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April 28, 2022

Interview with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

We had the pleasure of interviewing Pigeons Playing Ping Pong over Zoom video!

Acclaimed Baltimore funk quartet Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has recently released their new studio album Perspective.

Perspective seamlessly blends effervescent...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Pigeons Playing Ping Pong over Zoom video!

Acclaimed Baltimore funk quartet Pigeons Playing Ping Pong has recently released their new studio album Perspective.

Perspective seamlessly blends effervescent lyricism with groovy instrumentation, confidently creating P4’s most ambitious studio work to date. The Maryland-based group —Greg Ormont [vocals, guitar], Jeremy Schon [guitar, vocals], Ben Carrey [bass, vocals], and Alex “Gator” Petropulos [drums, vocals]— will celebrate their sixth studio LP and first full-length project in more than two years with a massive nationwide tour, and an impressive string of festival appearances. The project is yet another milestone in the band’s storied history, having played countless sold out shows, garnered millions of streams, and developed a rabid fan base affectionately known as “The Flock.” Despite the seemingly endless accolades and busy touring schedule, Perspective is a necessary cogitation for the indefatigable musicians.

Perspective Tour 2022, named after the eponymous studio album, will see the band visit more than thirty cities nationwide. Following an extended run of shows through the Midwest, Southwest, and the West Coast, the funky foursome will migrate down the Eastern Seaboard.

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Transcript

Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Greg of the band pigeons, playing ping pong over zoom video. Greg talks about where he was born and raised and how he got into music. Actually didn't really start playing music until he got into college. And that's where he met the rest of pigeons playing ping pong. They met while attending college in Baltimore, started off as just kind of a fun project. They would write songs and kind of hang out in their dorm. And this eventually led them to start in kind of a full band and releasing their first album, which is titled funk EAP, but there's a space between the E and the piece was like a plan words slash plan words, and play on words. 4 (1m 60s): Greg tells you the whole story. It's really interesting. We hear all about that record and kind of the success of the band into psychology pleasure pazazz Presto, and then all about this brand new record, which is called perspective. So all the records of P and he has some amazing art on his wall of pigeons. Well, so Greg will show you those, and we hear about the two chill they have at red rocks coming up as well. You can watch the interview with Greg on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tech-Talk at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify or apple music, Google podcasts would be awesome. 4 (2m 44s): If you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review, 5 (2m 48s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 4 (2m 54s): We're bringing it backwards with pigeons, playing ping pong. I appreciate you doing this. And our podcast is about you, your journey and music. And we'll talk about the new record coming out. 6 (3m 6s): Awesome. I am down to talk about all of it. 4 (3m 9s): Amazing. The records are out on Friday, right? I mean, it's coming up. 6 (3m 13s): Yeah, it's coming out on April 8th and I'm really pumped, man. I mean, every, every album we try to, you know, improve from the last and we play a lot of live shows and, and it's, it's always a fun challenge to try to bottle up that live energy in a slightly more concise and directed approach in the studio. So it was cool to take some of those like classic live bangers and, and kind of hone it in into a crisp, concise studio version. And yeah, I think it, I think it came out great. I'm proud of it. 4 (3m 46s): Amazing. I love the three. I think you got three records out off of the new album, right? 6 (3m 52s): It's confusing. So we released one single at the end of last year, but we didn't mention anything about a new album. So technically Verafin for that first one was it was into glow featuring Zach Gill from ALO who is, which is just, he's just an incredible musician. It was our first time collaborating with him. And that was another cool thing about this album because the pandemic caused us to all, to be home. It wasn't just my band that was home, but it was a bunch of band friends that were home. So we were able to call Zach and have him sit in and we had a Jason Hahn from string cheese incident play on a track move like that, and a great horn section too, on some tracks. 6 (4m 33s): So it was, it was a unique time to be recording because everyone was available to drive. 4 (4m 40s): Okay. So I was, I thought Elefante was the first one that was going to be on the record, but it sounds like there's four out now. Amazing. 6 (4m 46s): It was confusing because the Elefante, I think was the first single out of the bag. Once we announced that an album was coming. So I'm part of the band and I was confused too, but we, we just been putting tracks out and, and the whole thing I think really flows nicely together. That's one thing that we always focus on. It's almost like putting together a set list, the tracks to have like natural peaks and valleys as they go through the record. So it's kind of one big album. We just got a funny, because nowadays with Spotify and like, you know, everyone can kind of choose songs Al a carte more it's, it's a question it's like, people still listen to albums top to bottom, you know, first track the last track we like to think that they do, and either 4 (5m 36s): What they do, 6 (5m 37s): You know, creating that, but creating that flow. But back, you know, you know, there were a couple of albums where streaming, wasn't the biggest thing in the world when we released them. And it, it seemed more important than, than it does now to have each track flow into each other. But we still do it. 4 (5m 55s): I love that though. I'll be honest. I mean, there's about putting a record on and listening to it all the way through. And I've had this conversation before where it's like, you obviously chose, you know, song three or song seven to be where it is because of a reason. I wasn't like, you're just throwing paint at the wall. I was like, okay, this one should go. Number one and three and five. I mean, it's, I'm sure you guys spent a ton of time listening to all the songs and figuring out the exact placement of each and every song on the record. 6 (6m 22s): Absolutely. And, and that's why I think I'm not alone in this where between listening to different mixes and listening back for adding parts and then listening for the order of the songs, like over and over and over once the album's out, like, I need a lot of time away from it before I listened to it again, if ever again, like, we've just heard so many times, I love it, but you know, I'll listen to other people's stuff for, for a little while. 