We’ve said it before, we’ll surely say it again – as far as music publications go, we are pretty privileged. No, we’re not industry giants like Rolling Stone or Billboard, but we consistently have something that the competition rarely does – you. The readers, community, and excitement surrounding Fecking Bahamas is as humbling as ever. While you’re always welcome to donate or check out our Bandcamp, sometimes you go the extra mile and send us legitimate mail, and those days are always our favorite. We’re not just proud of the gifts because they’re awesome albums, we’re proud of them because they’re tangible symbols of the symbiosis we work so hard to achieve. Every record, every sticker, every pin, is treasured. We promise.
But recently, a certain offering really brought the heat. Pennsylvania’s People Food, an instrumental math rock band with big riffs and even bigger flavor, generously donated an offering so bold, so ingenious, that we couldn’t help ourselves.
You see, unlike your typical math rock merchants, People Food also moonlight as Pickle Monster, a company that makes some of the tastiest pickles and hot sauce you can legally get your hands on. Guess what they sent? Yes. Oh, yes. Two massive jars of juicy honkers: one Garlic and Onion, one Spicy Boy Blend. They also sent two bottles of hot sauce: one dill-icious pickle flavored, and the other Spicy Boy Blend. So, in the end, we couldn’t even help ourselves. Most of it is gone. But before we drained these jars of their glorious contents, we wanted to make sure our viewers had a visual aid of sorts.
Below are our initial reactions. And that of our cats.
We went through the Garlic and Onion flavored pickles within a few days, to be honest. They made sure both flavors cut through, but you never lose the dill-iciousness of the honkers themselves. Yes, that’s our preferred name for a pickle. If you have any problems with that, take it up with Andrew Srack of Muscle Beach Petting Zoo – we’re sure he’ll be happy to explain. The Spicy Boy Edition lives up to it’s name, with the Italian Red Peppers center stage just before the storm of habanero kicks in. Considering these hefty honkers come pre-sliced, either flavor would enliven just about anything in your refrigerator, but we found them to be perfect for sandwiches. The same can be said of the hot sauce – both flavors shine on any kind of eggs or potatoes. It’s a hell of a way to wake up.
While we’re busy being overwhelmed and finding creative ways to use the last of our goods, check out this statement from People Food on Pickle Monster and how it came to be:
“Our journey began in 2018 when myself (Steve, guitar) and my two best friends (Chris, bass) and (Nick, drums) started playing DnD for the first time with a few friends. We were all working miserable jobs and getting together once a week to slay imaginary bugbears was the highlight of our days.
As our campaign came to a close, we were all feeling the itch to do something else creative. Having known each other since high school, we had all had plenty of jam sessions and performances together, so we decided to rent a space and jam.
Our goal was simple, to write music that would challenge us all to become better musicians at our respective instruments. At the tail end of our second session we had the framework for what would be our first song “Wood Portal.” After a year of writing, recording our first EP, and playing shows around Philly, we began to toy with the idea of having some sort of food merch to offer people at our gigs.
As a hot sauce fanatic, I thought making our own sauce would be a good place to start. So I asked my mom (the best cook I know) how I could make a hot sauce that tasted like a spicy pickle. After an afternoon of experimenting with veggies and spices from the Italian market in Philly, the Pickle Monster recipe was born.
Everything started to ramp up for the band and the business and then covid hit. We went through the traditional slump of depression that everyone had to deal with at the time. But once we felt comfortable meeting in person again, we started to use the time off to our advantage. We ended up re-recording our first ep. We did it at home and took our time. It was so much nicer being able to spend an afternoon on just one drum track or experiment with guitar pedals and layering parts. We also put on these really fun variety hours in lieu of live performances. We would have bands submit short sets recorded in home and then splice it together into one hour long performance with skits, music, jugglers, painters, cartoons and chefs. All of this can be seen on our youtube channel.
We also spent a ton of time networking and building up Pickle Monster. We got it into a bunch of local shops in the Philly and Jersey area, started selling ourselves at farmers markets and conventions, and perfected the recipe for the best darn pickle in Philly.
This year has been our busiest yet. We now have Pickle Monster in over 20 shops and supply pickles by the bucket for a restaurant in Philly called Source Urban Brewery. In addition to that, we’ll be at several big festivals and conventions this fall.
As People Food, we finally got to release the re-recorded version of our EP and it’s even better than we could have imagined. We also included a bonus track for the folks that have been with us from the beginning.
As for the future, we have a big show that we are throwing at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion on September 30th with our friends in the band Zaku. Yes that’s right, a show in a bug museum. We’ll play a few more fall shows and then hunker down for the winter to start demoing our first full full-length album. Balancing a band and a pickle business isn’t easy on paper, but when you do something with your best friends, you can do anything.”
Steve’s words damn near left a tear in our eye… not unlike his honkers and hot sauces.
All jokes aside here, People Food’s drive to connect and expand community through their music and friendship-infused pickles is an amazing model. Imagine if more bands and more communities connected in this way, and the support it could build. It’s this kind of vision that helps make People Food not just a double threat, but a triple hitter. Good tunes, tasty treats, and a meaningful motivation behind it. What’s not to love?
You can check out People Food’s Pickle Monster honkers, hot sauce, and tunes here, or send us a coffee over here. We’re gonna need it – up next we’ve got stuff from Teen Prime, Forrest Rice, and more. We’ve also begun curating for our next compilation series, so stay tuned for more details on that as well. Massive thanks again to People Food. Thanks for reading!