New York based Progressive Instrumental Space rock band PONTUS has released the official music video for the title single off of their album, Black Hole BBQ. The video for “Black Hole BBQ” was pieced together by different videos taken from the recording process and edited in with some live footage taken throughout the years. Included are short videos of the live studio tracking of drums, cello, and the percussion. The making of the album and the video was a collaboration with both Faculty and students at Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema in Brooklyn. Pontus’ day gig is at Feirstein graduate school where he manages the post production facility and teaches music technology. The musicians performing on Black Hole BBQ include Pontus H.W. Gunve (All guitars, composition, and production), Tripp Dudley (Drums, Tabla, and Percussion), Ian O’Brien (Modular Synth), Chris Kelly and Dan Kramer (Bass), Eric Allen (Cello), Katie Thode (Flute). The album was mixed by Rocky Gallo at Virtue and Vice Studios and mastered by Mike Kalajian at Rogue Planet Mastering.
- Tell us a little bit about the band and how long you have been together for some of our readers that may not know about the band?
A: This is my solo project really. It has been developed over the last 10 years into what it is now. At first, I used my initials – PHWG – to promote the project and for live shows. Now I use my name – Pontus – for live shows and album releases. Mostly it is music that I write or work out with some of the people that end up playing out with me. I work with my friend Tripp Dudley developing the percussive elements. I also worked with my friend Ian O’Brien (Fastus) in developing the synth sections on Black Hole BBQ.
- What is new with the band?..New Album out? New Videos?
A: Yes – I have a new album out – Black Hole BBQ. My plan was to promote the album during most of 2020 – but could not tour or perform live due to the pandemic. I also have two videos out – Black Hole BBQ and Infinity Plus One.
Also – I am working on another video from the album (hopefully launching in the Spring of 2021)
- With all this madness going on with the virus…What do you think the music scene will be like in the future…and how are you prepared to make your music heard if there will not be any concerts or festivals for the year of 2020?
A: That is really the million-dollar question. How will/have artist manage(d) through this pandemic. I’ve seen many artists do live streaming gigs on FaceBook, Instagram live, YouTube Live – usually on a weekly basis. Those have been great to follow. I am trying to use social media to get videos out and promote my music through that avenue. I am not sure exactly when live music will be back to normal (especially in New York and other big cities)
- What got you into music and what is your earliest memory of when you told yourself…”THIS IS WHAT I WANT”?
A: Two things really – I remember watching a video of Jean-Michel Jarre “Live in Houston” and that blew my mind. I wanted to create a spectacle like that – making an entire city your concert stage – brilliant. And seeing Angus Young of AC/Dc play the guitar made me want to pick up the guitar.
- Who was your first concert and what is your best memory
A: The first big live show I remember seeing was AC/DC – in Gothenburg, Sweden. It certainly was my gateway into rock n roll and live music.
- If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
A: My other passion has always been cooking (and still is – love to cook) – so maybe run a Progressive Rock based Beer and Sandwich shop (with evening dinner specials). But otherwise it would mostly be a beer pairing with a great sandwich. If you put the perfect fit on the jukebox then you’ll get a free refill.
- On a scale of 1 to 2593, How good is your newest single compared to your last single? (my attempt at humor, but please still answer)
A: Good question. It’s pretty darn good – as a guitar player we are looking at a solid 1011 there with a clear emphasis on the Eleven there.
- What do you feel is the best song you have released to date and why?.
A: Hard questions – honestly. I feel like the music I make are part of a development or exploration so it is hard to pinpoint. I do enjoy playing Cavalry of Camels (from The Observer 2013) live – since it’s a pretty straight ahead rock track.
- Do you think you can get any better as a musician/singer? And if so, How would you achieve that?
A: That should be any musicians goal (hopefully). But it is not necessarily just to become better on your instrument or writing – it is also to be brave enough to try new things. Not just get locked into the same mold. I feel like the journey and the exploration helps your creative urges.
- If you could give your fans one random fact about you that you think they should (or should “not” know) about you what would that be?
A: The first CD I ever got was Oxygene by Jean-Michel Jarre and originally I wanted to be a synth pop player but then found my true passion instrument – the electric guitar !
- You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
A: The erasers crayon ☺ – I have two young kids and they put crayon and markers on everything in the house ☺
- Who are you inspired by?
A: Creative musicians that aren’t afraid to try new things and not be part of a mold. What Frank Zappa did with his band and his musical visions are inspiring. What Devin Townsend has done with his solo project in the last 12 years is also pretty awesome. I have also recently become a YouTube surfer – where I put on a random album I hear from someone and let the algorithms take me in some bizarre direction. Sounds weird (or scripted) – but sometimes it yields very interesting results. At home or a work I will put on something – come back after an hour or so and wonder how we got from Opeth to Ozric Tentacles or from Lou Reed to Lizzo. You can sometimes find new and old records that you would never think of listening to!
- What’s an average day like on tour? and what about these days?
A: Most show I do are around New York City and the vicinity. I have traveled a few times with my solo project – a few performances in Sweden. Usually the gigs for me are mostly preparation – rehearsal, arranging scores, promotion, sorting out the technology for the gig etc. The beauty of independent artists ☺ I have not planned out a show for this year because of the pandemic – not sure if any venues are open – BUT I hope to find outdoors events for live gigs this summer.
- Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans?
A: Much of this is done through social media or emails. At live gigs, it’s mingling in the venues and bars after the show. I don’t play the arena sizes so often I go out to the bar for a beer or bourbon and speak to people that came for the gig. I often like the smaller bars where we can setup and just play to the unsuspecting. That is how I get new fans to the music. Also – playing with other bands in a similar genre helps.
- Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
A: I used to have some (or moderate) anxiety – depending on the show. There’s usually somewhat of nerves that hit you before the show. Usually it depends on how much downtime you have before the actually gig. It is usually tricky for me because I hate being late – so I am always on time (well before everyone else) – and I don’t like just sitting still. So often (after sound check) I end up just trying to kill time. But I find the best medicine for performance anxiety is preparedness. Know all your parts !!! Sometimes writing and playing this progressive rock your head gets caught up – and if you’re the band leader – you better know where you’re at ☺ A few times in a gig I’ve gotten a bit lost and have to look back at the drummer and figure out how to get out of the 11/8 section into a 6/8 – and hope and pray for the best. But usually if you don’t show the audience too much fear – it works itself out – or could be a dope improv section … Live music is that – and should be that – a living, changing, growing thing – that is performed live by humans !
- Tell me about your favorite performance venues?
A: I have a few spots that I like performing at. One of my favorite small spots was Spike Hill in Williamsburg. It’s closed down (since December 2014) – and still to this day nothing has replaced it. It was a small pub / live spot – but just a comfortable live spot that was fun to play in to mostly people walking in off the street. I also like playing the Brooklyn Bowl – it’s a fun venue in Brooklyn and I like the sound and crew there.
- What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
A: A few words of wisdom…. No matter what the ads say – they Gear does not make you better (you may SOUND better)!! It is better to get organized, and go out and play shows. Waiting around for the perfect gear or the perfect situation doesn’t work. Don’t start playing music or make an album to “Make Money” – make the music you believe in because YOU love it. Through your passion others will feel that same passion. Make music that you want to listen to – not what others tell you “you should be”.
If you would like to learn ever more about him…Go here