4 (6m 49s): Is it one of those things where you'll listen back and be like, ah, you know, I want to say I would've went back and did like, not, not like regret, but like thinking even more, you know, creatively on some song like, oh, we could have done this or this or this 6 (7m 4s): Adam, that's a slippery slope. My man, That's just, you know, like 4 (7m 10s): Weird rabbit hole. You don't want to jump down. 6 (7m 12s): I mean, knowing that could be the case. We really like comb through every song. And we, you know, before we're in the studio, we're working on the arrangements and we record all of our practices regardless, just to, you know, yeah. That's been really helpful over the years. So we listened back and that way, once we're in the studio, we're already feeling pretty confident that we know maybe it's a little crisper in the studio with the chair here they have, but we, we have a good feeling that we know what to do. The other cool thing about this album compared to some of our others. And I, this probably goes for all the bands who have been recording is that we actually had time to just focus on this record. 6 (7m 55s): Normally we carve out a few weeks in between very busy touring schedules and it, you know, it's not long before we're right back on tour. And we don't, you know, we have to then schedule time to listen to the mixes. And then, you know, in between shows, go back and do some solos and stuff this time with the pandemic and the lockdown, we had nothing on our plate, but this record and a few live streams and stuff and figuring out what the hell was going on. We were afforded with like Supreme focus. And I think like, you'll hear it in the details on each song. Like one of our songs, we had a string section for the first time ever. 6 (8m 35s): Wow. And that's not something that like we've done before and, you know, have even thought to really do, but we were, you know, listening to a track and we're like, this needs something. And normally, maybe we'll add horns to something we'll maybe add some light keyboard. Cause we don't have a key player or a piano pianists in the group and strings felt. And it was so exciting to like, I couldn't wait to hear what they came up with and then like molding it from there. It was a fun experience. 4 (9m 3s): Amazing. Amazing. I know it's like having that much time on your hands. That's all. I mean, I'm sure it's just okay. We can have nothing but time. So let's, let's just go crazy on this record. 6 (9m 14s): Yeah. I mean, hopefully we got it right. I mean, we put a lot of care into it and it was fun and you know, similarly, like I sing and you know, sometimes I, you know, I know I have like three days across a few days with, with some rest in between to record all the vocals. And this time, like if my vocal started to like fray a little bit where like, Hey, just get some rest, come back in a couple days. Like we were in against the clock. Like we normally are, which made it a much more enjoyable, relaxed experience, which hopefully again, translates to the music. Like I'm, I'm proud of it. 4 (9m 47s): That's awesome. Well, speaking of like confusing you a, you know, you said you've released a song and then it was like, now we have an album and here's the single, and now there's four out. The first record you guys released there that caused a little confusion with the title. And I want to get into that. But first of all, the band you guys started in Baltimore, correct? 6 (10m 9s): Yeah. We met at the university of Maryland. I met, I met the guitarist literally on the first day of college. We were on the same floor freshman year and ended up jamming the first day just to like make friends and it star and it was fun. And that's where the band is rooted from is like just like friends, getting together, having fun, playing, you know, we would go out at night and come back and jam into the dorm room and make our friends laugh around us. Hopefully the music's gotten a little more serious, but it still stems from that like comradery. And like, this is just what, like, we naturally want it to do. And I'm blessed to call it my job. 6 (10m 50s): You know, 4 (10m 51s): Where did you originally grow up? Was it in Baltimore? 6 (10m 53s): No. So the guitarist and bassist are from Baltimore. I grew up on long island in New York and I applied to a few schools, mostly looking at like sports and stuff. And I remember in, I think it was the 2002 team met university of Maryland was amazing at basketball. They had won Dixon and they made a run to the, you know, deep into March madness. So I always kept Maryland in the back of my mind. I looked at UNC and duke and a few other of those like ACC basketball schools and ended up at Maryland as the only person from my high school to go there that year. So again, like my first day of school, I didn't know anyone. So I just took my guitar, which I had only been really playing for roughly six months, depending on how you look at it. 6 (11m 38s): But I always sang. So I, you know, I kind of met my counterpart in Jeremy, our guitars cause he always played guitar, but never really sang. So we kind of became a good, good pairing. 4 (11m 54s): Oh, you talked about basketball. Were you a basketball player or just a fan of basketball? 6 (11m 58s): I was more of a soccer player, but I did play basketball and baseball lacrosse and stuff. But soccer is what I played my whole kind of childhood, but I did play basketball for fun all the time after school. And, and I was on the earlier side of my like grade growing up, I was one of the younger kids. So I also was always a little smaller. So lacrosse, didn't go great to say the least. So I played basketball a bunch, but I also, my, my best friend growing up was into like plays and musicals and really directed the musicals for the school. So I ended up from a very, very early age doing all of the musicals in my, that my school would offer. 6 (12m 43s): And I think that's w like I didn't realize it at the time, but that has been humongously instrumental in like where I am today is just being on stage. Since I can remember it all started at the kindergarten circus when I Was five years old and I was the doggy in the window. I'm a pretty humble guy, but I have to say, I killed it 4 (13m 4s): Dead proud. Or star of the show 6 (13m 6s): Responded, you know, my lines are, are I, I just, you know, I, I might've gotten method with it. I was barking all around my house and I was ready for the moment, but no, I really did like take to being on stage and the hearing those spurs laughs and cheers really got me going. And between that and meeting my best friend at age six, we started doing plays and musicals from six to 17. 4 (13m 32s): Wow. 6 (13m 33s): Which has 4 (13m 35s): Always a singer that sounds like, yeah. 6 (13m 36s): Yeah. And I picked up the guitar for fun when I was like 14 played a little bit. I took one or maybe I was 16, 14 or 16. I think 14 took one lesson and he tried to show me like Mary had a little lamb and I would say I was done with it. I just didn't want to do that. And I eventually picked up the guitar again when I was closer to 17, a senior in high school just to like learn what I wanted to learn. So I taught myself stairway to heaven. And as you do, you know, that type of, with the help of the internet, 4 (14m 13s): But still I would have went to like a three power cord, like smoke, pop song. Exactly. 6 (14m 20s): You spoke on the water was in the repertoire, but I started a 4 (14m 24s): Stairway to heaven, 6 (14m 26s): The vocals. And you know, I kind of pictured, I can blame like American media for like, you know, you go to college, you have an acoustic guitar, you sing, you get the girl, like, that's like, you know, you make friends at the camp. So I want, I, I wanted to try that. And I was able to sing in my, my, my room at home. And like I said, I've been playing for about six months when I went to college and it, you know, I didn't meet the girl, but I did meet the, one of the loves of my life. Jeremy shown my guitar, My wife through the music too. But that came way later. 