Band Booking: Talking “Star Trek,” Kathleen Hanna, and Theoretical Albums About Candy with Seattle’s Pony Time

So let’s talk Pony Time. They’re from Seattle; there are two of them, and they play a blissed-out, irreverent, fuzzy take on punk rock. Their latest album, Go Find Your Own, abounds with these moments — and having song titles that nod in the direction of iconic figures as disparate as Kathleen Hanna and Geordie La Forge doesn’t hurt. I checked in with bassist Luke Beetham via email, with occasional interjections from drummer Stacy Peck.

Certain songs declare their subjects from the title — “Kathleen Hanna” and “Geordie” both come to mind. What made you choose such disparate subjects for songs?

I wanted to write a love song, and I just thought of a girl named Kathleen to fill word space. Then it became about her given the slightly aggressive vibe. On “Geordie” we came up with the riff and drums in 5 minutes, and Stacy suggested it be about Star Trek, probably because I wouldn’t shut up about it. I think, and this is just me thinking, if you’re honest about how you feel about something, decent stuff can come out. I say “can” because we don’t always get what we want, but on anything we’ve put out I don’t think we’re half-assing it. If there’s a good enough mix of drums, instrument and a notion on the vocals, we can write about whatever things we like. Like candy. I bet we could do a whole album about candy. Side A could be about the best sour candies and B could be about chocolate bars. Maybe one song about fast food just to mix it up. It’s a joke, but I think we could. Because we actually give a shit about candy.

Is Next Generation your favorite of the Star Trek series?

It might be. I’ve gone through Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise, and am currently working on the original series. Watching the original is giving me a greater appreciation for the newer ones– which is not a slight. It’s the ability to revive an idea and theme that hadn’t been updated in over 30 years and turn it into something fresh but absolutely recognizable. I won’t turn down watching Next Generation like I might Voyager and their over-reliance on the GD holodeck, sheesh. I’m not sure if I’ll watch Deep Space 9, that seems like a political show set in space. Stacy doesn’t care for Star Trek, let us be clear about that.

Who was your inspiration for “Lesbian Mayor”?

That would be Lisa Orth, who I would consider to be a singular individual. Stacy played with her in Telepathic Liberation Army, which is really when I became acquainted with her. She crushes at DJing, she designed my company logo when she was doing graphic design, she was in 66 Saints, she decided to become a tattoo artist and then promptly opened her own shop. Just recently she, along with some other rad ladies, opened up Hard L, a performance and art space. It’s like whatever she wants to do she does, and does well. Stacy came up with the title, and I believe it is sticking. She could probably put it on business cards.

Does your songwriting process generally begin with music? An idea? A character or figure?

I’ll either have a general riff down or we do a jam thing. Then Stacy will suggest a possible title or theme, like our newest song “Beef and Cheddar Hold the Cheddar.” At that point the lyrics take form. I mean, either then or in the studio. They’re the last piece of the children’s puzzle. Emily Denton from Stickers found out about me “Sigur Rós’ing it” at shows til it’s actually recorded. It was a secret.

Go Find Your Own was recorded over the course of a year; how many of the songs were written beforehand, versus those composed in the studio?

We don’t write songs in the studio, as we are not the Beatles or Dire Straits. We don’t have the money for that and even if we did, I just don’t see that being a good place for us to write.

Luke, I see that you were in The Stranger‘s “Men Who Rock” issue. How was that experience?

I was supposed to be a sexy businessman, so I wore a nice pressed shirt and green tie with an understated driving watch. Two minutes in I had the two gals running the show plying me with sweet smiles and laughter to remove them. It was a ruse. I’ve had several compliments from many gay men and upwards of two women.

What have you been reading lately?

The last thing I read was probably Captain America. Stacy read Hygiene and the Assassin by Amelie Nothomb.

Photo: Emily Denton

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