Pianos Become The Teeth

author PP date 19/04/11

The small basement venue of Kraftwerket in Valby doesn't have too many quiet rooms to choose between for an interview, especially when there are six or seven bands playing on the same night, but in retrospect choosing the one room which has a slight echo was a fairly retarded thing to do when you're recording your Pianos Become The Teeth on the stock voice recorder of a HTC Legend (since been upgraded to a better software, to be tested next time). Coupled with the fact that vocalist Kyle speaks at lightning speed, a few patches that couldn't be rescued using sound editing had to be omitted from the recording, so bear that in mind for any small oddities in their answers. That we subsequently managed to get ourselves locked into that very room straight after the interview with no key to get out just adds to the story, but read on for the answers from a very excited bunch of guys in Pianos Become The Teeth.

RF.net: How's the tour going?
Pianos Become The Teeth: So far so good. It's been awesome. This is our third show but the previous two have been more than we could have ever expected from our first time to Europe. It has been insane. Suis La Lune dudes are awesome. They've been incredible.

RF.net: Lets start with the history of the band. So if you can briefly summarize your biography from when you formed until now?
Mike: It started in the fall of 2006 with me and Kyle and four other guys, but since then those four guys have left because of job reasons or because they didn't want to push as hard as we did or do as much as we wanted to do. We're still really good friends with them, but after they left, David and Chad, who isn't here right now, they both joined with Josh, our friend playing bass. We did our first larger tours with them for about a year, and then after Josh left, Zac joined.

Pretty much immediately after he joined we wrote "Old Pride". It took us about two to three months to do that record. We recorded it, and since then we've been touring and trying to write another record. We wrote "Old Pride" in early 2009, and we did a split with The Saddest Landscape in 2010, and now we're working on a new record for 2011.

RF.net: So it should come out later this year?

Mike: The plan is for later this year. We take forever to write.

David: We were trying to record it before we came here, but it got pushed back.

Mike: We have like five songs written, but they need to be tweaked around. We're playing one new song while we're here in Europe just to test it out and work it out a bit.

RF.net: You guys have a rather unusual name for a band. How did you guys come up with the name and what does it mean?
Kyle: Our old drummer came up with that name. He liked the way it sounded, but also took from it that if you dwell on a problem for too long, you kind of become that problem. That's kind of the meaning behind the name. We thought about changing the name or shortening it to Pianos once we got a couple of new dudes in it. But we were already...not super settled, but it would've been a pain to try to change it, so it stuck. We get crap for our name all the time, everyone hates our name, but whatever.

RF.net: Do you think it might be an advantage in some scenarios that you have such a unique name?

Kyle: People will remember it, whether they hate it or like it, people will know your band name, which is a good thing. I mean, you never want people to hate your band because of your band name, but that's gonna happen regardless.

Mike: Later in your band's career though, a name starts meaning less and less, and the band that you are becomes more and more what your band is it seems like. We always talk about if none of us never started listening to the bands that we love based on a name, I probably would not have ever listened to half the bands that I love. It's, you know, everyone hates our name and we don't care [all laugh]

RF.net: Your music is characterized by high level of intensity and then you have these contrasting parts which are really atmospheric and melodic. How do you go about writing songs like that?
David: It's not really like a formula. We all come from different background musically, so it's cool to just get together and try and write music that we can all agree on.

Kyle: Other times its Chad and Mike coming up with a lot of riffs. With "Old Pride" we tried to come up with a lot of cool riff ideas, but for the new record we're trying more and more to construct songs, rather than like "It's going to be the sickest thing", we're now more like "what fits fell with the song". Some other times we just get together and we have an idea, we just jam on it and get comfortable with what each of us is doing.

Mike: I feel like one of the coolest things about this band and also probably one of the biggest curses is that it takes us forever to write because we will never consider a song finished until we're all 100% happy with it. I think it works to our advantage in some ways because then we know that we've put out something that we're all 100% stoked on what we put out. But at times it can take us six to eight months to write just one song. But we're stoked on that song now and we love it. I think that kind of works to our advantage also in other times.

