“He was stood over me with a needle and mentioned in passing ‘I don’t sleep very much’. I kind of stopped wanting a tattoo then.” Robbie Furze from the Big Pink, a tender, scuzzy band who stand somewhere between the Big Black, Love and GZA, is telling a story about the time he played with his old Digital Hardcore band, Panic DHH, in a vast Berlin squat. He played across the squat empire of Europe for the last few years, and ran a label called Hate Channel with his best friend Milo Cordell, who is also in the Big Pink. “We wanted it to be the most aggressive, pure sonic assault you could take! But noise gets self-indulgent. I mean, where can noise go? Melody is much more interesting and song structure is really, really cool.” This is why they set Big Pink up – a shared desire to make very fucking loud music that was really, really beautiful.
After getting together halfway through last year, they released 200 copies of Too Young To Love last year on their friends’ label House Anxiety, complete with a typically tender and brutal hardcore Dennis Cooper image that their live bandmate Daniel O’Sullivan, who also plays in Sunn O))), sorted out. (Milo: “we got in touch, and he was really cool and let us have it. Otherwise we would have stolen it.”). Since then, they’ve been, in Milo’s words, “playing loads of shows, touring with TV on the Radio, writing more songs , chasing girls, staying up late, basically expanding our minds.”
When we were talking about how played out noise is, Milo jumps in, and points out how many bands on his label, Merok (like Klaxons and, of course, Crystal Castles), started out doing pure noise. “You know, the line isn’t that clear. We still love noise – it’s not like Right, that’s the END, you know? Sure we have songs and tunes, but we’re not no longer an extreme band.”
The Big Pink do this point-counterpoint a lot in the course of conversation – ideas change, confrontation is embraced, and contrariness is chased. You know, I think that this stance of aggressive passion, ripping-up-and-restarting is what makes the Pink stand head-and-shoulders above the other Throbbing Gristle-referencing bands that seem to be everywhere at the moment. One sec they’re painful, brutal, cloaked in feedback, the next they’re breaking your heart. “One day we say never, never, never, never will we ever have strings, but we could be dying for them the next,” says Milo. “You know, consistency is boring. Maybe that’s contradictory, but hey, fuck, better that than hypocritical, right?”
August post-punk label 4AD signed them a couple of weeks ago. At the beginning of the interview, I asked them why they wanted the Big Pink on their books, and they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re good looking, and great people. And the Pink are awesome,” and then they fell about laughing.