If you didn’t know, it’s a fairly common practice among writers to make a hyper-condensed outline before conjuring up the real content. More often than not, these meaningless drafts are just collections of stupid phrases like, “new music big boi,” “big body embed small body outro,” or… um… you know… “The Pieces of Shit!.”
Obviously, these placeholders are hopefully deleted and reworked before we publish them. Yet somehow, we’ve managed to procure an exclusive with a band literally called The Pieces of Shit, complete with hefty chunks of guest appearances like Thomas Erak (Fall of Troy, Pushover, Chiodos), Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos, bygones., Disheveled Cuss, etc.), David Kennedy of Little Geronimo, Jason from Wot Gorilla?, and a slew of visual cameos from none other than professional wrestler John Cena.
Needless to say, it appears the boys have always got one in the chamber, maybe even more than one. In fact, these expert-level trolls not only gave us our best interview of 2022 thus far and three exclusive singles (henceforth referred to as The Tingle Singles) – they’ve ALSO just announced their next record:
GUCCI BABY WAVE DELUXE JOHN CENA IMPACT EDITION.
Go ahead, read it again. It’s glorious, right?
You can stream all three of the Tingle Singles at the bottom of this piece, but first, take an expository trip with us and these crazed coprophiliacs. We chat it up deep about topics like autonomous deep-fakes, physical NFT’s, product placement campaigns with Dole, ketamine helicopter rides, and how, according to the rhetoric of previous full-length Fuck the Man, Have a Kid, communism and capitalism ultimately serve the same ends. Yeah, we’re going there. Strap in, folks. It’s going to be a lumpy ride.
FB: How did The Pieces of Shit! first come together?
Mack: Sorry, whose shit pieces? I imagine the first bits form in the large intestine after eating
and beginning to digest something. The first pieces to be formed EVER? What a thought, like how long has poop been around? I don’t know man.
Chris: The Pieces of Shit! actually started in a group chat last year with a bunch of friends that include Mack, myself, and David Kennedy (of Little Geronimo fame). David played drums on our first EP and a few tracks from FTMHAK, Mack manages the band and helps me write material. The music is all produced from my home office studio with the collaboration of friends and artists online. There was a ton of discussion about significant current events in the group chat that had been way too exhausting over the past couple years. We collectively determined that no matter what opinion you have on any topic, no matter what, someone on the internet thinks you’re a piece of shit for thinking the way you do. We joked about how it’d be funny for a band to be built exclusively around this concept. From there it was just sort of embracing the absurdity of it all: make fun of everything, use memes, make fun of those memes, be a content creator, shit on content creators. No matter what, someone on Reddit hates you. There was a shift in context after the first EP because we ended up thinking that the music was kind of decent and I wanted to keep making it. I’d never sang in a band before and something about screaming into a microphone and singing songs about intense depression and the internet contributing to an exponential deterioration of real interpersonal connections set to an upbeat major scale was really funny and cathartic.
Mack: Oh, they meant the band. This is actually happening, wow. Thanks for having us.
FB: Based on everything we’ve seen so far, the band has a strong visual component, or at least, an affinity for ungodly artwork. How would you describe the general aesthetic of The Pieces of the Shit?
Chris: We have discussions about themes and messages but Mack and his partner are really the geniuses behind all the visual stuff.
Mack: It’s entirely about creating a wild product that inspires curiosity while maintaining some aspect of visual consistency related to a theme. If the theme makes someone’s noggin start joggin’ then it’s a bonus. Following these parameters the general aesthetic may very easily be described as “shitty”.
Chris: Every release has had a central theme artistically. In general, we want it to be eye-catching but have some kind of deeper meaning, however obnoxious it might be; the artwork is just an extension of the music. My favorite so far was definitely the Chinese propaganda on FTMHAK and the whole Zhong Xina thing. All of the propaganda on the artwork essentially says “capitalism and communism accomplish the same thing: serving those in power, acquire money or perish”. We thought it was hilarious when John Cena made that groveling apology to the CCP after making the grave mistake of recognizing Taiwan as a country just because they threatened to pull a race car movie out of the Chinese market. Like this multi-millionaire, whose quality of life would probably be largely unaffected by not making more money, speaks perfect mandarin to cater to a totalitarian regime and talk about ice cream. The world is just nuts and we try to represent that in our artwork. We’re also huge fans of Yung Lean and anything Drain Gang which may or may not make its way into our stuff every now and again.
