Ariel Pink Makes A Racket
Photo by Geneva Garvin.
Until not so long ago, Ariel Pink spent the better part of eight years sitting in his LA room, recording all kinds of variations on his amazing, vaguely melancholy, fuzzed up, lo-fi melodies that sound like they’re from the future but are somehow being played through the oldest stereo in the world. As a result, he has too many hours worth of ridiculously good music on cassette and CDR, some of which has been released through Paw Tracks as the Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti series.
A couple of weeks ago, he and his friends started up a label called Human Ear Music as an outlet for a bunch of his unreleased recordings and those of his likeminded musical crew (such as John Maus, Chaz Mountain, Supercreep, Bubonic Plague and Indian Jewelry). Ariel never expected to be heard beyond his bedroom walls, but figures that now he’s something of a household name, he might as well try and improve the state of music as we know it.
VICE: Your music is strange but we could listen to it forever. How do you do that?
Ariel: Well, it’s just a sound that evolved over year and years, recording continuously, and it all began with me taping myself turning on and off the fax machine. This was around the same time that I started getting into really terrible, abrasive music like Throbbing Gristle, which meant I was able to tolerate my own really crap stuff until I improved and got to the next stage. With my music, I tend to go back to the first things I heard as a child which still really resonate with me. Back then I was really glimpsing the last moments of melody before they were snuffed out of existence forever when the big beat took over in the mid-late 80s. I was four or five years old and I remember even then thinking it was getting worse. I try to capture that part of music that I think is now missing.
I heard you used to be a Goth.
I’m still a Goth, but I’m not. I don’t like the categories. I was very into Goth in high school, just before I got into industrial and that’s about the same time I started making music, so you can see the lineage. I was very into Christian Death, The Cure, Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy. Andrew Eldridge is like my fucking hero. I want to meet all these people and eat Indian food and just hang out. I’m sending out the announcement now. I’m sick of waiting. Give me a call Robert Smith.
Are there some scary gangs in LA where you live?
I guess. I’m almost fey so I tend to get “faggot” called after me even by Hispanic mothers. I’m a total target. I feel like gangs are more of an 80s thing—high school kids in packs who started holding a gun in their hand. It’s not like they’re bad necessarily, just victims of their environments.
What’s the most stylishly dressed gang, current or past, in your mind?
I don’t care about style and never cared two shits about what people wear. If I ever look good it’s because I let other people dress me. I don’t care for any kind of design and can’t even tell the difference between cheap or expensive cars or anything. The only thing I know about is music so I think that’s what I’ll stick to.
Ariel Pink’s album House Arrest is out now through Mistletone Records. www.myspace.com/arielpink