Pinkshinyultrablast – ‘Everything Else Matters’

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Pinkshinyultrablast have delivered their debut LP ‘Everything Else Matters’ featuring the singles ‘Umi’ and ‘Holy Forest’. Following our chat last month, it’s time to take a closer look at the album (streaming via Noisey). On first listen, I was surprised by the album. After all, the lead singles showcase Pinkshiny’s angelic dream pop melodies and the beauty of Lyubov’s voice. The rest of ‘Everything Else Matters’ is another beast entirely, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s got depth, a lot of ground is covered in just eight songs.

Opener ‘Wish We Were’ gets the LP off to a progressive start, a seven minute epic that begins with ambient anticipation before transitioning to a post punk gallop. After repeated listens, it becomes clear that the more abstract, less structured songs are amongst the strongest. They divide the more “traditional” pop songs up, sitting at track 1, 4 (‘Metamorphosis’) and 8 (‘Marigold’). And wow, ‘Marigold’ is the knock out punch, an ambitious and stunning track with cinematic scope. It’s final moments ring out for minutes, a perfect end.

The collaborative approach Pinkyshinyultrablast take with their songs gives each song a complexity. It’s hard to predict, and certainly doesn’t fit neatly into any genre. I’m just glad they were happy to turn up the reverb, it sounds big! If you’ve read this far, I doubt you need convincing. ‘Everything Else Matters’ is a fantastic record and a brilliant start to 2015. Highly recommended. Pick it up via Club AC30 (UK), Shelflife (USA) or Vinyl Junkie (Japan).

Visit Pinkshinyultrablast @ Soundcloud @ Instagram @ Facebook.

Pinkshinyultrablast - 'Everything Else Matters'
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Pinkshinyultrablast Discuss Debut LP, Saint Petersburg & Thunder Pop!

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Five years after the release of their debut EP, Russian five piece Pinkshinyultrablast are ready to deliver their first full length ‘Everything Else Matters‘! The band sat down for an interview ahead of it’s release next month to discuss the songwriting process, their native Russia, Strymon FX pedals and the inspiration that Nicki Minaj brings! A thankyou to bassist Igor, singer Lyubov, drummer Sergey, electronic wiz Rustam and guitarist Roman.

First off, I love your single ‘Umi’ – definitely one of my favorite dream pop tunes of the year! Lyubov’s vocals sound amazing. What was the inspiration for the song?

Thanks so much! It’s a tough question to answer. There are definitely songs on the album that somehow descend from one or the other particular musical inspiration that we, ourselves, can track down. ‘Umi’ is not really the case. We had a question in one of our previous interviews whether we chase after a song, or let it chase us. I think ‘Umi’ really is the latter, it’s one of the songs we had very little struggle with, where the melody appeared naturally and with ease, and without any particular source of inspiration. Maybe it requires a bit more distance though, to find references. Music critics and listeners would probably be better judges than us here.

What’s the Pinkshinyultrablast creation story? How did the band first form?

Well, I guess it just kind of happened at some point. We were all kids, freshmen to senior years of college, living on the same block, hanging together, all friends. We realized we each really wanted to make music, our future drummer and bassist already being involved in a project at the time, wanting to do something different though. So we figured, why not give it a shot? We found a space and began to practice regularly. In terms of how much we practiced, our band has always been a noticeable commitment to each one of us. Over the years, the initial structure of the band has transformed, as it often happens with bands. Now it’s the five of us.

Rewinding back for a moment, were you surprised how well your debut EP ‘Happy Songs For Happy Zombies’ was received internationally? There’s a lot of love for those songs.

We’re definitely surprised! We weren’t really expecting anything much, just recorded whatever it was we had on our hands and felt like at the moment. The whole process took up three days, we kept it pretty lo-fi. It was important for us to have the EP released somewhere outside Russia, since we knew it didn’t have much potential here.

You must be excited to finally release your debut album ‘Everything Else Matters’- congratulations! What went into making the record? Has it really been five years?

For sure, we’re really excited! It took so long! In part because for quite a while we lived in different places, in part since we haven’t always had enough money for the studio, the sound engineer and all that involves more or less a decent recording. These factors delayed the whole process by a lot. Over the course of the years certain things have transformed and only recently took their final form, so, in a way, the music only benefited from the delay. We don’t really regret anything.

Was it a collaborative writing process? Or has Pinkshinyultrablast got a chief songwriter!?

Always a collaboration. One of us can pitch an idea for a song, but it then would always be reviewed collectively. Making songs is a multi-step process for us, with first the carcass of a song taking form – bass, drums and guitar, then vocals and keyboards taking up their places. The final version of a song can differ from the initial draft quite drastically, and it’s always a matter of some collective consequent decisions.

It’s an extremely dynamic record, with spacious dream pop songs as well as explosive, aggressive rock songs. Was it a conscious decision to cover a lot of ground stylistically?

Well, it’s hard to tell, it’s just that the songs turned out being quite diverse from the very beginning. We did want to move away from the stylistic solidity of our first EP though. At the same time, during the final stage of working on the LP, we were trying to make the record become somewhat more wholesome. It was great to had been able to play dream pop during the times of our first EP, but at a certain point, while working on this album, we realized we don’t want to limit ourselves to only the means of shoegaze. In short, we’ve always wanted to play pop music with an explosive character, that is, what we call it, “thunder pop”.

How did you end up partnering with Club AC30 (a London-based label) for the new album?

We emailed Robin from Club AC30, wondering if he would be, by any chance, interested in working with us, since we had some new material ready. We weren’t hoping for much, since we aren’t really known, and lots of labels often don’t even respond to these kinds of emails. To our surprise though, not only Robin responded, but said they knew who we were and would be interested in checking out the stuff we’ve got. And then we just wound up being signed.

What are your most loved pieces of gear?

At some point each of us (except the drummer *laughs*) has become loyal to Strymon FX pedals. The five of us have a bunch of Big Skies, a Timeline and an El Capistan. While mixing, we used all those to work on spacial sound processing, plus an Eventide reverb. We aren’t really gear geeks though. We like effects, but don’t actually use that many different ones. We just like to have our melodies immersed in reverb. By the way, speaking of reverb, we used almost no digital processing for the drums when making the record – live room, hall, or even church. We are planning on keeping it that way in the future.

You’ve said previously that the Saint Petersburg music scene isn’t very inspiring. Can you elaborate a little on how the city affects the band creatively?

It definitely is a bizarre place – a bit of solid mystical dybbuky feel from Gogol, a bit of creepy bloody background from Dostoyevsky. It has a distinct sense of decay and former splendor. It’s a small place, where (geographically) everything is within reach, and young people mostly know each other. The pace of life here is slow and summers feel long. Maybe it’s the simultaneous sense of a dead end and, strangely enough, room to make new things, the ambiguity of being on the margin, and not in the center of the global scene. As much as we sometimes feel isolated from the global musical scene, we also get a sense of inner freedom from its judgments and structures, which, in turn, probably enables us to explore more.

Russia produces some great shoegaze and dream pop bands. I’m thinking of Aerofall, Motorama, Sounds Of Sputnik and Lava Lite! Any reason for that? The weather perhaps!?

Perhaps the weather indeed, to which the occasional feeling of absolute reclusion and isolation must be adding up. But also, these bands are more of an exception, than a rule.

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If you could assemble a fantasy band – who would be in it?

Here’s one from Igor (our bass player):

Vocals – Udo Dirkschneider

Guitar – Ricthie Blackmore

Guitar – Kirk Hammett

Bass – Marcus Miller

Drums – Tico “The Hit Man” Torres

You’re obviously fans of Astrobrite, taking your name from his 2002 LP ‘Pinkshinyultrablast’. What are your biggest musical influences?

Among those would be Stereolab, Landing, Stars of the Lid, Cocteau Twins, Steve Reich and Astrobrite indeed. Sonic Coaster Pop, Coalter of the Deepers,Windy and Carl, Ponytail, Pterodactyl and Pre should be mentioned here. There are so many more though. In fact, pretty much anything we like and listen to has a certain amount of influence on us, be it 90s Hip-Hop or Death Metal.

