in 2012, The Pinder Brothers released a 5 song CD EP called
Speeding Cars, offering a preview of what was to become their
next full length album. In 2015, The Pinder Brothers once again speed
forward with Melancholy Seaa CD featuring 11 tracks
that are sure to impress fans of this radio-friendly pop-rock band.
Start to finish, Melancholy Sea highlights some of the finest
music yet from Michael Lee Pinder (guitars, vocals) and Matt
Pinder (bass, vocals). For fans whove followed the Pinder
Brothers since they arrived with Jupiter Falls in 2006, the
2015 release of Melancholy Sea showcases an even more assured
approach from earlier classics like their all time epic, Jupiter
Falls, "Inside Me" and Waves Crash. Several
tracks here conjure an even more solid rock vibe. With Melancholy
Sea being their most realized album yet, the music of Michael
Lee Pinder and Matt Pinder carries forth a logical extension of the
Pinder musical legacy that their father predestined when he founded
progressive rock icons The Moody Blues 50 years ago. Moody Blues founder
Pinder produced the 2006 Pinder Brothers CD debut, Jupiter
Falls, and Mike and Moody Blues producer Tony Clark produced
Ordinary Manthe second Pinder Brothers album from 2008.
Also of note here is that while Michael Lee Pinder is recognized as
the main composer on a number of Pinder Brothers classics, younger
brother Matt Pinder also shines on Melancholy Sea as a fine
singer-songwriter, with both brothers also sounding very competent
as lead vocalists on different tracks here. Backing up Mike and Matt
on Melancholy Sea are ace musicians, including guitarist Stef
Burns. A first rate guitarist, Stef Burns truly blazes his way
through a number of classic guitar solos here, while Mike Lee adds
another sound on electric guitars. Also on board is producer Scott
Reams, who adds in keyboards, including mellotron, bringing in
further classic Pinder-esque and Moody Blues type mellotron flavors.
Of course, Mike Pinder, the legend, and his Moody Blues cofounding
band mate Ray Thomas are also here, most notably on the CD
closing "Summer Moon". Theres eleven good reasons
why fans of the Moody Blues will enjoy Melancholy Sea, and
in fact one could surmise that the Pinder name is once again making
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Michael Lee Pinder of
THE PINDER BROTHERS
So here we are in 2015 with a new Pinder Brothers album, Melancholy
Sea. What was the process to complete the album from start to
finish? Why did you call the album Melancholy Sea and how does
the artwork fit into the concept of the album? Who did the art?
Michael Lee Pinder: The core songs of Melancholy Sea
were written very soon after we finished the previous album Ordinary
Man. I had a batch of new songs and Matt was writing some really
killer songs at the time so the material came together rather quickly.
The basic tracking featured many of the same musicians. I wanted to
catch them while they were fresh and working on Ordinary Man
had given me a lot of ideas as to what I wanted to do on this record.
It worked very well on Melancholy Sea to do our preproduction
thing giving Paul Revelli (drums) some tight roughs that he
could absorb a week or two before the sessions. Those were some great
days. As always Paul showed up having charted out some of his own
ideas to bring to the table and he told me... He does this in
He listens to the songs and then jots down some creative ideas as
they come to him. It was great to know he spent some quality time
with the songs in an environment that is comfortable for him.
Paul is very easy to work with and in this way it felt very organic
while at the same time letting everyone have their own head. He is
such a great player he doesnt really need to map things out
but the fact that he does is such a substantial testament to his level
The art was done by Jon Rozmarin from Eleven33 Design Studio who we
really enjoyed working with. The actual concept for the art came later.
It was inspired by the last song on the record, Summer Moon,
which was written and recorded toward the end of the recording process.
I phoned Jon and explained the idea to him. Immediately he was on
board and able to bring the idea to life. His attention to detail
The title, Melancholy Sea came from one of the lines of
the final song: Cross the sea of melancholy sayin Ill
be home soon. For me, the last song just seemed to connect
all of the songs together. I dont think the art would have been
as interesting if we hadnt gone in this direction.
Last Days Of Summer mixes prog-pop and California rock.
Did something just click for you on that track? That track has many
different parts in it. Is that a trademark of the Pinder song writing
style? Endless melodic twists and turns that always take you home
Michael Lee Pinder: Last Days of Summer is a good
example of how this album took shape. It started as a nucleus in my
home studio. Then I took the tracks into Scott Reams. Scott and I
created the basic arrangement for Paul to track to. We added flavors
to give the song just enough direction and I had already added a few
electric guitar ideas.
mwe3: Were the tracks recorded live or was there a lot of overdubs?
