Baby Honey says, 'YES' to 'Say No To Love.' (Mini-interview with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's Kip and Peggy)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart release a new single, 'Say No To Love' on June the 8th. And it's a cracker, already sounding like the soundtrack to my summer. It pulls off that particularly POBPAH trick of sounding both profoundly melancholic and like the most life-affirming thing you've ever heard. So raise your skinny fists to heaven and get ready to embrace what singer Kip Berman describes as; "three chords, a fuzz pedal and lots of feelings."
Below Kip and Peggy from the band talk about the song in more detail, as well as hula-hoops, great bands and why Kip decided not to get 'Rock'n'Roll Forever' tattooed on his forearm.
It's so good to have The Pains back! Can you tell us a little more about the new single, 'Say No To Love?'
Kip: It's a song about a girl taking charge of her life, rejecting a guy who's pouring on sentiment in a way that overreaches reality. When you're young, it's so easy to get sucked into this hyper-adolescent idea of love, where it's more important than anything and used to justify and opiate the true sources of dissatisfaction in your life. But you have to go out in the world, live your life, do things and not define your life so explicitly in relation to someone else, especially when you're so young. It's about knowing you need to follow your dreams, not your heart.
You'll be spending June touring the states, do you actually have time to do anything other than write, record and tour at the moment? When can we expect to see you back in the UK?
Kip: I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing than playing music, so the fact that we get to do it nearly constantly is pretty amazing to me and something I'm really grateful for. I also believe there's something about the day in and day out dedication of being in a band that makes the music stronger-- knowing that you'll be playing your songs every night, you want them to be as perfect as you are capable of making them. It would be a nightmare Groundhog Day scenario if you woke up and were forced to perform something of little worth to new people every day. This last year of near constant touring has taught us the importance of making sure what we say, what we make is something we can say and live with and never feel shame or regret.
Peggy: I almost feel like I have too much free time at the moment! We haven't been on tour since February. I've been playing this video game called Peggle, and I got a Tivo. And I've been throwing epic 90s dance parties. We'll be back to the UK in July, it's been wayyyy too long.
Kip: Yeah, we'll be back in the UK in July to play Latitude and Indietracks, but aside from a show in London and Brighton, we won't be playing any other dates around the country, as we'll be using some time over there to work on finishing up our new record. That being said, I'm sure we'll be previewing a few new songs in our set.
Ahh, Indietracks! Have you ever been before? It's like being inside an Enid Blyton novel (only with Indiepop and llamas.)
Peggy: I'm so psyched to be playing Indietracks! Even if the summer is long and boring and stupid, at least I have something to look forward to. I can't wait to see the Pooh Sticks and White Town and the Primitives and Veronica Falls and lots of other bands and hang out with our friends from all over the world. It sounds legendary.
Kip: I've wanted to attend Indietracks desperately since 2007. It's a festival that truly celebrates the kind of bands that exhibit the values and spirit of music I love most. We've even tried to play in the past, but the scheduling and distance was too difficult for us to make it over. I am grateful this year we'll get to do it, and it's a massive honor to be headlining the festival. Last year Teenage Fanclub played, and they're such a tremendous influence to us. Plus, so many of our favourite bands are playing like Blanche Hudson Weekend, Love is All, Shrag, Veronica Falls, and our labelmates on Fortuna Pop, Allo Darlin.
And can we assume that this single means a new LP is on the horizon?
Kip: We're heading into the studio to start working on some demos this weekend, and then we'll start recording in earnest in late June and early July. It's hard to speak of something that doesn't yet exist, but we're all really excited about the opportunity to record the new songs we've written. I think the most important thing to us has always been good songs, so while we'll take care to make things sound the way we want as best we can, the focus will remain on the songs. In many ways it'll be no different than how we mentally approached the first record, but I know we'll have a bit more time and opportunity to fully realize the sound we want.
What have you been listening to recently?
Peggy: Right now I'm obsessed with the Strawberry Switchblade song, 'Vicious.' But in other news, I've been into Fergus & Geronimo, The Drums, Twin Sister. And umm, lately I've been into Blake Babies.
Kip: The Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream album, The Prids yet-to-be-released Chronosynclastic (they're old friends of mine and gave me a sneak peek), The Slumberland re-issue of Chin Chin's Sound of the Westway, Titus Andronicus' The Monitor, The Depreciation Guild's Spirit Youth, The Secret History's The World That Never Was, the most recent Black Tambourine re-issue and some minimal wave re-issue compilations on, perfectly enough, Minimal Wave Records.
As for the Titus Andronicus record, to me it's a perfect example of a band that looked inward and became even more of themselves. I loved their first record, but this new one seems like they pushed the boundaries of that record and became even more Titus Andronicus, if that makes sense. It's sprawling, unabashedly lyrical, smart, heroicly self-depracating, yet self affirming, and most importantly emotionally sincere. Its scale is epic. There are no singles, but it is not delberately difficult-- it is difficult because that's what it needs to be to express itself perfectly. There is an honesty, a true genius in Patrick Stickles songwriting that makes me hang on every word.
Tell us a secret.
Kip: I like watching (American) Football and eating Nachos.
Peggy: I'll just say, "Ask me about my hula hoop."
Do you have any tattoos?
Peggy: NOPE. But I have 3 piercings in each ear.
Kip: No, in fact no one in The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has any. When I was a lot younger and in school, I wanted to get "Rock'n'Roll Forever" tattooed on my arm. I still believe in the spirit behind that wish, but am glad I expressed it a different way.
If I got a tattoo today it would probably say, "Mom (sorry)."