What are your top records of the year so far?

R.: This year I was quite impressed by several records: Snowmine’s ‘Dialects’, the Fresh and Onlys ‘House of Spirits’ and I thought Wye Oak had a pretty cool album ‘Shriek’. These are the ones that first come to mind. I was really waiting for the YOB new album, which actually turned out to be slightly disappointing.   

I.: Wye Oak – ‘Shriek’; Todd Terje – ‘It`s Album Time’; Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – ‘Soused’;  A Winged Victory for the Sullen – ‘Atomos’.

L.: Oh, I’m mainly just waiting for the new Nicki Minaj album, which comes out in a few days.

What’s next for Pinkshinyultrablast? Is an overseas tour on the cards?

We wouldn’t really want to give premature promises and talk about things that are yet too abstract. We’re trying to put things together, and will be informing everybody as things actually do come up. But hey, keep an eye on the updates! 🙂

Will do. Thanks for the interview Pinkshinys! 

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***Pinkshinyultrablast’s ‘Everything Else Matters’ LP is available from January 26 through Club AC30(UK), Shelflife (USA) or Vinyl Junkie (Japan)***

Visit Pinkshinyultrablast @ Soundcloud @ Instagram @ Facebook.

Pretty Sad – ‘Pretty Sad’ EP

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Shelflife Records have discovered a gem in their latest signing Pretty Sad. The collective “are scattered all throughout Europe (Scotland, Denmark and the UK) and exchange music and song ideas with the help of Garageband and Dropbox.” The trio (Victoria, Maxim and Luke) produce twee, lo-fi dream pop that’s easy to fall for! Pretty Sad’s full length is expected next year, in the meantime, pickup the three tracker digitally here.

 
Pretty Sad – ‘Pretty Sad’ [EP Stream]

Visit Pretty Sad @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.

The Hobbes Fanclub – ‘Stay Gold’

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The Hobbes Fanclub deliver their debut album ‘Up At Lagrange’ next week! Grab it from August 19 via Shelflife Records featuring the reverb rocker ‘Stay Gold’. Singer and guitarist Leon Carroll founded the group back in 2008 before expanding to a trio for the 7inch release of ‘Your Doubting Heart’. The British band capitalize on catchy guy/girl vocals with a dreamy indie pop feel – perfect for fans of Teenage Fanclub and Veronica Falls.

 
The Hobbes Fanclub – ‘Stay Gold’

Visit The Hobbes Fanclub @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.

Flyying Colours Talk New Album, Shoegaze & Bowie

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Early in 2013 we got our first taste of Flyying Colours with the single ‘Wavygravy’. A precursor to the tone bending, whammy riding rock to come! Fans of Ride, Pale Saints, MBV or Swervedriver are already all over this band. The four piece come from a growing Melbourne psych/shoegaze scene, that includes contemporaries Miniatures, Lunaire, White Caves, Luna Ghost, Sunbeam Sound Machine and Lowtide. Fresh from the release of their debut EP, Flyying Colours chat to SBWR about and their beginnings, influences and future album plans.

 

Just last month your debut EP was released in the UK and US on Club AC30 / Shelflife – congrats! What’s the response been like so far?

It has been great! Our disc isn’t available O/S so it’s been fantastic for the EP to be available for everyone who has been asking for it. A lot of people have also been asking about a vinyl release here in Australia so it will be great to have it available here too.

 

What went into creating the EP? Had these songs been floating about for awhile or was it a quick studio visit?

The EP was our first release so the whole idea had been around for a little while. The songs have existed in various forms for a few years and we had several demo versions of most of the tracks before heading in to the studio.

 

Sydney has created a “Live Music Taskforce” to try and save the dwindling live scene. How’s the Melbourne live circuit? A little healthier?

Some days it feels like everyone I meet is in a band, which is great. The scene here in Melbourne is very strong and I can only see it getting stronger.

 

How important has it been to get local radio airplay? Triple J for example, as opposed to looking internationally?

