Six months ago we walked into the courtyard at the Vibe Hotel. The place was swarming with young beautiful people playing beer pong, taking shots and dancing. It felt like a throwback to that scene in Almost Famous where Stillwater and their friends are partying poolside at some motel. It was all happening. We were in the scene of a nostalgic movie in which Pacific’s music was the perfect soundtrack.
Based in LA, Pacific is a band made up of Dean Collins (vox), Daniel Pashman (guitar), Erik Groysman (bass), Blake Collins (keys / guitar), and Gray Bashew (drums). Dean and Daniel have been friends since they were kids. They started creating songs together before they really even understood music. An opportunity came about for them to work with an independent LA producer, with whom they recorded their first songs Stand By and As We Got Older.
Erik was working an assistant engineer at the studio at the time. He was impressed with Dean and Daniel's first two tracks and trusted their musical visions and instincts. He reconnected with Pacific at their first show at Molly Malone’s, where he was sitting in the audience and was stoked on the band. He has played bass for them ever since. Erik alone helped heighten their sound, and inspired them to pursue the band more seriously. They needed additional members to complete the group, so Erik brought Gray on board to play drums. Blake is Dean’s older brother, whom Dean credits for his interest and taste in music, and it made sense for Blake to also join on keys and guitar.
You would never guess that Pacific is a jam band based on their songs. But their songwriting process is fully improvisational, even down to the lyrics. Often Dean just picks up on words in their practice space and comes up with songs on the spot.
Blake: "Lately we kind of get a jam going, since we’ve been playing together for a while now; we’ve kind of built this trust, from one musician to another. Something really special happens when you get that connection with other musicians. It’s unfiltered, it’s immediate. It’s a subconscious conversation.”
Gray: “Our goal when we’re jamming; we’re making it up on the spot but we try to play it as if we had played it a hundred times before. So you make certain decisions and a form comes together organically.”
They find that writing music quickly captures something more authentic, something raw and less contrived. They thrive off the spontaneity of relying on each other’s contributions to create a song that initially stems from a variety of musical skills.
Erik: “We found that if you capture something faster, it’s more real. As an artist, when you’re by yourself making something, you never know when it’s done. You can keep painting forever. But when you have each other to fill in the blanks, it really comes together.”
They can rely on each other to contribute different musical elements because of their diverse influences. Erik, Blake and Gray all compose outside of the band for commercials and film. The band’s personal influences range from Debussy, to Jon Brion, to Zeppelin, to Arctic Monkeys. They cover the whole spectrum, from Elliott Smith to Tupac. And we were especially fans of the Strokes cover they played at their Hotel Cafe show.
Their real-life influences vary as much as their musical tastes. Most days Dean and Daniel can be found at Equinox [juice from Earth Bar after?], Blake enjoys writing and studio art, and Erik and Gray have a vegetable garden in their backyard. They’re all totally unique from each other, but have that intangible chemistry [dat bromance] and vibe musically. And no matter what they’re doing as individuals, they all find it hard not to wander back to music.
Erik: “We’re always doing something that’s enhancing creativity, surrounding ourselves with friends who are directors, photographers, and actors. I’m always just looking for that, it really feeds my life, puts coal in my fire. From my friends’ successes to people that are out creating, it’s always something music related.”
Pacific is making music to make listeners feel good. They want their sound to take you out of reality and put you on the beach. Feel sunkissed, or kiss in the sun. They sound like sunshine on your face, like breeze through your hair. We're looking forward to their debut EP, due out sometime this summer, just in time for all the pool parties.
Hobbies outside of music?
Daniel: Oh, you know, gym, tan, laundry...
Gray: I enjoy making breakfast.
LYKA: What’s your breakfast specialty?
Gray: Frittatas… we had a midnight breakfast party where we made 6 frittatas. I also like to go on adventures, like road trips or hiking, and being outside.
Daniel: They [Gray and Dean] both also do a lot of film stuff...
Dean: Yeah, directing and editing… gym, same old shit. Watching movies.
Blake: Outside of music I make art, I’ve been working on paper collage. I like painting and drawing, I also write a lot - poetry, short stories. Pretty much anything creative.
Erik: Well, between volunteering at the kitten shelter…
Dean: You’re always at that damn shelter!!!!
Gray: Erik and I are going to start our own cooking show.
Erik: Called Snackle Dackle. We’re also writing a children’s show that’s along the lines of the Hey Arnold type of thing. [We can’t wait for Snackle Dackle <3 And also, where’s my frittata?]
What do you grow in your garden?
Erik: We had a ton of tomatoes until today… we have a lemon tree, a fig tree, mint, basil, oregano, onions, cayenne peppers, pineapples, strawberries, corn, kale… [so, it’s a farm]
Where are some of your favorite LA venues?
Dean: Hotel Cafe was amazing to play at.
Blake: The Satellite.
Dean: And honestly, Vibe Hotel. That was my favorite.
Favorite brunch spot in LA?
Dean: Sugarfish, Sugarfish, Sugarfish. Anytime: breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whenever, 24/7. Sushi Sushi or Via Alloro.
Erik: The Island, which is the name of our house because we make the best food. I mean there’s good breakfast out there, but not like what you can get at our place...
Bloody marys or mimosas?
Gray: Bloody mary.
Dean: Bloody mary. A little celery stick, olives…
Erik: We love olives.
Gray: And anything pickled.
Erik: We’re about to make our own pickles.
Dean: Milagro tequila, specifically Milagro. And Oreo shakes and chocolate milk.
LYKA: How do you like your coffee?
Gray: With honey and almond milk.
Erik: We’ve been on this kick on getting Whole Foods honeys, it’s next level. Raw honey.
Gray: I’m obsessed with honey.
Daniel: I’m obsessed with those Kombucha drinks.
Guilty pleasure music?
Erik: I’m just going to preface that I don’t have any guilty pleasures because to me, it’s all music.
Dean: There’s this girl that I haven’t been able to stop listening to her album, her name is Jessie Baylin. I guess it’s not a guilty pleasure, just very girly music.
Blake: I will say, Britney Spears’ Toxic… amazing song.