A pilgrimage to the desert, people giving up, and Iggy Pop — Interview with PINS.
Manchester five piece PINS have been on quite the journey since they formed in 2011. They flew to LA to record their second album ‘Wild Nights’ with Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching. Sent a handwritten letter to the rock icon Iggy Pop and had him feature on a song and most recently they had Jamie Hince of The Kills produce their latest single ‘Serve The Rich’. I had the pleasure of meeting with front woman Faith Vern, guitarist Louis MacDonald and keyboardist Kyoko Swan, to pick their brains on all things PINS.
Do you have any plans to return to Rancho De La Luna?
Faith: We have been back since we recorded our album. We went back and stayed for a night or two?.. We recorded for hours and hours and hours playing the same song over! We’d love to go back and record, it just comes down to cost, it’s so expensive to get over there. It’s just one of the best places. It’s the whole romantic idea of the pilgrimage to the desert… I get really wrapped up in the whole thing.
The Lyrics in ‘Young Girls’ are “What will we do if our dreams come true?” is that something that you genuinely worry about? Thinking about the future?
Faith: I’m not sure what I meant exactly by the lyric? I think it might have been about, once you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve then, what next? What happens after that?
Louis: I worry about it a lot less than I used to. I just kind of think… well I’m happy now, great. Sometimes we find ourselves doing things and we’re like this is amazing! I can’t believe we’re doing this. Like when we went on tour with The Breeders… it’s crazy!
How often are you writing songs? Do you set aside time specifically or is it a constant project for you guys?
Faith: I think at this point, we want to record another album but we want to make sure its 100% what we want it to be. After the last album we stopped writing cause we were touring and we don’t really write while we’re on tour, as soon as we got back it was like we needed to start writing again and we’ve not stopped since then. Some of the songs that could potentially be on the next record were written like 2 years ago.
Louis: I feel like I have a lot of ideas that I want to try out and it’s difficult because you can’t really control it like that. Like if you want something to be finished in a months’ time… it’s all at the mercy of the process. It won’t be finished until you’ve created and recorded it.
How was recording a song with Iggy Pop? Was it as exciting as it sounds?
Kyoko: You remember you did it and it’s like shit, that’s like the coolest thing we’ve ever done. Iggy’s actually an authentic voice as well, when the Stooges came out they were a dangerous band, they were scary because they were so badass, it was dangerous like proper rock n roll music should be. Faith: I’m still buzzing off it now! It’s just funny that he knows we exist, this person that we’ve admired all this time!
Louis: I was watching something the other day and it mentioned Iggy, rock n roll legend and I was like ahhh… I’ve done a song with him. After like 50 years, he must just love creating music to not get jaded by it, it’s inspiring. Faith: He’s old but still so relevant, which I think isn’t really something that people manage to do, and he’s still bringing out really good albums! He’s got his radio shows and then he’s still interested in all the up and coming bands… It’s nice to know that not everyone just retires. There’s people who are our age and they’ve fucking had enough. They’ve given up, lost all of their inspiration, they hate what they’re doing and you just want to say do something else then! We don’t need those kinds of people in this industry.
Why did you make the decision to release Bad Things as an EP after ‘Wild Nights’?
Louis: We didn’t intentionally record it. When we had recorded it, it kind of sounded like a step forward from wild nights, it was more electronic.
Faith: We’ve always been a band that’s developing in front of who’s looking. I think we knew we wanted to do something different after we released wild nights, and to jump from that to this, it’s quite a drastic jump so it’s good to put something in the middle. Not only for other people to hear, but for ourselves too. We’d only just started playing around with different sounds and instruments, new guitar pedals and synths… you need the time to actually develop it. That’s why I don’t mind that this next album feels like it’s taking forever, because I know that when it’s finished it’s going to be 100%, where as in the past there’s been things that I would have changed.
Louis: Right now we’re in the process of getting rid of what’s not good enough. It’s a long process but I feel like I’m actually learning something and we’re getting better at what we do.
Style is one of the first things that springs to mind when I think of PINS. How important do you think image is in this industry?
Faith: This is the thing that I always say, people who wear jeans and a t-shirt or who have that dive/slacker look, they want to look like that. It’s on purpose, that’s the image that they want to portray. So everyone does it. They want to look like they don’t give a shit, so they put a lot of effort into looking like they don’t give a shit.
Louis: If you look at Instagram and music videos, how can you say that image isn’t a part of the music that you’re making? There will be an exception, but the majority of people choose to have an image to accompany their music which people identify with. I don’t think it needs to be seen as a negative, it can be a really creative thing, take Björk for example.
You’ve created your own label Haus of Pins, are there any plans to release other artists on the label or do you want it to stay your own?
Louis: We have released other artists on it, it’s just a bit busy at the moment! Faith: It’s time-consuming to promise to release someone else’s stuff; you need to be able to put the time and effort in. I think we probably will in the future, but because our last release was so big in terms of numbers, a lot of money going in and out of the account, it’s good to take a minute to refocus. When we’re busy writing an album it’s not a good time, my brain wouldn’t be able to focus on it right now.
Louis: Especially if you’re releasing someone else, you can’t do a shit job because that’s their baby. You have to make sure you’re doing it the best you can.
Can you recommend any up and coming talent in Manchester to watch out for?
Louis: There’s Bernard + Edith, they’ve changed their name to Pearl City. I think they’ve started releasing new music and new everything, so they’re definitely worth checking out! Monk, Witch Fever… they’re like a younger punk band. I really like Pink Kink, they’re from Liverpool but they’re worth checking out.
I can definitely hear Jamie Hince’s influence in ‘Serve The Rich’. How does it feel to be the only other band that Jamie has produced other than The Kills?
Faith: Well when you put it like that!
Louis: They’re amazing and he did a really good job, he was really great to work with, and really fun to hang out with. I only have positive memories of working with him. He’s really relaxed, he’s got his ideas ready to go. He’s another person that when he said yeah to working with us we were like, fucking hell this is happening!
Have you started recording your next album?
Faith: We have. We’ve recorded two songs but, whether they’re the ones that make it to the album, I don’t know yet. It’s in progress.
Make sure to catch PINS at one of the many festivals they’re going to be playing this year including; Kendal Calling, Beat-Herder and Truck Festival. Listen to ‘Serve The Rich’ here: