We love Free Pizza. Who doesn’t? But let’s be clear, as much as we love mozzarella in layers upon layers of delicious marinara, toppings, and a fluffy crust, IMPOSE is a big fan of the band Free Pizza. Hailing from different areas of the world, this trio is a force to be reckoned with. We love covering their music on IMPOSE, and we loved it even more when we got a chance to interview them. Things got fascinating (extensive background on their songs), a little bit weird, but let’s just say… they’re really into astrology.
If you could introduce yourselves to our readers in any way, with money not being a factor, how would you do so?
We would DM them “Hey” on insta :-}
We would pay the $30 it costs to use that app to compare our astrological star charts with theirs to figure out how our personalities work together.
Where are you all from? How do you think that has affected your sound?
Jesus and Santiago are Chilean and Colombian, they grew up in Miami, moved to Boston to attend art skool, and that’s where they first met Rory (long before he joined the band) who had moved to Boston from New Zealand to spend a minute at music skool. Rory is originally from in Minneapolis, MN but grew up in Dunedin, NZ.
Free Pizza’s earliest influences came in Boston during a period when the DIY basement show scene was thriving with little police intervention in what we idealized as a golden era of magic and dreams. The aesthetic and musical influence came from our encounters with people cultivating their own thing and sharing the gift, mostly facilitated via a sweet network of house venues and zines including the likes of the Boston Compass, the High Five zine, and places like The Whitehaus Family Record, Gay Gardens, the Butcher Shoppe and many more. Intimate living room settings and crusty basements were the places where we first saw bands like Quilt, Happy Jawbone, Colleen Green, Vivian Girls etc. It was during that time that we wrote the majority of the material on our first album, Boston, MA, and that’s why that record is full of joyous songs that celebrate partying, drinking 40s and going to shows.
After graduating from college and spending another 2 or 3 years in Boston doing Free Pizza, we left to Miami with our previous drummer, Nick Rasmussen, in order to set ourselves up to start traveling more. Miami has a thriving punk scene mixed in with noise and experimental weird bands, so we got to play shows with bands like Nunhex, Jellyfish Brothers, Bruiser, etc – all while experiencing the confusion of living at home with our parents for the first time in 7 years. The transition had an effect on our mindset to say the least. By living at home we were able to save up money for the next adventure, Nick returned to Boston and toured with Ben Katzman. Meanwhile Rory joined us in Berlin, where we lived off our savings from Miami. We had the freedom of writing a lot of songs, and integrating our musical approach in with Rory’s. In Berlin we were able to try out all this stuff in front of a completely new audience. Rory is somewhat of a music aficionado, among many things he exposed us to a lot of bands on Flying Nun, a label active in New Zealand during the 80s, as well as stuff like the Byrds and other jangley bands – all of that factors into our sound in Berlin, DE. Transitioning to a new city to record a new album helped us reflect on the anxiety and uncertainty that resulted from having outgrown our originally amazing and novel experience in Boston, that’s why the mood gets more somber.
How did you all meet and form the band? What about the name? Where did that come from?
Santiago: Jesus and I were friends in high school, during that time Jesus was playing in bands and recording his own songs. When we got to Boston Jesus insisted on recording some songs with me on Garageband based on some riffs I wrote ripping off the style of the very earliest iteration of Quilt and Shane’s previous band The Good Party. The result was unexpected and weird and we ran with it. We uploaded our first two demos, “Ducks” and “Forward” onto Jesus’ myspace page. We struggled to think of a name until I saw a flier advertising an event at school, promising Free Pizza. “Free Pizza” was the way to ensure people would attend the event or meeting that your poster was advertising before people used Facebook events to gather their friends or classmates. “Free Pizza” is the analog Facebook event page. Think of the word “Free” and focus on the gesture of giving, and the power it has to help us enjoy each other’s friendship. In Spanish I would translate Free Pizza to Pizza Libre.