4 (14m 58s): Okay. You got the black light poster and the incense and stairway to heaven the door and you're ready to go. 6 (15m 5s): Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, we were doing the dorm thing, man. And then eventually we started playing like open mic nights as a duo and coffee shops and you know, things like that. And I was so pitiful at guitar that those gigs would start with Jeremy doing a solo looping like guitar showcase for the first 15 minutes. And then for the last 10 I would come on and we would sing like ridiculous dorm originals. And we also, we started doing mashups of covers really early, which we still do now for like themed shows on Halloween and new year's and stuff. But if you're a fish fan at all, one of our classic covers was no woman, no farmhouse. 4 (15m 49s): Okay. 6 (15m 49s): Which goes great together. So we would sing, Bob Marley was singing fish. We would do sublime covers and really do that dorm rock thing. And then eventually between meeting the other guys and getting a little better and listening to more music, we started getting really funky. And one thing that's always kind of laced through our music is that pure joy of just getting together and jamming. But now it's also all about having like danceable groups, whether, and it's not just funk, we'll play island music, reggae, we'll play rock songs, but there's always like a danceable beat kind of happening in different forms. But we were always, you know, when we go to concerts, we like to move in groups. 6 (16m 31s): So we try to put that out on stage. 4 (16m 34s): Did you start like, was college when you started actually like writing lyrics and writing songs or were you doing that prior to getting to school? 6 (16m 44s): I don't think I wrote a single original song until I met Jeremy and we started putting stuff together. And for the first few years he was writing the music and I mean, still to this day, I generally write all the lyrics for the band. I do ask them for opinions here and there, especially if they're singing backups or supporting lines. But yeah, starting the project with Jeremy is when I started writing lyrics. And I mean, it was really casual in the beginning to the point where we would have the music down, but the lyrics weren't quite there yet, but we would still just play them live and I would make them up on the fly and it's like over trial and error and practice with that. They would, I would then have some set lyrics. 6 (17m 27s): And when it came time to record the album, I would have something, you know, ready to rock. Nowadays. I am a little more, are way more intentional with what I'm writer long release, but that's because people are actually listening, you know, playing house parties in some friend's basement. It didn't really matter what the word I was saying. It was more so I've got the melody and the energy nowadays. I, I, I've learned that if we release a song, we P we debut a song live at the next show. People are somehow already singing the lyrics, which is both really exciting and also puts a little pressure on like what of actually saying. 4 (18m 7s): Yeah. But that's huge too, to sing a song that hasn't even been recorded yet and have that resonate with people enough to, they know the song the next time around or the next set or next show you do. 6 (18m 21s): Yeah. It's wild. It blows my mind. Sometimes I like am confused because some people are trying to sing along to a debut we've never played. And I'm like, are you like a mole in our Oregon? 4 (18m 33s): They might catch the chorus though the first time around. And it locks in and they're like, all right, I'm going to get it on the next one. 7 (18m 38s): Geico asks, how would you love a chance to save some money on insurance? Of course you would. 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I get to pick my own hours and be my own boss. I get paid on my deliveries and people in a hundred percent of my tips not to mention the signup process was so quick and easy guys, I'm telling you just download the DoorDash driver app and see how easy it is to start earning cash today. 6 (20m 9s): Kind of a great chorus, right? Yeah. It's, it's incredible. It really like seeing people saying our lyrics, whether they're old, older songs or new ones, it like, it just doesn't get old. It's so exciting. And, and it's, it's encouraging to say the least that, you know, these silly words are either resonating or they're fun to sing along to. And, and it reminds me like how, what an incredible opportunity we have as a band that has somehow made it from my friend's basement to some big like stages and 4 (20m 44s): Rocks coming up, 6 (20m 45s): Like right, exactly. You know, it's really wild. Like again, so this album is called perspective and the songs range from songs we've never, we had never played live before when we released it to songs that we literally wrote onstage 10 years ago. And I was like, I was saying, I was making up the words on the fly. Some of them made it like, some of them actually did make it to the album, but like the, the, the track list runs the gamut of a decade of like memories for us. And that's why, but not only for musically, but obviously the last couple of years that we've all gained immense perspective. It just felt like the perfect name for it. 6 (21m 26s): And that's, you know, I think the pandemic has granted us all an opportunity to step back and like, look at the big picture in our lives and gain that perspective. It, it all, it all added up really nicely. And this time around, it's hard to name albums. 4 (21m 43s): Yeah. I was going to say, well, it works with the, with the, with the P theme that you have for all your records. I mean, aside from that first one, but so the band starts, you're doing the dorm shows open mic nights. And when do you guys put out that first album and tell me the story behind funk EAP and the confusing that, that cost, 6 (22m 8s): The things that we learn trial and error. Well, to go through a kind of quickly, like I started playing with Jeremy, we, he met our drummer in a, a class called history of rock one of their school. I think their first assignment was post in the message board on this classroom group. You know, the, the digital message board and, you know, just post anything. And I think, I think my drummer might've either one of them, you know, my guitars or my drummers said, like looking to jam and they connected and we wanted to play together. And another one of my guitar friends had a drum set in his house. 6 (22m 49s): So the three of us, me guitar and drums went to jam at this house in the basement. And once we started playing my soon to be basis sauntered down the stairs, picked up his bass. Cause he lived at that house that we had 4 (23m 5s): Interesting. Okay. 6 (23m 6s): It was actually unspoken. Like we were jamming and he came downstairs, picked up his bass and joined us. Like, I guess he knew my guitarist because they're all Marilyn. We call Baltimore a small where everyone kind of knew each other. They knew each other in passing, but my bass has been picked up the bass and all of a sudden, like, I was like, oh my God, like, we're a band. Like, this is like, this is what I thought college was supposed to be playing in a basement. Or, you know, you know, we weren't fraternity guys, despite my interest in sports, you know, I felt like when you go to a school like that, you can join the fraternity or you could start a band. And that was just like my mental dichotomy. And I went there once we had a band, we started playing, you know, bars locally to mixed reviews. 