posted on August 26, 2009 19:00
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have being creating waves in the indie scene since they released their debut EP last year. Their fuzzy indie pop has proven infectious and their debut eponymous album is amongst my favourite records of the year. I chatted to them during their tour of North America to see how things have gone so far, and what plans they had for the future.
How are you doing? Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Did you enjoy your time in Vancouver?
Things are great! We had a pretty awesome time in Vancouver - there was a rowdy crowd, which made things extra fun.
How did the band get together?
We were all friends first, and would hang out a lot and geek out about music. We formed to play at Peggy's birthday party, though at the time it was just me, Alex and Peggy with an iPod on drums. We played about 5 songs with 4 chords in 10 minutes. It may have been really bad, but we had so much fun we didn't notice.
When you were beginning in New York it must have been difficult. It is a city full of bands and musicians. Was it difficult to prove yourself to be better than your peers or did it drive competition to make you better?
Well, we're not really competitive or anything-- sort of the opposite, actually. We genuinely love so many bands that live around here, like Crystal Stilts, caUSE co-Motion, Vivian Girls, My Teenage Stride, Zaza, The Beets, Chairlift, etc. To us, we just found it inspiring to be in a city with so much going on creatively, and that made us want to do the best we could.
Many people have commented that TPOBPAH's sound reminds them of bands such as The Jesus And The Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and the C86 scene. Were bands such as these your influences or are these reference points off the mark?
It's super flattering to get compared to those iconic bands, but we're not really that cool. I watch videos of JAMC, and they're just so cool - we're not really as awesome as that. But it never bothers us if people want to associate us with such amazing artists from the past.
The band name is quite prosaic. Where did it come from? Did anybody try to pressurise you into changing it into something more marketable?
The band name is taken from the title of a short children's story written by a friend of mine in Portland, OR. He's a bit of a character, but means well. We had the name before we really even had songs - it seems to fit us very well.
You played Whelan's in Dublin when you supported The Wedding Present last year, didn't you? How did you find playing Ireland as an experience?
We REALLY liked Ireland. It's a place we'd never traveled to before, and it was just so welcoming and nice. All the people were so supportive and cool and would take us out for drinks after the shows. We definitely want to come back!
Are you planning to play Ireland again anytime soon?
I'd really like to, but i don't think we'll have any Irish dates for a while.
How did the tour with The Wedding Present come about? How was it?
We were pretty flattered that we got asked to support them, it was super amazing to be able to tour with such a deservedly legendary band. I have no rock'n'roll antics to report - they were very down to earth, kind and dedicated to what they do. They had no shortage of good songs to choose from in their set. It was a great time all around. Their fans were amazing too.
Your debut album has garnered a lot of critical praise. Did this come as a surprise to you?
Yes, it was definitely quite the surprise. Most of the bands we loved growing up were never all that well known-- it was a shock that anyone besides a handful of people were into this kind of music. We're pretty grateful for that, and realize it's kind of illogical - but awesome.
Has the 'buzz' around the band affected anyone in the band yet? How have you handled it?
Haha, no. I really haven't noticed anything weird or different - our VH1 Behind the Music episode is going to be pretty boring.
You are currently touring the debut album in North America. How has your tour gone so far?
We've done a about 6 week of touring in the US this year up to now, but we have our first month long national tour this September. America is huge, and we're playing 30 more dates and still not going everywhere. We're really excited about it, though Arizona and Texas can be pretty hot in the summer time... I guess we'll have to eat a lot of ice cream. My grandma, realizing this, got the band some Dairy Queen gift cards. Basically, my Grandma rules a lot!!!
What does the rest of 2009 have in store for The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart?
We have a national US tour to support the release of our new EP, Higher Than the Stars. Then we're coming back to Spain, France, England and Scotland for a few more dates in November and December. When that's all through we'll start working on our next album, which we're all really looking forward to.