Interview: Stacked Like Pancakes
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
The first great inspiration for me to get into music was my dad. I remember vividly when he came home from work, he would go downstairs to the basement and shred on the guitar. He was a self-taught guitarist, and a very successful one, always playing in different projects and doing session work. But in my eyes growing up, playing guitar when he got home from work was his outlet that kept him grounded. We always had instruments in the house to noodle around with, and that's pretty much how I started on any instrument. I'm very grateful that my parents gave me access to so many instruments growing up that I could just make some noise with and see if it sounded good.
If I hadn't gotten into music....I don't know what the hell I would be doing but probably nothing that fulfills me and makes me happy like performing music does. Maybe if I really dove into PC gaming I would actually have a career out of it by now, but I backed away from pursuing a career in gaming many years ago.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
What a great segue! One thing I've been getting back into lately is gaming. I played a first-person shooter called Counter-Strike on PC for a long time, but I also played other super nerdy online games like Runescape. I easily became obsessed with these games for several years. It kind of became a counterpart to my creative side, where my brain could relax and kind of vegetate to mindless tasks in fictional worlds.
How long has your band been around?
I founded SLP in my basement in highschool in 2007!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I'm currently living in Minneapolis and I'm staying here for the foreseeable future. SLP was founded outside of Baltimore, MD. My bandmates Stephen and Nick are based in Pittsburgh. We have others that play with us who are located all around the country. We're everywhere! But I went to a high-school that was in a very isolated rural area, when I had grown up in a multicultural Baltimore suburb and that was difficult for me. So few people that I went to high school with had even heard of what ska music was. So when I found a couple people who did... I started a band with them. They were the first two trumpet players of the band. And everything very slowly blossomed from there.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
My mom made my newfound bandmates and I pancakes for dinner. And we wanted to come up with something quirky and dumb to fit the vibe of a silly ska band. And so we kind of just randomly put the first three words that came to mind to the randomly-chosen letters of S-L-P. I honestly wish I had a better story than that, haha!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
The most memorable shows are undoubtedly our shows on the Vans Warped Tour over the years. To be a very tiny part of that huge machine has been one of the greatest experiences of our careers and really made us feel like we were professionals and could do this for a living.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Anywhere in Chicago. That city loves SLP and shows up and dances like crazy! I so badly want SLP to perform someday at the historic 9:30 Club in D.C.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Cage the Elephant
Reel Big Fish
Stacked Like Pancakes
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
For a new band, I would say...find your voice. Fuck imposter-syndrome. Play music for your heart and soul and play what makes you happy. That energy will come through in the performance.
Advice for my younger self: Surround yourself with professionals in every aspect of the music industry and don't have any shame in asking for help and advice.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Take your piano lessons seriously you dumb shit!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Lately I've really been reflecting on "SFDD." It's a staple for our live show and pretty much guarantees a circle pit and rowdy crowds.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
"SFDD" is a favorite to perform live, and is probably the most requested, but some songs have really surprised us when they were requested. I can remember there was a period of time that "These Are Odd Times To Be Alive" was always on the setlist, but then I wrote more music and it fizzled off. Once it did I was surprised that it was requested as much as it was. Same thing kind of happened for "Dangerous Beginnings" too. Problem is we can't play 40 songs every show! Sometimes you only get like 6 or 7. It's so tough to decide.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Every song starts with a nugget of an idea. It could be a short horn melody, a single lyric, a guitar riff, a drum beat, etc. It kind of just expands outward in every direction from there until small chunks fall into place, like what could be a verse or the hook or the bridge. Eventually, it all comes together. Everything inspires me! Every song I listen to, every interaction I have with people I work with, every show I watch on streaming services...it all affects how you think and feel and it weaves its way through the music you're working on at the time. In my mind, it's an endless fluid process.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
And occasionally politics.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We hope to hop on a festival or two this summer/fall and release another single later this year. In the meantime, listen to our brand new single called "So Close Yet So Far" and stay tuned for more SLP!