Shape Pitaki Get Gnarly at the Wayfarer

The new EP from Shape Pitaki, Let’s Get Gnarly & Chill, has a way of sounding new and old at the same time. There’s an automatic nostalgia to their songwriting, which can be difficult to achieve without writing rock songs about the same topics that have already been explored a thousand times. But while Shape Pitaki’s influences seem quite clear, there is no doubt they’ve managed to create something that has a life all its own. The eclectic balance of punk, ’90s alt-rock and a slice of country gives the EP, which was released in February, its personality and showcases the musical diversity of Shane Thompson (vocals/guitar), Greg Johnson (lead guitar/vocals) and Mike Willson (drums).

We recently talked with Thompson about the band, their newest release, their Monday-night residency at the Wayfarer, and their intent to hit the road and release another EP.

OC Weekly (Kim Conlan): How would you describe your sound?
Shane Thompson: We are influenced by ’90s bands. Our first album was called Lonely This Is, and it was a full-length with a lot of Foo Fighters vibes, or even Pixies, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins. Then [with Let’s Get Gnarly & Chill], we went a little bit more eclectic. We have one song on there that sounds pretty punk rock, and then another that’s more pop rock, and then another that’s country-influenced, and then others that are hard rock. We’re trying to have more fun and see what we could make while having a bunch of different influences.

Can you tell me about the process of your latest release?
Going into the studio, Mike and I sat down, and we both agreed that we wanted to try to be a little bit raw with some stuff, which involved recording live with the three of us in the room. The first song, “Good Times,” was definitely recorded live. . . . We thought, “Let’s just go in there and try to get the good stuff without overthinking it too much.” And Mike is super-helpful being a wonderful engineer and producer himself. He’s a great guy to have on your team and runs a top-notch quality studio MAPS.

Let’s talk about your residency at the Wayfarer this month. How has each night been special for you so far?
I thought about the different influences we have and wanted to do a separate theme each night. We just did our “surf night” with the Hypno Rings, who are an acid-jazz band, and then the Jetties, who are kind of like the Growlers meets the Stones meets Sublime. And next will be punk rock, the following will be blues, after that will be indie rock, and the last will be hard rock. And MAPS and ThunderKing Brewing craft coffee are sponsoring it.

What’s to come for the rest of your 2017?
We just got confirmed for the OC Fair on July 27, and we’re excited since it will be our first time playing there. [Before that] we’ve got a show up at the Silverlake Lounge on July 24. Then we’re trying to get a Northwest tour booked for the fall, toward the end of September and early October, and make our way up the coast from here to Seattle. And then we’ll be back in the studio to record another EP; as of right now, the working title is Let’s Get Gnarly & Die. And then we’re going to do another music video. That’s what it’s all about: staying busy and keeping that momentum going.

Shape Pitaki perform with Big Monsta, Parker Macy and Greg Johnson at Wayfarer, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 764-0093; Mon., 9 p.m. Free. 21+.

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