Interview: PVMNTS

Words by Maddy Howell       Photo by Lauren Brown

Having grown up with music and spent their lives darting between different bands and musical projects, the members of newly-formed Los Angeles trio, PVMNTS, are no strangers to this hectic world. Born from the ashes of pop-punk outfit, Lost in Kostko, frontman Tyler Posey refused to let his acting career halt his musical growth for too long, bringing old friend Freddy Ramirez along for the ride on a new adventure.

Now with fresh talent behind the drum kit and a positive outlook on touring life, we caught up with the band to discuss the impact of Blink-182, surprising influences and kickstarting their career overseas...

Burn After Writing: When did it first become apparent to you that music was something you really wanted to pursue?

Tyler Posey: I think what really solidified my love for music was when I was about 8 years old and I moved to a different country. I moved to Canada for four years of my life because I was filming a TV show and most of the cast and the people I was hanging around with were all adults, I was the youngest kid by far. At that same time, I’d just bought 'Enema of the State' by Blink-182 and that’s all I listened to.

At that time, Canada had a really cool punk scene and it just became my best friend. Blink-182 and punk music just completely became my best friends. I fell in love with the scene, the genre, the idea of touring, the idea of changing people's lives and the idea of my music changing people’s lives. I bought all the DVDs of Blink-182 touring and as soon as I saw that I was hooked and immediately knew that was what I was made for. Then I birthed Freddy, and Freddy birthed Nick, and we started PVMNTS.

BAW: Tyler and Freddy, you were both in a band together before PVMNTS formed. What caused the demise of Lost in Kostko and how did you come to start up this new project with Nick?

Freddy Ramirez: Tyler and I both got really busy with our jobs and what we do, so there needed to be a break and a little hiatus from that. We also felt that we did accomplish a lot of things with that band as well, so we thought it was okay to disband for a little bit and come back to it in the future.

Because of our work, we weren’t really able to put our 100% into the whole project so we decided to go away for a little bit, and we came back as PVMNTS with Nick. I met Nick through school and I just felt like he was a perfect fit for what we wanted to do. Tyler and I have always had a really good chemistry when it comes to music and the way we write, we always finish each other’s riffs and vocals off.

TP: [Laughing] Sorry, I thought you were going to say something else.

FR: I hate you. Anyway, with our chemistry, we added Nick in too. He has the same amount of love and passion for what we do and it just worked so well. It feels like it was a good start to something new.

TP: Yeah, the three of us get along really well and are all very like-minded in our interests, goals, and influences. Freddie and I have been in a few bands throughout our lives and this is by far the most organic and natural but also most talented band I’ve been in.

BAW: So, PVMNTS actually formed around two years ago, but you’re only just setting to work on recording your debut EP. What has the road so far consisted of and is progress looking to be any more fast-paced from now on?

FR: Progress will definitely be quicker from this point onwards. The progress before now has been a little slower because first of all, it was just Tyler and me, we didn’t have a drummer. We tried playing with a couple of drummers and it didn't really work out, but then I brought Nick in and everything just seemed to mesh really well.

So with that and with him having to write his parts and things like that, it took some time to get settled in and get us to this point. From this point on though, now that we have the group basically full and we have the idea of what we want to do, everything should move a lot quicker and smoother. Not necessarily rushed, because nothing should be rushed in my opinion, but definitely moving in a steady fashion.

Nick Guzman: Yeah, also I know that when I was brought in there was some scheduling conflict, mostly with me I think. For a time I became pretty unavailable, so we weren’t able to meet up as much and do what we wanted to do. So as soon as we all became available we just attacked it and went really hard and it all started going from there.

BAW: You guys are based in Los Angeles, a city that’s pretty notorious for its punk scene. Do you think that your location played a part in making PVMNTS what it is?

TP: I don’t know really because we haven’t actually played out here yet. What do you think Freddie?

FR: I mean as far as the punk scene out here, it’s obviously such a music rich city. I’m not speaking like our generation of punk, or even the Blink-182 scene, it was more in the 80s. But I’m pretty sure our influences do stem from the city just because that history is so rich. So because of that and because of bands like Blink-182 who kind of forged our passion, I think that in a sense where we’re from does influence what we do and helped in getting us our start. I wouldn't really pinpoint that as the main reason though, where we’re from is an influence but it’s not necessarily the driving force behind what we do.

TP: I think people might also have high expectations of our sound as being pretty punk, with us being from Los Angeles as it’s such a sick scene. I think everyone was pretty pleasantly surprised with the single we put out. So yeah, I think growing up here and growing up surrounded by that scene and the So-Cal skateboard life has definitely had its influence on our sound

BAW: Listening to Jumping Stairsets, there’s a pretty clear 90s punk influence, with early Blink-182 and New Found Glory vibes. Are there any artists or scenes that have influenced the bands sound which people might be surprised to know about?

