In our review of Pinkish Black’s latest album, Concept Unification, we called it one of the most interesting and provocative releases of the year. We also discussed how odd it was that this synth-drum duo is often lumped into the metal genre. Sure, the music is dark and heavy. But, it’s an ill-fitting categorization that does the music little justice. Nevertheless, crossing over into any genre only expands the bands reach. The songs on Concept Unification are built on broad cinematic arrangements that layer synths, keyboards, and drums in a combination that is either atmospheric or suffocating. Where other bands use distorted guitars and double-bass drums to accomplish a similar effect, Pinkish Black doesn’t follow the familiar formulas, but forges something new and inspired.
We caught up with Daron Beck (vocals, keyboards, synths) and Jon Teague (drums, synths) to discuss the influence of film scores and soundtracks, the difficulty of fitting into a genre, and the bands future plans.
When I reviewed the album, I said some of the songs could’ve fit on the Mandy soundtrack. I even looked up a couple of other reviews and saw at least two references to John Carpenter. Do the soundtrack references ring true for you guys? Are you actually influenced by film scores or is this just a journalists way of trying to understand your music?
Daron Beck: I actually haven’t seen that movie, but from what I’ve heard about it, I think we’d probably fit in pretty well in the soundtrack. I know we are both very influenced by Goblin and Angelo Badalamenti soundtracks, as well as John Carpenter – who I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen live. We’d love nothing more than to do soundtracks for good movies.
Jon Teague: Soundtracks are most definitely an influence. John Carpenter for sure.
What are the films and/or scores that have influenced you?
Daron Beck: Twin Peaks, all Goblin soundtracks, A Clockwork Orange, Return Of The Living Dead, Midnight Express, Xanadu, Barbarella, Sid and Marty Krofft shows, Phantom Of The Paradise…
Jon Teague: I would add Bladerunner (Vangelis), Ennio Morricone, as well as a variety of “library music.”
I’m sure when you meet a stranger you just say, “we’re in a rock n’ roll band.” It’s a short, sweet, and convenient response. But, when you meet another musician or artist, how do you describe the band? In my album review I mentioned the difficulty in pigeonholing the sound. In fact, I think “experimental” is the most reductionist.
Daron Beck: I would never think of it as experimental, really. It’s pretty standard in structure, but we try to push boundaries of what we’ve done before. I would basically describe it as loud keyboards and drums with crooning.
Jon Teague: Heavy rock with synthesizers, or a cross between Black Sabbath and Gary Numan…that usually distills it enough.
You’re often lumped into “metal” – at least locally in Dallas-Fort Worth – and I think the metal crowd digs your stuff, but when you started the band did you envision yourselves playing the metal clubs or art galleries? Either way, I think the band’s sound is subversive to both audiences.
Daron Beck: I’ve never been in anything that could be described as a metal band before this band and The Great Tyrant. I’m glad that people that are into metal seem to like it, somewhat. We don’t craft it to be anything other than something we like and that challenges us.
Jon Teague: I like metal and art galleries, so it all makes sense to me. I could only hope to continue to be subversive, regardless of the environment. I’m thankful that people in different environments can identify with something in the music.
I know artist don’t like looking back, but do you feel the new album shows growth in comparison to the previous albums? Or do you approach each with a separate and distinct vision?
Daron Beck: It’s linear. We grow with the music, hopefully. It changes as we do. Most of what we write is made out of improvisation, so it’s not planned to be the way it comes out in the end. It’s not planned music, in general, until it comes time to record it, which by that time it has taken its own shape.
Jon Teague: I think this record is the realization of some ideas that we have had for a long time. Each record has that quality, to an extent, but this one in particular. Hopefully, the songs will create their own vision as we are writing them.
What does the future hold for the band? Any tours lined-up? Regional, national, beyond?
Daron Beck: We want to go everywhere. I’m hopeful we can go back to Europe next year. I’m sure there will be more albums to come. I like writing more than any other aspect of being in a band.
Jon Teague: We will be playing regionally for the next few months, and hope to get a full US tour in line soon. And what he said…