Dark, psychedelic punk rockers PMMA up the dosage with ‘Serotonin Syndrome’ + ‘Pill Poppin’’ track premiere

Tuesday 03rd, November 2015 / 09:00
By Sarah Kitteringham

BeatRoute.ca is proud to premiere “Pill Poppin’” a track from the full-length debut Serotonin Syndrome by Calgary’s own “dark aggressive synth punk” act PMMA. According to synth player and vocalist Ryan,“This song is heavily influenced by the Spits and Ramones, we really wanted that snotty, blistering punk sound. The song was written with the intent of portraying a certain story/image of youth, angst, boredom and escape.” Adds bassist and lead vocalist Mikey, “’Pill Poppin” is our modern take on [Ramones 1976 classic] ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.’ Just instead of huffing glue, kids are raiding their parents’ medicine cabinets.” Take a listen and read our interview below.

CALGARY — It’s damn near impossible to write about Glenn Danzig without considering his strangely inconsistent antics. For example, in late October Irish photographer Neil Dalton shared his blood stained face all over Facebook after being beat up for attempting to photograph a performance in Montreal.

Of course, Danzig’s antics should not supersede his musical legacy. Misfits, Danzig, and Samhain have left an undisputable mark on extreme music, twisting and turning between bluesy, doomy punk and metal infused psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll that is infused with horror worship. His vocals are unmistakable; they are warbling and stentorian, careening on an unusual plane that merges Elvis with Jim Morrison.

Local “dark aggressive synth punk” act PMMA is one such act that has integrated elements of Danzig’s vocal style, charging headlong into a gathering storm. Joining the rapidly developing synth/electro infused scene alongside local highlights like Melted Mirror and Teledrome, they’re playing a hair-raising style that fits strongly with their uncomfortable themes.

The frenetic quartet is on the verge of releasing Serotonin Syndrome via European label Imminent Destruction Records, their 13-track full-length debut that thematically focuses on metaphorical “escape.” Indeed, a quick perusal of their song titles on the new album and indeed the remainder of their discography indicate that drugs, illegal and legal, play a large part in the quartet’s cosmos.
“The drug references began with our name choice,” explains Mikey, the bassist and lead vocalist.

“PMMA, at the time, was a reference to the tainted MDMA issue that was happening in Calgary a few years back. People would take PMMA thinking it was MDMA and the effects would take much longer to kick in on PMMA. As a result, people would compensate by taking much larger doses. The name was in reference to overconsumption to the point of demise.”

Drug usage has inspired more than the band name. After all, Serotonin Syndrome refers to a syndrome that can occur when a medication or illicit substance user adds another drug to their regimen, resulting in a serotonin spike in the body.

“The idea of escape is a big theme of our music. The lyrics don’t necessarily represent a lifestyle as much as seeking refuge from reality and the drudgery of daily life,” confirms synth player and vocalist Ryan.

He adds, “Our sound is dark, aggressive and hallucinatory and I think our thematic content really plays off that.”

PMMA plays “dark, aggressive and hallucinatory” synth punk. Photo: Ryan Kostel

PMMA from left to right: Mikey (bass and vocals), Ryan (synth and vocals), Garrett (guitar) and Dylan (drums).
Photo: Ryan Kostel

Following on the heels of February 2014’s All She Wanted EP, their skull adorned February 2013 demo tape and their Live on CJSW session, the full length contours some of the band’s jagged edges, better consolidating their slick, eerie sound. Extremely well captured, it’s dominated by ferocious hooks and jarring guitar work.

“The sound has become much darker and we tried to infuse that throughout the album,” explains Ryan.
Those vocals unmistakably remain in the Danzig universe, much to the delight of Mikey’s band mates, who confirm that they definitely (and lovingly) “give him shit” for the aesthetic style.

“Misfits are for sure a huge influence on us, as are many other classics,” explains Ryan. He concludes resolutely and accurately, “When we started to write songs there was a definite sound we had in mind but very quickly we settled into our own unique sound. Somehow we found a way to maintain reference to our influences without sounding tired and that is something we are very conscious of maintaining as a band.”

PMMA will have their LP release party for Serotonin Syndrome on November 13th at DV8 in Edmonton with No Problem, Abuse of Substance, and Vibes. Their Calgary release show is free at Tubby Dog on November 14th with Spastic Panthers, X Ray Cat, and Ultra Gash.

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