Technically speaking, the Upstate trio Her Pilots is a new band; they’ve been together for only about a year. But the trio of singer-guitarist Zach Young, bassist Elliot Eichler and drummer Wayne Brock has plenty of band experience under their respective belts: Young with State Of Illusion; Eichler with Silvermane; and Brock with Conejo Blanco, Johnny Tango and Mischief Managed.
What’s interesting is that their new single, “Ro Sham Bo,” doesn’t really sound like any of their former bands. The tune is a bouncing, propulsive mix of ragged garage rock and punk velocity, featuring a neck-snapping tempo change on the chorus and the odd, attention-getting line, “Life is just a game of ro sham bo.”
It’s one of those great lines that could either mean a whole lot or nothing at all. And as it turns out, it’s kind of both.
“The song is rooted in an inside joke I have with an old friend of mine,” says Zach Young, who wrote the lyrics. “We have this ongoing game of rock, paper, scissors; when we see each other, we each go into the rock, paper, scissors stance, so it’s basically an ode to that.
“But you can also take that lyric into the context of a relationship I had,” he continues. “We were always trying to guess each other’s next move, probably in an unhealthy way. So I guess that’s where my head was at when I was writing it.”
Young probably isn’t talking about his relationship with his former band, but there’s no doubt that all three members of Her Pilots are determined not to repeat any past mistakes with this project.
“We’re definitely learning from past experience,” Elliot Eichler says. “We’ve made enough rookie errors. We want quality over quantity, which means we don’t take every show that’s thrown at us. We plan things out further in advance, and it’s a lot easier with a trio because there’s less personalities to bounce off each other.”
Eichler says the band’s raw-but-tight sound came naturally, through the three men’s shared musical influences.
“Zach’s guitars lend themselves to the sound of the Foo Fighters and The Strokes,” he says, “and I’m a big Green Day fan, Our influences are on the same page as far as that punk garage-band sound, and so it naturally happened that way.”
Young, Eichler and Brock knew and respected each other before forming Her Pilots, and they came together because each of their bands had broken up.
“We all became single, so to speak, at the same time,” Eichler says with a laugh. “We’d all played shows with each other, so we decided to form up, and a three piece was born.”
Eichler adds that there was never a thought of Her Pilots being more than a three-piece.
“The thing is, I always wanted to be in a trio,” he says. “We all did. It was never a question. We all have a lot of space, and I like that. The responsibility is greater to fill the space, and you can keep it simple instead of having this wall of overwhelming sound. I guess the best way to put it is that less is more.”
The band, which will perform Jan. 9 at the Radio Room in Greenville, has teamed up with the local video production company Brando Jones Films to make a video for “Ro Sham Bo,” and Eichler says the single is meant to serve as a calling card for their first full-length album, which they hope to release in the Fall.
“It’s time to get these songs on a record and out there,” he says.
What: Her Pilots, with Radkey and Burner Phone
Where: Radio Room, 110 Poinsett Highway, Greenville
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9
Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door
Info.: 864-609-4441, http://www.radioroomgreenville.com/