Small screens are starting to flutter with Halloween cheer, which excites me, because while I may never been a fan of the gore of horror, I’m geek out over ABC Family and Disney’s “spooky” schedules. Every year I sit anxiously and wait for Hocus Pocus and to this day still wish upon pumpkin shaped stars to live in Salem and jump into a great big pile of real Autumn leaves.
I wonder if the New York’s, A Great Big Pile Of Leaves share that love too? Maybe not, but what I do know about the two Tylers and a Peter is that they can make the best of any situation when touring with a variety of bands, have a weakness for sugar and use Google when necessary. So because the 13 days of Halloween hasn’t gotten underway yet, read on for more from the entire pile of A Great Big Pile Of Leaves.
Kendra Beltran: I was interviewing your pal Jesse from MCS last year and you were actually the band he mentioned as being one to watch. So would you like to pay it forward and shout out a band we should be paying more attention to?
Tyler Soucy: We’ve been listening to a bunch of awesome bands like Someone Still Love You Boris Yeltsin, The Little Ones, Algernon Cadwallader…etc. I’m not sure if any of these bands need help from us, haha, but they get us through a lot of long drives on tour. Also, Matt Fazzi, who has been playing with us for a little while, has his own band, Happy Body Slow Brain, and they’re amazing musicians!
Peter Weiland: Rafal Sarnecki, Person L, Young Dudes!
Tucker Yaro: I like this new band from Philly, Young Statues.
Kendra: Your upcoming EPs were recorded in Jesse’s living room, was his living room a recording studio or was it makeshift?
Yaro: Haha, definitely makeshift in terms of recording, we brought over our home recording equipment and took about 30 minutes to set up the whole thing. We were thinking at the time; let’s just focus on having an awesome time with some close friends.
Kendra: Did the mean streets of Brooklyn help define the style you’ve created for yourselves?
Yaro: A lot of people I meet when we are touring ask me what it’s like to be in Brooklyn with such a strong scene, and my answer is always that we are pretty much operating in a bubble in terms of that scene. I love going to concerts, and that is really easy in Brooklyn, but I usually end up seeing bands that are on tour from out of town anyway. So yeah, back to your question, when the streets get mean in Brooklyn I usually just tighten up my backpack straps and run away. So…yes.
Soucy: We’re actually all originally from the averagely-tempered streets of Connecticut! I moved to Brooklyn about four years ago, right after Pete and I started the band. Tucker has been here for about six years and Pete moved down about a year ago. As far as our style goes, I think we all come from pretty different musical backgrounds, and the way we approach music in general. With that being said, our writing process is far more natural than anything I’ve ever been involved in, Pete writes these complicated yet super catchy guitar parts that are really easy to listen to and compliment.
Kendra: The ideas you had for the November releases were floating around your heads before they were recorded, and the thought of floating led my mind to clouds. So if your EPs were clouds, which shapes would they take and why?
Soucy: Ice-cream, partially because it’s a very easy comparison, but mostly just because I love ice-cream.
Yaro: Where our last release, Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?, was extremely dynamic, I think this release is a little more textural and even tempered. So these two records are probably more of cirrus, rather than the fractocumulus looking HYSMPC? You know? Thanks to Google for enhancing my knowledge of cloud classification. You were asking scientifically, right?
Kendra: And why a pair of EPs instead of one LP?
Yaro: Our initial idea was to just try a bunch of different acoustic formats. We did a bunch of college radio shows during our tour with SA, MCS and STD, and we were having a really great time jamming out acoustic on our old songs. A lot of the demos that Pete makes start with just acoustic guitar, so it’s fun to go back to that stripped down format. When we decided that we should try recording, we were always thinking we could just try the live stuff and then do some studio stuff and just pick whatever we thought sounded better…but then after recording we thought they both had value to us. The two EPs have an extremely different vibe respectively, and it will be interesting to see how people react.
Kendra: Did any covers make it on any of the EPs? Or do those usually only happen at your shows?
