The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are making their first trek to Halifax for this year’s Pop Explosion, but brand new experiences have become the norm for the Brooklyn band over the past couple of years.
“With the first album, there was no expectation at all. Everything that happened was totally surreal,” says keyboardist/vocalist Peggy Wang from Harrisonburg, Virginia, the day before they’re set to play HPX. Their debut album captured the attention and acclaim of the indie music world, and quickly the band found themselves in a studio to make their recent sophomore album Belong with producers responsible for the very sound they were strongly influenced by.
“We started out wanting to go with a Smashing Pumpkins vibe,” Wang says. “And Flood and Alan Moulder obviously worked on the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness together. It was a little bit scary at first. I didn’t even know what a producer did,” she laughs. “[Then] we heard that Alan Moulder was a fan of our first record. He wasn’t able to produce it but he hooked us up with Flood. It was amazing.”
From famous producer Flood over the the ‘Fax, we ran through our Halifax Pop Explosion questionnaire with Wang, who claimed she didn’t know very much about Halifax—we think she did just fine.
AUX: What would be in your Halifax Pop Explosion survival kit?
Peggy Wang: I don’t know! Does it get really cold? It’s weird, because we’ve been going through the south, and it’s been really hot. So I feel kind of ill-prepared. I guess I’d bring contact lenses.
Who or what are you most looking forward to seeing at HPX?
Twin Shadow’s playing, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to see them, but hopefully they’ll be around. And Thee Oh Sees, who I’ve never seen before actually. We’ll be there all day the day that we’re playing, so hopefully we’ll get to see some other stuff.
If you’re familiar with Halifax, what is something you love about it? If you’re not, what is something you’re curious about seeing or learning?
Are you guys known for like salmon or something? (laughs) I’m looking forward to that. I’m a big fan of seafood. I’m from New Orleans, so I eat a lot of that stuff.
Tell us why your show is the show everyone should make sure to see.
Oh god. Are there a lot of shows going on at the same time? I’m not a competitive person! I would say that I would happily concede to, you know, may the best band win (laughs). I guess I would say that because we’ve never played Nova Scotia before, never been to Halifax. Who knows when we’ll be back! That’s our selling point.
Who is your favourite Halifax band/artist, and why?
There was a band I was really into in high school, Jale. [Writer’s note: YES.] I had the Sub Pop catalogue and would buy stuff from it that sounded good. There were a lot of misses out of the hits, and I would say that Jale was one of the hits. I remember being in Boston for like a week, and they happened to be playing at this club called T.T. the Bear’s, and I wanted to go so badly, but it was 18+ and I was only 15. I also distinctly remember the album cover [Dreamcake] was just like, a really nice picture of desserts. Also the handwriting had a Beat Happening vibe. I distinctly remember being into them when I was younger.
What’s happening for the band after HPX?
After the festival, everybody else is going home. I’m going to visit my parents for a little bit, they live in New Orleans. Then the band’s going to Hong Kong and Taiwan in December. I have relatives, aunts, uncles, grandparents, that I haven’t seen since 1992. The band has never been. And I’ll probably be going back to work.
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart play at the Olympic Community Hall at 11pm.