We met Rory during our last year in art skool, we lived together for a short period of time at the Whitehaus, a music and art collective in Jamaica Plain, MA. Before Rory, we had two other Gemini friends playing drums for the band, originally Anthony Deng, then Nick Rasmussen in our first tours, and finally Rory during and after Berlin.
Your debut LP Boston, MA sold out shortly after its release in 2014. Have your fans taken to the new music in kind?
Boston, MA was originally released as a tape by BUFU, and those copies are long gone, we’re happy so many people liked the album and bought them! That led to a release on vinyl via BUFU and our favorite New England label, Feeding Tube Records. We actually still have a handful of those LP’s available. I think people are enjoying the fact that the new album sounds different and has new ideas, while still being Free Pizza, which comes naturally since we are staying true to ourselves and embracing the change that comes with growth.
Your song “Dancing” is so fun which, I guess it needs to be to get people dancing. What was the writing process like for you?
We can actually detail the writing timeline for that one – That song originated during a jam in our practice space in Boston, when Nick was still in the band, we wrote it just a month or two before we moved away. It had a more driving and consistent punk beat, so it was originally even more straightforward. We had just seen Cassie Ramone play a solo set and got really into that album, Santiago came up with a chord progression based on the sound of Cassie’s songs. Jesus went through a few bass lines until we settled on something and he wrote the lyrics on the spot. We played that version for about half a year and when we were going through our material with Rory he had a different idea for the feel of the song, using more percussive elements instead of a straight forward punk beat. We were totally open to it and completely redid the feel based on Rory’s suggestion to have just a floor tom beat during the verse, and that’s how we recorded it and have been playing it since. When we write songs we tend to take an oblique approach and feel it out, as long as we trust ourselves the results are truly collaborative new for all of us.
The first two tracks you’ve released are very point-blank–they directly address the one-word name of the song. What made you take that approach, and is there a similar pattern to the upcoming EP?
We come up with the names so we can identify the songs after they are written, we like to keep them simple. It is funny that many artists prefer to avoid coloring their work with funny expressive titles, we are also guilty of just using serious short titles but we have to do what we can to counteract our goofy band name.
SPIN compared you to “a particularly nervous Smiths trying to impress John Peel.” What was that reaction like for you?
Biggest fucking compliment they could have given us. We were actually really into Queen is Dead, and bands like Felt and The Happy Mondays, and intentionally steered the production in a direction that would have that effect.
What is your favorite venue to play?
Currently our favorite venue to play is Drkmttr, an independent all ages venue in Nashville, TN that is run by a lot of amazing and under recognized locals including Kathryn Edwards, Mac J, and Josh Gillis among many others. It’s the location of the music video for “Dancing” actually!
If you could tour with anyone—living or deceased—who would it be, and why?
Honestly we would really like to tour with Juan Wauters, we all really like his stuff. As far as classic RIPpers go, we would loveeeeeto shred Argentina with the Ramones.
What is your opinion on the state of the music industry?
All we can tell you is that BUFU Records is the future, just look at Ben Katzman’s miracle astrological chart.
What is one thing that you think is underappreciated in this world?
We’d like for our singer and bassist Jesus, the Aries (visionary and idealist) to answer this one personally: The artist (the musician, painter, sculptures, writers, etc), people with specific creative characters contributing in the field of imagination, transcendental engagement and spiritual necessity is underappreciated. Generally, there seems to be a minimal amount of appreciation, resources, support, and compensation for artists by government, general public, and industry. To re invent the field of art so that artists can give us what we need and be compensated for it, is to enhance the artist general practice of making the art that inspires our existence; better and more ART! As a society we can then place more importance on the public’s spiritual existence rather than our overwhelming and oppressive utilitarian existence.
What kind of advice do you have for creators and artists everywhere?
Find out what minute you were born and look up your astrological chart. It will help you look at the parts of your personality and also it will help you flirt with QTs and make friends.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Ascendant – Virgo
Sun – Aries
Moon – Gemini
Ascendant – Taurus
Sun – Gemini
Moon – Libra
Ascendant – Leo
Sun – Gemini
Moon – Aquarius
Keep up to date with these amazing guys (all day, err day) right here.