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Studio Blog Day Two: The Revenge

Originally Posted 4/18/09 on Myspace

Current mood: thirsty (awesome Myspace emoticon unavailable)

Well, we didn’t get seven songs done. We decided that three is a cooler sounding number and went with that instead. So, a little slower than planned, but it’s sounding really good! Yesterday I also re-learned that The Phantom Menace is the worst film of all time. Also, watching Jimmy Fallon interview Matthew Perry is sort of like having an incompetent dentist jab you with their tools– it’s annoying and painful but you also feel sort of bad that the guy doesn’t know what he’s doing. Yeah. Right now it’s day three and we’re working on a song called Farewell to Iron Bastards. Back to work! Look for a longer entry tomorrow.

-Nate

Studio Blog Day 1: It Begins

Originally Posted 4/17/09 on Myspace

Current mood: sneezy (awesome Myspace emoticon unavailable)

Just started off Day Two by shaving off my beard– originally I wanted a bit of beardiness in this record but this morning I had second thoughts. Let’s hope I made the right choice.

As for yesterday, it wasn’t actually a full day– we booked a half day for the sole purpose of getting sounds/tones/whatever down. See, usually what happens is you start the first day around noon by setting up the drums. This tends to take hours, and then you still have to pick out amps and set up mics and stuff, and before you know it you go “Ack! It’s 6:00 and we haven’t started recording yet!” You probably don’t actually say the word “Ack” but you know what I mean. Either way, what tends to happen (for us at least) is that you then feel like you’re behind and skimp on the getting-sounds stuff and rush right into recording. Days later when you’re mixing you realize you should have spent more time upfront but then it’s TOO LATE.

So, this time around we booked a half day devoted solely to setting up and getting things to sound good. I think this was a good call– it was way more relaxed, we spent more time on stuff then we usually do, and things are sounding really good. Of course, it was sort of tedious in parts– the vast majority of the time was spent on drums, and I know very little about drums so there were a lot of exchanges like:

“Which ride cymbal sounded better to you?”

“….is the ride cymbal the pingy thing?”

“Yeah”

“Well, I think they all sounded pretty good”

At the end of the day, though, the drums sounded pretty sweet– I think we have a better snare sound than we usually get, too.

Also, the bass is sounding awesome– I decided to use the studio Ampeg rather than my GK and we got something out of it that sounds pretty close to what my bass sounded like on the Off With Their Heads album. Kind of like….. a piano that’s come to life and is growling at you, you know?

Such technical details are probably boring to read about I suppose. What else did we do? I felt like boxed wine for some reason so I bought some boxed wine and will get cracking on that later today. I’ll report back on the flavor of it. I also bought a bag of Doritos called something like “Last Call Jalepeno Poppers”, the bag full of neon lights and stuff. There was also one called, uh, “Midnight Tacos” or something. Are the Dorito people running out of ideas? I don’t even like Doritos. It was an impulse buy as I stood in line. “You’re a sucker” Nick said as I grabbed a bag. But here’s the thing: based on the packaging they clearly want you to eat these new flavors late at night. But I’m not going to listen to their brain-washing advertising: I’m eating this today at around 3pm. Can’t get me, Doritos. I do what I want.

Ok, I gotta go meet the rest of the guys for bagels now– we’re starting at noon today. The plan is to get 7 songs done on drums today. Think we’ll do it?

Look for more interesting studio blogs than this one in the days to come, as we start actually recording music!

-Nate

White Collar Punk Rocker Interview 2009

Here is an interview with the blog White Collar Punk Rocker in 2009. Read it at their site, or below.

With news of Banner Pilot signing to Fat Wreck Chords last week, thought it was worth posting this interview I did recently with bassist Nate Gangelhoff.

For a band with just four members, melodic punk rockers Banner Pilot could pretty much sell out a club just by inviting band mates from all the current and former groups they’ve put in time with.

Between them, the guys in the Minneapolis band have played in or are currently playing with Off With Their Heads, Rivethead, Gateway District, These Riffs, Cave Death, The Manix and Pyongyang Metro.

With a new member and a slew of songs, Banner Pilot is currently focusing on finishing their new record and perhaps a quick tour of Japan.

Bassist Nate Gangelhoff spoke with me recently about the new songs, finding time to get on the road and the lack of harps and tubas on their new record.

Have you started working on the new record yet?

Yep! We’ve actually written a full 12 songs and now we’re in the process of fixing them up, working out the little details, trying to get tight on them so we don’t blow four days in the studio failing to play them correctly. So yeah, we’re actually almost done with the new one. After that we’ll probably try to do a series of splits and 7″s or something.

