When Tony Pagorek hit the studio with Oceans Over Airplanes to record the new single, “Mindreader,” he admits he was conflicted.
“It was our first time in the studio since we had just finished the demo,” he said. “It was the most unprepared I had been going in in a while.”
The reason? “Mindreader” is directly born of the struggle between Pagorek’s 8-year-old daughter and anxiety.
The single — with an accompanying video due out next week — addresses those struggles, those moments when “the switch flips and we’re trying to figure out what she’s trying to express, trying to figure out how to talk to her,” Pagorek said.
“When you’re older, you can seek out help,” he explained. “But kids can’t express that. When she goes into defensive mode and her fight or flight is firing, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on or how to tell her ‘There’s nothing wrong with you.’”
Pagorek said part of his struggle with the song, a potent post-emo track, was in acknowledging the role mental health issues have been playing in music lately. Artists on both the local and national levels have been recognizing the importance of paying attention to and dealing with inner turmoil in positive ways, sharing their stories publicly and encouraging others to do the same.
“I didn’t want to say ‘I’m going to sing a song about mental health because it’s the cool thing to talk about right now,’” Pagorek said.
“But it’s something that’s present every day in our lives, in our family. I felt really passionate about doing it,” he explained. “I wanted to make sure if I did this, I did it right. I wasn’t sneaking through and cashing in on what’s popular in pop culture right now, that people are talking about and addressing and recognizing as something that’s real.”
He hopes that one day he can have a conversation with his daughter about how he felt writing the song.
“When she’s a little bit older and can read into it a bit more and can appreciate it more,” he said. “I’ve kind of alluded to it some with her, but it’ll be good to see her understand it.”
“Mindreader” is the first of two songs Oceans Over Airplanes is releasing under the new moniker Park & Main.
Pagorek, the only remaining member from when Oceans first started roughly 8 years ago, felt like the name no longer reflected who the band was and what they believed in.
“It killed me that all these years all we could ever say about it is, “Yeah, we thought it sounded cool,’” he said. “There was nothing behind it.”
Park & Main now reflects an intersection in the band’s lives.
“In your 20s and 30s people say you should have your life figured out and everything, but I think we’re all still constantly searching for what that right path is,” he said.
“Especially as musicians, we know what we want to do with life, but you’ve got people always telling you what you should be doing,” he said. “But we just can’t say yes to that other thing people say we should be doing. For Park & Main, it’s all about being at a crossroads. Do we continue on that path or do we turn off and do what other people say we should be doing?”
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Oceans Over Airplanes w/The Flips, Tiny Kingdoms
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31
Where: 18th Street Brewery, 5417 Oakley Ave., Hammond, Indiana; (219) 803-0820