Michael Lee Pinder: On Melancholy Sea I tried to do
everything as tightly as possible before we brought the music into
Scott. Most of the scratch guitars on Last Days Of Summer
were done so closely to the grid that they stayed as the final tracks
of that song. I started with a Martin acoustic and then came up with
these single line electric guitars using a tremolo effect that I created
using guitar rig software. Then I added the chorus electric guitars,
which were later re-amped. We added a few touches later like a single
line clean electric guitar in the bridge section. But the majority
of the original guitars on that track stayed.
During the initial tracking this culminated into a best of both
worlds approach. Matt plugged in and played with Paul as he
was tracking which gave us that live feel. Stef was also there and
we recorded his rhythm parts right after the drums and bass had been
laid down. We felt this helped it stay as organic as possible.
Same Mistake is a great way to start the Melancholy
Sea album. The song has a definite Beatles edge to it. Do you
every get to play live with these guys? Do you agree that it sounds
like youve reached a new height with this very cool song?
Michael Lee Pinder: I think we have more fun live now more
than ever. That song would be an undertaking to play live... I wanted
it to sound a certain way and I really had a direction for it. If
it reached something for you that is all I could hope for.
mwe3: Speaking of Scott Reams, what does Scott bring to the
album as the album producer? Its not that common to have a producer
as a member of band but on Melancholy Sea it really seems to
Michael Lee Pinder: Having the opportunity to work with all
of these great musicians has really shown me that no two bands are
alike and the dynamic created by the interplay of musicians and producer
is as unique as the bands themselves are. Scott brings so much to
the creation of the music and he really knows what we are going for.
He is an amazing musician. But he also really understands the music.
mwe3: I hear a definite Moody Blues edge on Melancholy Sea.
Michael Lee Pinder: Tony Clark became known as the 6th Moody.
I think Scott and I operate in a very similar way to how my Dad and
Tony worked together in the studio. During Melancholy Sea our
creative relationship evolved and we all figured out where we naturally
fit into the dynamic. What you may hear as the Moody edge
could be us getting comfortable in our skin... and getting a chance
to bring in all the influences of past and present that we know and
love in a way that just felt right. The previous album Ordinary
Man had set the scene and Melancholy Sea really allowed
us to create in a way that pays homage to the music of the past but
that comes directly from our own inner selves. It is about the music
for us - in the same way as it was for many of the bands of the 60s
and 70s and in seeking the music.... we find ourselves.
mwe3: Do you ever feel you should be right up there on stage
with John, Justin and Graeme representing the Pinder influence and
history of the band? Speaking of Moody news, what did Mike add to
the music on the upcoming John Lodge album? Have you heard it? What
do you think and have you spoken with John in the past?
Lee Pinder: I always especially loved Justins song writing
growing up. But I never imagined myself onstage with them. I reached
out to Ray Thomas on this album because I had envisioned taking the
last song, Summer Moon in a 60s prog rock meets
70s prog rock direction. A lot of what I do comes out of the
creativity of song writing and following where the song leads. In
this way we are sort of absorbing a bit of the music of the 60s
and bringing those sounds forward in our own way. I feel that a lot
of my favorite artists have done this.
In regards to Johns new record, I have only heard the song that
my Dad played on so far. I am looking forward to hearing it. It was
a really fun experience assisting with the mellotron tracking. We
brought my Dad into our studio environment and he tracked the mellotron
for Johns song during the same session in which he tracked the
mellotron for Summer Moon. It was my first time being
in contact with John and he was so friendly and welcoming. It felt
very easy and I like how it turned out.
mwe3: Track 2 on Melancholy Sea is Pale December.
Is that the single off the album? Or maybe it was the first video.
Youre playing some great guitar work on that track. What was
your choice of guitars on the album?
Michael Lee Pinder: Pale December is one of the
singles and has an accompanying video that has just been released.
I played Claptons new Blackie model on Summer Moon
and one or two other songs. For the rest of the record I played my
92 Strat Plus which is my favorite guitar. Scott has a couple
other guitars hanging on the wall at Mister Cat studios and if we
need another type of sound to suit the song we will grab one of those
off of the wall. This enables us to stay flexible with the music.
But most of the time I have what I feel is a certain signature sound
I am going for.
mwe3: I heard you just started a new studio.
Lee Pinder: I love to use Mesa amps paired with a Fender as part
of my tone. My home studio now includes a triple rectifier that I
am eager to use on the next record. The studio is still taking shape
but it feels great to have such a vibrant working relationship with
the guys and to be getting settled into my home studio.
mwe3: Speaking of guitars can you tell us about the guitars
played by Matt and Stef on the album and did Scott use a real mellotron
on the tracks?
