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Q&A with McKinley Moore of Pleasure Boys

Pleasure Boys
Cheers Ken
Pleasure Boys

Pleasure Boys has been a staple in Louisville’s music scene for some years now, and while there’s been a revolving cast of musicians involved (so many celebrated artists!), the band has managed to maintain its unique sound. On the one hand, you’ve got catchy melodies and a lot of pop sensibility, and on the other, you have this playful, experimental current throughout. You’ve been the band’s primary songwriter since day one. Can you tell us about your songwriting process? Has it changed at all with the varying lineups? 

Our songwriting process has never really changed. I come up with small little parts, bring them to practice and we turn them into songs together. I never tell anyone what they should play. I only play music with people that I trust. It’s the same if we have a guest on stage with us. Our band is a free place to go wherever it takes you. Live, you can expect songs to be different every time you hear them. We take a lot from the jazz world in that way. I think any good work of art or music should be catchy enough to pull you in and make you enjoy yourself, but also challenge you in some sort of way. I’m very into the concept of approach-avoidance conflict.

Pleasure Boys put out their 7-track release, A One Night Show, in 2019. What inspired you and the band while writing it?
When we made A One Night Show, we all went to Russian Recording in Bloomington (RIP Lil Bub) and lived there for a few days. We only had a few songs totally finished. Nick Layman was in the band then and also engineered the record. We worked on our own schedule and made up a lot of it while we were there. It was a beautiful experience. Was also very stoked to be able to have Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring) master it for us.

What are some of your favorite local bands and venues? Who are some of your biggest musical influences? 
My favorite Louisville bands right now are Wombo and Turbo Nut. You should see either of them anytime they’re playing. My favorite mid-size venues to play are the Whirling Tiger and Zanzabar. My absolute favorite place to play in town isn’t really a venue per se; it’s the Nachbar. It doesn’t get much more fun than that. My biggest musical influences are Can, Sebastian Tellier, Total Control, Pink Floyd, and current popular rap.

Tell us about the show at Zanzabar happening on Friday, the 17th?
This show on the 17th is gonna be a great one. Tall Squares are local buds and one of the best bands around. Movie Jail are a new band from Lexington that everyone should see. They just finished their first record. John McEntire from Tortoise mixed it and guested on some tracks. Brooklyn Vegan is premiering their first single that day. It’s shaping up to be a really special night.

Pleasure Boys plays Zanzabar with Movie Jail and Tall Squares on February 17th, 2023. Doors at 7pm. Show at 8pm. 18+. $10.

Check out their song "This Side of Town" below.

Pleasure Boys

Sam is the host of 502unes on WFPK. Email Sam at ssneed@lpm.org