Brooklyn-based outfit, Pinstripe Loveseat, are releasing the second part of a trio of EPs, titled Small Serious Object. The ensemble, including members John Dinneny, Dan Vassallo, and Ron Nocek, have a long-standing history as a band, under various names. Taking inspiration from everything from funk to punk, the guitars and guttural essence of their message is a sonic journey. Their latest EP bleeds aggression in a refreshing way, harkening back to a more grassroots method of making music. With guitarist Dan on a cross-country trip of America, with his counterparts, Ron and John, back home in Brooklyn, the guys took some time to have a conversation about Pinstripe Loveseat with me. Here is what the group had to say:
Give us some insight into your latest EP. If you had to describe it to someone who has never heard any of it, what would you say?
Ron Nocek: Sexual and violent.
John Dinneny: My contribution would have to be that, yeah, it’s a palate cleanser…from what you’re used to hearing from us. Just like Ron said, it’s antagonizing.
From what I have researched, this is one within a series of EPs that you will be releasing.
JD: Yeah, the first EP we did was Big Fun Thing. This EP is called Small Serious Object. We actually do plan on ending the series with a third EP as well. We’re hoping that even though that is almost, halfway on its way to getting done, we’re excited to see what this is going to do to give us that extra push into the third one.
What is the common thread between these three pieces that you guys have been putting together?
Dan Vassallo: The common thread between all three of these is really just us trying to incorporate our attitude and our thoughts and processes and everything that we believe into these different genres that we know and love. We’re trying to experiment with our sound, whether it be really hard, more punk type stuff that this next EP is, or stuff like “Gutter,” which is more bluesy or stuff like “Apologies,” which is a little bit more of a pop-rock type of thing. I feel like it’s us putting our punk values into all of the genres.
RN: Also, there is six songs, six songs, six songs because 666, hail Satan.
Oh, okay, cool. I can get down with that.
RN: [Laughs] It had to be said.
JD: Our first EP, Big Fun Thing, is exactly how we were feeling at that time. Small Serious Object, it’s totally representing what’s happening and how we’re feeling right now. I’ve never felt better about music that we’re going to release. I’ve always felt in the past when I’ve released music, maybe I compromised, but I really feel like we really didn’t compromise at all on this.
What is the writing process like for Pinstripe Loveseat?
DV: Being in Brooklyn is definitely an influence on everything that we’ve been doing. Most of the time, we’ll come to each other with ideas that we have accumulated, whether it be a music part that we’ll elaborate on and then put music to.
JD: We also, honestly, even myself, it’s funny because, we sometimes forget the fact that we’ve been in a band together for over 10 years. We stuck together for 10 years. That’s why we know that there is actually something to that. When it comes to us meshing ideas together, it’s like clockwork at this point.
RN: That’s what I was going to say, too. It’s not even so much like we sit around for song time. We’ll do our shit for the day and whatnot and then we’ll go, we rent out a practice space, so a lot of it just is unspoken. It’ll just come out. We sit down, this is what we feel, now let’s turn it into an entire album.
JD: If there is one thing that I, personally, would want to sell Pinstripe on, it’s this next EP. I feel totally confident. It’s 15 minutes and it’s the most productive 15 minutes you could spend your time doing.
RN: It’s the best way you could spend 15 minutes.
JD: It’s so small and it’s serious, just like it is.
RN: And it’s also an object. [Laughs]
JD: And it’s also an object.
What exactly did it take to get the video for “Green” together? What were you involved with in terms of production?
JD: We had actors. We had a few people reach out almost immediately that wanted to be in the video. That definitely was a motivation as well. Already, we had people that we had never met that wanted to be in our video.
