With all of the chaos that our world ensues, it's quite cathartic taking a step back to focus on life's simple pleasures, such as music. What better way to distract yourself than getting to know your new favorite alternative rock band from Baltimore, Pinkshift. Considering their rapidly growing online support, it's inevitable the crowds they'll be pulling in for post-pandemic gigs will be rather impressive. We got the chance to speak to the group members this week to discuss everything from their band history to the making of the music video for their latest single, "i'm gonna tell my therapist on you." Check it out!
Photo by Maria Grimmett
Starting with the obvious, how are you guys coping with the pandemic?
ASHRITA: Coping, is, coping I guess haha. Trying to adjust as much as I can, but it’s really sucked to feel so isolated. I’ve definitely felt unmotivated and unproductive. The band is all social distancing in different states so it’s been a little tough, but we try our best to stay connected and creative.
ERICH: It’s been hard staying focused on music and band things because we haven’t been able to meet for so long, but we’ve still managed to make some content to let everyone know we’re still active. I’ve also had a lot of time to start new personal projects and learn new things to prepare myself for the next school semester.
MYRON: I’ve had a lot to keep myself busy since March (school, job applications, etc.), but it definitely took some time to get used to being at home again. I guess I started skating to cope with the whole situation. It makes me actually want to go outside, which is something I wouldn’t do for days at a time once everything shut down.
PAUL: I’ve been applying to jobs and playing a ton of call of duty. Feels like the usual unemployment routine lol. It took me a while to become musically productive again, but when it did, it felt really nice.
How did you all meet? Was becoming a band always the common goal?
PAUL: I saw Ashrita sing at one of our college’s music events. I walked up to her and was like “wanna make a rock cover of a Britney Spears song” and she said “ya” and then we became friends.
ASHRITA: Paul and I were writing full band demos, and we really wanted to play them live, so we sought out to find band members. We found Myron and later, Erich, kind of unconventionally, but it’s awesome because we fit together well musically.
MYRON: I met Ash and Paul while playing in our university’s drum practice room. I was just messing around and before I left they caught me and said they were looking for a drummer. They showed me [their demo] "Mars" and I was like “damn this goes.” A few weeks later, we played through the song together for the first time. And that’s how I Saved The Band.
ERICH: I moved to Baltimore last year for school and I did what any other new resident would do and hopped on Tinder. I found Ashrita’s profile and it was basically an advertisement that was like “PUNK GIRL LOOKING FOR PUNK BASSIST FOR PUNK GROUP”, and me, being a bassist, swiped right. Eventually we matched and we met up, then I joined the band.
If you could open for anyone, what would your dream tour lineup look like?
ASHRITA: No Doubt, but like, 1997 No Doubt. Unfortunately that was the year I was born and they’re so different now, but opening for Tragic Kingdom would literally kill me.
PAUL: Frank Iero and Microwave. I’ve always loved Frank’s energy and guitar style as a wee little lad and Microwave is currently my favorite band. They kick ass.
ERICH: The Flatliners and Anti-Flag. They’ve been a huge influence on me since I started listening to them in high school. Or Refused in 1998.
Your latest single, “i’m gonna tell my therapist on you” obviously touches on the rollercoaster of mental health. Do you feel like writing about these kinds of topics help you cope?
ASHRITA: Yes! Definitely! That’s why I started writing music in the first place, even before Pinkshift - to cope with feelings I didn’t really know how to talk about. Writing them as punk songs is definitely, like, lifting for me. I get to express all of that frustration in a way that people can (hopefully) feel and understand it.
Your video for the single, just as upbeat as the song; is interrupted in the middle by footage of a neighbor complaining about the noise, if I’m correct? Did this affect how you proceeded with the rest of the video?
PAUL: Oh, 100%. I know the punk rock energy is to just go hard and not give a fuck about what everyone else thinks but the reality is we have to respect other people’s spaces. We were scared that we’d get complaints and get the cops called on us so we tried to do what we could with the little time we knew we had. As soon as the neighbor interrupted, we knew we had to cut it short and moved Myron outside lol.
MYRON: Bruh, I felt so bad. I knew that the drums were going to be loud and I wasn’t sure how the neighbors would react, or if they were even there. I think we only got through like the first verse before the lady was outside screaming at us. I mean, it was completely warranted; the drums were loud as hell and she got scared. So we just didn’t even try to record there anymore and moved the kit outside later.
The new video is also proof that creativity isn’t completely limited during quarantine. Was it all self-filmed on an old fashioned camcorder?
PAUL: Honestly, when we wrote the song, we knew that we wanted a really hype video to go along with it. We didn’t expect to make it during quarantine but hey-- we had a GoPro, an iPhone, and a 2006 camcorder and that’s all we needed to have fun for the day.
ASHRITA: The 2006 camcorder was one I found in my family’s basement and we figured it would give it a good home-video feel. We didn’t realize until later that we had no idea how to get video off of this camcorder and Paul had to take it to a small video store to get it burned onto a DVD after filming. Definitely old school in frustrating ways that we didn’t expect, but Paul did a great job with the technical ends lol.
When the world settles down & gigs are allowed to happen again, does Pinkshift have any plans to hit the road or is the focus on releasing an EP/LP right now?
ASHRITA: I’m really excited to go into post-pandemic shows for sure and finally meet all of the wonderful musicians that I’ve been interacting with on the Internet. I’d certainly say a tour is in order.
PAUL: The pandemic precautions really went into full swing right before we were set to go out on the road for the first time with The Deep End. It honestly hurt at the time because we put so much work into booking that short run, even if it was only 4 nights. We have our focus on recording material right now but we plan on getting out on the road as soon as it’s safe again.
Lastly, if you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
ASHRITA: "La fille aux cheveux de lin," by Claude Debussy. Always really calming and definitely grounds me.
ERICH: サクラあっぱれーしょん by でんぱ組.inc ("Sakura Apparition" by Dempagumi.inc)
MYRON: That’s so hard. I’ll say "Skylines and Turnstiles" by My Chemical Romance right now but if you were to ask me next week it’d probably be something different.
PAUL: “Adios pueblo de ayacucho.” It’s a Peruvian huayno and it’ll always remind me of my parents and where they came from.
Photo by Maria Grimmett
Thank you to all of Pinkshift, for taking the time to chat with me about everything from the band's birth to the technicalities of shooting music videos during quarantine. Make sure you're following them on their social media accounts so you don't miss what they have planned next! In the meantime, go spin their new single "i'm gonna tell my therapist on you" & watch the music video for it as well while you're at it (both embedded above, so you have no excuse.)
Written & interviewed by Deirdre Kelly
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