Any idea of what it will sound like?

In the grand scheme of things it’s pretty close to Resignation Day, but I think there’s more variety this time. I’m sure most people reading that are going to think “Uh oh”, and with good reason, but it’s actually not a dramatic departure or anything goofy and pretentious. There’s a couple slower songs and a couple faster songs… basic changes like that. We’re not adding textured harp parts or tuba solos or anything. It’s still punk rock stuff simple enough that a well-trained monkey could approximate it. Actually, that’s not true– I’m exaggerating. There’s no monkey out there that could touch the stuff we’re working on. It’s that good.

Same line up as before?

Nope, last time around we were a three piece and I played guitar and bass in the studio; this time we’ll have a full four piece band.

Who are you going to be recording with?

Our friend Jacques Wait. I played on the Off With Their Heads album that he recorded and everyone was super happy with how that sounded, so we’ll be going for a similar thing on the next Banner Pilot record.

Do you think labels are still important for punk bands?

They can be, but it’s definitely less so than five or 10 years ago. Nowadays it’s pretty easy to record an album, distribute it, and book a tour all from basic tools on the Internet. But labels can still help and do things you can’t do on your own. We self released our EP and it seems like the album on Go Kart has gotten around more and, obviously, required less work and upfront money from us.

Do you plan to tour much behind the new record?

We’re not really a “tour six months out of the year” band, but we’ll definitely do a couple weeks out somewhere plus a ton of Midwest shows on the weekends and stuff. Our goal this year is to make it over to either Europe or Japan.

Is it hard for you guys to find time to get put on the road?

Yeah, we all have jobs and stuff so it’s not feasible to tour for super long stretches at a time. But we do what we can and it seems to work out ok.

Do you still enjoy touring or do you see it as a necessary evil?

I enjoy it, but in smaller doses. I’ve done a couple of month long tours before and that’s about the most I’d want to do in one block. If I was in a position to tour a bunch, I’d probably still want to ideally do it like three weeks on, two weeks off, or something like that. I don’t think it’s really a necessary evil– your band will do better the more you tour, but you can still get people to hear your songs without touring. I imagine that was harder to pull off 10-plus years ago than it is now.

Is the Minneapolis music scene still pretty tight?

Yeah, it comes and goes but right now it’s pretty great. I’m sure it’ll be overtaken by some ridiculous subgenre in a year or two but for now there’s a fair amount of good bands

Anything else you want to add?

Get the new-ish Shorebirds album; it’s really good! That’s the only thing I have to add.

Spinner Interview 2010

Here’s an interview with Lauren Modery from Spinner.com. Read it on their webpage or below.

—–

It’s no surprise when a good band comes out of Minneapolis. Up-and-comers Banner Pilot have emerged as one of the city’s most promising new punk acts, following the Twin Cities musical lineage ofHusker Du, theReplacements and Prince, to name a few. One of the strongest and most steadfast genres in the city is its hardcore punk scene. With years of experience and two albums under their belts, Banner Pilot continue to wow audiences, and are on their way to SXSW 2010 to do just that. Spinner caught up with guitarist/bassist Nate Gangelhoff before the fest.

Describe your sound.

Imagine if Jawbreaker, Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio got in a knife fight and Jawbreaker won, but just barely. That’s what we sound like.

How did your band form?

I got this cheesy drum program called PC Drummer that helped me write song ideas. Previously I was pretty bad at keeping time and stuff, and it helped. Nick [Johnson, guitars/vocals,] and I had talked about starting a band for a while, so once I had some song ideas from fiddling around with PC Drummer, we added vocal ideas and released a demo. It was terrible. But we stuck with it, and then got a real drummer and started an actual band. And that’s the Banner Pilot story.

What are your musical influences?

I suppose Jawbreaker, Dillinger Four, Screeching Weasel, bands like that. I’m guessing those are the bands we collectively have listened to more than any others over the years.

How did you come up with your band name?

We were having a hell of a time coming up with something, so at some point we started looking through lists of old books. ‘Bannertail’ was one that seemed plausible, but still pretty stupid. We had a lot of stupid names we considered. Can you believe that at one point we were considering Break September? Break September! Anyway, Bannertail lead to Banner Pilot, and that one stuck.

Have you played SXSW before? If not, what are you most looking forward to at the event and/or in Austin?

