Ponte Pilas holds a story unlike many. An indie pop rock outfit that met upon chance back in 2017, the quartet then decided to shack up together in a Berlin apartment, unemployed and only looking to pursue their music and craft as a group. Their witty and charismatic way of portraying their music is something that has always come so natural to them, and since then has brought them success on all fronts.
In 2019, their single ‘Eye for an Eye’ won the ‘Listen to Berlin’ award and their debut EP ‘So It Goes’ last year saw editorial support across Spotify, Apple and Amazon, in what was a stellar 6-track body of work. Their live performances have increased across Germany too, with support slots with renowned acts such as The Wedding Present, King Nun and Legendary Tigerman coming alongside their releases.
Really wanting to instil themselves as a ‘band of the people’, Ponte Pilas have grown more socially and politically conscious over the years, and the Scottish-Ecuadorian four piece have participated in Friday For Future, with their song ‘Tinderbox’ embodying this activist movement. Existential themes and more serious underlying topics have seen bands like Yard Act become a beacon of hope and positivity in their homeland and Ponte Pilas wants to follow suit with their own narrative.
With their most exciting year ahead yet, 2022 has seen new single ‘Vegetable Soup’ unleash a whole new sonic brand L for the Berlin band. Produced and mixed by Gordon Raphael, producer of The Strokes’ first two albums, he eclectically mixes Ponte Pilas’ fun-filled guitar playing, melodies and songwriting together so crisply in what is a highly intoxicating offering.
They now turn to heavier material with new single ‘San Ignacio’, where the outfit show their dynamics and grit in such style and vigour. A song dedicated to one of their biggest heroes in Iggy Pop, portraying his shrine in the artwork, they fill the track with grungy guitar riffs and a remarkably energetic performance.
Knowing when to strip it back is a real art of Ponte Pilas, as they do this so seamlessly in the middle of the track, before exploding into a whirlwind chorus with the lyrics ‘screaming out his name’ bringing a real presence. Producer Gordon Raphael also contributes a percussive, Giorgio Moroder-esque wall of synth sounds.
‘San Ignacio’ is the fourth instalment from Ponte Pilas’ debut album ‘Old Enough To Know Better’, released August 26th, in what is looking to be a hugely exciting record from this encapsulating indie band that does things just that little bit differently.
This song is dedicated to Iggy Pop. How has Iggy’s music influenced Ponte Pilas?
Iggy’s music, from the more avant garde Stooges period through to his solo work, has been an influence and inspiration for the band since we started playing together. But it’s more than the music, his entire philosophy and approach to his art is what we love. Hearing him in interviews, with missing teeth and bruised and bloodied lecturing suited talk how hosts about Dionysian artistic expression was genuinely life changing. To bounce back so many times and come through so many personal and artistic lows to be where he is today is true rock ’n’ roll grit. Plus, he seems like a dude you would love to grab a beer with.
“San Ignacio” is the fourth single from the upcoming record. The singles so far show a really broad range of sounds. Did you approach this record like a collage, or was it a pretty cohesive writing and arranging process?
The writing process was quite concise really, but we’re a band that has always had quite a wide range of influences and so it was nice to explore more of these on the record. In the past we’ve limited ourselves more to a narrow, more ‘rock’-oriented style of music but we decided to slow things down a little, get a little playful here and there and mainline some Get Back-era Beatles inspiration for a song or two. I guess in a sense there’s an element of collage, but the themes and lyrics are a pretty strong thread through all these tracks. I guess that getting old was on my mind because that seemed to keep cropping up, questions of meaning and identity, the idea of growing into yourself more. And finishing on an upbeat note with ‘Berlin Is Gonna Be the Death of Me’.
What was it like working with producer Gordon Raphael?
Amazing. Gordon was a hero of ours since our early Strokes albums that we consumed and investigated and obsessed over. I think we were all slightly in awe at first, but GR is the least intimidating person in the world. He was immediately friendly, nerdy, relatable and passionate about making a great fucking record. From day one we got on great, listened to music in the studio together between working and created such a nice atmosphere at Tricone. And we’re still in touch, I text him more than my Mum…
You want to be a band for the people. Could you talk about what that means to you?
I think the typical band-audience dynamic, the kind of hierarchical, hero-worship model that was so popular in the 70s and 80s is (with good reason) kind of dead. A lot of those folks turned out to be perverts. That’s never really what we wanted from music, it has from the beginning been a thing that matters only when it’s shared: from dirty wee clubs in Berlin to the bigger stages we’ve played across Europe, at festivals etc. We want to keep our music and shows open and accessible for everyone, a space where you can express your weirdest and sweatiest selves. We want people to mosh for the first time and to fall in love. We want to build a community. That’s what ‘Band of the People’ means to us, at least the shorter edition without me diving all the way down my revolutionary Marxist rabbit-hole.
When can listeners expect the record to drop, and do you have any touring plans for the rest of the year?
The record is out the 26th August everywhere, you can get it on sexy, thick, dark vinyl from us directly or via streaming platform of your choice if you don’t like the idea of musicians making any money from their music. We have a sick support tour with our Irish pals THUMPER looming in September and very soon we’ll be announcing some touring news for a little later in the year. So keep an eye out for those and who knows, the Ponte lads could be coming your way very soon.