Pill gives us strength as we come to terms with chaos in the premiere of “Side Eye,” a single from their upcoming EP entitled Aggressive Advertising. Due to be released on June 30, they are following up their 2016 debut LP Convenience with a second release on Dull Tools, returning to the cassette tape roots of their first EP.
Pill is Veronica Torres, Jon Campolo, Ben Jaffe, and Andrew Spaulding. Politics remain important to Pill and these themes persist in “Side Eye.” They refuse to roll back efforts to scratch away at the burning itch of misogyny, although arduous. They maintain creative flexibility and innovation in these seven tracks as moods range from guarded and abrasive to relaxed and danceable.
Torres and Campolo talk with Audiofemme about the underlying theme of “Side Eye” and their recent European Tour.
AudioFemme: What is the subject or theme of “Side Eye”?
Veronica Torres: The song explores the duplicitous feeling of needing to take action and burn down walls against misogyny, and then the exhaustion that comes along with being questioned for every action and your capability to do any job. In an interview last fall a journalist asked me if I was an angry girl, and I battled against it and fiercely denied the term he applied to me and our music. I still believe that if I was a man I would not be positioned so crudely into a one-dimensional feeling. I think it would have been padded to suggest some focus in ideology, or at the very least I could have been called a woman. At the end of the day though, I guess I am angry. There is a lot to fight—sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc—but I feel comforted by the fact that there are so many beautiful people holding up a torch in these dark times.
AF: Where was Aggressive Advertising recorded? What did you look to for inspiration while creating?
Jonathan Campolo: We recorded Aggressive Advertising with fifth Pill Andy Chugg, who’s produced everything we’ve made. This EP comes with a little reinvention, a little shift in language—for instance, I sing throughout a full track for the first time (“Afraid of the Mirror”), something we plan to work with more for the next record. There are also moments, like in “Piña Queen,” that are legitimately posi and danceable, a feeling not so present on our first LP Convenience, with all of its anxieties.
VT: We really wanted to push the boundaries of what we ourselves think Pill is as a band, and to also have fun since it’s an EP. We were initially inspired by a library “muzak” record that Andrew got his hands on—also called Aggressive Advertising—that had a sharp 80s business edge. I could hear the stock market rising and all the power suits tightening around every crotch.
AF: How did the making of this record differ from previous releases?
JC: This new EP still retains all the genre-jumping and instrumental changes that every Pill release has had so far, but more concentrated. On tracks like “Side Eye,” we combined almost four different demos into one song. The format of an EP is very fun for that reason—we don’t feel pressure to keep to a single narrative, concept, etc.
VT: With this EP we had a much more touch and go approach. There are some pretty strange songs that didn’t make the cut, but I hope will get released some day…
AF: Who are some local bands that inspire you and why?
JC: Other local weirdos we love are: Palberta, Frank Hurricane, Dougie Poole, Macula Dog, Tredici Bacci . . . All of these people are invested in invention. For all those who are lost that believe nothing feels “new” anymore, leave your homes!
AF: What was the most interesting and/or challenging experience of your recent European tour? Did you feel a difference between Europe and America in their attitude toward your work?
JC: DIY is alive and thriving! On this last Euro tour we played squats, house shows, tiny bars, and festivals—really ran the gamut. My favorite memory was post show in Hanover, DE. We were taken to a STATE-FUNDED artist village made out of shipping containers that a friend-of-a-friend was DJing (Cumbia all night baby), and got to jam on a drum kit and guitar setup in the middle of a hand-made skatepark. (Veronica played guitar?!) We kind of hijacked it, maybe drunk jammed for about two hours, then realized no one was left.
AF: What’s next for tour? Will there be a release show?
JC: YES!!!!! We are concentrating on writing again, and will have a release show this month; details are still in the works. We have some local shows this summer and may tour ye olde USA a little this fall. See you out there!
Stream “Side Eye” from Aggressive Advertising below!