Pet Clinic Turns Tables, Asks Big Questions in Interview (PGH)

pet clinic-3-2Tomorrow, one of Pittsburgh’s brightest bands releases their long-awaited, much-anticipated full-length debut. Pet Clinic‘s No Face comes at you, released independently, and with huge payoff. What’s the best way to get your hands on a copy? Go see them play the songs tomorrow at Spirit. Joining the bill is glam band Dazzletine, glam-goth band Choir, and the always spectacular DJ troupe Strangeways. It’s gonna be a huge night thanks to Pet Clinic’s incredible live show they plan on taking on the road pretty much immediately; they play Denver on Tuesday. After that, the band plans to roll down the southwest and up the left coast. Pet Clinic found some time to talk about the new album and their plans for the future. Read the unedited transcript:

Pop Press InternationalTell me about an unexpected challenge the band faced while recording No Face?

Pet Clinic: Recording the album had a number of challenges that we had to overcome. The most important challenge that we overcame however, Was realizing the importance of a live take full of honest energy. We needed to capture high quality recorded Material at the same time as capturing the feeling of our live performance. And we were doing this all on our own. It was challenging but we realized that the compromise was having at least three players recording at one time while another member engineered the sound.

PPIFive years is a long time between recorded material; how have the band’s influences changed?

PC: The idea of influence is a tricky concept. We all have different influences which haven’t really changed per se over the years. We may add new musicians to the list, but the idea of influence is something that is hard to pinpoint to the group if you are suggesting our influences are what create our sound because each member listens to completely different music than the other members most of the time. For instance Mike loves electronic music like Venetian snares and aphex twin   He spends many hours producing electronic music. I (john) love Tom waits, Philip glass, and Arvo part. Ian loves Jazz music.  Kenny is into sunny day real-estate and modest mouse.  Dave loves jack white and Ty seagul. It’s this weird mix of interests/influence that gives Pet Clinic its own sound I think. Our common ground is that we love music that is emotionally honest and energetic and we make noise that creates those feelings inside of us.

pet clinic-4-2PPICan you tell me about the cover of No Face?

PC: The cover of no face is a painting by Zach Brown and manipulated by Michael Artman.  The initial concept was based on the idea of an ultimate Void. I wanted to convey the idea of identity having no true authenticity because every aspect of our society is based around consumption. The defining characteristics of a person’s identity has its roots in the addiction consumption. The character No Face is completely unable to fulfill its desires or truly know itself because all it has is the need to define itself and to define itself all it has are endless objects. Therefore it has no true face.  We later Learned that Pittsburgh has a true urban legend about a character named Charlie no face. He was a young child when he was horribly melted from Extreme electricity.  He survived and grew into a man with no eyes nose ears etc.  He was forced to walk at night to keep traffic from crashing from the site of him. This idea of a being forced to the margins of society due to his disfigurement is another interesting reading on the concept of no face. A person’s identity is actually defined for them through the judgments of a larger culture.  Do we have a true authentic face?

PPICan you talk about your expectations for the upcoming tour?


PC: We expect the tour to be absolutely amazing, terrifying, exhausting, and an evolution in group dynamics.  It will have its ups and downs but at the heart it will have growth. we will be playing shows in historic venues like the whiskey a go-go as well as small house show pot-lucks in the middle of California. We look forward to meeting new people and making friends. We look forward to seeing something new and exciting that gives meaning to being alive.   It’s a challenge and a gamble that we realize we are taking and we know that we must be fully committed to this opportunity that has been given to us to obtain the best outcome. I hope we stay positive and focused and open to new experiences.

PPIHow would you describe Pittsburgh to other bands when y’all are touring the West Coast?

PC: Pittsburgh is the gem of the rust belt because it truly is beautiful and accessible. It’s a city that’s Full of creativity and possibility. It’s moist in the spring which starts the mushroom season. It’s f-ing cold in a winter that doesn’t end. The music scene is supportive and growing but still coming into bloom so to speak. It’s a small city that a person can easily know and not feel overwhelmed by. Pittsburgh is the type of place more and more people will come to as they figure out its potential.

PPIWhat plans does the band have for the rest of 2016, following the release of No Face?

PC: When we return we have a number of shows set up after tour such as:  opening for guided by voices on July 6, Deutchtown music fest July 8th, and an in studio performance on the X 105.9 FM. We have a number of new song ideas to work on for the next album. We have a 1″ MCI tape machine that we want to get working so we can record to tape.  …….

PPI: Pet Clinic walks into a bar–what does the band order? Individual answers please.

PC: Ian orders a whiskey and says nvm just a water. Kenny gets a pickle back. Mike gets a whiskey ginger and a beer. John gets an ayahuasca. David gets a shot and a beer.

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