Pets With Human Names: 5 Things That Inspired ‘Akratic’

pets with human names

‘Akratic’ is out now via Nova Labs.

This Des Moines, Iowa trio are super filthy and dirty. Coming on like Mudhoney having a panic attack, Pets With Human Names present a seriously fuzzed up brand of breakneck punk fury. Formed on a dare during a drunken binge in 2012, the group found their name when someone attempted to run a birthday ad for a dog named Tommy in the newspaper the trio worked for at the time.

At the minute, they are getting ready to launch their second album Creature Comforts. ‘Akratic’, a chaotic and frantic track, is the lead single from the offering. We had a sit down with Andrew Pierson (bass & vocals) to discuss what influenced the song. Prepare for some Greek, inertia, and mental stubbornness.

1. Greek Words

I learned a word about two years ago that I’ve always wanted to use in a sentence to sound smart. “Akrasia: the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.” When we were finishing up this song and it needed a name, I knew this was my opportunity. I wrote Akratic from the point of view of someone who is stubbornly refusing the help of others, despite knowing they need help.

2. Self-Reflection

When I started writing this song, I intended to write it about other people and how frustrating it can be to deal with the close-minded, but as I kept going, this “other person” started to seem more and more like myself. It was an uncomfortable realization, but it gave the song a lot more focus. More importantly, though, it opened my eyes to how frustrating I can be to deal with.

3. Inertia – resistance to change

I have a big problem accepting change in my life. ‘New’ is always scary to me and I’ll often try to cling to my comfort zone as much as possible. I know this is a terrible way to go through life, but when I think about all the effort it would take to make a significant change to my mentality, I get overwhelmed just end up telling myself everything is fine despite all the evidence to the contrary simply because it’s easier to stay the course. This song reflects the inner turmoil I experience when I know I should be doing something else.

4. Anger

Akratic is definitely the most flat-out punk rock song we’ve written. It’s fast, aggressive, and mean. The animosity of it always reminds me of the feeling I get when someone tries to give me life advice. I know they’re trying to help and usually it’s beneficial, but it always comes off feeling like an attack on my ego. All the yelling I do on the song is essentially me shouting down the voice in my head trying to help me. The death throes of a bad habit.

5. Mental Stubbornness

Often times, people form an opinion in their mind about how the world works, and because they have so much of their self-identity built upon this opinion, they will go to great lengths to desperately hang on to it. The line “A journey of the mind / (I’d) give anything to stay” speaks to that exact feeling. It’s not a fear of the unknown, but a fear of what you already know but are unwilling to accept.

Akratic is one of the most fun songs we’ve ever written as a band. Musically, everything fell into place very quickly and the aggression it evokes inspired me to drudge up some enmity within myself. Ultimately, it made me shine a light on parts of myself I’ve been avoiding and I’m a much better person because of it.

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