Ponytail are a four piece rock and roll band from Baltimore Maryland, who kick, scream, dance and play some incredibly infectious music. They’re bound to win over some Aussie fans with their first ever tour down under, playing the Pyramid Rock Festival, Purple Sneakers NYE Party and a co-headline show with Brooklyn’s Telepathe. Their shows are not for the faint hearted, so expect anything and everything as Ponytail bring their tornado of awesome to our shores.
Music Feeds caught up with guitarist Ken Seeno to talk about their Art School beginnings, hotel parties with Yeasayer and what they have in store for their Australian shows.
Music Feeds: So how did you all get together, and where does the band name Ponytail originate?
Ken Seeno: We were put together as a band in a class at art school. Our professor hand picked us at random as part of a semester long project. We didn’t even know each other! At the end of the semester we played a show. Later, our friend Kieran named us Ponytail. That was like five years ago!
MF: You have an Australian/New Zealand tour coming up. Is this your first time in Australia? Are you excited to be playing a New Years Eve party down under?
KS: YES! It’s our first time. We are so ready. It’s hard to believe it’s real, still. Plus, it’s going to be summer!
MF: I read that you were together since 2005. Does it feel any different playing as a band now as opposed to four years ago? Have the dynamics changed at all or does it only get better with age?
KS: Yes, it has changed. We used to have a fifth member who played keyboards and the band was a lot more noisy and scattered. I think we are more focused now, and we are older. We are trying to write stuff that has a wider range of sounds and engages us still. We definitely know each other too well , but we are experienced and we know how to handle things, most of the time.
MF: Do you write on the road or just in your downtime? And are we going to get a little sample of new stuff when you tour here later in the year?
KS: We have to basically schedule downtime to write. We can’t possibly write on tour. We’ll definitely play new stuff and we’ll play some older stuff, too. You guys will be some of the first people to hear things…
MF: You’ve been named best new band in 2007 and your records Kamehameha and Ice Cream Spiritual have gotten scores well above the 8.0 mark on Pitchfork, which is pretty damn impressive. Does this put any pressure on you when writing new stuff? Has all the positive press raised the bar for future recordings?
KS: Haha. Yes, but we know time is on our side and we try not to really worry about those sources of criticism. It’s sort of removed. When we see a magazine we think “this is the only copy.” It doesn’t seem real. I think we focus on our personal standards and what our friends think. If we’re happy, we trust each other, and that’s the best!
MF: On your MySpace you list “fine arts degrees” as your influence. Your music is pretty unique, but is there any other influences to your sound? Is there any bands you look up to or consider a significant shaping force to your music?
KS: We are four really different people with really different taste. I think part of Ponytail is that we are always pulling things in four different directions at once. It would take a whole different interview to name drop all of the bands we each like, haha…
MF: Safe to say Ponytail doesn’t do harmless guitar twanging music. So how do you write your songs? Do you all sit down and jam and see what comes out or…? And for all those still confused about what your music actually sounds like, how would you describe it?
KS: We do jam and try to create things that make us turn our heads. It’s best when we are all sitting together in the room, writing democratically. I think our songs are linear, but never predictable. Like certain bands, when your ears adjust to our palette, the melodies shine through!
MF: You’ve played with the likes of Battles and Yeasayer, what’s it like touring with other artists redefining genres and music conventions at the moment? What’s been your most memorable tour moment?
KS: It’s the best! Touring with Battles was such a blast. Molly and John [Stanier] were the perfect combination. We’ve had so many fun times with Yeasayer, too. Hotel parties… joshing around backstage… singing accapella with Hanson, haha. After five years there are just too many good times to list. We are so lucky to have so many cool friends that are also amazing musicians. It’s been fun as heck.
MF: What can the Australian punters expect from your shows? Your music is pretty energetic on record; does it get even crazier on stage?
KS: It gets very bouncy… pretty loud… very sweaty… pretty fun… very fast… pretty breezy… little sleazy… not.
MF: How much of a part does the crowd play in your shows? I know a lot of artists feed off the vibes form the audience, have you ever had a show where the crowd didn’t reciprocate?
KS: We definitely love the vibes from the audience. When they aren’t feeling it (or no one is there) we just play for each other and goof off. Things get silly!
MF: Finally, any last famous or not so famous words for your Aussie fans?
Ice Cream Spiritual is out now on Popfrenzy Records. Ponytail are playing a handful of Australian shows so make sure you don’t miss out. Tickets are on sale now.
Tuesday 29th December
The Evelyn Hotel Melbourne VIC
Co-headline with Telepathe
Moshtix: www.moshtix.com.au or 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849
Wednesday 30th December
Pyramid Rock Festival Phillip Island VIC
Also appearing: The Juan Maclean, Telepathe, Architecture In Helsinki and many others.
Thursday 31st December
Purple Sneakers NYE Party Sydney Uni NSW
Also appearing: The Grates, The Baddies, Boxer Rebellion and plenty more