Photos by Richard Schmid from Pet Clinic’s Record Release Show
Pet Clinic is going all in for 2016, releasing their full length debut “No Face” and embarking on a 20 date west coast tour. The album was funded through kickstarter 2 years ago with their last material being produced 4 years ago! Pet Clinic is David Bubenheim on Guitar/Vocals, John Henderson on Keys/Leslie, Ian Edwards on Bass, Kenny Nelson on Drums and Mike Arendt on Guitar. Their tour wrapped up June 26 in Seattle, WA and will be opening for Guided by Voices July 6 at Mr. Smalls Theater. You can also catch them Friday, July 8 for free at Deutschtown Music Festival at 8pm at the park stage. We caught up with David via email while the band was in Portland, OR, see the interview below.
Sound Scene Express: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music
David Bubenheim: Pet Clinic started playing together in 2010 as culmination of local bands, the blonde girls (Mike), debates (Kenny), and landline (David).
John jumped in and started experimenting with sounds on is synth and Leslie which melded a complete composition base. After working with a number of bass players, Ian joined the group when he moved back home from school in Amsterdam. He and Kenny grew up playing together as a jazz outfit called the Edwards Nelson Duo.
Knowing where each other came from musically, we found a mutual respect for each other’s talents and abilities.
SSE: How was Pet Clinic chosen as your band name?
DB: We chose to call ourselves Pet Clinic as a commentary on the value of animals over people. Personal relationships are often dispensable yet pets are the most prized possessions. This can lead to treating people as pets and pets as people. A few wires get crossed there..
SSE: Who writes your song lyrics? What is your/their inspiration?
DB: Our lyrics get written typically in the last phase of songwriting when the music provokes a particular emotion or story. I (David) will lay the groundwork for the lyrical content and the specific word choice is then decided by the group as a whole. The inspiration for the lyrics is based on experiences of rejection, growth, strength, weakness, redemption, vulnerability, etc.
SSE: It has been over 2 years since your kickstarter campaign was funded, what took so long finishing the album?
DB: It’s been two years since the success of the Kickstarter. It’s been 4 years since we released material. We chose to record the music in our house which led us to challenges not typically experienced in a studio. Namely, the opportunity of time presented the chance for us to experiment not only with recording techniques but with the songs themselves. Ian built most of the rig we used to record and we all had our niche in the process. We all hold strong opinions of what the record should be. A large portion of the time we spent was dedicated to exploring what could, should, and is.
SSE: Pet Clinic is on a pretty big tour now, how did you go about booking those shows?
DB: David thought he looked really hot with bloodshot eyes. He spent every night emailing and emailing and emailing and emailing for 60 days. Then we kissed our girlfriends and drove 26 hours to Denver. Since then we’ve been pushing up the coast. We’re currently in Portland, OR.
SSE: What has been your favorite moment on your current tour?
DB: Crater Lake has been the highlight of this trip. John and Kenny tried to climb down the volcano to swim in that blue water. Seeing so much of the country has really been a gift.
SSE: What has the response been like in other cities?
DB: We’ve been met with a consistently warm reception from city to city with people coming to our next show if they are able. Our new friends couldn’t be more generous!
SSE: What is your favorite Pet Clinic song?
DB: Sick Witch
SSE: What do you think of the Pittsburgh Music Scene?
DB: The Pittsburgh music scene is changing. I (David) have gotten a chance to be a part of it for 10 years and most of my relationships are because of it. That alone speaks volumes about it. I love that it is alive. There is a desire to shred in our hometown and the comradery around that makes it a breeding ground for inspiration.
SSE: Who is your favorite Pittsburgh band/ musician?
DB: As a group we are in agreement. The consensus is undeniably, without a shadow of a doubt, in favor, of none other than, the infamous, the spectacular dazzling Dazzletine.
SSE: Have you considered playing any more shows as Br’er Fox with your brother Aaron?
SSE: What’s next for Pet Clinic?
DB: When we get back we are opening for Guided by Voices at Mr. Smalls on July 6th. Two days after that we are playing at the Deutschtown Music Festival (7 PM Friday). After that we are doing an X105.9 Takeover. We’re excited about our new material. We’re gonna take some time to focus on that as well.
SSE: Is there anything else you would like to add?
DB: We spent June playing a set nearly every night. We’ve changed. We aren’t people anymore. We’re bugs.