Music by VICE

Pink Kink Make Technicolor Disco Punk to Party to

After opening for Pussy Riot on a UK tour, they talk about making music that can jump from silly to political and back.

by Gina Tonic
Feb 27 2018, 3:42pm

Image courtesy of PR

Pink balaclavas, "used" tampons, disco balls, rainbow spaghetti, lava lamps, glow-in-the-dark pizzas... these just are a few of the kitsch and colorful surprises scattered throughout “Bubblebutt,” the new video we're premiering from Liverpool's Pink Kink. They're a four-piece band whose music will make you want to thrash your arms and legs around while screaming wildly.

With its energetic riffs and bouncing chorus, the track itself calls to mind 1970s post-punk icons like The Slits or X-Ray Spex, while the DIY style and inherently feminist ethos—with lyrics that tackle street harassment and objectification—give off a similar vibe to later riot grrrl groups like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Pink Kink chant the title, screaming the questions we’ve all wanted to ask every dude that’s ever heckled us from across the street—“Are you looking at my butt? Stop looking at my butt! Why are you looking at my butt?”

There’s a ludicrousness to the song—with it’s catchy one word chorus and vibrant video—but it also reflects the disbelief that every person who's been catcalled or perved on has felt: Why are you doing this? What are you going to gain from this? What’s the point in doing it? “This is a song empowering people to react when street harassment occurs; to fight against it,” Ines, the keyboardist, tells me over the phone when I ask her about it, enthusiasm and rage filling her voice. “It’s nothing new—but more and more people are opening up about it. Society has always been this way.”

The initial spark to form Pink Kink was lit in Liverpool four years ago, when lead singer and guitarist Bridget met Ines at a club night and they both realized they wanted to start making very loud music together. They swiftly found Amanda, the drummer, before jamming sporadically for about a year at a trio. However it wasn’t until they found their bassist, Nina, that the set-up felt truly complete. The first song they officially released in this incarnation was “Munchie Magic,” a lighthearted yet guitar-heavy disco punk celebration of getting stoned with your lover and eating a shit ton of food. So far, so relatable.

“Bubblebutt”—with visuals directed by Katia Ganfield—is Pink Kink’s second song, but it’s their first official video. In their own words, the video for "Munchie Magic" "was never meant to be our first video but tadaaa welcome to our first tacky cheesy lyric video" so it was important for the band to get "Bubblebutt" right. “We wanted the video to visually represent the song and its message,” the girls enthuse, their voices clattering over each other's on the phone line. “But we also wanted it to be a first portrayal of who we are—because unless you’ve seen us live you don’t really know.” Drummer Amanda chimes in, “So we included lots of little bits that represent us and that are a part of our world.” In among those things is an unmissable Pussy Riot pink balaclava, placed over a pineapple. Pink Kink supported the Russian activists on their UK tour at the end of last year, and bassist Nina describes it as a “powerful moment” for the band.

That said, while all four of them appreciate the combination of politics and music from their tourmates Pussy Riot, as well as some of their riot grrrl predecessors, they don’t see it as a must when it comes to their own art. To them, that’s not what creativity has to be about. “Just because you’re an artist, [your art] doesn’t need to be political. And just because you're a woman who makes music, doesn’t mean you need to constantly be talking about—or writing songs about—feminism,” Ines says, dispelling the myth that women need to have a formulated and pleasing answer to any question asked of them. “People should chill a bit and just treat women the same way they treat men!”

The “Bubblebutt” video took “over a year of creative planning,” according to Ines, before they were comfortable approaching Ganfield (who has also worked with Childhood, Slowcoaches and TĀLĀ among many others) to bring their vision to life. This perfectionist nature has meant that, up until now, their work has been steady and unhurried. But while this particular video may have been a relatively slow process, the rest of 2018 seems to be marching forward fast. Pink Kink will be spending the next few months playing raucous shows all across the UK right until the end of summer (of which you can peep the dates of here). And I, for one, will be right at the front screaming “Bubblebutt!”

You can follow Gina on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.