After playing shows at the Berkeley Sailing Clubs and local co-op scene, the Berkeley-based trio Pistachio, comprised of guitarist Antony D’Avirro, bassist Devin Hollister and drummer Zach Briefer, garnered lots of positive buzz for their suave, smooth style, combining hints of reggae and funk to create catchy rock tunes. Touring with their latest release, Tehuantepec, the band is set to play some local shows before traveling the coast.
The Daily Californian sat down with Pistachio to talk about touring, influences and nuts. Check online for a video of the band performing their song “Jungle Diary.”
Daily Cal: How would you rank the following nuts: almonds, pistachios, peanuts, cashews and walnuts?
Antony D’Avirro: Are we talking salted, roasted, what kind are we talking about? [Laughter]
AD: Well, peanuts are obviously at the bottom. Cashews have to be pretty high, but pecans, pecans man. You forgot about those. I have to say, on top, are pecans and brazil nuts. After that I suppose pistachios and cashews. Almonds are up there too. It’s a tough choice.
DC: How did you guys form the band?
Zach Briefer: So we actually met here (Thorsen House) at a band party. A friend of mine came, and I met Devin through him.
Devin Hollister: It was a very chance meeting. So we hung out and jammed, and then brought in Antony. We used to be neighbors, then we went to Mexico together.
AD: On a boat, sailing on our friend’s boat. They started from here in Berkeley, sailed all the way to Columbia. I came on winter break and went from Cabo to Mexico, and so we jammed out hard on the boat, started writing songs. It was sweet.
DC: So where does the name Pistachio come from?
ZB: It was actually weird. Devin was crashing at my place and then I heard him sleep talking at night and his words were like “Pistachio, Pistachio …” and I thought, that’s a cool name for our band.
DH: Obviously I don’t remember a thing. [Laughter]
DC: How would you describe your sound?
DH: We were just talking about this, what did we come up with? Dance art rock?
AD & ZB: Dance Rock.
AD: We haven’t really found our niche in terms of style yet, we just borrow from everywhere. We got a lot of different songs, but we all play jazz. We all played in UC Jazz, and I think it helps us in adopting different styles. We play some funk, we play reggae, we play some latin-influence, but it all has kind of got a rock-base, and it all makes you dance.
DC: You guys are about to tour California, what are you looking forward to and not looking forward to as you tour?
DH: Personally, I’m looking forward to being eight hours in a 14 hour drive, being exhausted and showing up in a new place and being like “Alright, guess we should play some music!”
AD: I’m looking forward to having these guys trapped in a car for like 14 hours so I can play them some obscure music, and be like “We should do this, we should do that!”
DC: What are you going to play first?
AD: When I was at Berkeley, I studied a lot of Middle Eastern music and Azerbaijani music, and specifically Soviet jazz from Azerbaijani that’s mixed with traditional Azerbaijani music. I did a program and studied music there, so I want to start dumping it on these guys and expand the influences even more.
DC: What are your plans after touring?
ZB: We tour through May around here, I actually graduate then. In July we’re planning a whole two-month, West Coast big tour.
AD: Beyond that, our mutual friend, who sailed down to Columbia, actually stayed in Columbia and actually bought some land, way out in the jungle. He opened a hostel there, and he’s trying to start a recording studio. So we worked out a deal to bring down a lot of equipment so that in November, after our tour, after we’ve recovered, we’re trying to go down there and try to record a full-length album.
DC: What do you think pistachios go best with?
AD: And beer. [Laughter]