Meet Pushpin, formed in 2019 and based in South London, their sound combines influences from post-punk, synth-led psychedelia and chamber pop.
They have already been featured on 6music, the BBC introducing Mixtape, BBC Radio London, Charlie Ashcroft’s Amazing Radio ‘Auditions’, Boogaloo Radio and Soho Radio. They have further written and produced theatrical soundtracks at the Camden Peoples’ Theatre, and provided original compositions for XR London.
Latest single 'Apples', which is their second release of 2021, came out on Friday, 26th of March.​​​​​​​
Tell us about the origins of the band and the meaning behind the band name?
Arthur: We actually sort of pieced stuff together slowly - friends of friends introducing us and all that. We actually played quite a few gigs pre-lockdown without a drummer and using loops. Thank god we found Laurence and got some drums involved.
Adam: With the name it was really just a case of looking through a big dictionary until we found a word we didn’t all hate.
You started just before Covid hit – what effect did the pandemic had on such a young band and how did you stay motivated through all of this?
Adam: The whole project being remote really changed the way we wrote music. Obviously it was hugely inconvenient, but at the same time I think the remote writing process really impacted the sound of these songs. Passing recordings of loops back and forth and gradually building them up really forces you to think about what the value of each part is. Sending a file back to the band where you add, say, your bass to the chorus really leaves you naked in a way you wouldn’t be if you were developing a song together at the same time in a room. So you have to be really self critical and learn fast. I think that’s come through in the songs.
What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?
Laurence: It’s really varied but I think that’s why we sound the way we do. Arthur’s really into Fiona Apple and Brittany Howard, but also heavier stuff like Idles and Slint. Adam loves all things synths and Eno. Ed right now almost only listens to either 70s funk and soul or J Dilla and Fly Lo. I worship Stewart Copeland and his excessive use of bell, and JD Beck with the random objects he puts on the kit. There’s a lot of overlap too – we’ll send each other stuff and say “listen to this now”. We’re mainly just recommending each other songs.
Your latest single 'Apples' was released 26th of March- What's it about? What was the process for writing and producing it?
Adam: It's about going back to somewhere that used to be familiar after a few years, but finding it all alienating and unfamiliar.
Ed: I remember when we came up with the backbone of the track about two weeks before lockdown started. Arthur and I were in my room jamming to this really simple backbeat I had made on my laptop, when all of a sudden I started playing this weird groove in 13 completely by accident.
Arthur: Recording it was slightly mad because we only have one room and use it to record as much as we can in one live take, but the guitar is acoustic so it was never going to be able to stand up to the drums. The song ended up covered in random percussion, from bottle caps on paperclips to weird chainmail and vibraslaps. Recording all that was a lot of fun.
Do you have any hobbies that you turn to to rejuvenate your creativity?
Arthur: Long walks and looking up weird production tricks. Books too.
Laurence: 1-2 hour walks every day
Adam: I collect coins, in a big way!
Ed: In the last year I have taken on the creative task of cooking basically every meal for a flat of four guys with very big appetites.
Please give us one fact each that no one knows about you?
Arthur: My new year’s resolution is to sneak a flemish word into every new song we record somehow (I’m originally from Belgium).
Laurence: I used to run a guinea pig website
Adam: I collect coins, in a big way!
Ed: I have the most cursed Tesco meal deal combination. It usually includes the breakfast triple sandwich.
Little insider tip – best thing to do in London?
Arthur: Looking up is undervalued. I feel everyone plugs music in and tries to imagine there’s no one else there, especially now, but it’s quite fun to just sit somewhere and notice all the characters walking by.
Laurence: walking through it– you can see so many different worlds in 30 mins
Adam: Getting on the tube with nowhere specific to go, getting off at a random place you’ve never been to before, and just following your feet. I moved to London last year, and to me it felt like exploring a new world.
Ed: I LOVE cycling. I cycle a few times a week and just ride somewhere. Usually to Brixton to look wistfully at the Windmill.
Arthur: All these tips are so lockdown. Ask us in six months, hopefully!
What's your ideal press headline in 12 months from now? In which publication?
Adam: COVID-19 is done and dusted. Everything is fine.
Ed: ngl would love to see our ugly mugs on the cover of So Young.
If we were to look at the artists you are listening to, who would we find on your playlist?
Arthur: Valerie June, Deerhoof, D’Angelo, Squid, Deathcrash
Laurence: The Police, clipping., Cosmo Sheldrake, Mr Jukes, Pushpin
Adam: Aldous Harding, The Dark Souls OST, Fairport Convention, Talk Talk
Ed: Haruomi Hosono, Isley Brothers, Rotary Connection, Run The Jewels, Labi Siffre
What's next? Plans for 2021?
Arthur: Gigging near you hopefully. We are really desperate to play and go to shows. I miss stumbling across a band who then make your week because it feels like your own personal discovery. It would be cool if we could do that for someone else, ya know.
Ed: Return to my spiritual home: the pub.
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