I could probably count the number of times we have been played on JJJ on my fingers and toes, whereas in the UK we are being played on BBC6 quite a bit, so I have no idea! We love indie radio so it has been so great to be well received there.

 

How did Flyying Colours first form?

At the end of 2011 we had our first jams with this band in mind. We have all known each other most of our lives now, and have been playing together since high school so it was just a matter of us all being in Melbourne at the same time and being able to get it together.

 

 

Most new bands are quick to stream their music online but other than ‘Wavygravy’ you’ve opted against that. Has that been a conscious decision?

Not so much conscious, it has just happened that way. Wavygravy was our first single so naturally we uploaded that straight away. The EP is now available in so many ways (CD, vinyl, download, YouTube) we haven’t thought too much more about it.

 

Speaking of ‘Wavygravy’ – what’s the song about? I’m guessing it’s more of a love song than a reference to the activist Hugh (Wavy Gravy) Romney?

It isn’t a love song, and it is more of a reference to character than the individual I guess.

 

How do you feel about the ‘shoegaze’ tag? Some bands actively avoid it, in fear that it attaches a negative stigma.

That is essentially what we are, and many other things as well. I will never shy away from it because as a song writer that’s what I identify with. Or at least that’s what happens I think.

 

A number of reviewers compared Flyying Colours to Swervedriver, Ride, MBV – do you think that’s accurate?

When we started Flyying Colours we called ourselves a shoegaze band so I guess its great to be compared to such amazing bands.

 

Given that there aren’t an abundance of psych/shoegaze bands (especially in Australia) do you think that makes you stand out?

Well, in our scene in Melbourne there is no shortage of psych/shoegaze bands! We certainly don’t stare at our shoes when we play, maybe that’s it.

 

What are some of your biggest musical influences?

All of us literally listen to anything and everything. Our influences are listed as MBV and Fleetwood Mac, and that really says it. Everything within, without and in-between. The biggest for me are probably Nirvana, Sonic Youth and MBV.

 

In terms of amps, pedals and guitars – what’s your favourite bits of kit!?

Fender guitars and amplifiers, and I use an overdrive made by Australian dudes Aphek that I can never imagine life without.

 

How does the song writing process come about? Is it a collaboration or a dictatorship!?

Its a very natural collaboration, we just play through our songs and everything comes together.

 

What are you listening to at the moment? Do you have any recommendations for SBWR readers?

Everyone should check out our friends in Melbourne Warmth Crashes In, Villainettes and Strangers From Now On, they are all unbelievable and all have new music coming out.

 

 
What are your debut album plans? Will it be an extension of the EP or a new direction for the band? P.S. please don’t make it sound like Tame Impala (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

We are definitely looking to extend on the EP. We were very happy with the way it came out and the way we recorded it so we would definitely like to go back and make a full length album with Woody.

 

How have you prepared for hitting the studio? Are all of the songs already written?

Everything for the album is essentially written, we have been doing some pre-production on some new tracks that haven’t been played live which has been exciting. I find when it comes to recording though that everything is subject to change.

 

When can we expect the album to be released?

Hopefully before the end of the year!

 

Is Melbourne going to remain home base for Flyying Colours? Do you have any plans for international domination!?

We are definitely getting ready to tour overseas, I can’t say we would be moving away from Australia though.

 

Lastly, if you could work with one musician/producer (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Bowie. I don’t know how, what or why, but it would have to be Bowie.

 

ED* Nice choice.

 
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Thanks for the interview Flyying Colours – Pick up the EP @ iTunes (AUS) @ Club AC30 (UK) @ Shelflife (US).

Flyying Colours EP On Vinyl

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Aussie outfit Flyying Colours released their self-titled EP digitally last year, it ended up being one of the best shoegaze EP’s of 2013. While the Melbourne-based quartet work on their first full length, the EP is being released on limited run 180 gram vinyl by two great labels. In the UK, 250 copies on blue vinyl via Club AC30 (March 10). In the USA, 250 copies on black grape vinyl via Shelflife Records (March 11).

 
Flyying Colours – ‘Wavygravy’ [VIDEO]

Flyying Colours online @ Facebook.