The Pains of
Being Pure At Heart are an american indie pop band from New York.
Composed of Kip Berman (vocals, guitar), Peggy Wang (vocals, keys),
Alex Naidus (bass) and Kurt Feldman (drums). Their first album was a
self-released EP which came out in 2007 through the Painbow label. Their debut self-titled full length album was released on February 3, 2009 via Slumberland Records
and peaked at #9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band name
comes from an unpublished children's story of the same title that a
friend of singer Kip Berman wrote. On September 22, 2009, they released
"Higher Than the Stars", their second EP.
Interview with Kip Berman singer
and guitarist of The
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart :
S: When and how was The Pains
of Being Pure At Heart born?
We were all friends in New York and enjoyed hanging out, going to shows
and the same sort of music. So playing music together seemed a natural
outgrowth of that-- we certainly weren't superb musicians (aside from
Kurt) at first. Our first show was at Peggy's birthday
party. We played about 5 songs in 10 minutes-- it was a lot of fun.
and when did all begin
I'm not sure-- I've sort of been playing the guitar since I was about
13 or 14. At that time, my friends and I would just try to figure out
Nirvana songs in the basement.
S: What are the positive and
negative sides of being a musician in USA?
There aren't really any negatives-- playing music in America is a lot
of fun, and there are lots of places to play and other bands to play
S: Do you feel anxious before a
Mostly just excited.
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
Too many to mention. I really love Leonard Cohen, the more
straightforward side of John Cale and David Bowie as far as older
artists go. As for indie bands, The Pastels, Rocketship, Black
Tambourine, My Favorite, Hefner and a lot of noisy 80s and 90s American
indie and British pop. Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Guided By Voices, Suede
and Pulp were all pretty important to me growing up, but so were a lot
of American post-hardcore/emo bands like The Promise Ring, Braid, Get
Up Kids and that sort of thing. Local punk/hardcore shows
were my first exposure to independent/DIY music.
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought?
"Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot cd single.
S: Do you think the emotion is
different between a song in English and in another language?
I really don't know. I'm sure everyone believes their native language
is the most sublime, so I would hate to be presumptuous. That being
said, English is the primary language for the kind of pop music we
play-- not that it's necessarily the best, but many guitar bands from
Sweden, France and Japan take great pains to sing in English. Sometimes
the results of non-native English speakers singing in English can be
pretty cool, as it approaches the language and phrasing a bit
differently. Phoenix can make the most mundane things sound exotic and
sexy-- Funky Squaredance!
S: How could you define the
music of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart?
Loud and wussy.
S: Do you agree with Victor Hugo
who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?
Is Victor in a band that sounds like The Smiths?
S: When you write a song you
follow your heart, your brain or your hand?
S: What is your favourite song
of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and why?
Its really hard to answer that-- I think "Everything With You" is
special, as it expresses genuine feeling in very few words.
S: As musician, what is your
feeling about Internet?
It's great. I'm into it!
S: "Have you done all the things
that wouldn’t make your parents proud" or are you a "gentle
My family is always very nice to me, even if there were many times when
they were worried about what I would do with my life. Working in a call
center, playing in a band no one cared about and having an unwavering
faith that things would be ok wasn't always the thing that would put my
grandparents at ease. But I'm so glad they have lived long enough to
see me do something with my life that is recognized as worthwhile.
They've even came to a Pains show. In fact, my Grandma is probably our
biggest fan-- My grandpa says she listens to The Pains in the car every
day, though she chides me about my use of a certain word that starts
with F. I try to explain to her that it's funny, but maybe she's right.
As she googles our band name a lot, I always have to make sure not to
say obscene things in interviews like this.
Grandma, if you're reading this: those ginger bread cookies you sent
were delicious. I shared them with my roommates Patrick and Kurt, and
they both wanted to say thanks too!
S: Can you describe what is a
typical The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's day?
girlfriend recently got me an electric omelet maker. We don't have gas
at "House of Pains" (The apartment that Kurt and I share) so this is my
first time getting to cook eggs in a really long time. So... I make a
lot of omelets and even though I don't really know how to make
omelets-- the device is sort of magic and they come out well almost
S: What are your hobbies aside
Making, video games, dog petting...
you venturesome person?
Well I do like The Ventures, some.
S: Where would you like to play
in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?
: I would
like to play for The Queen, but I think you only get to do that if
you're English. I'm not sure if ripping off The Smiths and My Bloody
Valentine a lot gets you honorary citizenship (or maybe honorary
there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?
Where do I begin! Let's see, scary movies, roller coasters, teen
pregnancy, airplanes, the end of the world, operating cash registers,
milk going sour...
S: What is the best moment and
best place to listen to your music?
: I always
think I'd like for us to be the band that me and my friends would
listen to while driving around at night when we were 17 and didn't have
anything to do or anywhere to go.
our website is related with Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say
some words about them?
I love Glam Rock, and I am glad that they do too. It was really
flattering to hear that Nicky had rated us one of his favorites last
year-- that was really sweet, so we definitely want to say "thanks" to
him for that!
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
: Suede -
Dog Man Star
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
night I fell asleep to Lexicon of Love by ABC. Before that my friend
Danny from Zaza came over and we listened to Titus Andronicus The
Monitor and Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream - both had the feeling of
classic! As for today, I'm listening to this Cold Waves and Minimal
Synth Vol. 1 comp from Angular Records (not to be confused with the
Stones Throw one that also just came out recently, or the REALLY
excellent Lost Tapes and Found Tapes comps from Minimal Wave Records. I
don't know a lot about that kind of music, but I really appreciate the
comps, as it's helped me learn new stuff. I remember when Indiepop used
to have so many good compilations, and it was the best way to discover
bands. That "Casablanca" compilation on Elefant Records alone
introduced me to so many of my favorites, like My Favorite, Stereo
Total and Brian. Oh, I also meant to give The Dum Dum Girls album
another spin today, so I'll probably do that too.
S: Can you tell us the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
: I can
name several. I really love Francoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Moderne,
Ruth, Air and Phoenix.
S: And say something in French?
S: What are your plans for the
A cup of coffee.
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
: My mom.
MANY thanks to Kip and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart for the
More informations about The Pains of Being Pure At Heart:
- on their site:
- on their Myspace:
- on Facebook