Upon hearing and seeing Armistead Burwell Smith IV, known to many simply as Zach Smith of Pinback play, his masterful use of the bass can only be described as purely mesmerizing. His technique is comprised largely of strumming the instrument, which produces the unforgettable bass harmonies characteristic of many Pinback songs. Now that’s what we call “super bass”.
Prior to their Vancouver show, Smith invited Pop Counter//Culture onto the Pinback tour bus to answer a few of our burning questions starting with what the ominous concept behind their new album, Information Retrieved, is all about. According to Smith, the concept for this album is kind of vague because band mate, Rob Crow had inserted tidbits of information into the album, of which the specifics are unbeknownst even to Smith.
What Smith does know however, and admits to candidly is that the band didn’t stray from their signature sound on this record. Smith says, “This record, I wish did explore a little more than it did, personally. I feel like it was a little short on that. We have this sound and we didn’t break from it much. It’s not that we didn’t necessarily want to, it’s just what comes out naturally and you should always do what comes naturally.”
Despite not breaking from their traditional sound, Information Retrieved is still scoring favorable reviews by music critics, and being embraced by their audience. Older fans familiar with the band’s knack science fiction homages will be able pinpoint references on the album, and in the new music video for “Sherman”. The video is a throwback to Cold War era sci-fi films. Smith explains of the continual nods to sci-fi, “As far as the lo-fi, sci-fi stuff, it kind of goes on with everything we’ve always been into – the whole Dark Star thing, which is where we got our name from. We’d thought it’d be cool to rewind a little bit and go back to that sort of aesthetic.”
On the topic of rewinding, we did a little back tracking of our own to address one of the most speculated-upon song titles in Pinback’s discography. To once and for all settle the rumors surrounding the song, “Offline P.K.” from the Blue Screen Life album, Smith confirms that the title does stand for offline player killers – a term that refers to individuals who become too engrossed in video games, and as a result may reenact violent acts in real life.
Switching gears to end the interview on a lighter note, we asked Smith, who along with Rob are self-proclaimed Star Wars fans, if he were to insert himself and Rob into the Star Wars films, what characters would they play? Smith answered, “Well Rob, if I put him on the dark side at all he would scream right now so he’d have to be a rebel. Of course I grew up loving the whole Han Solo thing. I like the idea of a smuggler. I’ll throw Rob in as an Ewok.”