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Pieces: “these songs feel like they have a purpose”

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All good things come to those who wait. Northampton-based trio Pieces unleash a first single and EP after building up quite the reputation with their shows. New Boots was first in line to hear the story.

Who is in Pieces?
Chris Serbyn – vocals / guitars
Chris Major – vocals / bass
Lewis Carrington vocals / drums

How did you guys get together?
Me [Chris Serbyn] and Lewis have been friends since our school days and have made music together since we were 13; playing in his shed at the bottom of the garden, and pissing off anyone within a two to three mile radius. Having always played together we’re pretty much telepathic now. That’s a good and a bad thing because we really get each other musically, but on the flip side I can tell instantly if he doesn’t like something I’ve written. Sometimes songs I’ve written can be pretty much dead in the water if Lewis isn’t on board straightaway in rehearsal. It’s something I’ve learnt to live with! We’ve been in a few bands that’s have evolved from one another [Millers Hag, An Army of Lights, We Wear Glasses] but we’ve always been the mainstay. An Army of Lights bass player Chris Major was a good friend and we’d be out a lot drinking together but he was always a rhythm guitarist performing solo gigs. We’d had a few people ‘try out’ with us, but it would feel awkward as an outsider coming in. Lewis and I weren’t ever into that. It became obvious that we should ask Major to join the band and give the bass a go. We always felt that being in a band should first and foremost be about friendship. A gang. We consciously took the decision to get back to basics and play together for the love of it and keep it simple. Pieces was born. ‘Pieces’ because it felt like what remained was the nucleus. Lewis and Major have developed a similar relationship musically as Lewis and I always have had. A fundamental element for us is that the drums and bass really lock in. I can then bring the melody and the noise.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
Pieces really feels like we are all on the same page and re-energised. It’s heavier, to the point, more honest and unified. Now being a three-piece we find that the music is raw and takes on a no-frills approach. Having said that we’ve always wanted to write good songs with plenty of melody. Although our formula is fairly straightforward we do work hard to create interesting sounds, but as long as the energy is there we’re unapologetically candid. Not sure about influences but bands we love are Bombay Bicycle Club, Boxer Rebellion, Mastersystem, The Walkmen, Tokyo Police Club et al. Our musical tastes are pretty varied and can often be heavier then the aforementioned, but that gives you an idea.

How has lockdown been for you?
It’s difficult to say, but I think on balance it’s probably enhanced our creativity. The lockdown has been pretty awful for everyone generally, but is has provided time to sit and reflect. I guess now the music we’ve written since has been given more of a sense of purpose. Obviously I had a chance to write a fair bit so we could hit the ground running when we were able to get back in a room together. As a band we kept in touch regularly but didn’t really ‘talk band’. Time spent together was more about just hanging out and cheering each other up.

You put out some “isolation demos” on Soundcloud earlier this year. What was the thinking behind that? Were you after feedback?
Just prior to the lockdown we had been in the studio recording some of our songs that we’d been gigging for the past year or so. Obviously we didn’t have a chance to finish or release anything given the lockdown. The acoustic demos were just a really lo-fi way of stripping everything back, describe what the songs were about and what they mean to us, as well as giving people an insight as to how we initially put songs together. Our tunes often start with me and voice memos on my phone. This was just a very slightly more produced way of demonstrating that. The reaction has been great, but we can’t wait to show people what we’re about plugged in!

Tell us everything about this first “proper” release, the ‘Lessons EP’.
It’s exciting because this will be our first release and we feel like it’ll be a good starting point for us. We’ve got a really bad habit of taking too long to release music either because we end up changing our minds, take far too long in the process and end up with loads of part finished sessions or end up working with producers that ultimately let us down. I mentioned before but these songs feel like they have a purpose. All three songs were written in lockdown 1, and rehearsed as a band between both lockdown 1 and 2. The whole process of recording took a day and a half so no time for messing about or overthinking the process, and the final vocal session of the recording was completed literally the day before we went into lockdown 2. Obviously whatever we showcase we want to sound great but what we hope this achieves is a no-nonsense part demo release that captures us in a moment, and summarises a fucking weird period of time. It’s a positive start to the year for us personally whatever happens, and we really hope that people like the EP.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite bands/venues to give a shout out to?
Yes and no. We’ve always been fans of music that comes out locally and Northampton has always been a hotbed of great bands but we’ve always been slightly outside of what’s going on. We’re not sure why that is and we’re alright with it. That said we’re certainly ready to play plenty of local shows with great local bands when we finally can! What’s also great about the local music scene is it’s way of reinventing itself over periods of time. Bands and the community always seem to find places to play and promote good music! When a venue closes down or stops putting on nights, another venue takes it’s place. We’ve had some great nights in Northampton and we will always love playing places like the Lamplighter, the Garibaldi and the Black Prince, which is putting on some awesome shows now. Each venue has its own vibe and appeal, which is really cool.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Chris Serbyn – Night Network by The Cribs
Lewis Carrington – A Hero’s Death by Fontaines D.C.
Chris Major – Patience by Mannequin Pussy

What is your burning desire for Pieces to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We just want to play. I’m sure this is the same for a lot of bands and musicians but it’s like anything when it’s not there, you realise how much you miss it! It reaffirms what I was saying before about playing music for ourselves first, and enjoying it for what it is! It’ll feel like such a relief and definitely something we want to be involved in! Clearly we want people to really enjoy this EP to kick things off for us, but fundamentally we just can’t wait to be back and keep having the burning desire to keep writing tunes.

‘Wake Me Up’ by Pieces is out now via the usual digital platforms. The full Lessons EP is out March 12th.

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