Pigeons Playing Ping Pong come to play – ILM’s Alternative Weekly Voice


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What are aspiring musicians to do when all the nice band names are taken? Pink Scorching Chili Peppers. Device. Deep Banana Blackout (clearly, taken). And this was solely a brief checklist from Greg Ormont, frontman of Maryland jammers Pigeons Taking part in Ping Pong.

DOWN WITH PPPP: Engage in the jams with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at The Calico Room (107 S. Front St.) on Sat., Jan. 30. Courtesy photo.

DOWN WITH PPPP: Interact within the jams with Pigeons Taking part in Ping Pong at The Calico Room (107 S. Entrance St.) on Sat., Jan. 30. Courtesy photograph.

“It was actually type of like trying to find a website title on GoDaddy and also you need it to be your title, however it received’t be as a result of somebody already has it,” Ormont tells.

Pigeons Taking part in Ping Pong (PPPP) include Greg Ormont (vocals, guitar), Jeremy Schon (guitar, vocals), Ben Carrey (bass, vocals), and Alex Petropulos (drums, electronics). The electro-funk band will probably be headed to the Cape Worry for a present at The Calico Room on Saturday, Jan. 30.

The fellows of PPPP met on the College of Maryland, not removed from their present dwelling base. In reality, Ormont and Schon met the primary day of their freshman 12 months in 2006. “I walked down the corridor with my guitar not figuring out anybody and jammed with two totally different individuals—the primary wasn’t a match made in heaven, however the second was,” Ormont tells, “and I’m nonetheless jamming with Jeremy as we speak.”

As an acoustic duo, Ormont and Schon instantly hit the native open-mic and coffee-shop circuit. Their sound had the beginnings and flashes of what their future band would supply, however nonetheless a lot totally different. “Truly, within the earliest days, Jeremy would begin solo—performing some reside looping (The Jeremy Schon Expertise)—[and] jazz odyssey jams,” Ormont tells. “Then, about midway by, I’d are available with my guitar, or with out, and we’d do mash-ups of canopy songs.”

Some common cowl mashups from these dorm days included “No Girl, No Farmhouse” (of Bob Marley’s “No Girl No Cry” and Phish’s “Farmhouse”), in addition to a mixed model of Sting’s authentic “Each Breath You Take” with P Diddy’s 1997 association, “I’ll Be Lacking You.” “We did these enjoyable covers and goofy originals, I’d say extra jazz/rock inclined, however now we’re producing high-energy psychedelic funk,” Ormont provides of being joined by Carrey and Petropulos later. The four-piece band was in full swing by 2008.

Since, PPPP’s sound has developed primarily by a rigorous tour schedule. The final three years, particularly (paired with the discharge of their final album, “Psychology,” in 2014), have required them to buckle down on- and offstage.

“We follow collectively loads,” he says. “We additionally follow on our personal, however we’re specializing in creating our music as a unit, which is what the jam scene is all about.”

The band has grow to be extra ingrained within the pageant circuit and even added to it. For the seventh 12 months Pigeons Taking part in Ping Pong will headline their very own music pageant, DomeFest, in Bedford, PA. Scheduled for Could 19-21, the preliminary lineup has been introduced, and consists of North Carolina’s Huge One thing. “It’s the last word gathering of the ‘flock,’” Ormont says, referring to their fanbase.

“As soon as summer season rolls round, it’s an inflow of music; it’s music overload,” he says. “There’s nothing you are able to do however soak it in. We actively hunt down new music and dive head-first into it.”

Ormont and firm’s pursuits run the gamut musically, corresponding to French soul-groove band Electro Deluxe, whose big-band horns and animated frontman captivate. Then there are long-time influences, like Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio and Phish. Now, with a lot time and vitality spent on the highway, Ormont says they’re beginning to hear signature jam kinds inside their very own music. Songs like “F.U.” and “Melting Lights” supply a type of “Pigeon funk” distinctive to the 4 gamers. But, there are additionally hints of reggae in “Julia” and electrical grooves in “Schwanthem.” It’s a collective sound they proceed to develop out and in of the studio. “We’re all the time engaged on new materials . . . and you may anticipate much more thrilling stuff quickly,” he hints for 2016.

The songwriting course of usually stays open, with one particular person coming to the table with lyrics or track concepts, whereas everybody provides one thing to make it uniquely PPPP. Thus they maximize on every particular person’s expertise and progress. Ormont continues, “We’re open to morphing an authentic thought into a gaggle thought. . . . It’s necessary to drop your ego and be open to having your child change a bit.”

Their reside efficiency blends vitality, viewers participation and improv. The stage is a superb place to introduce new devices as properly.

“We just lately began utilizing a slide-whistle for enjoyable, it’s been actually thrilling reside,” Ormont explains. “Some actually fascinating moments occur once we bust out the slide-whistle … and if Ben busts out the double-slide whistle then that’s an entire different story.”

The fellows make the most of something that makes a sound of their songwriting course of—from piano to GarageBand for Mac. Ormont’s main focus, nonetheless, is to grow to be probably the most proficient guitarist and songwriter attainable. They’re all more-or-less self-taught skills. He and his bandmates had been by no means educated per se, nor did anybody graduate in 2010 with a level in music. “I want I did,” he admits, “however, possibly I wouldn’t be in enterprise if I did and that might be an actual bummer.”

Ormont has been singing all of his life in choirs and performs. He finally picked up a guitar in class. “I began my profession within the kindergarten circuit at age 5 and by no means seemed again,” he quips.

Early on, as his curiosity in jam music spawned, he found one other intriguing side of the scene: viewers connection. It remained a driving affect and outlook of how PPPP exhibits would go.

“I used to be actually misplaced in a jam that Darkish Star Orchestra was enjoying—simply taking it on the market and crushing it,” Ormont remembers, “and, within the midst of me specializing in the music, one in every of their keyboardists popped his head up immediately at me and gave me a goofy smile, and resumed within the jam as if nothing occurred. And the shock of that one-on-one connection at such an enormous and funky present all the time caught with me. I all the time wish to embody the viewers in our present like they did for me. Hopefully, we are able to do this in Wilmington.”

The vitality and interplay—paired with funky dance, digital loops and fast-paced lyrics—are sufficient to maintain a room crammed with positivity and miles of smiles. “We play with end-of-the-world-like enthusiasm,” Ormont provides, “whether or not in entrance of 300 or three,000 individuals. We’re going pedal to the metallic, and the general vibe is simply overwhelmingly optimistic.”

For extra on Pigeons Taking part in Ping Pong, go to www.pigeonsplayingpingpong.com. Or take a look at www.domefestival.com for extra on DomeFest, developing in Could.