For Kyrbir Is-p, front man of Purr Bats, growing up gay in mid ’80s Utah Valley meant living with an ever-present sense of doom. The LDS Church taught him he was chosen to live in the end times, that his family would eventually rise to heaven while the Earth was crystallized and sanctified—meanwhile, Kyrbir and his queer friends would face the fire of Armageddon. Fear that he would be quarantined, shamed and exiled resulted in persistent panic. 

Near the outset of the 1990s, he found his way to Seattle where he saw the contrast in how queer culture was accepted and even celebrated. He witnessed people who were active and empowered to advocate for themselves and their identities. Though this different world was exciting, Kyrbir was mad. The possibility of fighting back against the suppressive forces of the setting of his youth was a huge revelation. His home had done him wrong. He moved back and channeled doom-turned-anger into Puri-do, the seed for Purr Bats. The purposefully ugly sound of Puri-do expressed the trauma of living with constant panic. Puri-do was meant to shake up the people of Utah valley and show them their own hypocrisy. Kyrbir’s music at this time was woven from anger and frustration.  

As the trauma of his youth and the psychological landslide that became Puri-do were worked though over time, Puri-do was replaced by Purr Bats. Purr Bats is the trauma in processed form: Now it was time to have fun. Kyrbir can look back on his rage, and explore the absurdity of it in the form of Purr Bats’ music.

Purr Bats will play SLUG’s Reunion Localized Show this Friday, February 21, along with Beachmen, Dreamslut and Telepanther.


Thanks for listening to SLUG Mag Soundwaves.

  • This podcast was created by SLUG Magazine and produced by Angela H. Brown, Parker Scott Mortensen
  • Associate Producers: Alexander Ortega, Joshua Joye, John Ford, Bianca Velasquez, Connor Lockie
  • Executive Producer: Angela H. Brown
  • Music by Purr Bats
  • Soundwaves logo and art design by Nicholas Dowd
  • Photo courtesy of LmSorensen.net.