Indietracks interview #11: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Okay, hot on the heels of Wednesday’s new additions to the line-up, we’re now thrilled to bring you an interview with Indietracks’ Sunday night headliners, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart!

Since forming in early 2007, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart have become one of the most talked about pop bands in years. The New York band’s eponymous 2009 album is an instant classic, packed with brilliantly-executed pop gems that blend the rush of youthful enthusiasm with crafty arrangements, well-honed tunes and buckets of guitar noise. A host of publications and bloggers listed their album as one of the best of last year, including Pitchfork and Rough Trade. Kip from the band has joined us for today’s interview.

Hi Kip, it seems like you’ve been touring forever – two tours of Europe, and a tour of Asia, Australia and New Zealand earlier this year. Do you get to go home much? Do you get really homesick and how on earth do you do all your laundry?!

To me, playing music, seeing new places and meeting new people are the best things ever. I’d be sad If I didn’t get to do those things, so I never feel down about having a surplus of that in my life. The only hard part is not being able to stay in any one place that long – but the nice thing is, we usually get to come back so saying good bye never feels so permanent.

You’ve talked before about your admiration for both British indiepop and, going back, shoegaze bands. How does the UK/Europe indiepop scene compare to America, and do you feel more “appreciated” in any one particular country?

I feel most appreciated at my mom’s house, which happens to be in America. Second, I’d say Marianthi and Christos’ house, which happens to be in London. I can think of a few more examples of extreme appreciation, which I greatly appreciate, but it’s hard to tally them up and say one is more than the other. As for how the scene’s compare, I think there’s always this wistful sense that, if I lived in London I could see Comet Gain, Male Bonding, Allo Darlin or Veronica Falls all the time. But just this last week I’ve seen Crystal Stilts, Babies, Knight School (twice), My Teenage Stride, German Measles and Big Troubles, all within walking distance of my house on warm summer nights here in Greenpoint. So yeah, I guess my thoughtful evaluation of the differences between the US and UK/EU music indie/indiepop scene is, “they’re both pretty cool in their own way.”

What attracted you to play Indietracks, and how do you think playing Indietracks differs to other festivals? Are there any particular bands at the festival that you’re looking forward to seeing?

Indietracks has attracted me as a fan since 2007. I remember just wanting to go each year, and that feeling increased each time our friends in England or Sweden or anywhere would tell us how they went and how much fun it was. The festival’s character seems totally in line with the kind of music I like most – sincere, impassioned pop. As an admirer of bands like Love is All, Allo Darlin, Blanche Hudson Weekend (ex Manhattan Love Suicides), Shrag, Veronica Falls and, amazngly enough, The Primitives and Pooh Sticks, getting to see them all will be a great time. Along with The Siren festival here in our hometown of New York, Indietracks is the show we feel the strongest desire at which to “not suck.”

Since the album you’ve released the Higher than the Stars EP, and you’re just about to release the Say No to Love single. When can we expect the new album, and can you say at the moment if it’s going to be moving in a new direction to the first record?

2011. I’m really excited about all the new songs we have, and I can’t wait until we get to go record them later this summer. It’s hard to say what it will sound like before we’ve even recorded a note, and it’s pretty awful when bands proclaim their own goodness. But we’ll probably play a couple new songs at Indietracks this year, which I’m looking forward to a lot.

Team Indietracks were at your very first UK gig at the Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon – and now you’ve been on Carson Daly! In particular, it seems like the last year has been amazing for you. If you had to describe the last year in three words, which ones would you use? And what do your families make of it all?!

1.”DREAM” 2. “TRUE” 3. “COME.” I feel like it’s amazing all our dreams about making truthful songs involving come references have happened like this. Just thinking about that Betsy Trotwood show in February 2008, which held 40 people and seeing the sign that said “Pop Show, Sold Out” our first time in London – we took pictures and were like, “our dreams are coming true.”

The cool thing is, we still hang out with a lot of the people that were at that show when we come over – Marianthi and Christos, the Pocketbooks people (Ian lent me his guitar that night), I’m pretty sure Trev and Tom were there – Rocker too. It’s cool that even though a lot has changed in the two and a half years since that first London show, we’re still the kind of band that people that go to Indietracks want to see. It means a lot to me, and I hope it’s always that way.

We’re hoping for hot weather at this year’s festivals – have you got any tips for summer festival attire? We hear some of you have been a bit nervous about wearing shorts in the past… 🙂

I’ve successfully overcome such fears. I am now the proud owner of TWO pairs of shorts! I now focus my concerns on sunglasses, as I never want people to think, “Does he actually think he’s in the Jesus and Mary Chain?” But it’s really nice to wear sunglasses, so long as you don’t wear them while you’re on stage. Besides Manhattan Love Suicides and Crystal Stilts, there’s not any indiepop bands that can pull off wearing them while performing.

We’re lucky in that we get to put together our dream festival line-up every year. If you were to run a festival, which bands would you put on – and you can have anyone, regardless of whether they’ve split up/died!

Manhattan Love Suicides, Exploding Hearts, Titus Andronicus, Dear Nora, Belle and Sebastian, Black Tambourine, Suede, The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub… this is basically just going to turn into a list that exceeds your bandwidth limitations and gets you in trouble with your internet service provider, so I’ll stop.

And something that we ask all of our bands – what are you going to be listening to on your journey to Indietracks?

Hmm… It’s hard to anticipate the playlist in the van so far out, but for some reason Saint Etienne is one of the few bands that everyone always agrees is awesome.

Thanks Kip – can’t wait to see you at the festival!

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