I chatted with him Wednesday about his new band, its dynamic and why the name itself — Like Pioneers — is a self-deprecating joke.
Eric Hughes: So if I have this right, you recorded in December and January and then played your first show in May at The Hideout — which is a great venue. Probably one of my favorites, actually. Just the intimacy of it. And then you released Piecemeal in July. I’m sure you’ve played some shows over the summer and fall. Busy year. So what’s it been like for you to start something new?
Bobby Gallivan: It was great. We were all in bands that had recently broke up and were looking for something to do. It was a little laid back from what we had been doing previously. We booked a weekend at our friend’s studio — our friend Manny Sanchez has a studio called IV Lab. And we just kind of loosely constructed a few songs and then went into the studio and kind of hoped for the best. It worked out. We came together over — we tracked everything in three days and then… we weren’t sure if it was going to be a band or just a recording project. You know, we had to figure out a way to put it out. And Bandcamp was the original idea, and then a friend of ours owns a label in Seattle called Abandoned Love Records, and said he would put it out digitally for us as well. So everything just kind of came together pretty organically, too. You know, a bunch of old connections that we’d made.
EH: So how many are actually credited as being in this band? It seems like a big effort.
BG: Yeah, we generally play our live shows with six members. But there were like nine or 10 people involved in the actual recording of it.
EH: In working on a new project, how is the dynamic different — if different at all from what you’ve worked on before?
BG: Like before we’d get to the practice space and, you know, work on songs and hash them out. This is more like, less face-to-face time with each other and a lot of file-sharing. And we go to the practice space and work some stuff out as far as the songs are concerned. But this is much less like getting together and writing together, and more bit by bit, sending things to each other, and then meeting up when it was convenient. So yeah, this is more, I guess, relying on technology then before. We’re still writing a new batch of songs now and moving away from the file-sharing to going back to that style of getting to the station working together. But the original project, this original collection of songs was really just, you know, kind of us sending stuff around to each other.
EH: Your tagline — I guess we can call it — it’s “Let’s call it friends re-introducing themselves to the idea of making music together.” And, I like that. So what exactly do you mean by that?
BG: All of us were — our bands were pretty intense experiences. We had quit our jobs. You know, kind of went all out for this. It got at times thinking it wasn’t all that fun anymore. Stakes were really high. You know, we were dealing with peoples’ lives. People were married and having kids and so we kind of wanted to make music but there was all this other stuff going on. It was tough. You know, tough to be friends with each other. So when our old bands stopped playing, we kind of took some time apart and then hung out with each other. We started this new project back up. It was an excuse at first to hang out and then, it still kind of an excuse [Laughs] to hang out with each other. But at the same time, making music and having a good time. So I guess that’s why we made that statement.
EH: And then also the name itself — Like Pioneers. You call it a self-deprecating joke.
EH: The name of the band intrigues me and I’m wondering where that came about as well.
BG: Uh, we were at a bar having a drink and Dan, who plays a bunch of different instruments, his girlfriend made some comment about what we were doing. He said, “It’s like we’re pioneers or something.”
BG: Totally joking around because it was the same people that he’d been playing music with for the last seven years. So it wasn’t really creative at all. That was the self-deprecating joke I guess. Not really doing anything all that original.
EH: So you’ve got a show coming up this weekend at Subterranean. Have you guys as Like Pioneers played there before?
BG: Yeah, we played there this past summer. Did a show in August. We’ve played there a bunch over with our other bands.
EH: Yeah I’m sure you have. I just didn’t know as with this current band. And then what do you want to say about this upcoming show. Who are you playing with?
BG: We are excited. And this will be our last Chicago show for some time. We are going out to New York to play a few shows and then we’re gonna hunker down and write another album. So we’re looking to record again in maybe the spring. So this will be the last time that you’ll be able to see us I think for a couple of weeks, a couple of months, maybe four months or so.
- Like Pioneers will play at Subterranean on Saturday, November 6 with Shipbuilding Co. and Bird Talk. Tickets are $8.
- Check out my review of Like Pioneers’ debut album, Piecemeal. You can freely stream it below or buy it on the group’s Bandcamp page for $8.