PillowTalk is a three piece live band hailing from San Francisco, manipulating pop melodies, classic R&B, soul and boogie into the loose rhythms of house music. The trio consists of Sammy D on vocals, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Williams’ dexterous guitar and keys and Mikey Tello on the synth.
PillowTalk is not only known for being stand out performers but also for being musical chameleons. They bring the soundtrack for long nights, lazy days and the hazy space between sleeping and waking. Their records go from sunsplashed jams to peak peak time tunes and low lit moments of intimacy.
With releases on Visionquest, Life and Death, Wolf + Lamb and Bang the Box they’re one of the most established live bands of the scene and we’ve been lucky enough being able to premiere already two tracks of the guys.
Since PillowTalk be playing Turino’s Kappa FuturFestival on 12 July we had the chance to interview the trio. We talked about the festival, their upcoming summer tour, their travels and more.
“We’ve starting staying in different cities and sometimes get Airbnb for the week to actually see the culture of the place where we’re going rather than just flying in and out.
You just started off your summer tour in Dubai. How was it?
Sammy: Yeah Dubai was awesome. Quite a surprise. A lot of expats. It’s a fun place to play.
Mikey: It was really quick. I was there for six hours. We have quite a few friends from San Francisco and New York who are working in Dubai. A lot of ex pats, so the culture pretty similar. And we played on a rooftop, which was really nice.
You just came back from Brazil. Was it vacation or work?
S: We did a two week tour in South America. We played Medellin, Columbia first. Then we did the D-Edge in Sao Paulo, then Warung Beach Club and then we played at the Golden Tulip Internacional Foz as part oft he Warung Tour.
Ryan: It’s like Niagara Falls times a thousand!
S: But we didn’t got to see it because we were only there for four hours. We hung out for a week in Sao Paulo. Spent some time with a good friend of ours from San Francisco and stayed at his apartment. Worked on some music. Had some really nice dinners and checked out our friends new restaurant and clothing store. We also hung out with Ellen Alien, who is a really nice person. We actually did a tour with her and it was really nice to get to know her.
If you have these kinds of chances to spend some time off and just relax. Do you spent it together or does it get annoying?
M: We have a lot of stuff planned this summer that we’re doing together. And we like to organize it so we can stay together. If we got a week off at a place we can set up a little studio and work while we’re on vacation.
R: We used to live in Berlin every summer and spent like three months there.
S: The cool thing is that, because we do the live show, we pretty much have a studio with us at all time.
M: We’ve starting staying at different cities and sometimes get Airbnb for the week to actually see the culture of the place where we’re going rather than just flying in and out. It’s nice to travel and then stay somewhere, rather than always having to go back to Berlin every week.
S: It really inspires the music too. You know like all the different settings, whether it is the climate or the environment or the people, whether we’re relaxed or not. It’s really cool to make music abroad.
So you only spend your summers in Berlin or did you move to Berlin permanently?
S: Just the summer. We were doing this the first couple years we toured. We would get a place in Berlin together for the summer and just fly out on the weekends to wherever we we’re gigging. Then we would come back to Berlin for the week. That was fun for a while but it kind of gets old. It was nice to have this new style where we go to a city and if we happen to be playing somewhere else the next week we would try to get an Airbnb. This summer we’re going to Malta, just to check it out. And Montenegro is on our list too.
M: The promoters usually take us out to dinner and we have friends with studios where we can work sometimes. A lot of cool things like that takes us to the nice places in town you wouldn’t find usually.
How was Berlin compared to California? It must have been a big change for you guys.
M: Berlin actually has a really laid back vibe, kind of like California. It’s really chilled and they also like to party. It’s the perfect combination.
R: And we have some friends from San Francisco who are now living in Berlin too so we have a lot of really deep roots there. Old friends and new ones.
M: The biggest difference are probably the laws. California is a little bit more strict about what you can do. Berlin is very open, about everything.
I heard you guys are passionate after-party goers. Where is more fun to after party? Berlin or San Francisco?
S: I don’t know. I mean we have more friends in California, which is more comfortable. In Berlin you can get away with way more and go a lot longer. You can go forever in Berlin and no one judges you. In California you will be ashamed at some point.