Interview: Pony Hole

by DJ Purp // The Crowded Bathroom Show

I had the privilege to do an interview with the band Pony Hole about their newest album, Guns and Gold. I got to ask a couple questions to the two main singers and songwriters, David and Gio. I first asked them if they could introduce themselves a little bit and tell me about the band.   

“What’s up! I’m David. I sing and play keys in Pony Hole. Me, Augie, Drew, and Ron had all become best friends by playing in various other bands together over time. This is really the only group that I like to play music with. Gio was then the last variable to the equation. He fit in like he had always been there was truly the catalyst that inspired us to get the band underway.  The influences for the band are really across the board but for the last record, it’s been a lot of New Orleans piano players like James Booker, Professor Longhair, Huey Piano Smith. Also, some blues guys like Otis Span, Champion Jack Dupree, and Eddie Boyd. Always the classics like Westerberg, Dylan, Skynrd, Velvet Underground, John Prine, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, and of course Danzig too.” 

Gio then told me a little about himself. “Hey I’m Gio. I sing and play guitar. Everyone is longtime friends and played in bands together before Pony Hole except for me. We all started jamming as a band around 2018, but we didn’t really have a name for another year. James Booker, The Band, The Stones, and Bob Dylan are some influences.”

I told them that I really like the variation in their lyrics and tunes. Some are very upbeat sounding, but also have deep and personal lyrics. I asked if this was intentional.

David answered, “That’s one of my favorite things about the band, too.  Me and Gio had been writing songs separately for years and even wrote music together before Pony Hole was a band.  Some of our songs on the newest record are more than five years old. Because of that, a lot of lyrics had been written just because it was what we liked, and we didn’t have any concern for how it could get interpreted by listeners. I think this really set an amazing ‘anything goes’ attitude for the band when it comes to lyrics.  It can’t all just be ‘I loooove you baaaaby’ but, that’s also fun too sometimes.”

I then asked about the way they wrote their songs. They advertise David and Gio as the primary songwriters, and I was curious about how songwriting looks for them.

Gio answered, “It’s always been a mix [of who writes] depending on the song. Sometimes me and David will both write something separately and whenever we start jamming with Augie it comes together. There’ve also been times where we all hang out and end up writing a song that day. More or less though, me and David write the majority of the material, but we all input and work together once we have a general idea.”

My next question was if there was anything the band wanted the listener to take away from their music, and I enjoyed both of their responses.

David answered, “Hopefully they take away everything. I think the music is very easily digestible and not up for a lot of interpretation.  It’s just some fun music with some fun stories told along the way.” Gio kept it simple ,saying, “Just some true South Florida Music!”

Regarding modulation in their music, David said, “I’m all about key changes. I think that shit is dope! Not necessary every time, but there are definitely songs that lend itself to it for sure. When you write a song that makes sense to have a key change in it, it’s a beautiful feeling.  Modulation on the solo is some badass shit!”

Many bands these days do not consistently use a Hammond organ in their music. Pony Hole does, and personally, I think it gives the songs extra depth and a groovy feel. It makes you want to get up and dance. I asked them how they came up with the band’s instrumentation.

David, the organ player, responded, “I’ve always loved the sound of the Hammond organ.  When I was a little kid, I used to go see my dad play with a blues band that had an organ player. His name was Joe Saint, [and his] day job was driving the Miami metro rail. The instrument sounded so cool and I always wanted to get that sound, but even an organ replica keyboard is expensive, so I finally just had to save up and get one. We recorded with it as more of a background thing on the first record, but we loved how it sounded so much so we decided to really go for it.”

Gio said, “I think we just go for a sound that we all like. We used to have both me and David play guitar and sing but I think once David started playing keys, we really opened up more as a band. He’s the shit!”

Finally, I asked them how they were handling COVID.

David said “I’m trying to learn as much as I can in these times and I’m sure it’ll translate in the music that we are writing. There’s a lot of time for self-reflection too which is not the best thing (haha). I’ll start wanting to change the songs!”

Gio answered similarly, saying, “COVID sucks and it’s been rough, but it hasn’t slowed the writing process down. We are currently working on another album right now so that’s a positive. I think writing is already introspective and self-reflective so I’m just trying not to overthink what I’m doing.”

I really enjoyed interviewing this band, and they are doing some great things musically and representing South Florida very well. They also recommended checking out Drug Doin’ Music, Zeel, Super Crush, and the Materialistics.

Check out DJ Purp with Tube on The Crowded Bathroom Show, every Wednesday from 7-8PM on WUSC.

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