As you may have read in last week's City Weekly
, Hound Mystic released their latest album at Urban Lounge on Saturday night. Seeing as how the show looked to be pretty cool, I decided to pop in and check it out. (Always support your local musicians.) In the process of doing so, I got to see our old friends in '90s Television open the show, as well as the psyche-rock trio Pansies. Today we chat with Pansies as we look at pictures of their live set.
(Victor Amaya, Alex Wintersmith & Arash Mafi)
Pansies on Facebook
Gavin: Hey gang, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
My name is Alex Wintersmith Lackey, I am 26 years old and the drummer in Pansies. I started playing drums in the school band early on and moved on to guitar shortly after to experience other forms of creativity. Rock and roll always seemed to make sense.
My name is Arash Mafi, I am 29 years old, living in downtown Salt Lake City. I play Hammond organ and sing in Pansies. I spend my days creating custom jewelry at Paisley Dreams Jewelry boutique.
My name is Victor Alonzo Amaya, I am 27 years old and I play guitar and sing in Pansies. I tend to sleep all day and create at night.
How did each of you get into music and what were your favorites growing up?
Growing up I was always around my uncles from my mother's side playing guitar with their bands. So I’ve always had influences of loved ones around me playing music. I really started getting into it personally when I discovered my dad's tapes and records. Some of my favorites growing up were Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix.
My parents exposed me to Motown music early on. For a while, I thought that was the only music that existed. I've always been more inspired by simplicity in music and letting the emotions do the talking.
My dad was my primary inspiration in music. He introduced me to bands like Jimi Hendrix, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc. I remember my dad showing my older brother how to play the guitar as a young kid, and it always inspired me.
What was it like for each of you breaking into the local music scene?
Alex and I have played in a couple of bands together in the past, playing the Salt Lake's music scene. But I can say that it was quite exciting to see the reaction of the crowd that was at our debut show at Urban Lounge back in march, and every show we've played since then has been a great success.
I've played in many projects that almost or never really took off. It was exhilarating to finally be on stage with my band and perform for a big audience. It really put a hop in my step.
It's been great resurfacing in the music scene here. I believe this go around has been easier than previous because of the other projects Arash and I have been in, and with salt lake city being such a tight-knit scene, personal relationships go a long way.
When had each of you first met and become friends or bandmates in other projects?
Alex and I met in 2007 at a record store, a mutual friend of our's introduced us to each other. My band mate Chris and I were looking for a drummer at the time, and shortly after we met up with Alex for a jam session. That's where we discovered that we were meant to play music together. Since then, I have been in a few different lineups and bands with Alex. All very fun projects.
Yeah, I met Arash when I was 17 and his band needed a drummer. I auditioned the next day and the rest is history. We've been through many musical cycles and formations, and this one has been the best put together. I met Victor a few months back when Arash said they had been writing. We got together and played and it all synced up from there.
Arash and I have known each other for years, we’d always see each other at parties and out and about, Arash knew I played guitar and contacted me one day and asked if I’d like to jam and start a project with him, which soon became Pansies. Alex and I met when Arash mentioned that he had a great drummer in mind that would fuse this project together.
How did the idea come about to start a new band that would become Pansies?
Being a musician, and I am sure all musicians understand this… you need a project. One that you can plant the seeds of your brain child in. I guess I was itching to play again and I knew exactly what I wanted to create. Now I just needed to share that dream, and with Victor and Alex, it all came into reality.
What was the biggest influence behind the psyche-rock sound?
Our lifestyles, records we listen to, old sci-fi movies, aliens, UFOs, magic, mysticism, psychedelics.
Do you find your chemistry works better as a trio?
It's not necessarily that it works better as a trio. To me personally, it's that we three are playing together sharing the same visions, and our minds are part of the same engine that is well oiled.
How has it been going around and playing gigs and getting an audience?
Playing music for other people is why we play. It's thrilling and very rewarding. It has been really exciting seeing more beautiful faces at our gigs.
You've released a couple of singles, what's the reaction been like to those?
The reactions have been quite flattering, a week after we released our first single “Feels Like Yesterday” we were contacted by record producer/mastering engineer Fran Ashcroft from Liverpool, England. Ashcroft has credits diverse as The Pretty Things, Damon Albarn, Lee of the La's, various Dandy Warhols, Lords of Acid, and Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds
. With a radical approach and unorthodox, back to basics style, he's widely regarded as the Less-Is-More guru of the recording world. He complimented the dynamics of our song, our home recording techniques, and songwriting, and offered to master it for us. We’ve also had many great compliments and people writing us about purchasing a full-length album when it's out.
Do you have any plans for an EP or a full-length album in the works?
Yes, we have released a couple singles and are working on finishing our full-length record that we will be releasing this year. In addition, we have loads of material that we still need to record towards a future record.
Do you want to tour at all or just stick to Utah for now?
We are currently in the process of finishing recordings and our final tape tracking. We are working on booking gigs for a west coast tour that will include, Nevada, Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
What can we expect from all of you and the band over the rest of 2016?
We will finish our new songs that we are writing and will be producing our full-length record. We are also working on our beautifully, hand-crafted line of psychedelic merchandise, in which it will include t-shirts, posters, and buttons hand drawn by artist Dawn Aquarius.