Interview with Mike York of Pianos Become the Teeth
First off, I love your band. It’s exactly what I loved about the 90s post-hardcore scene. The intensity, the combustion at any moment and the feeling. It’s all there to a T. Where did this feeling come from initially for the band as you formed and started playing together?
Thank you for the kind words! I don't think it was a conscious effort to create something like that, I think it mainly just came from listening to emotionally charged music in many forms, not just necessarily hardcore. We all have such vast influences and I think they shine through in everything we do.
How did you first get introduced to bands like Envy, Funeral Diner, etc?
For me personally it was just a natural progression from listening to hardcore, then post rock, then diving deeper into those kinds bands both locally and nationally when we toured and getting recommendations from people, etc.
When you heard bands like yourselves early on for example, La Dispute, Make Do And Mend, The Saddest Landscape and Touche Amore, what about those early days do you look back on most fondly?
I think it was just the kinship that we had with so many bands. It was so cool that we were coming up at a time that all our friends were as well and we were able to experience this thing, whatever you want to call it, together. Almost like we were all one cohesive unit.
I loved nothing more than hearing the first notes of “Keep You” and hearing clean guitar and vocals. The one thing a lot of hardcore bands forget is that to be heavy, you must also know how to be intense in the quietest of times. It’s harder and more delicate. Talk about that transition. Were you distancing yourself from the scene or no?
Thank you!! I think honestly it was just a natural progression for us. I know that Keep You falls more in line with the type of stuff we all are influenced by now or listen to now. As you get older in a band you don't want to write the same stuff you wrote in the past, you want to evolve. It was never a thought of "oh, we need to distance ourselves from this" it was just more so an attempt to write the best record we could that represented us at that time. As an artist or musician, I think it's so important to evolve. It keeps your art form interesting and helps you grow as an artist.
When did you first hear the word emo? What was your reaction?
When I was in my early teens was when I first heard the word emo. There was this website called fourfa.com that used to outline all forms of emo and give you recommended listenings and the best records of the genres and sub genres. It was so, so cool. I dove in and just explored everything they talked about. That was probably where I actually learned about Funeral Diner and Envy first. My reaction was mainly like, "oh, this is cool" but nothing drastic. I always feel like music and art should have an emotional attachment to it so emo just seemed like a word for something that was already present in rock music. For the most part anyway. At least the stuff I listened to.
What is happening now in the scene that excites you?
That's a good question. I mean, I think there are a lot of bands now, which is cool. I feel like there weren't as many doing this kind of stuff when we started. Or I just wasn't as aware. Honestly I don't listen to a ton of emo and screamo stuff anymore. At least "new" bands. Other than the ones that we play with or bands that friends tell me about. But when a band does it and does it well, I am usually really into it. I am excited to see how it evolves and what people do in the next 10 years or so.
Five of your favorite bands right now
Hm. I love that new Turnover record "Peripheral Vision", it has such a great summer vibe to it. But I feel like it will be on rotation with me through the year. I like a lot of electronic stuff actually. I am really into Porter Robinson's last record "Worlds". Ryan Adams self titled is incredible. Bjork has a record from this year called "Vulnicura" that I am listening to as I type this and I am blown away by it. There's a band called Future Islands from Baltimore that I love too.
5 bands you want everyone to stop talking about
Hahahahahaha I feel like people and bands are doing their thing and that's great. A lot of it isn't my thing or make any sense to me, but that's ok. It's what makes the world go 'round.
One prediction for the scene in 2016
Hm... I predict that heavy bands that many people love for being heavy are going to start branching out and exploring other kinds of genres. A lot of friends are moving into their 3rd and 4th records so I am excited to see what they do.
What’s next? More touring, album? Lay it on us.
Well, there is definitely stuff in the works but as of now, we do Europe in October and then some plans to finish the year, we will start demoing stuff soon to see where we wanna go with writing this new record and we will just have to go from there!
We interviewed Cam Boucher of Sorority Nois this past weekend in Brooklyn to talk about emo, touring and his struggles with manic depression. Thanks to Shea Stadium for the hospitality.