SUNRAY MAGAZINE has the pleasure to interview the young rock band “Penny Fountain“.
SUNRAY: How Did You Meet?
PF: We all met in high school and got together to form the band in our Commercial Music class in 2018 during our sophomore year. We started with 5 members but are currently a 3-piece band with Xavier Wilkinson on lead vocals and bass, Tony Massaro on lead guitar, and Joel Lopez on drums. Attending the same school made it relatively easy for us to work together on a regular basis. We have become more like brothers than friends and that’s another reason why we mesh so well. Also, we were fortunate to be a part of the Del Couch Music Education Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that offers free access to music education, recording equipment, and mentorship. Mr. Couch has given us the opportunity to use his studio and he is the reason why we have been able to record our music and rehearse for shows. We would not be who we are or be able to do what we do without him.
SUNRAY: What Does Your Band Name Mean?
PF: (Tony) The name of our band and our first single share the same story. One day in 2018 I was at the Brandon Mall (Florida) thinking about a name for our “new” band. I was listening to music and My Chemical Romance’s “Early Sunsets Over Monroeville” came on. I was sitting by one of the fountains in the middle of the mall and heard the lyric “pennies in colder fountains” and something just clicked for me. I thought “what if we called the band Penny Fountain?” and I just remembered really liking that name. When I got home, I finished a song that I had been working on for the band, and I ended up naming the song “Brandon Mall”
SUNRAY: Who Are Your Biggest Influences?
PF: (Xavier) We like a lot of genres and each of us has our own personal taste. My biggest influences are Smashing Pumpkins, blink-182, Sum 41, Nirvana, Green Day, and right now Don Broco and Northlane have been inspiring us like crazy.
(Joel) My biggest influences right now are definitely Northlane and Bring Me the Horizon.
(Tony) Personally, my influences are Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate, and The Get Up Kids. For the band, I believe that Smashing Pumpkins, blink-182, and Bring Me the Horizon are definitely our biggest influences.
SUNRAY: Who Do You Sound Like?
PF: (Xavier) We heard the term “21st Century 90’s” used by Weezer and we’re really feeling it. We’ve evolved from punk roots to what we are now, definitely more alternative rock than punk. Basically, like all bands, we love to write and create new music. Most of our lyrics have depth and double meaning so that the listener can relate to our songs in whatever way they choose. We believe what sets us apart is our passion for putting on a show in addition to just playing our music when we are on the stage. As a band we have a vision for our music that includes other forms of art. Our albums will all have specific themes that will influence both the music and the accompanying visuals.
(Joel) When it comes to the synths and the ambiance that our new album will have, the biggest influences for the sound are Northlane, Bring Me the Horizon, Erra, Starset, and Sungazzer. Big moments like when the final chorus drops, and all the layers just smack you in the face, is something I really want to capture in our music. It works perfectly because Xavier and Tony have the core knowledge to write a “Penny Fountain” song, but then I come in and add other parts to layer the song. Whether it’s a rhythmic pattern that gives the song more feel or layers such as synths, percussion instruments, effects; I get to add that.
SUNRAY: What inspired you to start playing and making music?
PF: (Joel) Honestly, my grandpa inspired me to start playing music. He taught me how to play drums at a very young age and I have loved them ever since.
(Xavier) Tony and I have very similar stories. We were both introduced to rock at a very young age by our parents, which eventually snowballed into us picking up the guitar and forming our own music taste. This is kind of funny but we both had a First Act guitar as our first guitar. I remember putting on my first live show in my neighbor’s driveway with just me, that guitar, and an amp.
SUNRAY: Talk us about the experience on “No Cover”
PF: It was an amazing experience and a little nerve-racking. To be honest, we were so young and still in high school, very “green” and naive to the music business. We had no idea what we were getting into and just bravely went for it. We did not have near the amount of experience as most of the other artists had.
But the show was a great learning opportunity for all of us as it showed us the true ins and outs of the music industry. We got to meet with legends and professionals that could share their wisdom. Obviously, it wasn’t about winning for us, we knew that we were not in the running to win. We did it for the experience and the chance for exposure, just to get our name out there. And we are so thankful that we did it because we learned so much from everyone; all the judges, Kellin Quinn our mentor, and the bands that performed on the show. We have grown so much since the show. We have taken the judges’ critiques and used them to better ourselves. We believe that we have become a much more solid band than what we were on the show.
SUNRAY: Who’s your ideal musician to collaborate with and why?
PF: That’s a hard one to answer, we have quite a few and just to nail it down to a couple is difficult. One we can think of right off the bat is Kellin Quinn. He was our mentor on “No Cover” and we really clicked with him. Another one on the top of our list is Don Broco. They are just killing it right now and we love their vibe. Also, we absolutely would love to collaborate with any of the members from blink-182, both past and present
SUNRAY: What’s next for Penny Fountain?
PF: We are just getting started on this journey and are staying extremely busy. We are in the process of finishing up recording our revised version of our first album but changing the name to “Attack of the Ducks”. Also recording and releasing two singles, the title track for Gas Station Aliens and Crash Landing from “No Cover”, for our upcoming album. We are also getting ready to shoot a video for White Whale, which was also played on “No Cover”, with Chris Garcia, and will be creating the Gas Station Aliens video with Emmy-nominated director Sam Gonzales, Jr. We would also love to tour with fellow bands from “No Cover” if the opportunity presents itself.
SUNRAY: Tell to us where can we find you? (social networks, websites…)
PF: We can be found on all social media platforms, a live streaming service, website, and more. We have Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and Discord to name a few.
Or you can find everything here on our linktree: https://linktr.ee/pennyfountain
Photos By Jackson Trujo