Satisfy your taste for psych-pop with Delicious Pastries April 8 at Mr. Smalls

This Saturday, April 8 is Pittsburgh’s Very Own at Mr. Smalls Theater. A Pittsburgh City Paper “Critics’ Pick,” the lineup boasts five of Pittsburgh’s finest psychedelic rock acts: Misaligned Mind, Wwoman, The Garment District, Nox Boys, and Delicious Pastries.

Delicious Pastries is made up of members Stephen Gallo, Jesse Ley, Burr Settles, Jonathan Chamberlain, Dan Styslinger, and Vince Poprocky. Longtime fixtures on the local scene, Delicious Pastries is one of four founding members of the Golden Magnet collective. Their newest album, Aleatoric Delay, can be heard on Spotify or the band’s Bandcamp page.

We chatted with founding member Jesse Ley in advance of Saturday’s show:

Delicious Pastries is a great name for a band.  Please tell us where it came from.

– i wish that i could say that the name was delivered to me during a vision, by a man on a flaming pie, but alas, the full weight of that decision rests squarely on my shoulders. really, delicious pastries is the product of a very unlikely set of circumstances. while jonathan was pursuing an MFA in madison, wi, we would use the telephone as a conduit to transmit our mutual dreams of starting a band. on a lark, we created the fictional group, ‘delicious pastries’, and promptly singed ourselves to totally snakes records. since this project was in no way grounded in reality, all of the names were meaningless and completely interchangeable. during the ensuing years, we would occasionally subject the internet to our embarrassingly weird beach boys remixes and underdeveloped demo recordings. somehow we began to accrue a meager following via social media. and then, miraculously, jonathan moved to pittsburgh. that’s when we began writing songs in earnest, and things started to get real. since we already had on online presence, and a certain level of name recognition, we decided to stick with ‘delicious pastries’. and so here we are.

Your Soundcloud says that Delicious Pastries plays music that is “unencumbered by the fleeting dalliances of the new rock vogue.”  Is it hard to make music that sounds at once contemporary and classic?

– no, it’s really quite simple. if that is, in fact, what we’re actually doing. we don’t get a lot of feed back, you see? so, if you are saying that we sound both contemporary AND classic, i’ll take it!! but i guess what that message is trying to convey, is that we don’t put a tremendous amount of consideration into the kind of music that we should be making. nor do we worry about how our work is interpreted by the public. truthfully, we’ve never prided ourselves on being au courant with regard to contemporary rock trends, and as a result, we are able to exist in our own little fantasy land, devoid of the burden of external pressures. rather than trying to tailor our sound to fit some specific niche, i’ve found that it is much healthier to indulge our impulses in order to maximize the potential of each individual track. and if somehow we manage to produce a sound that is both contemporary and classic, great! but we definitely aren’t sitting in front of a dry erase board at night trying to think of new ways to sound like the beatles AND skrillex, or whoever.

Your band has been a fixture on the local scene for almost a decade now. Is there one particular show that stands out above others?
– probably the ‘aleatoric delay’ release party at spirit last march. that was definitely a high water mark for the group. playing the new album in it’s entirety to a capacity crowd was a really special experience. also, we like to employ a multidisciplinary approach to the live shows, and i feel like that show, in particular, stands out as one of our most successful, in that regard. for that event we enlisted the help of other musicians, artists, photographers, film makes, fashion designers, actors, and dancers. it was wild! we definitely enjoy trying to take the live performance to a level that transcends what you might experience at a traditional rock show– to create a stimulant rich environment full of visually striking and sensory exploring elements.  and i feel like everything came together perfectly at that show.

What do you make of the Pittsburgh music scene today as compared to when you started?
– it’s hard to say. a lot of things feel the same, but a lot of things feel different. like any city, there are peaks and valleys, i suppose. but i do feel very confident about the direction things are heading in at the moment. one encouraging sign is the amount of high quality shows– both local and national. there are more events going on during any given weekend, than any single person could keep up with (and i know because i’ve tried!). but i still think there is room for improvement. but generally, there does seems to be an incredible amount of potential and i honestly believe that certain bands are poised to explode in the very near future!
What was the last concert you attended and which is the next you’ll attend?
– i just saw nana grizol (feat. members of elf power, the music tapes and neutral milk hotel) at the mr. roboto project on wednesday (march, 29th). and i’m going to see bryan ferry (of roxy music) tomorrow (april, 1st) at heinz hall.
Is there a special cosmic connection or resonance between the music Delicious Pastries makes today and a particular “golden era” psych band or album?

–  psychedelic pop is just one arrow in our quiver. while we pull pretty liberally from a verity of different sources, i do think it’s safe to say that all the members of the band share an affinity for classic 60’s pop elements. however, it might surprise you to know that some of the tracks we are working on for the new album are influenced by air, the chemical brothers, and stereolab, as much as they are by “golden era” psych music. we’ll channel all of that inspiration back through a delicious pastries lens, so that whatever comes out on the other side is unmistakably ‘us’, but there are a lot of influences in there, for sure!

Do you have a favorite album to get psychedelic with?

– i try to get psychedelic with all my albums, to be honest! but in keeping with the theme of classic and contemporary sounds, i’ll denote some favorites in each category.

classic: the zombies – odessey and oracle, the beatles – magical mystery tour, j.k. & co. – suddenly one summer, billy nicholls – would you believe, the beach boys – smile

contemporary: of montreal – the sunlandic twins, cornelius – fantasma, the apples in stereo – her wallpaper reverie, cornershop – when i was born for the 7th time, kula shaker – k, the olivia tremor control – black foliage animation music vol. 1

When you’re not playing in Delicious Pastries you run one of Pittsburgh’s most popular dance parties. When do you find time to sleep?

–  it’s true. by most scientific measurements, i’d definitely be considered a nights-man. that’s when i do some of my best work. whether i’m writing, recording, practicing, performing, or just hanging out, i love doing it on that late night tip!  however, i do enjoy getting my rest too. i try to avoid as many early morning obligations as possible, and i like to squeeze in naps when i can.  you’d be surprised by how many really silly hours  there are in the day. like monday afternoon at 3:30, for example. that’s a perfect opportunity for a nap. would recommend.


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