After their return to South By Southwest, PINES chatted with us about their backstory, sonic influences, and what’s to come.
In 2015, friends Adam and James turned their shared love of music into action and introduced their project PINES to the world. Fusing beautifully ethereal elements in their productions with a slight future bass edge, the duo has gained the attentions of electronic music fans worldwide, and more continue to join along for the journey. This year saw PINES bring their music back to the US in March with multiple sets at South By Southwest. This is only the beginning, as they hope to expand their reach, and bring their music all over the globe.
Fans of RÜFÜS DU SOL and ODESZA will be captivated by PINES’ offerings. Press play on their 2020 album Dreamcycle, and be enveloped in warm, glittering synths that transport you away. They started off the year with the release of their single “Another Love” and followed that with “Slow Memory” featuring Indy Stanton. The duo have even lended their hand at remixing Above & Beyond’s “Reverie,” reimagining it with dynamic new percussion and reverb-soaked synth melodies. With every release, PINES showcases more and more of their talents, making them ones to watch.
With so much to look forward to in the future of PINES, we chatted with them about their origin, varied musical influences, accomplishments already this year, and look forward to what’s the come. Make sure to connect with them on social media, and continue reading for the interview.
Stream PINES – “Slow Memory” on Spotify:
Can you tell us your origin story? How did you two come together and how did PINES come to be?
Adam: We had actually known each other for years via a mutual friend and had always bumped into each other at the same music festivals and gigs. As we were always chatting about our taste in music we discovered we shared a lot of similar favorite artists. One night we were at a mate’s wedding and we got talking and decided on a whim that maybe we should look at doing some music production… (as you do!)
James: I had come from a sporting background and had some injuries early on in my career that forced me to consider other hobbies and interests.
A: I had dabbled in a little bit of music, but it wasn’t until we decided to fly over to Sydney and get some tuition at Ableton Live School that we thought actually we could maybe try and get good at this. It was off the back of that trip we figured we should try and make something good enough to release, and it was from there that PINES was born. Ever since, we’ve just been continually trying to improve our skills and grow as artists and learn about songwriting, production, performing live and the wider music industry as a whole and keep pushing things further.
Your productions are ambient and ethereal. What initially drew you to this sound? Which artists do you look to for inspiration in creating your sound?
A: We are often drawn to soundscapes that not only combine ambient and ethereal soundscapes, but ones that blend the organic and the electronic – often with some kind of driving beat, bassline and energy. I think a big part of our sound is our chord progressions and our melodies and capturing emotion and ‘a feeling’ through sonic textures.
J: Our inspiration really comes from all genres – we’re both massive Beatles fans, but then modern electronic music just has so much scope for creativity to draw from. We’re very inspired by all sorts of artists from electronic to pop, to hip hop to orchestral soundtracks, and I think that taste blends into our music. I think over the years we’re definitely getting better at being able to translate what we’re striving for into the finished product.
Being from Australia, what are some of your favorite aspects of the scene there? How has it shaped you as artists?
A: Being from Australia has been challenging at times. A lot of our fan base thus far has been US-based, and we seem to in general have found a more global audience, so the sheer distance and cost to travel abroad can be prohibitive in terms of getting out on the road often. In terms of the Australian scene, it can be a tough one to crack locally, especially within our genre and style, but it’s definitely forced us to think globally and not get too caught up in necessarily what’s happening in our own backyard, and ultimately stay true to what we’re trying to make and what inspires us. That said, I think the relaxed nature of the Australian environment does give us time and space to breathe, and let ideas permeate so we’re very fortunate in that respect. We’re also extremely lucky to have great organizations such as Sounds Australia and our local South Australian Music Development Office who assist and nurture artists like us in a number of ways.
Earlier this year, you attended SXSW and got to perform a showcase. Can you tell us about your time there and why you chose to return for a second year?
J: Our time at South by Southwest this year was absolutely incredible. The first time we played a few years back, we were pretty new to performing and hadn’t really been producing all that long. We actually only had a few released songs to our name and to be honest, we had to finish demos just to flesh out our live set and make a show. The opportunity to go back to Austin this year and do it right and play to fans new and old was amazing. We were lucky enough to be invited to play the closing party opening for Duke Dumont at the iconic Moody Theater – this was such an enormous honor and a privilege. The support that we had from the audiences that came to our shows was just incredible. We loved meeting everyone and seeing smiling faces and just being part of such a positive and exciting event.
You also recently held a remix contest with Stems for your track “Rewrite the Ending,” which is the perfect title for a contest. What surprised you most about the entries and how did you go about choosing a winner?
A: The remix comp was brilliant and honestly we were so surprised by the sheer quality of entries. It was so tough to choose a winner. So many of the entries were just amazing. MADSUN did such a cracking job and was a deserving winner. It’s funny how when you hear a remix of a track that you’ve made, it makes you look at your own track in a different light because there’s so many ways a track can be fleshed out and embellished. Judging-wise, we were pretty democratic – James, myself and our manager – we tossed around our favorites and then went back and reviewed and reviewed until we finally came to an order that we were happy with.
Five years from now, where do you hope to see yourselves?
J: We would love to see ourselves making great music, playing exciting live shows in big and small venues around the world, building a PINES community and fan-base, and being sustained and inspired artistically to keep PINES going for as long as we’re having fun!
What can fans look forward to from PINES the rest of 2023?
There’s going to be a bunch more new music this year that continues to push our sound further and reflects where we’re at as artists and life in general. One thing that is just around the corner – we’ll be releasing an official Rewrite The Ending Remix EP next month. It’s going to feature the three top place getters from the remix comp and we’re super excited to shine a light on these artists and the remixes as the productions are absolutely stellar.
Last question, just for fun, what is something you’re obsessed with right now?
J: Pilates, Succession, and AFL season.
A: For me… it’s something I’m always obsessed with and that is good coffee!
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