Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Interview: Pianos Become the Teeth

That's me in the corner getting sucked into the abyss.
Yo, sup. It's Vince back with more interviews of screamo bands. It's been time since I've posted an interview (or anything) on here, so I figured I'd swing for the fences on my first at bat. Since releasing 2011's The Lack Long After to a barrage of critical acclaim and hitting the road with everyone from Touche Amore to Coheed and Cambria, Pianos Become the Teeth have established themselves as one of the premier bands in modern post-hardcore (read: you should already know who this band is). I had the pleasure of catching up with the band in a broom closet at Sneaky Dee's in Toronto to chat about new music, touring, and ill-placed blast beats. Enjoy!

TMHT: Aite, let's get it started by introducing yourselves and saying what you do in the band.
Kyle Durfey: My name's Kyle, and I sing. 
Zac Sewell: My name's Zac, I play bass.
Mike York: I'm Mike, I play guitar.
David Haik: I'm David, I play drums. 
Chad McDonald: I'm Chad, I play guitar. 
 TMHT: Cool, cool. How's your tour been going so far?
C: It's been great so far, it's been an awesome tour. 
D: I feel like there were a bunch of people who looked us up when the tour got announced, so this is their first time seeing us. I feel like we've got a lot of new fans.
TMHT: That's pretty cool eh? I guess Title Fight would bring a fair amount of new people?
C: Yeah it's exposure to a different crowd that we aren't usually exposed to. It's been a lot of fun, and all the shows have been very well attended.
TMHT: Well the last two times I saw you in Toronto the shows were packed and people were going ham, is the reception always like that?
C: No, not at all [laughs]. Most shows we're met with either blank stares or people just kind of listening, more so than stagediving and stuff. Especially when you compare the crowd response to Title Fight. People go off to them, but with us it's kind of like they sit back and listen.
M: Some nights are more intense than others, but I think as a whole we're one of those bands that people want to watch, rather than lose their mind over. 
TMHT: You guys are on tour with Title Fight, who are straight edge and seem like mild-mannered dudes; then you're on tour with Single Mothers who don't seem like they're straight edge or mild-mannered dudes. How has the dynamic been with that?
D: This has been a really fun tour, everyone's getting along really well.
M: I feel like this has been one of the most fun tours we've done in terms of getting along with everybody. We're not just on tour with a band where it's like "hey cool, we're hanging out with another band"; we've made some good, like, actual friends. Regardless of who's straight edge and who does what, it's just been an awesome tour where everybody's getting along.
TMHT: What does Title Fight do while you guys go to the bar?
C: [laughs] They just hang out. They don't really mind.
Z: It's been a tame tour, we've just been kinda hanging out at the venue.
D: There's been a lot of drives, because we wanted to do the whole U.S. and still get back for Thanksgiving, so we tried to stretch some of the drives out.
TMHT: What happened to you guys at Fest this year?
D: We got offered this tour. Like, we all love Fest, but...
Z: Fest is one of the most fun weekends of the year, but this tour didn't line up right, so basically we had to make a decision...
M: Fest is happening next year.
TMHT: Yeah that's true, we missed you guys though!
D: We'll definitely be back! 
Z: We were bummed we couldn't play it. 
TMHT: I saw you guys play a new song on some YouTube video. Are you guys in the process of writing new stuff?
C: We're gonna start writing a lot of new material for a full length when we get back We've been writing on the road a little bit too, but we're gonna kick it into high gear when we get back. We don't have any plans when we get back, so we're gonna take advantage of that.
TMHT: Is there an expected release date for anything?
Z: Nothing official yet. Probably...
C: November, 2020.
[laughter]
Z: I'd probably say late next year at the earliest.
M: Probably around the same time we released the record last year, so like in the fall.
TMHT: Speaking of the last record, is there any pressure to follow up on The Lack Long After since it was so well received by so many different people?
D: There's always pressure, and there are people who are probably gonna say the last record was way better, but it's not like we're gonna change the way we write.
Z: I feel like there's always pressure, but to be honest I felt a lot more pressure after releasing TLLA. But that record kind of established like a fan base for us, so I'm not really worried if people are going to like it or not. 
C: I think we approach it like "write what you want to hear as a listener." It's not lucrative being in a band so it's not like we have to write to make money or anything like that. So I don't really think we're too worried about anything except making the album we want to hear.
M: I think there was more pressure between Old Pride and TLLA then there is between the last one and now, because...
C: It's the third album, bands always flop on that one anyways
M: [laughs] Yeah, like Chad was saying, we're gonna write what we wanna hear. We've been doing this band for six years, and even though we're obviously not gonna write the same stuff we wrote six years ago, I think people have seen the progression. They know what we're about and they either like it or they don't.
TMHT: Well I read in an interview Mike did that he's becoming more and more influenced by Jimmy Eat World and The National and stuff like that. Is that a direction you'd be looking to move towards?
D: It's hard to judge right now, because we all listen to so much different stuff. Which is a good thing, because when we write a song we all have a different input.
Z: But I feel like if we had to say, we'd be moving more in that direction than something like...
D: Black Dahlia Murder.
[laughter]
TMHT: No shit, Black Dahlia Murder is the next word on my question sheet!
[more laughter]
TMHT: I saw on your Facebook that you're influenced by TBDM and the Red Chord, but that's never really seemed to present itself in your music...
D: That was me. We each picked two bands for the list...
TMHT: Did that influence ever come across in your earlier stuff?
D: Well I used to be in metal bands back in the day. It was funny, when this band's first drummer quit I went up to Kyle and said "yo, I wanna try out for your band" and he was like "you know what we sound like, right?"
TMHT: Has there ever been a time where you've tried to sneak blast beats or some other TBDM-esque shit into a Pianos song?
D: Nah.
M: We wish... 
Z: Throw in some three second blasts
C: Just blasts for the entire intro...
[laughter]
D: The way I write is like, trying to fit the music, you know.
TMHT: Dudes who seem to be into the "older school" of screamo seem to knock on not so much you guys, but bands like La Dispute and Touche Amore a fair bit. How does that make you feel seeing that kind of hate for your friend's bands?
C: It's not even like the same type of music, so it's not that big a deal. Like, La Dispute doesn't sound like Pg.99. They might take influences from older screamo, but it's not like the same thing. If you're big into those kind of bands, you're probably not gonna be into La Dispute, or even us. It's not that big a deal.
Z: It doesn't really bother us what some shitty kid in a basement says on the Internet. You can't really get mad at it.
TMHT: So this question's for Kyle; TLLA was coming from a very personal place lyrically. When my dog died I wrote something about it and didn't want to show anyone because it was really personal. Was there any material you wrote that you felt was too personal to put on the album?
K: Not when I was writing it. I feel like it is what it is; a lot of people who know me or who are into our band know what the record's about, and obviously it's very personal. But I didn't really feel that way until after the record came out when people started coming up and talking to me about it every night. Then I was like "oh yeah, I was completely open about every aspect of my life..." I dunno, I think that's why we are this band; to be an honest band and to be personal. I feel like if we weren't doing that it'd be weird.
TMHT: Related to that, how does it feel to still be touring on those songs a year later? Does it ever get trying or feel like it's too much some days?
K: I dunno, I mean over time meanings change and you kind of get to a point where you're just playing the songs. It's not like those songs have lost any of their meaning, but you know, playing a song now as opposed to playing it two years ago for the first time, what I'm singing about was a lot more fresh, so obviously it cut a little bit deeper back then. I mean, when you sing a song, you think about it, so I do kind of bring it up every night, but as time goes by you kind of get better at dealing with it.
THMT: Alright, cool. Thanks a lot guys.

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