’Pigeons’ to roost at Cafe Nola for live funk show -- Gazette.Net


When putting together songs for their next album, the members of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong have the added challenge of trying to capture their ever-changing music on a recording.

“We play so much that our music matures at a fast rate,” says lead vocalist Greg Ormont. “It’s a catch-22 of being in a jam band — the music is always evolving.”

The Baltimore-based band that mixes funk, rock and jazz with electronic elements will perform at Frederick’s Café Nola alongside DJ Sephrim on Saturday.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong began with Ormont and guitarist Jeremy Schon playing as an acoustic duo while students at the University of Maryland. They later added schoolmates Ben Carrey on bass and Dan Schwartz on drums to round out their sound.

More than four years later, the band is balancing day jobs with a rigorous touring and performing schedule both locally and around the East Coast. They spend about half their week playing and traveling to shows, and the other half practicing, Schon says.

“It’s tough with us being on the road every week and practicing on the few nights when we’re home,” he says. “We love what we’re doing, and we think we’re all in it for the right reasons.”

Schon says the band took their name from a behavioral experiment by behaviorist B.F. Skinner that they learned about in college, in which pigeons were conditioned to play pingpong by pecking with their beaks.

“Our show, at this point, doesn’t involve pigeons, but we’re not ruling it out at this point,” he says.

The band’s debut album, “Funk E P” was released in 2010, and features one of Greg Ormont’s favorite songs, “Couldn’t We All.” They wrote the song while partying one night in college, and then performed it live the next night.

“We made it on a whim at 4 a.m. and that night we were playing it and it was a fast and awesome transition,” he says.

Schon says the band’s sound has greatly evolved since “Funk E P,” and they are working on a new album, which will consist of new songs and several tunes the band has played live during the past two years of performances. The frequency of their live shows has helped the band hone their sound, and discover what people want to listen to.

“We’re all about putting on a high-energy live show that will show people a good time,” Schon says. “Often, a lot of our inspiration comes from being on the road, funny things that happen and things getting written into lyrics.”

Even though they spend so much time together on the road and practicing, it is easy for the band to get along because they were friends first and a band second, Ormont says

“We’re a married quartet with no signs of divorce,” he says. “We really have started to look at it like a marriage and a business and do right by each other.”