Alicia Maciel | April 6, 2017
"You should play a Tetris game so I can watch you and see what happens."
Loading their gear back into their van as it’s pouring outside of Music Garage, PINE just wrapped up their first Chicago performance where they played to an intimate crowd of 10 people.
PINE is a 5-piece alternative Canadian rock band that just got signed to No Sleep Records. Their style highlights the importance of live performance and can easily remind any listener of older music with a contemporary twist.
After their haunting, captivating, and inspiring performance full of improvisation and emotions, I sat down with PINE’s members - Joey Demers, Holden Egan, Darlene Deschamps, Peter Ellman, Andrew Turenne.
The first thing that came to mind was why name the band PINE? Turns out, the band had only 3 days to pick a name before the release of a music video. They filled journals with potential names and phrases. As they acknowledged their longing to choose the right name, they were pining for it. In short, PINE derives from the verb and not a tree.
Sitting with them, the atmosphere was so relaxed and inviting that I began to wonder how long they’ve known one another. All members of PINE come from the same music scene in Canada and were apart of bands ranging from metal core to hardcore and even a pop punk band that had zero breakdowns. They each highlighted their love for Ottawa as the music community there continues growing reeling in more kids, eclectic and diverse lineups, and massive turnouts for house shows leaving some attendees outdoors since they maxed on capacity.
Andrew, Darlene, Holden, Joey, and Peter strive to attend shows whenever they’re not on the work grind or tour grind. Their passions for music have outlets other than just performing collectively as PINE. Peter writes for a publication in which he does album reviews, interviews, and has a desire to begin live concert reviews. Joey works at a studio where he’s a producer. Andrew, Darlene, and Joey have musicians as parents which heavily influenced them to live their passions as their careers.
Having had seen them onstage and describing their performance as waves of sound and mutilation, I was curious to learn their tactics for playing live and composition. PINE views recordings as templates of how to play live and its best to play with your emotions rather than sticking to the script. Andrew, the bassist, syncs with Joey, the drummer, to bring the rhythm section to life. Darlene’s lead vocals change with the feelings of the songs and the pedals she uses. From having gear commitment issues and playing with a new pedal that same night, Holden experiments with the guitar and emphasizes the fact that songs are never actually finished.
PINE confides in each other’s music abilities and work together as a unit rather than individuals. Joey often brings a composition to the table and after everyone feels it out, they go through their individual processes to personalize their instruments. Each member then harnesses their emotions for the song and come together to finalize a track as they work best feeding off one another. It’s Andrew’s first time playing bass in a band and from relearning different styles and incorporating his ideas, the love he has for bass is not going to fade. Joey’s natural talents for multiple instruments led him to do vocals, guitar, and, as noted previously, composition.
Music Garage was closing around midnight and I had to ask the question that was on the tip of my tongue. I asked PINE what the inspiration was for the opening song of their performance, as it fluctuated emotionally yet had light guitars and deeper vocals than the other tracks. “Doyla” is PINE’s only song not about love. Instead, it’s about the band itself, wanting to achieve something and sacrificing practically everything for it to build upon that.
PINE is one of the best new bands I have seen this year with a female lead vocalist. From their love of chorus pedals to music and Joey, they’re only going to keep growing. Check out their latest single here.