The Road to Counterpoint: Pegboard Nerds Interview

pegboardnerdsChances are you are just excited as we are for Counterpoint Music Festival coming up April 25-27 in it’s new location, Kingston Downs, Georgia. Every week leading up to the festival we are going to be interviewing artists from the lineup, and we were lucky enough to have the Pegboard Nerds join us for this week’s inaugural spotlight.

Michael and Alex were kind enough to get up early on the west coast to Skype this afternoon (March 6) with us about producing, memorable sets and festivals, and their musical inspirations. They will be at Counterpoint the first day of the festival, April 25th, set time TBA.

AMG: When is the last time you played in Atlanta?

PN: We played at the Masquerade a while back.

AMG: So you guys started the Bassline Kickin’ tour last week. Is touring still exciting for you guys or is it just like going to work?

PN: Of course it’s exciting, but it’s hard work as well- but exciting still.

AMG: What’s your favorite aspect of being on tour?

PN: It’s the actual shows. I mean everything-bad food and travel. You just get into this touring mode where you’re meeting people and doing shows it’s definitely fun.

AMG: Have you found that you have to change up your sets based on the location you’re playing?

PN: We thought we were not going to be, but yes. It’s definitely a different audience so we are going to change our sets a bit. The only problem is we don’t know, since we’re not Americans, what kind of crowd there is going to be. We just have to wing it and get a feel 10 or 15 minutes into our set to get an idea of what the crowd is into.

AMG: What is the difference between an American and European crowd?

PN: The Americans tend to embrace more of a wide variety of styles than Europeans do, and they party much harder.

AMG: Nice…we won’t let you down at Counterpoint. So how did Pegboard Nerds originate?

PN: 10 years ago Alex entered a remix competition for Above and Beyond and I (Michael) was touring as a DJ and I heard his remix and I thought it was fucking great. I hit him up to do a remix for my project at the time and we’ve been working together ever since- like a happy married couple.

AMG: I love it.

PN: Pegboard Nerds is only like 2 years old because we did a lot of remixes for other people throughout the years, but grew tired of it. We figured why not make some of our own material instead of listening to other people and producing stuff we didn’t really like that much. Let’s do something that we like and we want to play for other people. As for the name, all the cool names were taken.

AMG: I think you guys have a pretty cool name!

PN: Thank you! I don’t know if you know the story, but it’s kind of an anagram of our last names.

AMG: Wow it is? Oh I see it now (Odden + Parsbera = Pegboard Nerds). Who artists that have influenced your music?

PN: (Long Pause…Alex and Michael unanimously exclaimed) Skrillex. He was definitely a big inspiration at the very beginning. Pendulum, but throughout the years there has been a lot of stuff- trance from the 2000s, Euro-dance from the ‘90s, hip-hop from the ‘80s, everything basically.

AMG: What does the process of sitting down and creating a new track look like?

PN: So I usually lay on the sofa and Alex is on the computer (laughter erupts). You have to grab that initial idea and try and base a track around that. It could be a melody, a sample, or anything, then you start developing it. We will record a ton of things and see what works. 90% of it doesn’t, and you end up using sounds you thought you wouldn’t use. At some point it starts to sound like a track, not a collection of sounds. It’s hard to explain. It’s a weird process. It’s like standing in a kitchen. You want to do this dish that you have in your hand, but you just don’t know how to get there. You put all sorts of things into the pot, and then you tests if it tastes good or not. If it doesn’t you throw it out, but if it tastes great OH that’s a keeper.

AMG: A lot of testing. So since we are previewing Counterpoint, what is the craziest experience you’ve had at a festival?

PN: Reading Festival in England. We were supposed to play Leeds and Reading Festivals, it’s like the same festival, but in two different towns and due to traffic we missed our gig in Leeds. We didn’t know what to expect when we arrive in Reading the next day. We were playing in the middle of the day so it could have been an empty tent since it was so early. We came into a packed tent of like 10,000 people just going bonkers. That was pretty exciting and a lot of fun.

AMG: What is the most memorable set you’ve ever played?

PN: I think that was in Calgary. We were the opening act and when we started they weren’t done putting up lights and the stage and shit. We were like okay…what the fuck. We played for the bar people. We were like let’s just do what we usually do. So we started jumping around on stage and shouting into the mic. Then Alex took the mic 5 minutes into the set and shouted, “What’s up Calgary?!! Are you ready??!” There were no people. Actually the 5 people there were like, “Yeahhh!!” That’s memorable.

Another memorable set was at The Foundations. Everything was just perfect. When you’re standing there as a DJ and playing you get the sense, oh shit I’m losing the crowd, but at that gig everything was just right. We couldn’t do anything wrong. That was a nice feeling.

And obviously Atlanta was great.

AMG: I was going to say… Do you think you’ll be playing any club dates in Atlanta soon?

PN: We like smaller venues because it’s more intimate. It’s great to play at festivals because every time you raise your arm the crowd goes crazy, but in the smaller clubs it’s harder work and a more intimate atmosphere.

AMG: Yeah because they came specifically to see you and not necessarily just wandering around a festival.

PN: Yes. At the festivals they come for the festival. They look at the lineup and say I want to see this, this, and this, but if we weren’t there they would just see somebody else. They were going anyway. We have played Life in Color a few times, which is super fun, but the kids are there for the paint. Some for the music, but for the most part they came for the party.

AMG: Well thank you so much guys. We can’t wait to see you at Counterpoint!

PN: We’re really excited to go to Counterpoint! Hopefully we can say after that gig, Counterpoint was the most memorable gig we’ve ever played.

For more Pegboard Nerds check out their Soundcloud!


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