Zac: I feel like we all listen to intense music and we also like really calm music too, so I guess we're trying to just find a unique way of blending the two.

Kyle: We try to get that dynamic, we don't wanna be all heavy all the time, or all pop all the time.

Mike: I feel like for a lot of our music, at least for me, it has less to do with the parts and more with the feeling that those parts give. Especially the more atmospheric stuff, I feel like that has, in my opinion, when I write stuff like that, I feel like it's more to do with the feeling.

RF.net: So you mentioned that for the new record you're writing more structured songs. Does that mean they're gonna be longer and more progressive in a way then?
Kyle: I don't know about more progressive, but more constructed. I feel like the songs fit better with one another, like there's an overall tone to the record. I feel like all the lyrics at least are very similar in idea to what we're writing about. The music sounds like it fits with one another. Little pieces that make up a whole thing. We're writing a lot more just to try and write a really good full record rather than just really good songs.

Mike: I feel like it has a lot less to do with riffs on this record and a lot more to do with structures of chords and how the entire song plays together.

RF.net: You guys like to say that you write honest music. Can you elaborate on that?
Mike: That probably just comes from, you know, we don't write breakdowns for...we write music for ourselves. If people like it, cool, if people don't, then whatever, doesn't matter to us. We just write music that we can all agree on.

Kyle: Most musicians or bands try to be honest, of course, that's what you're supposed to do. But a lot of bands write for a specific thing, you know what I mean? We just want to write music that we really enjoy playing and that we really care about. I think that's what that means when we say we just wanna be honest.

RF.net: You mentioned breakdowns. I would say you guys don't sound at all like the modern bands in the same genre, whereas you more or less sound like the original bands in it. So my next question is that I hear a lot of influence from bands like envy, the Japanese progressive screamo band, and also older bands like Funeral Diner, Orchid and bands like that. Would you then classify yourselves as a screamo band, or something completely different? I've seen the term original screamo being thrown around quite a bit.

Kyle: I guess you could define us a screamo band, there is definitely influence from bands like that. But at the same time I feel like screamo bands...in a way it's hard for them to progress because they are so lumped into the genre. I mean, if we're a screamo band that's cool, but if on this new record we don't sound like a screamo band, we're totally okay with that. We're not out to write screamo music, it's just music that we want to play. But if we don't feel like it, and want to branch out, that's okay too. We can't just stay in one genre of music.

RF.net: So if you were to pigeonhole yourselves, what would it be?

Mike: Post-hardcore...I don't know. It's tough. When I think of screamo I don't think...even bands like envy and Funeral Diner, I wouldn't even consider them as screamo bands. I see them more as like post-hardcore bands. When I think of screamo, I think of bands along the lines of Orchid, or like bands that are just completely violent for thirty seconds to a minute. I don't know, I love screamo bands, but I wouldn't classify us necessarily into that category.

Kyle: It's not a negative thing though, being a screamo band.

RF.net: Who would you say have been your influences then?
David: When I first joined the band, all the bands I've been in before were metal bands. Some of my favorite metal bands are probably The Black Dahlia Murder and The Red Chord, so those are my influences. Everyone has their own, though.

Kyle: I grew up digging bands like At The Drive-In, Thursday and stuff like that. Planes Mistaken For Stars, I'd never heard music like this, and then you start getting more and more bands like that.

Mike: I try to take influences from a lot of things like jazz music and drum-and-bass music....Ke$ha [all burst into laughter]. But I mean, Planes Mistaken For Stars and there's a band called As Cities Burn who are one of my favorite bands. Funeral Diner, ...Who Calls So Loud.

Kyle: We listen to everything though. We listen to country, rap, you know, pop. Lots of pop. laughs

David: Ke$ha was not a joke [all laugh]

RF.net: Maybe you should make a post-hardcore cover of a Ke$ha song. [laughs]

RF.net: You released your debut album "Old Pride" last year and it was really well received by both the fans and the media. What do you think about it overall, now that you have some distance to it?
All: We're stoked.

