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Why Pleasure Pill ditched the Jinx to embrace mod Britpop

“It’s a good problem to have”

Pleasure Pill: pandemic prompted peer into past
Pleasure Pill: pandemic prompted peer into past

Jonah Paz started playing in his first local punk band in 2013, when he was 13 years old. By the time Covid reared its ugly head in 2020, he had cycled through a myriad of groups and was playing in an experimental trio called JINX! where he served as the sole songwriter.

With time on his hands during the lockdown, Jonah continued his experimentation, and his songs began to mutate. “My songwriting took the turn to what it is now,” he says, “of just being a more conventional rock and roll kind of thing, rather than being experimental. I started writing with guitars rather than using synths and stuff like that. It was only a three-piece before: it was bass, synth and drums. So we needed two guitars. That was pretty much how the new band came to be. We started rehearsing for it in the summer of 2021 and started gigging in September of ‘21.”

This new incarnation of JINX! was notably different than the pre-pandemic version. Paz’s songs not only leaned into rock, but also veered quite heavily into Britpop. “We all love that kind of stuff. I think, before the pandemic, I was really interested in finding new music and searching for new bands. What turned me on was stuff that was really avant-garde and kind of insane, because I was young and in college and just excited by that. But then the pandemic was going, and I think subconsciously I just wanted to resort back to things that I have always known. Bands like Stone Roses, Primal Scream, Oasis, Blur, and Suede were definitely bands that I grew up listening to with my parents. Then I also had a bit of a mod phase, and I was super into that whole culture and early to mid-’60s stuff.” And while their overall sound is far more reminiscent of Britpop, the mod element comes across in the band’s sense of fashion and visual aesthetic, as evidenced in their video for “Get There Soon.”

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Since they started playing in 2021, the group has morphed. The arrival of a new drummer, Dom Friedly, coincided with the more Google-search-friendly name: Pleasure Pill. Members have also retooled their instrumentation, with Jonah now serving solely as the lead singer and ditching his rhythm guitar duties. “It was either that I would fumble guitar lines, or I didn’t sing to my fullest potential,” he explains. The band’s former keyboardist (Jonah’s brother Ethan) has picked up the rhythm guitar slack. So, no more keys, right? Not exactly. “We didn’t fully sacrifice the synth, because we have a little drum pad that has backing tracks, because some of the songs have more electronic dance beats to them. So when we switched over, we just put the synth on those live tracks. It doesn’t really sacrifice the sound at all. If anything, it makes the guitars scream a bit more when you’re just focused on that, rather than what we were doing before.”

The band currently has five singles available on Spotify (three of which include B-sides). Even though they have recorded an album’s worth of songs, Jonah seems comfortable with the singles-going-steady approach. “I think for the time being, we are just going to be doing the singles game, because that’s what people seem to pay attention to right now. Especially for an unsigned band like us.”

Upcoming Event

Pleasure Pill and Trit 95

  • Thursday, August 24, 2023, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • Age Limit: 21+ / $8

More

An interesting aspect of Pleasure Pill is that, even though they have only a handful of songs officially released, their live shows are akin to those of a band that is building setlists from multiple albums. “We can play up to an hour,” says Paz. “We have loads of songs. We can do however long anyone wants us to play. We usually try to keep it to 35 [minutes], to keep people wanting more. We have three releases, five songs out, but I have album two — if you count the original batch of singles as album one — ready to go as well. There’s a lot of material, and if you want to hear it, you can just come to the show. We play it all the time and switch it out. We still have enough songs for sets to be different. We can play one set one night and then switch it out and do a whole other batch of songs. People still freak out over them, and it’s super exciting and cool. It’s a good problem to have.” Pleasure Pill will play the Casbah on August 24, on a bill that includes Trit 95 and Kan Kan.

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Pleasure Pill: pandemic prompted peer into past
Pleasure Pill: pandemic prompted peer into past

Jonah Paz started playing in his first local punk band in 2013, when he was 13 years old. By the time Covid reared its ugly head in 2020, he had cycled through a myriad of groups and was playing in an experimental trio called JINX! where he served as the sole songwriter.

With time on his hands during the lockdown, Jonah continued his experimentation, and his songs began to mutate. “My songwriting took the turn to what it is now,” he says, “of just being a more conventional rock and roll kind of thing, rather than being experimental. I started writing with guitars rather than using synths and stuff like that. It was only a three-piece before: it was bass, synth and drums. So we needed two guitars. That was pretty much how the new band came to be. We started rehearsing for it in the summer of 2021 and started gigging in September of ‘21.”

This new incarnation of JINX! was notably different than the pre-pandemic version. Paz’s songs not only leaned into rock, but also veered quite heavily into Britpop. “We all love that kind of stuff. I think, before the pandemic, I was really interested in finding new music and searching for new bands. What turned me on was stuff that was really avant-garde and kind of insane, because I was young and in college and just excited by that. But then the pandemic was going, and I think subconsciously I just wanted to resort back to things that I have always known. Bands like Stone Roses, Primal Scream, Oasis, Blur, and Suede were definitely bands that I grew up listening to with my parents. Then I also had a bit of a mod phase, and I was super into that whole culture and early to mid-’60s stuff.” And while their overall sound is far more reminiscent of Britpop, the mod element comes across in the band’s sense of fashion and visual aesthetic, as evidenced in their video for “Get There Soon.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Since they started playing in 2021, the group has morphed. The arrival of a new drummer, Dom Friedly, coincided with the more Google-search-friendly name: Pleasure Pill. Members have also retooled their instrumentation, with Jonah now serving solely as the lead singer and ditching his rhythm guitar duties. “It was either that I would fumble guitar lines, or I didn’t sing to my fullest potential,” he explains. The band’s former keyboardist (Jonah’s brother Ethan) has picked up the rhythm guitar slack. So, no more keys, right? Not exactly. “We didn’t fully sacrifice the synth, because we have a little drum pad that has backing tracks, because some of the songs have more electronic dance beats to them. So when we switched over, we just put the synth on those live tracks. It doesn’t really sacrifice the sound at all. If anything, it makes the guitars scream a bit more when you’re just focused on that, rather than what we were doing before.”

The band currently has five singles available on Spotify (three of which include B-sides). Even though they have recorded an album’s worth of songs, Jonah seems comfortable with the singles-going-steady approach. “I think for the time being, we are just going to be doing the singles game, because that’s what people seem to pay attention to right now. Especially for an unsigned band like us.”

Upcoming Event

Pleasure Pill and Trit 95

  • Thursday, August 24, 2023, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • Age Limit: 21+ / $8

More

An interesting aspect of Pleasure Pill is that, even though they have only a handful of songs officially released, their live shows are akin to those of a band that is building setlists from multiple albums. “We can play up to an hour,” says Paz. “We have loads of songs. We can do however long anyone wants us to play. We usually try to keep it to 35 [minutes], to keep people wanting more. We have three releases, five songs out, but I have album two — if you count the original batch of singles as album one — ready to go as well. There’s a lot of material, and if you want to hear it, you can just come to the show. We play it all the time and switch it out. We still have enough songs for sets to be different. We can play one set one night and then switch it out and do a whole other batch of songs. People still freak out over them, and it’s super exciting and cool. It’s a good problem to have.” Pleasure Pill will play the Casbah on August 24, on a bill that includes Trit 95 and Kan Kan.

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The latest copy of the Reader

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