INTERVIEW: Patent Pending (25/05/2015)

New York’s Patent Pending are one of the few pop-punk bands from across the pond as of late who are really started to make a name for themselves on our shores. In the past few years since they released their album ‘Brighter’, coupled with a few tours supporting their friends in Bowling For Soup, it seems like the UK is almost like the bands second home. If nothing else, a set at this year’s Slam Dunk Festival confirms that.

Whilst at the Midlands date of the festival in Wolverhampton, we caught up with frontman Joe Ragosta about video game icon Super Mario, playing festivals like Slam Dunk and Soundwave, and a bunch more.

DP!: What’s with the crazy merch you guys have on sale today?
Joe: Yeah, we have a lot of crazy merch! I really like weird merch. Sometimes, the band is like “What are you doing?”, and I’m like “I think this is a good idea”.

DP!: Last year you released ‘Patent Pending presents Mario and the Brick Breakers Greatest Hits’. What was the inspiration behind the album?
J: Right off the bat, we’re just a really weird band, but we have a song called ‘Hey Mario’ on an album called ‘Brighter’, and it came time to do a video for that as a single. So, we put out a lyric video and it went viral, and then they was like, “Okay, do a video for this”. We have this show called ‘behind the music’, which is basically a documentary show that follows the band behind their whole career, and my brother was like “you should pretend that Mario has a band and it’ll be really funny”, and I was like “that’s the best idea I’ve ever heard”, and no-one stopped me. No-one was like “you’re a psycho and this is taking too long”, so we spent eight months making a movie called Mario And The Brick Breakers’, and the movie is like five terabits of footage that we shot. And, with the story of the band being the biggest band in the world, they obviously needed a greatest hits album. So, we had to talk about those songs, and I was like “why don’t we just go fucking record those songs?”, so we made their greatest hits. There’s this really big gaming website that I love named Kataku, and they reviewed and said something like “this is the greatest thing to ever happen to the Internet”, and when I read that, I was like “y’know what? Worth it!”

DP!: Were you big fans of Mario growing up?
J: Oh, yeah, definitely! I think you have to be to make a movie as intricate as that, and with as many deep Mario jokes as there are. Most of us spent our entire lives playing Nintendo.

DP!: Your sound has changed so much since you started in 2001. Was it a conscious decision to move to more of a pop-punk sound?
J: In 2001, we released a bunch of terrible songs and we kept doing that for like nine years, and they were really bad. We really didn’t know what we were doing; we had out of tune guitars. We still aren’t great by any means, but we aren’t the worst band of all time, and that haunts us to this day. But, when we started learning about songwriting and stuff, I’ve always been a huge fan of Motown and mainstream pop music and The Beatles, and that mixed with Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish and Zebrahead and Blink-182 and Green Day, and to me I notice that I’m happiest when we’re being honest. A few years ago, it was like “why would we put out another straight pop-punk album?”. If we just did that to me, I want to write this song and I love it so I want to release that, and it’s a Motown song. It’s a song called ‘Let Go’. Some people understood and some people were like “what the fuck are you doing?”, and we have hip-hop songs, we have rap songs, and we’re a weird band. I think it’s just because, as long as the song is good to me, it doesn’t fucking matter what the genre is. On July 31st, we have a new EP coming out called ‘Armageddon’, and we have a song on there called ‘We’re Getting Weird’, and it’s called that because it’s the weirdest song of all time. It’s got 80s cheesey guitar solos over hip-hop and rock and pop, and there’s so much weird stuff going on that the chorus is, “We’re going weird”. It kind of sums up the idea of Patent Pending. The rules are: there are no rules.

DP!: I’ve noticed that your current setlist includes a lot of covers, such as ‘Every Time We Touch’. Why did you choose to incorporate them into your set?
J: We do play a lot of covers. We released a covers album named ‘Springbreak 99’ and, if we get some time we’re going to do ‘…Volume 2’, but it’s tough to find time right now. To me, truly it’s just fun, and it’s good sometimes to see a band you don’t know playing a cover, because you can get into it in a way. But, how much fun is it to play weird versions of pop songs?

DP!: You played Soundwave earlier this year! How was the whole experience?
J: It was like the most amazing two weeks ever. It felt like a dream. If somebody was to prove to me right now that it didn’t happen, then I’d believe them. We showed up and the crowds were unreal! It was bizarrely amazing; they knew the words and we were there with all these incredible bands that we look up to like The Aquabats, and New Found Glory. It was just so cool, because every night you fly to the show and all of the bands fly together, so you’re on a plane with like The Mars Volta, Gerard Way, Steel Panther, and all these bands that you love and it’s four o’clock in the morning, so everyone’s like in their pyjamas. It’s like you never saw that band wear pyjamas before.

DP!: Why were Slam Dunk and Soundwave your only dates for the year so far?
J: It wasn’t really intentional. I think it’s because my wife and I had our first kid, and because we’re plotting something huge for later this year. So, it takes a lot of planning, it takes a lot of work, and today, somebody told me “Oh, you guys are taking a little break” and I was like “Fuck you, I’m not taking a break. I’ve been working every single day harder than I ever have”, and then I realised “Oh, I guess that makes sense. I guess that that’s what people would think”. But, we’re planning on a lot of stuff. The things that I can tell you is that on July 31st we have a new EP coming out, called ‘Armageddon’. We have a video for the song ‘Brighter’ coming out in the next couple of weeks, and, in November, we’ll be back for a tour which will be so damn good! That’s it for now, and then we’ll have all this other shit soon.

The band’s new EP, ‘Armageddon’, is scheduled for release on July 31st 2015 now through Rude Records. You can follow Patent Pending online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Interview by Kieran Harris