Together Pangea is formed by the type of boys that you always had a little bit of a crush on in high school: a little bit out there, but bad boy good looking all at once. After a killer record release last year, I had high expectations for the band's newest LP, and was not disappointed. They have refined their sound with their new album, The Phage, with great outcomes. The Phage brings even more punk, but with even more mastery than their last album. I sat down to talk to the band about recording, high school and Danny's scene hair.
What do you think you were like in high school? Did you know each other?
William Keegan: I knew Danny when he was in high school, but I'm older than he is. I dropped out of high school. I didn't really go to high school, but I didn't really have a lot of friends so I stayed home and watched a lot of reruns of Saturday Night Live.
Were you into music?
William: I was. I would sit around and play guitar all day.
Who did you listen to?
William: I was a big Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse and Velvet Underground fan. A lot of folk stuff too, like Bob Dylan.
Danny Bengston: I was in a band in high school. It was synth punk, it was influenced a lot by Blood Brothers and the Faint.
Very seventeen year old music of you.
William: Danny was an emo kid in high school.
Danny: I was not emo. Completely not emo.
William: He had scene hair; he was so emo.
Danny: You don't know what emo is. I was definitely not scene.
Danny. Did you have scene hair?
I definitely did not have scene hair. I had long hair that was dyed black and was all bangs.
...So scene hair?
I absolutely did not have scene swoop hair. Whatever, I had scene hair.
William: Danny was in a band called Venus Diode in high school. It wasn't emo, more Bloodbrothers.
Danny: We were just getting coffee and one of the singers from Blood Brothers, Jordan, now plays in a band with another friend of mine and I just met him in there a few minutes ago.
Strange how it works like that. What were the rest of y'all like in high school?
Eric: I was a ska punk kid. I played in a ska band and dropped out, then started listening to cooler music like Modest Mouse.
Did these bands help you get girls or anything like that? Or were girls too foreign?
William: Being in a band? I didn't know anybody during those years so it wasn't really a factor.
Danny: it definitely helped me.
William: Danny's band was really popular at the high school he went to.
So you weren't really the irrelevant kid in a band?
Danny: I mean, I don't know; It was strange. I grew up in Santa Clarita, just outside of Los Angeles. It was thirty minute drive to all of the venues in LA.
How did that influence you? Did you go see shows in Los Angeles?
Danny: I moved from the more heavy music to when I got really into Saddlecreek and Rilo Kiley, another LA band that I got really into. I started going to the Smell a lot and got into bands like Meshi. Saddle Creek and the Smell moved me away from the darkness of scene music.
William: What other Saddlecreek bands were there?
Danny: Abe Dakota, Meko Meko, Silver Dagger, No Age
So y'all do a lot of work with Burger Records, are there any bands that are worth listening to that are lesser known?
William: Audacity, who were really the first Burger band.
Danny: Melted is really cool.
William: No Parents is really cool, and they're really big in Los Angeles. They haven't done a national tour yet, but you're going to start hearing about them soon. Froth also, but they're a Lollipop band.
What is it like working with Burger? I've watched all of these mini documentaries about them and it seems very appealing and I don't even make music, I just want to sign to them so I could hang out.
William: First off, there is no signature. Just a handshake
Danny: Not even a handshake
William: it's super laid back, just really into music and finding people who are into making music. They're supportive.
Have you seen anybody while you're here?
William: We literally just got here. But one of the guys from Wu Tang Clan was walking around.
I very creepily took a picture with them.
Danny: I'm really bummed I didn't get to see anybody else. Yesterday we played Dallas which was great, a really amazing show.
William: Our first show got closed down in Dallas, actually. They shut us down because the kids were getting too crazy.
Danny: But luckily a promoter at another venue let us go on after the last band there, which was awesome. I really wanted to see Cheap Trick while I was here.
I saw Robin Zander in the coffee line and had a little panic attack.
Danny: Oh, totally. They were one of the bands who I was really excited to see while we were here, so I was bummed. Our friend, Mikal, took an awesome picture of the four neck guitar. He's another person to listen to, Mikal Cronin.
He's awesome. Are y'all doing anything fun in Austin?
William: We're playing Cheer Up Charlie's tonight, but we have to get there early and scope it out. We have a gap of a few hours, so we'll definitely see somebody.
I think Alvvays is playing at Cheer Up's tonight. They're totally worth seeing.
William: I've seen that name a bunch. I just have no idea how to pronounce it.
I literally have no clue how to say it. I just wing it every time. But, what is y'all's favorite part of the process? Is it making the music or performing it?
William: For me, it's writing and recording. Just messing around with it. There's nothing better.
When you're going into the studio, how much of a plan do you have? And how much is improvised?
William: It depends. I think Badillac had a lot of in-studio improvising.
Danny: We had kind of unlimited resources and time for Badillac, so we were able to make it over a long period of time.
How long did it take?
Danny: About two or three sessions over a year, so a long time. It was supposed to be an EP, then turned into an LP. that's kind of a bad example of our new album, The Phage. That was two days in the studio just busting it out.
William: But that was fun too because we knew the songs. We just went into the studio and recorded them. I did one vocal take of everything, all at once.
Danny: Everything is live. We did a few guitar overdubs, but everything else is live.
Do you agree that the studio is better than on tour?
Danny: I like touring because you get to spend all this time working on something and then take it out into the world and show it off, and you get to see the country and the world.
William: It's definitely fun to see people react to what you worked hard on and sing your songs.