Here’s my newest article for Ashcan Magazine. Please enjoy, especially the pictures from Sean Logic. And check out the other features Ashcan as to offer. They’re pretty rad.
PLEASE DO NOT FIGHT
words by Chris Huqueriza
pictures by Sean Logic
Please Do Not Fight are not just any other band. Sure, you could tag the four-member Indie rock band with similar sounds to the likes of Weezer, Matt and Kim, and Death Cab for Cutie, but what they are is a mesh of curious and stimulating sounds that have an unusual motive.
“One common thread of our music is that it doesn’t tend to be about girls,” says Zen Zenith, the songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for Please Do Not Fight. “It’s different from the [Indie] genre, which really is a standard.”
It’s a Sunday night, an hour before they perform at one of their favorite venues in San Francisco, Café Du Nord. All four members are present lounging in the green room; Zen Zenith, Erin Keely (keys/violin/vocals), Geoff McCann (lead guitar/melodica), and Kubes (drums/vocals). For their performance, the band plans to open with “On the Other Hand, Fight! Fight! Fight!,” a single from their first album, Leave It All Behind. “It’s usually a closer, but now we promoted it [the song] to an opener,” says Zen. “We wanted to change things up a bit.”
The band possesses a witty sense of humor that’s not off-putting, but rather very welcoming as their video blogs (or vlogs) demonstrate their day-to-day activities and their quirky personalities. Recently, many of their vlogs take the fans a tour on their artistic expressions on making their second album entitled Move.
Move, which debuted last October, has the self-explanatory message of moving in whatever way possible. “My lyrics are about change,” Zenith notes. “They center on whatever happens to be on my mind.”
He describes Move as more “personal.” The writing process was different as Keely recalls. “Before, Zen had an idea, he pretty much had the song then came to me and some other people. We worked out the songs and, after that, he did what he wanted to do with them.”
Move was more of a collaborative effort as Zen describes the final product as more “polished” with regards to the recording process and the production of more people involved. “We had a producer with the second album: Aaron Hellam from Castle Ultimate [Studios],” says Zenith. “He had valuable input, fleshed out the songs, and worked out the kinks.”
As a songwriter, Zenith’s influences are very eclectic ranging from mid/late 90s power pop to bands like Ghetto Kids, Bright Eyes, and Weezer. Many of his lyrics focus on social commentary and observances. Keely jumps right in and mentions their song “Words Speak Louder” is about shit-talkers. “It’s about how people are negative to each other and how they’re fake about it,” she says. Kubes jumps in and loves how the song ends with a huge chorus and accompanying bell sound effects.
For the band, each member hails from different parts of the world: Erin from Dallas, Zen from England, Kubes from Minnesota, and Geoff from California. They’ve traveled for two major tours, spanning from Portland to Los Angeles, but they also have a special place for the Bay Area. “In San Francisco, we have a fan base here,” says Zenith. “People will definitely come out.”
For now, they have a few simple tasks in mind: keep writing, keep performing, and keep being creative as possible. For Please Do Not Fight, they’ve only scratched the surface.