By: Sophia Bartlett
Sophia Bartlett (SB): What city are you guys in right now?
Max Pinamoti (MP): Montreal.
SB: Oh, sick. I’ve never actually been to Canada despite being so close to it. Is it crappy weather up there? It’s been pretty bad today here.
MP: No. Nice though.
Ashton Minnich (AM): Yeah, it’s not, not bad, sleeve shirt weather.
MP: Feels good. We’re wearing T-shirts, so it’s not bad. It’s cool over here. It feels like you’re in Europe because it’s all French Canada, so it’s weird.
SB: Oh, Interesting. That’s really cool. How’s the tour been so far?
MP: It’s been super sick. We’re playing in towns that we haven’t played before for headline shows. This is our first time headlining in Montreal, and we played in Madison, Wisconsin. Just, get to hit some cool spots that we’ve never really been to. And the weather’s nice this time. Not too cold, not too hot.
SB: I’ve seen you guys perform twice. I saw you open for Louis Tomlinson and Inhaler. I haven’t seen you on a headlining tour yet, so I’m really excited for your show in Boston next week. Obviously, opening and headlining are two completely different experiences, but for opening for such big names, just what was that like? You guys only started out as a band a couple of years ago, right? What was it opening for people who have been in the industry for quite a while, and what did they kind of teach you on those tours?
MP: Yeah, we fully went into those shows with both those bands, with only doing some pretty small stuff and house shows. That’s what we’re used to at home. And we just kind of got thrown into the actual live music scene, figuring out how a show runs and how to do sound check and line check. And we just had to learn all that stuff. But both the bands we toured with, their crews were really awesome, very kind, and would help us out a lot, too, and teach us stuff, and if, in their free time, they would help us with things, so, it was, definitely a good crew to learn from, for both Inhaler and Louis.
SB: Nice, nice. And you guys still, when you’re home, you perform smaller house shows still?
Luke Asgin (LA): Yeah, we’ve done some for music videos we’re filming. We’ll throw a house show. We played at our friend’s 4th of July party. So we just kinda do random stuff like that, just cause it’s fun. We don’t promote it or anything, but we’ll just have friends around.
SB: When you guys are performing live, how do you try to keep the atmosphere from those small house shows and kind of bring that to the big stage? And how do you kind of navigate doing that?
AM: I feel we just try and have fun doing it, and that ends up translating the whole house show type thing, just ’cause we enjoy doing it.
SB: Nice. So what’s been one of your favorite cities that you’ve been to on any of the tours you’ve been on?
MP: I think we got really lucky, and we got to tour through 24 countries or something last year, which is crazy. And I really liked Oslo, Norway, it is a really nice city. And I also really liked Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Those are my favorites.
LA: Yeah, I’d say all those. I really liked Copenhagen, Denmark. It was super fun. Me and Ashton rented bikes and went around the city all day one day, which was super fun. In the States, New York is always my favorite city that’s out of California to play in. We always just have a Hectic time there, so it’s fun.
MP: I also really like Boston. I’m not just saying that, but Boston is really nice. And last time, we were there last November, and it was still really sunny, and it was a nice day, and we were just walking around the river. Got lobster rolls.
SB: Nice. Classic.
AM: We saw the Boston Tea Party.
MP: Yeah, we saw the tea.
SB: Do you have any plans for your Boston visit this time around?
MP: I don’t know, but we have an off day, so. Our tour manager said something about getting lobster rolls or something.
LA: Yeah, so maybe we could get lobster rolls and watch the tea party again.
MP: Yeah, I think that’ll be our Boston.
SB: Sounds like a plan. And you guys also have a new single coming out soon.
MP: Yes, I think it comes out right after the Boston show on the fifth.
SB: I was able to listen to it before talking to you guys. I think it’s awesome. I had it on a loop for an hour before I called you guys. What do you want listeners to know about this song?
LA: It’s kind of just about all the chaos of tour and then also some chaos back home. A lot of the lyrics just follow stuff that actually has happened to us on tour and stuff. One of the verses talks about, “wake up, what’s the plan, find where they towed the van.” That’s referencing a time on tour when our van got towed, and we woke up early in the morning, and our van was just gone. We had to figure out how to find it. I don’t know, I feel like, when you’re touring and even just back home, just the way that our lives seem to be is just a lot of things go wrong in a really funny way where all you can do is just laugh about it because things went so wrong, and then you just, laugh about it, and, figure out what to do next. And, I think that’s kinda, a lot of what the song’s about, it’s, everything going wrong, and just, having fun in the midst of it.
