Posted in Arts, Top Arts

The Pack a.d. explores a funner sound on their latest release

What started as whim has become a lifestyle for this Vancouver band

The Pack A.D.
Rebecca Blissett Photograph
The Pack A.D. Rebecca Blissett Photograph
Image Credits: Rebecca Blissett

The Pack a.d. played a hometown show at The Cobalt, a smoky bar with a disco ball that provides great rock ambience. For those who missed the live performance, The Pack a.d. recently released a music video for their latest single “So What,” off their upcoming record, Positive Thinking. Joined by Glad Rags and Dead Soft, the show was high-tempo from the get-go. The two openers took well to their mission to amp up the crowd. Once the Pack a.d. appeared in the wing of the stage, the crowd was roaring for them to begin.

The female duo market themselves as having a lot of sound for only being two people, and they are not wrong. Singer and guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller used their garage band/psych-pop style to get the Cobalt positively humming with excitement. Combined with their surprisingly good stage presence — despite being restrained by mic stands and a drum kit — the Pack a.d. is a musical force to be reckoned with.

The Peak got to chat with Miller following the back-to-back nights at the Cobalt. On the performances, she said, “They went great, yeah, super. It was really great to play something smaller again, just to get a real sort of punk-feel back. [May 13] was good and sweaty — it was pretty hot.”

The Pack a.d. formed 10 years ago, after the end of the duo’s summer fling band. They got started on music on a whim, recalled Miller.

“I can’t even remember who said it, but someone was like, ‘Oh, we should be a band,’ and then all of a sudden — within a week — we were all buying instruments. So we made a band, and that band didn’t last, but through it, Becky and I found that we played well together. We liked the same stuff.”

They originally named themselves The Pack, recounted Miller, “Because we like wolves. And then there was another The Pack in California. A rap group. They were giving us grief so we added the a.d,” she laughed. “[E]very single album we go to make, we think ‘Oh, this is the time, we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna drop the a.d.,’ but it’s already so ingrained for anybody else that it’s just what it is.”

Miller and Black played “So What” at the shows, because according to Miller, “Everything from the upcoming album is really fun.” That doesn’t mean they’ve changed: “We’re still the same band. It’s only one facet of the album. There’s traces of that throughout the album, but there’s definitely heavier psych rock songs,” said Miller. “Creepin’ Jenny” also made an appearance, and for Miller, “That’s kind of a personal favourite.”

Miller’s open to branching out in their music in the future, too. “If there was some way I could throw some rap in there, I probably would, but it hasn’t happened yet.” She listens to a lot of rap, and Black listens to psych rock and ’80s music. Miller specified that the music she likes to listen to and the music she likes to play are different: “I really enjoy playing rock.”

A writer in addition to being a drummer, if Miller wasn’t in the Pack a.d. she’d be “Slogging away at writing for film and TV.” According to Miller, Black “[w]ould be pursuing her neuroscience aspirations.” However, Miller advised that if you like music, “Always pursue music. It gets you at different spots. Neither of us had any thought of going into music, and did it on a whim, but it’s a whim that lasts. Music’s a very gratifying profession.”

Catch the Pack a.d. this summer as they embark on a cross-country tour — with a few stops in the US — and stay tuned for their August release, Positive Thinking.

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