6 (23m 53s): We were still figuring it out, but we started to get some chops together, started to get some songs together. And we realized we have enough to like record an album and why not? You know? So we went over to the campus radio station where we had played a show and, and laid down most of this album, funk E P one of the songs, 4 (24m 17s): Where did that in the, in the radio stations studio, are there any like actual studio there as well? 6 (24m 24s): I have a very bad memory. I'll warn you led this from the start. I think we 4 (24m 30s): Recorded 6 (24m 32s): At WMUC the radio station on campus. And I know we cleaned up some of it and recorded like in our basement on the house we were living in at the time, just, you know, we just kind of threw it, threw it together as like a fun project. And we called it funk E P because one of the tracks is called funk. E ZKO don't ask what that means, but we, it was kind of a play on words with funk E P because we're a funky pigeon band that P there, and some of us in the band thought it would be funny because an EAP is a short record, but We had enough track time that it was actually a full length album. 6 (25m 15s): So it was an, an additional play on words that it was all funky. ZKO were funky IUPY. And there's a space between ENP. So it's not an EAP. It's, it's, it's a play on the word spunky P and as, or as an EAP and as it was happening. And I don't really know about EPS that much. I'm not really like an audio file to that extent at all. At least, especially then I was like, I think this is confusing. And like, no, it's funny. No, I think it's like too confusing. Like I understand there's like two play on words happening, but it's a little weird who cares. So here's why, who cares, you know, almost 15 years later, I'm still explaining it on a podcast. 6 (25m 57s): We like, so we didn't see this stuff, you know, we were, you know, we're still, I hopefully we're still just living in the moment and like, incredibly like both baffled and appreciative that we're playing red rocks and we've done some crazy things that we never saw coming. And here I am still explaining that funky P in fact was our first full length album. It's not an EAP, you know, but it's, it's solid. I like it. I remember we, speaking of track listing, we weren't sure if like, this song should be first or this song should be first. And we had, at the time we were just burning CDs, writing on like with Sharpie on them and handing them out. 6 (26m 39s): We had printed out like a, like a cover of it, but some of the, the original burnt CDs have a different track listing than what we actually ended up with because we weren't sure. So I guess we were kind of like AB testing the track. Some people out there might have a burnt CD with my handwriting on it with a alternate track listing. 4 (27m 1s): That's amazing 6 (27m 2s): That because it's a bird CD probably has a value of negative $1 or 4 (27m 6s): More. Cause you wrote on it. They 6 (27m 8s): Are out there. Yeah. 4 (27m 10s): You wrote on it. I bet you, you could Discogs. One of the Someone, someone in Baltimore has that and they're selling it right now in it on disk 6 (27m 21s): Maybe. 4 (27m 25s): Wow. Okay. So the, that you released that record. Well, I know you've probably asked Vanessa's in every interview and you have pigeons behind you and in mass art, which I think is rad. I love the one, but what is that? Your degree of love that? 6 (27m 39s): Yeah, I proof that I'm not just a total goofball. I, my bachelor's from Maryland and I, I studied communication with, oh, really? You're using it. Right. 4 (27m 53s): I guess, 6 (27m 56s): To be honest, I was, I actually applied early decision to UNC with hopes of getting in and I applied to Maryland kind of just as like a fail safe. And I D I was sure I was going to go into UNC and it's a very tough school and I didn't get in. So when I went to Maryland, I didn't really have much of a plan. So I went on declared and found myself, gravitating toward communication, having been on stage for a million years and, you know, just comfortable public speaking. But I found my way into the public relations department and ended up studying PR. And I was actually a TA for my news writing for PR class in college. 6 (28m 40s): And that, those six months of being like the last line of defense for other students to like, get their grammar. Right. And to get PR like looking correct pain, more dividends than the rest of my schooling at Maryland, because I was our PR guy for the first eight years. So I wrote all the press releases. I still do the emails. I still edit the press releases. And I'm still like, great. Like, it's almost like I'm still grading these papers like I did in college. Like, I'll be like, oh, well, technically, you know, a song title has two quotes around it, but an album has single quotes. And if you're using of a comma goes inside the quotes for APA now that he does not care about this, but I do, 4 (29m 25s): I care. 6 (29m 26s): I can't not see these grammatical errors and things. So 4 (29m 30s): I like my wife, she gets like, she's so upset if people use like your wrong, or like, 6 (29m 37s): I'm always like, if we can't present ourselves this way, like where, you know, the commas wrong, or the commas is a small thing, but you're in the, your differences, things like that. Like you just appear, like, I always felt like if I was, you know, pitching a news outlet, a press release and your was wrong, That's it? 4 (29m 55s): It would be like, you are not getting this. 6 (29m 59s): Yeah. That's what they said to their neighbor when they didn't respond to me. I think I could sneak a few typos in and they'll, they'll cover it at least outlets, but Yes, that's my, that's my degree and some other, 4 (30m 13s): Well, what's the, where's the pigeons come from and you just the fan of the bird. 6 (30m 17s): Well, that, that w I know this is a audio mint, medium. So 4 (30m 21s): It's video to, We put the video up. 6 (30m 25s): Cool. You 4 (30m 26s): Look great. Don't worry about it. 6 (30m 27s): We used to, we used to have stickers that my guitar is Jeremy made. Cause he also does graphic design, which has been hugely helpful 4 (30m 39s): Graphic design and a guy that can write press and PR, there you go. 6 (30m 42s): And Jeremy also studied business. Like it all came together, but he made like a knock, like a spoof of the Andy Warhol for pain, like, 4 (30m 54s): Oh, it looks like, 6 (30m 55s): And that's a, that's like a spin off of the, it's not the original image, but it's close to it. That's that someone made that I threw up on there. I think my wife actually put it up for me, but it's good. We had these little stickers and speaking of handwritten stuff, what we would do is we would, we would give them out for free. But if we were playing a festival, we would write our set time on the back of a sticker and then go out and just like be ourselves and make friends and give them stickers and be like, Hey, hope to see you at the, you know, we're up bright and early. You hope you're up on Saturday at noon on the third stage, but we'll be there. And it actually worked like, I mean, people remember those stickers, people need to, you know, support us, especially like if we became kind of instant friends at the festivals and that's something we did for years and years, and I encourage any band, you know, to do something similar, like go out and, you know, hit the pavement and meet people and have fun doing it. 6 (31m 56s): And, you know, reminding, you know, let them know of your show. And I mean, we've only done this for fun and to make friends. And, and we have year after year from the earliest grassroots stages to play in these bigger spots. And it's been a great, you know, we're social guys and it's been great to meet people and, you know, have fun doing it. 4 (32m 20s): That means so much to people too. If you go out and say, Hey, like my band is playing this festival that you're at, and here's a sticker, we'd love to see you, you know, at the stage or whatever. Cause now you're making, like you said, a connection with that person. And then once you put out your seventh record, there's a kid that's met you that one time. They're like, oh my gosh, like, look at, they can kind of watch your career build and be shelled on the fact that they're one of their first people, one of the early, you know, early fans or whatever. 