DV: We’ve been wanting to do this video forever. It was like, we have a board in our house that has “Green” video at the very top of it. We’ve had that for a while. I knew the first thing we needed was a videographer. Then there is Michelle Principi, our lead female, I had thrown it out to them, like do you guys know any videographers? Tim brought up Isabella Tan, who at the time, was an NYU student. We had the whole idea ready, we had storyboarded it, to the second. We had location ideas, kind of, also, it was a little bit last minute trying to find exact places, like the coffee shop.
JD: It was chaotic. It was like we were barely staying on the tracks and we just managed to land the plane beautifully. It was like turbulence the entire time.
RN: Nothing beautiful goes as planned.
What are your plans for the end of 2017 into 2018?
JD: We want to do a video for the first song on the record, it’s called “Fuck Your Denim.” We want to do a video for that ASAP. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make that happen as soon as Dan gets back. We want to find the right gigs. We were gigging a lot for the past year, we did a ton of shows in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. We’re ready to really lay it out with Small Serious Object, pick and choose the right shows and start killing it. It’s like the one thing that I can shamelessly put the headphones in your ears and make you listen.
RN: Really, I just want to play, basically just promote this EP as much as possible because I’m super excited about it and really just get in people’s faces. I’d like to get another video under the belt. I’m just really excited about shoving this in as many people’s faces as possible because I really believe in it.
DV: Along obviously, the same lines, videos, shows. We’re going to do “Fuck Your Denim” almost immediately after I get back. We’ve talked with somebody else about doing a live in-studio making-of video for a single that we’re going to be putting out. I would also really like to do a video for “Killers” on Small Serious Object. Obviously, pursuing merch, pursuing different types of shows in different types of places, not just bars, but maybe like colleges. Just really getting out there, shoving it in people’s faces. Showing everybody what a good time is.
JD: We’re going to keep working with Paul Richie and Sam Bay, they’re part of the band The Gods. They’re from Asbury, they helped us with Big Fun Thing, Paul produced the whole record, Sam did the drums for it. They’ve been our mentors in a sense, they inspire us as well. Now that we have Small Serious Object out, it’s hopefully going to keep people interested and wanting to see what’s coming next. Nowadays, people’s attention spans are so short, even though it’s 15 minutes, you can get lost in that 15 minutes. It’s six songs, it’s built for you to listen. [Give] us that 15 minutes, you’re not going to be sorry.
What are you guys listening to at the moment?
JD: I still listen to old funkadelic. I haven’t changed. I still listen to the stuff I listened to when I was 16.
RN: Portugal. The Man.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
JD: We do a soul circle.
RN: I eat 12 clams. [Laughs] Exactly 12, no more, no less. We do a pre-show huddle. As soon as we’re done setting up, we take a walk either backstage or somewhere, we just get together and connect and regroup for a minute. Get the positive energy flowing between all of us and rock out.
JD: It’s become a superstitious thing with me where I almost demand it because there has been times where maybe we’ll get on stage and it’s just hectic because Dan is trying to get his guitar on or something and we’re just not connected. As far as our music, we’re at a point where we really just want to do that soul circle and then we don’t even have to look at each other. As weird as that sounds, I’m telling you that’s the truth.
DV: I can’t eat before shows. I’ve been progressively getting better, you know, it’s a nerves thing.
JD: I always have this weird feeling like I have to take a dump right before I go on stage, but then it’s always a false flag.
JD: Anxiety dumps! It’s never the case, it’s always nerves.
RN: Dan, don’t you also scream at the top of your lungs while driving to the venue?
DV: I do usually, I usually try and belt out any song I can to not ruin my voice, but get it used to yelling before the yelling starts. It’s maybe not the smartest idea because I could blow out my voice. You just have to scream “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera and all of them.
JD: Small Serious Object is by far our most embarrassing record, EP, whatever you want to call it. Now that we’re doing these shows live, everyone knows, we’re really pushing ourselves when it comes to vocals, compared to other projects in the past.
For more information on Pinstripe Loveseat, visit facebook.com/pinstripeloveseat and pinstripeloveseat.com. Be sure to find them on Bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, and more as well.