Mack: Yeah actually TPOS!’s most played song on Spotify right now is a cover of “Reality Surf” by Bladee, that’s pretty wild. And the consistent use of John Cena’s image in our products is
also to highlight that he is a prime example of a ridiculous, yet living, product. He is owned by
investors and must communicate to consumers on their behalf. From product placement to
damage control, he exists to influence consumers. The creative use of his face in our artwork
accomplishes the same thing. He’s also a decent pro wrestler and that provides some nostalgic
appeal. With luck, TPOS! will become just as influential a product as John Cena.
FB:Do you think it’s possible that John Cena is a human deep fake? Like a fully capable hologram?
FB:Maybe the Bladee cover is why when one of your records ends on Spotify, it generates a cloud-rap/emo playlist full of bangers. Do you take any influence from those genres?
Chris: I went through an entire anime villain arc where one of my childhood friends and I recorded nothing but SoundCloud trap for over a year under the monikers Yungboii_Thicc and Lil Zig. Sadly, Lil Zig passed away in 2020 and I haven’t been able to bring myself to make another beat, not that any of them were particularly good anyways. But really the entire culture of internet clout and the apparent requirement to have it in 2022 to be seen as relevant in that sphere is really interesting to me. What I’ve always admired about Drain Gang and Lean is that despite the fact that they’re very much a part of that scene, they’ve been very true to themselves and Lean specifically has been officially and unofficially credited with starting a huge swath of musical trends. I really respect their approach to the products they make and plan on stanning Drain Gang for life.
Mack: I miss Lil Zig a ton. I think the rise of Gravity Boys Shield Gang and Yung Lean was one of the most critical things to have influenced the rise of cloudrap, or rather that they figured out the internet could serve as a virtual mall for their wild ideas, concepts, art and products. I mean, tons of people have taken note of this and followed suit well before us, but these guys found a way to become viral by DIYing their way into success with efficient DAW use and movie making programs at the same time SoundCloud was finding its feet. A viral dream, dreamt before anyone else and at the same time social media use was exploding (at the end of the MySpace era and with the rise of Facebook/Twitter). I take massive amounts of inspiration from figures like Emilio Fagone of Year0001 and dream one day our creations will inspire others on a similar level. Spotify thinking we’re cloud rappers is an excellent side effect of all of this. Shoutout to Thaiboy Digital, he’s my favorite.
FB:There’s a real straight-from-the-gut, non-linear punk streak with all the material we’ve heard so far, and you’ve also been low-key prolific as shit. Do the songs come together quickly, or are they more of a labor of love?
Chris: Musical creativity comes in these insane random spurts of manic productivity. Calming One-Minute Meditations was conceptually created between me and Mack, recorded, designed and released in about ten days, all while we were harassing marketing reps from Dole Corp to use their banana stickers on the outside packaging of the cassettes we made (they said no). I think the longest I’ve spent on a song is six hours over a day or two, but it’s a pretty intense few hours. I’ll just lock myself in my office at home and get as much out as I can, whether it’s attempting to translate weird little tunes I hummed into the voice memos on my phone in the middle of the night or coming up with something on the spot. I also have this really annoying habit of not completing songs if I don’t feel anything developing about ten minutes into the recording process, but I’ll save every project file as like “lkajdwbfljbadslfjhsadf 16JAN2022” and will occasionally revisit those projects in an attempt to rehabilitate them. Sometimes those random 30-second clips will become a full song, which for this band is almost a full song anyways. Lyrics are always the hardest part. Shoutout to Rhymezone for the bars.
Mack: I honestly have no clue how these songs come together and can’t believe I have contributed to the formation of any of them. Chris is a monster when it comes to writing and production. I might suggest an edit to a riff or make up a lyric, but most of the writing and production comes from Chris building song structure around a spontaneous riff or jam, which I imagine is how a lot of DIY music is made. We also feature some vocal contributions by friends; I’ve screamed on a track, David has vocals on Kook of the Day, and we are always in the process of seeking collaboration with artists we love. I like the idea of it being “non-linear punk”, the whole concept is ridiculous, so having no set direction for how anything should sound or look is ideal. We have had recent feedback that the last few releases haven’t been as upbeat or angry as the earlier ones. That’s great. Such consumers should have nothing to worry about in the future.
FB: How did Lyle the Therapy Gecko end up a fan of the band? Is it because you called him
“your favorite little critter on the planet?”
