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Pacific Air Talks Peaceful Energy, Tour Disasters and More

Anna Cieslik ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Although the band Pacific Air has only been around for seven months, Southern California brothers Ryan and Taylor Lawhon are not holding back when it comes to getting their sound out there. With a collection of songs featuring airy sounds and fun, carefree lyrics, Pacific Air is bringing a bit of the California sun to listeners everywhere. At their most recent Boston show opening for Walk The Moon, the Lawhon brothers sat down with us to talk about their influences, future plans  and more.

You used to be called KO KO but now you’re touring and recording music as Pacific Air. How did that start?

Ryan Lawhon: I started KO KO as a side project from other bands I was doing and then I realized that [Taylor and I] wrote better together so we just teamed up and started writing a record together.

Taylor Lawhon: I was headed to college, but then I went to orientation and I hated the college so then on the way back Ryan was like, “hey, I’m gonna put up this song,” and then I helped him write the other ones.

If you had to describe your sound in three words, what would they be?

TL: Peaceful yet energetic.

What’s it like going on tour? Do you prefer being in the studio recording an album or do you prefer being out on tour supporting it?

RL: Both situations are incredibly different. If you were to ask us if we prefer these last few days to recording, we would say recording – but only because we’ve had a terrible last few days. We had our van break down so our van is still in a shop in Rochester (New York) right now. But normally, I’d say it’s pretty equal. They both have huge benefits and neither of them have any drawbacks for me. I really enjoy both, it just depends on the day.

TL: I probably like the touring more because I like to see so many different places every day. But that doesn’t mean I dislike the recording process in the slightest.

What do you want your fans to take away from your shows?

RL: I’ve always been a fan of fun shows. And shows that possibly leave you thinking, “what where they doing at a certain time?” So I like the art of mystifying a crowd. I like when the crowd leaves with an energetic, somewhat mysterious show. It’s fun.

What’s your greatest tour story?

RL: We were in five degree weather in Rochester, it was near blizzard conditions, and we had just picked up our new tour manager. We literally pulled into the airport, he got in the van, and the first thing he heard was the transmission dying. He actually sat in the parking lot with the van for three hours while we waited for tow trucks to sort it out. That was probably the worst craziest experience.

Who are some of your favorite musicians right now that you think deserve more attention?

TL: There’s one artist that I think is really amazingly talented – Michael Kiwanuka. I think he’s really talented.

RL: Everyone else we’re huge fans of right now are getting pretty good recognition. I’ve been really into Bastille and The Neighbourhood. 2012 I felt was an excellent year for new music.

If you could collaborate with any one musician, who would it be?

RL: Enya, no question.

You were recently announced as part of the lineup for the Governor’s Ball Music Festival. How does it feel knowing that you’re going to be playing a festival with such big names?

RL: It’s exciting. As a band that’s only been around for seven months, it’s a little overwhelming to think that we’ve been touring for the better half of those seven months. We feel confident in our show and it’s awesome.

Is there anyone you’re hoping to run into backstage?

RL: Death From Above [1979] would be awesome. I would love to meet Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear. I think he seems like a funny guy.

You guys list the artist Gerhard Richter as some of your inspiration. How do you translate that visual inspiration into music?

TL: Probably through the collage of his work and that kind of inspiration of peaceful tones but with energetic stuff mixed in.

RL: It’s a visual version of us. Maybe we’re thinking too highly of ourselves [laughter].

Thefatrat remixed one of your songs. How did that come about?

RL: he actually reached out to us. I love his remix. That song [Float] was actually remixed in the past six months by a lot of different artists but his was one of my favorites. His provided the most straightforward remix – something that would hit hard and highlight the hooks of the song.

What do you hope will come in the future for Pacific Air?

RL: A tour bus!

TL: I would love to play Coachella. It’s just kind of a personal goal really.

RL: My goal musically is to create a second album that I love as much as the first one. Because the first one is completely done and I’ve never been more satisfied with a piece of music we’ve written as a whole. So we can continue something we feel confident about.

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