Banner Pilot | News
1815
paged,page-template,page-template-blog-large-image,page-template-blog-large-image-php,page,page-id-1815,page-parent,paged-4,page-paged-4,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,boxed,select-theme-ver-4.2,,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive

A Brief History of Banner Pilot and the Internet

First, in 2005, there was Banner-Pilot.com:

It was a pretty lousy website, but it did the trick. The message board proved to be awesome. It soon became nothing but spam bots talking to each other. Literally. Check out an archive.

Soon enough something called MySpace came along. “Finally, we can add blinking lights and glitter and glitches to our website!” we, along with thousands (millions?) of other bands thought. Actually, as awful as Myspace is — it is just a pile of garbage at this point — it was pretty slick at first. An easy way to post songs… people could communicate with you directly (“OMG FREE iPOD MINI CLICK HERE TAKE SURVEY!” and so on), you could post upcoming shows…. and with that, Banner-Pilot.com had no reason to exist and died of neglect, before finally getting an awesome facelift under new ownership. “What you need, when you need it”…. at least they kept our slogan.

Myspace worked OK for awhile, say, 2005-2009 (damn, that’s actually a pretty long time!) but its inner core of crap become more and more apparent over the years. So, since that time we have (like most bands nowadays) had a mixture of different sites: Facebook (for short updates that disappear one week later), Twitter (I think Twitter is awesome but it’s obviously limited), Bandcamp (for tunes), Tumblr (for longer posts), Storenvy (to sell stuff), and probably more I’m forgetting. Some of those, particularly Bandcamp and Twitter, are really really awesome sites. But it still feels kind of disjointed. Thus: BannerPilot.net. A way to centralize some of this stuff. That’s the slogan of this website!

-Nate

New Album (well, sort of) This Fall on Fat!

Originally Posted 7/29/10 on Myspace

Big news! Our album Resignation Day has been remixed and remastered and is coming out on Fat Wreck Chords September 14th! This isn’t some mild “We boosted the gigawatts on the 128kbs range blah blah” or whatever– this is a dramatic improvement. It sounds sorta like Collapser now. Plus we added two out of print songs, changed the layout, and even re-sequenced it a little. Get stoked, people.

Here’s some background info I wrote for Fatwreck.com:

When we originally recorded Resignation Day back in 2007, issues came up during the recording that left us with little time for mixing. As a result, the record didn’t sound too hot. This was kind of a drag ‘cuz we didn’t feel like we did the songs justice. But! Sometimes you get a second chance; sometimes you can take something that was subpar and make it right, like when that Jason Mraz guy covered Blitzkrieg Bop. In our case, we were able to get Jacques Wait (who we worked with on our last album Collapser) to take a look at the original tracks and take a stab at remixing them. What he came up with was awesome, sounding like a new album. Usually something billed as a ‘remix’ will cause you to say “Uh, I guess the guitars are…. warmer now?” or “Oh, that’s cool that the ride cymbal has more zing in that one part now. Glad I bought this again”, but in this case we’re talking about a dramatic difference. Plus we added two more songs that are out of print, re-did the layout, and even changed around the sequencing. It’s like a whole new experience, maaan.

So if you checked out the album the first time around and didn’t dig it, give it another chance. We think you’ll like it. It’s like that one fairy tale where the first bowl of porridge kind of sucks but the second one is perfect.

– Nate

LP3 Update #3: Trimming the Fat, Increasing the Phat

Originally Posted January 2011 on Tumblr

Well, it’s some random day of the month, so you know what that means: a Banner Pilot Album Three Songwriting Update!

Let’s recap. When I posted the last update we had 6 or 7 songs. We’ve scrapped a couple of those since then and added a few more. Most of these new ones have been in the last three weeks; in other words, you could say that we’re on fire. Well, maybe not “fire”. Maybe “a roll”. Or “a tentatively encouraging pace.” Yeah. Nice.

Granted, most of these new ones aren’t sure things, and in some cases we don’t even have vocal melodies sorted out yet. But they *feel* like they have a good chance of working out, unlike the vast majority of Rough Ideas we have, where the feeling is closer to, “Eh, well maybe this might be OK at some point, possibly.” You can just tell sometimes. The sketchy ones are similar to a Bad Job Interview…. halfway into it you have a bad feeling, and while there’s a tiny chance you could turn things around, it’s pretty clear you’re screwed. At a certain point, further investment of time is pointless and it’s better to stand up and say, “You and your battery charger factory can go shove it, mister.” And then you walk up the street and start fresh somewhere else. Like a Jamba Juice.

That’s what we did recently: abandoned song ideas that were, upon further inspection, probably futile. And there were a LOT of these. I mean, as recently as two weeks ago we had tons and tons of rough ideas and random riffs and stitched together chord progressions, most of which were sad and unfinished and directionless. Looking now in my iTunes folder, I count 203 demo files. Granted, there are duplicates, but still: it’s SEVEN POINT TWO HOURS of mostly crappy demos. Most of them are just rough ideas I came up with in Garage Band, some are recordings of the live band at the practice space, some have vocals, some don’t. Most of it is no good, and again: 203 files, SEVEN HOURS.

Having this crushing volume of ideas floating around turned out to be counterproductive. “What should I work on? Something in the “LP3 – September Best” folder, or maybe ‘LP3 – Older Crap Heap’? Didn’t ‘Spanish Reds – Alt Vocals Sept 2’ have a cool part? Wait, was ‘Wimpy Riff’ the track I wanted, or was it ‘Chorus Idea – Track 7 (2)”?”

Total confusion. So we went through basically every file we had a couple weeks ago and ruthlessly discarded 99% of them. Now it’s way easier to tell where we’re at, and to focus on the songs that actually have a chance of seeing the light of day. Before it was “7 pretty good songs and 40+ ideas that have cool parts here and there that maybe we can combine stuff from and blah blah”; now it’s “these 10 songs have the best chance of working out, and these other 4 have some cool parts. The end.” WAY easier. The end result will be an album that’s much better than if we were just like, “Screw it, the 12 songs that are closest to being done, boom, there’s our album.”

So there you go. There’s the update. Next time: a discussion on song tempos! Whoo hoo!

-Nate

 

Rock Metal Punk Interview 2010

Here’s an interview with a Belgian fanzine called Rock Metal Punk. Check it out at their site, or below.

—–

‘We actually don’t have a tour bus. Maybe if someone out there gives us a tour bus, we’ll tour more. If anyone has a tour bus they don’t want, shoot us an email’, says Nate from Banner Pilot as he answers our related Groezrock questions.

Banner pilot celebrates his 5th birthday this year. How do you look back on the previous years?
Nate: ‘It’s been really fun! I feel like we’ve gotten better as we’ve gone along, too, which is better than the opposite trajectory. And we will last as long as it’s still fun, and we don’t suck, or at least aren’t aware that we suck. Hopefully that’ll be awhile!’

The volcano made it hard for a lot of bands to get here. But you made it. I heard you’ve made a song about it. Do you intend to put it out on your next record?
Nate: ‘Heh, that was just a joke I made before we left. But yeah, maybe we should do that, now that we’re back. I don’t think there’s enough songs where the band taunts a volcano. I mean, probably a couple dozen, but the world could use more.’

You first studio album came out in 2008. The second was already there in 2009. Can we expect a third one later this year, or are you planning on taking more time for it?
Nate: ‘Well, that’s sort of misleading because Resignation Day got delayed for a long time. It was recorded in September 2007 and Collapser in April 2009. So, at that rate we’ll hopefully record a new album early in 2011. That seems about right. We already have a handful of new songs that I think are pretty good.’

Collapser was released on September first, 2009. It’s your first record on Fat Wreck Chords. A label that houses lots of great punk rock bands. Do feel like real punk rockers?
Nate: ‘Hmm, I guess I’m not sure what a ‘real punk rocker’ is. When I hear that phrase I think of Mohawks and bullet belts and stuff, and we don’t really fit into that. I’ve been meaning to get a bullet belt, but nothing yet. So, I guess I’m not sure. I think the two bands I grew up on as a kid that stuck with me were Jawbreaker andScreeching Weasel. I mean, I also listened to Dead Kennedys and what not but in the long run I don’t think that had as much of an effect on me. But aside from that, I can say that Fat Wreck Chords is a fucking great label and it’s really cool to be on the same label as so many awesome bands.’

Belgian fans of Banner Pilot will be really happy to see the band perform on the biggest Punk festival of the country. As this is your first visit to this festival, what are your expectations?’
Nate: ‘I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I had an amazing time. Huge field, tons of wasted people stumbling around, and great bands! What would you want more?’

You’ll be in Europe through April and May, and then fly back to America to have some concerts on the west coast. Are you ever home? Or did home change in your tourbus?
Nate: ‘Oh yeah, we’re home more often than we’re not. We tour maybe, i dunno, 4-6 weeks a year? A lot less than a lot of bands. And we actually don’t have a tour bus. Maybe if someone out there gives us a tour bus, we’ll tour more. If anyone has a tour bus they don’t want, shoot us an email.’

LP3 Update 2: Droppin’ Ds

Originally Posted October 2010 on Tumblr

What do you folks think about Drop D? It’s a phrase that causes me to cringe, or at least gulp, at first but then with further reflection my hesitation eases a little. See, first impression I think of something in the Korn / Limp Bizkit vein, a vein that is no good. But there’s also a few good indie and punk songs that pull it off. (‘Chinatown’ by Jets to Brazil comes to mind. Also… Ok, I’m drawing a blank, but other examples do exist!)

I guess I should explain: Drop D means you drop the tuning of the lowest string on the guitar. Usually E, it goes down – or drops, get it? – to D. What happens after that depends on what you do with it. It makes power chords easier to play, and you can do a lot of goofy sounding stuff on the lower frets (this is what falls under the Korn camp).

But there are also a few neat tricks you can do, things that don’t make it sound like you have dreadlocks and are about to yell, “Step the fuck back!” or “Ruahkakaka!” or something. For one, you can play octaves on the A string but also hit the open dropped D, which makes a nice Jawbreaker-y effect on the right frets. And just playing a ‘normal’ punk progression suddenly has a cool, darker sound to it.

I’ve written two song ideas in Drop D for the new album. Obviously, they are not in the Korn camp. Dummy titles are “Blinders” and “Lightsleep”. The initial demos were a little shaky, but we’ve done some cool stuff to them as a full band and i’m now pretty confident both songs will end up on the final album. TWO drop d songs— who would have guessed?

The other weird/different thing I wanted to try on this record was a song in 6/8. But what I came up with sucked. So, screw 6/8 songs! Drop D is where it’s at.

In fact, do you think “Stop, Drop D, and Roll” would be a good album title? Like, all of us adjusting our tunings in the middle of a fire….. could be awesome.

-Nate

LP3 Update #1: It Begins

Originally Posted August 2010 on Tumblr

(Look for a few dozen of these in the months to come. They will probably be boring and inane one-by-one, but could be cool as a whole months from now when the record is almost done. Maybe? Maybe!)

Starting to make decent progress on things. Right now, here is where we are at: I have about 40 song ideas on my computer. The vast majority of these are garbage; stitched together chord progressions and random guitar noodling that tries, unsuccessfully, to hit on a good vocal melody idea. But! About 8 or 9 of them seem potentially good enough to end up as keeper songs. Of these, we’ve tackled 4 or 5 as a full band, recording demo versions at the practice space.

Just in the last week, we’ve recorded two of them. ‘Spanish Reds’ and ‘Sleep it Off’. As with all of these, they’re just dummy song titles I make up on the spot when forced to name the drum-machine file. Sometimes, they stick (“Drains to the Mississippi”, “Skeleton Key”, etc), but usually not. (“Spit Out” was originally called “TV Ears Saved Our Marriage”, because that was the text of a magazine ad that happened to be opened up on the table when I named the file).

I think these two tunes will both end up on the album. Sometimes you can tell. On the last album, there were songs that immediately felt like keepers, and others (like a song we named “Blue Ribbon” because… well, take a guess at what might have been in the room when we wrote the song) are more like “I think this might be OK? I mean, maybe?”, which is a sign they’ll get scrapped later. These two, though, seem to fall in the former camp. Good sign!

Danny said the prechorus to Spanish Reds reminds him of an Andrew WK part. That seems good to me.

– Nate

New Strap

Originally Posted April 2010 on Tumblr

Left my bass strap in the states. In Northern France I had to make the following choice. I have no regrets.

-Nate

News Update!

Originally Posted 2/3/10 on Myspace

Current mood: voluminous (awesome Myspace emoticon unavailable)

Kind of quiet in ye olde Banner Pilot land for the last few months, so I figured an update is in order. Hooray!

Haven’t played a ton of shows lately cuz we’ve been working on new songs. It’s going well, I think. I came up with 15 or 16 rough song ideas (just basic chord progressions and melodies) and now we’re kicking them around with the full band, adding vocal melodies, fine tuning stuff, etc. I think 7 or 8 of them will end up working out. Hopefully, that means we’ll be able to record a new album at some point towards the end of the year, but it’s kind of early to say for sure. I’m digging what we’re coming up with so far.

Pretty soon we’re switching back to playing old songs to get ready for shows we have coming up. A couple local shows with our friends The Flatliners and The Dopamines (both at the Triple Rock), then SXSW, and then a bunch of shows in Europe. Should be a blast– check the myspace page for details.

In non-Banner Pilot news, we just wrapped up the new Off With Their Heads album and I’m really, really stoked with how it turned out. Look for that later this year. And then in a couple weeks we’re doing a new Gateway District album, which should also be out later in the year. So yeah, check both of those out when they come out!

That’s all for now; look for more frequent updates once we’re back on the road, and once we’re getting closer to finishing up the songs we’re writing

-Nate

Transmissions From the Show Me State

Originally Posted November 2009 on Tumblr

Last day of the tour was in St. Louis. A bit of a hike from Dallas, so we left early and tried to keep the stops to a minimum. We finally pulled off in Springfield Missouri for gas and grub, and as we did so the van began making weird noises and chugging along, having difficulty going faster than about 30. It also ceased being able to go in reverse, meaning we had to be verrrry strategic about our parking.

Given all of this, we knew the problem was the transmission. Hopefully it was just the same problem as earlier in the tour, when the van was just a little low on transmission fluid and adding some fixed the rattling/chugging problem we were running into on the highway.

But this seemed a little more serious, and alas it was. The mechanic stuck a dipstick in my face. “Smell this,” he said.

“…OK.”

“Well?” he asked.

“Uh, well I guess it doesn’t smell good or anything…”

“It’s burnt. Burnt transmission fluid. You’ve got a problem with the transmission. Sorry, but we can’t do anything for you here.”

All of the transmission places in town were closed until Monday. Presumably, it would be an expensive repair. So, we decided to ditch the van at a transmission shop (leaving a note for them) and rent our way out of town. The car rental places at the airport had one — one! — vehicle between the five of them that would be able to go one-way to Minneapolis. So we had to take that AND a U-Haul for the gear. Bummer. At least we got to enjoy the CD player for a full 22 hours!

However, we were lucky in one sense— had we chosen to take some random, small exit rather than the one for Springfield, there’s no way we would have found a car shop, a U-haul, or a car rental place, and would have almost certainly been stuck in some small town for days.

We hauled ass, still made it the show — which despite being pretty zonked from a full day on the road plus all the van crap ended up being pretty fun.

We drove straight home at 2am when the show got done, stopping for 3 hours of sleep at a rest stop. Except for having to ditch the van, it was an all-around blast of a tour!

-Nate