Interview: Pinkish Black
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Pinkish Black’s self-titled debut, out now on Handmade Birds [Editor’s note: And completely sold out], is yet another entry in the label’s roster of compelling bands that share common ground with metal – maybe even dabbling in the dark arts – but which ultimately choose to reject the concept of genre entirely. Yet, unlike many of their Handmade compatriots, they also rock pretty fucking hard.
Taking cues from no-wave, stoner metal, and too many other scenes to mention, the duo – Daron Beck and Jon Teague, who previously worked together in The Great Tyrant – have created a sound so big that you can’t believe that it mostly comes from just a drum set and a bass guitar. Unlike a lot of genre-smashers, however, Pinkish Black never feel like they’re marking off band names on a checklist, and their exact formula remains just out of listeners’ comprehension.
And when they start bringing out the riffs, well, they might not quite fit inside a stadium, but they'd do very well in some old gilded theatre, rotting and decaying after years of neglect. We caught up with Jon and Daron to get some insight into how they put together their compelling début.
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So I guess the best place to start is with the album. It actually does feel like an album in the truest sense of the word, and it didn't really resonate with me until I listened to it all the way through. Do you guys conceive of the album in that way, as a whole instead of parts?
Daron Beck: We kept in mind side A and side B while ordering the songs. I think we knew how we wanted it to end going into it. It's not like a concept album or anything, but it was made knowing there would be two sides, a beginning, a middle and an end. The subject matter is pretty constant, throughout.
Can you tell me more about its general subject matter, or lyrical theme?
I think loss is a pretty constant theme there. It's pretty specific song to song. Rising and falling. Building and destroying. I prefer to let the listener interpret it however they want.
Well, for me, the first half definitely has more of a groove, and then everything sort of collapses at some point in "Tell Her I'm Dead" and it gets a lot darker. There are also so many ideas from so many different genres throughout, but you never draw attention to it, making it all surprisingly natural. How much of that is active and how much of it is just the result of simply your tastes? Do you even align Pinkish Black with any genre in particular?
Jon Teague: I don't think we consciously try to cram several different styles into songs. We both have quite varied taste in music, and may be inspired by something in particular at the time. Naturally, this can cause some variances in songwriting.
Thankfully, this is a project that allows us to explore our interests in many different genres without the necessity of alignment.
Do you remember what you were listening to around the time you were putting together the album?
DB: This whole process has been two years in the making. I have no idea how to answer that question.
Did you guys self-record? The production suits the music very well.
Thanks! We recorded at the Echo Lab in Argyle, Texas, with Matt Barnhart. We've worked with Matt as our engineer for years, and have been recording at the Echo Lab since its inception in the ’90s. We're always pleased with the sound we get from the studio, and from Matt. James Plotkin did a great job on the mastering, as well.
So given the fact that you two have been working together for a while now, in Yeti and The Great Tyrant and maybe others too, and you're working with a lot of the same dudes, do you feel a sense of continuity from your previous projects? I'd imagine the comfort level between everyone is pretty high.
Actually, Great Tyrant was the first band we were in together, aside from one Halloween show. Jon was in Yeti when I was in Pointy Shoe Factory, and our bands would play shows together all the time. When I heard Yeti was breaking up, I approached Jon about forming Great Tyrant. We played a few months as a two-piece, and then got Tommy, also from Yeti, to join.
What's the scene like in Fort Worth? Do you guys play with a lot of metal bands?
JT: We are usually lucky enough to be playing with friends’ bands. Sometimes they are metal bands. Fort Worth has always had a pretty interesting mix of bands, of all different styles. We all just like to play together.
Do you always perform as a two-piece? The keyboard/synth and drum duo doesn't get rocked too often, but from the videos I've seen you manage to make it pretty heavy.
DB: It works very well with just two people.
Are you planning on touring?
DB: We'd love to. Nothing booked yet. We do our own booking and we don't have many out-of-town connections for getting shows.
Is there anything else you guys are planning in the near future?
Hoping to tour, planning to record the second LP in the winter. Possibly putting out the final Great Tyrant EP sometime this year.
HEAR PINKISH BLACK
Pinkish Black - "Everything Went Dark"
Pinkish Black - "Fall Down"