Sounding like somewhere in between The Birthday Party, Soundgarden and Bauhaus, the UK rockers Pink Narcissus from Brighton surely embody long lost phase of rock’n'roll experimentation. The quartet is made up by Oli Spleen (Vocals), Paddy Longlegs (Guitar), Cod Riverson (Bass) and Cookie Allen (Drums). Since they once started out in 2009, up until now they’ve released one debut EP and the mini-album Block Your Eyes / Shield Your Ears, whereas the first one gained quite a following on YouTube – amidst the release of their video for the song Disenfectant. In the middle of March they released the video for the song Masquerade, now topping over thousand views. As I wrote this interview, they’ve also been confirmed for Meadowlands Festival located in East Sussex, UK. If you get the opportunity, attend their show over at Psychosocial Brighton on the 13th of April. I got the opportunity to interview the band about their upcoming gig, what freak-rock essentially is and much more.
It seems like you are bringing back a lost set of eccentric stage-performances and somewhat originality to an otherwise pretty stale genre. What do you think about this yourself; do you feel like you’re re-igniting something lost years ago?
Oli: – I’m not entirely sure which genre you mean.
Paddy: – We’re drawing our influence from a wide range of music. It’s combining the different elements that makes it less stale. Unintentionally.
Cod: – And we’re just rocking out like any band would.
Oli: – All genres blend into each other. But currently I think its mainstream indie music that has become stale. That genre used to mean independent back when you had great bands like The Smiths and Joy Division, now indie means middle-of-the-road blandness and conformity.
Do you believe that you’re influenced by the 1960s art/porn film with the same name? Does it influence you aesthetically? Considering your latest music video Masquerade, it seems to have quite a promiscuous feeling attached to it – but what do you think about it yourself?
Cod: – That’s more of an Oli question.
Paddy: – We just liked the name.
Oli: – That’s a bit of a veiled question. The answer to that could probably be found by looking up my old band The Flesh Happening which had more explicit sexual content though I’ve mellowed since then. I do love the visual aesthetic of the film and I liked the flower reference too. Flowers are dark and sinister things, they feed on death and decay.
I can also sense that a lot of irony must be involved with Pink Narcissus? Or are you just too narcissistic in general for that?
Cod: – There’s a lot of in-jokes with this band.
Paddy: – We laugh at ourselves, we all have different styles, some of us wear skinny jeans, Cod wears Adidas shorts when we play and Oli used to perform in a gimp suit, so we’ve never been too serious.
Oli: – We have a sense of humour but we’re not a joke / parody band like The Darkness.
Cookie: – I’m confused.
I’ve also interviewed Birdeatsbaby for this blog and apparently you and they will be playing together at Oh! You Pretty Things in Brighton. Accompanied with the band Steel Kings. Have you played there before and what do you think about those bands?
Paddy: – We love Birdeatsbaby.
Cod: – Well we haven’t played Psychosocial before. The gig is gonna be streamed on the internet live. And there’s gonna be a phat after show party. Steel Kings are mates from back home in Daventry where I’m from.
Oli: – Birdeatsbaby are great to play with and suit our more gypsy / cabaret side. I’m looking forward to meeting Steel Kings too as they’re very supportive of us.
Could you describe what Freak Rock essentially is?
Oli: – Paddy came up with that term.
Cod: – Freak Rock is Pink Narcissus.
Paddy: – Think you’re in a circus and a rock gig at the same time.
Oli: – We’re all about celebrating what sets us apart from the world and each other. We also have a song ‘Circus’ with the lyrics “We are the freaks, we are the clowns ‘cause Monday morning’s come around, and still we’ve nowhere near come down, the circus is in town”.
Cookie: – If you say it backwards it’s Kcor Kearf.
When reading your biography, I stumbled across the fact that your live shows are partly inspired by The Muppet Show. In what way?
Cod: – The flailing around.
Cookie: – the fluffiness.
Cod: – That’s another in-joke that ended up being true.
Oli: – Cookie and I were pretty much brought up by Muppets. They are a big influence on all of us.
Cod: – Paddy’s got legs like a Muppet.
Paddy: – I am a Muppet.
Oli: – And of course one of the greatest drummers of all time was a Muppet …Keith Moon. …I mean Animal.
As I watched your video Disinfectant it reminded me a little bit of The Cramps. Could they have inspired you too? Their live-shows seemed to be a lot like yours. How would you describe your live shows?
Paddy: – A bit like The Cramps.
Cod: – We haven’t played in a mental asylum but it’s been close.
Oli: – I’d love to play a mental asylum! The Cramps are great but my look in the Disinfectant video was more based on Little Richard who I love also. There’s a John Waters influence in that video too.
Paddy: – ‘til we can afford Kiss pyrotechnics we’re happy to be like The Cramps.
Which up-and-coming bands would you recommend?
Paddy: – Howls Moving Disco.
Oli: – This Water Kills are friends of mine from Hastings and great live.
Paddy: – Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin.
Cookie: – One Direction.
Paddy: – First erection.
Now that you’ve released your debut-EP and the mini-album Block Your Ears / Shield Your Eyes, what will you be working on next except videos?
Cod: – We’re working on a new EP. And we’re playing Meadowlands festival this year near Brighton.
I also saw that one of your tracks named Money for the Man is featured on a compilation named From Beneath The Sea… Could you tell me more about it?
Oli: – That was my friend Reuben’s CD, he’s based in Hastings where I’m from. We have a strong following there.
Cod: – We’re on a few compilations. One with Birdeatsbaby and one for The Fledgling Arts Collective.
Oli: – And there’s that one for that film ‘Parkour’.
Cod: – Yeah that’s the one with Birdeatsbaby, you can search for it on Spotify. We’ve got two tracks on another one too but I forget what it’s called.
Oli: – The song Money for the Man is about how bands and artists are kinda like prostitutes.
Cod: – And it’s got a sick breakdown in it.
When will Pink Narcissus be conquering the rest of Europe?
Oli: – A week on Tuesday.
Cod: – As soon as the opportunity arises and when we can afford it.
Paddy: – When we get gigs.
Oli: – When we get organised.
Do you have any last words of wisdom?
Cookie: – Don’t be silly wrap your willy.
Cod: – We’re just a bunch of friends who wanna have fun.
Paddy: – Girls just wanna have fun.
Oli: – Every path worth taking is at least worth taking twice.
Paddy: – Have a large kebab as desert after a Grubs burger.
Here’s Pink Narcissus with their song Masquerade:
You can also find them over here: