Breakups, Death and Dance Music: An Interview with PonyHomie

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We’ve written about PonyHomie several times over the past couple years. But today, in honor of the release of their new album, Remable, and their headlining show tonight at Chop Suey, we thought you’d want to hear it straight from the horse’s – err, Pony’s – mouth.

We caught up with Brando Feist, vocalist and synth master for the dark electro-dance trio to learn a little more about the new album, the band’s creative process, and what we can expect to see at the show tonight.

SEA live MUSIC: What can fans expect from the new album, Remable?

Brando: Remable is a bit of an odd record, to be honest. Though many of the songs are very dark lyrically, the melodies are deceptively uplifting. People quite often mistake some of our darkest, saddest songs for love songs or happy tunes. We’re just happy to have people listening and having their own take on these songs that the three of us now know so well.

SLM: Do you guys collaborate on songwriting, or does one of you do most of the heavy lifting?

Brando: Our writing process has always varied… typically I [Brando] will have an idea or a new keyboard effect and show Mike [drummer] and Ramon [bassist], ask them what they think, and take it from there. I usually write lyrics and song structure by myself to really focus on the content. When I feel like the song is completed on my end, I will send it off to the guys to have them start thinking of parts. The hard work starts when we all three put our ideas together to nail down drums and bass parts. Often what Mike and Ramon come up with is nothing close to what I originally envisioned, but I am always happily surprised by the results.

SLM: Where do you draw most of your inspiration from for PonyHomie’s music?

Brando: Lyrically, I typically draw inspiration from loss and sadness, depressingly enough. Loved ones I’ve lost in one way or another. I’ve written about death and made it sound like a breakup, and I’ve written about breakups and made it sound like death. I try to have a sense of ambiguity in my lyrics to let the listeners decide for themselves what they want the song to be. Musically, my inspiration comes from new music. When I hear the latest tracks from my favorite artists, that’s when I am drawn to my keyboard and pushed to write something new.

SLM: Can you tell us a little about the recording process? Did you do all the recording in Seattle?

Brando: All of the recording was done in Seattle. When we originally recorded our demo to send to Scott Colburn (our producer), we figured that he would like to rerecord almost everything for the album. We were very excited that he thought much of what we had sounded great as is, so we decided to focus on turning our demo into a cohesive album. We kept all of the original keyboard parts, recorded in my studio apartment, and many of the bass parts that were recorded at Mike’s house. For the rerecording of the drums and vocals, we headed to Gravelvoice Studio, where Scott helped us finalize our tracks.

SLM: How did you decide to focus on synth, rather than guitar, as the main instrument for the band?

Brando: I had been playing guitar for many years, and had started to lose interest. I was finding it difficult to write new songs that sounded like new songs. I wanted to start focusing on more electronic and dance driven music, mainly because that was what I had been primarily listening to at that time. I purchased the Nord and immediately began writing songs I couldn’t possibly have thought of with guitar. I still love playing guitar, but I continue to base even our most guitar centric songs around the strength of the keyboard.

SLM: You use some really great vocal effects – how did you come up with the right balance?

Brando: I have no idea. There was a lot of tinkering involved. I played with the settings until I found something that sounded great or made me laugh and I stuck with it. If I thought it might work, I used it and didn’t look back.

SLM: Do you have anything special planned for your show at Chop Suey?

Brando: We have a couple of old tricks up our sleeves. They aren’t necessarily things we haven’t done before, but I think people will get a kick out of it.

SLM: If you were to arrange a national tour, who would be your dream bands to play with?

Brando: I’ve thought about this question a lot, and I don’t have a really good answer. I can think of some absolutely amazing bands that I would love to meet and to play shows with, but we wouldn’t necessarily fit on a bill well together. I could write a list, but it would be several pages long…

SLM: What is the story behind the bandannas?

Brando: I wanted a give a sense of anonymity to us as musicians… to let the audience focus on the music and what was being played rather than who was playing it. I never really wanted to be an anonymous band, because that just seemed like far too much work to hide our identities from the friends who were coming to see us play. The first couple shows we played, we kept the bandannas on the whole show, but by now they’ve become more of a symbol for us.

SLM: What music is on heavy rotation for the PonyHomie crew right now?

Brando: Since meeting with Scott Colburn, I’ve been checking out a lot of his other production work. My favorites come from the Portland band Nurses, and Brooklyn based Prince Rama. Both fantastic bands. I also have gotten very into a band called Royal Bangs… their album “Let It Beep” is phenomenal.

1/4 PonyHomie / Redwood Plan / Ever-So-Android / Jabon @ Chop Suey :: Tickets are $8 :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: 21+

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