have to be super rich and famous to make a living in music, and there’s a lot of people doing great work in music and they’re amazing at it. Just walking in that calling and doing really what you love,” says Philip. “I came to realize that whatever you do with any amount of excellence you’re going to be okay at.”
That “do what you love” attitude has been at the core of their musical journey since day one, and pervades their music down to the lyrical content of their songs and their approach to collaborating with other people. We Call Each Other Home, their first EP in a string of EPs they plan to release over the next two years, came out in April of this year. The five-song album presents the idea of choosing love over bitterness and resentment and is told through a collection of beautiful, folksy melodies and complementary harmonies. We Call Each Other Home is a well-arranged precursor to the next EP in their series. “The album is going to be call Let in the Light, and we really want to partner with people on this one,” Loren says excitedly, “mostly because I feel like there’s a lot of darkness in the world.” In the contemporary society we live in where we are surrounded by screens that ping us with negative notifications hundreds of times throughout the day, it can seem like an overwhelming and even impossible task to rise above adversity and shine with hope – but despite the invariable push back from the world, that is Philip and Loren’s main goal with Let in the Light. “We’re just saying make the choice of where to invest and entertain your time because we want that flame to grow bigger and not die out, so let in the light and then go be the light. We want that reciprocation for our album to encourage people but also give them the opportunity to be that light and to empower us as well.” Philip and Loren are currently running a GoFundMe Campaign to raise money for the record. They plan on recording Let in the Light later this year at Drive 35 Productions in Carrolton.
You can catch Mountain Natives at their next show on Tuesday, December 11th at Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth, and follow them on social media at the links below.