together PANGEA Interview
Alternative Music Directors Emily and Colin caught up with together PANGEA’s William and Danny before their gig at 191 Toole. Read on to learn which band member kissed a homeless girl, what not to get tattooed on your ass cheek, what you can expect together PANGEA to order at Taco Bell, and much, much more.
Emily Beiser: Since it’s almost Thanksgiving, why don’t we start by you telling us one thing you’re grateful for?
Danny Bengston: I’m grateful for our tour manager, David. He’s a good man.
Colin Bauer: We’re grateful for him, as well. He helped set up this interview.
EB: He did! And he got us on the press list.
William Keegan: I’m grateful for FIFA ’14, the video game we were playing in the car on the way.
DB: He likes ’14 better than ’17, which we just got. I prefer ’17.
CB: Yeah, the new ones are getting too real… well this is the first show of your tour! What are you looking forward to most on this leg?
DB: I’m looking forward to eating at Rudy’s Barbecue tomorrow in Texas.
CB: Where in Texas?
DB: El Paso. We’re interested to see how these first few shows go, though, since we don’t really have a new release out now. And then we’re going on tour with Twin Peaks.
EB: Ah, I saw the Instagram takeover.
WK: So far, so good.
DB: Yeah, we’re pretty fried right now. We drove down kind of late and we’ve just been posting Instagrams and playing video games all day.
WK: I’m excited to see some friends in Austin, that’ll be cool. I hope the shows are good! You always hope the shows are fun. After you tour a lot, the shows kind of just blend into each other, though. They all feel kind of similar…
EB: But this one’s gonna be special!
WK: Yeah, I feel it- this one’s special.
EB, laughing: Tucson, AZ!
DB: Hell yeah.
EB: What’s been your guys’ favorite album of 2016?
DB: I’ve been listening to Life of Pablo a fuck ton.
WK: I don’t know… I haven’t listened to many new records this year. I did listen to the new Twin Peaks album a lot, it’s great.
DB: Fat White Family’s new album was really good, also. I’ve definitely been listening to Life of Pablo the most, though.
WK: Even after his rant?
DB: Yeah, you gotta keep the artists and politics separate.
WK: It wasn’t even political, though. It was mostly just rambling.
DB: If you judge a lot of great musicians on who they are as people, you probably wouldn’t have a lot of favorite musicians.
EB: Not true for together PANGEA, though!
WK: Oh, yeah. We’re great, shining artists.
CB: Do you have a favorite tour story?
DB: There’s the classic one where Erik kissed a homeless girl.
DB: You know, he just kissed a homeless girl one time.
WK: I don’t think so?
EB: Okay, so just a peck.
DB: Yeah, I’d say it was a peck.
WK: We have a good one from Dallas, where the show got shut down because kids were getting too rowdy. They booked us at like a barbecue place-
DB: No, but it was like very bougie. Then we started playing and kids started to mosh and dance, then they cut our mics off and a lady got on stage and was like, “If you keep moshing, you’re gonna get kicked out.” And then during the next song, some kid was just having a good time and the security guard dragged him out by his neck and shit, so we stopped the show four songs in. Then we moved it to another venue, and it ended up being one of the coolest shows of the tour. A lot more people showed up, too.
EB: Since we’re on the topic of tour stories, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen a fan do?
WK: I guess tattoos people have that I wish they didn’t have.
EB: Like what? I did see the “Too Drunk To Cum” one on someone’s ass.
WK: Yeah, that one on his ass! Like, maybe you won’t want that when you’re 30. But, hey, maybe they will want it.
DB: Maybe they love it.
WK: Our fans have been pretty cool, generally. I can’t think of any horror stories.
CB: How have the recording processes differed amongst your three LPs and your newest release, The Phage?
DB: We recorded Living Dummy and Badillac with our friend, Andrew Schubert, at a studio he worked at.
CB: What about Jelly Jam?
DB: Yeah, Jelly Jam was also done the same way. Everything we did up to The Phage was recorded the exact same way, we just became better musicians and Andrew became a better recording engineer/producer. The first couple records sound a little lo-fi and shitty, and over the years we all grew and got better. The Phage was the first time we had a producer, who was Tommy from The Replacements. We recorded it in a proper studio in LA.
WK: And we recorded it in two days. Living Dummy and Badillac both took a year, and each year was filled with recording from, like, 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM.
DB: Yeah, because Andrew worked in this studio as an engineer. So when his boss left, he was allowed to record or do whatever he wanted with the space. He’d text us to come as soon as his boss would leave, then we’d show up.
WK: So we’d be up really late, and maybe drinking a little bit-
WK: Yeah, a lot of water!
EB: Gotta stay hydrated.
WK: And we did a lot of goofy stuff. Especially on Living Dummy, like weird voices that I think were just from being up really late and fucking around. The Phage is a lot more proper.
DB: But the new record that we just finished recording, we did with Andrew again. It’s in the vein of how we used to record.
EB: Can fans ever expect new music from Sketchy D?
DB: I have a band with Zoe from No Parents, called Away Team…
WK: It’s a little bit more serious than Sketchy D.
DB: Yeah, but that’s probably the closest you’re gonna get.
