Kip Berman

The love of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 | interviewZ, musiX | 1 Comment

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have been busy little buggers. Since the release of the New Yorkers’ first full-length in February, they’ve become one of the most talked about bands on these here Interwebs. Endless touring and press has made it a challenge for TDoL to snag an interview with TPoBPaH … to that I say OMG (!), WTF (?), BYOB (!) and WKRP (in Cincinnati).

Well, it finally happened—just as the band added new tour dates, including a stop here in Portland on July 23 at Backspace. I was giddy. I’ve been taken by the band’s rambunctious power-pop since hearing them a couple of months ago at Your New Favorite Song … not to mention TPoBPaH tugged at my heartstrings with a tune called “Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan.” The songs are bite-sized sugar-bombs of pure ear candy: Shiny, shiny hooks and cheery boy-girl vocals courtesy of guitarist Kip Berman and keyboardist Peggy Wang, sullied to perfection by a thin layer of crackling distortion. It’s the type of music that makes you feel like you can fly … although I don’t recommend trying such a thing.

TPoBPaH just released a 7-inch for “Young Adult Friction” on Slumberland, a song that would sound just as at home at a dance party as a dingy punk-rock hub. Impossible not to like. Te prometo.

So, without further ado—after two months of enduring the pains of being patient—The Days of Lore caught up with Kip Berman (who bares a striking resemblance to Jason Biggs) to discuss the state of the economy and the power of pop music.

TDoL: I interviewed JB Townsend last year, and he said that while he had read some great reviews of the Crystal Stilts, some of the references to influences were a bit lazy. How do you feel about being compared to other bands, and the comparisons that come from that?
Kip Berman: Just that anyone rates us along their favorites is super sweet. Plus, I hope people who like our music go back and discover the bands we draw a lot of inspiration from, as a bunch of those bands are pretty under-appreciated.

What might someone be surprised to find in your record collection?
Let me check … The Hunches Yes. No. Shut It. alongside Belle and Sebastian‘s This is Just a Modern Rock Song EP. Those records are probably eying each other suspiciously, though I love them both.

How have the songs changed since the band started?
I think the biggest change was when Kurt [Feldman] joined up on drums about a year and a half ago. Up until then, we relied on a drum machine which we programmed lazily with one of two possible drum beats.

If the band were to make a departure in its sound, which direction could you see it going?
It’s not a self-conscious “now let’s play doom metal” sort of thing, but more of wanting to always continue to get better and make pop music that we love. I feel that pop is so wonderfully broad a style of music that you could never ever get bored or fully exhaust it—it’s infinite.

Is it difficult to be in a band these days with state of the economy and the music industry?
The economic situation is pretty scary, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for “The Music Industry.” There’s so much great music coming out now that I find it hard to see how, as a fan, things are bad. Maybe Metallica is only making 20 million this year instead of 35? We’re just happy to have people be excited for our shows and come out and have fun. Getting to make music with your friends and getting to tour and meet new people is pretty much the best thing ever.

What’s your motto for being in a band?
“Peggy is always right.”

And motto for life?
Be excellent to each other … and party on, dudes!

“Come Saturday”The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

“Young Adult Friction”The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

“Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan”TPoBPaH (split 7-inch with Parallelograms)

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