TP: Yeah, I think there’s a lot. I personally am obviously really inspired by the 90s punk stuff, but I’m also really into the more modern stuff in that genre like Knuckle Puck and The Story So Far. I’m also really inspired by Sheryl Crow, I went through a phase not too long ago and I realised how fucking awesome she is. Dido is also really cool. Those are the two names that I’ve been saying lately but I want to come up with more artists that will shock people [laughs].

BAW: You’ve also been in talks about filming a music video for Jumping Stairsets, could you tell us a little bit about how that’s progressing?

TP: We’re mostly just throwing around ideas right now. The director who wants to do the video with us is back in town now and is free so hopefully we’ll meet up with him pretty soon to flesh out some ideas. We originally wanted to do a lyric video, but we wanted to do a different spin on that idea. The idea was to make it live-action, where we would actually hold up the lyrics on cue cards and make it more interactive, rather than just having lyrics scroll across the screen. We’ve got a lot of ideas for what we want to do but we’re going to start fleshing them out and working on them sometime very soon.

BAW: You’re currently in the process of recording your debut EP, how’s that whole process going?

TP: It’s going great! Yesterday was our first day and today is going to be our second. We did drums all day yesterday and Nick got his ass kicked.

NG: [laughs] and I’m going to get my ass kicked again today, I can’t wait!

TP: But it’s really fucking cool being in a real, professional recording studio with somebody really talented who also has an equal amount of love for this genre. Kyle Black, our producer, is super stoked to have us in there and is really into our songs. He’s also throwing in his advice and it’s just a really great collaborative process which is so fucking fun.

I didn’t do anything yesterday, I just sat down listening to the drums and I had the greatest time of my life, so it’s going really well. But it’s still just the first day, so it's going to be a lot of work and it's going to make us better musicians. Nick stepped out of the drum room ten times better than he was, and he was already a genius. I’m excited to have Kyle go over parts again and again until we get them down and I’m excited to walk out of this process as a better musician.

BAW: As you mentioned, you’re working with Kyle Black on this release, a producer who’s collaborated with countless incredible artists including State Champs, Seaway and Boston Manor. How did you come to work with him?

FR: We recorded with him about 10 years ago, when he was kind of getting known in the scene. Tyler and I were in a band when we met and the guys who organised that band ended up running into him somehow and we started recording with him. So we have a little bit of history with him, nothing major but we knew what he could do back then and were like, “wow, I wonder what he can do now”.

We ended up finding out that a lot of our favourite bands like State Champs and To The Wind have recorded with him, and it’s crazy to think about how we’re in a studio where all of our favourite bands have gotten their asses kicked by him. I don’t think it really influences me in any way, but it does make me want to progress as a musician. It’s crazy to think that we’re doing this at our level right now and we’re sitting in spots where our favourite musicians were a couple of years ago recording albums that we love today. It’s crazy and it really pushes us to be better musicians, as Tyler said before, it’s really going to change how we play and we’re really stoked to see that progress in ourselves.

BAW: So obviously with you being recording at the moment, when can we expect to hear new music?

TP: Hopefully A-S-A-fuckin-P. Ideally, it’ll be mid to late April if everything goes to plan. We’ll be done recording in early April and hopefully will have everything mixed and mastered within that month. Then we’ll release that record and tour that release in the UK. The big goal is to get this finished and released by the time our tour comes around in late May. But we also want enough time for people to be able to listen to it before those shows, so they can know the songs, learn the lyrics and know what the hell is happening when they come out to our live performances.

BAW: Tyler, you used to have a little segment on your YouTube channel titled “Music For Your Ears To Bleed To” because you didn’t think you were the best guitarist or vocalist. Are you any more confident in your talents with this new project?

TP: I didn’t necessarily think that I wasn’t good when I started that project, I just wanted people to have low expectations, I didn’t want anyone to think that I was going to be throwing down any crazy riffs or solos. If their expectations are low and it turns out to be good then they’re gonna be surprised and happy, so that was the idea behind that. I feel like I’ve always been a good guitarist and I’m really good at writing songs but I’m nowhere near a solo master or anything like that, so I was trying to keep people’s expectations low. I feel like I grow every time I pick up a guitar - my weiner does! [Laughs]

BAW: So in terms of live performances, you’re going to be playing this year’s Slam Dunk Festival as well as some headline dates around the UK. How do you feel about kick-starting your career so far from home?

TP: I love it, I couldn’t be happier about it. We’re being thrown completely out of our comfort zone and into something that we’ve never experienced before. I think the best way to do something for the first time is to do it full-force and I love the idea of just giving everything you have the first time you go into something.

