Pinback | Band of Mystery

pinback 75Not everyone has this thing where they just want to find out and archive every weird, random band or album in the world, or find out more.


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Five years changes a person. More than just a haircut or fluctuating weight, children happen, moving into a new househappens, and completing a long-awaited album happens. San Diego duo Pinback released their highly acclaimed album, Autumn of the Seraphs, in 2007, and their newest release, Information Retrieved, was five years in the making…kind of. Rob Crow explains the album’s on and off writing process, his new acting career, and the air of mystery constantly following Pinback.

Information Retrieved took years to complete, and both you and Zach had a lot of life-altering events take place in that time. Can you talk about how the writing process took place over the years? Were any songs unfinished from the beginning of that break left unfinished until you picked up steam to record the new album? What was the progression?

The writing process is always kinda kooky; the process is constantly changing and evolving. I’d say that no one person ever fully writes or completes a song all by themselves. It’s pretty much any kind of way of chopping up the song, who does what—it’s really on a song-by-song basis, and sometimes even a part-by-part basis. Sometimes we will have a song that’s about 80% done for three years, and then suddenly, in a day, it will get done.

Is that strange process, or do you find that long process to finish is a benefit to you?

Oh, it’s all weird! I don’t know, though, because we’re always working on something. It’s always been a little abstract the way we get together and work together, so I don’t know what the “good way” to do it is. I don’t know what the “right way” is, but it’s our way and that works for us.

During that hiatus, though, you kept yourself busy. Could you tell us about your podcast, “Rob Crow’s Incongruous Show”? What was the inspiration behind starting it? What’s your favorite part of doing the podcast?

My favorite part of doing it is that it forces me to learn more about the things that I love and music I want to be listening to. I did it purely for me. At a Pinback show, I love talking to fans afterward, and sometimes they’ll come up to me and say something random like, “Oh, I can really tell you guys are into…” and they’ll say a certain band or something. Many times they’ll name a band that I would never want to listen to in my life, for any reason, and I started to realize that there is so much great music in the world that many people don’t have the time or energy, or even want to investigate for themselves because everybody has their own life.pinback inforetrieve_250

Not everyone has this thing where they just want to find out and archive every weird, random band or album in the world, or find out more. So, basically, doing the podcast is just a way for me to share stuff and find stuff in the hopes that somebody likes something that I put on my podcast, so that I feel less alone in the universe for liking that kind of thing. That was the inspiration behind it. It’s also a fun excuse to do interviews with people I wouldn’t normally talk to and have been—and still am—too shy to talk to. I’m not a big self-promoter person that hustles up “famous friends” kind of guy. While I do like a whole lot of people, but I’m very shy. Too many people do things like that for the wrong reasons, like getting popular or something, but that’s not me – it’s lame.

In an interview from a few months ago, you’d said that you’ve been enjoying getting involved in “shitty acting” as something you do outside of music. Where has this acting been taking place?

Yes! I want to kind of leave that one for a little while. [Laughs] There’s something that I did that was kind of good. It’s a web series started by a friend called “AntarcticHuh,” and that’s a good thing that I’m in. It’s fun. I want to spend a lot more time on my shitty acting, that’s for sure. But, I’m going to not say a whole lot about my acting stuff.

You really are a man of mystery aren’t you?

No! I just don’t want to talk a lot about it because it’s still kind of new—but any excuse to do something fun, you know? I just like the experience of doing weird, new things. I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to, because everything I’ve done so far is impossible and somehow I’ve been pulling it off.

You’re seemingly man of few words, and “mystery” is a word that accompanies many interviews and album reviews. The music you create—and album art created by artist Daniel Danger—stirs various fan theories and puzzles many…so what’s with that air of mystery?

I’ve spent a lot of time on that junk, especially with the new album. Everything does mean something and there’s a lot of it. I’m trying to figure out a way to really explain what all of that is. Hopefully within a year I’ll either have it all written down as a story, or just flat-out tell people what those things are, but until then I really enjoy talking to people at shows about it. I don’t want to say anything in interviews because then people will just know, but if people just come up to me after shows, I’ll tell them if they’re right or not. If they aren’t and it’s a cool theory, I’ll give them credit and tell them that’s a really cool idea. I realize that creates an environment of inclusion, and that’s what I’m all about.

Just so I’m clear: If someone came up to you after a show and nailed an idea or realized what you guys are all about, you’d tell them they were correct?

Oh yeah, totally! Then I’d take their picture and post it on Twitter or something and say, “This guy gets it!” There are hints everywhere. Even if you knew what all the hints were, though, there are stories behind all of those that haven’t been told yet either, but would make sense if you found out all at once. [Laughs]

So basically, you’re just letting little bits of the story out at a time and don’t want to just spill the whole story.

Exactly. But I will say this—no, no, never mind.

Are you kidding me? Come on, tell us!

OK, well… Usually I’m even wearing something that’s part of the secret. So, at all times something from the whole story is around.

Just remember, you’re on the record.

[Laughs] I know, I know! | Jenn Metzler

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