By Nikki M. Mascali
After spending the bulk of its existence celebrating its garage punk sound, together Pangea threw a curveball with its third album, “Badillac.” The album, released Jan. 21, still stays in the garage-y vein the band has made its own, but it throws some ‘90s-era rock vibes into the mix as well to some raucous and infectious results.
Made up of singer/guitarist William Keegan, bassist Danny Bengston and drummer Erik Jimenez, together Pangea will perform at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn Friday, Feb. 14 as part of the headlining tour that keeps it on the road for most of the month.
Highway 81 Revisited recently chatted with Bengston about the band’s writing process, the perks of playing to an all-ages crowd and, in light of the date of the New York shows, his picks for the Most Romantic Songs of All Time.
H81R: What is the band’s writing process? Is it something you all do together?
DB: A bit of both. Probably 90 percent of the time William will come to us with either a full song or a portion of a song worked out. Then we work on it as a band and things end up naturally working themselves out. William is definitely the songwriter. Some songs, however, like the opening track “Alive” for instance, were the product of a jam sesh which organically became what you hear on the album.
H81R: Your New York show was moved from Rough Trade to the Knitting Factory, and is now all-ages. Does that change or affect how you approach a show?
DB: We do our best to make sure that our shows are all ages, simply because for whatever reason a lot of younger kids like to come to our shows. It’s a real bummer when we travel the country and are greeted in certain cities via social media by bummed-out fans that can’t get into our show because it’s 21+ or whatever. It seems like a majority of our fans are barely even 18, so all-ages shows just make for a much funner show experience, and we do everything we can to allow anyone who wants to see us to be able to do so. The younger fans definitely also seem to care more, they aren’t jaded, they are sincerely stoked to be at a show, which just leads to a much wilder show. I mean, I wish I was as stoked on going to shows as I was when I was 14 years old.
H81R: This tour keeps you on the road through early March. How do you keep yourself sane out there?
DB: Sunflower seeds, “Star Trek,” Mark Maron’s “WTF” podcast, “Lord of the Rings and last but not least, our tour manager Danny G aka Slim, aka Tiny, aka Mijo.
H81R: Do you all take turns driving? Who controls the radio/music?
DB: We do, Danny G tends to drive the most, but yeah, the music/comedy/whatever selection is dictated by the person driving, so it definitely varies.
H81R: Who’s the best driver in the group?
DB: Not Erik.
H81R: On social media, you guys were talking about the band condoms that’ll be at the merch table. Tell me about how that came about.
DB: It was just a funny idea that seemed to make sense. Our lyrical content deals with a lot of things, one of them being sex, and the fact that we had a lyric on our new record from the song “Sick Shit” that says, “my dick is soft,” it seemed like a funny thing to have on a condom.
H81R: Speaking of social media, you guys are making the most out of Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Is that something you take turns with or is one of you the guru who handles most of it?
DB: It’s mostly me and Erik. William lurks but has yet to post an Instagram.
H81R: And finally, the New York show is on Valentine’s Day, so here’s a two-part question. 1. What is the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for you, and 2. What do you think is the most romantic song ever?
DB: William’s girlfriend Kelsey just bought him a Nook, that was pretty tight, but usually it’s us being the romantic ones, not our girls.
As for most romantic songs of all time? Here’s a few: “Unchained Melody,” “Sea Of Love,” Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” and finally Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” … oh, also The Beatles’ “For No One.”
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