David: We still really like it. From time to time I play that CD and remember where I was at that time, writing that CD. It puts me into that place.

Mike: Yeah, definitely. I get super nostalgic. When we wrote "Old Pride" we were literally practicing like four to five times a week. So for the last two months, our life was the band. We went to work and put ourselves on autopilot at work, and then we all got together at practice. That's when we became really close.

Kyle: Yeah, we all become best friends and really got comfortable writing with each other. It's a huge thing, because you can put people in a room that are good, but it doesn't sound cohesive. But I feel like especially now we're super comfortable with what we can do musically and where we can go. I'm really happy with "Old Pride" and how it turned out. But now we've written that, and I think we can write even a better record. And we're biased as a band, so of course I think it's going to be a better record. It might not come out well and people will say it's shit and the old stuff is ten times better.

Mike: I think that I can speak for you two, that when they listen to "Saltwater", our first EP, they hate it. That's the first thing we wrote, and it's another nostalgic thing that I remember writing that record and hanging out with the guys who wrote that record. At the time it was like "cool, we're writing a record", but it doesn't even come close to the same feeling that "Old Pride" gives me when I listen to it. "Old Pride" for me is a specific point in time, where I can really pinpoint where I was when we wrote it, and then everything that came after it. But with "Saltwater" it was just like "hey, we wrote this record" and a friend recorded it.

Kyle: I feel like with "Old Pride" we didn't really have any pressure. We could do literally whatever we wanted. We were kind of a new band with new members, so we could write any kind of music we wanted to write. And I think with "Saltwater" we just went in and wrote songs and that's what we came out with, that's why that record is important to us, but...

RF.net: Today, you're playing a very small venue here in Denmark. So can you tell me a little bit about the experience of touring these small European venues for the first time? I guess you haven't been to Europe as a band together, but anyway, how come you guys didn't focus on conquering the US first? Cause you're not that big of a band over there yet, but yet you're over here already?
Zac: We'll we've done two full US tours on this record, so it's more of a thing where unless you're touring with Kings Of Leon, there's not much more you can do, except put out another record. So we toured the US twice on this record, and now we're touring Europe on this record, and then basically we'll put out a new record and do it all over again. So hopefully we'll get bigger in the US and do bigger tours.

Kyle: We had the opportunity of coming over here, it was kind of an idea that we had tossed around for a while, so we were just like "why not?". If we had the opportunity, we should, you know? You have to start somewhere. We've never toured Europe. I mean if you started yesterday and came to Europe with no fanbase, but we have a very small fanbase over here.

Mike: I feel like some people express that they are really excited, like "please come to Europe, please come to Europe". So it's cool to come here while they're still excited about seeing us.

RF.net: So what were your expectations before you took on the tour?

Mike: We had no idea.

Kyle: We knew that they treat bands better over here, but other than that...

Zac: I'll say personally that the first night in Stockholm completely surpassed my expectations.

Mike: It's still unreal to me that we have a band who are even in Europe. Out of every million bands, only a hundred of them get to tour the US, much less being able to go over and tour Europe. Even getting the opportunity to do this has been unreal, and the amount of nice people that we've met, people have been beyond welcoming to us. It's been incredible. I couldn't imagine more, even though it's just two or three days to the tour.

Kyle: I also feel like that us touring Europe now, whenever our new record comes out, it will help the new record a little bit too. If we were just over here and the record doesn't come out that far behind it, people will go "cool they have a new record", and maybe check it out. I feel like whatever touring you do, it can never hurt.

RF.net: That's it from me. Do you want to add anything?
Mike: Thank you for the opportunity!

Kyle: Thanks for showing interest!

Mike: It's still beyond us that we're 4000 miles from home and somebody gives a shit about our band from the middle of Maryland. It's really awesome, so thank you!

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