by / April 17th, 2009 /

The Big Pink interview

Ahead of their debut Dublin date this Saturday in Crawdaddy, a placing in the BBC Sound of 2009 poll and a deal with 4AD, The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell are ready to dish out their mix of soaring electronics and droning shoegazing guitars to the public. State taled to Milo about Merok, the influential indie “punk” label he runs, industrial music, shoegazing, Robert Smith, Mary J. Blige and phallic monikers.

You started out doing aggressive industrial music, how different was that to now?
It shares a similar territory – maybe not quite as aggressive , but there is definitely some of that aggression in us. Instead of making white noise, I guess now we are more experimental with noise and we have embraced psychedelia alot more .. there is definitely a trippy aspect to what we do.

How did you make the transition from there to being signed to 4AD?
It came pretty naturally. We didnt think about – we weren’t really transcending to anything .. We weren’t thinking about being or getting signed when we started, I guess it’s been more of a transaction actually being signed, because we have a lot of ambition and we wanna make the most aggressive and psychedelic music but utlimately wanna be a popular band, and I guess we have a pop element.

Tell me about Merok, the label you started (which released formative records from Esser, Rainbow Arabia, Titus Andronicus, Salem, Telepathe and Crystal Castles)?
Merok is a label I started in 2005 after seeing The Klaxons play and I’ve continued to put out music that I like. I guess its a personality label , I just put out music that I like myself, no thoughts of sales or anything like that. I guess I wanted it to be a punk label. It has a total punk aesthetic. I want it to be aspiring to kids making music in their bedrooms at home to know that they can be making music in their room in Chicago (like a band i signed called Salem ) and it can get released in the UK without even meeting each other or them even playing a show.

What are your biggest musical influences?
Soul music. Otis Redding. Industrial music. Skinny Puppy. Hip-hop. Timbaland.

Your videos and Myspace page reference a 60s movie imagery aesthetic but your music has a forward thinking edge to it, how do you reconcile the past with the future? You obviously draw influence from the past..
The images on the Myspace page are kinda just a collection of abstractness. We wanted to create a dreamlike experience when you logged onto the page. I hope the pictures visually represent our music, they are a collection of images taken from various films and photographers that we admire.

The name of the band is taken from The Band’s album or at least references it. Were you fans of the album? As band name meanings are wont to morph into something else entirely over time, what does The Big Pink mean to you when you think of it now?
It’s definitely lifted/borrowed/stolen from that album. Robbie is a huge fan. It’s kinda phallic which we liked! I think now the name represents love. I hope everyone that hears the name thinks of love.

What do you think about the proliferation of shoegazing referencing acts at the moment like School of Seven Bells, Maps, Deerhunter? Why do you think shoegaze has converged again and are you fans of the original period?
I really like Deerhunter and School of Seven Bells but I don’t really think of them as shoegaze. I like a lot of the original shoegaze stuff, like Slowdive and MBV. But for me apart from MBV shoegaze lacked balls, I almost prefer some of the American stuff like Dinosaur Jr. and Smashing Pumpkins it’s so powerful and has huge choruses.

Can you explain the process you go through while songwriting?
It’s a pretty experimental process to begin with, maybe somewhere between creating a soundscape and writing a hip-hop record. We start by with a synth or guitar and put through lots of pedals to create a huge noise, mutating it along the way. We do this for about 10-15 minutes. Then listen back, chop bits up, loop and build and layer all these sounds on top of each other. That’s how we build a kinda wall of noise. Then we make a beat then main guitars and bass and vocal melodies ..

Your cover of The Cure’s Love Song is a successful and quite radical interpretation of the original. Are you big Cure fans? Why did you decide to cover it?

Yeah Apprently Robert Smith likes it. He gave that song to his wife as her wedding present. It’s meant to be a joyful song. I think we definitely and consciously made it a heartbreak song. I think he liked that.

Ideally where would you like the band to be at a year from now? and realistically?
In a giant pink jet which we just bought off Mary J. Blige , giving The Killers a ride to the next festival. We play together.

What was the last thing by a new artist you heard that blew you away?
The new Horrors album.

The Big Pink play Crawdaddy, Dublin on Saturday the 18th of April with support from A Grave With No Name. Tickets €12 (inc. booking fee) available from Ticketmaster, City Discs, Sound Cellar and usual outlets.