meet pink kink, the trans-european party punks
Denouncing genre and describing their sound as “psycho-tropical-bubble-what?”, colourful five-piece Pink Kink will soon be tearing up a dive bar near you.
When I set up this interview with Pink Kink, their PR suggested speaking with just two of the band, as all five might be a bit of a handful. It was solid advice. Keyboard player Inés, and lead singer and guitarist Bridget, who I chatted to on the phone, could fill a tour bus with their energy. It was hard enough trying to tell the two apart as they excitedly spoke over each other, falling into fits of laughter trying to explain how they came up with the band name (they wrote a list of 200 potentials, before choosing Pink Kink -- the female version of ‘blue balls’) and why they have a papier maché bust that they call Dagney on stage with them at all times (“She’s just grown part of the band!” Bridget laughs).
Inés, who came to Liverpool from Basque country in the north of Spain, and Bridget, who’s from Montreal, met on their first night out as students at the performing arts university LIPA. “We just met and then we thought, ‘Let’s do a band!’,” Inés explains. After some early line-up changes, the band was formed with fellow music students: Nina the bassist, who’s from Munich, drummer Amanda from Oslo, and guitarist Sam, who’s from Sunderland. “We didn’t know each other before, so it’s been a process of learning each other’s culture -- well, not cultures, but we are always putting things in perspective with the different ways we have learnt everything,” Bridget explains, though she adds that typically these chats bring up “corny shit,” like the different cartoons they watched as kids.
Influenced by a broad and diverse range of music, the band shy away from describing their sound with reference to traditional genres and scenes -- including Riot Grrrl, a scene they are often assigned to, which they love, but don’t always identify with. Instead, they describe their sound as “psycho-tropical-bubble-what?”. So that clears that up. What do they play in the van when they’re on the road? “I made a playlist! It’s called I Luv I Jah,” Inés giggles. “It’s a song by Bad Brains and it’s the first song in the playlist,” she explains. “I guess we like ‘good music’ -- I know that’s a bit shit to say, but something that’s interesting and has a message, it’s not just commercialised.”
The band have released two songs so far, Bubblebutt and Munchie Magic. Bubblebutt has a message -- “It’s about street harassment and catcalling,” Bridget explains. “We’re just tired, you know, of not doing anything, and then always, always creepy fucking men shouting at you,” Inés says, “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; in Spain they do it, in England they do it.” Munchie Magic, however, is about, “Lying around with your lover, stoned,” Bridget says, and they fall into a fit of giggles. “When you’re hungry, thinking of what you would like to eat,” Inés laughs.
Their favourite part of being in a band is performing live. “We all love to perform when we get on stage,” Bridget says, “It’s just a chance to let go, because we are all working hard all the time. It’s a nice opportunity to not just play our music, but also to express it, and ourselves, in so many different ways.” Of their glittery and colourful stage sets and costumes, Inés says, “It’s like our personalities are amplified; it’s liberating, it makes you feel like you can be anything you want to be.” They are proud that their debut show was at legendary Liverpool venue The Kazimier -- “Which was like the coolest venue,” Inés says, with Bridget adding mournfully, “But it’s knocked down now” -- though their favourite gig was at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. “I love our fans in Manchester too,” Bridget adds, noting that all kinds of people come to see them play, with an estimated age range of “14 to 60”.
The band recently had their first play on Radio 1. How does that feel? “Err, probably the same as before,” Inés says mischievously, and they fall into fits of giggles again. “I don’t really listen to the radio that much,” Bridget concedes. “Yeah, me neither,” Inés agrees, “Also, they censored it!”. “Yeah, it was so bad,” Bridget says, “They censored, ‘I wanna eat you out’ , but they only censored the word ‘out’.” So it just sounded like ‘I want to eat you’? “Yeah, but you could still tell exactly what we were saying.”
The band are about to set off on a UK tour supporting Pussy Riot, so you can catch Pink Kink live and uncensored throughout November in London (17th), Bristol (18th), Brighton (19th) and Manchester (20th).