For an Ottawa band that has only been around for the better part of two years, PINE has already experienced some major success. Not only has the band toured extensively in the US and Canada, in March of this year the band also announced that they were being signed to No Sleep Records. No Sleep is an independent label based out of Huntington Beach, California, known for having harboured such acts as Balance and Composure, La Dispute, The Wonder Years, Touché Amoré, and many more. Needless to say, being signed to a label such as No Sleep Records is a tremendous feat for a young band from the humble capital of Canada.
PINE is on the verge of releasing their first EP through No Sleep Records, an emotional five-track effort that spans genres and bring the listener into a world free of sonic boundaries. Their songs “Viable” and “(Un)rest,” which can be steamed below, are raw and untethered pieces that use intricate instrumentation and emotive lyricism to create a powerful experience for listeners. I caught up with guitarist Holden Egan to talk about PINE’s new direction and their new album Pillow Talk.
PINE will be releasing their EP Pillow Talk at House of TARG on Saturday, June 10 along with guests Safe To Say, Heavy Hearts, and Kamen. The physical album will be available in limited edition pink vinyl. Advanced tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Vertigo Records. Doors at 9pm. Presented by Spectrasonic.
Interview with Holden Egan of PINE
The band announced the signing to No Sleep Records a few months back. How does it feel to be part of that family?
It feels awesome. Ever since I knew of No Sleep Records, Topshelf Records, and Run For Cover Records, and the bands associated with them, I’ve always wanted to be on one of those labels. It feels really good to be at this stage.
The single “Viable” is an emotionally jolting song that grabs listeners right away. Can you talk about how that track came to be?
It’s a funny story with that song! Our drummer Joey had written a song a few years before he was in the band, and when him and I moved in together we started pre-production on a few songs and he pulled that one out. I thought, “Woah, that actually works pretty well with some riffs I have.” So I worked on it, dissected it, and spun it backwards, added some riffs and jammed on it a few times. We recorded it in my bedroom and ultimately we had to leave that place because our roommate at the time didn’t want us to do music anymore. We toured with that song when we did our split with Dead Leaves, and we had a different lineup then so the song sounded a lot different, too.
So when we went to record it for this EP, Cory Bergeron (who mixed and mastered it) had a few great ideas on how to spice it up and bring it to the next level for this album. He made it a drum and bass intro and it kicked in with everything.
Having heard that song, what can listeners expect when diving into Pillow Talk as a whole? Are there some themes that resonate throughout?
The theme revolves around the struggles being in relationships when you’re younger. Cory and Darlene are both in touring bands, and the song “(Un)rest” is a song about dealing with being in a relationship and alone, away from your loved ones. It’s hard, especially when touring in the US where texting is expensive.
Your sound obviously has some roots in emo and post-rock of the 2000’s. In your mind, what attracts you to making music like this?
I think it has to do with our appreciation for soundscapes and production. When we’re touring, we’re always sitting and dissecting songs together and talk about why they’re good. We try and write music that takes little aspects like that and translate it in our own way the way we like. For example, I like a lot of post-rock and shoegaze. But our guitar player listens to a lot of singer-songwriter and progressive stuff. Our drummer listens to Mac DeMarco and the Chili Peppers, and Darlene listens to bands like Lydia and Sufjan Stevens. There’s a lot of diversity in the EP’s tracks. We’re not confined to just one sound, we incorporate different things into each song. We even have an acoustic song at the end, because we all like acoustic tracks with piano, cello and additional instrumentation. We all get off on that stuff.
If there were one band you could share the stage with, who would it be?
Slowdive, hands down. I would love to play with them. I’d probably cry if I found out that was a possibility.
PINE has toured quite a bit over the last few years. Is there some place that is on your dream list to visit?
This has always been a dream for me since I was like 15. Brixton Academy in London, England, is a venue I would love to play. I mean it’s kind of unrealistic at this point because it’s like a 5000 cap venue, but it’s a dream. But I’d love to play there. A place that’s a little more realistic to play is probably Manhattan. I’ve visited there a few times and I love New York City. I’d love to bring our music there and be able to say we played there, it’s on the bucket list for sure.
What can new listeners who attend the EP release at House of Targ on June 10 expect from PINE’s live performance?
I hope that they get the feel of the soundscapes we’re aiming for live. When we go to shows, we’re always paying attention to the tones. We’re all gear nerds and own lots of pedals. We’re really going for a wall of sound, and we’re not trying to make you happy but we’re also not trying to bum you out either. It’s moody, we want people to stand there and get lost in the music. It’s sort of like cinematic experiences. Slowdive uses their music to capture a cinematic moment or mood, and I guess it’s kind of emo in that way since we’re trying make you feel stuff. I’ve been in a hardcore band before and there’s a lot of aggression at shows. But I feel like our music is a bit different. We’re trying to make people feel something, and feeling soothing in some way.
Ottawa’s grunge and emo revivalist PINE recently released a great new video and 7 inch split.
