The absolute best thing about writing for this site and going to shows in Los Angeles is that on any night you might hear an incredible, mind-blowing set by a band you’ve never heard of and know nothing about. Pony Village was one of those bands. Maybe you’re out at a show to see a favorite band, or maybe you just go out to get out and see what’s what. One night close to two years ago Pony Village were a last-minute special guest on the bill with Seasons. I thought I’d listen to a couple of songs and then head to the back room of the Satellite for a beer to wait for the headliners. As soon as Pony Village started playing it was clear they were something special, and once I started listening I couldn’t turn away from the stage. The Portland five piece has a warm sound and songwriting that evokes Elliot Smith sweetened with vocal harmonies and lead guitar offset by carefully crafted synth lines. Radio Free Silver Lake caught up with front man Ryan Barber and talked vegan tacos, driving tips and their upcoming album via email as they were getting ready to play the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho this weekend as part of a tour that takes them down the West Coast. Pony Village returns to LA Thursday night to play the Silverlake Lounge.
Kathryn Pinto (Radio Free Silver Lake): What has Pony Village been up to lately? I see you have a new single out "Wildwood Drive" on Soundcloud. Have you been writing? Recording? Touring?
Ryan Barber (Pony Village): We are touring the west coast, then when we get home we are going into the studio with Beau Sorenson (Death Cab, Sparklehorse, Superchunk) to record our first proper full length.
RFSL: What is your new material like? Similar to previous stuff or a new direction? What are you listening to?
PV: The new stuff is way more of a collaborative effort. We've had a hard time with line up changes etc., but now we have a solid band, writing songs together, and it's the strongest stuff I think we've done yet. I wouldn't say there's a new direction, but we are starting to explore a few different places our sound can go. As far as what we've been listening to, it's pretty all over the place. Valentine's Day we did a set of 50's and 60's love songs, so for months we were in Phil Spector mode.
I'm way into the new Kendrick Lamar, and Martha has been listening to Tame Impala and ELO. Joe's been digging Andrew Thompson. Marlin's been listening to Wild Nothing and Matt's been into Talkative, who we are actually playing at Treefort.
RFSL: Your West Coast Tour includes a stop at the Treefort Music Festival in Boise. Did you play Treefort last year? Are you looking forward to that gig? Any cool stuff going on in Boise?
PV: Way too much cool shit going on in Boise, this is a great festival. We didn't play last year, but it we hope to be a part of it again in the future. We go on in about 15 minutes, and there's a good-sized crowd here, so yeah we are looking forward to it!
RFSL: Do you have anything special planned for Thursday's show?
PV: Yeah, that's like the 7th show on tour and we plan to be playing an almost entirely new set by then. We are working the new songs in one by one as we get down the road. Working on them on my $20 Goodwill guitar.
RFSL: Are you checking out any shows by other bands in LA or while you're on tour? Who are you excited to see & hear?
PV: We're only in LA for the night, so we're just stoked to hear the bands we are playing with. Our buddies the Blank Tapes moved there recently, they are awesome.
RFSL: What's your favorite LA taco truck?
PV: Haven't been to too many. It's not a truck per se, but I'm partial to Hugo's Tacos, being vegan. We hope to find some more Thursday!
RFSL: Anything else you want to share with RFSL readers?
PV: We just hope you come to the show so we can share our new music with you. Also, the left hand lane is for passing ONLY!
Pony Village play the Silverlake Lounge (2906 Sunset Blvd, LA, CA 90026) Thursday March 28 with with Saint Sea Hat, KG Bird,The Shadow Principle and Peg. Doors at 7:00pm, $5, 21+.