Given the opportunity to define this band in a sentence, Pinkshinyultrablast are a band that sculpt formidable soundscapes wrapped in vocal swirls and icy synths. Having released their debut album ‘Everything Else Matters’ earlier this year, the band are already showcasing new material which sounds equally ethereal and unshackled. To find out more, Shuf checked in with the Russian shoegazers before their Bristol show at The Lantern.
Let me start with the question on everyone’s lips, if Pinkshinyultrablast were a culinary dish - what would you be and why?
Roman: It’s got to be Borsht. I like Borsht and I like our music.
Igor: You don’t like Borsht!
Lyubov: Haha, I dunno I feel like we’d be a curry. Our sound is loose and soupy but it’s got a crunchy kick.
If you’re talking loose with a crunchy kick, surely milk and cereal would be a more of an appropriate comparison?
Lyubov: I dunno - milk is strange. I don’t think we have any milk in our music? Okay, this is getting weird now!
You’re right, I didn’t expect it to get so weird this early so let’s talk about your influences. With blogs drawing so many comparisons between you and seminal shoegaze bands of the 90s, do you identify as revivalists?
Roman: Definitely not. It was a part of our musical childhood to listen to bands like Ride but we hadn’t even listened to Lush - a band which consistently gets name-dropped. I like Mahogany from New York - they had a huge influence on us but apart from the Lush album ‘Spooky’ which was produced by Robin Godfrey, I couldn’t even tell you any songs by them. They haven’t shaped us at all.
Lyubov: We can’t control what people compare us to. But if people see these comparisons then that’s totally fine. I don’t think it’s a problem but I also don’t think it’s where we’re coming from as a band. I feel like we were actually playing with this sort of sound way before anyone revived.
In 2007, I remember saying “if only My Bloody Valentine would ever revive” and that never seemed like a real thing that would actually happen. By the time we started to see more and more reunions I feel like we had already established our own sound disassociated from the whole movement.
Roman: We recorded our first EP before the movement and for us, the music had nothing to do with fashion. We just enjoyed playing together.
Lyubov: And later, we developed an electronic element with the help of Rustam which definitely helped us evolve. We started as a four piece and I played keyboards but now this element is way more refined with the help of samples etc.
And do you listen to electronic music regularly?
Roman: Yeah for sure. But we don’t concern ourselves too much with defining what we listen to by genre. Music is fluid and completely about the feeling for me.
We went to see The Field in St Petersburg and that really inspired me. The guy (Axel Wilner) started producing on his laptop but enrolled a drummer and guitarist for his live show and it was incredible.
Lyubov: Yeah, we’re not trying to categorise ourselves at all. I also love the work of Dan Deacon as he has put no boundaries on any of his musical output. He’s had an orchestral album, he’s had a minimal album - and seeing this sort of exploration really drives us.
Of course, Western journalists are always quick to ask you about your Russian roots but do you think it matters at all where you are from?
Lyubov: Not at all. I mean we didn’t have tonnes of bands playing over in St Petersburg but as long as you could find people who enjoyed the same music to play with you then that’s all that matters. It’s about matching yourselves together and understanding each other. It’s not about where you’re from or what you’re doing. We’re all just friends from high school/college and it just happened.
Igor: A chain of coincidence!
Lyubov: Yeah! People in St Petersburg and Moscow are always posting online like ‘hey, we need a new bassist’ but we never used anything like that. Pinkshinyultrablast started from us just jamming and giving it a try - we started off playing Krautrock!
Roman: And now I have Rihanna on my T-shirt.
Lyubov: Yeah I’m a fan!
Who isn’t? Moving on to lyricism, the vocals seem to acquire an almost instrumental role in your songs. Does it bother you if the actual words our lost on people?
Lyubov: No I don’t mind. We played with Mogwai in Glasgow and Martin from the band said “I think your music appeals to more people because there aren’t really any lyrics”.
Roman: But I haven’t understood the words in Mogwai recordings either!
Lyubov: That’s true, but to be honest - as long as people catch some words then I’m happy with that. Going back to the curry comparison I mentioned, people will catch certain chunks but the rest is soup. Not that the soup is bad, it all tastes good!
Glad we could bring the conversation back to that food analogy. And in terms of recording, you struggled with your last album after sending music back and forth to America. Was the process a lot smoother this time round working on your new record?
Lyubov: Yeah, we just had a bit of bad luck. There weren’t many people to work with where we were so we just chose someone who we thought would understand our direction. And they did contribute a bit but overall we’ve learnt a lot from the experience. The new album is already finished and yeah, it was a much quicker process.
Roman: We already had all the songs for our new record before ‘Everything Else Matters’. The songs came to us very organically and in my opinion, our new record is a modern punk rock album. We can’t wait to share it.
Words: George Hemmati