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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

02-24 14:33 Caijing
We talk to the New York indie pop act on their Shanghai debut

As the New York shoegaze revivalists make their debut in Shanghai, bassist Alex Naidus talks endless childhoods, rock 'n'roll lifestyles and crosswords.

On the band’s founding It was the beginning of 2007 when I met Kip, the singer and guitar player. We were working at a marketing company and we had cubicles right next to each other. We used to talk about music a lot and one day he just showed up with a band name, a MySpace page and demos. He was like, ‘I’m starting this band, you wanna play bass?’ I had never played bass before. We had a couple of practices where it was just me and him and an iPod on a machine, before Peggy joined. After a while, we were getting fed up with having an iPod, so we asked Kurt to play drums and he said ‘yes’ and it was immediately like 50 times better.

On their sound When we started, we wanted to include elements of music associated with handholding or riding bikes and endless childhood. But it’s not necessarily us; if you saw us you wouldn’t think we’re overgrown children – I hope not anyway – so we talked about having really sweet melodies but a direct style combined with darker or strange lyrics, or a feedback guitar part that undercuts that.

On being compared to The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine If we really expected to be as legendary as those bands, there might be some pressure, but our reaction is that we laugh a little bit given the circumstances in which we started the band. We weren’t not taking it seriously, but we had no grand aspirations of being legendary. It’s also very flattering because we really like those bands.

On touring We’re not very rock ’n’ roll people. We have fun, definitely, but there’s not a lot of groupies and drugs. There’s a lot of crosswords in the van. It’s almost meditative. We show up in a city, sound check, get a nap or something, get some food and play the show.

Jake Newby

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