Mack: The Lyle experience was super funny and unexpected. I was looking for ways to promo or shitpost about the band when I saw Lyle was having one last therapy session via livestream before going on tour. So I called in and got on with my second attempt – which is really dumb luck. I wasn’t prepared for it but knew I wanted exposure for TPOS! so I started the bit with some truth (I was nervous and had to pee) and a compliment (telling Lyle he’s my favorite little critter on the planet). Then I went on about having anxiety over promoting a new album for a band and not knowing how. He actually gave solid advice on being an authentic person. That gecko is genuine. So I ended the session with shameless self promo for TPOS! and he took to it great. He was definitely into being called a little critter and really patient with the whole thing.
FB: Did you consider giving him another call after zoinking out on ketamine and being airlifted to a hospital after potentially shattering your pelvis, only to discover you were born after the year 1900?
Chris: My tailbone is luckily the only part of my body that’s fucked up from that incident, which if
you’re curious, occurred during a parachuting mishap. We should try to call Lyle up to see what his recommendation would be on how to nurse a broken ass.
Mack: I think he would actually give you really solid advice, he’s incredible at what he does.
FB: Have you or have you not ever delegated your duties to a room of Italian 11 year-olds
while plagiarizing their work as The Robot and Me? Or was that one of ours?
Chris: Beautiful question. In 2014 I was completely snowed into my apartment in northern New York State and started this little thing on the internet called The Robot and Me as an attempt to make mathematical rock and roll. I’ve always had hope that the music industry was real, the idea of being ‘discovered’ was real, and if people liked your music they’d find it and listen to it. I actually found out on accident that someone from your company had written an article on it and it blew my fucking mind. From that article, someone had snagged a song and put it up on a youtube playlist with like 1.5 million plays, other folks had ripped some songs off bandcamp and pirate uploaded them to YouTube and some of the songs had several thousand plays a piece; it was all a huge mindfuck that anyone would listen to anything I’ve made at all. Knowing that people had gone through the effort of downloading and reuploading my songs, which I didn’t find out until earlier this year, ended up being the final straw that forced Mack to force me to put all of our songs on Spotify and stuff. At the very least, we didn’t do it but I’m really happy someone did. I sincerely have no clue how the song hit that many plays, there might actually be a room full of Italian child laborers listening to it right now on repeat.
Mack: That Canoe EP by The Robot and Me is dope.
FB: That is insane. Hey, speaking of millions, how do we invest in physical NFT’s in real life?
Mack: So we’re all aware of NFTs and the technological importance they hold because of the idea of ownership. By paying for access to a special sequence of code on a blockchain, you can prove that you own an NFT. Now, imagine in your mind’s eye that you could actually bring the idea of ownership into the physical plane, beyond the digital realm. Imagine you went to thepiecesofshit.bandcamp.com and purchased a cassette tape. In exchange for like 10 dollars or something, you would be mailed a physical NFT, a non-fudgible tape that exists in real life. You see the tapes are all uniquely made and you can prove that your NFT is yours because you possess it: either on your person or upon your premises, with your receipt and unique transaction number as proof of purchase. You could prove it by holding it and showing your friends. The best part, no one can screenshot your physical NFT. Isn’t that wild? It’s truly 2022.
FB: So it sounds like the partnership with Dole didn’t work out? Did they not see your Linkedin?
Chris: I don’t know. I sent their marketing rep a friend request on LinkedIn and I don’t think I
ever got an answer. All we wanted were the stickers, Elizabeth.
Mack: We made our own Dole-inspired stickers instead. They’re super secret and only come
with tape orders.
FB: What’s the gnarliest response you’ve gotten so far when you log into people’s chats and ask them “would you ever listen to a band called The Pieces of Shit?” (seeing these absolutely made my week btw)
Chris: Once I’m actually able to get them to realize that I’m memeing but being genuine at the same time, it’s only ever gone three ways for me. 1) INSTABAN, which is totally fair, 2) they’re very much about it and vibe with it 3) they go on an insane rant about what is and isn’t considered punk, tell us we’re not real even if we are real, say they’d never listen to it and that “Joyce Manor isn’t at all punk why would anyone consider Joyce Manor punk how did someone listen to that and think it was punk then say YOU’RE punk because they thought it sounded similar??” People are just bananas. We have a weirdly large following from the TikTok furry community though which is about as bizarre and unexpected as it gets in my opinion. It’s great.
Mack: The best is always when someone plays TPOS! live and vibes with it. We love that. I want someone to play it and really hate it or go on a rant about how it isn’t good after listening. That would be ideal.
Chris: Honestly that would be solid sampling material, like the Donald Trump voice over on FTMHAK.
