Punky people Pink Reason are one of the many fantastic bands playing the Flip Out Festival this Saturday the 29th. Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Kevin Failure now lives in New York, where he hates on trust-fund kiddies, shits on pretension and smokes a lot of weed. We speak with Kevin to bask in his healthy cynicism.
Music Feeds: First off, can you tell me what line-up you’re bringing out here? What should we expect from the show?
Kevin: On this tour Pink Reason is gonna be Matt Horseshit and he’s gonna be playing guitar, and he’ll hopefully have some other toys to play with too. Ryan Jewell is gonna be playing drums and he is probably the most talented musician I’ve ever played with. He’s collaborated with both Jandek and a member of Rascal Flats.
MF: You have a reputation of having an ever changing line up and sound when it comes to live performances, what motivates that?
K: Necessity. Nobody wants to waste their time playing music for drugs and cheeseburgers forever. It’s a hard job and most people have lives or their own bands to attend to.
MF: Is it also part of it to do with making each performance unique and special as opposed to a set routine you chug out every night?
K: I think it helps accomplish that, and that’s definitely a benefit of playing with different people all the time. Of course it’s a bit of a double edged sword. People want and expect different things from the performance and they don’t always get what they are looking for.
MF: With a line-up that changes a lot, is a large part of the performance somewhat improvised along a theme and if so what is it about that type of performance that you enjoy?
K: The amount of improvisation that occurs really depends on the musicians I play with. Some are more prone to that kinda thing than others. I think it’s pretty fun to get high and “jam” though. It’s especially great when psychedelics are involved. I can solo forever when I’m trippin’.
MF: Haha… I wish I could say the same. Would you say living in New York has impacted the direction of your music, in so far as the rich musical community is concerned?
K: By ‘rich musical community’ I assume you’re talking about the prevalence of trust funds. The biggest impact NY had on my music was that it prevented me from recording or touring because I had to work so much, and there is so often shit going on. Great place to visit, better place to have a terrorist attack.
MF: Hmm… I’m not gonna touch that one. Your music has a bit of a low-fi aesthetic, what about that sounds do you like?
K: I don’t like the whole ‘lo-fi’ thing. It was never an aesthetic choice as much as it was just a fact of life. When you’re poor you can’t afford nice things. I embraced that because I thought there was no escaping it. Most of the ‘lo-fi’ music that I enjoy comes from a similar place and I relate to it. It’s honest music. Most of today’s ‘lo-fi’ movement is just about the most superficial, dishonest music that I’ve ever been exposed to. Just a lot of lazy rich kids hopping on the latest trend. They’ll move on to the next thing soon enough, but they’ve already made a mockery of home recording. They’re like that second generation of kids who show up to a DIY venue with no respect for it whatsoever since they didn’t have to make any sacrifices or lose any blood or sweat to develop it and ruin the place for everyone. I take solace in the fact that their obvious lack of imagination and guts ensures that they’ll live boring, regret-filled lives.
MF: How do you record? Do you feel it’s important to carry the sound of musicians playing in a room over to a recording?
K: Usually by getting some speed, weed and beer and sitting down at the four track, eight track, computer or whatever I have access to at the time and just start playing. I don’t mess with room acoustics too much because it’s often shitty sounding basements, garages or bedrooms that I record in. I create atmosphere by turning up the reverb on my amp and layering tracks.
MF: Cool. Now, I hate asking questions like this, but I’m just too curious, what’s the logic behind Pink Reason as a name?
K: The name came from a list of hundreds of potential band names that a friend of mine came up with years ago. I thought it sounded good and I liked that it’s kinda ambiguous, so I stole it. A lot of people assume it’s got something to do with pussy, which works for me.
MF: Have you ever been to Australia before? Are you excited about playing Flip Out Festival?
K: I’ve never been to Australia and I’m very excited for Flip Out Fest. Coincidentally, my old friends Goodnight Loving are playing too, which is awesome. We’ve had our paths cross on tour a couple of times now, and it always makes me real happy. Hopefully there will be plenty of the crazy hydro everyone tells me is all over Oz.
MF: I’m not sure whether it’s all over, but we definitely get our fair share in Sydney. Have you checked out any of the local bands on the bill?
K: Oh yeah, Naked on the Vague and Fabulous Diamonds are good friends of mine. I’ve been following Deaf Wish for a while too, because the original lineup of Pink Reason was called Deaf Wish originally. They’re great. Their song Take What You Want is a favorite of mine.
MF: And what should we be keeping an eye out for from you?
K: Should have a new album out in the relatively near future. I’ve been working on it for a few years now. I hope to have recording finished by the time I leave for Australia. We’ll see how that works out. Other than that, I don’t really have much planned at the moment.
MF: Are there any bands you think our readers should check out?
K: Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones from Wisconsin are criminally under-appreciated, which makes no sense to me since we’re both coming from a very similar place and they’ve been releasing records and touring longer than I have. They’d even tell you they’re the better band, I’m sure, which I of course disagree with, usually, but not always. I’d also highly recommend the work of Doc Corbin Dart, from his work with Crucifucks to his latest solo release under the alias 26. It’s all great stuff.
MF: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about? Musical, non-musical political or vegetable?
K: Two thirds of this lineup of Pink Reason like to party real hard. Harder than you, I assure you. So give us your drugs, please, we need them more than you do and we have no money for our own. Don’t give any to our drummer though, he’s a straight edge vegan. I have no idea why he hangs out with us.