Published on April 15th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker’s been pickled tink of late by Homosapien, the sublime yet menacing third album from London/Sydney experimentalists PVT – so we fired some questions over to singer/multi-instrumentalist Richard Pike, the London end of the operation, to find out more about it…
What inspires you to go in such different directions from album to album? And what made you decide to drop the vowels from your name?
Well, the name change was an unfortunate thing. It was a business decision. It was legal. There was a band, if you could call them that, called Pivot in the US, and they threatened us legally. It all worked out though. You can still pronounce us Pivot if you want. In fact we can use that name anywhere in the world except US. So if they ever leave their hometown, which they haven’t, and go overseas we can sue them. But that would be a boring thing to have to do. We’re not deluded like they are, so wouldn’t waste our time. We just get on with things. Like making good records.
As for the first question, I guess we always want each record to have its own sonic signature, its own sound. So we do something a little different each time. It keeps us inspired and moving to do it that way. We don’t want to sit still. I guess that’s why we changed the name. We just needed to keep moving in a positive direction.
Do you get together to record, or do you do it Dropbox style?
We do both. Live and virtual. But it all starts with sharing files. We’ve been doing that for years. I live in London while the guys are in Sydney. Then we get together for tours or rehearsing. I end up in Oz a couple times a year. We make it happen, and it’s not as hard as one might think. The time/space apart actually isn’t so bad for the band. We can do our own thing, then we’re inspired to play with each other when it happens. It’s perfect for me.
There’s quite a ‘foreboding’ feel to quite a few of your songs, if that makes any sense – a sort of urgency that occasionally spills over into menace. What would you say makes them turn out like that?
I’m not sure. It’s a natural thing we do. We’re not afraid of a bit of noise and violence, and we’re not afraid of beauty and calm too.
Who did the album’s artwork? Did you give them a spec to work on?
It’s a New York based artist called Winston Chmielinski. No we didn’t give him a spec, we just saw all his works online. We saw a few paintings and the one that became the Homosapien cover, it stuck out right away. We knew it was perfect. We were already looking for a painting, something colourful and full of energy.
How did the Antlers and Luke Abbott remixes come about?
We met the Antlers down under. It was a festival that went around Australia called Laneway. It was a great tour. About 25-30 bands, many of them from US. So we got to hang out and make new friends over a couple of weeks. A nice way to do a festival. So we did a remix for them just after that and they returned the favour recently.
Luke Abbott – we haven’t actually met him, but love his stuff. And I guess we’d had a little bit of Twitter contact, a bit of Twitter-love. So we just asked him. I’m a big fan of the label he’s on too – Border Community. His labelmate Nathan Fake did a remix for us on our last record too. I really like both their stuff. Experimental, but it’s music for dancing.
Will you be playing any festivals this summer?
I’m not sure. I would like to. Who’s asking?
What would you say have been the highlights so far of being in the band?
Too many to count. We’ve been privileged enough to tour so many different parts of the world. Eat so much delicious food, meet so many great people. Once I ate a Korean quesadilla. Another time I went to Russia. Another time after that we almost died in a snowstorm in Montana. How about that?
What new music have you been enjoying and/or looking forward to in 2013?
I’m looking forward to hearing Kirin J Calinan and also the new Warpaint. They’re working with Flood, the producer. Right now I’m listening to some great albums – the new Bowie, Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away. The Knife, and the new Depeche Mode is pretty good.
The new James Holden track sounds pretty amazing too. That will be an interesting album.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days with the entire works of just five different artists, musical or otherwise, whose would you choose?
That’s a tough one. Let’s say Eno, Bowie, Elvis, Prince, Bjork. Can I add one more? Tom Waits. Can’t go wrong there.
Richard Pike, thank you.
Homosapien is out now on Felte. For more information, please click here to visit the official PVT website.