Feral Ponies- Interview with April Silvers
H: Hello Ms. Silvers! This is Hilary with Hold Up Magazine. I'm stoked to interview you about Feral Ponies, so that we get more info about you guys in the hands of current and future fans. For your convenience, I'm happy to either arrange a time to chat on Messenger/Text Message/Phone/In Person, or if you like even better, we can chat intermittently on here with just an organic flow of questions. It's super casual, so no pressure. Let me know what works best for you!
April Silvers: Hi there! It’s nice to hear from you! Intermittent chatting on messenger sounds good to me!! Thank you so much!
H: Awesome! Then that is how we’ll do it. If it’s all good with you, we can get started with questions on Monday. I’m very excited! and thank you!
April: That sounds good! I’ll talk to you on Monday!
H: My apologies for not getting to you earlier today; the lamer job needed me to work a wicked long day. Anyhow, answer whenever you are able - no rush
Hilary: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Ms. Silvers. I'm stoked to interview you about Feral Ponies, so that we get more info about you guys in the hands of current and future fans.
Let’s start at the inception. Tell me about how Feral Ponies came to be formed and named - take me on the journey.
April Silvers: So the origin story of Feral Ponies is a little fuzzy for me because it was a slow progression of events that led to its inception. Hopefully, I’ll get most of this right. Pat, our bass player and my husband, and I have played music together for a long time, pretty much since graduating from high school. We both stopped playing in bands as college and work responsibilities got in the way. After a couple of years of going to shows but not playing music anymore, I started to really miss singing and the friendships and comradery that comes with being in a band.
So, in 2011 I started playing in a band, Butterscotch Grim, with Alex our guitarist-extraordinaire. After playing for around two years, we decided to dismantle the group. Alex and I wanted to continue playing music together, so we started looking around for people that would want to play with us. I missed playing music with Pat, so he was my first-choice bass player! Even with the commitments he had with his band, Disaster Committee, he agreed to play with us! Finding a drummer was a little more difficult. One night I was at 1984 with my friends Callye and Mike and I had an epiphany- Mike is the perfect drummer for our new band!! So, after wrestling around with the idea for a few minutes, I decided to ask him if he was interested in playing with us. He agreed and soon enough we started practicing and writing music.
I think the band dynamic worked because we all had experience playing in other bands and entered this new band with open minds in terms of the type of music we would play and how the band would progress. We’ve been playing together for about four and a half years now.
H: That’s wonderful! I think that there’s a maturity to the composition that reflects the years of experience and collaborative talent with one another. How did you come to the name Feral Ponies?
AS: I agree with you, I think everyone in the band brings their unique experiences and preferences into writing our songs and somehow they just work! We wanted our band name to reflect our lighthearted personalities. I don’t think any of us take ourselves too seriously. The word “feral” was contributed during a brainstorming session and we all thought it was a good word to describe us - wild and untrained. Then we wanted to use a more unexpected animal to describe as being feral so after a little debating we settled on “ponies”. I think it works for us, it’s a little weird and a little goofy just like we are.
H: I love that! An evocative image of both badassery and silliness. I also love the sound and energy you all have on stage. What other artists and/or genres would you say has most influenced your sound?
AS: Thank you so much! It’s hard to nail down any particular artists that influence the band as a whole but I think most of our songs are influenced by punk and ska music. A lot of people say that we sound like No Doubt with a little more of a punk edge to it. I like that comparison because I was obsessed with Gwen Stefani when I was in high school. I even completely fried my hair making it platinum blonde like her. Haha - we all come from different musical backgrounds and have very different musical preferences but somehow all of that comes together and just meshes into our sound.
H: I was obsessed with original Gwen too, I totally get it! I agree - your sound is the mixture of experiences and influences all unique to each of you.
That said, tell me a little about your writing process.
AS: Usually our strings players, Pat and Alex, will work together to come up with some main melody lines. Then our drummer, Mike, will add in his parts and suggest some ways to make the rhythm more interesting or complex. I usually write a framework for lyrics ahead of time and then work to make the lyrics fit with the structure that my bandmates came up with. It’s easier for me to have an idea of what I want the lyrics to sound like before hearing the music so I don’t just mimic what the guitar and bass are doing. I’ll come up with a couple of motifs for the melody of the lyrics and then adapt them to fit the length of the lines and the style of the music.
Over time each person makes small changes to their parts to improve upon the songs. It seems like our songs keep getting faster and faster as we have developed a better sense of our style as a band. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to some of our rough recordings of the conception of a song and compare it to the final version of a song like a year later. The changes are so subtle as we learn and refine the songs but upon examination later on, the changes are significant.
H: Absolutely! Sometimes it can feel like a track is never truly finished as it lives on in cycles of refinement. I think it really speaks to your artistic integrity how much effort you all put into getting it just how you like it - well done! Do you think you guys enjoy writing or playing more?
Or I should say, performing more?
AS: Two different processes, and two equally enjoyable feelings. Writing/recording is great because we get to spend time refining the songs and all hanging out together. Performing is fun because we can see the crowd’s reaction to our music.
H: Very true, well put. Of the Ponies’ repertoire, are there any favorite songs or videos our readers should check out in particular?
AS: Yes! They should check out our record, Blame it on the Classics, on Spotify, iTunes, and/or Amazon. We have physical copies of our record (which comes in various shades of pink!!) on the Panic State Records website.
H: Awesome, great to hear! I highly recommend it too. Thank you again for your time and your story. Any last anecdotes to share with your audience?
AS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me!! Pat and I are expecting a baby boy in February! Fun fact: after our show this Friday the baby will have played 9 shows in utero!!
H: That’s outstanding! Congratulations and happiest of holidays to your punk rock family!!