Words By Alicia Maciel
LA rock quartet together PANGEA is driving across the nation, touring in support of their latest full-length album Bulls and Roosters, via Nettwerk. The Bulls and Roosters Tour kicked off on September 14th in San Diego, CA and is wrapping up on October 22nd, and feature support from Tall Juan and Daddy Issues.
Releasing a 1-minute-40-second gimmicky, nostalgic music video via Stereogum for the album’s mosh inducing lead single “Better Find Out”, directed by Steele O’Neal, heightened expectations of fans everywhere. The video can be seen HERE. “Better Find Out” is available to download/stream now HERE.
Co-produced by together PANGEA and longtime collaborator Andrew Schubert, and mixed by Chris Coady (TV On The Radio, Beach House, The Black Lips), Bulls and Roosters was recorded to two-inch tape at Golden Beat studios in Los Angeles and showcases a more matured sound than prior efforts.
“We wanted to try new things and experiment with making music that wasn’t so aggressive or fast,” said singer/guitarist William Keegan. “Rather than worrying about any expectations, we were like, ‘Fuck all that. Let’s be as honest as we can possibly be.’ Sure, it’s growth, but there’s still a brattiness to it.”
Together Pangea have continually challenged themselves with each subsequent offering. Jelly Jam  poured the gasoline, Living Dummy  struck the match, and Badillac  lit the fire with its revved-up nineties rock-inspired flames. Along the way, fan favorites like “Sick Shit,” “Badillac,” and “Offer” would rack up millions of Spotify streams. “Snakedog” became a plot point in a bonkers episode of NCIS and “Sick Shit” soundtracked a trailer for HBO’s Animals, while the group received support from Consequence of Sound, Pitchfork, MTV, Stereogum, and more. Following the 2015 release of The Phage EP, produced by The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, the boys independently embarked on the journey to what would become Bulls and Roosters.
Bringing matured rock brattiness along with minimalistic, portrait album art – Bulls and Roosters represents together PANGEA’s growth and determinacy of “never making the same album twice”. Other than the album art alone standing out compared to their previous album artworks, Bulls and Roosters is a tame yet brash rock n’ roll earworm that’ll stay in listeners’ minds for years to come.
While on the road heading to their Nashville gig at noon central time, bassist Danny Bengston took some time to chat with me on the phone.
Photo credit: Derek Perlman
Hey Danny, how are you?
Pretty good – it’s been a nice day, not too long of a drive. We’re driving to Nashville from Atlanta right now. We just played in Orlando yesterday. It was awesome, never played there before. The show was beyond our expectations!
That’s sick – was the show close to capacity?
The room was pretty big, a lot more people were there than we thought there would be.
To start off, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your gear. What you got, any pedals?
I have two basses I take on the road, one’s a Rickenbacker maple wood and the other’s a Fender P bass. I play them through a 1978 Peavy Mark III bass amp head. 410115 bass cabinet and a chewing pedal.
What tones did you find in your equipment that resonates with your sound?
I’ve always liked my very first bass amp. It has a great, shitty sound so I just looked around until I got another Peavy.
When recording your bass tracks, do you record along with the drummer live or are the drums overdubbed?
Most of the time, we record drums, guitar, and bass altogether live. I think it really adds to the sound and it’s always better to play together. On this album, there’s one or two songs without everyone recording together.
Are the bass parts planned or is it more improvisation?
The bass parts are planned ahead. We tend to write a month in advance. So, we’d learn a new song and I’ll go into working on bass parts.
What’s the songwriting process like for the band?
Usually, William or I bring ideas to the table.
It seems you guys have taken a different approach to songwriting, less garage rock influenced and more honky-tonk, 60s/70s country rock. What drew you to this change other than simply bringing different sounds to your audience?
As a band, we decided collectively to keep writing music we enjoy and we take influence from the music we’re listening to during the recording process. During this album, we were listening to a lot of Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young.
I recognized you guys recorded Bulls and Roosters on tape. Is there a reason together PANGEA took the analog route?
We chose to go in that direction since it would fit the mood of the songs a lot better.
What’s your favorite track on the album?
After making the album and having some time away from it, “Gold Moon” is my favorite. I really like the vibe of the song, the guitar playing, and everything else about it.
Why did you choose to name the album after the track Bulls and Roosters?
It’s a reference to a painting by John Baldessari. It’s about selling artwork and we thought it fit well.
With Bulls and Roosters being a more minimalistic take compared to your previous, more aggressive works – do you feel it’s the best work of the band so far?
Definitely – I think it’s the best stuff we’ve done so far.
While you’re on the road, I figure you guys are already working on some stuff.
Yeah, we’re working on some things right now and are trying to get in the studio soon enough to get a demo done.
Is the Bulls and Roosters tour your first big, national headlining tour?
No, I think it’s our third or fourth American headlining tour. We did one for Badillac and The Phase.
I’m excited for your show here in Chicago on the 6th – are there any other cities you’re looking forward to hit?
We LOVE Chicago, it’s one of our favorite places to play. The crowd’s always really good, so are the people and the food. New York is always a spot to look forward to as well as Toronto. We’re looking forward to heading back to the west coast, too.
Check out together PANGEA on tour! Hope to see some fellow Chicagoans at Bottom Lounge Friday, October 6!
September 26 – Nashville, TN @ The End
September 27 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Back Room
September 28 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
September 29 – Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge
September 30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg*
October 01 – Boston, MA @ Sonia’s Nightclub
October 03 – Montreal, QC @ L’Escogriffe
October 04 – Toronto, ON @ The Hard Luck
October 05 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
October 06 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
October 07 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency
October 08 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry
October 10 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
October 11 – Ames, IA @ Iowa State University – The Maintenance Shop
October 12 – Omaha, NE @ Showdown
October 13 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
October 14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
October 16 – Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project
October 17 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
October 18 – Portland, OR @ Analog Theater
October 20 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Night Club
October 21 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
October 22 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst – Atrium
Tickets for the tour are available now HERE.
Alicia Maciel is a junior at DePaul University studying marketing, music business, public relations, and advertising. Immersing in photography, promotion, interviews, interning at Metro and Notion Presents, managing The Chicago Vibe, curating live music, and plenty more – she hopes to bring innovation to the music scene. “A Chicagoan gal making music personnel personal.”