By: Josh Terzino –
Los Angeles-based indie rock band Together Pangea (formerly known as Pangea) sat down with us at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 in Austin, Texas last weekend to talk about their new six-song EP, The Phage, how southern California influences their sound, responsible partying, and more!
You’ve released three albums on three different labels. Is stability something you’d like or is it more fun to just do one-offs?
William Keegan: We sort of have a foundation with Burger. They’re very supportive. If we ever wanna do something they’re always interested. So I feel like we kind of have that as a home base, and then when we go out and do different stuff it’s kind of feeling it out. I like the idea of feeling it out…its fun to work with different people. There are stark contrasts, like Harvest was very business, very professional. Burger is a handshake and friends.
Danny Bengston: They’re like the understanding long-time girlfriend who lets us do whatever we want. They like, wish us the best and are always there.
One of those was on Katy Perry’s Capitol offshoot Harvest.
DB: Harvest is just a relaunch of a label…
WK: A label that was really rad in the 70’s and early 80’s. They put out like Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd.
DB: Dark Side Of The Moon was on Harvest.
WK: They did Wire..that band Wire.
So they do a lot of different stuff…
WK: They did. Now they restarted and it’s completely different.
To that point, how do you feel about the line between pop music and indie rock, all genres really, becoming blurred to the extent they are today?
WK: It depends on your definition. Anything that’s not like, classical or new contemporary or jazz or like noise music could be pop. I don’t know. We’re not associated with Harvest anymore. They were trying to find their own thing, their identity.
And they decided you guys weren’t it?
DB: They put out a sampler of all their artists and I remember listening to it thinking “What the hell are we doing on this label?” The only thing I think that could be in our realm at all on Harvest is Death Grips and even that is so far away from us as far as aggression and aesthetics.
Your new EP, The Phage, is musically all over the map. Was it a conscious effort to bring in a lot of different stuff instead of sticking to one kind of sound?
WK: So, in between Living Dummy and Badillac there was a 7″ EP we did called Killer Dreams. It’s 4 songs that are all very different from each other. So I think we’re getting into that sort of rhythm where in between albums we’re experimenting stuff. So it was kinda planned, but it was also just what was going on at the time.
Do you guys go into the studio knowing what you want to record or do you mess around with stuff?
WK: This was the most succinct recording process we’ve ever had. We knew the songs we wanted to record and did them all in one or two takes and it was just done.
DB: There’s one or two songs that we had written for Badillac that didn’t really make sense on Badillac so we sort of used that as a jumping off point
On your last record, Badillac, Danny said that a lot of the lyrics are just words strung together that sounded good at the moment.
WK: Yeah sometimes. I like the idea of leaving things open to your own personal interpretation of it. It can have a meaning to you if you want, but at the time like, Badillac isn’t a real word it’s just something I started singing while playing guitar. And I was like, “That fits!” and if I change it then its not that anymore its something else and if its overly thought out I’ll just leave it.
So I wondered if you listen back in 10-15 years will it come off as naive to you?
WK: No it won’t be naive. I’ll just think, that was an interesting thought process for that. I don’t know, maybe I’ll fucking hate it. I’ll be so much older I’ll just be like this is total fucking shit.
You guys are from southern California. Does living in a place where it’s constantly nice outside make it more difficult to focus on writing songs?
WK: That’s a good question because I feel like the environment definitely influences people’s emotional states and influences the music.
DB: I think the answer is yes because its kind of a chore to get us all together to rehearse because there’s constantly so much happening. The weather’s so nice. You can go to a show or an art opening or a party literally every night in Los Angeles if you want to.
WK: There’s nothing keeping you from doing it. I think like, that northwest thing where it’s raining all the time.
DB: We’re never snowed in.
Erik Jiminez: I’ve heard that people that live in places where it snows just get all their work done because you can’t fucking leave so you have to just do your fucking work.
WK: And there’s so many basements in those areas so you just go in the basement. What else are you gonna do?
DB: There’s a shit ton of distraction in LA and southern California. We have some friends bands that rehearse ya know, 5, 6 times a week. We rehearse like twice a week for an hour.
WK: We’ll rehearse a lot if we’re about to record. We’ve actually recorded songs just in the studio that we’ve never rehearsed.
Do you get a lot of writing on the road then? Does that confinement make it easier?
WK: No we’ve never really done that. I bought an interface so we can record in the van. This is the first tour we’ve done that. It’s through rehearsal that we write and get songs ready.
You had to change your name from Pangea to Together Pangea due to a conflict with another band. Were there any other contenders or did you know you wanted to keep Pangea as part of it no matter what?
WK: We considered changing the entire name.
EJ: I don’t remember what were the runners up?
WK: We never had any that was the problem.
EJ: It became Together pretty quickly because that was our handle on MySpace like ten years before, and we remembered.
DB: We just started a twitter, and it became our social media thing.
WK: The Burger [Records] guys said we should go with STILL Pangea, uh all right…I mean, its not a great name. Nobody thinks it is. But The Beatles, thats a terrible name.
Lastly, you guys are friends with the band Fidlar. Which band parties harder?
WK: We hang out with them a lot and I feel like we just keep in step with each other.
DB: I think we did for a time. It would be back and forth for a while. At this point Zach and the band is sober, I’m now sober too. So I think that the playing field is kind of, everyone’s mellowed out.
WK: The partying got more responsible. STILL PARTYING, but responsible rocking.
DB: In the early days it was pretty dark and intense, but we’ve all grown up a little bit..
Have you found it’s easier now that you’re sober?
DB: Yeah. I think it’s easier.
WK: Yeah, there’s a lot less clutter.