6 (32m 48s): Oh, absolutely. And it means so much to us when we see someone who's been there from like the beginnings or the early days or whatever. And, and we like to hope that, like, it kind of feels like we're doing this together because we are, cause those people, like if they show one friend, our music, we are doing this together. And I know like when I met people at festivals and saw them on stage, I was rooting my friends on. And if they crushed us all, I'm like, that's my dude. That's my guy right there. Like killing it. You know? So it's been a, it really has been a team effort and we call our fan base the flock of it, part of our, you know, I mean, our, our theme is with is marketing, but yeah, it's a pigeon beam and our, like the flock is so supportive and we really feel like we're like, you know, making our way through this thing on their shoulders. 6 (33m 39s): And, and, and we've, if we book a cool gig, it does bring back that perspective of like all the years meeting people and, and hopefully they're able to come or be proud cause we're proud. And, and it it's really, it's really been an incredible ride that I didn't expect, you know, but once it started to shake out, like we're definitely doing everything we can from these albums to touring, like every show, like we, we play with our utmost energy, like I'm coming from New York. I always said from the start, like, I would always like kind of pep talk the bands and the band. And they agreed like, let's play this show. Like it's Madison square garden. 6 (34m 21s): Let's play it. Like it's our last on earth. Like, let's give it everything. And that has never failed to make every show so much fun. You know, we're not so much like worried if we're gonna book red rocks or wherever, like the chips will fall where they may, all we need to do is throw it down every time. And like, if we're having fun, like the rest will come or it won't, but we're having a great time and trying to live our life to the fullest onstage and off. 4 (34m 49s): That's amazing. What would you say, like when did the ball start really rolling for the band? Like what was, I mean, you guys obviously finished college and then was it just like, okay, we're going to go get a job now? Or was it like the bands doing stuff we should just tour? Like what, when did you decide like this is working? We should pursue this as our, as our full-time thing. 6 (35m 15s): Well, when we graduated college, we did take jobs. You know, some were odd jobs, some were like more legitimate jobs, but we also started touring like outside of Maryland into like the neighboring areas like DC, Virginia, maybe like trickle into the Carolinas, like slowly making our way out regionally. And we were doing this on, you know, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, if we could swing it or Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then we would go back to work and we were really starting to burn the candle at both ends because we were, you know, like not getting sleep for when we got back to work. And then the shows like we're, you know, at this point, of course we're like loading in and ourselves and, and playing all night and we're sleeping on fans floors and, you know, couches and crashing at houses and, you know, having a great time before going to sleep and, and, and, you know, driving ourselves to the next one. 6 (36m 13s): And it really became evident after maybe a year or so that like having the jobs wasn't too sustainable. Okay. 4 (36m 24s): You're obviously seeing a growth with the band or you wouldn't have continued. 6 (36m 28s): Oh yeah. You know, we was, the more you, we were playing, the more, we were like kind of putting on a, you know, a hell of a show early on with, especially being like 21 and absolutely full of energy, which I, I still think we have that energy for sure. But yeah, I mean, we were getting a following. We were booking gigs and we were eventually, we were able to like string enough dates together throughout the year to like maybe support a very like poor lifestyle. You know, I, I slept on a mattress on a floor for a years and just like, you know, barely scraped together enough money for food truly, but I was having the time of my life. 6 (37m 14s): And eventually I think about a year, year and a half after college, we, we all took the leap and started touring full time. And really haven't looked back since, and you know, I'm so grateful. It kind of worked out where I now have a Brad frame. Wow. You know, you know, I'm not as worried where my next meal will come early, if I'm paying rent or now a mortgage, you know, being a musician. So yeah. I, I, I mean, there were a few different, like it's hard to pinpoint a turning point because everyone wants it to be like this like overnight thing, but playing 200 shows a year for many years. 6 (37m 58s): And eventually, like we started graduating to bigger venues and, you know, we started to kind of climb up the festival lineups from the smallest font to like the, you know, second smallest pond to the middle of act. And now we're sometimes all the way at the top. And you know, those playing festivals have been huge for us because not only do we get to play in front of a million people, but like we talked about, we were able to connect with those people next time we're in your area, we'll crash at your place. And if there are so kind to offer and actually become friends, and there are tons of people we've made friendships with that have lasted throughout the years. 6 (38m 40s): And we kind of grow up together both onstage and as people, you know, it's wild to think back of when I met Jeremy with a guitar in my hand, when I was 17, scared of like not having a friend at college to now, we both have kids and we're been full-time musicians for over 10 years and it's just wild to look back on it all. And I'm excited for the future as well. But I'm also trying to consistently train myself to just like, look down at your feet and realize you're here right now and just focus on today. And you know, we have band practice after this and we're going to write some songs and hopefully they like it. 6 (39m 19s): And maybe some people will sing along in a, in a couple of weeks. 4 (39m 23s): Yeah. You got a big tour coming up. Well, I want to talk about that, but I'm curious on, like, you guys have done this all without a record label, right? I mean, you self released all your albums. 