New York punk rock band Pentimento have proven themselves in the scene as a powerhouse. There is no escaping their melodic riffs, powerful harmonies, emotional words, and their great live performances. Their recent album release show in Buffalo, New York, sold out the venue and the band is currently on the March Radness tour with Allison Weiss and Candy Hearts. California dates feature What’s Eating Gilbert (Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory) as guest headliner.
It all started one night, when I was bored out my mind as usual. What’s the next big thing that Facebook could show me? Same ol’ meme crap that floats around. But then I saw it. Did you hear about what Pentimento’s label did to them?
Huh, did they say pimento? The little red thing in the olive? Who the hell in their right mind would name their band after that thing? I explored it further.
Oh, Pentimento! Let’s see what’s going on here. So I heard the music. Then I saw it: The “Circles” music video. Wow! I was blown away. Where did they come from and how have I not heard of them?
From that moment on, I was hooked. I fell asleep with the song in my head. I woke up to find that they were putting out their whole album for free on bandcamp. But when I checked back on their site later on, it was no longer online. Where did it go? I came to find that they had some difficulties with the label. It’s a long story. Despite all the legal issues from their former label, I can see this band has come a long way.
Pentimento released their self-titled full-length album November 2012. Album download/donate link and list of tour dates here.
I was able to talk to Mike of Pentimento about the show in San Antonio, playing SXSW, and the current tour with Allison Weiss and Candy Hearts. Check out the interview and photos below!
Great show tonight here in San Antonio. Did you get the response you were expecting in Texas?
Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed the set. This is our second time to TX, but our first time in San Antonio. We were blown away by the response from tonight. It felt like we were playing at home.
Let’s talk South by Southwest, the huge event with a ton of great bands packed in a whole week or so. Not many bands are fortunate to be on any bills during this week. Describe some of the atmosphere during this crazy week in Austin. Any sense of accomplishment or “Yes, we are finally here” feelings?
Unfortunately, we couldn’t catch many other bands because of our schedule. We actually ended up playing four showcases this year, which definitely made us all feel extremely lucky and humbled. Each showcase we played seemed to get bigger and better, so we really appreciated the opportunity to not only do SXSW for the first time, but to play four incredible showcases. We got a chance to meet and watch bands we’d never heard of before, so that part of the experience was great. Everything that happened to us during our time at SXSW was so amazing. I don’t think we’ll ever forget it.
So let’s talk about this tour a little. A lot more females involved in this tour. Candy Hearts and Allison Weiss are very good at what they do. Must be awesome to see girls get up and do the band/touring life, which some might think is a “guy thing.” Have y’all been on a tour with female bands before? And do you have to deal with any boundaries?
I can’t say that any of us have to limit what we say or control our personalities just because there are females on the tour. Of course, we treat them with respect, but that’s the way we try to treat everyone. Regardless of their gender. I will say, though, that being on tour with bands that are female fronted is a very cool thing to see. Both bands are so talented, and I feel like what they’re doing–to prove everyone wrong about the genre or the industry in general being a guys thing–is great. Also, this tour has been the most fun we have ever had.
Do you feel a connection with the bands that you tour with, past and present?
We hang out with the other bands every chance we get. It’s usually not like that in most cases. All the bands we’ve ever toured with were great, but I feel like we all legitimately spend time together whenever we can, and it feels great. This is literally the most fun tour I’ve ever been on.
So the new album is your second release of music, other than the split you did with Young English. The story and struggle of how this release got made has, in my mind, made Pentimento pretty famous around the scene. After hearing the album song for song, I have to say it’s been one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. Great lyrics, melodic riffs, harmonies, and powerful songs all in one album.
Thanks a lot, man! That means a lot to us. We actually have one release prior to the split with Young English called “Wrecked.” It was our debut EP so check that out if you haven’t!
Despite the label issues, how do feel about this self-release?
There aren’t enough words for me to explain how thankful we are for the response this record has gotten. We’ve been extremely humbled by the things people have said to us about the album, and if I said “thank you” a billion times, it still wouldn’t be anywhere near how much we appreciate the response. As a band, we just feel lucky to be in this position at all.
Now your albums are being sold across seas in Japan. How does that feel?
It’s so exciting to know that people all over the world have picked it up. We’re just looking forward to touring and supporting this release everywhere we can.
Let’s talk about the writing process. How do songs become songs with Pentimento?
All we really knew about this record was that we had to come out swinging. We had to make it the best possible record it could be. As far as the writing process goes, it’s tough to describe. There’s so many different methods we use to make it happen. But in the end, as long as it’s honest, that’s what we go for.
I see great things happening for this band. You guys have great music! A strong passion and love for what you do. I saw it tonight on stage. There is no stopping Pentimento. Are there any labels looking at the band right now, or do you feel you want to do this by yourself for awhile?
That’s a huge compliment man. We really appreciate that. As far as the label situation is concerned, we’re an independent band right now and we’ll stay that way until the time is right. There’s no telling what the future holds, but after our experience with being signed to Panic Records, I think we will be a lot more careful next time.
Last questions fellas. What is Pentimento to you, and what’s next for the band?
We just want to contribute to the punk rock scene as much as it contributed to shaping our lives and minds as kids. It’s an incredible opportunity and all we want to do is continue to spread the word and share our music with as many people as possible.
Interview and photos by Bryan Gonzalez