Nope! Really looking forward to it. I think the two bands I’m most excited about areSuperchunk and the Muffs. But in general I’m just looking forward to hanging out with friends of ours in other bands, checking out the house shows, parties and barbecuest. Also, it will be nice to escape the frigid grip of Minnesota’s winter for four days.

What is in your festival survival kit?

One water for every two beers. That’s not really a “kit,” I suppose. Maybe this year I’ll make a physical kit that contains beer and water, in a 2-1 ratio.

What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you on tour?

We all got the swine flu. That was pretty crazy. Crazy terrible.

What is your music guilty pleasure?

You know, I’m drawing a blank. Stuff that would have seemed like a guilty pleasure years ago — say, Tegan and Sara — is now among my favorite music, and I feel no shame about it. So I guess I have overcome my guilt!

What is your biggest vice?

Probably my Stanley Maxsteel 83-069 Multi-Angle. It’s made of durable cast aluminum, and its 2 7/8″ jaw opening can hold a wide range of items. Oh wait, I thought you meantvise. Vice … Hmm, I guess I probably eat too many egg and cheese sandwiches. I’m out of control.

Nov 2008

Originally Posted 11/20/08 on Myspace

…lookout, Banner Pilot blog update!

In the “Feels Like Summer in October” Dept….

The fest was sooooooo fun, thanks to everybody who checked us out in the side hatch.  Got to see a ton of awesome bands, see lots of old friends and make a bunch of new ones – and hey I barely got FestAids, nice!

In the “College Radio Blast” Dept….

A couple of weekends ago we got to play a few live tunes on “Out of Step”, a punk show on Radio K at the University of Minnesota.  The mix is a little wacky but you may get a kick out of the interview portion of the show… Nate was on fire!  We guest DJ’d for a while with hosts Adam and Nate and got to play some tunes including a classic from “Steve Dude and Friends” – I’ll post a link on the main page if I can figure out how.

In the “Holy Shit I Might Get to See ‘Road Pizza’ Live??” Dept…

The Hanson Brothers are playing one of the Triple Rock 10th Anniversary shows in December!  We were lucky enough to get on the bill as an opener.  Color me stoked.

In the “Other” Dept….

We’ve been hard at work on LP2 and are planning on recording in the first couple three months of 2009 with Jacques who did OWTH’s “From the Bottom”.  I think we’ll have enough for 14 songs and we’ll use 2 for a split 7″ with a yet-to-be-determined sweet band and they’ll both come out on some yet-to-be-determined label(s).  Vinyl for Resignation Day should be out on Kiss of Death Records by Xmas and might just end up becoming the must-have gift of the season by my calculations.

Nick!

Punknews 2008 Interview

Here’s a 2008 Punknews interview. Check it out below or on their site.

—–

While the actual release date keeps getting pushed back, Minneapolis, Minnesota’a Banner Pilot really have finished their debut full-length, Resignation Day. The follow-up to their 2006 EP, Pass the Poison, shouldn’t disappoint those who loved the band’s blend of Lawrence Arms, Dillinger Four and Jawbreaker-esque punk rock.

 

Punknews interviewer Zack Zeigler talked to the band’s vocalist/guitarist Nick and bassist Nate regarding their approach to the new album and what people can expect.

Have you noticed anything different about Resignation Day, the sound or the lyrics, opposed to Pass the Poison? What, if anything, persuaded that change in sound/direction?

Nate: Not really; I wouldn’t say we’re “going in a new direction” or “broadening our horizons” or whatever. I think the songwriting is better, but we’re definitely not doing anything drastically different, like adding keyboards or anything ridiculous like that.

Nick: We’ll save that for LP #2 — but we did try to mix it up the tempo more on this record! We play both speeds, 190 and 200 BPM. Lyrically I still draw a lot of inspiration from John Fante’s books and write songs about life’s challenges and coping mechanisms — yah know, screwy girls and drinking.

You released your first demo in 2005, what’s changed in you as a band since that release?

Nick: We got a non-digital drummer! He’s not as reliable and you have to feed him but he’s a better conversationalist.

Nate: Besides Danny [the drummer], I think that playing shows and writing songs has made us a better band since the 2005 incarnation — but not really different. I guess it’s sort of like the first question, not to disappoint, but we haven’t gone on any spiritual quests or anything over the last couple years. I like to think that the EP was an improvement on the demo and the new record is an improvement on that.