MP: Well said, well said. I think it’s also that song’s cool cause we worked with Zach Carper from Fidlar: he produced it. It’s cool because I think we all listened to Fidlar growing up, and he just put his own thing into it. It was just super fun to make with him, too.
SB: Yeah, I was actually gonna ask about that. What kind of production styles or techniques did he use working on the song that is different from your old stuff?
LA: Caffinating us.
AM: Just giving us a lot of coffee.
LA: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone more energetic than him. And we’re usually the energetic ones in a room. I feel we’ll be too much for some people, but I feel he doubled our energy, and it was fun recording an EP with him cause he was just always, 100%, just going for it.
AM: I feel we used a lot more of our own gear, too, instead of studio gear on this one, which gives it a much more particular voice.
MP: I guess we use all the same stuff that we’re touring with, pretty much. I feel that when we’re playing it live, we’ll sound pretty close to the actual recording, which is cool. And he just kind of sat down with us, and we pretty much just had a rehearsal, and he’d just, listen to this, listen to our arrangement and went through our pedals and stuff. And it was fun.
SB: So he produced your entire EP coming out this fall?
LA: Everything except for one song. One song we did with this guy named Jarvis. Jack did three of them.
SB: Also, just in terms of the progression of your music, I know your band member Gibby left the band earlier this year to work on his own music. How have you guys been dealing with that shift, and do you think it’s changed the way you’re making music and how the music on your new EP sounds?
MP: Yeah, so he’s on that EP. because we recorded it a while ago, but yeah, it’s definitely different. It’ll be different from now on, but you know, it is what it is, and he’s making his music, and it’s cool.
SB: I didn’t realize he was still on some of the songs. My bad.
MP: Yeah, we recorded the songs almost six months ago, I feel.
SB: This can be from this tour or just any of the tours you’ve been on, but what are each of your favorite songs to perform live? And what makes that song so special?
AM: I like a lot of the new stuff. “At Least I Tried” is up there, actually. I like playing that one a lot.
MP: Yeah, you have some shreddy moments, huh? My favorite of the songs we have out is “Cadillac,” but my new favorite is an unreleased one. It’s called “Can’t Explain”. That’s probably my favorite right now. That and “Cadillac.”
LA: Yeah, I agree with Max. And I also agree with Asher. “At Least I Tried” is one of my favorites to play, too.
MP: Yeah. That one’s fun. It gets big. It has a drop, almost. The closest thing to a bass drop in rock.
SB: I just have two more questions for you guys. I know you guys only just started your headlining tour a little while ago. You’re still on the front end of the tour, but what has been your favorite story from your tour as of right now?
LA: Hmm. That’s a good question.
MP: Last night, Luke and our drummer Thomas rolled around in the street in the rain.
LA: It was a friendly wrestling match. Yeah, and I did it in my new leather jacket, and it was on a rainy asphalt. It was fun, and Max filmed it.
MP: Yeah, I got a good photo of it. And we got to go get a legal beer with Ashton because he can legally buy a beer in Canada. Yeah. So that was my favorite memory too.
MP: And we’ve got to go swimming one day in Chicago. We always like to swim. We always try to get in the, not really pools so much, but we always try to swim in the ocean or lakes or something, wherever we are.
SB: Give you a sense of home. while you’re on the road, kind of?
MP: Yeah, it’s just kind of refreshing and a reset. Kind of, taking a shower, you know, it’s a reset. Right, yeah. Feels good. We like to swim. So, we’re big swimmers.
SB: I guess just my last question for you guys is, why do you think people should listen to surf rock as a genre? What makes you guys unique?
MP: I think just all the bands that we looked up to when we were growing up. The bands from LA, Orange County, and San Diego are all our biggest influences, and I feel it’s just cool to be able to play music similar to our favorite bands growing up and be able to come to Montreal and play it. So I think that’s pretty cool. It kind of shows our Southern California culture to the rest of the country.
LA: I concur.
SB: As I said earlier, it’s been pretty gloomy here in Boston, so hopefully, the weather picks up, and at your show on Tuesday, it feels like we’re in California. I would really appreciate that. It’s been cold and rainy all day today. Hopefully, it starts feeling like California when you guys are in town.
MP: Yeah, we’ll bring the sun. Perfect.