While pop punk trio Picasso The Banshee may be newcomers to the local scene, their strong debut EP “Louie” bears little resemblance to your typical unseasoned band.
Formed in August 2014, the group came together after bassist Jacob Thone left his former band, recruited his longtime friend Andrew Hayes to front the new group and play lead guitar as well as his cousin Simon Phillips to take the helm behind the drums.
Wary of rushing straight into the live scene, the band didn’t play its first show until last April when a gig opened up at Amplyfi in the heart of Hollywood. Despite it being Andrew’s first time playing a show, the trio plowed their way through their debut performance without any bumps or bruises.
Around the same time as their first live show, Picasso The Banshee began the recording of their debut EP, a five song whirlwind of pure pop punk in its finest.
Coming Up Magazine talked to bassist Jacob Thone about the origin of the band’s name, the state of the local pop punk scene and the recording process of their debut EP “Louie.”
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
It actually comes from my girlfriend who has a few cats, two of which are named Picasso and Banshee. I just took that and made it the name of a banshee (laughs). It was something funny and cool.
Why did you leave your previous band?
When I was living in Chino, I was in a band that wasn’t doing too well. We didn’t play as much as I wanted to, and I wanted to do my own thing. Things had to be a particular way in that band and I felt like I’d rather be in charge so I told them I was going to leave to do my own thing.
Do you have any horror stories regarding a particular show the band has played so far?
Honestly, every show we’ve coordinated so far has gone pretty smoothly. The worst that’s ever happened is that a show has gotten canceled or postponed but luckily nothing too crazy!
What is a typical practice schedule for you guys like? Do you guys meet and play every day?
Not really. Our practice schedule is actually pretty random. Simon is still in high school so it’s kind of whenever he’s not doing anything. We tend to kind of just base it off that. Sometimes we go a few weeks without practicing. We play the same set so much at our shows that we typically just practice when we have some new material.
On the band’s Facebook page, you say that you’re “3 dudes trying to save pop punk.” What do you think of the current state of the local pop punk scene?
I think there are a lot of good pop punk bands in the area whether it be in Orange County or the Inland Empire. We as a band are going for more of the sound of Sum 41 and Blink 182, while there are other groups aiming for modern punk sound along the lines of Real Friends. I don’t think either style really wants to see the other one die out.
But all in all there’s been great support. We are friends with a lot of the local pop punk bands and everyone is supporting each other like recommending a certain venue to play at. I would say overall it’s just a great community to be a part of.
What was the recording process like of the first EP? How long did it take?
I got in touch with Fabian Rubio, who I thought did a great job as the engineer on some of the stuff the last band I was in recorded. So I gave him a call since I already had his number still in my phone.
He has this little studio in his backyard in Pomona and that’s where we recorded for about three months. Everything was done there–the recording, mixing and mastering. We wanted to get it out at the right time and felt like July would be the perfect time to release it. My cousin Angelo and his dog Louie are the ones on the cover of the EP.
We originally wanted to sell it at shows but we kind of ended up just giving it out for free at our shows since people were asking for it. At our gigs, some of the bands we’ve been playing with have told us how much they loved the EP and how badass it was which is so cool. A lot of people sing along at our shows now which is awesome because it means they have heard our music before and know our lyrics! It’s been nice having it out there for people to listen to.
Do you feel it’s unnecessary to be signed to a record label these days now that you can promote yourselves on your own using social media?
We would definitely be open to getting signed. I’ve been submitting demos for about a year now. It would be cool but a lot of bands are DIY which nowadays is a lot easier but having a label and more exposure is pretty big. It would also be a little easier to get tours set up too. I don’t think it’s necessary… I just feel it would be really helpful.
What are some of the venues in the area where the Pop-Punk scene is thriving?
There’s Bridgetown DIY in La Puente which we’ve played a good amount of times now. It’s such a fantastic venue. I think Programme Skate & Sound in Fullerton is awesome as well.
Are there any upcoming bands you are currently listening to that you would like to give a little shout out to?
There’s a few I would have to say.
Floorboards from Fullerton, Sharks on Wheels from Baldwin Park and Curbside from the Inland Empire.
L.A. Music fans, check out Picasso The Banshee live. They will playing Malone’s Bar & Grill in Santa Ana at 4 p.m. on Jan. 31.
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