Soaking up sounds from a slew of genres and eras, San Francisco-based trio Pillow Talk daze us with their upcoming EP The Come Back. Out on Life and Death Records Oct. 20, the EP is a mouthful of what can only be described as doo-wop for the year 2011 – contemporary soul that satisfies your nostalgia, yet quenches your thirst for the fresh and new. Sammy D, Ryan Williams and Michael Tello who make up the trio are enjoying a series of releases, beginning with “Love Makes Parks” put out on Visionquest in July. They have yet another upcoming release on Wolf+Lamb, as well as collabs lined up with Deniz Kurtel and Tanner Ross. The boys are dropping through Miami this Saturday and playing a live show at Electric Pickle. mybeatFix hooked up with vocalist Sammy D to hear more about the PillowTalk sound and what the crew is up to.
Preview the entire EP, The Come Back, below, and click here to buy tickets to PillowTalk at Electric Pickle.
What were you guys up to before you formed Pillow Talk and how was the decision made to begin making music together?
We were always talking about it but never doing anything. It really all came together when I moved into a new apartment, which happened to be below music studios. One of the studios became available and we moved in. We had no excuse not to be creative and productive.
How have your roots in California influenced your production style?
I think being around a creative group of friends who happen to live in California has helped influence us. It’s so laidback here. If we were in New York, we might have started this thing 10 years ago.
Your first release as Pillow Talk, “Love Makes Parks”, was put out on Visionquest, and your upcoming EP is on Life and Death. Both labels host a slew of well-known acts. How did you guys first get noticed by such reputable labels?
Actually, Visionquest has put out pretty much all unknown acts. No one had really heard of Footprintz, Tale of Us and Benoit & Sergio. It shows the risk and reward that crew should get credit for. Life and Death really wanted to put out “Love Makes Parks” but I had promised it to Seth a year back. I just sent over a new batch of tunes and Manfredi and Greg [of Life and Death] were really into them. That’s how the Life and Death EP happened. We are also really excited for the Wolf+Lamb EP, which should be out by the end of year.
For future productions by Pillow Talk, do you plan to stick to that chill vibe heard on The Come Back EP, out Oct. 20?
We really never plan for anything in the studio. If it happens to be chill, and we all are enjoying it, we just follow through as natural as possible. Energy of a song can be interpreted in so many ways based on people’s individual experiences. What you might think of as “chill” some one else might think of as “slammin”. Chill to me is, Brian Eno – Music for Airports, where as The Come Back, is laidback but tough at the same time.
Why name the EP The Come Back?
It has a bit of a double meaning for me. First off, it represents a period of music that is hugely influential to us. We are suckers for Northern Soul and doo-wop, etc. During that period artists were known to put “The” in front of a tune. Archie Bell’s “The Tighten Up” comes to mind.
Secondly, it has a more of a personal meaning to me, because I was once originally part of the DirtyBird crew and put out the first two releases with Justin Martin. We were really productive together and made close to 20 original songs for different labels at the time. At some point we stopped working together and I started throwing Kontrol parties. This became my main focus, and now that I’m in the studio again making music after seven years, The Come Back seems to fit well.
Playing live is very different than spinning. How do you think it create a unique connection with the audience?
I think that when you play live you instantly make yourself vulnerable to the audience, and they realize that what you are doing takes musical talent and know how. So I feel there is more respect given from the audience because of your position. Also, if your act has stage presence, it can be way more entertaining than just watching someone stand in the booth for two hours.
What else are you working on now that we should look out for in the future?
We have been working with Gadi and Zev from Wolf + Lamb and have releases coming out on their Double Standard imprint, as well as their Black Label and Wolf + Lamb label. We have collab releases slated for early next year with Deniz Kurtel and Tanner Ross and a Life and Death all-stars EP. An EP on Bang The Box is in the works as well.
We are definitely thinking album next year.