Graham Kilmer
Band of the Week

Piles Plays Rock With Skateboard Sensibility

Yet they cite Neil Diamond as a key influence. Go figure.

By - Nov 13th, 2015 11:36 am
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Piles. Photo by Joe Kirschling.

Piles. Photo by Joe Kirschling.

Local band Piles echoes the experience of skateboarding in their music. Their sound, which is laden with punk sensibilities, has a tendency to switch things up. Some tracks have the listener rolling to a fluid and cerebral rhythm, while others leave them grinding along a raw, driving guitar riff on the next record. And that’s precisely what Nolan Truttschell, Drew Gricar and Jesse Harmon have in mind, as they impart their skater sensibilities on each track.

How did you get started?

Truttschell: We started in early summer of 2013. Andrew and I knew each other from mutual friends and working in Bay View. We started jamming in my basement, and eventually recruited Jesse to play guitar. I had been in previous music projects with Jesse, and I knew that he was open at the time. I ended up switching to bass because Jesse is a way better guitar player than me and it just clicked.

Any particular artist that inspired you?

Gricar: I grew up skateboarding and took a lot from the music in skate videos. Dinosaur Jr. is a particularly big influence on the rhythm section. Overall, we are a big mesh of a lot of different influences.

Where did your name come from?

Gricar: Piles is a lazy group of people that consume too much fun, or something like that. There was an article in Thrasher magazine that referred to the skateboarders as piles of guys going on a skate trip. I thought it fit the same way for a group of people making music and drinking beer in a basement.

How old are you?

Harmon: 27

Truttschell: 30

Gricar: 29

How would you describe your music?

Truttschell: Driving rhythmical guitar music that is aggressive, but it can also be very peaceful at moments.

Gricar: Music to ride a skateboard to.

Have you been influenced by any local musicians/artists?

Truttschell: Sure, maybe not directly by sounding like them, but by watching what other bands do. It gives us a good sense of direction and momentum to see what is going on around us, a sense of if we are slacking or not.

What are some of your influences?

Gricar: Bad Brains, GG Allin, Dinosaur Jr. and Neil Diamond, can’t forget about him.

Truttschell: Jesse and I get into a lot of the same types of things at the same time. We both are really into Protomatyr and Viet Cong right now. I really like bands like Guided by Voices, Kurt Vile, Will Oldham and a lot of more mellow stuff. Harmon: The Fall, Elliott Smith, and Sonic Youth are a few of my influences.

What are your lyrics typically about?

Truttschell: Whatever comes into my mind after procrastinating until the very last second before recording.

Harmon: I’m trying to write more abstract lyrics because I find it more engaging as a listener. Overall I think of my lyrics as a very small part of our music hopefully adding and not distracting from the mood and tone set by the instruments.

Gricar: I can never really tell what Jesse is saying, but I sometimes come up with my own versions of what I think he’s saying.

What do you think of the local music scene? Is there potential for it to be recognized nationally?

Truttschell: The potential is here; the local bands are great right now and always have been. As far as nationally, who knows. It’s up to the people around to push it to whatever level they want to get out of it.

Where do you most often play in Milwaukee?

Gricar: We have played all over. We seem to have long runs in Riverwest and then end up playing a couple shows straight in Bay View. Though, its mostly Riverwest, because there are a lot of shows happening all nights of the week, and more venues, including DIY spots.

Favorite place to play?

Truttschell: Circle A is a really fun place to play. Basement shows are always fun. We are playing at Burnhearts on Nov 19th, which is going to be an awesome party they are throwing. Playing at Acme Records in Bay View was a really cool experience. Anywhere there is good energy and people are excited to see live music.

Have you toured anywhere?

Truttschell: So far we have stayed mostly local. A couple of shows in nearby towns but it’s something we need to work on. At least hit Chicago and the Twin Cities perhaps.

Do you have any Albums or Ep’s?

Gricar: We have a self-titled Ep and a full length album called “Planet Skin.” Both available on bandcamp.

What are your plans for the future?

Truttschell: We have been working on a new record this past year. It’s shaping up differently, but we’re still keeping our basic sound intact. We’re getting really close to being ready to get the recording process going. Other than that, we are trying our best to keep it fun and keep progressing in our music.

Cascio Interstate Music is proud to sponsor Urban Milwaukee’s Band of the Week column. Running in tandem with their own Band of the Month program, supporting local music is key to CIM’s mission.

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