Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spotlight - Pittsburgh Local Artist - Delicious Pastries - Edition 3

This month's local spotlight is on Delicious Pastries. We first came across these guys when they opened for Miles Kurosky at the Brillobox. They put on a fine show, even without a drum set, playing their brand of Elephant 6. Below is a interview they were kind enough to give us with streaming tracks.

If you like what you hear, they will be playing a show this Friday, 5/28 at the Brillobox.

Dad by Delicious Pastries

How did the band come together? Were you all friends that went to school? or?

Jonathan met Jesse a little over ten years ago while playing a pick-up frisbee game. He was immediately struck that some of the other kids playing that day were wearing t-shirts with Jesse's face on the front. The shirts said "King of Bee". Jesse came highly recommended. While at their respective colleges Jesse and Jonathan would go see shows together, climb on the roofs of buildings, and play bottle cap frisbee. Jesse would pay for haircuts with mix tapes. Jonathan met Burr while in grad school in Wisconsin. Burr's wife Natalie, a talented artist, went through the same program as Jonathan a few years earlier. Burr was pursuing his PhD in computer science, and filled the rest of his time playing music and writing songs. This leveled him out and brought him down from the clouds. He and Jonathan would join up and share songs, but never wrote or performed together.

While pursuing his MFA in Wisconsin, Jonathan and Jesse would talk on the phone about starting a band that would solve all of the problems of the post-napster music industry. For a lark, and in response to the faceless myspace, they started a fictional band Delicious Pastries, with no plans to record, and signed themselves to their invented label Totally Snakes. It served as an avenue to dream about the best band that never happened. After school Jonathan had moved around a bit, and Jesse had spent time touring with a couple bands. Through some crumbly circumstances in Chicago, Jonathan was forced to think about moving. After a brief visit to Pittsburgh, where Jesse was living, they would finally make music together. He moved in with Jesse after not seeing him for almost a decade, and Delicious Pastries, now a reality, set up camp in Jesse's living room. Songs about unrequited love, girls across the street, and snakes emerged overnight. With the addition of some new dear friends, Delicious Pastries performed briefly as a 6-piece, briefly as a 2-piece, and was recently reborn 4-piece – with the addition of Burr and Jacob who had recently met after moved to Pittsburgh for post-doctoral research at CMU. Jacob was introduced to the group as a "guy who plays bass really well". Nothing truer could have been said. Jonathan, glad to be reunited with Burr, eagerly introduced him to Jesse, who took a shine to him immediately. The new grouping practiced for two weeks and started playing around town again.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?

We make a self-aware brand of pop music, with 60s retro sensibilities, and a late-90s delivery. We find ourselves comfortably situated with many of the bands on the now-dissolved (recently revived?) Elephant 6 Recording Label. Pretend Jeff Lynne, Brian Wilson, Alex Chilton, Rod Argent, and Caetano Veloso had a dinner party at which we were waiters, and then ate all the leftovers after everyone went home. We swallowed 5 decades of pop music in one sitting, and the result is an unbridled pop explosion

Mistakes by Delicious Pastries

Are you all originally from the Pittsburgh area? Families here as well?

Jonathan and Jesse were born in Pittsburgh. Jesse was raised a little up the Allegheny from the city and moved closer in the last few years. Jonathan left when he was 15 and just came back. Burr and Jacob moved here recently. Jesse is the only one with family here.

Do you all create music full time or is this more of a part time venture? Do you have day jobs?

We all have day jobs. Jacob and Burr are scientists, Jonathan is an artist, and it can be argued that Jesse listens to music full-time. Thank God for rent each month! If any of us make music close to full-time, it's Jesse. His room is surrounded by keyboards. He might even sleep on one.

Something Else! by Delicious Pastries

How do you create your music? What is the song writing process?

The song writing process is different every time. Most of the early songs were penned by Jesse and Jonathan, together or separately. Now Burr and Jacob are entering into the process, and compositions are becoming more varied. The band churned out a ton of new material during the month of February for February Album Writing Month (FAWM), a venture that Burr started with a few friends. It has grown to include thousands of participants. It can be seen at

What are your goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish? Are you trying to get signed to a label?

Rather than say something as lofty as "to have fun" or "to get famous", or as arduous as "to tour the country", our answer sounds more like: to produce the highest quality product we can with the materials we have, through hard work. This way we can hopefully stand behind it without wincing. Oh yeah, and to put on killer live shows! We generally look at fun or money as a byproduct. They both come in handy down here though. We hope to put out an album this year. We'd HOPE to. It's a shame we don't have one already. Recording would tie a bow on this entire process. Labels could make anyone wary. We don't want to put the cart before the horse. If things get too hot, we can always sign ourselves to Totally Snakes Records.

Press House Installation by Delicious Pastries

You have a new project you are working on. Can you describe it? Are all members involved?

We have quite a few things in the works right now. It's all top secret. We make pop songs! It's more like pop secret. All members are involved.

Have you all toured nationally? Or do you usually stay more regionally?

We have not toured nationally yet, or internationally. Haha. We've done what we like to call “microtouring”. By that we mean that we have played a few shows outside of Pittsburgh.

Being in the Pgh area, do you find it more difficult to try and succeed?

Pittsburgh is great. No complaints here. We sell out most of our shows and we haven't even released a recording yet! There are some great bands here that are our brothers-in-arms. We love to play with Mariage Blanc, Meeting Of Important People, Good Night, States, and other locals. Most of them have releases for later this year. You can do things here that you can't do elsewhere. Things like: pay rent and practice in your living room.

It's So Perfectly Arranged by Delicious Pastries

What are some of the obstacles you face trying to create some 'success' in Pgh?

It's been hard to reach the universities so far. Most of our shows are 21+. The university environment has become insular. Live music is cheaper than a night of Keystone Light Ice. We'd like to have more students involved with the "scene". We'd also like people to wear brighter colors.

What are the positive benefits of being in the area?

The area has many decently sized venues. It's easy to pack the house. People who participate are enthusiastic. It's nice to not be completely over-saturated and have four Kaiser Chiefs cover bands living on your block.

Safe And Sound by Delicious Pastries

Is there a venue you have enjoyed playing more than others in the area?

We've played most of shows at the same few local venues. We think Howlers does a great job. Our list is still growing. Things generally function the best when less people have their hands in the cookie jar.

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