Music Q&A: Army of Infants

With a nod to ’90s grunge, Cleveland two-piece Army of Infants is a distorted explosion of garage and blues with surfy tones and a heart of Motown soul. Drummer Jacob Pflanzer and guitarist Jared Welch are currently working on a split tape with the Black Shades to be released in mid-March and have a string of tour dates that includes a performance at this year’s SXSW.

Can you tell us a little about how you got together?

Jacob Pflanzer: We went to high school together and played together off and on through school. It wasn’t until after school when we really kind of started playing shows. The rest just happened.

Not a review goes by without a hat tip to the blues. What’d you grow up listening to and what kind of influences do you draw from when you’re writing?

JP: I grew up hearing a ton of Beatles, my paps is a big Beatles guy. We both really love to listen to all those old girl groups, like the Shirelles, the Ronettes. I can’t get over the Shirelles’ song “I Don’t Think So”, I am madly in love with that song. I guess you could say we take a lot from that kind of stuff, and some surf stuff as well. As for me I try not to think to much about it, just kinda let happen what happens and go from there.

Jared Welch: I grew up with Duenow, the Ramones, Black Sabbath. My influences now would be Nobunny, Buddy Holly, Thee Oh Sees, the Ronettes, and Gun Club.

You recently announced you’ll be playing HEADHUNTERS patio as part of SXSW. What are you looking forward to about the festival? Anyone in particular you’re looking forward to seeing?

JP: Yes, I am super pumped. Never been to Texas and to be a part of SXSW is a dream come true. Honestly we almost didn’t apply this year and nearly missed the deadline. When I got the email saying we were an “official” SXSW band I really couldn’t believe it!

JW: I’m looking forward to going to and playing Austin, Texas for first time in my life and looking forward to seeing Thee Oh Sees, Nobunny, and too many others to mention.

For recordings with so much energy, how’s the live chemistry translate with two members? Favorite songs to play live?  Any particular favorite places you’ve played or stand out shows and places you want to play?

JP: I feel it translates pretty well — lately when we record we have been doing the drum and first guitar track together. It really helps with getting the “live feel”.  I like playing them all, if we don’t like playing it.. we don’t play it. I tend to like the dive bars, people at dive bars just want to have a good time, and really isn’t that what rock is all about?!

JW: My favorite songs to play live are “Let’s be Friends” and “Digital Age” — originally done by the great Northwest Ordinance. Some of my favorite places to play are Smiling Skull in Athens, The Comet in Cincinnati  Cafe Bourbon St., Bernie’s Distillery and the Boneyard in Columbus, Pats in the Flats in Cleveland, and the Coup in Clarksville, Tennessee. I would love to play Garden Bowl Lanes in Detroit or any other bowling alley.

Any other upcoming plans in the works for recording or touring? 

JP: We are always recording and working on new things when not out and about. We are set to be on a split tape with a band from Bowling Green, Kentucky called the Black Shades. It will be coming out on Make&Model Records, most likely in early-to-mid March. We are always booking more and more shows so you really just gotta keep your eye on us and see what we are up to!

Army of Infants play at 9:45 p.m. at Loren Naji Studio Gallery. Keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter.

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