The Pier sat down with Mike Pinto during his Coming In From The Cold tour at the Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO. Our very own Chad Hillje caught up with Mike & the band before the show to speak about their winter tour, an upcoming summer EP, the writing process as well as giving us a sneak peak into a new song called Fears of Phobias. Enjoy as Mike dives into everything else coming down the pipe with the new Band in 2011.
The Pier: You guys kicked off your tour in Long Beach with HB Surround Sound at a place called diPiazzas and from what I’ve heard through the grape vine, it went off with a bang!
Mike Pinto: Yeah! We’ve just been listening to the live recording of that and the crowd is just electric, it was cool. That was the first venue I played an acoustic set when I moved to California. It’s always a trip, and these guys (Todd/ Drums and Matt/Bass) are from Long Beach so it’s the spot. We always pop in and say hello.
The Pier: You were saying that you were listening to the recording of that, and the rumor is that you guys are planning on releasing it. Is that true?
Mike Pinto: Well, we’re planning on releasing an Mp3 leak. I don’t know about releasing the whole show. We talked about if it came out right to put it on archive.org or something maybe. We don’t have enough live shows out there and I think our live shows are fun. People are still just learning of us or learning about the band even though we’ve been moving around a lot for the past couple of years. Once you hear the live show, you can’t hide behind that, you know?
The Pier: Right! Like you’ve just mentioned, Mike Pinto has recently changed to the Mike Pinto Band. How has the addition of Todd and Matt changed your writing style and storytelling and how are those elements adapting to Mike Pinto?
Mike Pinto: Well, we’re just starting to write material together from scratch so it’s a cool learning experience, but I don’t think that it’s really deviating away from our sound at all. They both like reggae and they both trust me if I have a hook to bring to the table. They’re down with it and they want to compliment it rather than be like, no, let’s try this. We’re also working off their bass and drums to try and get their flavor to keep our sound fresh rather than just have me bring everything to the table.
The Pier: Todd, before joining up with Mike, you and Matt had played with Bargain Music right?
Todd Elrod (Drums): Yeah! We played with 3rd Alley too.
The Pier: Right on! That’s a good mesh of musician’s right there. Mike, your music is lyrically complex in storytelling. Are all of your songs based off of life experiences or are they based off of other elements?
Mike Pinto: I think most of the time; it’s just me telling my story of whatever I’m feeling at the time. Sometimes, you search for a subject topic that interests you and then you express your feeling on that. We have a song that we’re working out. I always wanted to write a song about a guy who goes into a therapist and spills his guts and his therapist is the audience, and that’s the song. I had that subject and I’ll hold onto a subject until something clicks. Like a chord progression and I’ll be like, that subject makes sense to put with that dark chord progression. That song is called Fears of Phobias and it’s actually done now, but we haven’t recorded it yet.
The Pier: So the crowd is your therapist and you’re the patient?
Mike Pinto: Yeah, in a way, and some of the things maybe in the song are me but I’ll also listen to other people and their stories and sometimes I’ll take something from somebody else’s story and put it into this character. You don’t have to take responsibility for everything. (Laughs)
The Pier: Both you and G. Love are from Philadelphia. I think many would agree with me that you guys have similar lyrically-inclined writing styles. Have you ever discussed touring together or possibly recording something together?
Mike Pinto: No. I don’t know G. Love actually. I respect his work and his hustle but I actually never grew up with his music. I’ve heard of G. Love and when I go around, a lot of people say that. I just haven’t listened to him too much. I think we share a flow to our lyrics from what I have heard of him. I’m ready when he is! (Laughs)
The Pier: Prior to Todd and Matt being in the band, you used guys from D.I. and Slightly Stoopid to back you. Do you plan on working with those guys again in the future?
Mike Pinto: Yeah! That’s the plan. Dela from Stoopid is gonna be on track with us. Chuck Treece is probably going to do a couple things on the album because he backed the whole album last time and did bass and drums. He’s too good to leave out of our project.
The Pier: You guys were featured on The Pier’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2011 and you guys are going to release a 5 track EP in the summer of 2011. You also mentioned that you guys are working on a full length album. Can you tell us when that album might be coming out?
Mike Pinto: Well that’s a big reason why we’re doing a winter tour right now by ourselves is to get the money to put together an album. I think I was just playing it safe when I said an EP because I’m not a bull shitter. We have like 9 or 10 tracks that are ready to go. We just started recording “Everything I’ve Got” with the full band. We actually worked through Stoopid with James Wisner who did “Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid.” We’re hoping to have the E.P. out in June for the summer.
The Pier: Looking forward to it! Let’s say we were chilling at your girlfriend’s friend’s house, drinking a few beers, and I pick up your iPod. What would I find on there?
Mike Pinto: Oh man, with mine, definitely The Beatles. The Beatles is my shit. Also, The Meters, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, Jimmy Cliff, and Johnny Cash. I don’t listen to reggae as much as I used to. I just like good songwriters. I’m always searching for people who write good lyrics. I don’t care what the genre is. I like the new Roots album with John Legend where they cover some old soul music. Things like that, anything with a good story.
The Pier: Awesome! Thanks a lot for sitting down with The Pier and we’re looking forward to the show!
Mike Pinto: Thank you!
Interview by: Chad Hillje
Edited by: Kyle Hillje
Photos by: Mark Franzen
[Click HERE to read Mike Pinto’s live show, Concert Article from 1-21-11 in Long Beach, CA.]