Life Pilot..

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Adelaide “chaotic hardcore” band Life Pilot about their insanely entertaining new video (the song is awesome in its own right!) for Dark, Dark Goose.

Before you read the interview, I urge you to check out the video below;

Now that you have no doubt loved the video, on to the interview…
  • Tell us about the history of Life Pilot.
Life Pilot started back in 2011 as a side project for Angus (vocals) and his brother Jake, our original guitarist. They met Eli (drums) when he filled in for their main project and approached him to join Life Pilot where he brought in Nick (bass). The brother’s enlisted Tim Lawrence (guitar) and the original lineup carried on til around 2015, playing a bunch of crazy shows, releasing numerous EP’s, touring all over Aus and performing at Soundwave Festival. Since then there has been a few lineup changes, with both Tim & Jake graciously stepping out of the band due to commitments back home and allowing us to enlist Will Everlyn & Simon Gould to join the band and pursue a more active touring schedule. 2019 will be a big year for Life Pilot with a new single out already and an Australian tour about to kick off with much more planned for the rest of the year.
  • What’s the music scene like in Adelaide at the moment? 
We’re fortunate to have some great bands here in Adelaide. The scene around music creation is very vibrant and there’s a lot of younger bands coming up now that are already playing to a great standard. Like anywhere, it’s not getting any easier to drag people out to a gig if they’re not the sort that seek out live music. Venues are opening and closing all the time, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised at turn outs to a number of our last few local shows. If we continue to get larger touring acts coming through Adelaide and injecting energy and excitement into the city, the scene will grow stronger for it.
  • I’m always really interested to hear where a band name comes from, so what are the origins of the name Life Pilot?
Haha, it’s not the most exciting story. It really just came down to the brothers fascination with the term ‘Life Jacket’. It evolved in to Life Pilot as we’ve always had a very strong motto of ‘being yourself’ in the band and determining or ‘piloting’ your own life and not waiting for the world to give you what you want is something we all felt strongly about. 
  • Your new video for Dark, Dark Goose is really entertaining.  Talk to us about where the concept came from.
Thankyou! We’re really glad people are enjoying such a bizarre and ‘out there’ clip. The concept evolved from an inside joke that just happened on tour one day. For whatever reason we found ourselves using the word ‘bin’ to describe any number of things and the jokes spiralled out from there. When it came time to create a concept for the music video, we very much wanted to do something different to what we’d done before, but also go the opposite direction from every other band clip we’ve seen in the last year. The song was a little more upbeat than our last release so we thought, ‘why don’t we try and make a funny clip, with some skits and centre it around a bunch of our dumb band jokes’. 
  • How was the experience of bringing the concept to the screen? 
Really hot, and really funny. We shot the clip over two days in the middle of February, with the majority the scenes being outside in the heat. We all felt sorry for Will having to run around in the sun with a cloak on and a bin bag over his head! There was a lot of trial and error in some of the sequences involving the rolling garbage bin. We’d spend a lot of time working out the physics needed to get the bin moving at the right speed with the camera in the right place and having a way to catch Will before he rolled off a stair set, or into traffic. There were a lot of falls, haha. The best moment I think was when we rocked up at the ‘quiet and mostly empty’ park we had earmarked for one sequence and found around 200 people, all families, enjoying a quiet day at the park, and bunch of teens taking part in some sort of Pokemon tournament. So of course, we arrive in wizard outfits and start pushing around this idiot in a bin and everyone is extremely confused, laughing and cheering whenever Will would stack it in the bin. We must give lots of thanks to our DOP, Alexander Robertson who always goes along with our dumb ideas. I don’t think he quite knew what he was signing up for with this one, but he was a real trooper and put his own body on the line to get the shots we needed.
  • How did it differ from your previous video making experiences, By The Book for example?
Dark, Dark, Goose was easily the most ambitious clip we’ve done to date. In contrast, By the Book was probably the easiest video we’ve ever made. That was as simple as hiring the Adelaide State Library for a night, playing the song a bunch of times and having some friends throw boxes of paper at us. We didn’t even do any of the post production like we do now. Every other Life Pilot video has been completely self-made, concept, direction & post production. Dark, Dark, Goose on the other hand was two full days in the heat, after weeks of scripting, storyboarding, arranging costumes, building props, turning a wheelie bin in to a functioning skateboard, and then of course, schlepping all of our equipment deep into a forest to shoot the final band scene. For all the hard work, it was a really fun thing to be a part of and the vibe was always high and so many laughs were had throughout production. 
  • Dark, Dark Goose has tallied an impressive amount of YouTube views in a short space of time.  How does that make you feel? 
Great! I mean, we were convinced this would be a polarising video for fans of heavy music. There’s only been a few heavy bands in recent years that have done something funny and truly bizarre in their videos, and so often bands are putting out variants on the same idea. Seemingly what you ‘must’ do if you’re in a ‘serious’ band. We’re really happy that people have watched it, enjoyed it for what it is, got a laugh out of it and didn’t just write it off as nonsense straight away.
It’s been so well received people even started sending us videos and selfies while taking their bins out, or doing weird things with their wheelie bins. We didn’t anticipate that sort of response.
  • In the current landscape of the music business, how important are music videos as a promotional tool? 
I think they act as a great access point for people to digest your music. It’s hard to get people to listen to a song but much easier to get them to watch something enjoyable. Plus it’s a great way of evolving the concept of the music into a visual medium and also giving you a way to showcase the band and the personalities in it. At the end of the day, the song still needs to be good. A great clip doesn’t fix a bad song. But as we proved, you can make a dumb clip about bins and as long as the song has some sick riffs, people are going to enjoy it. Haha!
