Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Pop Up Scrape Rock

By Sarah McCartan

In 2010, Yankee Greg Bortnichak was touring in the South with the band Sparta Philharmonic. Little did he know that the band’s one Florida tour stop in St. Petersburg would turn out to be the only show he never knew they needed.

“Everyone we ever needed to meet was there,” Bortnichak said.

From there, a promoter encouraged the band to head to Sarasota to meet Erin Murphy who was deeply involved in the music scene there.

“We just hit it off, and it was very professional. I ended up talking about DIY packaging and fringe lifestyle,” he said.

Six months later, Bortnichak found himself back in Florida working on a record with another artist. During this trip, he teamed up with Murphy to collaborate on one of her projects and within 48 hours, they joined forces as Bard and Mustache.

“Forty-eight hours after being in Sarasota a second time, we were playing a show and booking a tour. We have been by each other’s side ever since,” Bortnichak said.

Scrape Rock
Bortnichak (cello and vocals) and Murphy (guitar, violin and vocals) are a well-balanced mix of classically trained and total badass.

“I was a classically trained public school music student with a private teacher. And I studied in college. Erin is totally badass and taught herself everything. She had a teacher for violin right before this tour, but you might run out of room to print before the end of that story,” Bortnichak said.

With their forces combined, the outcome has been described as scrape rock, which sits well with the pair.

“Scrape rock is cool. I am down for scrape rock. We like post-classical too. I think scrape rock is a little bit more edgy,” he said, with a laugh.

Although Bortnichak confirmed the two didn’t set out to sound like any of their influences, he generously dropped a laundry list of artists they are fond of listening to, including Portishead, The Knife, My Blood Valentine and the legendary Dylan.

“You listen to music your whole life. After a certain point the influences have seeped beneath the surface and are in the ground water, if you will. You’re not really sure how they’re going to affect your body in the long run since you’ve been sipping it so much,” he said.

As the goals for their own musical direction have shifted and changed shape over the course of the past few years, so has their name. Upon completing the writing and recording of their first, yet-to-be released full-length album, they became Teach Me Equals.

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