Pile have kicked off 2024 with the release of a new five-song EP, Hot Air Balloon, which was recorded during the same sessions as their 2023 album All Fiction. They don’t sound like leftovers though; ranging from the hard-hitting indie rock of opener “Scaling Walls” to slow-burners like “The Birds Attacked My Hot Air Balloon” and “Only For A Reminder,” these songs are every bit as good as the material on All Fiction. You can stream the EP in full now, and for a deeper dive, bandleader Rick Maguire has given us a track-by-track breakdown of the whole thing. Read on for what he had to say.
Rick also has some solo shows coming up this month, including one in Brooklyn on January 10 at The Broadway with Oceanator (who’s also playing solo). All dates are listed below.
PILE’S TRACK-BY-TRACK BREAKDOWN of HOT AIR BALLOON
This song took several forms to end up where it is. It started as just acoustic guitar and then just synth, but by the time I brought it to the band it all came together pretty quickly. Was also a fun project in visual lyrics and abstraction.
It was a lot of fun giving it to Josh Echevarria to direct the music video to see what it evoked for him visually.
THE BIRDS ATTACKED MY HOT AIR BALLOON
The lyrics came last for this but it felt appropriate to use them for storytelling. Unlike “Scaling Walls,” this one came together pretty quickly. I tried to deviate from what it was when I first wrote it but it seemed to work best the way it came out initially. It was great working with artists and animators Nicole Rifkin and Nicole Amidon on this video, we did all of the projection in my living room and Ryan Dight filmed all of it.
ONLY FOR A REMINDER
I had never tracked a song the way we did this one. Used MIDI to map out the whole song and put everything else on top of it. Usually, we start with the drums and build from there but it was cool to build differently. One of the if not the most important thing to me on this one was the sound of the synth at the start of this song.
This song is also very old. It’s been waiting to be released for about 7 years.
This one’s about how we get in our own way and the pursuit of perfection will always be a fruitless one. This was one of the looser and weirder songs to pull together. And strangely, the chorus was the last part to be pulled into it, which I think is one of its strongest sections.
Regarding the recording process, historically we’ve tracked songs pretty live, but this group of songs was intentionally tracked with a lot of isolated overdubs so we could pick, choose, drop in, and cut out whatever elements we wanted to and in this song, we exercised this practice excessively.
YOU GET TO DECIDE
This song is musically very similar to a lot of artists that we all enjoy listening to. And the song is about self-compassion.
Rick Maguire (Pile) — 2024 Solo Dates
01/05/24 Chattanooga TN – Woodshop
01/06/24 Asheville NC – Different Wrld
01/07/24 Raleigh NC – Kings
01/08/24 Washington DC – Pie Shop
01/09/24 Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brendas
01/10/24 New York NY – The Broadway
01/11/24 Boston MA – Rockwell