6 (39m 38s): Yeah. We've done it independent this whole time. Our, you know, we met our manager, we, so we played our college a bunch. And then we started playing some neighboring colleges and he went to James Madison university down in Virginia in Harrisonburg. And we actually literally would go there to play his friend, like the house. He lived at his friend basement. He, we would play in his basement and it would, and it was huge for us. Like, even like, you don't need to play on stage at the local spot to, you know, get some fans and have some fun. And we used to go those parties in his basement, raged so hard. Like they were, you know, some of the most important gigs early on for us. 6 (40m 18s): And that's where we met him and 4 (40m 21s): Kind of have like a, not a built-in fan base, but like a fan base that's going to be there. Like people just showing up to a party like, oh, so-and-so is having a party. Let's just go down there. And then, oh, there just happens to be this band playing that's rad. 6 (40m 33s): Exactly. It was kind of like a built-in crowd. It was almost a smarter move at the time. And to try to play like the bar and promote ourselves and people, 4 (40m 41s): I have to pay five bucks, whatever it is, even a few bucks, but just to get them out of the house to get there versus 6 (40m 47s): I already had for the keg anyway. So they were coming downstairs anyway. And, and we, we're still friends with a lot of those people. And our manager has been with us ever since that was eight, eight plus years since he officially managed us. And we've been able to release these albums independently. And we're also, I mean, you know, now we could look around cause like, you know, we've, we've been slowly climbing the ladder so to speak or, or, you know, more, more so like people are starting to care at all, what we're putting out. You know, it was easy on the, in the beginning to just like record these albums and get them out there as best as we could without like that much, you know, much stakes involved or anything. 6 (41m 30s): It was just kind of a fun project. And now, like my manager has partnered with another great guy and they have this group called 11, 11 group. And they have a ton of great acts like OTL, Burbage, and twiddle and Cory Wang and amazing acts. And they have, we work with it is a label this, this go around. So I guess, 4 (41m 54s): Okay, so this is the first time you really released something with a label, 6 (41m 57s): I suppose. So I'm not as intimately involved with that decision process, but yeah, I guess secretly the label is helping us get this one out for the first time, but it all in house within our longtime manager. So it feels very mom and pop still to me. 4 (42m 14s): That's awesome. So, okay. I'm curious, you said 200 shows a year and then the pandemic hits and there's zero shows. Like what, I mean, obviously it was tragic on many levels, but to kind of where you've touring that heavily in up to 2019 and early in 2020, 6 (42m 35s): No, I'd say we did about 200 shows a year for about five years or so. And then once you start, you know, booking bigger venues or more so even like bigger festivals, they add what's called a radius clause where they don't Like play the festival down the street the next day. They want everyone like all of our fans to go to, 4 (42m 53s): To go the show. Yeah. Even I, yeah. I, I know what you're saying. So like, essentially, if you were to play like Coachella, I get this, that's the biggest example. Cause I'm from Southern California originally, like you couldn't play LA or San Diego, or I think San Francisco might've been the cutoff. Cause I remember seeing, 6 (43m 10s): But like a miles, like it would be like 200 within you can't play any of these cities within 250 miles with like a month before a month after the event 4 (43m 20s): Because they didn't want your draw to go away from the sh yeah. 6 (43m 24s): Oh seven you're on the street next week. I don't need to go to this event and 4 (43m 27s): Spend X hundreds of dollars. And 6 (43m 30s): The reason I bring that up is because back in the day we would play like four festivals a weekend. We would, and sometimes in the same state, you know, we would play Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and bounce around. Once we started climbing up that festival ladder a little bit, they were, they asked us to be more selective. And that started to like trim down our dates to maybe 150 a year. And then nowadays, or at least pre pandemic, we were floating around a hundred, 110 shows a year, 4 (43m 59s): Maybe shows, 6 (44m 1s): Especially with us, not like all the travel days and you know, like probably half a year at minimum. We love it though, but we can go into work-life balance in a bit. But so we were, we were, I mean, we had an amazing summer lined up for 2020 that got kind of canceled a lot, you know, the NBA and everything else. And I, it, it really made me realize like how much I almost like rely on that live energy as a part of my happiness, you know? Like I, it, I equated it to like, if you're addicted to running and then you were told you weren't allowed to exercise anymore, you lose that. 6 (44m 44s): Runner's high. That like is part of your like life force. And it took a lot of adjusting and introspection to realize that like, while it is amazing that I love playing live. I love my, I can't believe it's my job. Like this is like my, one of my favorite possibly my favorite thing in the world to do. I mean, it is for sure playing live. It's also important to realize that, like, I can't depend on that to prop up my overall happiness as a person. Like I need to be happy as me, whether they're shows or not. And I, I learned that over the past couple of years, I also had the incredible opportunity. 6 (45m 25s): And obviously like the pandemic, it goes without saying was a lose for so many reasons and share who out to anyone who lost anyone got sick. I mean, it was just terrible, but in my personal world, my daughter was born during the pandemic. 4 (45m 41s): Congratulations. But I mean that, I'm curious on that. I keep, I keep saying that, but I'm, I have a six year old this month, later this month and the oldest son as well, but like having your daughter during the pandemic was this weird restrictions where you couldn't be there or like, I wouldn't even know how that would, they would operate that. 6 (46m 1s): You know? No, I, you know, I was there for the birth, everything like 4 (46m 3s): That. They weren't weird about that. 12 (46m 6s): Hi, I'm Flo from progressive being a baseball fanatic, like me can be stressful. It's not all sports points and touchdowns. So progressive is going to help you take your mind off your team for a moment, instead of thinking about how they miss that gold point score. Think about the name, your price tool from progressive letting you choose coverage options based on your budget, unlike your team that missed the end zone net area. Well, anyway, hope this distraction about Progressive's name, your price tool was helpful. It's short kept me from thinking about all those penalty balls. Yeah. He's boards, 13 (46m 32s): Progressive casualty insurance company and affiliates, price, and coverage match limited by state law. 14 (46m 36s): It's finally time to start firing up the grill from city to shore. Acme has everything you need to prep for the summer season demo the Acme app to shop for this season to centrals any way you want open the acne app, pull up your deals, then order your items online and experienced Acquia associate will carefully select your groceries, bag your order and bring it right to your car or deliver right to your door. Demo the app, or visit <inaudible> dot com for program details. It's finally time to start firing up the grill from city to shore. Acme has everything you need to prep for the summer season demo, the Acme app to shop for this season's essential oils. Any way you want open the acne app, pull up your deals, then order your items online and experienced Acura associate will carefully select your groceries, bag your order and bring it right to your car or deliver right to your door. 14 (47m 27s): Download the app or visit acne markets.com for program details. 