Manchester five-piece PINS have been on my radar since 2015 when I caught them at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival. I remember being dazzled by their devious basslines, cool lyrics, and the way they easily commanded the attention of the crowd. Two years later, they’re still pros at all three; and their headline show at The Garage looked and sounded every inch as good as I remembered them to be.
I had a quick chat with Faith, Lois, Kyoko, Sophie & Anna backstage before their show, where we discussed touring with The Breeders, the anti-austerity march they recently participated in, and whether or not it’s acceptable to interrupt Queens of the Stone Ages’s Josh Homme when he’s backstage at a buffet…
Hello PINS! You’ve gone straight in to a UK headline tour off the back of supporting The Breeders on their European tour. That must’ve been something special? Was it as cool as it sounds?
Lois: It was as cool as it sounds. They’re a band I’ve listened to for years and years, so I feel like I’m still processing it. We played a few dates in Europe and the UK, so it’s like we’ve been on a holiday with The Breeders.
Sophie: It’s one of the nicest tours we’ve ever been on. Everything was really easy and the band and the crew were really nice.
Before that, you spent the summer touring and you also played the main stage at Reading on the Sunday. What was that like?
Anna: We played Reading & Leeds and it was really sunny and it was so much fun.
Kyoko: We made sure we stayed for the whole festival too, mainly because we really wanted to see Liam Gallagher…
Who else did you manage to catch?
Sophie: Giggs. He had a massive rottweiller back stage and a massive entourage too. I was expecting loads of people to be on stage with him, but it was just him and a DJ (laughs)
Lois: I saw a really good Australian band…
I caught them too. They were great.
Faith: We missed Queens of the Stone Age because they performed a secret set. Our husbands and boyfriends went to see them, and missed some of our set because they were on.
Lois: We did see them backstage though.
Kyoko: Only from a distance. Josh Homme was at the buffet, so we just saw his back, and his general size. He is enormous.
Lois: We were like, “can we interrupt him? No, he’s getting his food…”
Another time maybe?
Last time we spoke you were headlining London’s Moth Club. During the show, you called the girls in the crowd to the front for ‘Girls Like Us’ for a stage invasion. Have you been to gigs as fans and taken part in something similar?
Lois: I have done at some point. Actually, I did about a thousand stage dives when I went to see The Oh Sees at SXSW.
Faith: I haven’t done it since I was a teenager. When I was about 17 I went to see The Melvins and everyone got on stage then.
Kyoko: I’ve crowd-surfed with the attempt to get on stages, but never actually got on them. I always get dragged away.
Sounds like you have good intentions, but security always thwarts them. It is hard to get on stage nowadays actually.
Other bands like Dream Wife and Dream Nails tend to call female fans to the front as a show of solidarity in the face of sexual assault at gigs. I was wondering if this was one of the reasons why you also encourage girls to come forward?
Kyoko: Although sexual assault at gigs is a really important issue, I don’t think that was our main reason. It’s kind of just to highlight the fact that as a fan “you’re here, make yourself known and enjoy yourself!”
Lois: Kind of a safe space.
Faith: For me, I find that there’s always a line of photographers at the front and behind them are a line of men who really stand their ground and prevent other people from coming to the front. Not just girls, everyone who wants to dance and have a good time. I don’t know why they put up such a weird barrier, but it seems to happen at every show I go to and at every show I play. So it’s just a way of breaking that down and asking them to make room for other people to come to the front and have a good time.
Sophie: It does affect the room too. Those two lines of people are standing and watching, and they might be having a great time, but you can’t tell. The minute that it breaks up the whole atmosphere changes.
Faith: Do you know what, sometimes it doesn’t actually create a safe space because when it kicks off and people start pushing each other, you feel responsible for people who fall down.
Sophie: We played a show in Brighton that was really rammed and some people were getting crushed against the barrier, and Faith was like “are you alright? Do you need to come over the barrier?” and they were like “no, we’re good!”
Your fans are such troopers. You’ve had some great female talent supporting you on previous tours and on this tour, including Sink Ya Teeth, Yassassin & Madonnatron. What is it that you like about these bands?
Lois: The music… (laughs)
I guess that was an obvious answer to an obvious question.
Faith: With Madonnatron I literally just heard their song on the radio on 6 Music. I wasn’t sure what stage they were at as a band or where they were playing, so I thought what’s the harm in asking them to play with us? Kyoko and I met Maria from Sink Ya Teeth last time we played in Norwich, and I think they put themselves forward to play with us on this tour, because we didn’t know they were playing. There have been a few bands who have opened for us who we didn’t know were on the line up, otherwise we would’ve put them on our posters! I take no responsibility for that though…
You’re in the clear.
Your video for latest single ‘Serve The Rich’ was filmed at the anti-conservative March in Manchester at the beginning of October. What kind of reaction did you receive from fellow activists as you were shooting the footage?
Kyoko: It wasn’t like other people on the march were like “Oh Hey! You’re PINS!”, but we had painted signs with lyrics on – “save the kids” and “I’m only here to serve the rich” – and some photographers took a real interest in that.
Faith: They put us in the news…
Lois: It was the quality of the sign that got us the attention (laughs)
Sophie: Our housemate, who’s a graphic designer, painted the signs for us, so they were honestly exceptionally well made.
Lois: The whole march was really positive. Everybody was doing their own thing and they were there for their own reasons, which was really nice. It was good to see that other people share the same frustrations as you, and then to feel supported by them too. Half way along the march there was a band on the street playing to keep the people going as well.
Faith: It was really fun actually. Everyone was really happy and positive.
Sophie: Yeah, nothing felt shady or like anything was going to kick off. There were two marches going on at the same time that day, the anti-austerity march and the anti-brexit march, and despite the two marches not meeting there were so many people walking in both of them.
Faith: The police were on our side too.
It sounds like it was a great thing to be a part of.
So, Christmas is fast approaching… any plans for another festive single?
Sophie: We’re playing some shows in December with The Cribs, so that’s how we’re going to celebrate Christmas.
Faith: We probably won’t play our Christmas songs though. We’ve got two now, we can’t do another…
Lois: I suppose we could do one a year until we’ve got about 25 of them?
Then you could release a compilation album: PINS Best of Christmas…
Finally, what does 2018 hold for PINS?
Lois: (whispers) Everything…
Sophie: A new album hopefully.
Faith: And new outfits.
Anna: So many possibilities…
Huge thanks to Anna, Faith, Lois, Sophie & Kyoko for answering my questions. Follow PINS on Facebook for more updates.
Photo Credit: Kelly Chard