If you’re like me you’ve long been a fan of Sylvan Esso without knowing what the heck their name means or how they came up with the moniker, so I thought I’d try to get to the bottom of it. A cursory Google search didn’t initially shed much light, nor did their Wikipedia page or website.
With a little intrepid digging (ok, so it took me like three clicks instead of one or two…I didn’t have to consult the microfiche or meet a source in a deserted parking ramp) I came across a Reddit AMA where the band themselves answered this question:
“There is an amazing game called Sword and Sworcery. In it, there is a creature called a Sylvan Sprite. We named our band after them. They look a lot like the tree spirits in Princess Mononoke.”
There you have it…Sylvan Esso is derived from an iOS indie game released in 2011 (+ extra nerd points for the Princess Mononoke reference). It’s an action-adventure game that (not unlike Sylvan Esso) is both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. For an overview of what the game is all about, I’ll let the developers describe it in their own words:
“Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (2011) is an elegant music-inspired adventure videogame created for a broad, literate audience. It tells a short, dreamy story about a lone woman warrior on a tragic quest in a lush, haunted mountain wilderness. It was originally designed for iPhone and iPad (recommended) but it is now available on computer (PC, Mac) and on Android machines.”
If curious, find out more about Swords and Sworcery via the game’s website.
Other interesting/fun takeaways from their AMA…
on why you won’t be seeing the band play SXSW anytime soon:
“SXSW, though a beautiful idea in theory is really not fun for bands most of the time. things to expect at SXSW:
-a sound guy who has been abused all day
-no green foods (unless you trek to wheatsville)
-very little money unless you want to grin in front of a giant taco made out of water and salt.
all that being said, it is wonderful to see so many of our pals in one place, but we now have enough people who know our music that we can book shows on our own and make them cozy and fun and not a 2pm.”
on the story behind their song “Uncatena”:
“It is about a boy human I had a love affair through letters with in college. The second time I saw him (after first meeting him) was on an island with my family. There was a whole lot of pining and listening to Beach House/ Bonnie Prince Billy and The Marquis De Tren involved.” -Amelia
…to check out the Sylvan AMA in full, click here
P.S. Last month Sylvan Esso, in coordination with NPR Music, debuted tracks and video of full band reworkings/performances of songs off their recent album What Now.
It makes for a fun watch and an incredible listen, and–as major league Sylvan fans here at Blugold Radio–we just wanted to take a moment to strongly encourage you to check out the “Echo Mountain Sessions” in full if you haven’t already!
Embedded below is the Echo Mountain Sessions version of What Now single “Die Young”, but you can check out the full visual EP here.