Together Pangea has explored two opposing yet related ideas on its two latest EPs, “Non-Stop Paranoia” and “Dipassionte,” the latter released in May. While last year’s release delves into anxiety and misinformation, the latter attempts to soothe that uneasiness. Balancing two seemingly opposite aspects is a thread that runs through the band and its current endeavors, as it tries to distill its heavier, punk influences through a worldview that is mature and thoughtful.
The band, which has opened for a wide range of acts, including Twin Peaks, Alkaline Trio and Ty Segall, is out on a headlining tour, with shows set for July 17 at Elsewhere in Brooklyn and July 18 at The Foundry in Philadelphia. We caught up with vocalist and guitarist William Keegan as the band was traveling through California to talk about the companion EPs, the development of the band’s sound and its approach to its live shows.
How has the band’s sound developed over the years?
Well, I think that because we started playing like house shows and parties and DIY spots, with the beginning with “Living Dummy” I think our focus was just to play songs at super high energy that would be fun to play and just try to get people to mosh and have fun. We kind of kept that going even into “Badillac.” With “Badillac” I think that was still kind of like we were still playing for the audience to have fun and move around, but we had started playing slightly bigger venues, so we started feeling like we could take our time a little bit more or try new things. And I think by the time “Bulls and Roosters” came out we were like, that album is more us writing for ourselves, writing songs that we would want to hear, rather than thinking about how it would go over live. And I think the “Dispassionate” EP Is more in that vein. I think you can write for the studio and yourself or kind of write for the live performance, and I think that’s been kind of an evolution and it’s fun to do. I think on our next album we’re going to start working again on stuff that’s just fun to play live.
When you go out on stage, what is your intention?
It used to be all I wanted was the room to explode. I wanted it to blow up, I wanted people to be crowd surfing and moshing, and I just wanted the energy to be crazy. Now I feel like I want that to happen at some points, like during certain songs, but we’ve written so many songs that I would hope that an audience could stand still and listen to us and still enjoy, and so I think we try to push that now. We try to play as many songs that we’re proud of that aren’t punk songs or songs to mosh to. So now I hope we can do both in one set.
Do you think your fans are willing to follow the band in new musical directions?
There are definitely people, even on this tour, we’re signing the “Dispassionate” EP and they’ll talk about how they like the different direction and the new music. Those are people that just seem to be fans of our songwriting and stuff. Then there are casual fans who literally are just coming to the show because they want to mosh, and I think those people aren’t as interested in new stuff, but I’m cool with that also. I want casual fans to be able to enjoy it also. I actually feel like we get pretty solid support from our fans to try new things. A lot of the comments on the internet are always like positive stuff.
Ten years in what are some of the high points?
Wow, it’s been 10 years? I think a lot of earlier stuff. I think the first time we sold out the Echoplex was a big deal to us because one of our first shows in LA proper — we started in a suburb of Los Angeles, we were playing like around Cal Arts and the Santa Clarita Valley — the first show we played in LA was the Echo, and there was only one person there: Sean Bohrman from Burger Records — to a few years later to be selling it out. I personally feel good every time I listen back to something we did. I’ll feel satisfied or just like we accomplished something.
We played with The Replacements at The Palladium, that was kind of a highlight.
What about the low points?
I think there’s been a lot. When you do something that’s up to you whether or not you do it, how much or little effort you put into it, you have to constantly remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing to keep yourself kind of going. Low points are just when you start feeling like does this make any sense? Is this worth all the emotional energy I put into this? But then you always get reminded pretty quickly that it is. It’s either live shows or when you finished something and listen back and you’re proud of it, that’s rewarding enough.
What does the band have planned for the rest of the year?
The next thing we’re going to do is a full-length. I actually have written some songs I might release as a solo thing. I’m not 100% sure. Hopefully, we’ll start writing [for the Together Pangea album] at the end of this year and begin recording at the beginning of next year. We don’t really know exactly what it’s going to be yet, but we’re excited to start working on it.