Introducing: Pinkshinyultrablast

by DavidBeech
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on 29 October 2014 in Features

St Petersburg isn't the first place that springs to mind when you think of shimmering, somewhat icy shoegaze, the current political climate perhaps more suited to paranoid post-punk or skinhead culture than anything else. Assumptions and stereotypes aside, Pinkshinyultrablast are a band whose sound is equal parts nostalgia trip and contemporary aural exploration. The rhythm, or rather lack thereof, is based entirely around the walls-of-noise populated by '80s and '90s genre ambassadors such Slowdive or Ride, while chilling vocals and understated synth provide melody, barely discernible beneath the writhing sonic mess it accompanies.

It's both turbulent and melodious, making for music that's as entrancing as it is eviscerating; Lyubov's wistful vocal delivery acts a soothing opiate haze, numbing the pain of your face steadily melting on to the keyboard in front of you.

Whilst their debut EP might well have seen the band at the darker end of the shoegaze spectrum, their forthcoming single 'Umi' offers up a far lighter, dreamier side of the band. The trademark vocals still wistful and lost beneath a rhythm section, only this time the icy synth lines are really brought to the fore, leading to a track that feels far less claustrophobic than any of their previous releases, instead feeling hugely expansive and endlessly optimistic.

With their debut album due out in January, and the current resurgence in shoegaze bands, we can only hope that 2015 will see Pinkshinytultrablast get the attention they deserve. Their press release read that they would probably be my new favourite Russian band, the fact is they're probably one of my new favourite bands, period.

Hi guys, thanks for answering our questions. First of all, who are you and how did you start playing together?

We’re a five-piece band currently based in St. Petersburg, Russia. We started playing together a while ago, freshmen - sophomore years of college. There actually have been several changes in the compound of the band over the course of years, at first there were just four of us, but the five of us have been playing together for quite a while at this point. How did we start?.. We were just growing up together, feeling the need to explore and express ourselves, or something, you know how it goes. It started off as just hanging out together, goofing around. I don’t know if we took it all that seriously at first.

You've said you were inspired to get together after the scene in St Petersburg became somewhat stagnant. What kind of music was it that everyone was making, and when was it you decided you wanted to do something different?

We can’t remember a point at which the scene in St. Petersburg became stagnant. These judgements are very personal, and it really is a matter of taste. I guess we’ve always felt like something was missing, it seemed like not that much original or edgy stuff was going on. It’s hard to tell now what kind of music exactly it was that we were trying to move away from (or move towards at first either). The scene just seemed kind of bleak and uninspiring, very sort of secondary and dated, some people were just replicating things, you know. That’s mainly what we were trying to move away from when we started. The rest was just figuring out how to work together.

Is there much of a shoegaze scene in St Petersburg, or any bands similar to yourselves? Or even any you think our listeners should be checking out?

Boy, yeah, it’s hard to tell honestly. Shoegaze seems to be too vague of a term at this point, there are so many different things being sold under that label, it’s difficult to tell what exactly people imply by it. Lots of stuff is happening, yet again, it’s just a mater of one’s own taste. Call us self absorbed, but we do not pay all that much attention to the local scene right now, trying to focus rather on some particular things we wish to learn from. We do hope though, that either way the scene over here will be emerging and developing for the better, with more good music on the way.

Your first EP was seriously heavy in places, but never felt too heavy. 'Umi', by comparison, is a much lighter, expansive track. Have you found a balance between the two on your forthcoming album, or does it lean towards the more melodious side?

Overall, the LP is going to be somewhat lighter then the EP. Time has passed, naturally we’re changing and moving on to a different sound in general. We started to engage more electronics in our sound for instance. It’s really difficult to judge your own music though too, you’ve heard the songs so many times, sometimes the sense of what’s happening in it just rubs off. 

Speaking of which, are there any plans to tour the record outside of Russia? The UK perhaps?

That would be so great. We never really played outside of Russia so it would be awfully exciting for us.

Russia's got quite a turbulent political reputation, how has this impacted on your music? Do you think you'd sound the same if you were from another country?

Probably not. Were we from another country, we could have sounded different for other reasons, like different influences or upbringing maybe, but not due to the political situation, no. It’s not that we’re indifferent to the alarming events that are happening within and outside the country or Russia’s government actions, we just try to separate things from each other. Our creative process is a self-contained thing in a way, focused inwards. We don’t use our music to make any political statements, there are plenty of other means to do that.

Similarly, has it ever made it difficult to put on shows or release tracks? Either in Pinkshinyultrablast or any other projects you've been involved?

Nah, we’re small enough fishies to not bother the sharks, to stay unnoticed. We don’t really know what it’s like to be a big fish in this country.

Given how diverse your sound is at times, who would you say are some of your biggest influence?

We were really into Stereolab and Astrobrite when we started to play together, though obviously there were lots of other bands that mapped our musical orientations. Landing, Stars of the Lid, Mahogany, Windy & Carl, Steve Reich, Sonic Coaster Pop and Cocteau Twins are definitely among the strongest influences, but there are many more.

Finally, any news or exclusives you'd like to leave our readers with?

Our full length will be released via Club AC30, Shelflife and Vinyl Junkie in January 2015.

Thanks guys!


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