Penny Arcade is an awesome punk band out of Houston, TX. They have a great live set and have released a few demos really great demos. They have toured the South and the Eastern US. They have also shared the stage with a great list of bands. I got Ema to tell their story...
My name is Ema Kidd. I play bass for the band Penny Arcade. I am also the front woman and sometimes act as manager/booking agent/roadie/ merch girl and what have you. We are a punk rock band based out of Houston, Texas.
How did the band start?
Originally, I started the band in 2006 but that band had broken up in 2008. I say "that band" because it was a completely different band then what it is today. In 2009, I got the band back up with drummer Jimy the Fiend who played in a Houston band called Brutally Normal. Soon after we had local guitarist Falcrow join the band and it was set.
How did you come up with the name?
Penny Arcade is a name that I found in the acknowledgments of the book "Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk Rock" By; Legs McNeil. I didn't know who this person was, but I created an image of a transvestite artist and thought that would be perfect for a band name seeing as our band was with two guys and a girl. I thought it would be funny to the a "transvestite band". I'm happy that joke didn't stick around. It wasn't until we started playing more shows that people would mistake us for being a part of an online comic, that I had no idea about but its funny cause people can remember our band that way too.
Who would you say are your influences?
As a band, our influences are really all across the board. Everything from metal, classic rock to punk and riot grrl. Myself I am influenced by bands such as Screeching Weasel, The Distillers and The Ramones. We as a band all bring so many influences to the table and its great that we can combine them together to make one cohesive sound.
What is the punk scene like in Houston?
The punk scene in Houston is what I imagine it would be like in a lot of cities or at least a bit better. In Houston, its hard for a punk band to get out there, unless you're a typical "punk rocker" that dresses the part. That's one thing that I've noticed when we tell people we're a punk band, we either get one of two reactions. Its either "you don't look punk rock enough to be in my scene" or "you look to nice to be a punk rocker". So I see the Houston "punk" scene to be very clickish but aside that there is a group of people and bands that I feel keep to the rule of helping each other out and supporting your local music.
Describe the song writing process...
For Penny Arcade, I have written most of the songs but will bring in a idea for a verse and chorus and work with the rest of the band on it. So its like we all work together on the songs. Like coming into practice and saying "Hey, I wrote this great riff I want to see what you think." One thing I enjoy most about working with the band is that I have surrounded myself with very talented musicians and its great to brainstorm ideas. How I personally write songs is by writing the lyrics first and then working the music around them. Which, I've heard was a weird way to go about the song writing process but hey, it works for me. I've recently taken into poetry and learning about imagery in your words so I really like to focus on that and trying to make people either think about my songs or maybe find themselves relating to them.
What have you released?
We have released a couple of small time demos that we like to hand out to people. Our first record called "We Freed The Slaves", was recorded in 2010 but we had to wait to release it until 2011 because we didn't have the money. That is something that we had to put out ourselves, a fact I take pride in.
Who are some of the bands you have done shows with?
We've done many shows with bands from the Houston area such as Mugrero, Impugned, Brutally Normal, The Hates, Oscuridad Social, Latch Key Kids, 13 Black Coffins and Ese. Also, there have been some great bands from different cities and states such as Zero Return and Fallen Monument from Pittsburgh, PA and Infected from Lexington, KY. We've haven't played with any of the "big players" in punk rock but one day I hope we can answer this question by saying we've played with The Queers or NOFX or Rancid even.
Do you prefer to do shows at large venues or small clubs?
There really is no preference to the size of the place we play at. Its more of an idea of getting the chance to play and getting our music heard.
Have you toured?
Yes, we have toured. We've done two tours; the first was a small 5 day tour going through Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas and we just did a two week tour of the East Coast this past summer. We are planning to to a US Tour the end of this year, the "Penny Arcade VS The World" Tour which we are all very excited about. It will be a three month tour where we are traveling to both coasts. After that, we are going to see where we have ended up but there is talk of touring the east coast again but more of a focus on the North East states like Pennsylvania and New York.
Is there a favorite band you like to do shows with?
Our friends in Houston like Mugrero is a band I enjoy playing shows with. The show we did with Infected in Lexington, KY was a great show, filled with good times, I would definitely want to play more shows with them.
Is there a favorite place you like to do shows at?
In Houston, I definitely like playing shows at Rudyard's Pub. Its a small restaurant and pub that has shows upstairs and the people are great to work with. I also enjoy playing at a place called Late Nite Pie here in Houston, they do free shows and offer the touring bands a pizza. The owner is a great guy too, really easy to work with and really keeps the bands' needs in mind. Out of Houston, I wouldn't say I have a favorite place but I am hoping that would change after this next tour. But there are a lot of places I enjoyed playing at, like The Rock Room in Pittsburgh and The Court Tavern in East Brunswick NJ.
What do you see is the future of Penny Arcade?
I can see Penny Arcade reaching a level where we are signed to a label and playing shows and going on tours. I would like to have Penny Arcade go over seas and have more people hear our band and hopefully enjoy our music.
How can people contact the band?
People can contact the band via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or also on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/papunkrock
Also we can be reached by our phones at (281) 687-4876 or (832) 623-2868(he prefers texts). I enjoy talking to people so I encourage people to contact us anyway that they like.