Take Me To The Pilot are a Canadian pop/rock band that have been slowly rising in popularity here in Canada. They have opened for big bands and have gone on several tours across the country to promote themselves and their two EPs. Their recent “What Makes You” tour brought them back to Montreal for the second time this year. That’s when I had the chance to chat with the band and get to know the four guys that brought together TMTTP.
CONFRONT: Can I have a little history 101 for people who might not know who you are?
JON: Mike was first, and then Adam and then Eric and then me! It started out as an acoustic act that turned into a three-piece acoustic act that turned into a band. The band was always the intention.
CONFRONT: And I read that Eric got in through MySpace?
ERIC: I answered a casting call and at the time, the role was filled and I didn’t really think about after but a few months later, I got a call in the middle of the night from Mike asking if I wanted to join the band.
CONFRONT: Well it worked out then! And anyway, today’s generation revolves around the internet. How do you think it has affected the music industry?
MIKE: It’s made it both easier and more difficult. It’s easier to do stuff so more bands are doing it because of how easy it is to put out your own record.You need something that stands out.
ADAM: We utilize the tools today but we definitely have the old fashioned DIY approach to music. Our philosophy is you have to play a lot of shows and you have to personally interact with all these people because anyone can put their music out there and spam it on the internet. And we want to span it to the world in person.
CONFRONT: That’s a good philosophy. And to do it, you tour a lot, do you think that’s really important?
MIKE: Totally! It’s one thing to listen to our record but to get the band, you have to see us live.
ADAM: I think people are making a mistake if they believe that music is about making records. Records facilitate your live show because someone can have something that they can take home so the next time they can sing along. I think that’s definitely something we try to put across in our show as well as anytime we speak to anyone. Being a musician is about playing shows, not about recording in your basement.
CONFRONT: That’s true. And do you think it’s still important to get signed nowadays?
MIKE: There’s a lot of benefits but because of the music climate, it’s kind of dangerous. It’s easier than ever to get taken advantage of and I think they key is if you’re going to get signed, don’t do it out of desperation. Don’t chase labels down. Wait for them to come to you and sign a deal that you’re happy with. Make sure that you’re comfortable with things. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in it.
JON: It seems like most people get signed for financial support. Labels are pretty much banks and we’ve been able to do most of it ourselves. Not that it’s easy to do it but the fact that we can do it ourselves, we don’t necessarily need someone to give us money and have to owe them for years.
ADAM: A record label nowadays looks good on paper because people traditionally think that having a record label means that you’re a legitimate band but the reality is that a lot of bands today that still tour and play hundreds of shows a year and sell hundreds of thousands of records, in the 80s, they would’ve lived in mansions.
MIKE: But labels also allow you to go on bigger tours instantly. It’s a step up.
ADAM: It’s the credibility to have a label because people don’t realize that you don’t need one so they still look at this traditional model even though the industry has changed.
CONFRONT: That’s true. Anyway, people always seem to get into conflicts with their labels and stuff.
ERIC: That’s nothing new though, I feel like that happens when people sign something without reading through it properly.
MIKE: Exactly. You got to sign the right deal.
JON: If someone does it right away because they don’t care what they sound like and they just want to get big, then they should be ready to follow what the label wants them to do, right?
CONFRONT: And where do you stand right now?
MIKE: We’re not looking but if somebody were to offer us the right deal, I don’t think there would be any hesitation, at least not on my part!
ADAM: We certainly don’t want to change anything but we definitely would like help to be able to do what we want to do.
JON: Connections help is always the best over financial help.
ADAM: Yeah we don’t need a label necessarily because we like to do things ourselves; we’re not the type of people who sit back and let others do our work. We like having full control. Really, what we need is an investor and that’s all a label would really be for us.
CONFRONT: Yeah you guys have released two EPs on your own anyway! And actually, why have you released two EPs rather than a full-length album?
MIKE: It just made sense! If we released a full-length, I think there would be a lot of fillers. We just wanted to make sure that the songs were all good enough on their own. We wanted 7 stand-alone tracks as opposed to 12 songs that are being carried by the one or two singles off the record. It just made more sense. And a full-length is just so much more time, effort and money. For a band in our shoes to make a full-length, you got to believe in doing that specifically and it just made more sense to do it this way.
CONFRONT: And nowadays, people’s attention spans are really short.
ADAM: Absolutely. If you’re really smart, you’d release things more often. But when we were in the studio, we weren’t sure what we were recording. We just started recording, we ended up with 7 songs so we released 7 songs. It could’ve turned out being a full-length. We didn’t go there with a specific intention.
CONFRONT: That’s good because you don’t feel pressured or any restraints. And what song do you think represents the second EP as a whole?
ADAM: I’d say ‘Traveling Heart’ because it’s got a bit of everything.
JON: Yeah it’s got three sections to it.
ADAM: It kind of follows the history of the band too. It starts off acoustically and it slowly builds up to this big sound.
MIKE: It’s probably more different than most of our other tracks too. It captures the change and the growth.
ERIC: And a lot of people can relate to it in different ways because it’s a song about missing something you care about. So people always find some kind of connection to that and I think that’s the coolest thing about that song.
ADAM: There was a woman in the states who said her husband or her boyfriend was away overseas in the military and that song brought her to tears by the lyrical content of it. Hearing stuff like that is always cool.
CONFRONT: Aw that is so cute! And what has been your biggest accomplishment this past year?
MIKE: Everything, as a whole. It’s been so many small steps but when you add those up, you realize what you’ve done.
ADAM: Yeah it’s hard to really notice it as you’re doing it until you kind of take a minute to look back and see how far you’ve come.
MIKE: But I think the album charting was really cool. That was a very…
ADAM: Surreal thing.
MIKE: Yeah! It was an obvious statement as far as how far we’ve come and the work we’ve put it. That was a way for us to physically see it paying off.
ADAM: This is my terrible rendition of our logo. We call it the alien wings design because we kind of started off with the center part there and then I wanted to make it a little more elaborate because I was drawing it to put on a hoodie. When I drew it, my dad came in and he thought it was a flying saucer because we have pilot wings pins so I kind of looked at it and thought it could be some kind of wings. It’s just geometry though. I’ve just been fascinated by geometry to I just draw geometry.
CONFRONT: It kind of reminds me of Harry Potter though.
ADAM: It’s just because it’s popular culture. If you show this exact same thing to people every 10 years, be getting different things. You can see the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda if you take off some stuff. It’s basic geometric shapes and I think people will look at them and find different symbolisms so it’s kind of the idea. I put it out there and people are always asking me what it means but it’s really just geometry.
MIKE: I drew the only thing I can draw! You can tell by how good it is. I can’t even draw stick figures.
ADAM: Jon is an expert at drawing stick figures.
[Jon decided to draw an elaborate stick figure drawing of the band playing an outdoor festival afterwards.]
Check out these sites to stay updated with TMTTP:
Official site: http://www.tmttp.com