Vancouver garage-rock duo The Pack A.D. have one rule of songwriting: no love songs. Their lyrics are cool, edgy with a bit of humour – and definitely unusual.

“Rid of Me,” a funny – or is that sad – song on their latest release, 2011’s Unpersons, begins:

Well I drank two bottles of wine / And then I threw up / And felt just fine / I was only thinking of you / And then I thought of you / And then I forgot again

But love? Guitarist/vocalist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller will have none of that. Instead, try this one on for cool: “My robot can kill your robot with the power of my mind” from the song “8.”

“The only thing I’ve ever mandated for myself is that I will not write a song about any kind of ‘Oh, I love you,’ or ‘This guy broke my heart.’” – Maya Miller of The Pack A.D

“There are some themes that come up pretty quickly,” says Black of the duo’s songwriting. “Robots and the fear of robots; aliens and alienation; and [the idea that] people are lame and animals are kind of cool.”

Miller agrees. “The only thing I’ve ever mandated for myself , and Becky seems to agree with [with one exception].. . [is that] I will not write a song about any kind of ‘Oh, I love you,’ or ‘This guy broke my heart.’ I’m not going to write about love.”

The two started playing together in 2006, and wrote their entire debut album, Tintype, more than 18 months before ever playing a live show. Since then, Black says, “Our genre has changed album to album. We started out playing fairly simple blues-rock, because that seemed like the easiest thing to play. Then we got better at our instruments and expanded from there.”

For The Pack A.D.’s last three albums – including the next one, due out in early 2014 – Black says they’ve booked off a month or two, getting together every day in their jam space.

“It’s just drums and guitar, so we come up with a song in, like, five minutes, and then maybe the

“It’s just drums and guitar, so we come up with a song in, like, five minutes.” – Becky Black of The Pack A.D.

next day [we find] it’s not that great and we just move on. And sometimes it ends up being great.” Lyrics, however, are typically written in the studio on what Miller calls “a pressure-cooker deadline.”
The new single “Battering Ram,” from the forthcoming album, is about “somebody who gets bullied or [is] generally dissatisfied with life, and then they take their rage out like a battering ram,” says Black, adding that the song has a “rockin’ anthemic chorus.”

“It’s our version of an anthem song,” says Miller. “I don’t know if that’s because we went on tour with Our Lady Peace – we might’ve got a little influenced, anthem-wise. But it also distinctly sounds like us. It’s our version of garage rock.” – KAREN BLISS

Track Record

  • Miller is “really really” into playing tennis
  • Black is writing stories and also draws. She’s working on a comic.
  • Miller is writing a book about being in “this band, in combination with being in a band.

Publisher: Network One Music Canada Ltd.
Discography: Tintype (2008), Funeral Mixtape (2008), We Kill Computers (2010), Unpersons (2011), Title TBA (2014)
SOCAN Members since 2006