We recently spoke with Greg Ormont of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on a variety of topics reading from “the Flock” to his favorite summer experiences to his upcoming tour with Dopapod. For tour information visit Dopapoad.com or PigeonsPlayingPingPong.com.
Special thanks to Tyler Gerrells
The release of the new album, Pleasure, included a lot of really good tracks that the Flock had been eagerly waiting for, however, there seem to be a lot of others that you guys have been playing for a while now that didn’t make it. (Poseidon, whirled, ocean flows, etc.) Are there any particular processes you go through when choosing what songs will make the record?
You know it! Let me walk you through our creative process. Typically, we write each potential song name on a page in a notebook, rip out the pages and ball them up. Then we head over to Bruce Bigsby’s Batting Cages & Roller Rink and feed them into the pitching machines. Next, we coat a ping-pong paddle in all-natural bird wax, fire on the machines and take turns swinging… whatever sticks makes the cut. From there, we make sure the track listing has good flow.
Could we expect a new album dropping pretty soon with the arsenal of songs out there that have yet to make it on an album?
We definitely have more than enough material for a new album.
The three newest songs out there, Too Long, Fun in Funk and Henrietta, seem to really have the Flock excited for new material. Should we be expecting any new songs like these in the near future?
The Flock should always expect new music from us. We’re always writing and working on something kooky on the side. Currently, we have two new songs that are just about ready to be played live. One is super funky and the other puts off a tropical vibe. I just need to finish the lyrics to both, but they’re developing nicely in practice and I think the Flock will love them once they’re complete. Most of us write new ideas or full songs every day, which has us juggling dozens of song ideas in our weekly jam sessions. Not to mention all of the extra kookiness we have brewing…we’re in a really good place right now.
Could you talk about the Flock in general? The “jam” scene is by no means new, but sometimes bands get that extra push that seems to take them to their next tier musically. Right now you guys have a lot of momentum, can you describe how you went from playing small Baltimore venues to becoming a huge force on the music scene?
(laughs) Well first off I didn’t know we were a “huge force on the music scene” so thanks for blowing some smoke our way. All I know is that whenever we play, we treat it like it’s the most important show of our lives on the biggest stage in the universe. And I think the Flock appreciates our effort and pours their energy into the melting pot too, until we’re all sucking down on the same tasty stew of funky goodness. We’ve been touring our asses off for the past five years. I think we played 196 shows in one of those years.
What are your highlights of the summer?
It’s been a wild summer and I’ve loved every second of it. I’ll never forget our debut at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I’ve seen some life-changing shows at MPP, so it was surreal to watch people sing our songs in the pavilion and dance on the lawn from our view on stage. Also, we played an after-party for Umphrey’s McGee at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ that got completely out of hand. We decided to play an additional 15-minute “soundcheck set” in between UM sets and it was quite possibly the most energy we’ve ever been hit with all at once. It felt like we survived a hurricane after our two-song set. But as far as special weekends go, nothing beats the high we feel at Domefest every year.
This past Domefest was a big success at the new venue in Bedford, PA. Are we to expect the festival will continue to be held in Bedford or is there a chance that it will return to Trip’s Farm in WV?
This year’s Domefest was unreal. The crowd, the bands, the new venue… everyone had a blast! I can tell you this much, if we could go back in time and plan Domefest 2016 again, we wouldn’t change much.
What have you gotten to learn more about yourself personally while living on the road. You clearly are in a huge rush sometimes getting from city to city, but some days are long days full of sleep or perhaps just some thinking. How has this lifestyle changed your perspective on society?
I find myself wondering why more people don’t live life out of a backpack. Also, why is highway food so terrible? And what’s the deal with airplane peanuts?
What are you most looking forward to about touring with Dopapod?
I heard that if you spend enough time around them, you can absorb some of their Berklee education. I’m going to start by stalking Rob, then work my way through the band on tour this fall.
What do you enjoy most about Rob’s guitar playing?
Rob’s a really creative player. Every time I’ve seen Dopapod, Rob ends up ripping a line that turns my head. I’ll try to figure out what mode he’s in and eventually discover that he’s using a scale that I’m familiar with but his succession of notes are just totally different to what I’m used to hearing or playing. I was sold on Rob’s playing when I first saw them play “Onionhead” live. He only repeats a couple of notes for the first half of the song, but it works so well within the rest of the group that it’s all you really need to play. They’re all great listeners.
What venues are you most looking forward to playing?
I love to play so I’m truly stoked for all of our shows, always. Just skimming the tour dates, I’m really looking forward to our debuts at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT, Irving Plaza in NYC and The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC, but really, I’m super stoked for all of our shows. I’d be stoked to play in your backyard, especially if you have craft beer and great food.