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?
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.