(Left to right: Lance Claypool, Vincent Caito, Jeremiah Pauly, and Mike Hansen)
Continuing with my interview with Buffalo based alt-punk band Pentimento, part one of which can be found here:
In this segment I talk with the band about their newest EP, Inside the Sea and also discuss their live performances, as well as their greatest musical influences and how they’ve been inspired by them. Last but not least, the band gives all you readers out there some of their favorite songs! So strap yourselves in for part two of my interview with Pentimento.
Once again, I’ve abbreviated the names of the band members, which can be found above.
1001 – I think your most recent EP, Inside the Sea, has some of your best written songs to date. Can you trace your evolution as a group from your early EPs, through your debut album, to now? How has your outlook affected your songwriting and music?
MH – I think that structure has played a bigger role, but I don’t mean structure in the conventional sense. I mean looking at the focal points of a song and making sure everything is at 100 percent. It’s funny because we recently listened to the very first interview we did back in 2011, and I said the exact same thing, but my idea of what was awesome back then is totally different from what it is now.
VC – We hadn’t seen everything. We hadn’t experienced more, or gone to listen to music in a club every night for over a month straight. You meet more and more people and musicians that have an influence on you and you start to question everything and challenge yourself to make new ideas.
MH – Inside the Sea would not be what it is if we had not had a conversation with Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory. We became friends with Chad after we toured with his side project What’s Eating Gilbert. He’s a producer and he’s got his hands on a lot of projects. He’s a busy dude but he knows something about songwriting and about pop sensibility. The point he made to us is that it’s all about your chorus. You have to drive that point home. Make your song about that. Let your chorus do the work. He said that, and I came back and gutted all my demos for the EP. I redid all the choruses. Every song you hear on that EP used to be completely different.
JP – To an extent, we already knew that. Just hearing from someone successful changes how you think about some things. But when it comes to your songs, you have to like the songs you play. When you’ve been on the road for 35 days and you don’t like the songs you play, then something’s wrong.
LC – Every live experience and seeing how people react to the songs, and also every studio experience shapes how we grow. Touring with other bands, talking with people. It’s all a process of evolution.
1001 – In regards to your live performances, I’ve heard very good things about the energy you guys put out on stage. Do you think that energy mixed with your lyrics really creates a sense of connection with your audience?
MH – I hope so. Every band hopes that the energy they exude on their record comes out in their live shows.
VC – Each moment that you get to play on stage in front of people is a special one. We’re just lucky enough to be there in that moment.
1001 – Who would you consider to be some of your greatest influences in your genre?
JP – Well for me, my favorite band is Saves the Day. Hands down. Every record just blows my fucking brains out. I started to sing and play guitar because of Chris Conley.
MH – See that’s a tough question, because there never is just one.
VC – It spans everything from Michael Jackson to Jimmy Eat World, and I don’t know what to pick in between.
MH – My father always said that if I was trying to write a great punk rock record, then I should listen to everything but. There are influences in our music from all over the spectrum, especially the Goo Goo Dolls. They’ve always been a part of our band’s DNA. But I’d guess I’d have to say Jimmy Eat World. They are a perfect band. As soon as Bleed American came out, they changed the whole game.
JP – There’s a saying that the greatest songs always stem from three chords and the truth, and a band like Saves the Day or Jimmy Eat World puts out music that is exactly that.
MH – As soon as you listen to bands like Jimmy and Saves the Day, you feel something. That’s something special. You can dive into what the song means to you, sure, but just the sound of them brings you to someplace else.
LC – I think definitely the Goo Goo Dolls for me. They weren’t always my favorite band, but realizing their humble beginnings and how they grew to be one of the biggest forces in alternative music. We recorded in their studio, so we got to meet Robby Takac. Their story is just strikingly similar to what we’re trying to do and where we’re trying to go.
VC – The whole thing with this band is if we can come up with an idea, and we work hard enough to go for it, why can’t we do it?
1001 – Are you guys working on anything new for the rest of the year or the coming year?
MH – Let’s just say we’re always working.
1001 – Finally, what are your top songs you would recommend for someone just discovering the modern punk/emo/post hardcore genre?
JP – Say Anything’s “Try to Remember, Forget” is a song I can listen to a thousand times, and not get sick of it.
MH – Listen to “Table for Glasses” by Jimmy Eat World. It’s a great fucking song. It’s so spatially different, but it’s one of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard in my life. It always fills me with a sense of urgency.
LC – I would say Third Eye Blind’s “Graduate.” It has punk roots as well as pop roots, and it kind of encapsulates the feeling of bands like us just starting off making music.
VC – “Everchanging” by Rise Against is a song that hit me and it just made sense. I could listen to it over and over, and it just spoke to me.
Thanks again to Pentimento for this awesome interview! Be sure to check out their official website at http://www.pentimentony.com, and be sure to download their newest EP, Inside the Sea on Itunes or check out a physical copy of any of their records.