Michael Lee Pinder: Stef and Matt both provided their special
sauce on the guitar sounds. Stef usually plays a Strat and also played
a Rickenbacker 12 string on Overboard. If Matt or Stef
has an idea it can be great to set down my guitar and focus on playing
another instrument or singing harmonies. I go into Brian Wilson mode
and love to watch the songs taking shape.
It was excellent to work with Stef again and have him on most of the
tracks. He is not only a master technician but has a relaxed calmness
in the studio that is a pleasure to watch. He really gets into the
moment and has fun between takes. We tracked some of Stefs guitars
at John Morris place Tanglewood Studios and the rest were recorded
at One Way Studio in Benicia.
Scott used authentic mellotron samples from his library on the recording.
Besides strings he also played mellotron choir sounds. He used some
great UVI mellotron samples on Summer Moon which had an
otherworldly feel. We enjoyed putting in tron at different points
in the album and I played mellotron flute on Same Mistake
and also on the song Driving You Home.
mwe3: Matt has really come out swinging as another composer
on Melancholy Sea. His two compositions here are really great.
I hope he keeps writing those rockers coming.
Michael Lee Pinder: He already has a few songs in preproduction
that continue in the same line and if you like those, then I know
you will enjoy these. Matt and I have been playing each other our
ideas and I really like what he is writing.
Track 3, Talk To You gets back a little to the early Pinder
Brothers sound of Jupiter Falls. Is that track a little of
a flashback to the first Pinder Brothers album in mid 06? What
do you remember most about the first two albums and working closer
with your dad and then with the now late great Moody Blues producer
Michael Lee Pinder: When Talk To You was first
written I was going back in my mind to those early days of song writing
leading up to Jupiter Falls, so that is probably what you are
hearing. It is amazing how a song can take you into a creative space
or seem to take you back in time as you are writing it.
There are so many memories with Tony and our Dad. Our Dad cant
help but grab the tambourine and while we were doing the final overdubs
on Melancholy Sea he came in and played tambourine on some
of the songs. I dont think I can pick just one favorite memory
with Tony but watching him with our Dad while we were working in the
studio gave me a whole new appreciation of the fun you can have while
recording. Tony worked tirelessly as well though. It was great to
sit out in the backyard with Tony and our Dad after an all day session
and be in that creative space together.
When Tony first arrived to produce our album Ordinary Man,
he said he thought our songs were ready. He was always
brainstorming with us ways that we could break thru with those songs.
He wanted to see us succeed and was not only creative but also a patient
guiding force for Matt and I. Im so glad we got a chance to
spend that time together.
mwe3: Is track 4 Trust Being You the first original
by Matt? Its a great driving rocker and you add in a great vocal
on the track. It has a little Bon Jovi edge but you really nail the
vocal. It's easily one of the more memorable rockers in the Pinder
Brothers catalog! How does he do it?
Michael Lee Pinder: Matt sang the lead vocal on that track.
Matt also wrote the song Inside Me on Ordinary Man,
which had a really compelling driving feel as well. As such an accomplished
musician and bass player, he writes some of his songs with the bass
I know Paul and Stef had a great time playing on that one and everybody
just knew what to do in the studio. During tracking sometimes parts
get replaced but the bass on that track and the bass on Summer
Moon were laid down with the drummer and stayed untouched.
Who plays drums on Melancholy Sea?
Michael Lee Pinder: We were able to work with two of my
favorite drummers. Paul Revelli played on the album and Bruce Spencer
came in and tracked three songs as well. Bruce was the one who played
drums on Summer Moon with Matt on bass. We loved how the
drums and bass turned out so much that we left Matts bass untouched.
mwe3: Speaking of Pinder history, how was your trip to England
a few years ago? That was your first or second time there? Did you
go up to Birmingham, where your family is from? What did you glean
from your ancestry - do you study Pinder history?
Michael Lee Pinder: My cousin Lee who lives in Australia has
done a wonderful job researching our family tree. It is always a blast
visiting the UK; we have been there more than a few times and would
definitely love to go more frequently. We make the trip up to Birmingham
each time we go. Reconnecting with family definitely links us to our
ancestry even in the present day and I feel very connected to our
family over there. It was brilliant to see everybody and the jokes
are the same every time we go. It is like a home away from home.
mwe3: What are your favorite Moody Blues albums? I think I
forgot to ask. Also I wanted to congratulate you on the two Pinder
Brothers tracks on the 2014 remaster of your dads box set on
Esoteric. Its a gratifying way to see him winding down his career.
