PINS Manchester 28 Aug 2015 Mike Hughes 15 732 488

INTERVIEW: Faith Vern (PINS)

PINS__Manchester__28_Aug_2015_Mike_Hughes_-15_732_488PINS were formed in Manchester in 2012 when singer and guitarist Faith Vern was feeling unsatisfied in all-male bands and so started her own, comprised of Anna Donigan, Sophie Galpin and Lois McDonald. Faith’s lyrics capture the specific magic of the restlessness and anticipation that comes with being a girl growing up. In Young Girls, we’re ‘not trying to be brave/we don’t want to be saved’ and we’re sitting in our bedrooms wondering, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to kiss everyone?’. In PINS’ newest single, Dazed By You, we’re on edge about falling in love and impatient to get what we want: ‘taking time that isn’t mine/I want it all tonight / now I feel I’m waiting for nothing at all/I’m dazed by you’.

We chatted to Faith in the middle of PINS’ UK tour about recording in her bedroom, turning to Patti Smith for inspiration and writing songs for the girls.

You released your new video for Dazed By You earlier this month and it was recorded while you were on tour in America – did being there inspire the aesthetics of the video?

We knew that Dazed By You was going to be the next single and we needed a video for it, but we weren’t home long enough to make one! Lois has an old Super-8 camera so we took that. We had to drive across Badlands, so we had this romantic idea to film that journey. In reality, it was a lot of slapping on lipstick in the van and pulling over at the side of the road to film each other miming the song, which was playing from an iPhone, whilst bemused tourists drove by.

That sounds amazing! I saw you in Sweden for Way Out West festival and something I remember is you saying, ‘this is for the girls’ before playing Girls Like Us, which I really loved. And then I also heard Jehnny Beth from Savages say the same thing a couple of days before. Is writing and singing something you do with women in mind?

It’s good for women to support other women. I wrote the songs Young Girls and Girls Like Us with women in mind. I wrote the words for Girls Like Us for the women in my band – we feel like a unit when we play it and I think it encompasses the spirit of our band, an us-against-the-world kind of thing. It’s an empowering feeling that we want to share with the girls who come to watch us.

Have you seen The Diary of A Teenage Girl? Something that stuck with me after watching that was Minnie’s voiceover saying, ‘this is for all the girls when they have grown’. That’s one of the reasons I love Young Girls, because it really captures that feeling of being a teenage girl and all the uncertainty and limbo and hope.

Exactly, I’m so glad you get that! I haven’t seen The Diary of A Teenage Girl yet, Lois went to see it the other day and I need to catch it. Young Girls is a nostalgic flashback to being a teenager and it’s cool how people seem to relate to that song. I guess we all went through the same stuff.

Who did you see play at Way Out West?

I saw The Julie Ruin twice that weekend, once at Way Out West and then again at OYA Festival and they were the highlight for me. I really admire Kathleen Hanna’s tenacity.

I’d never seen them play before, but they were incredible – Kathleen Hanna is so amazing. Did you see Waxahatchee at Pustervik?

The other girls saw the Waxahatchee show, I was sat backstage. I heard them and I was like ‘who IS this?’. They caught my attention, for sure.

Is there something cathartic or empowering about performing on stage? Watching women on stage voicing their own experiences or anger makes me feel really empowered, but is it the same for you?

Absolutely! There is really nothing else like playing a show, when you’re really ‘in it’ it’s a stream of consciousness, there’s no feeling of before or after, just now! Usually I feel very comfortable, but there are some times when I feel rattled and it throws me right off, like in Edinburgh recently, some guys were down at the front pushing girls, violently ‘mashing’. I won’t have that, not at my show.

What is your songwriting process like?

Up until now, any song I have written has been done at home in my bedroom, I have some basic recording gear so I set that up and make demos, then send them to the other girls and then we flesh them out together. I’m really into collaborative writing right now though.

What acts as your writing inspiration?

If I’m ever at a loss I turn to my stack of poetry books, like Patti Smith or Sylvia Plath. I’m really no book worm but I have a shelf in my flat that has mine and my husband’s collection of books and it’s pulled me out of many writing blocks. Just filling your mind with words can spark the first line of a song.

PINS’s UK tour ends with a show at Oslo, London, tomorrow night on 23rd September.

You can buy their newest album, Wild Nights, here: smarturl.it/WildNightsCD

You can watch the “Dazed By You” video here:

Image by Mike Hughes.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.