The massively talented UK twosome Pale broke out last fall on the indiesphere with their very good track for “Rundown”. The band’s excellent genre-jumping sound, containing elements of R&B, post punk, and electronic then blended with great pop songwriting, made the London-based duo one of our favorite finds of 2013. B3 staffer Joanne Lam recently had the chance to chat with Alan from the band and you can have a read at their conversation below.
B3SCI: You held your first headline show for your single “Fearing Faces” back in August of 2013. How was it?
Pale: It was the first time we played a headline show in our hometown, so it was interesting. Small venue, 80 people maybe, and it sold out. We were happy. Our only regret is that we only had 7 or so songs to play. They had a piano so we used it. I’d never played piano on stage before. I felt like Tom Waits for all of 30 seconds.
B3SCI: What’s the story behind your band name?
Pale: I couldn’t tell you. But I know it is the name I will make music under for the rest of my life. It’s just our name. It’s perfect. We are Pale, plain and simple.
B3SCI: I really loved the moodboard you put together for Planet Notion, and was particularly intrigued by your mention of John Martyn. How has he influenced your songwriting? What other artists do you look to for inspiration?
Pale: Thank you. I write most things on a nylon string acoustic guitar. I love country singers and song-writers like roy orbison or cass mccombs cause I love the song writing and the stories. I was a big fan of Alex Turner’s Solo EP and I think Christopher Owens has many of those same qualities.
John Martyn was something else, pure magic. It’s perfectly illustrated in that youtube clip. He’s just lost in what he’s doing – It’s more than music.
B3SCI: Your music is often cited for its minimalist yet emotional quality. In your opinion, is restraint and simplicity more effective in communicating emotion through music?
Pale: No. I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to effectively communicating emotions..
I have a gross sense of entitlement and therefore I expect more than what I have. Being restrained in that sense provokes emotion and creativity in me. I think our music has helped me enjoy what we have rather than making myself unhappy focussing on all the things we don’t have. Which is very destructive.
We don’t have a record deal or money to tour with or equipment / studio time etc, and I think we should be way bigger than we are. But we have to make do with what we have. I hope the emotion comes out somewhere in between trying, failing and succeeding in our lives and thus reflected in our music.
B3SCI: Pale was recently chosen as one of the BBC’s castaway on Desert Island Discs. Which piece of music, which book, and which luxury would you take with you to the island? Why these choices?
Pale: “Hollogallo – NEU!”
If this is going to be the soundtrack to the rest of my life I need something that’s up tempo, lasts long and goes places. I want to put it on in the morning and feel good for the rest of the day.
I usually lose interest in a song after about 30 seconds, but this one keeps me locked in. You never feel like you need to arrive.. Waiting to arrive is the enemy.
Sadly there is no vocal on this track so I may live to regret this decision as I would perhaps want to hear a human voice from time to time. And I hadn’t considered the nostalgic qualities.. I should have chosen ‘In Dreams‘ by Roy Orison or ‘The Waiting‘ by Tom Petty as both would remind me of people I love.
It’s an obvious choice but I’d probably take ‘The Picture Of Dorian Grey’ By Oscar Wilde for my book of choice. I love the english language and no one is better at putting it together than Oscar Wilde.. Quotes such as the ones below continue to enrich my life no matter how many times I read them. They are timeless, eloquent and so clever that they can provide meaning and insight over and over again.
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing”.
“There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”.
“I hate vulgar realism in Literature. A man who would call a spade and spade should be compelled to use one”
My luxury item would be a piano. I am not very good at playing the piano but I’ll have plenty of time to practice.
B3SCI: What’s next on the docket for Pale?
Pale: We have an EP coming out in the near future, and we’ll be doing a small tour around the same time. In the summer of 2014 we’ll be playing some festivals and then we’ll probably be finishing off an Album by the end of the year. We’re in no hurry though.
Reviewed by b3