by Matt Kelchner
It’s been a few years since we last had a new full length album from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The last was the well received sophomore effort, Belong, in 2011. After a few singles and an EP in 2012, we have not heard much from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart until this year. Not only are they back this year with Days of Abandon, but the band has also hit the road again. This Monday they make their way back to Philadelphia for a show at Johnny Brenda’s.
I was able to catch up with Kip Berman, the sole songwriter and main cog in the band. With every album it was Berman writing the songs and then gathering available bandmates to assist him with recording it. Days of Abandon was no different. Berman was able to pull the curtains back and shared with me his views of his band as well as the process that went into making it.
“The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is an ideal – and only bands can be ideal, not people,” Berman says as he begins to get into the effects of a constantly changing lineup on his songwriting. “I believe in bands. Destroyer, My Bloody Valentine, even Toro y Moi is an ideal— and their music is absolute.” He continues, “I feel the band is who I want to be, but my life is not as good – and my Kip-ness gets in the way of everything.”
With that said, the band’s identity and sound have managed to stay true throughout it’s history, changing and evolving slightly from album to album. “It’s pretty much the same. I write some chords and then sing stuff about how I feel. Maybe I put my finger in slightly different places to make it sound jazzy,” comments Berman as he describes the ways in which his writing style has changed since the band’s first release.
As you listen to Days of Abandon, you quickly get a sense of maturity in the sound of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Elements from the days of their self-titled EP and debut album, but at the same time the ideas and sounds in the music sound more polished. Berman adds, “I was really excited about “Masokissed”. That song turned out in a good way, and I don’t think I could have done a song like that until now. It made me feel a little like Roddy Frame.”
Days of Abandon was recorded where The Pains of Being Pure at Heart first started, and with a familiar face. “We recorded the record in August 2013 in Brooklyn at my friend Danny Taylor’s studio in Brooklyn. It’s called House Under Magic,” Berman tells me. It’s the same studio where their EP, Higher Than The Stars, and their first single “Come Saturday” were recorded. Berman continues to explain the importance Taylor has had with the band. “He even played drums for us when we toured with The Wedding Present, so he’s been a big part of my musical life and I was happy that we could make this record with him.”
As we talked about the driving forces that keep him motivated to continue to make and write music, Berman explains to me, “It’s the only thing I want to do. It’s the only thing I can do. And I don’t even know if I do it that well.” There’s no doubt here, Berman has a knack for crafty beautifully catchy songs and Days of Abandon is another great example of that.
Be sure to head down to Johnny Brenda’s Monday night to catch The Pains of Being Pure at Heart show off their fresh new album!