Can a group of metalheads make a fantastic pop-punk record? The members of Too Close for Comfort can.
Tyler Pfeifer (vocals), Ryan Gilpin (lead guitar/backup vocals), Evan Dini (drums) and Jimmy “Coop” Cooper (bass) combine blast beats and heavy guitars with bright choruses and sing-along vocals. The band has quickly gained traction after forming in 2022 and releasing debut album We Only Live Here on This Planet for So Long. While the record is primarily pop-punk, there are some heavier elements, which can be attributed to some of the members’ previous endeavor—a slam-metal band.
“Me, Tyler and Coop were in another band in Reno called Convulsions,” Gilpin said during a recent Zoom interview. “I hit Tyler up one day and said I was working on pop punk, and he liked it, and we started writing some more stuff. We started trying to go for an EP, and then we pushed for an album, and that’s kind of how we got started. I knew Evan from a different project before, and then we asked him if he wanted to join, and then Coop. It’s a change in genre. It was a change for me. I had never really written pop-punk before.”
Transitioning from heavier music to a brighter and poppier approach caused the band to rethink its songwriting process.
“I always had been in a metalcore band or playing in a deathcore band, so it was always drop-tunings all day and seven-string guitars,” Cooper said. “Me and Tyler were in another pop-punk band, and once I started doing that, that’s when I started getting into a different realm of the process of writing and being like, ‘Well, OK, now we need to write stuff that can support melodies and harmonies.’ … Now what I write has to make sense. It can’t just be a bunch of riffs; you’ve got to make things that sound really good.”
Most of the members of Too Close for Comfort said they were fans of the pop-punk genre in the past.
“If you go all the way back to listening to music growing up, you obviously had a lot of people playing (the videogame) Tony Hawk Pro Skater and stuff like that,” said Cooper. “You get a lot of bands like Goldfinger in there, and Green Day. I was listening to Blink-182. When you start getting into more heavy music, you’re always on the softer side a little bit at first, so I feel like for us, doing this music is us going back to what influenced us to be making music and being in a band.”
We Only Live Here on This Planet for So Long came together quicker than many other musical projects, because the members of Too Close for Comfort encouraged each other—and stuck to their schedule.
“Ryan just grinds out songs, and it’s crazy,” Pfeifer said. “He’ll grind out a song in a day, and then it’ll take me a week or more to write the vocals and the lyrics. We were just so stoked on it, and that’s all we were focusing on, so it kind of came out a lot faster than I thought it would.”
Added Gilpin: “I almost feel like we pushed each other when we wrote the record. I was writing songs so fast, and he was trying to get the vocals done. Then he would get caught up on the vocals, and I’d go and write two more songs. When we got the record done, we’re like, ‘When do we want to track it?’ Tyler pulled up his calendar, and he’s like, ‘We should track it here. … We should shoot for these releases.’”
The band has already earned a fanbase, and is setting out on its first tour in January.
“(This music) is easier to listen to for the general public,” Pfeifer said. “My dad will listen to it and be like, ‘Yeah, that’s dope,’ but when he listened to my heavy stuff, he was like, ‘What are you saying? What’s going on here? Why are you yelling?’ We put a lot into the PR and reaching out to a lot of people and trying to push this. … I’ve been in a lot of projects that just kind of start up and never really take off or go anywhere, so I wanted to have something that I can maybe go on a couple tours with and hopefully make some money off of—like any musician wants to do.”
The response to the group’s music has shocked the band.
“We announced a couple of extra dates on the tour a few days ago, and someone commented on my post and said, ‘I’m going to come to all of your California shows,’ and none of us follow them (on social media),” Gilpin said. “There are plenty of people who are like, ‘I’ll see you in Chico; I’ll see you in Vegas,’ and you’re like, ‘I have no idea who you are.’ It’s almost like a surreal feeling that people actually enjoy my music.”
Too Close for Comfort’s only local show on their upcoming tour will be on Jan. 11 at the Holland Project.
“Without a doubt, Holland is definitely all about the bands and the art,” Cooper said. “They are seriously one of the greatest venues I’ve ever played at, and they also have, like, the friendliest staff, too. When you’re there, it’s so nice and smooth. Holland does a lot for the community, and it’s a great venue.”
Added Pfeifer: “It’s cool too, because it’s not a bar; it’s for art and music and stuff. It’s geared toward that, and it feels like it. Nothing against bars and VFW halls and stuff; they’re also fun to play, but Holland is cool, because they’re really focused on the art aspect of things.”
Too Close for Comfort will perform with Split Persona and Cherry Godmother at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Holland Project, 140 Vesta St., in Reno. Tickets are $8 in advance, or $10 day of. For more information, call 775-448-6500, or visit hollandreno.org. For more information on Too Close For Comfort, visit instagram.com/toocloseforcomfortnv.