Manchester, so much to answer for. It may have been a while since Manchester could be considered the epicentre of UK new music movements but the less the city has been covered (thanks also to having got rid of certain few populist bands), the more awkward and interesting the sounds have become. There’s something approachable yet sinister at the core of the best Manchester acts and female four-piece PINS honourably joins those ranks. Formed just over a year ago, singer/guitarist Faith Holgate, guitarist Lois Macdonald, bassist Anna Donigan and drummer Lara Williams started to impress the live circuit by washing away their catchy pop melodies in dramatic echo and powerful noise. It’s no wonder that their debut single release (Eleventh Hour/Shoot You) – released on a gold cassette – sold out in days.
Wait, it gets better. As their dark and hypnotic sounds put them at the front of a new edgy take on garage and post-punk with touring mates Savages, Cocteau Twin and Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde was quietly taking notes, eventually offering the band to release the new e.p., “LuvU4Lyf”, a subtler yet more brooding affair.
We reached them just before their last shows of the year to talk about their past, their hometown and whispering about boys.
How did the band come about?
Faith: I was desperate to put a band together so I started to try out for bands who were looking for a guitar player but never found anything that interested me so I started to actively search out band members myself, I met up with a bunch of people but nothing really worked, when it didn’t feel right I just fucked it off. It took a long time to get it all together, I met the other PINS through mutual friends but it took maybe like 8 months to get the complete line up with we have now.
What music (or other, be it movies, artists) has influenced you?
Faith: I listen to music constantly and I love watching live music, I am forever inspired by that. Lyrically I often turn to poetry or old love letters or diary entries. I like reading Patti Smith poems and Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison.
Lara: I guess we Pins listen to some pretty disparate music. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Gal Costa, Rodriguez & Das Racist. I think the latter might have informed writing some more recent drum parts.
Lois: I think musically we all look to different places for inspiration, which makes it fun when we’re writing new stuff. I think my tastes have broadened a lot since playing in PINS. Nina Simone has always been in my heart though.
You released your first single setting your own label, Haus of Pins, and releasing it only on cassette. You definitely didn’t make things easy, did you?
Faith: We did that because we wanted to put out the two songs that we had recorded so we just thought “ok,. lets do it ourselves instead of involving anybody else”. We would have done vinyl if we had been able to afford it. We had compete freedom with the release and that’s something that we all feel is necessary with this band.
You have been described as the most Brooklyn band to ever come out of Manchester. Would you agree? And if so, do you feel Dum Dum Girls or Crystal Stilts as your musical next of kin?
Faith: I think that’s a meaningless comment, I don’t really understand it but I do love Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls.
Lois: If I could live anywhere else except Manchester, it’d be New York so I guess I’d see that as a compliment.
At the same time, in Uk there seems to be a return to obscure, rawer sounds (2:54 and Savages come to mind), like a fertile ground which every few years or so remind us of a darker alternative. What do you think?
Faith: I think that music can be cyclical if that is what you mean, it’s really hard to say what is coming out of the UK because there are so many bands and so much going on, I’m not sure if there is a return of rawer sounds or if some bands are just surfacing more than others. I think the time we are in right now is good for music, everyone is just doing it themselves and the internet makes i easy to access any music that you want to and to put out any music that you want to.
How did the signing to Bella Union happen? Would you like to tell us more about the new e.p. “LUVU4LYF”?
Faith: Simon from Bella Union came to see us play at this place called the Fuhrer Bunker in Salford a few months ago and then we met up with him in London when we played down there, he offered to put our record out and we liked him so we’re seeing how it goes. If you listen close enough to the “LuvU4Lyf “ recordings you can here us whispering in the background about boys.
What is great about Manchester right now?
Faith: It’s grey and fucking miserable most of the time but it has the best music, I love Brown Brogues, Feel Right, Great Waves, Money, etc.
Lara: Manchester feels like the natural home for Pins, however, there seems to be this compulsion to pigeon hole bands from Manchester into either being directly influenced by Joy Division, The Smiths, etc…or to be an antidote to it – and we don’t feel like we’re either.
Lois: Everything. Especially the rain.
The LUVU4LYF e.p. is out now on limited 10″ gold glitter vinyl in conjunction with Bella Union