But who knows? I mean, every band thinks their new stuff is their best album yet. You never hear a band say “Aww, this new record is a fucking joke. We got high half the time and did stupid shit like hiring a tuba player and running all the vocals through a wah wah pedal. Ughh. Seriously, just get the last album.” Nope, it’s always, “We’re really stoked about the new album and we think it’s our best yet.” And then when the next record rolls around it’s all, “We made some mistakes on the last record. It wasn’t really ‘us,’ and there was a lot of stress in the band at the time, you know? But we’ve cleared our heads and now we’re really stoked about the new album and we think it’s our best yet.” That said, we’re really stoked about the new album and we think it’s our best yet.

What message do you want your music, particularly Resignation Day, to get across?

Nick: There’s really no manifesto this time around. It’s sort of all been said before. Meat is still murder, dairy is still rape, so on and so forth. Although, I recently heard the Brokedowns say on stage “you can’t soar with the eagles if you stay out with the owls” and that seems like a pretty great message so maybe we’ll co-opt it.

How have you been getting the word out about your new album?

Nate: We hand out tracks to people walking by, cold call strangers out of the white pages, etc etc. All the normal stuff. Plus we’ve been trying new ideas like putting up songs on our MySpace page. Once we have physical copies in hand we’ll be sending them out to magazines and distros and what not.

Nick: I know where Channel 11′s “backyard” is where they shoot the weather portion of the 10 pm newscast, we can hop up and down behind the fence and yell shit.

Nate: Yeah, and then if the news channel tries to give us shit, we’ll just say we were reporting legitimate weather news. “This album is going to be a total hurricane of awesomeness!” or whatever.

What’s your favorite song to play live? What’s your favorite song off of Resignation Day?

Nick: My favorite is probably ‘Saltash Luck’ or ‘Empty Your Bottles’; on the latter I get to play bass because neither Cory or I can play that drone lead yet and sing at the same time. That’s strictly for the pros.

Nate: I like the song ‘Cut Bait’ because it’s a pretty fun bass line to play. I think the best song on the record would be ‘Empty Your Bottles.’

If you could tell a kid that’s never heard of Banner Pilot to listen to one song off the new record, what song would it be?

Nate: Uh, gee, I dunno. As I understand it, no one really reads lyrics anymore, so it’d be hard to try to get a message across to a kid unless you were strictly going with the song title. So I guess I’d choose ‘No Transfer’ so they’d maybe learn about the importance of getting a transfer when you ride the bus.

What does the term “sellout” mean to you guys?

Nick: Um, what our record will do once this interview gets posted on Punknews.org? (That was the deal, right?) What the guy at the liquor store tonight said happened when I asked where my favorite bottle of Rioja was? Basically don’t change your music for money.

On your MySpace page you described your sound as a blend between the Lawrence Arms, Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio. Were those bands your main influences?

Nick: I grew up listening to a lot of Screeching Weasel so that’s a main influence for me. We’re probably a hybrid of that with the rougher vocals of Jawbreaker/Crimpshrine/Hot Water Music. Lyrically, I look up to Blake (Jawbreaker) quite a bit, although Dingbat is pretty fucking sweet.

Nate: Mostly the first two. Not Alkaline Trio so much. Jawbreaker’s probably my favorite band, but we don’t really sound like them. I mean, seriously, does anyone actually sound like Jawbreaker other than Jawbreaker? Not really. A few bands sound like Dear You-as-performed-by-a-computer-program (ie, they understand the basic formula but it doesn’t sound right), but that’s about it. We get compared to Lawrence Arms every now and then, and I can hear that, so it’d be fair to call them a main influence.

What’s the last show Banner Pilot went to that they didn’t perform?

Nick: Nate and I went to see Tegan and Sara recently but swore we wouldn’t talk about it. $8 Heinekens? Wtf? It was great though.

Nate: All four of us? Not sure, unless you count any of the various Fest shows.

For those who have never been, what’s a Banner Pilot show like?

Nick: It’s incredible. We usually open with me staring at Danny while he checks some knobs and dials on his cymbals and I try to gauge when we can start rocking. Someone probably yells out “Boner Pilot!” and 15-20 minutes of blistering punk rock follow sprinkled tastefully with awkward banter. If someone breaks a string, Nate may play the dungeon song from Super Mario Bros. on bass, or we’ll break into a confused rendition of Lillington High.

Do you have anything special planned for the release of Resignation Day? If so, what’s the plan and where will it be?

Nick: Dillinger Four was cool enough to let us open their 3rd annual “Dillinger Fourth of July” at the Triple Rock and hopefully we’ll have the CDs by then. It’s also Off With Their Heads CD release show, so it should be awesome!