Interview with Pink Laces (Elijah Wahlberg and Ian Bradford)

Today on What On What’s Good with Host Jovin Tardif, I am here with Pink Laces. Group members include Ian Bradford & Elijah Wahlberg.  The duo just released their debut EP, Shelf Life with tracks including LOVE:MAYHEM and Mr. Zero Gravity.  I had a great time vibing to the music while listening to it on my patio. The music videos are quite fun too.  They have a very 90s look to them.  Fun fact: Elijah’s dad is Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids on the Block, Blue Bloods).  Today in our interview, we discussed how the group formed, some behind-the-scenes of making their music video, and much more.

CAUTION: Flashing and bright lights throughout video may be too intense for photosensitive

1. Tell us about your first interest in music?

Ian Bradford – I started playing piano when I was six, and I played in a couple of bands through my music school. But I really started getting into writing and performing music when I picked up drums in fifth grade. I played in any type of music group I could get into, from my schools’ jazz ensembles to rock bands with my friends. In high school, I picked up guitar and bass, and from there I started writing a lot more of my own music. It’s kind of snowballed into where I am today, because learning a lot of these instruments has taught me more and more about music.

Elijah Wahlberg – Aside from being surrounded by music my whole life, I remember there was a moment when I was a kid, waiting in my mom’s car in a Whole Foods parking lot, “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse started playing on the radio and no song had ever made me feel that kinda way. I wanted to do whatever I could to recreate that feeling and, boom, I sat behind a drum kit and I hit the ground running.

2. Who are some of your favourite musician(s) and why?

Ian Bradford – My first real favorite band was Green Day. I loved Tré Cool (the drummer) and I listened to them constantly. As of now, I’m really into 80’s pop and rock, with some of my favorite artists being Van Halen, Wham!, and Prince. They all have a really great sound, and the musicality in their work shines through, while also being super catchy.

Elijah Wahlberg – I will always have a soft spot for pop music. I grew up listening to Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, so those two will always have a special spot in my heart. As of now, musicians like Chaka Khan, Sister Sledge and, the outlier of the three, Daft Punk. Anything that gets me dancing is something I’ll listen to.

3. How was the group formed? Where did you meet?

Ian Bradford – I met Elijah when he moved to Illinois during our sophomore year. I think he heard me make some stupid joke at a school football game, and we immediately hit it off as friends. We both were drummers, and occasionally we would just jam for fun. It wasn’t until we had to quarantine this year that we seriously considered making music together. I showed him a couple of demo songs that I had written just for fun, and together we started making them real songs. I think some of the first demos that I showed him became Mr. Zero Gravity and LOVE:MAYHEM.

Elijah Wahlberg – So I met Ian like four years ago, not to date this article. Like he said, we were just joking around at a football game and became friends. The band formed when we moved in together during quarantine and decided to just get working on some music. But he had been showing me demos long before that and we would just listen to them. Little did we know what those demos would become.

4. How did you come up with the name of the group?

Ian Bradford – That came from Elijah. He showed me a list of potential band, album, and song names that he had come up with a while ago, and I think for both of us, Pink Laces was the one that we were both a fan of.

Elijah Wahlberg – I got pretty bored on a flight one day and made a random notes app page filled with random band or song names. Pink Laces was one of them because I looked down and saw I was wearing sneakers with pink shoelaces.

5. Describe all the different instruments that you play.

Ian Bradford – I started playing piano when I was younger, and moved onto drums when I got a little bit older. I played drums for the longest time until my sophomore year of high school, when I asked my parents for an acoustic guitar. A year later, I had fallen in love with classic rock and hair metal so I got my first electric guitar and amp for Christmas. A little while later, I picked up bass just for fun. I spend most of my time playing guitar but when I write demos I record tracks for everything, including drums, bass, and key parts.

Elijah Wahlberg – Primarily, I’m a drummer and I played the drums on the PL records, but I talk about that part less than vocals since that’s my main role for the band per se. Ian and I both have solid keyboard knowledge which helps a lot with collaborating and putting together songs.

6. How would describe your sound?

Ian Bradford – Our sound on our EP, Shelf Life, is very rock-oriented, with elements of psychedelic and pop in there as well. As we’ve done more, I think we’ve developed more of a very dancey, alternative vibe. We’re influenced by almost everything we listen to, so when it comes to our music, I think we embody a lot of great parts from various genres.

Elijah Wahlberg – I’d definitely agree with Ian regarding Shelf Life. It’s got a real psych-rock feel to it, but tracks like Lapse and LOVE: MAYHEM are pretty different. I guess you could call it synth-rock. When asked this question, we often talk about how the new music we’re working on is a lot more alt synthpop than the EP, but you’ll just have to hear it when it comes time!

7. Can we discuss your studies in music?

Ian Bradford – I used to take lessons for piano and drums early on, but I’m mainly self-taught for guitar, bass, and songwriting. We were also both in the band, so we definitely have had a thorough experience with music in school.

Elijah Wahlberg – I took drum lessons when I was about 10. I was a late bloomer. I have been doing a concert band since middle school so I have experience reading music and all that as well.

8. Tell us about what it was like to write your new songs.

Ian Bradford – It was very new to us, as we haven’t had too much experience recording too much music in the past. It was a lot of fun though because we both were able to build upon the demos that we had and make them really great. It was especially nice because we weren’t on any schedule to get stuff done. We were both in quarantine so we both got to spend time in the studio creating something that we were proud of.

Elijah Wahlberg – Writing Shelf Life was definitely fun. We try to emulate that feeling in all projects now. We know we’re not always gonna be working on our own time, but just keeping in mind that we have to have fun is something we’re always gonna do.

9. What was it like making the music videos? Any fun stories or memorable moments?

Ian Bradford – The music videos were a lot of fun to make. Our creative director, Noah Vera, is super talented so it was a really cool process. I will say, an unexpected moment happened when the actress for our LOVE: MAYHEM music video canceled on us last minute. None of us had any real clue about what was going to happen. Noah created something really awesome out of it though, so now we just look back and laugh about that mini-disaster.

Elijah Wahlberg – Our actress canceling was quite the hiccup but definitely makes for a great story. The music video experience is pretty fun. I think my only gripe is hearing the song some hundred times in a day and lip-syncing to it. But it’s all fun nonetheless.

10. Outside of music, what do you like to do for fun?

Ian Bradford – I like biking and longboarding outside. I also love watching movies. Some of my favorites right now are The Grand Budapest Hotel and Uncut Gems. I will say, music is still one of my favorite things to do for fun, especially playing guitar!

Elijah Wahlberg – To be honest, music is the most fun thing that I do. But if I had to pick something outside, watching the NBA is one of my favorite things to do no matter how much it plays with my emotions haha.

Shelf Life

  1. Back to Sleep
  2. Lapse
  4. Daffodils
  5. Mr. Zero Gravity

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Tags: Pink Laces, Ian Bradford, Elijah Wahlberg, Shelf Life

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.