In Session: The Pine Boys on their Upcoming Record, “Vacationland”
ALBANY – The Pine Boys have announced a follow-up album, Vacationland, set for release on February 18th. Over at Nippertown (“Nipperland” as The Pine Boys so affectionally renamed us – they are thematic within and without their record, it seems), we were given the chance to catch the album prior to its release.
An album that never seemed to take itself too seriously, it was nice to hear consistent motifs throughout each song, as well as hearing certain songs reference past tracks. For example, “Tree Zoo,” “Lunatic,” and “Cruise,” tracks one, two, and seven, respectively, all felt interconnected. Filling the sonic landscape with grooves that depend mainly on bass and drum textures, Vacationland made for an album that went along easily and quickly.
It’s worth noting that the entire album gave off an extremely lighthearted, and at times very comical vibe. This was especially true for “Seagull Boy,” “Prayer for Lord Pine,” and “Allentown Blues,” tracks four, six, and nine. The comedic side of The Pine Boys especially shone through on the latter track; a song detailing the infamous town that locals of the area will know about all too well. While it may come across as offensive to some, this particular listener got quite the kick out of hearing it.
Mentioned earlier that Vacationland relied on drums and bass to keep much of its groove, whether it was bass guitar, or bass synths, those looking for something more on the treble-y side will get just that with “Cruise.” The guitar patterns in this tune helped break up the monotony of the formulas which The Pine Boys had been sticking to in the record’s previous songs.
Throughout the album, there was a cut-and-dry approach to the songwriting, especially with the vocals. Oscillating between melodic phrases (usually the choruses) and rap sections, the music quickly let its listeners know what they can expect as the album rolls along. The one track that really stood out was the closer, “Where’s Smokey.” Simply put, the song was funky as hell. Those looking for something quirky, groovy, and fun should give this album a listen.
I sat down with The Pine Boys over the weekend to discuss their upcoming release. Catch our conversation below.
Lucas Garrett: Thank you, guys, for sitting down today! It’s always nice talking to new folks on the scene. I heard your album, Vacationland; there’s a lot going on there.
LG: Why don’t you tell us a bit about the album?
Sam Lasky: That album; that’s been a work in progress. We were talking earlier… we spent the most time recording this album – not all at once. We’ve been working on this album for over a year. Bit by bit, trying to put together these tracks. We’ve done a lot of refining; refining all the songs and recordings.
Brett Maney: For sure. Last year, we played out the most we’ve ever had. I wouldn’t say we put the album on the backburner, but rehearsing for gigs takes a lot of time. Definitely the longest we’ve taken for an album. It’s good to marinate on the tracks.
LG: Did you find that playing the songs out determined what was going to be on the record?
Andrew Cerone: What happens with other albums; we’ll record songs and when we play them live, they’ll develop so much, you know? Sometimes, it’s like, “Oh, I wish that was on the record.” With this one, we got to develop the songs live more so than any other ones.
LG: How did that process feel to you, doing it that way? Did it feel more cohesive?
BM: It felt more organic and I feel most bands do it that way. Some bands are playing a song out for a couple years before they get it on a record. For me, personally, there are songs that we have in our catalogue that I wish we’d recorded differently; after we played them live a lot they’ve changed so much.
LG: When I was listening to your record, I wasn’t able to put my finger on one specific sound. Let’s talk about your creative influences and how that entered into the record.
BM: We like all kinds of stuff. For me, Primus; different funk guitar players – Nile Rogers; Ween.
SL: We love Primus and that comes through a lot. I joined these guys a little bit later than when they started; I came in a few months after they’d gotten their strides. Being a fan of those types of bands I was able to get what they were doing. I’d been friends with these guys since high school, so I’ve known them for a long time. We get compared a lot… we get Primus; we hear from people at a lot of shows that we sound like Primus. We also hear that we sound like Cake and I love Cake, personally. I play keyboard in the band and I love injecting those synth leads into a lot of the stuff; kind of cuts through the clean parts and the dirtier, more distorted, crunchier parts.
AC: Brett and I started about ten years ago. He made beats for me and I just rapped over them. We didn’t start with instruments; we’re influenced by people like Earl Sweatshirt, or MF Doom, or Beck. Stuff where there’s rapping going on but I wouldn’t consider it what you’d traditionally call hip-hop. I think there’s a lot to hip-hop and rap that is besides the rock rap, like Limp Bizkit. It’s either rap or Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit.
BM: We like to do stuff with textures and atmospheric feelings. We like film scores; you know what I mean?
LG: Who do you like in terms of film?
BM: I think the Taxi Driver soundtrack is a masterpiece.
AC: The same guy who did work with Alfred Hitchcock, Bernard Herrmann. We’re really influenced by horror movies. It’s fun to kind of have a vibe of an instrumental piece and then maybe write to that.
LG: You have the album coming out on the 18th of February. How do you plan, in this new era, on getting the word out; getting the music out? It’s hard to plan a release.
AC: Absolutely. It’s one of those things where it’s easier than ever to distribute your music on the internet; it’s also oversaturated. We’ve got some live shows coming up that we’re really excited about. Organically, word of mouth is a great way to promote stuff. We put a lot of effort into our social media – Instagram, in particular. We try to focus locally with promotion.
LG: Where are you playing next?
AC: We played Parish Public House on Saturday night (February 12th). It’s a pretty big venue and we love playing in Albany. We’re doing a stream on Sunday, February 27th on Instagram. On the Instagram stream, we’re only playing songs from the Vacationland album. We also have a show in Brooklyn on March 26th. We’ve never played in New York City before. It’s with our friends, Gluehead.
LG: The influence of the pandemic has hit both the artists/bands and audience members, alike. How would you say the pandemic affected your personal musical experience?
SL: For me, honestly? It affected me pretty minimally. We don’t play a ton of shows like I’d like to, but we were still able to get together; still able to practice; still able to write. Even if it was just one of us coming up with a riff on our own and showing it to the others and going from there. As far as marketing and social media and everything, one of the things that is kind of nice is Andrew does pretty much all of it. The brand we’ve tried to cultivate is we don’t look for outside social media influences. We try to create our own content; we’ll make these goofy videos, keeping the brand our own. The pandemic hasn’t put a dent on that at all.
AC: Absolutely. Personally, I feel the most creative when I’m extremely bored. When I’m really busy with work and other stuff I may not be doing as much. When we were in lockdown, I was busy making videos. I finished up our album Dead Ass during the first part of the pandemic. This album (Vacationland), was written during the pandemic. We’ve been trying to stay productive.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about before we wrap the interview up?
AC: We’re huge fans of Nippertown and we really appreciate everything you guys have done for us!
LG: Thank you guys!
SL: Thanks so much for the time!