EB: Oh, man.
DB: We do have a couple of hip hop songs. Away Team sounds a bit like Beastie Boys but also kind of industrial/new-wavey. We’re all over the place, but I’d say that’s the closest thing.
CB: I always refer to you as Pangea, because I grew up with that. Do you feel uncomfortable when people leave out the “together”?
DB: That’s totally fine.
WK: I’d actually prefer it.
DB: Yeah, definitely.
EB: What about apart PANGEA?
WK: That’ll happen someday…
DB: But, yeah, I like Pangea a lot better.
WK: It’s just easier. Who wants to say “together”?
CB: What led to the name change?
DB: We signed to a major label for Badillac and the lawyers there made us change our name.
CB: If Pangea had a theme song, what would it be?
DB: It changes every tour.
CB: Well right now-
EB: Let’s set it!
DB: Nah, we don’t have one yet! The last one I can remember is “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder. We had fucking “Too Many Cooks” when we were on tour in Europe when it came out.
Emily starts (badly) singing “Too Many Cooks”
WK: That one got real annoying.
EB: Yeah, it’s probably going to be stuck in my head all night now.
DB: Honestly, just saying the words is fucked up. We also had Men Without Hats’ “I Got the Message.” But we don’t have one for this tour yet.
DB: Yeah, we’ll get back to you. I’ll hit you up in two weeks.
EB: Okay, we can do a follow-up interview!
DB: It usually kind of comes out of nowhere, then it becomes a weird sort-of anthem.
EB: So, I saw you guys do a bunch of covers, like by Violent Femmes and The Ronettes. I was just wondering if there’s a song you guys haven’t covered yet that you’ve wanted to for a while?
WK: I’ve wanted to have a cover song in the set forever, but I don’t know…
DB: We did just learn a bunch of covers, because our best, oldest friend Nick just got married. So for his wedding, he had a DJ-
EB: Sketchy D?
DB: Sadly, no. But we played some songs at the end of the night. We did “Josie” by Blink 182, Violent Femmes’ “Prove My Love,” “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, and a couple more.
WK: I don’t know if there’s a song that we’d like to cover that we haven’t already covered.
DB: Yeah, we all get ideas-
WK: Oh, what was that Clash song you wanted to cover?
DB: I wanted to cover “Hateful” by The Clash. But it’s hard to cover bands like The Clash because they’re just so fucking good. I feel like at that point, you can only make it worse.
EB: Oh, since I brought up The Ronettes cover- I did see that you guys performed “Be My Baby” with Jason from Guantanamo Baywatch. How did that come about?
WK: Oh, you saw an old video?
EB: Yeah, it must’ve been from 2013.
WK: He went on a tour with us once. We didn’t know each other that well when he played guitar with us then, and then we realized Jason’s sick, this is tight. But he was only with us for that one tour.
DB: We had like four different lead guitar players in our band, and we got offered a tour when we didn’t have a guitar player. Our friend, Blaque Chris, told us to hit up Jason from Guantanamo, and that’s it.
CB: Are you still sponsored by Taco Bell?
EB: Falling out?
DB: Yeah, that’s in the past.
WK: I think that they’re sponsoring SWMRS right now?
EB: Yeah! I interviewed SWMRS and The Frights recently; they’re both sponsored by Feed the Beat.
DB: I think you can only get it once. But we got it a couple of years ago, and it was like a weird curse.
WK: Yeah, because then you always end up just eating Taco Bell.
DB: Every fucking day. And you’ve tried everything on the menu, so then you’re just like, “I’m a terrible human being.”
CB: Do you have a favorite Taco Bell item?
DB: Oh, I love the quesaritos.
EB: Quesaritos are sick!
DB: So good! And then I tried that really fucked up, like flaming beef Frito burrito thing… that was really good.
EB: Everything’s wrapped in a Dorito now.
DB, motioning to William: This guy eats a lot of Taco Bell.
WK: I do…I like the black bean burrito. Those are pretty good.
EB: Are you about to follow up your McDonalds song with a Taco Bell one?
William glares at Emily.
EB: Ah, I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry!
WK: Well, maybe. I don’t know what it’d be. I’ll get back to you on that one.
CB: I ain’t no God damn big bell…
EB: Well, to wrap things up, what can fans expect from you in the remainder of the year?
WK: Well this is the last tour of the year. But next year, we have an album coming out in May. It’s already recorded, we’re just mixing.
DB: Yeah, and we’re playing some of those new songs on this tour.
WK: I don’t know what to say about it. It sounds different, but I feel like all of our records sound different.
DB: A lot of touring to follow, as soon as the record comes out.
EB: Any shout-outs? Shout-out to Nick for getting married!
DB: Yeah, shout-out to Nick for getting married!
WK: Shout-out to Kanye for being a weirdo.
DB: Shout-out to Bill. Shout-out to Blaque Chris. Shout-out to DJ Assassin. That’s about it.
WK: Decent shout-outs.
EB: Well, thank you very much for doing this!
Both: Thank you!
together PANGEA’s latest release, The Phage, is out on Burger Records. Keep your eyes peeled for the band’s upcoming tour dates and 2017 LP release.