Updated: Jul 10, 2018
The guys of the indie-pop band, American Pets, love weaving their 90's recollections and reminiscence throughout their lyrics and songs. Based out of LA, Aidin Sadeghi, Eric Cannata, Bret Leinen, and Francois Comtois combined their friendship and artistry to start this project. After 8 years of going by the moniker, ‘Travelers,’ the group re-branded and released their first serious EP. Drummer and vocalist, Francois Comtois took the time to speak with us about the release, Doing the Best We Can.
He expanded on what accounted for the band’s fresh start and new name. “If you type ‘Travelers’ into Google, you first get an insurance company and about 45 other bands called, ‘Travelers.’ We had talked about it for a really long time actually but never pulled the trigger. I was in Brazil with my fiancé in Rio and there was this pet store called, ‘American Pets.’ It had a picture of a dog with an American flag around it, and I thought it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life because what’s an American pet?… It sort of rejuvenated our efforts once it felt like okay, yeah, we’ve got a cool name; let’s do this.”
Not only did the name change “rejuvenate their efforts,” but it also influenced the type of music the group put out.
“Over the course of the eight years we’ve been friends and in a band, we definitely became more informed to what it is to play these songs live. The first release we ever did was one of those SoundCloud things. We basically got together with a friend and recorded really sad, slow acoustic songs in a racket ball court over the course of one night. Then we played one of those songs live, and it was like the most boring thing ever. So, we decided—maybe self-consciously—to put us in a place where we wrote stuff that maybe live could still be sad, brooding, and honest but would be injected with a lot more energy.”
The first single they released form the EP was “Bad Dream.” They somehow still maintained their nostalgic aesthetic with an upbeat-poppy twist to it.
“We played the EP for a couple of people, and that was the song that got an immediate reaction. I think it’s a straightforward pop song at the end of the day, and we wanted to put something out there that would catch your intention as soon as possible. There’s so much amazing music coming out every hour of every day…We were hoping if we can get people’s attention with ‘Bad Dreams,’ then once we have it, we can show there’s a good amount of depth on this EP. Whether or not that was successful, that was the idea.”
It was successful. Comtois informed us that a good variety of music inspires to group from Frank Ocean to Pavement. But if you listen to the EP all the way through. then you may have noticed that the vocalist changes with each song, which is a bit unusual for a group. Comtois and Cannata are put of another group you may have hear of, Young the Giant (if you haven’t heard of them, you’re living under a rock). He shared that with American Pets, the guys get to show another side of their musical capabilities.
“Eric and I are in another band called, ‘Young the Giant,’ and that’s what we do for a living, and we’re both songwriters in the band, but we’re not the singer,” he said. “So we’ve always had this group of songs that was just accumulating, and we both love to sing. Also, the other guys in the band are great singers. We just realized if you’re going to bring a song that you wrote—I think it’s a really cool situation where we can arrange it together; we can make it into a more fresh song, but if you wrote song, you should sing it. We did it because it makes sense, but it’s always kind of been that way for us.”
Even weirder, the EP is still extremely cohesive. It’s obvious that guys are on the same page; yet, they still bring their own special dexterity to the studio. For example, if you were to compare “Bad Dream” to “Dying Alone,” you’d know it was the same band even though two different members sing each piece. Comtois explained the band wanted to capture the attention of fans with the bop, “Bad Dreams,” but show their versatility with “Dying Alone” and its music video.
“We have some great friends who are amazing artists, and I think when you trust someone, it’s always best to let them see it through. One of our friends who lives around here is Josh Stein, and he did the video. He’s just so talented. He came to us with plan, and we were like yes. This is totally amazing, and we know you can pull it off. So, we sort of took a step back because I felt like any input we put into it would take away from the finished product. We let him do his thing. I was there fore some of the shooting and thought it looked great on some of the cameras. Then I saw the finished product, and I was blown away.”
So why haven’t we heard more music from American Pets?
“That’s the tough part with this band. It’s always sort of been something we’ve had to put on the back burner because we have all of these other responsibilities for the other band. So, we played our EP release show in LA at the Moroccan downtown, and we’ve had some interest from a couple promoters about playing around this year more. I think there’s a loose plan to play a west coast tour, but it’s tough to get shows together unfortunately. But, that is kind of the idea so hopefully over the next year or so we can scratch together some dates.”
But Comtois stressed that the group really hopes to play more gigs this year and get their music out there (we hope so too!).
“A simple goal honestly would be to play a respectable number of shows,” he said. “We really do love playing music together, and I think that shines through in the shows. It’s just a fun experience. The crowds we’ve had out, the fans have always been super supportive. I guess we just attract that kind of person so a chance to play for more people would be great.”
Listen to their EP here.