6 (47m 35s): No well, but we, it was so there's two sides of having a baby in the pandemic for and as a touring musician. What I see the most is that I cannot believe I was home all day virtually the entire first year of her life. I know it's amazing. I would get that ever. I mean, I love touring. I know it comes with some sacrifice ma namely on the Homefront, like for my wife and now my family, like I am not here a lot. And you know, it makes me make the most of it when I am here, but I never thought I would get this time to watch her grow every day and be there for the milestones I was there when she took her first steps. 6 (48m 16s): I heard her like put piece together words, you know, I'm watching her hair grow by the centimeter. You know, I never thought I would be there for that. So I'm incredibly grateful for it. The flip side of it is that we were sanitizing, every single thing that came into our house, like crazy. And, you know, granted you do with it, however you want. We went on the, we would rather err on the side of caution than regret, like taking I'd rather be too cautious than regret taking. Well, we were like, when we got our groceries, it was a huge, like delicing process of like, you know, spraying it with this. 6 (48m 58s): High-power disinfected letting it sit for five minutes, then hand wiping it all down. Meanwhile, I got to keep the baby away from me, keep the dogs away from it. But like, it, it, like I dreaded going to the grocery store going to be like a ordeal to 15 (49m 14s): Day ordeal. Right? 6 (49m 15s): Yeah. So we were certainly, you know, first time parents are typically paranoid and that throw a pandemic on top of it. We were, I'll be the first to admit that we were pretty paranoid about it. But again, I wouldn't trade, you know, seeing my daughter grow up for the world and it's especially easy to say that now that music is back and I'm back on tour and I get that, you know, person to person experience. I mean, we all, you know, for those two years we started doing live streams. We throw a music festival that had to be canceled one year, but we, we did it virtually instead. Awesome. And then the following year in 2021, we did it in person. But in those pods where everyone had their personal space, where, when it leaves and asks and it's nice to see it, the nicest and understatement to see like normal kind of concerts coming back. 6 (50m 7s): And the energy in the crowd has been nuts because everyone missed it so much ourselves included. So like all of us are just like, let's make the most of this like kind of like tour has been awesome. It's been, so we just did a three week or out west. We're about to go through the Southeast in support of the album. And it's been, we got a great summer lined up. We're playing red rocks. Our festival is back for the first time. And now three years in a normal full 4 (50m 34s): Setting 6 (50m 36s): It's coming up in may. It's called dome Fest that 4 (50m 38s): You guys do that at 6 (50m 40s): This year. It's in Ohio. We've had a few different locations. It's my, my guitar has started the festival. He B produces it, produced it since day one. And it was kind of like a project. His senior year of college, he got some funding from the student group and through like a one day, one night ranger, it was $5 and free beer. It was so much fun. Oh, 4 (51m 3s): Oh wow. That's a deal. And even if he didn't like the band's $5 for free beer, 6 (51m 8s): Great. It was incredible. And that one day, one night experiment has blossomed into a full-blown music festival. And pigeons has been able to like headline the event now as we've, you know, kind of gotten the chops to do it. And so it's all of our like closest fans and friends coming together. I call it like the cream of the flock who come, Oh, it's like, you know, we were playing like six sets this year, but this year we also kind of upgraded the line up quite a bit. We have Lotus and they're amazing jam bands like Spafford and sun squame and a star kitchen, which has members of the disco biscuits. 6 (51m 53s): And there's a side project of the band goose who we, we had opened for us before the pandemic and right into the pandemic. And now they are just absolutely crushing venues all over the country. They're playing like sold out red rocks, radio city, music hall, like they're just killing it and to see that band explode and they've played dome Fest in the past too. And one of the cool things about dome Fest, which I've helped produce for the past six years now, too with Jeremy, is we're able to give back to bands who need that crowd in the early stages, just like we did when we were handing out stickers, you know, like we were talking about. So it's really come full circle to, you know, we know firsthand how important it is to have a festival that music fans actually check out the early bands and then go and see them when they're in their town after the festival. 6 (52m 46s): So we really promote that by having no overlapping sets at the festival, everyone sees the same bands at the same time and that gives each band a real shot to like steal the show and make some fans. We encourage them to go out in the crowd and hang out and hand out their stickers. And like, so when they're, when they come through, you know, each person's area that those, those folks come out and support them. So it's been amazing to watch some of these bands like goose, who played our festival go on to like sell out radio city music hall in like a day. Like it's amazing a small part of their story. And it feels like very reciprocal because, you know, come up through the ranks in a similar fashion elsewhere. 4 (53m 29s): Yeah. I mean, you guys are doing huge things to red rocks. Obviously. I was just looking at your early tour schedule, like I'm from San Diego. You guys played the observatory, which is a fairly big, I mean, it's a big venue there. 6 (53m 41s): Great. It was cool. Look awesome. 4 (53m 43s): Yeah. And it's the kind of the coolest aesthetic in as far as the venue goes there and then you're doing two now I'm in Nashville now and you're doing two nights of the Brooklyn bowl, Which is crazy. I'll come to the second night, the first nights, my son's sixth birthday is we're talking about. 6 (54m 2s): Yeah. We'll we'll connect. 4 (54m 3s): How are you staying in the city? 6 (54m 5s): Well, because we have two nights there. We're going to fool around in Nashville. I'm hoping to like pop by in some of these music stores. And we might be able to like, you know, TBD on if we can, like, you know, scream from one of the shops and you bet we love Nashville. It's such a music town. And it's cool because like all of these venues, like they're starting to get bigger and they have, you know, depending on how long we've played in these areas. But we started in the smallest of small venues. I mean, San Diego, we played at the Casbah. Have you ever been, 4 (54m 34s): Oh, that's my, that's my all-time favorite venue in San Diego, but 6 (54m 39s): No, 4 (54m 40s): I think it's a 200 capper little bar, Iconic man. I mean, Nirvana played there. Yeah. 6 (54m 46s): Yeah. I know. 4 (54m 48s): No doubt stripes and foo fighters. Yeah. 6 (54m 52s): We all kind of pay our dues. And again, like we played that show, like it's Madison square garden. We played the observatory years later. Like it's MSG that way. If we ever do go back there, we'll be ready. We actually did one of the crazier things we've ever done. We got to play a halftime show at Madison square garden for a Knicks game. 4 (55m 13s): Whoa, that's crazy. 