Manchester foursome PINS have created something very special for themselves, almost like their own little scene with their undeniable sassiness, thundering drums, searing guitars, rioting vocal turns and pounding post-punk sound. After astounding critics and the public alike with début album, “Girls Like Us” last year and rallying the world over to play at some of the music industry’s most prestigious festivals, they are now ready to start work on their forthcoming second record.
We managed to grab a rare moment of the band’s spare time to chat with vocalist and guitarist Faith Holgate, and guitarist Lois MacDonald before they head out for a summer filled with festivals and music making.
You played SXSW in Texas this year and you’ve just come off playing a few shows with Crocodiles in Europe. How does it feel to be able to take your music worldwide and tour the globe?
Faith: “It’s always surprising and flattering to go anywhere and have people know our songs, sometimes we’ll play a show really far away and someone will come over after the show holding a copy of the gold ‘Eleventh Hour/Shoot You’ tape…it was our first release and they were so limited and we were so unknown and I’m like wtf, how did you get that here?! It’s funny to think of those little gold cassette tapes floating around the globe.”
I hear that you’re currently demoing for your second LP, how are the tracks sounding? Do you have a mission statement for the album or is it too early to tell?
Faith: “We never really stopped writing, we’re getting the songs together for the next record, some were written straight after Girls Like Us came out and some are brand new, some are still half written! We’re not in a rush to finalise any of it. I’m not sure about a mission statement, I feel more attached to the songs we are working on at the moment, like, emotionally attached. Lyrically, Girls like Us was quite tongue-in-cheek, but, I feel more serious now, maybe I’ve grown up.”
Lois: “I think we’re hoping to try and expand a bit on what we already sound like as a band, releasing Girls like us helped us find our feet and we’re more confident musicians now, to say, a year ago. We’ve been touring more and spending time with other great bands and you learn a lot.”
How important do you feel a band’s image is nowadays?
Faith: “I don’t think it’s important at all, image is a fun thing to play with but that’s about it.”
Lois: “For us, any image we have isn’t separate to the people we are. We still design everything ourselves and are always trying ideas out, cos we enjoy it.”
Now you’ve had time to experience the delights that have come from releasing your début album “Girls Like Us”, how do you feel about it now looking back on it?
Faith: “I have so many good memories attached to the making of that record. It documents where we were at as a band…y’know we got a new drummer in a month before we went to record and we only had 1 week to record and mix the whole thing, it was all so urgent.”
Lois: “I feel so proud of it. Having songs that you wrote pressed on vinyl is an amazing feeling, it’s at home on the shelf with some of my favourite artists. At the time we really worked together to make it sound how we wanted, and it was a totally new experience for us being in a studio like that – we had to really push ourselves.”
Do you feel that Manchester’s punk rock legacy in anyway inspired the band?
Faith: “I guess it’s cool how we drink in the same haunts as Mark E Smith but aside from that sort of thing I’m not sure Manchester heritage has inspired us that much.”
Lois: “I don’t think I was very aware of the depth of Manchester based music when I joined the band, but as I’ve spent more and more time listening to music since – I can see where the comparisons come from, and if anything it’s inspiring me more now than at the beginning.
For me now I can’t really separate a band like Joy Division from the feeling of being in Manchester, like when Steve Coogan plays Atmosphere in ‘The Trip’ driving towards the Lake District, it seems like the perfect place to listen to it. Maybe I’m being too sentimental though.”
When did you first start getting into music, and which artists/records were the important ones for you?
Faith: “The first tangible bit of music I owned was a cassette tape that a friend at school made for me, it had Michael Jackson on one side and Madonna on the other. After that it wasn’t until I was about 13, I started to discover punk rock grunge and riot grrrl, I did the whole cut up my clothes and cut off my hair thing. Then as a late teen I was a total indie girl…Strokes and Libertines! It’s so cliche to tell you how into my parents music I was but, my Dad has a good collection, I didn’t think it as a kid…but now I’m glad I got to hear Elvis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash when I was growing up.”
Lois: “I remember the first time I found someone who liked the same music as me at school, my friend Rebecca – and we did a Nirvana Nevermind, and Green Day Dookie CD swap. We became best friends on that day, and spent most of our time burning CD’s of music we liked for each other. She bought me a bashed up guitar so we could start a band, and that’s when I started to play.”
What makes PINS so refreshing as a band is that it’s all about girl power, you carry a strong sense of self and I think that’s great. Do you ever wonder what the band would’ve been like if there were guy’s in the mix?
Faith: “I feel empowered but I would if we had boys in the band too, maybe in the future we will have boys, who knows. To me PINS isn’t a gender, sexuality, age, whatever thing…it’s just the platform I chose to express myself and keep myself sane. I don’t want to come across like I think women are better than men or anything like that, it’s all about peace, love and equal rights.”
You recently let loose a double music video for “Shoot You” and “Eleventh Hour”, to me that’s a brand new idea. What was your thinking behind the concept and how did working with Maxine Peake come about?
Faith: “We are all Maxine Peake fans and it was literally a case of tracking her down and asking her if she would consider being involved in our music video. She said yes and a few days later we recorded her reading out the poem. When I heard her voice reading it, it took my breath away, she is SO good and was so perfect for that. The double music video stemmed from the idea of short films and incorporating them with music, it’s something we are still exploring.”
Lois: “Maxine has her own music project too that we were aware of (The Eccentronic Research Council). Her voice sounds fantastic and she uses some spoken word in that too.”
A special thanks to PINS for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below: