Toronto trio, Brent Randall, Paul Linklater and Marshall Bureau released their third album Ooh! in June of 2013 and now are currently working on a fourth. The power pop group is known for their upbeat melodies, harmonies, and self-proclaimed "mega-hooks". Their music is definitely fun, and after reading this interview you'll have no trouble understanding why.
G: What has it been like going from all working solo, to being a trio? How has this changed your individual creative processes, and was a lot of compromise needed?
P: The trio format really clicks. It rocks, it pops, the formula works. There’s a new song to arrange? It just kind of does it itself. It helps having a good drummer, and we are lucky with that. He’s a natural!
G: What is your creative process like when you write an album?
P: For Ooh! Brent would come over to my house and usually bring along frosty cokes, in nice glass bottles. We’d get wound up on sugar, get the guitars and knock out a song in an hour and a half. Most of the songs are collaborations except for Gloomy Monday, In N Out, and Come on Back. For the next album we’ll eat Chocolate Olivers.
G: Who is behind the lyrics, and what's the inspiration?
P: We write the lyrics together, and we often end up singing about a girl who is a beguiling emotional assassin - For whatever reason. She is our natural muse, she is all women.
G: You mention on your site that your influences include The Carpenters, could you give us a little insight into specifically influences you?
P: Well, there’s LOTS to like about The Carpenters. The songs, the backing vocals, the production is kind of a peak in hi-fi 70s analogue. They saw themselves as album artistes and tried to follow in the footsteps of the Beatles making thematically linked records. But, there is this dark under-taste to their material that really sets them apart. A lot of that has to do with Karen’s voice and her tragic death. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more to the story than we even know.
G: What is your take on the recording industry today?
P: Well, it’s a blank page and you have to make an invention of yourself. So in that way, it’s nice and creative. You could release a new song everyday if you wanted to, then do a soundtrack to a puppet play or something. There’s lots of nice people in the record biz like Christopher Evers, our boss at Reel Cod. He’d a very good supporter.
G: What is the hardest thing you struggle with as a band?
P: Creative control probably. We almost need to hire an objective third party. What are they called, producers?
G: What advice do you have for start-up bands and beginner musicians?
P: Disregard all those naysayers! Aim high! Play live! Get your harmonies happening! Move to a big city, and don’t use a lot of crappy digital effects. When you book a gig get the best bands you possibly can, but keep your set short and snappy, without being afraid of doing a few segues. Don’t dress like a giant cactus.
G: Where can we expect to see The Pinecones a year from today?
P: Well, we are working on a new record. We are talking about maybe making a double disk set. So far we’ve got some country songs, a nice chewy bubbleglam, one psych stomper, and one classical disco piece. So, hopefully we’ll be set to release that in a year and play a tour of retirement homes.
G: Haha, can't wait to hear it. Thank you for chatting with us!