Pkew Pkew Pkew are four guys from Southern Ontario who like to play shows, drink and party (not necessarily in that order). They will be releasing their self-titled debut full-length on June 10th via Royal Mountain Records and will be heading out on tours with PUP, Rozwell Kid, Direct Hit! and Problem Daughter right after. Make sure to give their album a listen, go watch them live. And in case you’re wondering, yes… they will take you up on that offer for a beer. Here’s an interview with the band who would even have Andrew WK going ‘man, these guys can party hard!’
PRT: First of all, what’s up with the band name? Where did that one come from?
Pkew3x: We wanted a name that people would either love or hate, something that would stand out on a poster, and something that is kind of annoying. I think having a polarizing band name helps narrow down your fan base. If a person thinks, “I’m not listening to that band because their name is so stupid” that’s okay, because that person probably won’t like an album where 4 drunks guys yell at them about how much they love drinking.
I can’t quite remember where the name came from. I know I made it up in high school and it took me a long time to find the right band for the name. I like the idea of making a band name a sound, so then when people say it, they can add their own spin on it and you can hear how enthusiastic they are by how they say it.
Also there are not many things on the Internet that start with the letters P and K, so we kept it.
PRT: Can you give me the history of the band written in the form of a tweet?
Pkew3x: @pkewx3 are four drunk Canadians that sing about drinking beers and whiskey and gin and vodka and rum and wine and we play lots of shows and
No, I guess I can't.
PRT: Your bio said that Ryan used to play in a TV theme song cover band. Do any of those theme songs still work their way into your sets from time to time? And what’s the one theme song you’d never come near?
Pkew3x: Well, the story behind this is, Ryan and I met after I posted an extremely obnoxious craigslist ad looking for a lead guitar player. It was last resort and I really didn’t think it would work, so I wrote a lot of stupid stuff in it. Ryan was the only person in Toronto that replied, and what he sent me was a MySpace links to TV theme covers that he had made, and they barely had any guitar in them. I thought that was a funny way to reply to such an obnoxious ad, so I got in touch with him. Our first meeting we drank a couple bottles of wine on my roof, no instruments were played. Now we’ve been pals for many years, even getting so close that we’ve shared a bedroom (not a bed, had 2 beds) to save money on rent. It may be the most successful Internet relationship of all time.
And no, they have never made it into a set.
As far as an untouchable theme song goes, we would probably debate that amongst the band a lot, I’m gonna go with the Sunday Night Football song, but the Faith Hill version. It gives me goosebumps everytime it comes on.
PRT: If you could get one of your songs in a movie, which song would be in which movie and in which scene? And why?
Pkew3x: Training montage. Rocky 4. Stop Calling Us, Chief. Because chief is about not letting people get away with stuff and you can’t kill one of Rocky’s friends without getting fucked up. Rocky needs an inspirational song to workout to, because not only is he trying to win a boxing match, he is about to solve the relationship problem between the USA and Russia in the process.
PRT: There’s a lot of drinking going on in the lyrics. Do you have any favorite drinking games or do you just chug?
Pkew3x: No, no drinking games. Often in drinking games the punishment for failure is having to take a sip of your drink, this is something that we find confusing. Whenever we play sports, we drink beer instead of gatorade or water so I guess if I had to pick a drinking game it would be drinking beer while playing football.
PRT: In between all the partying and drinking, you managed to write a solid album, which you recorded with Jon Drew and Ryan Mall. What was it they were able to bring to the table? Any important lessons you picked up from them?
Pkew3x: Thank you. We recorded the album in Toronto with Jon Drew at his studio Taurus. What Jon brought to the table was 4 tall cans of Sapporo and a mickey of Canadian Club Small Batch. Over the process of recording we became best buds 4 life. I wanted to work with Jon as a producer because we share the same songwriting ideals. He was great at coming up with little suggestions that made perfect sense for us and rarely was there any disagreements. He also convinced us to use a few songs on the album that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We are very glad we let him win those battles and we felt very comfortable in the hands of Jon Drew.
We got Ryan Mall to mix the album because he has worked with a nice mix of a bunch of our favorite bands. After hearing a first mix, we all felt like he was gonna nail it and then he did, with very few notes.
An overall lesson that we've learned is to trust that these dudes know what they're doing and we don't, taking advice and constructive criticism well is really important and something we had to get used to. A good studio trick we learned from Jon is to start drinking at night instead of during the day, productivity goes way up.
PRT: I came across an older version of “Stop Calling Us Chief” that wasn’t quite as in your face as the version on the album. Did it change gradually through playing it live or is that partially due to working with Jon and Ryan?
Pkew3x: Chief was originally built to annoy. It was straight 16th notes on the kick drum for the first 3 quarters of the song, then for the final verse the snare would come in. We had a recording where it sounded kinda cool, but it never translated to live performance. Me and the rest of the band didn’t want to record chief but Jon insisted, I’m really glad he did because now we all like that song again. I think it took some sonic vision to make it work, so that’s a time when we just had to trust that Jon would be right.
PRT: The song “Glory Days” is about people who look back on high school and realize that was the best time you’ll ever have. Were there a lot of people like that where you grew up? And would that make you the ones who didn’t fit in?
Pkew3x: Ya, we all had pretty similar high school experiences. I realized at a young age that when you're a kid, your choices for friends are kind of a product of proximity. My parents decided to move to a small hockey town, so that’s what I had to choose from. I had and still have 4 or 5 great friends from that time, but always wondered about that “these are the best days of your life” cliché. I was unwilling to accept that. I didn’t have a bad time in high school at all though, it was a great time. Underage drinking is one of the most fun things a human can do!
PRT: Anyone who was seen Zombieland, knows the rules on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Are there rules on how to survive an asshole pandemic as well?
Pkew3x: I'm not sure if there are any rules. All I'm sure of is that our song would probably be used a lot in news pieces or as a protest song or something, which would be pretty cool cause we're all really poor and could use the money.
PRT: You’ll be on tour with PUP and then with Direct Hit for almost the entire next two months. How do you plan to survive on the road for that long?
Pkew3x: Well, we will probably need the help of some friends that we haven’t met yet. Hi, we’re Pkew Pkew Pkew and we would love to sleep on your floor. Don’t feel like you need take care of us, a mere kitchen floor will do just fine! We'll bring our own sleeping bags, pillows and toiletries. We’re also great at cooking eggs and making coffee.
PRT: Anything you forgot to bring from home? Here’s your chance to let everyone know. Maybe someone will be nice enough to bring it to one of the shows.
Pkew3x: Beers please. We literally don't care what kind or the temperature. We drank piping hot beers once and really enjoyed them. It's gonna be a thing one day.
Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.