Pelican (band)

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Pelican performing at Sant Feliu Fest 2004.jpg
Pelican performing at Sant Feliu Fest in 2004
Background information
Origin Des Plaines, Illinois, United States
Years active 2001–present
Labels Hydra Head, Southern Lord, The Mylene Sheath
Associated acts Tusk, Isis, Russian Circles
Website Hydra Head Records site
Members Trevor de Brauw
Bryan Herweg
Larry Herweg
Dallas Thomas
Past members Laurent Schroeder-Lebec

Pelican is a post-metal quartet from Des Plaines,[1] Illinois. Established in 2000, the band stems from their native post-metal scene and is known for their atmospheric and almost entirely instrumental style. They have released five studio albums and four EPs and gained television exposure.

Biography and description[edit]

The band is known for its dense combinations of different melodies and extended track lengths. Its distinctive sound draws from stoner rock, doom metal, post-rock, and other influences. Larry Herweg, Trevor de Brauw, and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec also make up three-quarters of the band Tusk.

Previously signed to Hydra Head Records (which is owned and operated by Aaron Turner of Isis), Pelican is now part of the Southern Lord Records roster.[2] Pelican toured with labelmates Wolves in the Throne Room, in support of their first EP for Southern Lord, titled Ephemeral, which was released June 6, 2009.[3] Trevor de Brauw stated that the new material would be darker, heavier and more "riff oriented" than on previous recordings, and Southern Lord stated that an undisclosed guest guitarist who "is very influential to the band" would be making an appearance on the new recording as well. What We All Come to Need was released on October 27, 2009.[4] Greg Anderson and Aaron Turner both appeared on the album. In celebration of the new album, the "Pelican Burger" was served at Kuma's Corner for one night.[5]

In 2012 Pelican announced the release of their new E.P titled Ataraxia/Taraxis. In April 2012 they also embarked on a European and UK tour, playing several shows across England as well as shows in Italy, Germany, Finland, the Dunk Festival in Belgium and the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands. The support bands for this tour included Bo Ningen and Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster in the UK, and Tombs in continental Europe.

In June 2012, the band announced an amicable split with guitarist and founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. Schroeder-Lebec had not been touring with the band for the prior two years, with Dallas Thomas of The Swan King performing live in his stead, but not participating in the writing process.[6]


Regarding the band's genre, de Brauw said, "I think people use genres and tags to serve a purpose – it gives people a frame of reference to understand music by – but I don’t think any artist feels comfortable being tagged as anything. I have an affinity for metal, but I don’t think of Pelican as a metal band. So when people call us ‘instrumetal’, or post-metal, or metalcore or whatever, I can see why they say that, but it’s not something that I feel a close connection with. I feel we’re part of a community with some bands – Mono are good friends of ours, but I don’t feel that we’re that similar musically. Their music is more similar to classical music, whereas I feel ours has more in common with punk and hardcore. I feel like we’re part of a trajectory of Midwest bands that kind of blend aggression with a pop sensibility, so while it’s easy to classify us with instrumental bands, we’re not instrumental by design. We just didn’t know how to put vocals in our music and for it to sound right. When you start a band, you don’t have it in mind to be an instrumental band – these things are afterthoughts when your music’s out there."[7]

Speaking on the plethora of labels used to describe Pelican's genre, bassist Bryan Herweg states that "it's flattering, really", and that "I take that as nobody being able to classify what we're doing. I really don't want to be fixed in one genre."[8]

As for the instrumental nature of the band, Herweg states that "I think there are limitations that come with having a vocalist. If we had some big burly man in front screaming, we'd be classified as metal. If we had some scrawny guy we'd be emo. As it is, no one can pin us down."[8]

Touring has evolved the band's style from "drawn-out... slow-building" to "more direct and faster, and straight to the point" material to provide more energy on stage.[7]


  • Trevor de Brauw – guitar (2001–present)
  • Bryan Herweg – bass (2001–present)
  • Larry Herweg – drums (2001–present)
  • Dallas Thomas – guitar (2012–present)
  • Laurent Schroeder-Lebec – guitars (2001–2012)


Studio albums
Live albums
Singles and music videos
  • Live in Chicago 06/11/03 (2005)
Multi-format sets
Other appearances


External links[edit]