Reptaliens Foster the Strangest Local Connections

Reptaliens' Bambi Browning talks cults, Cults, Gary Wilson and Philip K. Dick

I caught up with Reptaliens' Bambi Browning ahead of their show at Space on Sunday. Naturally, things got weird.... 

First of all, where does your guys' preoccupation with sci-fi, cults, and conspiracies come from, and why is that important to your story as a band?

I think all of us have always been really interested in everything like sci-fi and unusual -- anything that's like mysterious, that has like an alien connection.... One of the first things we can remember is getting into alternate states. I wanted to be a Ufologist but my parents said I couldn't do that.... I started a band instead, and they didn't like that either [laughs]

How far does your interest in those things go? In other words, are you just fascinated by cults and conspiracies as topics, or do you flirt with belief as well?

It's about equal depending on what they are. I have a fascination with the concept and how hard and how far people go with their beliefs. 

Speaking of cults, what was your experience like touring with the band Cults? 

It was awesome.... They're just so nice and such good performers. We've been fans for a long time. The first night, we bonded; it happened for us in Las Vegas, and it's one of my best tour memories ever.

Is Gary Wilson important to you guys as an inspiration?

F--- yes. He's like my main inspiration.

One of the things that makes Philip K. Dick so interesting is the grey area between his fiction and his beliefs. In what ways do you think your album "Valis" relates to his novel?

His theories, his prolific amount of work, his rollercoaster lifestyle, just being really into drugs.... I took a lot of influence from his stories and novels. It just felt like our first record was a huge religious experience, finding all of these people to explore all of these thoughts in a way that's not common or understood very well -- it just kind of rang a bell with me. The majority of the songs [on "Valis"] are about my own personal reflections and theories.... I turned more inward on this album.

Are your parents more supportive of your music these days?

They're starting to realize that I'm not going to stop doing this, so they're a little more understanding. A couple of weeks ago, they saw our band for the first time, and I think they're just trying to understand why I'm doing this.... It's probably like a mix of irresponsible, neglectful decisions, and I just like to live in the present.

Reptaliens headline Space on Sunday, March 10. Get tickets here.

Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been with NBC SoundDiego since 2016. Find out more here.

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