South Point is the musical duo formed by cousins and multi-instrumentalists Christian Pittman (guitar, drums, vocals) and Ian Poland (strings, keys, guitar, bass). Their self-titled debut album gained a lot of attention, as their smooth melodies and layered textures cultivated an infectious groove that was hard to get out of your head.
With over 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, South Point doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I had the chance to sit down with Christian and Ian to chat about their rising popularity, creative process and future goals for this project.
So, you two are cousins. What’s the story behind this duo? How did you guys come together and start making music?
Christian: We were about 6 or 7, I played guitar and Ian had just gotten a drum set. We were little and wanted to try to play music … so our whole life we played music together, just jamming out. We had a little band called Life or Death, it was a rock band we formed when we were 8-years-old. We had a little concert at a birthday party and it was absolutely awesome.
Ian: Christian’s hair was really long, like you couldn’t see his eyes.
Christian: I had a Nirvana thing going on!
Ian: We were just little kids trying to figure out who we were.
Christian: Fast forward to Junior year, we were in a band with some friends, and we stayed together for almost a year.
Ian: That was the first time we went into a professional studio and recorded an EP.
Christian: After the EP, we all kind of had musical differences.
Ian: It was still a great experience and super fun!
Christian: We love all of them and definitely loved the experience. I told Ian I was leaving, because I didn’t really see it going anywhere. I said I was going to write my own album and Ian said, “I’m coming with ya!” I said, “Okay!” and all of sudden we started jamming together for the first time in a while. We started writing songs, and a year later, an album came out of it.
Your first single “The Great Escape” was released in June, and then in September you realized your debut self-titled album. What was the experience of creating your first album like?
Ian: “The Great Escape” was the song that confirmed we are doing this. We saw potential in it, it was a fun and beachy song that reminded us of our friends. It was kind of the theme song for our senior year. So we finished the song and really enjoyed it, so we were like, “Okay let’s keep going and make more songs!” So we just starting writing and it was addicting. We really got into this band called Hippo Campus and they are a huge influence for us. We also went to a lot of music festivals, so we had music around us all the time. Once we decided to write the album, our atmosphere was great.
Christian: During summer, there weren’t any breaks. It didn’t matter how crappy you felt, you got up and started writing or going to the studio.
Ian: When Christian and I would create songs, he would come up with an idea, and I would come up with an idea, and we would sit down together and write off that idea. We ended up recording at A1A Studios, and it was a very long process — a full year.
Christian: We also had to work physically for it. There was a time we worked in a trailer picking up pine cones.
Ian: Yeah, we were just trying to grind and get the money for it. But it all worked out!
You’ve hit over 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. What is it like having that much exposure and growth in such a short time?
Christian: It’s freaking awesome! I remember when it was the last two weeks of summer, and we went on a trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia. Before we had gotten there, we reached like 754 monthly listeners and we were like, “Holy crap! This is so many!” We checked it two days later when we had wifi and all of a sudden it went to 1,500, then we checked it the next day and it went up to 2,500.
Ian: It just kept climbing! I hope it just keeps going.
You guys mentioned Hippo Campus as a huge musical influence, do you have any others? How have they helped to shape and influence your sound?
Christian: The number one is definitely Hippo Campus.
Ian: They are probably the only reason I was able to finish this album creatively. Just, they help me find my sound.
Christian: When you watch Nathan, the guitar player, the creativity that comes out of him is insane. Just to see how big they have grown is awesome. They played at Bonnaroo, South by Southwest, and we’ve even seen them in Atlanta. It’s just so crazy to see how people so young can just take off.
Ian: Also classic rock is a huge influence. Like listening to Deep Purple is a huge reason why I got into music — because I thought it was so cool.
So, what is your favorite song on the album and why is it your favorite?
Christian: “Dearly Departed!” When you listen to it, it makes you feel good. It gives you that certain kind of feeling.
Ian: I like that one, too! But I’ll have to go with “Paralyzed.” It’s a long song, but the way that song came together was different than the rest of the album. We were in a session and we only had 30 minutes left in the studio, so I just decided to write the bass and the drums right there. With the time crunch, it really forced us to do something. It clicked, and we finally figured out what to do with the song. I also love the vocal melody.
With you both being multi-instrumentalists, what is the layering and recording process like to get a full sound?
Christian: So this is another trick we learned from Hippo Campus, we watched a lot of videos of them and they talked about how they would take random stuff at a song and whatever stuck, stuck. Whatever didn’t, they just took it away. We started adding shakers, tambourines and whatever we could. It would make it sound so full.
Ian: We also always write with guitar leads, but when we would go to record, it was only the two of us, so we would do bass and drums first. Then, we would add more and more. It was cool to see the foundation build up.
What are your future goals for this project?
Christian: Yes, touring! We want to tour and play festivals. That’s just where you go and meet all of your favorite bands.
Ian: Just being able to have music as a career is the best thing ever.