I saw PINS for the first time at The Great Escape Festival in 2015, and it took about 30 seconds for me to realise they were the coolest post-punk collective I’d ever laid eyes on. The buzz around these Manchester girls is well deserved and entirely authentic. They auctioned off personal possessions to fund early tours, and their hard work and musical talent caught the eye of the inimitable Iggy Pop, who lent his voice to them on recent track ‘Aggrophobe’. I’ve been following the band ever since, and I’ve loyally purchased (and over-played) their two full length records (Girls Like Us & Wild Nights), and their most recent EP, Bad Thing.
I was excited to meet the girls who have “big dreams” and a “taste for venom and expensive things” when I arrived at Hackney’s Moth Club last week. As I entered their dressing room, I was immediately impressed by their multitasking. They were half-way through their dinner, whilst simultaneously planning what to wear, and inflating helium balloons for the stage. They offered me a cider (which, when combined with another 3 pints, would later give me the confidence to get on stage with them). I sat down with lead singer Faith, and guitarist Lois to chat about all things PINS.
Hello Faith & Lois! You’re currently on a tour of the UK, and you’re about to play to a sold out crowd at Moth Club. How are things going, and what have you been doing to prepare yourselves for tonight’s gig?
Faith: We’re still in the process of preparing ourselves for this evening! We played a show in Leeds last night, then drove to London overnight. We did two radio sessions today as well, so we feel like we’ve only just got here really. But we’re getting dressed, putting lipstick on, and then we’ll be ready to play another show.
Lois: I think because we’ve played most of our shows with Baby In Vain and Yassassin, it’s a really good atmosphere backstage, and it’s nice to be playing bigger shows with both bands.
F: It’s thirteen girls on tour
L: We all get on really well, and it’s been brilliant so far.
I’m a big fan of Baby In Vain, and I’ve seen Yassassin a few times before as well. Had you seen or heard either of the bands before this tour?
F: No we hadn’t, but our agent had the vision and thought that we’d be good together. We always want to support female bands as well, and we would usually be more swayed to that when we get to choose who supports us. It’s great to have a full female line-up.
I think that’s one of the reasons it’s sold out!
F: I know, it’s amazing. We’ve never had a sold out show before in London, so we’re really happy about that.
You were supporting Honeyblood last time you were in town, is that right?
F: Yeah that was great. We only got to play for half an hour though, so it’s better that we can play for an hour for our headline show. We can play all of the songs that we want to play, rather than just the half hour of power (laughs).
Your new EP ‘Bad Thing’ was released last month. What are you most proud of about the release?
F: I’m most proud of that fact that we pretty much did everything by ourselves. From going to choose where we recorded it, to who we recorded it with, to the artwork. Even the ordering of the vinyls, because it’s a self-release, we just took the reins.
L: We chose the right press people to work with as well.
F: We had the help of our manager, but we really did take care of everything ourselves.
L: I’m also really proud of the short film that we made to go with it, which I’m not sure everyone knows about actually. We did a screening of it recently and I actually felt really emotional! We showed it at this little gallery called Home in Manchester. It lasts for about 20 minutes, and each song from the EP is in there.
F: The original plan was to have a visual EP, we weren’t even thinking to do a physical release. That was a secondary thing.
L: But as with everything, we got carried away (laughs). We’ll probably put the film out a bit later on I think.
That sounds great, I’m looking forward to seeing it. ‘Dead Souls’ is the final track on the release. What made you decide to cover this particular Joy Division song?
L: Faith suggested it when we were recording, because of the themes in the song and the feel of the music. We do try covers out all the time anyway, just to see if they work, but the Joy Division one just came together really fast.
F: The running theme of our EP is dreams and nightmares, and reality and fantasy. ‘Dead Souls’ talks about dreams and it’s very atmospheric anyway, so we thought we could do a good version of it. And also, it’s post-punk, Manchester… (laughs)
L: Yeah, maybe everyone will leave those references alone now that we’ve actually done it (laughs)
F: Unless we do a Happy Mondays cover…
Do you get asked specifics about the Manchester music scene quite a lot then?
L: Yeah it’s quite common. People assume that Manchester’s music scene has affected what we write, but they mean the scene in the 1980s.
F: I’m just like “I don’t know, I wasn’t there” (laughs)
I know that you run your own label called Haus of PINS. Could you tell me how that started, and where you are with it now?
F: We started it with the first release we ever did, to put music out because we didn’t have a label. We recorded a song called ‘Eleventh Hour’ and another song called ‘Shoot You’, and that was our first AA side single which we released on cassette because we couldn’t afford vinyl at the time. Then we started releasing other bands via Haus Of Pins just before we got signed to Bella Union, but then we decided to self release again, so it’s gone full circle really.
L: We’ve always wanted to be a vinyl label, but we never had the money to do it (laughs) so that’s why we originally released stuff on cassettes. It’s not that vinyl’s expensive, once it’s pressed and you’re selling the records you can make the money back quite quickly, but you just need that bit of start-up cash behind it really. It is sustainable though.
F: If you’re doing runs of 300 or 500, you can keep on top of it, but I suppose that’s why people need a label because you want to do thousands really.
That makes sense. So what’s the next release? I know you’ve only just released Bad Thing, but what else is in the pipeline this year?
F: We’re going to finish off our album, and then hopefully tour that forever (laughs)
L: We really enjoy touring. We’d love to be on tour all of the time.
F: We’re doing a tour with Maximo Park and then we’ve got Dot To Dot Festival. We’re also playing Festival No. 6 which we’ve never done before, so we’re excited for that one. In between we’ll be finishing off the full length record.
So that will be your third album?
F: Yeah that’s right, hopefully it will be ready to release early next year.
Excellent, can’t wait to hear it! I’ve seen that you’re going to be at The Alternative Great Escape in Brighton this year, at The Bitch Craft Late Nighter event called ‘Grl Escape’ on May 18th. (Sharkmuffin, Vulgarians, Ghost Car, Sit Down & Penelope Isles will also be there). It sounds great, are you looking forward to it?
F: We’re still finalising the details with that, but it should be a good night.
L: We saw a poster for it in when were in Brighton. We were playing and we spoke to Polly who organises it, it should be fun.
Are you looking forward to sampling the speciality cocktails? There’s one called a ‘Bitch Slap’ and another called a ‘Glitter Bomb’. Which of the two would you pick?
F: Bitch Slap.
L: Same. it sounds stronger to me (laughs). We should have our own! What would we call it? ‘Wild Nights’
F: ‘Bad Thing’? ‘Trouble’?
L: All of our track names are appropriate…
Huge thanks to Lois & Faith for answering my questions. Follow PINS on Facebook for more updates.
Photo Credit: Bex Wade