Frontman William Keegan, 26, and bassist Danny Bengston, 24, of Pangea share a house in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles with two roommates, who have to put up with the band practices that happen in the dining room.
“It's definitely a party house,” says Keegan, who adds that the non-stop ragers recently resulted in one of the roommates informing them that he's moving out.
“There are no hard feelings,” says Bengston. “He was just like, 'I'm getting older and I'm reaching the end of this part of my life.' But Will and I are still happily riding the edge of being mildly responsible and being way too fucked up.”
“We play shows, get wasted and party a lot,” says Keegan. “And that's exactly what Pangea sounds like.”
If there's one thing Pangea do better than party, it's make rollicking, catchy-as-hell garage-rock tunes.
Keegan has been recording under the name since the early-2000s, but Pangea's current lineup formed three years ago, when they linked up with lead guitarist Cory Hanson and drummer Erik Jimenez. Bengston and Hanson became friends while studying at CalArts, and all four were deep into the local underground rock scene.
The band released a 7-inch called "Never Not Know Nothing," on the Stress Domain label in 2009 and a cassette called "Jelly Jam" on Lost Sound Tapes in 2010. But the group consider the 14 rowdy surf-pop tunes on last year's "Living Dummy" to be the first proper Pangea album.
"Living Dummy" was released by Burger Records, based in Fullerton, California, where Pangea was happy to find a home alongside likeminded lo-fi, garage-rock artists like Ty Segall, Black Lips and Jacuzzi Boys.
“We literally practiced in a garage for a long time,” says Keegan. “So we technically are a garage-rock band. But I'm getting sick of that sound now that all these bands have the same sort of production aesthetic -- everything just sounds washed out and identical. It's become more about the production style, and less about the quality of the song itself.”
This desire to depart from the lo-fi sound is evident on Pangea's latest EP, "Killer Dreams."
They recorded the decidedly more focused and less fuzzy songs at Mix LA, where their good friend Andrew Schubert works and provides them with free after-hours studio time. (Along with Lauren Records, Schubert co-released Killer Dreams on his Ghostbot label.)
The bouncy, quasi-country acoustic love song “Love & Alcohol” shows Pangea prioritizing songwriting over rock-n-roll shenanigans, but even on high-energy dancefloor tracks like “Plasma,” the band sounds tighter and more powerful than it did on "Living Dummy."
Unfortunately, Keegan parties so hard that he normally cannot remember whether his dreams are killer or not. But Bengston remembers one he recently had while passed out in his car after attending the Coachella music festival in Southern California.
“There was this big, naked fat man standing in front of me in this strange basement,” says Bengston about the dream. “In the basement, there was this mop bucket, and inside the bucket there was a creature that kept transforming from a spider to an octopus. And then a dog bit me, and I woke up.”