When the band you’re interviewing tells you straight up that their name originates from a time when one of the group members dressed up in drag and called himself ‘Raven Pillow Talk’ at their annual boat party, you know you’ve found something marvellous. PillowTalk are three musical maestros from San Francisco and together Michael Tello (beat and bass conductor), Sammy D (lead vocalist) and Ryan Williams (the man behind the ivory keys) pop and jam to a concoction of R&B, house and techno. With previous work already housed on Visionquest, Bang The Box and Wolf + Lamb they’ve got a much anticipated album slated for release on Life and Death later this year.
Not only will PillowTalk be unveiling themselves here for the very first time this Friday in the DURRR takeover of Room Two, but they just so happen to be using the appearance to debut their brand new live show which has been previously unseen anywhere outside of Europe. We pinned down the busy band in order to have them offer up a dancefloor-ready chart, which includes their excellent new remix of Edit Murphy’s ‘Need You’ on Smoke n' Mirrors, and they graciously answered some poignantly burning questions from us.
It's great to finally meet you guys. Can you introduce yourselves for our readers? Tell us something new that no one else knows yet.
PillowTalk is Michael Tello, Sammy D and Ryan Williams. We’re very excited to perform live at fabric for the first time! Something that no one else knows is that we love to play ping pong, we have a competitive ongoing match with our brothers from Wolf + Lamb.
What's the story behind your PillowTalk band name?
Every year we would throw a boat party called Floating Man. Sammy dressed up in drag and called himself Raven Pillow Talk and from there when we got together and started writing music we loved the name and decided to use this for our band.
Tell us about the variety of music influences that you share? Any guilty listening pleasures you can tell us about?
We all love listening to soul, funk, disco and live music. With different musical backgrounds we incorporate them all together, we call it D.A.G. “Destroy All Genres”. Our guilty pleasure is playing and listening to our own music with friends.
How does it feel to debut your live show at the disco next Friday for the Durr takeover? Can you tell us what your live set up involves and how you intend to surprise the crowd?
It feels unbelievable to be playing live at such a reputable venue. Sammy is the lead vocalist and throws down his sweet dance moves while wooing the crowd. Ryan is the man behind the ivory keys, giving you the organic elements of funk and jazz while rocking the vocoder and playing guitar. Michael is the beat and bass conductor, running the computer and playing the synths behind the groove. You can expect a lot of energy and to hear some unreleased material and some new collaborations with friends.
You've got high-ranking releases out on Visionquest, Life & Death and Wolf + Lamb. What's next for you this year that we should be looking out for?
We just dropped a new release with dOP on Circus Company and we are finishing remixes for Soul Clap and Crazy P. We just moved to Berlin for the summer and are touring heavily in and around Europe. The Garden Festival in Croatia and Watergate in Berlin are a couple of highlights.
We heard whispers of a debut album on Life and Death. How is the album - making process going? What's the concept behind it?
We're always writing new music and collaborating with our peers. With such a busy tour schedule were doing everything we can to keep our music making process as organic as possible. The concept is PillowTalk and writing music for fun, from the soul.
Finally, tell us three things PillowTalk can't live without?
2. Binky a.k.a Vodka
PillowTalk's Top Ten Chart:
K.A.T.O - Disco Tech (Studio 54 Mix) - Nu Groove Records
The Chaplin Band - Il Veliero - Pierrot Records
Luminodisco - Too Night - House of Disco Records
Rio Grande - Let’s Groove (Nicolas Jaar Edit)
Dave Aju - Revealing - Circus Company
Edit Murphy - Need You (PillowTalk Remix) - Smoke n’ Mirrors
Tanner Ross - The Blame Game (feat. PillowTalk, Jesse Rennix & Slow Hands) - Double Standard
Fort Romaeu - Jack Rollin’ - 100% Silk
E.S.P. - It’s You - Radical Records
Simoncino - Mystic Motion - L.I.E.S
Catch PillowTalk in Room Two this Friday night.