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Love Letter To A Record: P.H.F. On The Mint Chicks’ ‘F**k The Golden Youth’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter To A Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share stories about how the music they love has influenced their lives.

Joe Locke, the mastermind behind Auckland-based genre-bending project P.H.F., pens a love letter to F**k The Golden Youth by Aotearoa troublegum pioneers, The Mint Chicks. Listen to ‘A Letter From Purest Hell’ from P.H.F.’s new album, Purest Hell, below.

Joe Locke (P.H.F.) on Fuck the Golden Youth by The Mint Chicks

I was maybe 13 when I was up watching a local music show on TV when I saw the video for ‘Licking Letters’ by the Mint Chicks. Up until then, I can’t really think of any local music that had much of an affect on me like that did. The video is so simple, just four people in a room playing a song and going crazy.

When their first full length album, F**k the Golden Youth, came out, I was so fucking down – they were probably my favourite band in the world at that point. It was so hard to explain what kind of music it was at that age, and I guess still now I can’t really describe what it is that resonated so much with me. They have such a pop sensibility, I think, but it’s through a lens I had no context for. When I got older and got into more music, I started to hear the bands that probably influenced them, in that period at least.

There are also all these little interludes and what I’m assuming were just improv jams or demos in between a bunch of the songs too, and skits almost. It just sounds like you’re sitting in their practice room while they recorded an album. They also made the whole thing up north in a house that was only accessible at low tide, and self-engineered and produced it. Details like that I think really influenced me a lot.

They had such a strong live presence at shows. Like, I would get an actual high from watching them perform and you can hear it so well in this album. Tracks like ‘Quick Show of Hands’ followed by ‘Nothing is a Switch’ have the most palpable, almost tangible energy that makes me want to drive a car into a wall. F**k the Golden Youth opens with ‘Fat Gut Strut’, a two-chord song that is just guitar stabs that get faster and faster. That and ‘Licking Letters’ were both on the first EP they put out a few years earlier and are somehow more raw and energetic than the original versions. I don’t know many bands that work like that.

I have pretty much just been ripping them off since I started making music and even though I don’t listen to them much these days, they still have a choke hold on everything I make. Vocally, Kody Nielson is always going to be in my top five influences. Production as well. Just one of those people that left a massive mark on my life, and this album is a grail piece.

Get your hands on Purest Hell by P.H.F. now.

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