Indie Mixtape 20: Pile Is Ready To Win Over The Masses

Elisabeth Fuchsia

In the DIY indie rock community, Pile is a band that is always on the tip of everyone’s tongue — it feels like you can never go to a show and not hear someone talking about the latest Pile performance, or the new Pile album, or, most often, “Rick From Pile.”

They have a cult-like following, which makes sense, given that the band’s seventh (!!) full-length album is set to drop on 5/3, which is sure to simultaneously reward longtime fans and win over new ones. In anticipation of the new album Green And Grey, Rick Maguire, perhaps best known as Rick From Pile, sat down for the latest installment of the Indie Mixtape 20.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Noisy rock but also…

Years from now, how do you hope people will remember your work?

I think just hoping they remember it at all is ambitious enough.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

Becket, MA where the Dreamaway Lodge is located. There’s not much else there from what I can tell. I’ve only played the Dreamaway solo a few times, but there’s a bunkhouse for performers to stay in just outside of the venue, and in this bunkhouse there is a sauna.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

Ian MacKaye because of his music and his way of expressing his dedication to it.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

Indoors, off of a plate, with utensils and most likely sitting down.

What album do you know every word to?

Abbey Road, I listened to this album over and over in high school.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

I saw This Heat at Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN a few days ago. It was one of the most musically diverse sets I’d ever seen. There were a lot of choices in their songs and in their performances of them that were both creatively inspiring and sonically satisfying. They covered a lot of ground in an hour and a half.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

This one. The reason being fashion and function can live in harmony.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Whoever will implore me to throw my phone in the nearest body of water.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

“Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. I don’t know how it got started but it just turned into one of our favorite call-back jokes. Whenever we would start the van, pull up to a venue, leave a venue, after there was a long silence in the van, there was a chance “Carry On My Wayward Son” would get a laugh. There was one time a friend hitched a ride to where he was crashing for the night and it was about a 10 minute drive and I thought it would be funny to play that song at the loudest possible volume in the van (that is not an exaggeration) and it stopped being funny pretty early in the song, but I thought maybe it’d come back around, or maybe I just thought it’d be powerfully unfunny to give up on the joke that early, so I just left it on. It was painfully loud. The song finished right around the time we got to where he was staying, we all said bye and I felt pretty guilty for subjecting him to that. Love that song.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Vegan mint chip recipe. I made some ice cream for the first time and it wasn’t bad but also wasn’t good. It’s sugar so to make it inedible is more of a challenge than making it good.

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous. Someone gifted that to me a few years ago and the transition from “Cowboy Song” into “The Boys Are Back In Town” makes me want to scream (in a good way) every time. You can hear the moment when the crowd realizes what just happened to them and that’s pretty satisfying too.

Do you have a favorite hotel you enjoy staying at when you tour?

Any hotel with an indoor pool (or outdoor pool if it’s warm enough). Honestly, most hotels are fine and of equal preference for me as long as they don’t have bedbugs. I don’t even mind if it seems like the old, dirty kind that seems like a perfect place to be murdered. That can lend some excitement to the stay, and I’ll think to myself the same thing I think whenever I get on a plane: if I die, I die.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

My favorite tattoo is on my thigh and I got a few months ago and it’s dedicated to candlepin bowling.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

Cui Ruzhuo and Jeff Koons. They hate it when I channel surf.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

A stranger recently sent me cookies from her bakery just because she likes our music. The package included some other things I considered to be very thoughtful. It’s tough to qualify the nicest thing out of my years on the planet, but that was the most recent one where someone made me feel like I was on top of the world.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Maybe “Don’t smoke.” But I doubt I would have listened.

What’s the last show you went to?

Thou and Shell Of A Shell at DRKMTTR in Nashville.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Pulp Fiction. I’m not really sure why I feel that way about the movie but it’s still really easy for me to get into.

What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?

Breakfast. The wrong meal at the right time can be pretty disarming if done right. We’d become friends but agree to not collaborate musically because it would cheapen the time we spent together. In the weeks following we would text pretty regularly, develop inside jokes, discuss topics such as music, culture, and politics spiritedly when we would meet up (usually for lunch dates). This relationship would blossom over the next few years and we would talk daily. We would visit each other’s houses several times a year: me at one of his mansions and him in my basement probably. Then, during some holiday when our families were dining together, there would be some spat between one of my family members and his, causing a huge rift. There would be spillover into our relationship and we would drift apart but still think of each other fondly, albeit with a tinge of bitterness.

Green And Gray is out 5/3 on Exploding In Sound Records. Pre-order it here.