On Friday, Ariel Pink—"the king of LA's freak scene" or "the most hated man in indie rock," depending on who you ask—sat down with The Guardian to talk about about his upcoming album, Pom Pom. During the interview, Pink continued his legacy of saying dumb shit that sounds even worse when taken out of context, calling Grimes "stupid and retarded" before adding, "I'm not a misogynist. Maybe she's angry that I'm the male version of her, who was at 4AD"—the British indie rock label that reps both Grimes and Pink—"before her." Thanks for the clarification, Ariel!
Some background on the Grimes-Pink "beef:" It started in October, when Pink said some dumb shit about the "downward slide" of Madonna's career: "Interscope are calling me to help write Madonna's record," Pink said. "They need something edgy. They need songwriting. She can't just have her Avicii, her producers or whatever, come up with a new techno jam for her to gyrate to and pretend that she's 20 years old."
Grimes jumped to Madonna's defense with this tweet:
Ariel pinks delusional misogyny is emblematic of the kind of bullshit everyone woman in this industry faces daily
— Don grimez (@Grimezsz)
October 14, 2014
Pink was dropped from Madonna's record, and that's where things ended—until last week, when the winds of shit were stirred again, and Pink had to backtrack on Twitter:
I love grimes. I love Madge. I love women. I love the guardian. I love pitchfork. I love the fans. I love the haters. I love my life. #UK
— Ariel Pink (@arielxpink)
November 15, 2014
But forget Madonna. Forget Pink's big mouth. The most intriguing part of this shitstorm is Pink's belief that he is the "male version" of Grimes.
Just so we're clear, this is a picture of Ariel Pink:
And this is a picture of Grimes:
Maybe Pink is right! Maybe he really is a 26-year-old Canadian synth-pop goddess, except with a penis. Maybe he really does have a lot in common with Grimes. For example, both of them having recent music videos featuring people in creepy masks!
Compare these rave mimes in Grimes' "Go:"
… to this pink-haired minx in Ariel Pink's latest song, "Picture Me Gone:"
Both Grimes and Pink are also not afraid to speak their minds. Last year, Grimes made waves with a blog post called "I don't want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living."
Several of the points she made:
- "I don't want to be infantilized because I refuse to be sexualized."
- "I dont want to be molested at shows or on the street by people who perceive me as an object that exists for their personal satisfaction."
- "I'm sad that my desire to be treated as an equal and as a human being is interpreted as hatred of men, rather than a request to be included and respected."
As noted by The Guardian, Ariel Pink has also made some unforgettable comments, such as:
- "It's not illegal to be racist."
- "This gay marriage stuff pisses me off."
- "I love necrophiliacs."
Of course, the biggest reason why Pink might be Grimes (but with one fewer X chromosome) is that their music shares the same tendency towards retro, reverb-y sounds, which many people have labeled as "nostalgic." Pink has become a de-facto godfather of the chillwave movement, with three of his mid-2000s albums (The Doldrums, Worn Copy, and House Arrest) in particular said to have influenced the hazy, lo-fi sounds of artists like Toro Y Moi, Oneohtrix Point Never, James Ferraro, and yes, Grimes. But as Dummy pointed out, Pink didn't invent home-recording, lo-fi, or even retro-lo-fi, and the Pink-as-godfather theory has become a bit cliché.
But that hasn't stopped Pink from continuing to point out his influence on Grimes. In a scene from a 2012 feature story in Spin, he watches Grimes perform at Make Music festival. (Keep in mind, this is when "Oblivion" and "Genesis" were everywhere.) "She doesn't do the ramanah," Pink says, referring to a vocal style popularized by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. "No, she does the Pink-a-nah." Later, he adds, "every time I hear her, I hear a little of myself." Pink also tried to invite Grimes on tour with him in 2012—but she was already fully booked. Funny enough, that seems like an apt metaphor to exactly what's happening today.