I don't know what your plans were for the day. Maybe you were going to catch a movie. Maybe you were going to hang on a chill Brooklyn rooftop with some friends. Maybe you decided today was a "you" day and you were just going to order terrible take-out and watch Netflix. Cancel those plans and discover Pilot Rouge.
We had the chance to chat with Pilot Rouge, Tennessee cinematic rockers, and when they contacted me about their new Legends EP, it was one of those rare "I'm reading this e-mail in my post-lunch food coma but this music is making me sit straight up in my seat in rapt attention" moments, and as somebody who does this for a living, that happens on a sadly rare basis. With guitars that evoke the depths of human emotion without being layered beyond recognition and a voice that immediately calls to mind Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, Pilot Rouge are a must-hear for any fans of Local Natives or Blind Pilot in your life. Check out their EP via Spotify and our conversation with the band below.
You all already have such a polished and well-defined sound on your debut EP. I've been referring to it in my head as cinematic art-pop...sort of a cross between Local Natives and Blind Pilot. How were you able to figure out who you were as a band so quickly?
Pilot Rouge: We really started playing together on the road. I know for some bands that sounds like a death sentence because it's easy to lose money and frankly, hope, when you're new and often playing for empty rooms and small guarantees but for us it was galvanizing. We devoted downtime to writing, practicing, and crazy amounts of listening. We got to know each other's musical sensibilities and really just started making what we wanted and what real listeners out there were responding to without feeling too much pressure from the industry. Once we felt we had a good idea of that, we spent a good bit of time as a band collectively arranging the tunes and then took them into the studio with the end product in mind from the get go.
Speaking of that debut EP, it takes chutzpah to call your first record available to the public "Legends." What's the name of the record mean?
I remember when I was young that my parents and teachers would apologize to me for the world they were leaving me with, and I think they were right in some respects. The way that I interact with the world is different than how they did. Even more than that, they were scared of handing off the proverbial baton scared of how young people would deal with it. There is this crucial moment in growing up when you reach an age where you take your life into your own hands and say, "This is mine now, it may have been yours, but it's mine and I'm going to make something of it." We don't have to be perfect to live a good story; we only have to be bold, and that realization is the beginning of every individual's story, or "legend."
You also have a gorgeous track called "Sunrust." And the image that brings to mind for me is something beautiful that's starting to fade away because it's been left out and exposed to the elements for too long. And there's this nostalgic longing in the track. Am I misreading the song?
That is a perfect takeaway. The word "Sunrust" is meant to evoke the image of a sunset that fleeting orange red color that never seems to stay for long. The song is about a romance between the sun and the moon, who, because of their opposite schedules never really get to spend time with one another. Their love, however, is complete in the passing moments of twilight and of sunrise. Often times, the most beautiful of moments are the fleeting ones, not the full day light or the night filled with dark, but the sunrust, the tension, the soft, sleepy kiss of dawn.
Who were some of the artists that had the biggest influence on you all as artists? I mentioned the bands that I heard but you all still have such a distinctive sound, but it's also clear that you've studied your craft and know the building blocks of great pop hooks and rock licks.
Local Natives are definitely a big one for everyone on the record, and we listened to a lot of Young the Giant and War On Drugs while writing this record too. With regard to pop hooks and rock licks, we have all been super into The Killers, Paul Simon, or Bill Withers at some point in our lives, so that plays an underlying part in all that we do.
Where do things go from here for Pilot Rouge? Are you working on an LP to follow-up Legends?
We're currently on the road touring this EP and are working on new material, which is a similar to how we made the previous record, so yeah! An LP in the next year wouldn't be out of the question.