  • Where is the track currently available? 
All the usual places. Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, of course the music video on Youtube.  We don’t have physical copies of this release, but if you want to purchase the single in the way that helps us out most, purchase it from our Bandcamp page;
  • Is it a stand alone single, or is there an EP or album to follow in the near future? 
Well, both in a sense. It is a stand alone single, and won’t be included on anything that comes next, but it’s very much heralding the next release which will be out a little later in the year. We’re committed to putting out new music far often than we’ve done in the past. Expect more tunes soon!
  • Tell us a bit about how Life Pilots sound came together.
Our sound has always just been ‘us’. When we started this band we had a few key sounds in mind. Tones and textures and arrangements akin to bands like Every Time I Die, The Chariot, The Dillinger Escape Plan, etc. First and foremost, we write music that we enjoy listening to and playing. Once we started playing live we started to learn and refine what worked best. The sound is ever evolving but has always been a rock band on steroids at the core. 
  • From listening to earlier material, I can hear a definite evolution.  Has that evolution happened naturally, or is it something the band set out to do in order to grow? 
You can’t be in a band for 7 years and not naturally evolve and refine your sound. We’ve never tried to change things up drastically for the sake of change. We’ve seen a lot of bands genre-chase over the years and that’s not something we’ve liked. If new sounds or influences creep into our songwriting naturally and they feel good, then hell yeah, that’s great! But we’ve never sat down like some bands clearly have and said ‘right, what’s going to be more popular?’. We’ve always been a band playing a less popular sub-genre within heavy music, an already-less-popular musical style, so why not embrace that and just do what feels best? We’re getting more and more into the production side of things on our latest material, which is something you can expect to hear more of on upcoming releases, but we never want to be a band playing to backing tracks or anything like that, so you can always expect everything we do come from an organic, 5 dudes on a stage, perspective. 
  • Life Pilot has just announced an Australian tour.  What can we expect from your live sets?
Sick riffs, loud noises and a whole bunch of jumping around. Some of these rooms we’re playing are seriously tiny, like 50 capacity. Which is sick, we want to cram as many bodies in there as we can and get some gnarly crowd surfing and stage invasions going on. We’ll probably trash a couple of instruments and stages, hang upside down on some stuff, give ourselves some black eyes and a few extra war wounds, but that’s all part of what we do. We don’t plan any of the bullshit that happens when we play, we just start the first song and whatever happens between that and the last note of the last song is up to the vibe in the room and whatever we’re feeling at the time. 
  • Which areas are you hitting?
We kick things off in Mount Gambier in a couple of days, a show in Adelaide the following week. Then we jump in the van for 12 days and hit Melbourne, Sydney, Central Coast, a bunch of Brisbane & Gold Coast shows, and then back home to finish things off with one last home town show. It’s going to be sick.
We’ve also got a bunch of days off around Sydney & the coast, so if anyone wants us to come and play in their living room or something nuts, hit us up. Seriously.
  • Speaking of live shows, the band has played with some big names over the years.  Is that something you would like to do more of?
Absolutely. We’re very fortunate to have managed to play with some of our all time heroes, and even be so lucky as to call some of them friends as a result. Bands like Every Time I Die and Norma Jean were obvious highlights for the band given our influences. HELLYEAH was nuts, sharing the stage with guys like Vinnie Paul was a trip. I mean, Pantera, c’mon. Most recently playing with Converge was absolutely wild. That band is such an iconic and visionary group of artists. I grew up on Jane Doe, I used to cover their songs in one of my first bands, so to get up and play with those guys, shake their hand and get to experience that show was a real bucket list experience. We’re always down to play with these bigger artists when the opportunity arrises. No matter how many headlining shows or tours you do, when you get to open up for a band like that, it’s like becoming a kid again and you remember the thrill of playing music all over again.
  • Tell us about your experiences playing Soundwave.
Soundwave was insane. That was something we never expected to happen, then one day I get woken up by a call saying “Hey, would Life Pilot like to play main stage at Soundwave?” That year’s lineup was insane. We were playing on the same stage as bands like Linkin Park, Stone Sour, Blink 182, and freaking Metallica! We’re hanging backstage seeing all these road cases covered in band logos we all grew up idolising, it was super surreal. It wasn’t without its setbacks though. We had to shorten our set last minute due to some event delays, it was disgustingly hot up there, we all almost had heat stroke by the end, I managed to crush my toe with my cymbal case right before we went on and was convinced I’d broken my toe, but I didn’t dare look at it til afterward, and Nick split his bass in half. Mind you, he did throw it about 40ft in the air and let it crash to the ground… soooo… I guess that was the desired result. 
  • Do you have any crazy touring stories? 
Many, haha. Weird things seem to happen at our gigs. We’ve had guys run up on stage and beg Angus to slap them in the face with their thongs, we had a guy once find a roll of gaff tape and start sticking us to our instruments while playing, we’ve had countless people invade the stage and jump through the drum kit. People pick up little Nick and run him around the room, I’ve had people steal parts of the drum kit mid-set and run off with things. Outside of the gigs we’ve thankfully not had too much craziness happen. Those are the times you want to be a little more low-key. 
  • Where do you hope to see Life Pilot go from here? 
Wherever we can. As I said we’ll be putting out more music this year, and a lot more touring. We’ve discussed the possibilities of getting over to Japan or S.E. Asia, which would be wild. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess, but we’ll always keep doing what we’re doing for ourselves and the people who enjoy it. There’s a whole lot more Life Pilot to come over the next few years.
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