Yaro: We actually very rarely cover songs, so when we were thinking about making these EPs, we were kicking around some ideas and we were all really inspired by Limbeck’s live acoustic recordings. Those recordings made us really excited about making a live party jam record with a bunch of friends making noise and having a great time. We thought it would be fun to pay tribute to Limbeck by covering “Comin from Tuscon.” We were so psyched when Jesse reached out to them and they were totally into it.
Kendra: Since we’ve hit the topic, you’ve toured with a lot of notable bands like STD and HGB but I want to know how it was with Say Anything. I mean they’re not Metallica or anything but their crowd seems a little more hostile with life, so how did you all fare with them?
Soucy: That tour was awesome, we’ve been very fortunate in the fact that we have never had a bad response from any of these tours. I think it’s kind of refreshing to be the “odd ball” on the bill, not that we’re crazy experimental or anything, but we can go out with a band like The Appleseed Cast and then a band like Hellogoodbye and both go over equally as well for us. All of the bands and crowds have been extremely supportive, we couldn’t dream of anything better.
Kendra: Back on your tour with HGB you guys swore off fast food for a healthier palette, but is there one guilty pleasure you can’t say no to?
Peter: It is very difficult to say no to donuts. They break me. Chocolate cake for breakfast is also a challenge to resist. I’m still not convinced that the positive health benefits outweigh the cognitive satisfaction of consuming those items though. I’ll have to keep testing for now.
Yaro: Chocolate peanut butter cups. When I’m doing those super late “graveyard shift” drives when everyone is sleeping, I can’t resist…they are right by the register at every gas station.
Soucy: Ice-cream, I need to be in some sort of support group. It takes a lot of restraint for me. It’s so easy to eat really crappy on tour, it’s cheaper and usually the only option at 2 AM, but we made a conscious effort to eat better, and it really paid off, it makes for a much more positive experience on the road.
Kendra: Now back to music, ap.net noted your last record was “one of those albums that you can listen to dozens of times without ever settling on a favorite song…” Do you have a record like that in your personal collection?
Soucy: That’s one of my favorite quotes, and I’m thrilled they felt that way about our record!
For me it would have to be:
Hot Rod Circuit: Sorry About Tomorrow
Third Eye Blind: S/T
Foo Fighters: first 3 records.
Saves the Day: basically every record they have put out.
Yaro: Abbey Road is like that for me. Also this Ahmad Jamal album, Live at the Pershing. Speaking of Pershing, also that Someone Still Loves You Borris Yelstin record.
Peter: Jock Jams
Kendra: Now if someone was going to get A Great Big Pile of Leaves tattoo, what would you recommend? Lyrics or an image?
Yaro: Definitely the Spider Donut, which is a tiny little illustration in the corner of our HYSMPC? lyrics insert. Shout out to Meg Hunt who is an amazing illustrator from Portland . She did our art work for HYSMPC? and she is awesome. I’m really excited to see the new records with art by our friend Jamie Tallerico. Any of that art work would make an awesome tattoo. Side note: I don’t have any tattoos. yet.
Soucy: A few of my friends and I got the Zombie chasing a donut from our album art the last time we were in Austin , TX . We have had a few kids tell us they were going to get some work done, which is the craziest thing ever, in an awesome way. It’s very flattering.
Kendra: We’ve hit the home stretch and it’s tradition to make us a mixtape and since your band’s name reminds me of Autumn (even though I really only know about seasons from TV being from Southern California), so if I asked you to send me over your top 5 songs you fall in love with every time they come on, what would you send over?
Bear Hands “Long Lean Queen”
Days Away “Wish”
Piebald “American Hearts”
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin “Glue Girls”
Band of Horses “The First Song”
Weezer “Only in Dreams”
The Descendents “When I Get Old”
Moneen “Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?”
Piebald “Still We Let It Choke Us”
Kings of Convenience “I’d Rather Dance With You”
Originally published on Oct 6, 2011