INTERVIEW: Pinewood Derby

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INTERVIEW BY: Will Kirkpatrick

Philadelphia-based indie-rock group Pinewood Derby are coming on to the local music scene strong. Within a year, they have self-produced two EPs, and are making their rounds in the Philly DIY scene. Their sound has influences of American Football, The Strokes and Mac Ayres with some notes of Blink-182-esque pop punk. Pinewood Derby consists of members Dylan McNulty (drums), Nick Taweel (bass), Aiden Pettine (guitar) and Dom Lopez (synths/keys).

Will: How did you all meet?

Nick: Me, Dom, and Dylan met in middle school, 6th grade… me and Dom go way back. 3 years later Aiden comes into the formula, me and Dom go to high school with Aiden.

Will: How did you all start playing together?

Dylan: We initially started it in September of 2020, and we were a math rock band called lanternfly. We wrote a couple songs and were like ‘indie is way more fun,’ so we picked the name Pinewood Derby and started getting going around December of 2020.

Will: So, does the name Pinewood Derby come from the Boy Scouts thing?

Dylan: Absolutely.

Will: The lead guitar parts on “lanternfly” are impressive Aiden, how did you learn to play?

Aiden: I feel like with guitar its either you start out in metal or blues. I started with blues then just kind of worked my way to like the more math rocky indie-ish stuff. Lanternfly was inspired by “Never Meant” (by American Football). We were just jamming one day and I went into the “Never Meant” tuning and came up with the riff.

Will: Do you guys play with alternate tunings a lot?

Aiden: It’s hell.

Nick: Aiden’s got to bring like five guitars to every gig.

Dylan: But that’s how we create. That’s part of our workflow. Aiden will just get in a random weird tuning and it’ll inspire some riff.

Will: So that’s how you go about your writing process?

Aiden: Yeah a lot of it is me holding a guitar and I play something and I’m like that’s cool.

Will: For your two EPs, did you record all of that ‘in house?’

Dylan: In this room. *points down*

Will: Has self-producing helped you guys have such a heavy output of content?

Dylan: Yeah, so, we write as we’re recording. Aiden will have the riff then we’ll record that then immediately start building on the song.

Will: Is your lyric writing process a group effort?

Dylan: It’s kind of mixed. A lot of the time when we’re tracking vocals its just me and Aiden. But sometimes if I’m in a pissy mood or want to get something done, I’ll just do it on my own.

Will: Take me back to your first show together as Pinewood Derby.

Nick: It was at Moravian Tile Works. It was a short gig—we had a 15-minute set—and we got a great reaction for our first gig.

Aiden: I think we lucked out with our first show. That gave us the confidence we needed to keep consistently gigging.

Will: What does Pinewood Derby have planned in the future?

Dylan: We’re working on a full-length record; we had those two EPs and we kind of want to settle down and work on something bigger and more serious and intimate.

Check out their newest EP, indigo, and follow them @pinewood.derby on Instagram.

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