What started as the brainchild of songwriter Mat Hagger, Pansy has subsequently morphed into their current form, a four-piece band. Originally hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, the band are now split between Detroit and Chicago. Back in the Summer of 2019, Pansy convened for just three days and worked quickly to lay down the six tracks that make up their self-titled EP, which two years on saw the light of day earlier this month.
Pansy opens with a bang on the brilliant I Wanna Dissolve. Sliding in on a languid bass line, the track is punctuated by bright slacker-rock tinged guitars and warm swells of harmonious vocals, before bursting into the crescendo of noise that serves as an outro. Elsewhere on the record, Buried is a delicious amalgam of the distorted and the dreamy, reminiscent of Sun June or Forth Wanderers, while the wiry guitars of Pity Party dial up the grungy vibes to thrilling new levels. The highlight arrives on the record’s closing track, Not Around, a frenetic five-minute tumble of ragged guitars and moody drums, that ends with an anguished howl as Mat’s vocal is engulfed in a wall of visceral sound. It might have taken two years to arrive, but Pansy’s debut is well worth the wait, with new material apparently coming on the horizon, one of Michigan’s best new bands are clearly one to keep an eye on.
FTR: For those who don’t know, who is Pansy?
Pansy is: Mat Hagger (vocals / guitar), Benjamin Abid (bass), Cam Frank (drums), and Danny Sein (lead guitar).
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Our first show as a band before Danny joined was at the DAAC (Division Avenue Arts Committee). There was red lighting and it was really hot. We probably played with Grand Rapids locals Parlor Voice, but I can’t remember the other bands. Before that show, Mat played a solo acoustic show at Witch House. -Cam
The first show as a quartet was at The Pyramid Scheme with the Lippies — it was nearly sold out and the biggest show I’ve ever played. It was nerve-racking because it was my first time performing the material, but it went very well. People were stage diving! -Danny
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Music is just one of the art forms I make, I don’t think I make music to spite anything. I make music because I always have songs going through my head, and I thought it would be cool. I always wanted to be a singer as a kid, so I thought “well, I better start making music then”. – Mat
FTR: What can people expect from the Pansy live show?
Awkward talks and good times. Hopefully something new when live stuff comes back. I can hardly remember what it feels like to play a live show. Vocals that are too quiet. -Mat
The songs from the album are always much faster live because I get nervous to drum in front of people and go fast. So you can expect RAW POWER. -Cam
FTR: What’s next for Pansy?
Cooking up some more songs is the only thing I can think of right now. Not sure when live shows will come back or when we’ll be able to get together. The new material is slower paced and more textural. -Mat
They Listen To…
Dehd – Haha
Poppies – Politician
Mazzy Star – Blue Flower
Fiona Apple – Heavy Balloon
Michelle Branch – Everywhere
Pansy’s self-titled EP is out now. For more information on Pansy visit https://www.pansyband.com.