FB: Where were you when you were trying to buy a Sprite, but someone walked in with a gun? Did you ask them if they’d ever listen to a band called The Pieces of Shit?
Chris: A convenience store in Columbus, Georgia. I did not ask the gun-toting man whether or not he’d listen to a band called The Pieces of Shit!, which I realize now would’ve made a pretty sweet newscast on par with “What are you going to do, stab me?” from that one guy that got stabbed. “Would you ever listen to a band called The Pieces of Shit?” – famous last words.
FB: Is it true that Thomas Erak and Nick Reinhart both said “yes,” when they were asked if they would ever collaborate with a band called The Pieces of Shit?
Chris: We have a feature completed with Mr. Erak which was easily one of the wildest things that’s ever happened to my inner child. I made an entire identity out of listening to bands like Tera Melos, Maps and Atlases, The Fall of Troy, and The Mars Volta for several years of my life. When I was a young teen my friend and I would play covers loudly and poorly in his garage and listen to albums by all of our favorite artists on repeat. The notion then of playing music with anyone that I admired, or them listening to songs I made was something I’d always wanted to accomplish, but I never thought it would actually happen. Mr. Reinhart has always been one of my biggest inspirations and I’m sure I’m not at all unique in saying that; but I’ve been given the radical opportunity to make music with some of my childhood heroes and it can’t be more humbling and wild that these dudes even answer our emails. No cap. 100. Frfr. Bussin.
Mack: The latent power of an Instagram DM or email should never be underestimated. I’ve been a fan of those dudes and their work for the majority of my life, so it’s easy to say I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to have been in contact with them and other artists regarding TPOS! projects. It’s all surreal.
FB: Thus far TPOS have put out a couple singles and EP’s, maybe even a full length or two depending how you look at it. Is it time to announce we’ll be getting another full-length Piece of Shit any time soon?
Chris: Our latest release, GUCCI BABY, was put out because a plug-in trial I was using to record expired and I had no intention of buying it, so the tracks were exported and considered done. It was supposed to be a whole story about escaping a cult… and I think the ending to “Kook of the Day” resolves the prior tracks enough to end it on a high note. When any collection of songs feels emotionally complete after a few playthroughs I’m not going to let them sit on my computer. I’ll certainly do my best to try, but a full length album of TPOS songs would be like, 40 songs, and I’m rarely that patient.
Mack: FTMHAK is totally a full length album. No one seems to have an attention span these
days anyway, so who cares how long it actually plays for.
Chris: I guess. We have had thoughts on rereleasing GUCCI BABY as a deluxe remaster called GUCCI BABY WAVE DELUXE JOHN CENA ULTRA IMPACT EDITION with remastered tracks, new tracks, a vaporwave intro and as many collaborations as possible. Maybe including both Nick and Thomas’ contributions. We might as well show you the Thomas Erak track now.
Mack: And so we present to you, the Tingle Singles.
FB: Drumroll, please…
FB: “Mouth Sounds” sounds a little angstier, definitely more like your first record – that being said I
love both sides of the band. Did Thomas Erak come up with his own lyrics or did he follow your
Chris: Every time we reach out for a feature we basically just say “do whatever the fuck you want and we’ll pay you for it.” I did write the music with him specifically in mind, though. He wrote his own lyrics and gave me a really touching back story about what they meant to him so I actually ended up writing my part based off of his lead and not the other way around. He’s one of my biggest childhood guitar playing influences and admittedly I freaked the fuck out when he called me the first time to finalize details. I still honestly can’t believe it even happened at all.
FB: Have you ever considered making your own ASMR videos of the recording process for a song?
Mack: You know some content exists that has potential for a future video but that’s all I can say. We make enough shitty noises as it is.
FB: Can we get a guarantee that GUCCI BABY WAVE DELUXE JOHN CENA ULTRA IMPACT EDITION, should it ever surface, will receive/bestow maximum slime?
Chris: We will be bestowing as much homegrown slime as we can. I think we’ve come a long way making our songs sound less like shit and more like I sometimes know the basics. I’m really satisfied with how this whole deal has come along so far.
Mack: Mmmmmm, slime.
What did we tell you – we’ve had some amazing interviews this year but this was by far the most engaging one in recent memory. Find these wild and crazy guys on Bandcamp here, and show us some caffeinated love here. Coming up we’ve got Psychic Graveyard, The Mantra Discord, additional SKiN Graft Goodness, and more. Thanks for reading!