Interview with Pines
By Luke Morsa | Posted March 28, 2016
On March 26th in Hammonton, NJ, I had the pleasure of both playing alongside and interviewing local 4-piece Emo-Rock outfit Pines. Pines hails from Port Republic, NJ and the surrounding areas. I’ve known them personally for quite a while now, and in this interview it was great to learn some new things about them and touch on a few things I’ve been curious about. All in all, they are a great bunch of dudes and make some amazing tunes. In this interview, I talked to Joe and Steve who both play guitar and sing in the band. Let’s get into it.
Q. Where did the name “Pines” come from?
Steve: "When we first started just jamming, I guess the next step was to come up with a name. We were at DJ’s (drummer of Pines) on the porch, and I guess because we were in the middle of the woods in Port Republic in, you know, the woods and the pine lands and we were like 'how about just pines? Pines sounds cool.'"
Joe: “We get questioned if we named ourselves after the Basement song ‘Pine’ and, although that is one of my favorite Basement songs, that is not the truth one bit.”
*At this point in the interview Joe’s dad called him and we put him on speakerphone. Joe asked him to say something cool, and he told us that he is indeed a Pines fan. Right on.*
Q. And how long ago was it that you guys started jamming and named the band?
Steve: “It’ll be three years this summer. It started out with Joe and I jamming because we both played guitar, and we both liked to try to sing. Then I moved away to college, but I came back home and went to Stockton the next semester so I called Joe up and we started jamming again.”
Q. What genre do you guys like to consider yourselves when telling someone about your band?
Steve: “I always thought that we were Alternative, but then I was trying to explain it to some coworkers and they put on an Alternative playlist and it was all like Neon Trees and stuff like that.”
Joe: “90’s Alt or 90’s Emo.”
Steve: “Maybe Emo Revival. I’d say Emo Revival with some 90’s alt and grunge.”
Joe: “We get compared to Turnover’s album Magnolia and Citizen’s album Youth a lot.”
Q. I’ve heard that you’re in the studio with Ace Enders of The Early November. tell me about that.
Joe: “We’re doing a run of songs now and maybe another run of songs in the summer.”
Steve: “We’re working on a 3-song. We’re working on the last song of that right now and we don’t have a release date yet.”
Q. Did you guys listen to The Early November when you were younger at all?
Joe: "Definitely. I think Steve actually got me into The Early November around Junior year of high school."
Steve: “Yeah, there’s a few select bands that really got me into music and The Early November is definitely one of them.”
Q. What are your plans for this year?
Steve: “Probably not touring, but we’re trying to do a lot of weekenders. Hopefully one or two weekenders a month.”
Joe: “We’ve been getting a lot of new contacts for different areas and we’ve been getting messages on our page from people in different states asking us to come play, so that’s really cool.”
Steve: “What helped with that a lot was our music video actually played in a Journey’s video in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico for an entire month.”
Q. What would you say your new music sounds like compared to your last release?
Joe: “I think it’s heavier. The vocals are more thought out. Everything is so thought out.”
Steve: “We’ll come to Ace with lyrics or a melody or whatever, and he’ll be like ‘yeah that’s cool, that’s good, but it could be better,’ and we keep working on it. I love it. It’s really pushing us.
Q. What are some bands that influence your writing in Pines?
Joe: “Title fight. I listen to a lot of Explosions in the Sky, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that carries over to our music, but there are aspects that I’d say relate. And I’d probably say Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters was one of the first CDs I ever owned.
Steve: “I would definitely say for this writing style blink 182. The first CD I ever owned was Dude Ranch by blink 182. Finding our sound as we evolved, Armor For Sleep has been one of my biggest influences. I’d also say that in the chord progressions and the guitar chords we throw in that, Box Car Racer is a big influence.”
Q. Since you’re all from areas that don’t have music scenes themselves, where do you consider Pines’ music scene to be?
Joe: “Hammonton. It’s like our family now. Everyone there is family. Atlantic City can also be cool occasionally. I kind of consider Mays Landing and Hammonton as the same place now, with Emerson Booking and Grandaire Booking.
Q. Any closing thoughts that you would like to say to the readers?
Joe: “I’d just like to say that anyone who comes out here can do the same thing we’re doing, and I recommend that you do it if you love music. I mean, I guess that’s how Benny G (local acoustic artist) started out. And I’m really about Benny G, he’s the man. There’s so many cool bands around here that we get to play with, and it always feels like home.”
Steve: “Just that we’re working on a lot of new stuff, not just music, but as a band. We’ve been putting in a lot of time working on the band as a whole. It’s not just showing up to practice and playing shows. Ever since we’ve started, it’s been an uphill progress that we’ve been working on. We’re really excited for the future and we hope to reach as many people as possible.”
About the Writer
Luke Morsa is a musician and writer from Hammonton, NJ. Luke is the guitarist and one of two vocalists in Clearview, an Emotional Post-Hardcore band. Luke began writing music articles and conducting artist interviews two years ago for his own music blog. Luke is currently in college working towards a degree in Psychology. He has booked under Grandaire Booking and is a supporter of the music scene in NJ.