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IN Introduces: Pioneers! O Pioneers!

By Sarah McCartan

The month of November marked a great many things — mustaches supporting men’s health, the start of the holiday season and, on the new music front, the release of an EP by up-and-coming local act Pioneers! O Pioneers! Just one year after their inaugural Thanksgiving show and four bass players later, here they are dropping their first EP, “There’s no Ghost Left to Haunt This Home.”

But who are these pioneers you ask? They are currently a three-piece rock band making noises they hope you want to hear. The trifecta of pioneers is fronted by Michael Bishop (guitar, vocals), driven by the energy of Jason Leger (drums) and has recently furthered their synergy through the addition of Ric Hohn (bass).

Named after a poem by Walt Whitman on American expansion, the members are inspired by a similar idea of expansion and progression in their own lives and channel this mentality into their music. The poem reflects the exploration of the boundless potential that can be found amidst new frontiers and that is just what these pioneers are going after. A time of questions led the IN to answers pertaining to ghosts of the past, a glimpse into the future and, of course, their present EP.

IN: As far as the EP goes, what is one thing that you want people to take away from your music?
BISHOP: The idea of holding on to your own integrity as your own person and not being washed away by time. The whole thing is essentially about progression and watching people change as they progress. Through writing all of it, I am projecting how I see these people changing and in the end, looking in the mirror I realize I am changing the exact same way.

IN: What’s the significance of the ghost references?
BISHOP: I like the idea of ghosts because they don’t have to hold a negative connotation. It’s not like a phantom or a reoccurring haunting. It’s a past idea. It’s more of a representation of a past hope and where that hope ended. The ghosts don’t necessarily represent an actual ghost I’m haunted by, but more of a longing to have actually finished a past hope. In my mind it goes along with the whole idea of progression.

IN: What does songwriting look like for Pioneers?
BISHOP: The idea is to be able to come up with just an idea and have everyone flesh it out. There’s a point A and a point B and you want to get from one to the other but what happens in between is pretty much up to everyone.

IN: Is more writing a priority?
LEGER: We’ve been focusing on recording and now we want to move beyond that and maybe bring in some other people to add their take to our music. But I think our primary goal is progression in writing.
HOHN: I’m excited about writing with these guys, and getting my creative influences out and seeing how it blends together.

IN: How have multiple member changes shaped the current dynamic?
LEGER: It seems with Ric joining and getting the EP out we are finally in a place where it feels caught up and now we feel the need to progress and can progress.

IN: Do you feel like now is a good time to be a part of the Pensacola music scene?
LEGER: I do. Now, with bands like Paloma being around, and Jpegasus and Imaginary Air Show, there are a lot of different bands loosely tied together under the same umbrella. They are all good bands with something to offer and I am really excited to be a part of it.
BISHOP: I used to go to Mi Capitan shows and now I get to play shows with Paloma, with people that I looked up to. Even when we played with Johnny Apple-Eyes, those guys were in bands I loved when I was younger.
LEGER: It’s true.

If you have not yet had a chance to hear them for yourself, or even if you have, be on the lookout for more great things to come from Pioneers! O Pioneers!, including upcoming shows in the works for the first of the New Year. Until then, be sure to catch them around town, buy a copy at Revolver Records for $6, or download electronically at pioneersopioneers.bandcamp.com. {in}