Pill is one of the most unique bands in New York City right now.
They put an emphasis on the artistic aspect of their music–combine that with the passion oozing from inside of them and you get tunes that are not only a melodic punk rock sound, but also a hazy/organic blend of dark undertones, entrancing saxophone, and desperate, yet beautiful vocals that make you want to cry, scream, laugh, and hypnotically sway all at once.
The band is comprised of Veronica Torres (vocals/bass), Benjamin Jaff (saxophone), Andrew Spaulding (drums), and Jonathan Campolo (guitar). They met through the embracing music community of NYC that they’ve not only been a part of it, but also cultivated and helped along since they journeyed into the big city. If it wasn’t for this community they would have never met, Spaulding conveys to BTRtoday.
“Pill is a testament to how communities and scenes work,” he explains. “Making [communities] are important and having them are important and watching them die is horrible and difficult for everyone involved.”
Spaulding and the rest of Pill are quiet credible in this area since all of them have worked and played at many venues and bars that were once booming locations for New York’s underground music scene, but have since had to shut their doors. Legendary DIY venues like Death By Audio, which was bought out by Vice Magazine, Glasslands, (also bought out by Vice) and Palisades, which closed its doors just this past summer, were once safe-havens for the artists and musicians of NYC. “Scenes bring people together and scenes make that community take action and cooperation relevant,” he adds.
Spaulding reminisces about those venues and how important they were to the scene. Now there are places like Alphaville, Shea Stadium, and Market Hotel that are keeping the DIY scene alive—however, even they are still struggling.
Despite these venues coming and going, the scene still lives on and Pill plays on!
Image courtesy of Devon Bristol Shaw
Spaulding tells BTRtoday that their live shows are “fucking wild, baby.” They aim to encompass the crowd—to not only get them moving and grooving, but also to immerse them in the passion being delivered on stage.
“We just go crazy, we like to have fun on stage,” he describes. “We really want to motivate people to feel something, and I think Veronica does just that through her presence and power of delivery—that’s a rare gift.”
Torres and Spaulding started out as a two-piece band, called Healing Stoned, with her on percussion and him on vocals. With Pill they decided to switch places and everyone was blown away by how perfectly Torres excelled as front-woman. Spaulding raves about her ability to enchant a crowd with her on-stage presence and the exceptional lyrics she produces.
“Veronica is a show lady, she’s a goddess—some people were shouting ‘goddess’ at her the other day [at a show],” Spaulding says. Torres didn’t really grow up playing music like most of the band members did in some way, but she’s always been passionate about it and before Pill, she was in a band called Sleeping Bag. Though they never played any shows, it ignited something in her that pushed her to pursue show-life even further.
They came up with the name Pill in a way you wouldn’t quiet expect when hearing the gravity of their tunes. “It’s a serious trolling thing—we still get a kick out of it,” Spaulding admits. Apparently, when they shared the then-potential band with friends, they received a fair amount of negative reviews. “We were like, ‘we’re going to name our band Pill, fuck you, it’s funny!’”
Their ability to produce music in a way that’s systematic and orderly, yet still have that perfectly measured pinch of chaos, makes it somewhat surprising to find out that they’re all very easy going and humorous people. “The only mastermind is Veronica—she’s like the Brain and we’re like Pinky,” Spaulding chuckles.
After giving their most recent full-length album “Convenience” a listen, you’d think that they had to be serious people in order to produce such well-curated tunes. However, Spaulding tells us that when they were recording the album is was more of an organic process rather than an orderly one.
“I felt like we’d go into the studio and all of our brains would be on high alert, fullon intense thought processes and sharing of ideas, and once we came out the other side of the weekend we were recording it would be almost like we weren’t,” he struggles to clarify. The process seemed to be so natural to them that it was almost like they blacked out while recording. “We would look back at the weekend and be like, ‘wait, how much did we do?’”
“Convenience” was released this past August on Mexican Summer. It’s a twelve-track album full of mysterious bells and whistles that all click perfectly together, lyrics that keep you pondering, and beats that creep into your ears like a wily coyote. Spaulding confesses that some of the tracks were written years ago and tweaked for the album, and others came natural while they were in the creative process.
Currently, they’re ending a small tour through a few places around the U.S., their next one being in Middletown, Conn. on the 11th, before they head back to New York. Make sure to keep an eye on Pill by liking them on Facebook and checking out their website to see what they’re cooking up next!