Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Success is a journey, not a destination…
What a load of crap.
When forming a band, the last thing any enthusiastic musician wants is to be pummelled by a stream of idioms telling them how it takes time to build merit and value. Artists desire creating with wanton abandon; throwing caution to the wind and revelling in the excesses of creativity, not buckling down with a plan.
In the case of Winnipeg, Manitoba-based outfit Take Me To The Pilot (TMTTP) however, thanks to sage wisdom, patience and enjoying the venture towards their goal, guitarist/vocalist Mike Bilenki, guitarist Eric Grabowecky, bassist Adam Brown and drummer Richard Eliuk have easily asserted just how those axioms can ring painfully true yet yield stellar, incomparable results.
Initially just the working title for Bilenki's solo acoustic effort circa early 2009, Take Me To The Pilot has solidified into an enviably dominant and refined unit over the past year. Refusing to sacrifice integrity and ability for immediate gratification, Bilenki enduringly crafted Take Me To The Pilot over the course of months, hand-picking members based on ability and drive as well as their congenital passion for uniting uptempo pop, and bona fide rock. Finding those seeds of virtue in Brown, Eliuk and Grabowecky, Take Me To The Pilot blossomed beyond an autonomous show into the virile, captivating and fetching experience of today.
“I had written a bunch of songs with a band in mind but couldn't find any good guys to play with,” Bilenki reflect about the group's origins. “I got sick of sitting on the songs and decided that I would try my luck as a solo acoustic artist until I found the right guys to be a part of the project with me. Eventually Adam and Richard came along and my one-man acoustic show became a three-man acoustic act. We finally made the transition to an electric four-piece this year with the addition of Eric.”
The results of that diligence in assuring Take Me To The Pilot was nothing less than a powerhouse of competency, passion and direction are evidenced on the band's awe-inspiring, dynamic and virulent independent eponymous debut EP. At that, with the Take Me To The Pilot EP, the foursome is poised to not only further amalgamate the worlds of uptempo pop and addictive barb-filled rock but overtake it completely.
“I think my plan worked,” he chuckles, reflecting on the impetus behind TMTTP's compelling essence. “I’ve always loved great pop tunes. I grew up as a pop-punk kid then came to a place where I was into classic rock for a while. Eventually I decided that it was time for a change. I just wrote whatever would come out, no pretences, no expectations. Those are the songs you hear on Take Me To The Pilot.”
The works that comprise TMTTP's EP—created under the supervision of Dale Penner’s Paradise Alley Productions (Nickelback, Holly McNarland) who works with the band in a producer, development/management capacity—are also amassing a host of achievements for the band in their ephemeral existence including sold-out shows, rotation of track “Tonight” on local commercial major radio, and inclusion on hit MuchMusic reality program Discovered (aka disBAND). In turn, these exploits have generated interest from labels/representation keen to bolster TMTTP during the initiation of their explosive musical ascention. Bilenki chalks this attention and fervent appreciation up to their unique modus.
“We straddle the line between pop/punk-based rock and pure pop music. Our songs have guitars you can rock out to but also feature beats you can dance to. There’s no pretence and no worries: it’s music with hooks you can sing, lyrics you’ll remember and is simply a whole lot of fun. Most of what influenced this record wasn’t mainstream music: bands like Making April, My Favorite Highway and The Dangerous Summer, but that’s not to say that bands like Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, and older stuff like Elton John, Queen and U2 weren’t also a factor in the writing. Anything I can learn from, I try to learn from.”
While Take Me To The Pilot perfectly encapsulates TMTTP's inherent ability and indelible drive, the band is adamant that their music offers more than the mindlessly pedestrian entertainment most pop settles on. To that extent, Bilenki reveals humility and gratitude at Take Me To The Pilot's strength, ability and dedicated following, good fortune he recognizes could only have come about with the grace of that aforementioned patience.
“We don’t just want people to listen. We want them to care,” Bilenki asserts. “Anybody can hear a song but if it can affect you on a level where it stirs something up, that's when it's truly powerful. 50 people will listen to one song and hear a million different things. If the song connects with all of them on any level, then through that song, those 50 people ultimately become the same person. Moments like that are why we do what we do and that's what Take Me To The Pilot is all about. I dare you to find four guys who are more stoked about doing what we do.”
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