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Together Pangea frontman William Keegan talks new album and underground Vegas

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Together Pangea plays the Bunkhouse on September 16.
Photo: Derek Perlman

It’s rare that a rising, touring indie band gets an outpouring of support from Las Vegans, but when Together Pangea played its first show here on Halloween night 2015, the Griffin reached capacity hours before the LA four-piece was set to go on. Now, the group is back on the road supporting its fourth full-length, Bulls and Roosters, and stops at the Bunkhouse on September 16. The Weekly caught up with vocalist/guitarist William Keegan, now 32, to talk about the new record and getting older—but not necessarily more mature.

Your new album marks a bit of a departure from 2014’s Badillac. Did you experiment with any new gear or do anything particularly different to achieve the new sound? It was actually a lot more minimal. We went in and recorded almost everything live, and we did minimal overdubs on this record. [With] Badillac, we recorded over the course of a year and we messed with stuff a lot. We would add layers to sh*t just to see what it would sound like and weird sound effects and stuff, but this album is a lot closer to how it would sound when we play it live. There’s a lot less distortion on this album, which is different—cleaner guitars and stuff. It’s in general just kind of a chiller album, less angry.

I keep seeing you describe your sound as “bratty.” What do you mean by that? I’m pretty much just repeating how other people describe it. I was never like, “Yeah, we’re brats.” I think my voice just sounds like that, so people describe it as bratty, and I’m cool with that.

Lyrically what kind of themes does Bulls and Roosters explore? I think there’s sort of a recurring theme of getting older, which makes sense—we’re all doing that all the time. It’s a focus on getting older without necessarily maturing. Badillac came out in my late 20s, which might surprise some people, ’cause I feel like it sounds younger than that. I guess we’ve chilled out a little, but we’re still sort of immature. “Peach Mirror” has some lyrics about feeling a little bit more freedom when I was younger and getting a little bit more cautious about things as I get older. I think maybe the album sounds more cautious in general.

Badillac was written specifically for shows, because we wanted to play stuff that people could mosh to, and we wanted it to be super visceral. I think this album was written more to just listen to while you’re driving or to just put on.

Were there any outside influences impacting this album? What kind of music were you listening to as you wrote it? Writing this album I was listening to Bob Dylan a lot and The Rolling Stones a little bit. It’s hard, because I don’t think what I listen to necessarily influences what the songs sound like, but I guess with Bob Dylan, his music is a lot more laid-back than the punk stuff we’ve been writing, and maybe that’s in there somehow.

When Together Pangea first played Las Vegas, you sold out the Griffin for Halloween. Did you expect that kind of turnout? Not really. We didn’t know what to expect. At the Griffin you play on the floor with the crowd, and I always like that—you just kind of wade into people. We were stoked that people came out. I hadn’t really spent much time in Vegas, and I didn’t really know there was a lot of underground art stuff in Vegas. We have a friend who’s from Vegas, and she had a gallery opening the next night, so we went and checked that out. The last time we played there we went out afterwards and started getting to know the art-centric part of the city. I’d like to do that again.

Together Pangea with Daddy Issues, Tall Juan. September 16, 9 p.m., $12-$14. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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