Bassist Zach Smith of the band Pinback says his life as a musician is all about doing what you love.
“It’s about staying true to yourself and doing what comes naturally,” he said in an interview with The Badger Herald.
Pinback is Rob Crow on guitar and vocals, Zach Smith on bass, keys and vocals, and Chris Prescott on drums. The trio is currently on tour in support of its fifth album and first release in five years, Information Retrieved, and will stop in Madison on Sunday.
Indie rock is too ambiguous a description for the clean, punctuated sound that is Pinback. Pinback’s unique sound is authentic in a way that breaks from any stereotype. Common in many of their songs are hypnotic melodies juxtaposed against energetic harmonies; for musicians and music lovers alike this band is a true gem. Below is what Smith had to say about the band’s sound, its past and future.
BH: In your own words, how would you describe the style of your music?
ZS: It’s a mish-mash of different sounds that Rob and I are excited about at the time. It depends on the direction of the song at the time. We want to do stuff that’s our own, what comes natural to us and the way we play together. As long as we’re keeping in the vein of playing what comes naturally, I’m not really worried about what genre we sound like: It’s Pinback.
BH: We’ve all heard about how rough it can be touring. Do you have any funny or interesting stories from the road?
ZS: Nothing comes to mind at the moment. The thing I’ve learned most about traveling is to avoid getting sick. You just cant get sick on tour, it’s not like you can cancel. If you get sick on the road and you have to play a show that night, it’s the worst.
BH: After 15 years in the professional music industry is this what you imagined life would be like?
ZS: It’s rough to travel and I have a two-year-old son now. Usually we would do a bus tour and we just go across the U.S. and do a six week tour. Rob and the drummer Chris also have kids so the theory on this tour is to break it up so we can go home and see our kids. We’re doing two week legs. We get to play music in front of people and it’s special to have people care. I didn’t have any expectations going into it. I just kind of evolved into it. I just love playing bass and the next thing you know I was in a band playing bass, and after that we’re on the road, and it just kind of turned into what I do for a living. I’m lucky to do what I love for work.
BH: When it comes to singing in front of audiences do you ﬁnd that it takes courage to express yourself, or is that something that comes easily for you?
ZS: For me personally, singing is the one thing I have to work on more. Bass playing comes more naturally for me. If I were in a band where all I did was sing, just me and a microphone, then yes, that would feel very uncomfortable for me. Since I have my bass, I don’t even think about it, but if I didn’t have that crutch, it would deﬁnitely take some courage.
BH: I’m curious about your album artwork. Do you have much direction in what the images look like?
ZS: There’s a great artist in Brooklyn that our label (Temporary Residence) knew of and hooked us up with, a guy named Daniel Danger. We had a theme that we were looking for with our art and talked to him about it and let him just go, he’s so talented that it worked out. I personally wouldn’t want someone to tell me exactly how to do something. Artists work best when they’re left alone.
BH: Madison, being a college town, many students are ﬁguring out their path in life. Do you have any advice to budding musicians?
ZS: Do what comes natural to you musically and not to force things. Stay true to your passion, do it for yourself. Don’t worry about getting big, getting on a label and getting a lot of fans or anything. Most important, you have to enjoy what you’re doing and all that other stuff comes. With a little luck involved hopefully it unfolds into something you want.
BH: Are you looking forward to the Madison show?
ZS: We’re looking forward to every show we play. We’re really appreciative that people care. For us to make the effort and go to all these different cities and have people come out, it’s what keeps us going to the next one. We played Madison a while back, it’ll be good to return for this tour. Playing in front of a live audience is great; every show is different and the audience provides a give and take energy between the crowd and the band. The band is looking forward to the show Sunday night and hopes that everyone will have a good time.
Pinback will perform at The High Noon Saloon on Sunday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance or $18 at the door. For more information visit high-noon.com.