This coming Tuesday (February 21), The Pains of Pure at Heart will make their Korean live debut at V-Hall in Seoul. Formed in 2007, the New York quartet began to climb the underground rock ranks with the release of their 2009 eponymous debut. Filled with infectious, fuzzy indie pop anthems, the disc rightfully received loads of glowing reviews, including a “Best New Music” tag from Pitchfork. In March of 2011, the band issued their sophomore effort, “Belong.” Receiving equally favorable praise, The Pains of Pure at Heart spent last year promoting the album at some of the world’s premier musical outings like Coachella, Fuji Rock, and Lollapalooza.
Guitarist and vocalist Kip Berman was kind enough to answer a few email questions for Korea Gig Guide. Below you can read about how he and his bandmates hope to hit up the always awesome Gopchang Jeongol (one of Hongdae’s top watering holes), dream of hearing their tunes blasting out of noraebangs, and would love for fans to bring some unusual local snack foods to their V-Hall concert on Tuesday.
1) What do The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have planned for 2012?
I’m really excited to start working on the songs for the next record. 2011 was all about touring “Belong” and I’m really grateful we got to travel so extensively. It’s been amazing that we’ve been able to go to so many places that we never imagined music would take us. But I feel ready to start thinking about the future and look forward to having a chance to start the process of making a new record that builds off the things we’ve learned from the first two.
2) You’ll be playing your first show in Seoul soon. Aside from playing, is there anything else you’d like to see or do while you’re in Seoul?
The fact that we’re coming to Korea for the first time feels pretty unreal when I think of how we just started the band as friends five years ago to play at (keyboardist) Peggy (Wang)’s birthday party.
A friend of mine in the band Beirut said there’s a cool vinyl bar in Seoul where the DJ only plays Korean music from the 1960s – 80s, so we’ll try to check that out. I guess it’s kind of obvious, but the thought of having kimchi in Korea seems like it will be delicious. I know there are many different varieties and I definitely want to try that while I’m there. I know Peggy will be into that as well. Maybe it’s the same as coming to America and wanting to eat a hamburger, but honestly if I was Korean (and not vegetarian) and got to come to New York, I’d want to eat a good hamburger. Also, we’re just generally into weird food, candy, or snacks, so if anyone wants to bring us some samples to the show, we’d be really excited about that.
3) What can Korean fans expect from a Pain of Being Pure at Heart concert?
We usually choose about half our songs from each album and then add a few from singles or EPs as well. I always love playing “Come Saturday”, “Strange”, “Heart in Your Heartbreak,” and “Young Adult Friction.”
4) Have you started writing material for the follow-up to “Belong” yet? Any chance we’ll get to hear some new songs in Seoul?
This is our very first time in Seoul, so we’ll focus on the songs we’ve released up to this point. When this tour is completed in the spring, we’ll head back home and start working on the new songs I’ve been writing.
5) How did all the members of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart first meet? Why did you want to start making music together?
We were all friends, and we bonded with each other over music. Peggy and I would hang out and listen to Rocketship, The Pastels, My Teenage Stride, Black Tambourine, My Bloody Valentine, and My Favorite. I thought she was too cool to want to be in a band with me, but when I asked her she said “ok.” (Bassist) Alex (Naidus) and I were friends and shared a love of more garage and punk bands like The Exploding Hearts, The Gories, The Dirtbombs, The Ramones, and Titus Andronicus. He came to the first “band practice” at my house and it involved playing along to a CD of drum beats with me on guitar and him on bass. I didn’t want to be the singer, but I was the one who wrote the songs and knew the words.
6) What do you like best about being in the Pains of Being Pure at Heart?
I love that my life is spent doing the thing I love most. I am so lucky that I get to make music, travel and play concerts. I just can’t say enough how grateful I am that I get to be in a band with my friends, writing songs and playing them for people in places I thought I’d never get a chance to see. We may never be rich or famous, but our life feels rich in a better way.
7) You’ve accomplished a lot as a band in a short time. As a group, what else would you like to do?
I would like to write a song that is popular enough that there would be a karaoke version of it. I feel that’s the true measure of success. I mean all the artistic credibility in the world isn’t quite as wonderful as knowing a drunk guy is singing a Pains’ song woefully out of tune– and it isn’t me!
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart play in Hongdae at V-Hall on February 21. The show starts at 7:30 pm. Goonamguayeoridingstella (who just returned from playing in Japan as part of the Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge concert series), the recently reunited Underwears Band, 9 and the Numbers, and Bye Bye Badman (winners of the 2011 “Hello Rookie” finals) will open the gig. Tickets are 69,000 won in advance and 75,000 won at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased in English here.