News Pins: ‘We’re Like Magpies’

Manchester quartet Pins talk shiny cassette tapes, amongst other things.

As we collectively ponder the merits and longevity of a physical CD, and as vinyl sales gradually begin to rise, the cassette tape has stayed relatively outside of the picture. The phenomenon has never quite died out: bands with a DIY aesthetic will always consider them; they’re cheap to make and more importantly, they’re something to grab hold of. But in recent months we’ve seen something of a rise in the tapes, perhaps most brilliantly exemplified by a four-piece band in Manchester, Pins.

One swift purchase, having seen the group’s superb debut video for ‘Eleventh Hour’ - a kaleidoscopic flurry of brilliance, to put it succinctly - and in through the postbox arrives a gold tape, with a sharp design encasing it. Pins aren’t anti-internet, but they clearly see value and romance in the physical: singer / guitarist Faith Holgate tells DIY; “It’s always going to be more appealing than having an MP3 stored on my iTunes. That’s not to say I don’t think having instant access to music isn’t great, but consuming music online does take away some of the magic…”

Physical is one thing, seeing gold is another. “We’re like magpies, we saw something shiny and had to have it,” says Faith of the cassette. For a bold, flashy tape to be considered as an understated first move speaks volumes about the sheer level of attention that Pins managed to draw in prior to releasing a single track. On a par with fellow post-punk thrillseekers Savages, both bands have somehow avoided intense internet hype, rising to prominence through mere word of mouth. Beginning at a night curated by their own guitarist, Lois McDonald, the band played a show at Islington Mill and before long were drawing in regular crowds: “We’ve still only done a handful of shows but being in a band like Pins is all about the live experience,” explains bassist Anna Donigan.

One watch of the video for ‘Eleventh Hour’ will certainly heighten the prospect of seeing the four-piece bring their energetic C86-inspired garage punk to the stage. Working with Sing J Lee, a series of blink-and-you-missed-it shots show the group giving every inch of life to their respective instruments, showcasing the kind of furore and intensity that can only be truly appreciated in the live setting: “[Sing] really understood what we were going for. We wanted a video that reflected the song and that introduced us as a band. We didn’t have a budget but we did have a bunch of people with wild imaginations and big ambitions.’

Prior to the tape release, did they get an influx of label offers and favour the do-it-yourself approach? Faith says they “flirted with the idea” of releasing the first work with a label but that “nothing was making sense”. Anna continues; “Putting it out ourselves meant we could maintain creative freedom, everything else up to that point had been very DIY so I guess it just felt natural to continue that notion.” Anyone who managed to invest in the 100 edition might have grabbed themselves a little chunk of history, considering the current trajectory of the band. Tapes might not be the future, but Pins most certainly are.

Pins’ debut single ‘Eleventh Hour’ is out now via Haus Of Pins.

Taken from the June 2012 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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