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Pills For Breakfast - Pills for Breakfast Newsletter Interview

30 Apr 2016 // An interview by Shade

With crushing riffs, melodies that worm in to your brain and songwriting diversity that creates variety yet a clear identity, Pills for Breakfast's debut self-titled album is definitely worth listening to. Released earlier this year, and described by muzic.net.nz as "oozing rock and roll at its rawest, slimiest and filthiest" with "distorted guitars wailing blues riffs with a grind that will still be running through your head days later", this release proves that PFB have a good future ahead of them. PFB answered the following questions for muzic.net.nz:

How did you become involved in music?

Chris PFB: I’ve been a fan of music my entire life. My pre-school/toddler years were spent listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin's 4. My mother had to resort to making me wear headphones when I listened to them, as she got sick to death of hearing them over and over again...! When I was 13 I discovered AC/DC’s Who Made Who album and the intro of that song inspired me to want to learn how to play drums. I stuck with drums for a while but then I got bored with it and decided to give the guitar a go. It was all downhill from there really!

If you could perform with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Chris PFB: This is probably going to sound quite cheesy, but the people I jam with now (Neil and Steve) are my favourite people to perform with. I am really comfortable playing with them, I know what to expect from them and vice versa. I don’t think I would want to perform with any of my idols because I would develop a massive inferiority complex and not enjoy myself at all...! In saying that though, I would love the opportunity to have a song writing jam with Chino Moreno of Deftones in his basement studio... he’s such a creative and talented musician, I’d love to see how his creative processes work!

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

Chris PFB: That’s a really tough call.. I think I would have to go with Inphlux. I wrote the riff for that song in a motel room in Manukau City one evening and it sounded so grunty and heavy. Neil and I worked the song into its current format and to me it’s a really good loud, powerful, kick-ass song. It has always gone down well live and I remember playing it when we headlined the Kapiti Music Festival one year, a guy in the crowd started dancing the Haka to it... I guess it inspired him. It was pretty cool though! It’s a bit of a buzz when you see something that you’ve created having an effect on someone like that.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

Chris PFB: That’s a hard one because our songs are pretty varied genre-wise. I guess I’d have to say that on the whole we are high energy, old school heavy rock. Our music is not something you have playing in the background for a calming effect or that you would play at a wedding! We try to write music that is catchy and will stick in the listener’s head. When your wife tells you that she has one of your new tunes stuck in her head, I take that as a tip that the song is heading in the right direction.

What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

Chris PFB: Neil and I are pretty amped with how our album has been received both here and overseas and we are both keen to get back to writing some new tunes together, so this winter shall be one of creation and recording. Our latest album took several years to put together before we could get it out there and I’d like to think that we can put our second one together a bit quicker than that. We’ve learned a lot along the way, so that should help. I have a feeling that our next album will probably be even more diverse in terms of genre; Neil and I are both looking forward to trying different elements and instruments in future compositions.

What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?

Chris PFB: I’d like to see Decortica getting the recognition they deserve; they are an amazing band with some epic songs. I’ve seen them perform live a couple of times and they bring it on stage, they really give it hell. One thing that amazed me was that they sound just as good live as their studio stuff does. Simon Sweetman once reviewed them and described them as NZ’s best kept secret. I’d tend to agree with him. I personally think that their earlier albums A New Aesthetic and Love Hotel are their best. I’d also like to see more of Dan Green in the NZ music scene; he’s a really talented solo artist who does some really cool stuff with his acoustic guitar and looper pedal. I first saw him opening for TrinityRoots a while back and was super impressed with his set.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Neil PFB: Firstly and I know it sounds obvious but rehearse well. Rehearse in gig formation standing up using all of the gear you would at the gig and listen back to it! Also, time your set list. You don’t want to be cut short or even worse, finish your set with 10 mins to spare! You almost need muscle memory to be down pat. As a guitarist, this means I can enjoy the gig and be “present” rather than worrying about what I should be doing and when. You then have the “beers conundrum” – Loosening up is fine but playing live when you’re half cut isn't cool and doesn’t respect the audience who have travelled and paid to come and see you.

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Neil PFB: That’s a good question as Chris and I as the songwriters have written songs in many varied ways. It can start with a riff or a lyric or songs can arrive fully formed from either of us. Sometimes we’ll write together just jamming and other times, you get that email ping late at night and there's an idea / demo in your inbox which means you’ve just got to get on to it and write! I tend to get ideas in downtime when I’m noodling on an acoustic or I’ll think of a song title / concept and write based on that. Some of the album tracks have changed a fair bit since the demo and some are almost exactly the same. For me, Inphlux was probably the most enjoyable as it was the first time I’d arranged a song that I didn’t write based on a recording of adlibbing off of the riff at rehearsal. We knew it was a powerful track but it was a bit all over the place structure wise especially with the lyrics. As a songwriting partnership, we have a very healthy friction that seems to get the right results. I can’t think of a time where we’ve had a personal disagreement and that makes it fun and liberating to try different things. It also challenges you as a songwriter.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Neil PFB: Write good songs. That’s my sanity check really. Will a song stand up played on an acoustic guitar? Without effects and overdubs i.e. Fundamentally, is it a good song? I’m also an advocate for listening to music outside of your genre. I guess we’d be classed as a rock band but we like to shake it up a bit. Outphlux is an electronic track and Breathe is a guitar cover of The Prodigy! I also like using samples if it betters the song. At the other end of the spectrum, Vampire has a Mexican vibe but it all sounds like us as a band. In essence, what I’m trying to say is be true to yourself but don’t box yourself in; keep evolving.


About Pills For Breakfast

Pills For Breakfast is a New Zealand based rock band formed in 2012. PFB embody a wish list of the best attributes of their genre; Crushing riffs, melodies that worm in to your brain and songwriting diversity that creates variety yet a clear identity.

Chris Thorpe and Neil Johns write and compose all of Pills For Breakfast's material while inviting fellow musicians to contribute in the studio to help provide the band's energetic take on quality, driven rock music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Pills For Breakfast


Pills For Breakfast
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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