Apparently in the dinosaur “scene” there’s no such creature as a “pterodactyl.” Paleontologists prefer the term “pterosaur” to described the various species of prehistoric winged reptiles. In the Brooklyn rock scene however, Pterodactyl is very real.


As fantastic as a flying thunder lizard, the New York three piece (guitarist/vocalist Joe Kremer, bassist/vocalist Jesse Hodges and drummer/vocalist Matt Marlin) are known for kicking out sweaty, squealing art rock stomps that are equal parts virtuoso playing and punk rock fury. On their new album Spills Out, they expand their sound adding experiments with Wurlitzers, ukuleles and a bevy of guest musicians.

It’s an ambitious effort to say the least and with few (if any) of their contemporaries creating this exact rock blend, one might even say ahead of it’s time. With a forward thinking band such as Pterodactyl, what better way to start off the interview than by talking about the future.

The future is now.
I’m driving a flying car actually right now. (Laughs)

The thing that always bothered me the most about Back to the Future 2 was that they could foresee flying cars but they couldn’t imagine cell phones. Marty McFly gets fired by fax!
Yeah. Their vision of holographic entertainment also hasn’t come to fruition.

What do you think about the future that we’re in?
I’m pretty into it. But I have to say there are many moments when I would appreciate not living in a world of constant communication. We’re preparing for this tour and we have so much shit going on, it would be really nice to have an excuse like, ‘Oh I was away from home so I didn’t get your phone call or email.’ It’s not always good to have the capabilities that we have. We don’t have as good excuses!

Before and during your time in Pterodactyl you were a high school physics teacher?
Yeah, that’s right.

We’ll see about that. Physics pop quiz! Do heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects?
In the absence of air resistance definitely, but it becomes more complicated with objects of different size and different mass. If you drop a big Styrofoam ball with the same mass as a tiny ball bearing the ball bearing will definitely hit first.

Question 2. Do heavier songs rock harder than lighter songs?
(Laughs) I’m not so sure actually. Five years ago I would have said definitely but these days I fell like Pterodactyl is all about this juxtaposition of hard and light. There’s way more power in shifts and contrast than there is in just BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM!

What was it like quitting your day job for rock?!
In the beginning, I quit to spend less time on any one thing in particular; to read some books, to go on some nice long bike rides and camping trips. About a year ago that totally flew out the window because this record became the sole focus of our lives, which is great and really a struggle.

Like, it can’t be really good without being really challenging some of the time. It was like coming face to face with the reality of doing music for a living which was definitely not paying the bills. At least not yet. Maybe you guys [ION] can help with that! (Laughs)

On your new album Spills Out, I hear a little Chavez (amazing Matador band) mixed with lots of lo-fi fun and sixties psychedelic pop… and a whole lot of something I can’t relate to any other act!
We would like to think so! I don’t think that’s of much value in today’s market but we wouldn’t know how to do it any other way.

This album seems a little darker than anything you’ve done before.
Definitely. I feel like Worldwild (Pterodactyl’s 2009 release) has this kind of constructed optimism to it like it’s trying really hard to be sunny all the time, which I think was good for that time but this one is way more honest. We leave for tour in less than a week and there are still songs that we plan to play live that we still haven’t figured out yet so it’s still a very fresh experience.

In the same way that many have tried to sync Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon up with The Wizard of Oz, have you ever tried to sync one of your albums up to the 2005 movie Pterodactyl starring Coolio?
(Laughs) I wouldn’t try to suggest that our music holds a candle artistically to that film. It falls in a long and proud tradition of crappy almost horror movies.

Okay, what movie WOULD you try to sync your new album with?
We have a music video that we’re working on where we remade the first scene from the first Superman movie; the scene where Marlon Brando is putting these three villains on trial. I guess that’s as good an answer as any: the first Superman movie!

Words: Jay Brown Photography: Emir Eralp

Leave a comment

ION Magazine 170-422 Richards Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 2Z4
© Copyright ION Publishing Group 2013