It’s going to kickstart this insanity of tour life and everything should be a breeze afterwards because we’ve hit it hard first. I think it’s a really cool way to attack it, especially with the love in the UK for our style of music and this genre. We’re friends with a lot of the bands at Slam Dunk so that’s going to be a lot of fun, playing with the guys that we’ve admired and befriended over the years. Hopefully they’re as excited, probably not though.

FR: It’s insane to think about how we are being thrown into this huge opportunity, which we’ve never been given as long as Tyler and I have been playing music. It’s definitely a little scary but it’s a good type of scary, we don’t really know what to expect in a sense but at the same time we are all confident enough that we can do our best out there. Even though it’s going to be our first time to do something that big, we still have enough passion and love for what we do that once we get up on stage, everything will just become a blur.

By the time we’re done performing we’ll be like, “Woah, what just happened?” and an hour-long set won’t feel that long at all. So, it’s a little nerve-wracking, at least for me, but it’s nothing that we can’t do. Having people that we love as musicians there too like Knuckle Puck and Trash Boat is crazy, I love that we get to share a stage with them and it’s even better that we’re friends with them. It’s going to be like a big get together where we can all hang out, and that will make it a lot less scary.

BAW: You’re also going to be joined by the Australian band The Faim on your UK headline dates. How were you introduced to those guys?

TP: We actually didn’t know them before this tour was lined up. We had a meeting with some tour agents and they were like, “do you guys want to tour?” and we were like, “absolutely, we’re ready to tour”, so they booked this tour for us in the UK. It all just happened really quickly and we were like fuck, who’s gonna be our support - we didn’t know if we got to pick the band or what was happening. We got this one support idea sent to us and were asked what we thought of them and it was The Faim.

I heard 30 seconds of the song and I was like, “we’re in”. Since then we’ve heard a lot of their tunes and have become really big fans of their music, especially the new shit they’ve got coming out. They seem like really cool dudes, we haven’t met them yet but we’ve been in contact with them and they seem just as excited as we are to get this tour started. I feel like there’s going to be a little bit of a friendship forming soon and we’re really stoked to be playing with such talented guys.

FR: It feels like we’re going over to open for them, that’s how talented they are. Nick and I were actually speaking about this a couple of days ago, it feels a little weird that they’re the supporting group, we should be co-sharing the tour at least. It’s crazy because their sound is so big, so it’s a little intimidating but it’s really going to push us as musicians.

TP: Yeah, we should do a co-headlining tour with them. We should call it the…

FR: The Faim PVMNTS tour, copywritten right there.

BAW: So Tyler, obviously you do some acting work alongside PVMNTS, meaning you have a pretty large social media following. You’ve got over two and a half million followers on Twitter, which would seem like a pretty easy way to promote the band’s work, yet you haven’t really mentioned it on there. Is this a case of the account just being largely inactive or is it an attempt to keep your musical work separate from that world?

TP: It’s nothing intentional at all, I’m doing my best to juggle both careers and try not to keep them too separate from each other. If anything I’m trying to merge the two, the band have been talking about somehow coming up with a way to combine music with my experience in film.

I personally am not the biggest fan of Twitter and I like to take little vacations from it, I haven’t really posted on it in a long time. All my social media attention goes towards Instagram and I haven’t shut up about the band on there so I’m definitely not trying to separate the two, I just haven’t really thought about posting on Twitter.

BAW: What are your plans for the rest of 2018?

FR: Play a lot of shows. Go out and share our music with the world and drink a lot of beer while we’re at it.

TP: We’ve got a lot of tours planned, with talks about doing things overseas as well as plans for stuff in the US. We’ve got friends all over the place at Emo Nite and loads of other venues like that so we’ve got connections to play places there. We’ve got music videos coming out, our EP’s coming out. We’ve got a lot of merch ideas coming out, we’re going to be working with one of my tattoo artists on those.

I’m also really interested in coming up with a way to merge music with film and figuring that out somehow, so we’ll hopefully be doing a lot of that. I think that’s about it for now though, I’m sure the list will grow as the year goes on because it’s only early in the year, but for now I think that’s it.

FR: Yeah I think that’s everything. It’s good to take everything step-by-step in order to reach our bigger goals, so it’s nice to keep taking the small steps right now. But as Tyler said, there’s so much time left in the year that a lot of things we’re talking about right now will either be completed or well on their way by the time we start touring.

Merging music with film is something that isn’t going to happen overnight but a lot of the things that we’re trying to finish up are specifically for this tour, so after that’s all settled we can focus on other things like Tyler’s idea. That’s the other world that Tyler is a part of, I made short films with my friends when I was a kid but never ventured too far in, so making that crossover into film is going to be really cool. But that won’t happen until after we start getting the ball rolling with PVMNTS.

TP: No, no, no. All focus on movies. PVMNTS movies now! I’m just joking. Freddie’s right, we’ve got a list of things that we need to complete before we can start moving onto other projects, but the year is still young - just like Freddie [laughs].