Pit er Pat is Rob Doran (bass, vocals), Fay Davis-Jeffers (keyboards, vocals) and Butchy Fuego (drums, vocals). Originally calling themselves Blackbirds, the group began as a backing band for a singer/ songwriter. After playing a handful of small shows in Chicago, the guitarist/singer abruptly decided to move to New York, leaving the threesome to quickly write a set for a show that was already booked. There was something striking about the dynamic of the sound the three of them made, something unusually compelling about this rhythm section. Without the singer/ guitarist, this sound allowed the space to be heard. They wrote a handful of instrumental, rhythm heavy songs, and decided to continue onward since the audience and band both seemed to be pleased with their work. Thus, Pit er Pat was formed. The name was chosen after seeing the words “pit er pat” written in a painting by the Chicago artist, Jim Nutt (responsible for the infamous Hairy Who movement).
Prior to Shakey, Pit er Pat released the Emergency EP on Overcoat Recordings during the winter of 2004. This signaled the arrival of singing in their music, which has since become very important. The Emergency EP was released on vinyl with hand silk-screened covers (printed by the band) on Mythologies. The original self- released CD also had hand silk- screened covers and elaborate origami inserts by the band. A 12” of additional material was released by Born and Raised on Sugar Disks as well.
Shakey was recorded over six days at Key Club Recording Company, a studio just outside of Chicago on Lake Michigan, and mixed over five days at Soma Studios, both with Griffin Rodriguez and the band. The basic tracks were recorded live and came together in a few days, leaving Pit er Pat time to utilize the studio as an instrument, adding dense yet subtle coloration to the arrangements. Shakey’s album artwork was created specifically for this record by their friend Jon Widman.
Butchy, Fay, and Rob’s involvement with the arts community heavily influences Pit er Pat as a band. Rob runs a design company for printed materials, clothes, album packaging, house wares and textiles called Wound Crust. His work has shown in Tokyo, San Francisco, Berlin, New York and Chicago, among many other places. Sculptures, images, videos and prints by Rob can be seen at his gallery’s website, www.bucketridergallery.com. Fay makes drawings, objects, clothing, eggs, and spaces. Although this is busy work, she has time for drawing portraits and writing songs for fundraisers or video festivals, foley sound for cartoons, baking pies for friends, sewing small animals for babies and art galleries, making films, and taking pictures. Butchy has a self-titled solo album on Pickled Egg, the UK art noise label. He also makes audio documentaries, sound design for cartoons, music for film and theatre, various home recordings, sculptures, and installations. This diversity in interests is essential in shaping Pit er Pat’s music.
Aside from a few dates in the Midwest with Tortoise in early 2004, Pit er Pat have not played many shows outside of Chicago. To those fortunate enough to have seen them (they have a large draw in Chicago), Pit er Pat are a compelling presence. Fans compare various aspects of their music to The Raincoats, early Soft Machine, Slap Happy and Blonde Redhead. The end result is a constant propelling of rhythm and melody steeped in innumerable influences and emotions. Like the Hairy Who movement the band so admires, Pit er Pat can be described as an expressive work of fantastic adventure -- compelling, arousing and mysterious.