First let’s start with the amazing 90s nostalgia that the video for “Waste” conjures up. The music is a great slow build which grows finally topping out with a big rocking finish. On top of all that the video features yellow, green and blue colour overlays of the band performing. I love it. So simple, yet psychedelic, beautiful and it really works having the lead singer or lead instrument of the moment at the forefront. As the song works its way to the climax the fades and overlays become more and more chaotic really driving home and complementing the more aggressive vocals.
The band also released a 7inch split (on really cool looking vinyl I may add) with Dead Leaves from Cleveland, Ohio via Take This To Heart Records. The release features 2 tracks from each band, “Waste” and “Lopri” by PINE and “I’m Sorry, Darling” and “Recycled Air,” by Dead Leaves. This split is a must listen to for fans of bands like Brand New and Balance and Composure. Check out the split below.
Who are the members of PINE and what are your respective instruments?
Darlene Deschamps on vocals, Christina-Leigh on vocals/keys/acoustic, Will Lepine on bass, Holden Egan leads, Tsnitch Nickel on leads, and Paul Dzioba on drums.
Tell us about your debut EP, you bury me.
Who’d you record with?
Cory Bergeron out of Pebble Studios in Ottawa, Ontario.
How was the songwriting process?
Well each song was written in completely different times of the year, they actually go oldest to newest on the EP. Songwriting together is wonderful, actually.
Where did the name PINE come from?
We were looking for a name for like 3-4 days, and we wrote a billion down. We actually live near a cemetery called Pinecrest and it came to mind, and the alternate meaning (which is a verb) was very relevant to Christina and I at that time.
Granted, alternative indie music is not my usual jam – but with you guys I can actually get into it.
What are your influences that you incorporated into you bury me?
Honestly, everyone in the band has completely different influences and we never really talked about what we wanted to sound like. It just kind of came together. I’d say its just a bunch of post rock, emo, and shoegaze influences mashed into one.
What are the messages behind the tracks “letters”, “father//layla” and “sound”?
“letters” is literally 4 letters to 4 people, the song was originally called letters to ghosts. its about letting go of the ones you love who have let you down, while still holding on to that love.
As for “father//layla”, it was originally an intro/outro song for our acoustic sets.Both were written using the topic “Men we know who lived in a forest”.
“father” is about how a man chose to live in the cold in return to afford drugs and leave his daughter unaware of where he was. “layla” is about a girl who had deep feelings for a guy who never let her have quite enough, and then he left to go backpacking outwest unexpectedly.
“sound” is a lot of mixed feelings. Loving someone but not wanting to see them because it is painful, to wanting to travel. to a clever chorus that kind of entails what you think that person is doing as they listen to the song, and to a silent sorry.
PINE has an upcoming show on February 6th at Leaky B’s LaVa Lounge.
What can we expect with this show?
You can expect us having some drinks and hopefully crying on stage. On a lighter note, lots of friendship and great bands that you should come and check out!
We have no physical copies, but we have many places where you can download it online. Free or pay what you can.
Any shout outs to promoters, fans, radio, etc.?
Huge shout out to Spectrasonic for having us on the Balance and Composure show, a pretty big shout out to The Diamond Mine Agency for the upcoming shows and the biggest shout out to everyone who has shared, contributed, or gave us support as of late.
ALSO, a big shout out to Kanye (our bassist Will has a crush).
Stream, donate and download you bury me on bandcamp here!
Ottawa indie six-piece PINE just released their emotionally-charged debut EP, you bury me.
The three-song debut leans towards the more emo side of the indie spectrum led by the beautiful soft voices of Darlene Deschamps and Christina Leigh. This is no surprise considering the band’s name PINE derives from the verb, to pine. Pining is defined as “to suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart” and “miss and long for the return of.” you bury me brings the listeners through a quick but diverse journey from yearning and sadness to desire and love.
PINE has a nice full sound as the guitars, bass and drums meld graciously with the keys and the two different vocalists. The second song, “father//layla” is a truly beautiful yet gut-wrenching song. The first half of the song is a daughter singing her love for her father, a champion of the cold. The verse ends with “love you till the end, love you until you’re frozen, love you until we’re underground. cause daddy, you’re always stronger to me.” Next up is a father hoping he could be closer with his distant daughter, “You told me you admired my patience, well I’ve waited for you for years. And I’ve only felt you in bits and pieces. Let me feel you as a whole. Let me see what you have hiding in your soul.” This is a very different kind of love song, father to daughter sang by a woman, but it tugs at your heartstrings nonetheless.
you bury me is a very strong first release from this new local act playing a style which is not very common in the capital. Have a listen to the EP below and if you enjoy, go check out PINE opening for Balance and Composure at Ritual on January 15. If you miss them then, don’t fret as they are touring most of February with stops in London, Hamilton, Toronto, Brampton, Cornwall, Montreal, Quebec City and the closing out their tour in Ottawa on the 24th.