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INTERVIEW: Pacific Mean Time

Pic by Jason Quigley

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

– Pretty good these days, thanks!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Crashing The Waves”?

– Sure, that’s my favorite song on the record right now. Like many of the others this song wore a really different skin at one point and dates back to the oldest original demo idea that made it through to the end. But it’s always had a moodiness and a stark simplicity in the verse. And then we wanted the actual sound of the song to feel like ocean waves coming in and receding in the chorus.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

— Not really coming up for anything with this question I was just about to wing it when I realized that there technically is an actual answer to question…going back to the original demo idea, that’s the first thing I came up with on the day I got a new guitar!

Any plans to release a video for the single?

— Yes, we have a simple lyric video with really cool imagery that we hope to premiere any day now.

The single comes off your new album An Ocean To Swallow – what’s the story behind the title?

— It’s a lyric in the song, Phantom, and we thought it was a cool metaphor for something that seems impossible to take on, something you know you need to do but the sheer magnitude is overwhelming you to the point of paralysis.

How was the recording and writing process?

– A really fun couple years of exploration and experimentation. Our preproduction process and writing were intertwined, so what we essentially did was take ideas, build up demos based on them in Ableton, evaluate, revise, rebuild, etc, until we had 15 fully formed demos that we were excited about. And then we used that as a template for recording the actual record.

What was it like to work with Rian O’Connell and how did that relationship develop?

— Totally awesome and a thrill to work with such a thoroughly musical and genuine person. We only knew him casually from playing a couple of shows together but we were aware of what he was doing recording and mixing wise and he rose to the top of the list of the people we wanted to work with when we really thought about it. We were totally lucky to get him! He’s a busy and in demand studio dude, I think if we had contacted him a couple of months later we might not have had the chance to work with him.

How much did he get to influence the album?

– We only really spent 6 days in person with Rian, but he made a big impact in that short period of time. He came into town a week before we went in to Jackpot to track drums and bass and we all sat down in the studio, listened to the demos and discussed things in detail. We made a number of tweaks at his suggestion, ranging from minor to a few big structural changes, but all stuff that was reasonable to consider with only a week to digest. All super smart musical suggestions that really elevated things. It’s so great to get that trusted outside opinion. And then in terms of his mixing, we really encouraged him to go for it. We left him with tons of overdubs we felt were sonically valid, but also looked forward to an outside take on assessing their overall importance in terms of serving the song. Sometimes he really stripped things down, and at times he put down even more!

What made you want to go for a much light-hearted approach?

– Nobody wants to hear middle aged white men whine about things, ourselves included. Not all the subject matter is joyful, but it’s all realistically reflective of what we observe. And we decided that we wanted things to sound groovy and slinky in the process, so we hope we came up with a record that’s fun to listen to.

What role does Portland play in your music?

— A Big one. Look at this place – it’s beautiful. I guess I’m referring to Oregon in general, but Portland is not an exception. It’s filled with gorgeous landscapes, a giant forest park you can get lost in… The inspiration to search for sounds evocative of the kind of beauty out here is all around us.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

— I guess it’s all just about working on a craft and enjoying the process of getting better at it. Seems to be a never ending source of motivation, just knowing that you’re giving your best effort of the day towards something as ephemeral as song written to be released by an essentially unknown artist. And it’s not ever cut and dried whether you’re even getting there, so it’s a fools errand and particularly beautiful for being so.

Any plans to hit the road?

– Not currently.

What else is happening next in Pacific Mean Time’s world?

– We’ve got a monthly residency starting this week that’ll run on Happy Hour the 3rd Friday of every month from 6-7:45, all ages. Come on down!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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