Alcohol looms large in the legend of Pkew Pkew Pkew.
“When we started it, the band was an excuse to do something productive while we were drinking,” the Toronto band’s singer-guitarist Mike Warne tells Exclaim! “We like it to be a drunken party.”
But as the band mark the release of their self-titled sophomore record, out now on Royal Mountain, they’re faced with a new challenge: how to keep the party going without losing the plot in the process.
Despite evidence to the contrary, “making ourselves better is something I’m very much into,” says Warne. The band’s latest significantly ups the ante from their 2013 debut, Glory Days. Where that record felt hesitant — as if the band were still unsure what they wanted to sound like — this one exudes confidence. The band are on overdrive throughout its 22-minute runtime, with almost all the lyrics delivered gang-vocal style.
Operating on a single speed can wear listeners down, but Warne credits producer Jon Drew — known for his work with Tokyo Police Club and Fucked Up — and his approach to songwriting for ensuring that songs never overstay their welcome.
“Not repeating stuff too much, not doing the verse-chorus-verse kind of thing. Some of the songs do that, but those part happen just once, and if you like it, you gotta listen to the song again.”
Where the music remains elusive, the lyrics are purposefully literal. Song titles like “Asshole Pandemic,” “Let’s Order a Pizza” and “Mid-20s Skateboarder” leave little room for imagination, and that’s just fine with Warne.
“We didn’t want to write something that was going to be too artistic or metaphorical,” he says. “When we started the band, I wasn’t really seeing that in music. I just wanted to do something different.”
Also, Royal Mountain Records fronting the album’s recording and distribution takes a load of pressure off the band.
“Usually it’s just us saving up our money to be able to afford the best recording that we can afford. The whole business thing is interesting, and it’s fun to try and succeed,” Warne deadpans. “Now it’s just up to us to go out and be good. That’s what we’ve always wanted.”
Still, with the band about to hit the road with PUP in the States, it seems unlikely that both industry and personal expectations are going to change their ways.
“We still gotta have fun. We still have to drink.”
Check out their North American tour dates here.