6 (55m 16s): Before you go too crazy. It was eight minutes long, but 4 (55m 19s): It's still a halftime show at the next game. 6 (55m 22s): Yeah. And we coming from New York, that was like a total pinch MIMO moment. Like just being able to walk on the court and seeing their locker rooms and like laminates that say MSG, pigeons, playing ping pong. It was totally surreal. Like we got to drive our little van into the garden. It was so cool. So I only bring that up because we've been saying, let's play this, like it's MSG. And then we finally, when we were ready to play, we were ready. I was like, I guess let's just play this, you know, 4 (55m 50s): We've 6 (55m 50s): Been training for 4 (55m 51s): This. I love it. But 6 (55m 55s): Yeah, it is amazing. Like some of these venues were playing, like we were supposed to play the tabernacle in Atlanta and that show got canceled right before, like three days before it, when the pandemic hit back in March, 2020. So it's been over two years in the making to finally play that epic room and all these shows are, are great. But again, like put me in your basement, dude, we'll have a great time, like Want to play. It's like such an outlet for all of us. And it's, it's, you know, that that has changed. And I don't think I ever will. 4 (56m 25s): I love it. Well, you're more than welcome to cruise over, man. You'll be in town for two days. So I'm and you're doing Bonnaroo, which hopefully I'll be a little to see you out as well. You're doing Saturday binary, which is amazing. I mean, yeah, 6 (56m 39s): We've, we've been honored to play Bonneroo before late night and it is crazy. I mean, and it's so funny. It's such a big festival that like you could have an enormous crowd and then behind that enormous crowd is just like people walking to like different stages. And while I'm playing, I'm always like, I'm going to make those guys stop and join. You're not going to get to the stage where you're trying to go to. And that's the beauty of Bonnaroo. Like I love glamping sets, but it's also fun when you can pick and choose and on your way, stop and find 4 (57m 9s): A new way. Right? 6 (57m 10s): It's always a challenge to like, I'm going to make this, you have that one with the hula-hoop she's not getting to the show she wants. So she's coming to us. 4 (57m 18s): I love it. Well, Greg man, thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it. I appreciate your time. I can't wait to see here in Nashville and then at Bonneroo I'll catch her set there as well. But one last question for you. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 6 (57m 34s): Sure. Well, thank you so much for having me, man. I, 4 (57m 37s): I 6 (57m 38s): Go to the podcast. I listened to the green sky episode 4 (57m 42s): And he was 6 (57m 43s): Great. He's he's a trip, man. I don't know, honors that well. So it was cool to hear him hear him talking. 4 (57m 48s): It's very dry. Like he, he got me a couple of times where I'm like, he's either messing with me or he like immediately hates me off the bat. 6 (57m 59s): I think he prefaced that where you, if you don't know him, well, you could think he's a Dick. I didn't. 4 (58m 4s): No, no, no, no. I think I was able to swim swam throughout the episode and then thought it was cool to see he like gets the text Of being on the cover of that magazine. I mean, that was what timing, 6 (58m 18s): But his alarm also went off at the start of the interview, which was rough timing. I guess you were early move. You got to set the alarm 10 minutes before and turn that puppy off. 4 (58m 28s): But I love that's the beauty of it. That's why I love doing this podcast because I came from radio where it was like so strict with making sure everything sounds ridiculously polished and the little things like that make this so much more fun for me. And hopefully enjoyable to people watching like, oh, that's awesome that his alarm just went off. Like, why not? 6 (58m 49s): Well for aspiring musicians, I would say, make sure your alarms are off. When you do podcast interview, step one, you know, like there's my main advice is to have fun doing it, you know? And don't like, like be patient, like, you know, you it's all about the journey, not the destination. If you can make it about that and you can have fun doing it, like it will come when it comes in terms of, you know, the dream you have in your head. But if you are, you know, genuinely enjoying yourself during the process, it's never work. It's never like, you know, you're right where you're supposed to be. 6 (59m 32s): I also would say like, well, it's, you know, yes, it's all about fun behind the scenes. It's work. Like, like, like, and by work, I just mean like practice your instrument, take lessons from people, you know, talk to other musicians, be a sponge, you know? And when you're playing with other people, like you practice at home. So once you're live, you can just like flow with it. Don't practice onstage while you're playing. Like, you know, you listen to each other when you're jamming and you know, like support the music around you. You make choices on stage that help your band mates. 6 (1h 0m 12s): Not what not, it's not an opportunity to show all the homework you did. Like, it's like, Hey, look how fast I can play. It's you know, if would playing fast right now, help elevate the group sound, then do it. You know, if playing slow does or doing something like easier to help highlight another member, do that. So ultimately like, you know, make the most of your opportunity, work your butt off, and then just don't take yourself too seriously and have fun doing it because life is about enjoying the moment. So like, don't get cut off in the caught up in the future or the past, just like live in the now, give it your best. Give yourself a break.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Profile Photo

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Hailed as “musical explorers” by Rolling Stone, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong—singer/guitarist “Scrambled Greg” Ormont, guitarist Jeremy Schon, bassist Ben, and drummer Alex “Gator” Petropulos—first took flight in 2007 at the University of Maryland, and has since gone on to play more than a thousand shows across the continental United States. Driven by a relentless work ethic and an ecstatic sound, the fun-loving four-piece built their reputation on epic, blissed-out concerts blending addictive funk grooves with psychedelic jams and intoxicating energy. Described by Glide as “a band that melts faces and pulls no punches," PPPP has also been praised by Relix as “joyous” and “dance-worthy,” while Jambase simply calls them a “powerhouse.” Acting as their own independent label, the quartet has released five studio albums prior to their upcoming record, ‘Perspective,’ a buoyant psychedelic funk odyssey propelled by sonic fireworks and chantable hooks, due for release on April 8, 2022.

“We hope you listen to ‘Perspective’ and are reminded that life is fleeting yet amazing,” said Ormont. “Remember the good times, be excited about the future, but most of all, dance your heart out every step of the way.”

Through their wildly enthusiastic live shows, the band has morphed into a cult-like phenomenon beloved by their rabid and ever-expanding fanbase, affectionately known as “The Flock.” For a full list of tour dates and more information, visit pigeonsplayingpingpong.com.