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Sound Circuit

The Envy Corps on Hinterland and its new album


This weekend will usher in the first-ever Hinterland Music Festival, down at Water Works Park. The brainchild of Wooly’s owner Sam Summers, Hinterland will feature some of the best names in modern Americana, folk and indie rock, including Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, TV on the Radio and Brandi Carlile. But the whole thing is kicking off with a band Des Moines knows better than most.

The Envy Corps kicks off the Hinterland Music Festival on Friday, July 31 at Water Works Park.

The Envy Corps kicks off the Hinterland Music Festival on Friday, July 31 at Water Works Park.

“Sam approached us about being on the bill pretty early,” said Envy Corps guitarist Brandon Darner. “We’ve been friends for a long, long time; we even played his wedding. So he called me pretty early on and asked if we’d be willing to play the festival. We said, ‘Of course.’ ”

Though the band wasn’t announced until the second round of lineup additions, Envy Corps was, as Darner suggested, one of Summers’ first picks for a festival that Summers’ is bankrolling out of his own pocket.

They are also the only Des Moines act to make the bill this year. While that doesn’t necessarily translate to any more pressure to represent the city and our sound well, Darner admitted that being the only Iowa act is a unique opportunity.


“I think we always feel the pressure to be the best that we can be,” he said. “We impose a lot of pressure on ourselves to be great, if we can be. We’re obviously happy to represent Des Moines any time we can, and we’re excited to play with some bands that we haven’t played for. But there’s always pressure to be good.”

Envy Corps has been busy most of this year working on the songs for its next album. And while there is nothing set in stone yet, Darner hinted at the band deciding that Hinterland might be a good place to try out some of the new tracks for the first time.

“We really enjoy playing early versions of a song,” he said. “There’s an interesting thing that happens there. If you can get through an early version, there’s something to be gained by listening to an audience’s reaction. We did that with (2011 album) ‘It Culls You.’ ”

Whenever fans get their first taste of the new material, Darner hopes that the new album’s sound will reflect the band’s changes in songwriting.

“Every time we make a record, we always try and see how we can challenge ourselves in the process of making a record itself,” he said. “There’s probably more song ideas coming together than with any album we’ve done before.” CV

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