AN INTERVIEW WITH PINKEST
Arguably one of the saddest days for the Atlanta music scene is going to be when the Pinkest boy’s head their separate ways for college in the fall. Composed of Sarf, Gabe, Ethan, and Jason, the band has become iconic for their pink cowboy hats and spacey tunes. In the short time they’ve been together they released multiple demos and their EP You Are A Camera, which was warmly received and lead to them playing gigs all over. With plans in the works to release another album in October, the band is determined to carry on the Pinkest legacy. I had the opportunity to speak to them before they begin their hiatus...
WHO IS PINKEST?
Sarf: Bass Extraordinaire, Boy Genius
Gabe: Drum Banger, Cave Dweller
Jason (J-Baby): The String King
Ethan: A Poet, A Diva, A True Star
YOU GUYS USE EYES A LOT IN YOUR DESIGN AND THE IDEA IS REPEATED A LONG IN “THE SPINE.” WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS?
Everyone’s got ‘em. Isolated facial features, like lips or eyes, convey a lot of emotion but in a really vague way and I think that really fits with our style lyrically because my focus is usually more on creating an emotional landscape rather than telling a cohesive story.
YOU HAVE TRACKS ON BANDCAMP ALL THE WAY BACK TO 2014. TELL US ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF PINKEST.
Ethan, Gabe, and Sarf have been friends since elementary school but we didn’t start playing together until the 8th grade. The 2014 album on our Bandcamp was recorded just by Ethan during freshman year of high school. As a band, we didn’t actually write any songs or become not awful until mid-2015/early-2016 which is around the time we recorded our debut EP Space And Other Amphibians. By the way that album sucks! It blows! After that we spent a whole lot of time doing nothing until we recorded our second, much sweeter EP, You Are A Camera. People seemed to like that one a lot and we’ve ridden the ego train off of that ever since. Our latest Pinkest installment has been the addition of our guitarist Jason and he knows, like, every song ever on guitar. It’s like he’s a human jukebox, it’s crazy.
YOUR LATEST EP, YOU ARE A CAMERA, IS NAMED AFTER THE TITLE TRACK. WHAT ABOUT THIS STUCK OUT ENOUGH TO YOU TO MAKE AS YOUR TITLE TRACK?
You Are A Camera is a phrase I heard in a strange Youtube video a long time ago. I can’t remember what it was called but the phrase has stayed in my mind ever since for some reason. It’s oddly assertive and if someone ever said it to me without context I would be very taken aback. But anyway, it’s a very offensive but inoffensive phrase and we entitled the EP that so that it might stick out among all the other pop albums of today on the internet.
YOU GUYS HAVE SOME BIG THINGS GOING ON LYRICALLY. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT WRITING YOUR SONGS?
I just like words. I’m not good enough at songwriting to tell a full story without being tacky so I focus more so on telling little vignettes of stories or stringing together words that I think will evoke some kind of emotion. My best songs come from when I create little worlds and characters around myself and just document what’s naturally occurring around me but through the view of my little world.
YOU’VE HOSTED A BUNCH OF HIGH SCHOOL THEMED SHOWS INCLUDING YOUR PROM AND GRADUATION SHOWS. HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE THAT WHILE ENSURING PEOPLE TAKE YOUR MUSIC SERIOUSLY AND NOT JUST WRITE IT OFF AS ‘ANOTHER HIGH SCHOOL BAND?
I think one the downfalls of all those ‘high school bands’ is that they try too hard to be something that they’re not. I can’t even count how many band I’ve seen that try way too hard to be ZZ Top or The Strokes and not even have any semblance of their own personality. I’m not trying to say that we are the most original band in the world, we wear our influences on our sleeves, but we don’t really care if we don’t fit a certain mold for people to take us seriously. There are a lot of stereotypes associated with being “teenage” but in reality it is a very colorful and varied experience and we hope our music reflects that. If someone won’t take us seriously just because we’re young then they can go hang out in the bar while we play.
WHAT IS THE ATLANTA MUSIC SCENE LIKE? WAS IT HARD BREAKING INTO IT AS A RELATIVELY NEW BAND?
The music/art scene of Atlanta is so insanely diverse and welcoming, I honestly couldn’t imagine another scene more busy and creative. We never really felt like we ‘broke in’ until after we released You Are A Camera, but even before then we found no trouble getting on shows and we always felt welcome even though we were younger and we didn’t think we were as cool as all the older kids frequenting the shows.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOUSE SHOW CULTURE?
House shows and other facets of DIY culture create the opportunity to be a star without needing to sell out big stadiums or to have copious amounts of money. It’s really important for people to feel like stars in at least some aspects of their lives, especially in a world where it’s so easy and encouraged to be put down.
YOU HAVE A LOT OF PINK ELEMENTS FROM YOUR BAND NAME TO YOUR OVERALL AESTHETIC. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT TO BE YOUR BAND’S THING?
I’ve never felt comfortable wearing the costume of masculinity that I’ve been more or less forced into and I think covering myself in the color pink gives me the opportunity to be myself without the fear of compromising my own self-image. Also, the colors people associate with music is very important to me and my biggest fear is that a drab, boring color will occupy someone’s mind while listening to our music. By forcing a color on people from the get go, they now have a very firm recommendation as to which color they will associate our music with.