Looking back, it’s hard to believe that Take Me To The Pilot started out as nothing more than a kid alone in his basement.
‘I didn’t really know what I wanted at the time. I had been between bands for a year and knew I wanted to play music in a group again, but I didn’t have any kind of plan’ lead singer Mike Bilenki muses. With no band assembled at the time, it had been a while since he had last written music, and he was not at all prepared for what came next:
A song. No, THE song.
The song in question, the song that excited Bilenki to the point where he made a MySpace page, recorded the song, and decided to reveal his new project to the world all in the same night is one which appears on Take Me To The Pilot’s sophomore EP Whats Makes You.
The song, entitled ‘Carry You Back’ is more than just a simple love song it also serves as a metaphor for the group. Over time and the addition of bassist Adam Brown, guitarist Eric Grabowecky and drummer Jonathan James, both the song and the band have gone from one impulsive kid to a force greater than just the sum of its parts.
‘That song has been around longer than the band’ Bilenki says, ‘but we just weren’t ready to tackle it until now.’
Take Me To The Pilot are, for lack of a better term, a rock n’ roll band that just happens to play pop music. Yes, they sing about girls. Yes, they write big hooks. But the way the Winnipeg foursome goes about executing their par- ticular brand of pop fare is really rock n’ roll.
Though the band’s ultimate goal is to reach as wide an audience as they can, the boys are ensuring that their career happens on their terms. This is especially true when it comes to their blistering live show, the goal of which is to hit it as hard as they possibly can.’ The songs may be pop, but to Take Me To The Pilot, theirs is still a rock show, and they only consider it a success when the crowd leaves covered in sweat wearing huge smiles.
In the past two years, Take Me To The Pilot have taken their special brand of party across the country multiple times, playing to ovr 35,000 fans at shows with such acts as Fefe Dobson, These Kids Wear Crowns, Neverest and Alyssa Reid, as well as tours with Canadian up-and-comers Brighter Brightest and The New Cities. TMTTP have performed at Canadian Music Week three years in a row and are preparing for their first US tour with Arizona-based Epid Proportions Tour.
The band has also seen success at Canadian radio and been featured on national and international television programs including Degrassi: The Next Generation and YTV’s The Zone. And while all of these accomplishments, which were achieved on the strength of the group’s infectious 2010 self-titled debut, may seem like quite a lot for a band whose average age is 21, think again, because the boys are just getting started.
Whereas the last record was an exploration, their upcoming EP, ‘What Makes You’ is a firm statement. ‘Depending how you look at it two years can be not that long at all or it can seem like forever’ says Bilenki. ‘We’re still a young band. We’re all still growing and learning, but the fact that a good portion of those two years took place on the road gave us a lot to look back on when we were making this record.’
But despite describing the new record as ‘more mature’, don’t for a minute think that TMTTP have any intention of stopping the party. Tracks like ‘Melody’ and ‘Baby, We’re Gonna Be Rich’ showcase the band’s undying energy and enthusiasm for massive hooks, while songs such as the aforementioned ‘Carry You Back’ serve as a reminder that TMTTP can do more than just pump you up. One such track, ‘Travelling Heart’, picks up where fan favourite from their 2010 debut ‘Green Eyes’ left off.
It’s a song about being away from the one you love, but knowing that no matter where things take you that you will always be there for one another, even when you’re apart’ Bilenki explains. ‘It’s a theme that’s become near and dear to our hearts as a touring band. We may get to live all these amazing experi- ences on the road, but you can never forget what you’re coming home to.’