Folks lucky enough to have enjoyed a live Pescaterritory show understand how tenacious the band’s sound is—and folks who haven’t been as lucky are now able to experience all that the young band has to offer via a brand-new self-titled LP.
Pescaterritory includes vocalist Aiden Schaeffer, drummer Nick Willman, bassist Gavin Lopez and guitarist Jason Zembo. Pescaterritory, which was released on Oct. 31, is a nine-track, 41-minute explosion of ’70s-style rock with a modern edge. Tracks like “King Street,” “Running Away” and “Rise” show how the group’s tight rhythms, harmonies and spotlight guitar bridge rock music from various decades.
I recently spoke to the band members over Zoom about recording the debut album at the newly established Sondy Studios, operated by Jake and Luke Sonderman.
“Jake had a little bit of experience before working with us,” Willman said. “It was really great. Jake has been a longtime friend of ours. I used to be in a band with him.”
Added Zembo: “It was a very comfortable environment. He also pitched in a lot of ideas towards the songs.”
The band started recording the album in June.
“We did six songs and had a 36-minute album,” Zembo said. “We thought that didn’t feel as complete as we wanted it to be for our very first album. We took a break in July and decided to record three more songs in August. We’ve been getting it mixed and mastered since then.”
While seven of the songs had not been released before, “King Street” and “Better Off Dead” were released as singles in 2019—but the versions on Pescaterritory are brand-new takes.
“We took a look at everything we had and laid it all out with Jake,” Schaeffer said. “He mentioned that he had some things he wanted to do with those songs. He had ideas and contributed with the way we recorded things. He had a lot of great input.”
Added Zembo: “He added some distortion on Aiden’s vocals, which was a very nice touch. For ‘Better Off Dead,’ we did less electric clean guitar, and more acoustic. We wanted to do the songs again, because they’re good songs, but just change them up a little bit.”
The album includes both brand-new songs and songs the band has performed before.
“We played a lot of them live,” Zembo said. “A track like ‘Running Away’—Nick and Aiden wrote that before Pescaterritory was even a thing. Then there’s a track like ‘I’m Fine,’ which Aiden and I finished during the recording process of the album. All of the songs are different in that sense. We decided that they were all good songs.”
The album’s finale is a treat—a 10-minute epic during which the band maneuvers through Pink Floyd-esque grooves and breakdowns.
“‘The War’ was written at Aiden’s house,” Zembo said. “The first lyric of the song is: ‘As I was walking down the road.’ When we wrote it, all four of us were walking around Aiden’s neighborhood. I brought an acoustic guitar, and we started jamming on it—like some Jethro Tull, folky stuff. We were joking around with it, but we thought it sounded pretty dope. We sat down in Aiden’s room and wrote a lot of the parts there.”
Schaeffer added: “We took a few of the riffs we already had, changed them around a little, and made a song.”
Zembo said: “There’s a section in that song that’s split up by thunder and helicopter sounds. The instrumental part that follows was written separate from ‘The War,’ but it was in the same key, so we thought it would sound good in addition to the song. It was kind of like a bunch of puzzle pieces we stuck together.”
The track fades out at the end.
“There was a section where Gavin had to play triplets on his bass, but he didn’t know how to play triplets at the time,” Zembo said. “The song originally had a happier ending, with words written out, but we cut that out.”
While the album is full of solid rock ’n’ roll, you can also hear the teenage band having their fair share of goofs.
“This is good trivia,” said Zembo. “In the beginning of ‘The War,’ you can hear some water-drop sounds. That was Nick taking a piss—with some reverb on it.”
The members of Pescaterritory are setting their sights on promotion—which is rather different in 2020.
“All we can do really is go on Instagram and Facebook and post as much as we can,” said Willman. “We’re going to be working on a music video pretty soon for whichever song gets the most popular.”
Said Zembo, with a laugh: “If it’s ‘The War,’ we’re gonna have a 10-minute music video. We’re gonna call in Michael Bay and have a bunch of explosions.”
Joking aside, the music on Pescaterritory is getting some serious attention. Barry Tomes of the US10 Radio Show in Birmingham, England, debuted the band’s first two singles, and he’s continuing to give the band’s songs airplay.
“We have Barry Tomes in England who’s been playing our music, and stations in Australia and Spain have both picked up our album and will be playing it,” Zembo said.
On a domestic level, the “Pescaboyz” are hoping that their album will bring them the attention they’ve been missing out on due to the lack of live performances.
“It’s been hard gaining followers and new fans during this time,” Lopez said. “When we’re playing shows, it’ll be a lot easier.”
Added Willman: “We really want a comeback show at The Date Shed,” Willman said. “Pescafest 2 in 2021! Fingers crossed.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/pescaterritory.