The world may not be as large as it seems. When a small town band from San Luis Obispo County has the opportunity to open up for Aerosmith, almost anything is possible. PK, a group of five young guys, has appeared in Rolling Stone, become MTV Buzzworthy and was featured on Fuse TV, all within the span of two years. Their steady rise to musical success is evident, but the close friends who met back in high school are still your regular boys next door.
Their energetic live shows are growing rapidly with each tour stop, and dedicated fans, mostly college girls, sing along and blush once lead singer, Travis Hawley, flashes his million dollar smile. Guitarists Nick Fotinakes and Matt Depauw, bassist Mikel Van Kranenburg, and drummer Rico Rodriguez, help create the melodically catchy pop-rock sound that is a mix between The Cure and The Killers.
Glide had the opportunity to chat with Depauw about their recent West Coast tour, upcoming projects and the origin of the band’s name.
You have been on the road for quite a while now, touring the West Coast with From Indian Lakes, and playing shows with other bands in between. How was the tour? Are there any shows that stand out in particular?
The tour was a lot of fun! It was really cool to share the road with From Indian Lakes and really get to know the guys better. I’d say my favorite show we did with FIL was our show at SLO Brewing Company. Maybe I’m being biased, but our home crowd is the best…so much energy and sweat and rock n roll, and they always treat the out-of-town bands really well too, so I’d say it’s a win-win situation! We were also given the opportunity to open for the Script at Humphrey’s by the Bay in San Diego…it was a sold out crowd of 1,500 people, so it blew our collective minds.
It’s been a year since the release of your music videos, "London" and "Berelain." Is there another video project in the works?
Well, just a few months ago, we released a video for “Some Nights,” shot by Will Eubanks. It was a lot of fun to make and it turned out really, really well! Lots of beautiful people involved. Also, just two days ago, we released a "live in your face rock music video" for “Chase the Sky” on Fuse TV! It was filmed at a SLO Brew show so we were able to capture all the raw energy of an official hometown show! Many more to come in the New Year…
As mentioned on the band’s official website, it appears that there are about 40 songs in the works to choose from for the next album. What do you anticipate the next album to be like in comparison to Lost Boys Sessions and Into the Roaring? When will the next album be released?
Yes, it’s true we have at least 40 songs in the works for a new album. This is the most we’ve ever had at one time. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to listen to so many new different songs and having to choose which ones will make the cut! The new album is definitely continuing on the direction of Sessions, but with a little more "maturity" and flow. We’ve been able to experiment with all types of new instruments and sounds and approaches to writing songs. I’m sure all bands say this about their new stuff, but this is our best and favorite stuff we’ve ever written as a band. Can’t wait to show the world!
The band has drawn comparisons to bands such as The Cure and The Killers. What is the best way to describe PK’s sound?
Oh geez, this is always a hard one since I’m in the band…hmmm. I’d say catchy rock ‘n’ roll with a bit of pop and a bit of darkness…which I suppose could be said about The Cure and The Killers, as well.
How did the band develop?
Well Travis, Nick, Mikel and I met in high school and played in a few different bands around the area and then decided to join together and make a legit, fun band. We played for a little while then we all went our separate ways…college/abroad/etc… until one day when we decided real life was kind of a drag and music was the only cure. So, we got back together and stole Rico from gang life in Fresno, and now we are a complete unstoppable machine!
In 2010, you opened for Aerosmith at the California Mid State Fair. Last year, you were featured in Rolling Stone as one of the nation’s top unsigned acts. This year, you were MTV Buzzworthy. As a band from the small rural town of Templeton, CA, how does the rapidly growing attention feel? What keeps you all grounded?
I gotta say it’s an amazing feeling. Opening for Aerosmith felt like a dream. And when we got the call that we were going to be featured in Rolling Stone, I still didn’t believe it! Then to top it off with MTV Buzzworthy…we are all astonished, to say the least. But most of the time we are so busy and moving forward that it’s hard to stop and see what’s going on around us. So I’d say our hard working mentality keeps us grounded…we are also pretty modest dudes and keep each other in check within the band.
The band’s name is said to be based on a character from Bryce Courtenay’s novel The Power of One. Is there some sort of correlation between the book’s character, Peekay, and the band itself?
Well, when we initially came up with the name, we were in high school. Travis had just read the book and I coincidentally had seen the movie in the same week. We decided PeeKay was a pretty awesome character. I guess the fact that he’s a scrappy boxer who rose from the bottom to overcome adversity was something we could connect to at the time. Coming from a small town, the idea of taking over the world is quite a daunting task, but I think what we took from the character PeeKay is that we could indeed take over the world if we just work hard and don’t let anything get in our way!
Where do you all see yourselves a year from now?
A year from now we will be releasing even MORE new music (that hasn’t even been conceived yet) and hopefully touring nationally! Hey, I’d even be okay with touring Europe/Japan/Brazil/the World…but I won’t get ahead of myself. Realistically, I hope we are all just still making music together, traveling the world, meeting new people and seeing new places. And in a year and a few days from now, I hope to be eating yet another huge turkey dinner.