Michael Lee Pinder: When I was a teenager I loved to listen
to A Question of Balance. I also spent a lot of time listening
to Days Of Future Passed. But I like them all. When I think
of my Dads music those are some of the first songs that come
to mind and I always dug the way the songs flow into each other. It
is amazing how music takes you on a journey and those albums certainly
do. Stuff like that certainly cant be minimized in my book.
Crash Down is a Melancholy Sea rework from Speeding
Cars. Is that the most dynamic rocker in the Pinder Brothers catalog?
Its gone through several incarnations but this one sounds best
I think. Love that funky clavinet ending! (lol) Is that a fake ending?
Michael Lee Pinder: Crash Down had never been released
on iTunes so we did a special remix of it for Melancholy Sea.
Speeding Cars was intended to give fans a glimpse of what was
to come on Melancholy Sea. We had a vision for a few of these
songs and remixed them. In the process we added a few surprise overdubs
and some extra sheen to the mastering for the hardcore fans.
As we were working in the studio, we realized that the songs on Melancholy
Sea were all pieces of a puzzle that fit together just right when
we assembled them in the correct order. It was such an amazing process
to put the album together and watch it grow and evolve into a complete
Overdriven guitars were a must and Crash Down and the
combination of rock and funk was one of my favorite styles growing
up. We did a lo-fi ending, which is kind of a bit of a fake out if
that is what you mean!
mwe3: Track 8 on Melancholy Sea, Pictures Of Rachel
is a new sounding kind of track. Sounds like folk-rock played rock
style. Another track where youre playing all the guitars. Whos
Rachel? Its a very scenic sounding kind of song.
Michael Lee Pinder: If I answered that it might take all of
the mystery out of it!
mwe3: Here We Go is pretty lighthearted stuff.
Sounds like a fun, upbeat, uptempo track. Do you try to lighten things
up after the heavier, more cosmic Moody-esque type tracks?
Lee Pinder: That wasnt my intention but you bring up a good
the chorus lyrics do talk about relaxing and enjoying
the ride, which kind of provides a good contrast to the previous song.
Steely Dan has that song, Janie Runaway, which is kind
of a bopper and Matt and I are influenced by stuff like that as well
in our writing.
mwe3: Matt gets another song writing credit with Overboard.
Were you surprised to hear Matts songs lately? Overboard
is very Beatles inspired. You guys share the harmony vocals but youre
singing lead on Overboard right? Stef adds in some cool
guitar licks too. So how cool is that song?
Michael Lee Pinder: Matt is singing the lead vocal on Overboard.
I feel the verse and chorus sections really play off of each other
well. There is a cool vamp that Matt came up with and I know that
one will be fun to play live because of entrance of the harmonies
in the bridge and how the vamp stretches out at the end.
mwe3: Summer Moon is a great way to close the album.
I guess you wanted to have a very atmospheric close to the album.
Amazing to hear both your dad and Moody Blues flutist Ray Thomas on
that track. Thats also the song that mentions the words Melancholy
Sea on it. Ray did a great job on the flute and your dad, of
course is Mr. Mellotron. And Scott also plays mellotron on the track.
Michael Lee Pinder: We have gotten a lot of good feedback on
that song. I was very happy when the song came together as the last
track and it was a fun way to let loose a bit as we were finishing
up the album. The song shows some of our other influences and hints
at the direction we are going as a band.
mwe3: So how do you balance your life now as you and Matt also
own Imagine Music Instruction? Tell us something about your music
school and how you blend in your band work with teaching. Also, hows
your other brother Dan? I hear hes very good in film audio and
Michael Lee Pinder: It is definitely a balancing act but working
with aspiring musicians really inspires us and reminds us of why we
do this. We are so grateful to be able to make music a part of peoples
lives each day. And that inspiration carries over into our own music.
We have always been encouraged by our older brother Dan who helped
us to learn to play music in the same way that we help others learn
now. Matt and I are so proud of Dan; not only of the wonderful things
he has achieved in the film business but also of who he is as a person.
He has always been a personal inspiration to me.
mwe3: Any new plans musically or looking down the road this
year? I know Melancholy Sea is just underway so good luck with
Lee Pinder: Well we have basic tracks for a batch of 8 more songs
recorded that are still in production. Bruce Spencer laid down the
drum tracks, which is going to be amazing! So it is exciting for us
to have a really solid direction for the future that has taking shape
in all this. As you mentioned, our main focus right now is getting
the word out about Melancholy Sea and performing the songs.
Melancholy Sea comes out April 7th. We are so excited to share
in the joy of the music and keep forging ahead on the road that lies
Thanks to The Pinder Brothers @ www.PinderBrothers.com