SXSW 2014 Interviews: Pains of Being Pure at Heart
SXSW is just a month away, and we’re already getting rather antsy. We decided to try and squeeze in as much coverage of the many bands coming into town as we could, so we sent off a bunch of interview questions to bands we think you need to keep an eye on. Today, we bring you Kip from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, one of our favorite acts of the past 5 years, not to mention one of SXSW’s hardest working bands. Check it out for Kip’s responses…
ATH: There was a lot of hubbub last year concerning corporate sponsors and pay to play and what not at SXSW. As a band, what’s your reason for coming to play at the festival? What do you hope to get out of it?
Kip: I don’t know if the Yves Saint Laurent Winter 2013 model should be the first to throw stones about the intersection of art and commerce. And I think it’s fairly telling that the band that wrote another one of those screeds is still more known for that than any particular piece of music they’ve made since. Oh, and they’ll be back to play in 2014 (of course).
That “fuck your cake and eat it too” mentality is so juvenile. We come to SXSW because any chance we have to share our music with people, we try to do it.
ATH: For most SXSW sets, you get 30 minutes to leave a lasting impression. What’s your plan of attack? You have a set list mapped out yet?
Kip: Set lengths at SXSW should really be 7 minutes. Just play your 2 or 3 best songs, get off the stage and check out some other bands.
ATH: The festival caters to music fans, but food and booze are an important aspect of the fans and the bands. What’s your band’s food and beverage of choice?
Kip: Orange Juice.
ATH: There are tons of bands coming into town. Who would you ideally like to play with of the 1000s of bands gracing our city? Make your own optimal line-up.
Kip: How about Chairlift, Fear of Men, Titus Andronicus, Joanna Gruesome, Literature, Toro y Moi and Wild Nothing? I actually met Weekend a few years ago waiting in line for a sandwich and I think those guys are super good/underrated. Oh, and this Slumberland/Fortuna Pop band from London called Evans the Death can be incredible, though they generally are more into “not giving a shit.” So they’re kind of like this generation’s Comet Gain, but of course that’s a good thing.
ATH: We are partial to SXSW obviously, but what festival do you feel is the best around?
Kip: NYC Popfest (or any DIY indiepop festival – like the ones in Madrid, London, Indietracks and Athens, GA), Laneway Festival (you get to play in a bunch of different cities and the year we did it Girls, Cults, Twin Shadow, Toro y Moi, Geoffrey O’Connor were all there and it was incredibly inspiring and fun), Oya Festival and Fuji Rock.
ATH: Let’s say your band has been booked an official showcase at a pop up venue somewhere in the middle of 6th street. The lineup features thrash metal, hip-hop, spoken word, and you. The sound is horrible, the lineup is not your style, and the crowd seems angry at the world. How would your band deal with such a situation?
Kip: In the words of John Maus, “Do Your Best.”
ATH: What’s your favorite album to come out in the last year? What’s playing in the tour bus?
Kip: Fear of Men “Loom,” Joanna Gruesome ‘Weird Sister” and Kanye West’s “Yeezus.” I hate when bands that strum guitars and moan about their sad genitals cite Top 40 r&b and Steely Dan as influences, but in the case of “Yeezus,” I just admire that it was an album that embraced contradiction, eschewed pleasure and really made everyone take a side. No one didn’t have an opinion on that record, and that’s a tough thing to do nowadays. Plus, his performance of “Black Skinhead” on SNL just gave me that sense of awe and despair that everything I do with my life will never be as startlingly vivid as that moment.
ATH: The digital age is upon us, like it or not. What are your band’s thoughts on streaming services like spotify, pandora, etc.? Blow em all up? Or embrace the future?
Kip: However people want to hear our music, legally or illegally, is fine with me.
ATH: Day parties have replaced showcases for music discovery? Is the conference really completely upside-down?
Kip: The festival is a mess, but that mess allows for cool stuff to exist on the periphery without having to get “official” permission to exist. Obviously, if Garth Brooks is gonna play that has to be officially something or other, but for young bands just trying to get their music heard, it’s really good that there are all these outlets that don’t require approval. Plus, as they are usually free, it keeps most of the shows accessible and less prone to tumblr rants.
ATH: Flatstock is a crowd favorite. Have you ever been to browse? Find a print to buy? Find a print from one of your shows you didn’t know existing?
Kip: I haven’t gotten the opportunity, but the sad thing about posters is that they are very prone to getting destroyed in the van. There have been so many lovely tour posters people have made for us that we simply couldn’t take with us because they’d get destroyed. I should invest in a cardboard tube.
Thanks to Kip for taking the time to respond, and for Daniel G. for making it happen.