December 19th, 2011
Milo Cordell, The Big Pink’s sultry synth giant, claims 2012 will see the band recast their sound afresh, paring back their penchant for noisy guitar layering and live drumming. The duo’s second full length, Future This – out on January 13th – is the result of work with tastemaking producer Paul Epworth. We pressed Cordell about the sound’s refocus; why he’s sick of indie rock and what presents he can expect from fellow Pinkian Robbie Furze this Christmas.
You got your hands of a broader range of technology for Future This’s edit. How do you think this has progressed the sound?
The way we approached songs was slightly different this time around. We wrote the album a lot quicker because we knew that we were gonna work with a producer. We didn’t get too mad into what every high-hat was gonna sound like, for example. We also got really into the soft synth sound and different programmes and pro-tools.
Did you feel you had less to prove with this record?
The first record didn’t set the world on fire – we had something to prove to ourselves with this one, really. We wanted to up our game, up the production. The first record was quite hard to play live – it was droney and slow, and we wanted to make a much more upbeat, positive album this time around.
You mentioned a hip-hop influence with it. How do you feel this manifests itself in the music?
I kind of wish I’d never said that because it immediately set us off on the wrong foot – I don’t know whether people were expecting Illcommunication, Massive Attack or Linkin Park [laughs. A lot]. The statement came from the fact that we knew we didn’t want to use live drums and we didn’t wanna use guitar – all the tracks are built around a drum break or a programmed beat. The last thing we wanted to do was write an indie rock or electropop record. I wanted to get as far away as I could from that.
The title is pulled from an 80s skateboard company’s logo, and the artwork reflects that. Were you consciously referencing the era?
We were referencing this photographer called Glen E. Friedman, who did a lot of early Dogtown skate pictures, early Beastie Boys and Public Enemy photography. Then with Krink’s work, the dripping paint, I kind of wanted it to be a statement: we’re kind of going over everything, painting it afresh and recasting it.
What are The Big Pink’s records of the year?
I’m not sure if it influenced our sound, but while writing this record we were definitely listening to House of Balloons by The Weeknd a lot. I loved it because it was quite dirty, filthy, yet…
…has a production sheen.
Exactly. A really original production sheen, but was hazy and druggy too.
I really loved the Zomby record, Dedication, too.
What’s Christmas gonna be like for The Big Pink this year? Will you be buying each other presents?
Me and Robbie do exchange gifts, yeah. I did it as a joint present as it was his birthday yesterday. I don’t know what to get him this year, though. Last year I got him a guitar pedal – I’m usually quite selfish with gifts.
What did he get you?
I can’t remember, but the last present he bought me was an enormous, novelty-sized record. Like a 72 inch, or something: an antique that they used to play on Phonograms.
I bet you’re excited to find out what you’ve been given this year…
Yeah, it’s always fun…
The Big Pink
Words: Jack Mills