The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Brooklyn quartet The Pains of Being at Pure at Heart write great pop sounds with very loud guitars.
They have a new record ‘Belong’ coming out on March 28th.

With big name producers onboard and shades of the Pumpkins at their innocent best, this time the band have taken the music up a gear (and its just what we’ve been waiting for)….

Flush the Fashion spoke to Singer / Guitarist Kip Berma

What are you up to at the moment?
We’re on tour, right now we’re in Lille, France waiting to soundcheck before the show.

Does the name ‘Belong’ have any special significance?

It’s the first track on the album, and we couldn’t self-title a second album in a row (only Red House Painters and Tindersticks can get away with that). Though in a weird way, this sounds more “Self-Titled” than the first one, which probably should have kept its original name, “Romantic Friendship.”

What was it like working with Flood and Alan Moulder?
It was great! Those two worked on so many records we admire that came to define those bands (Ride, Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, The Sundays, Jesus and Mary Chain, Curve). It was a tremendous honor that they were willing to work with us, as we’re a lot less “important” than the sorts of bands they normally work with.

Where was ‘Belong’ recorded?
Most of it was recorded in New York, but the vocals and mixing were done in London, where we happened to be at the time as our tour ended.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong by Slumberland Records

Your sound has got much bigger this time around, how much did Flood and Alan help to shape the record?
They were really great with giving us the tools to get the sound that we had in mind– not telling us what to do or what kind of band we should be. They weren’t like “go big or go home.”

We were excited about the songs we had written and really eager to make a visceral, more immediate record that still sounded 100 percent like us. My favorite records are the ones you can hear for 10 seconds and just feel “yes” about. It’s a sort of instinctual, intuitive reaction to rock music, which I think makes for the best rock music.

To overly intellectualize things or tell people they have to know 17 other bands before they can even begin to understand the song is elitist and pointless – the best music should be satisfying in the instant, but also strange enough that it allows for you to come back to it over time.

Did you have the songs written before you went into the studio?
Oh definitely – we finished recording our first album in the summer of 2008, so since then we’ve been writing a lot and were lucky enough to have lots of songs to choose from. It helps when you can pick out the 10 best, instead of “let’s put all the songs we have on the record” sort of thing.

Belong - Pains of being Pure at HeartWho did the record cover?
Winston Chmielinski ( He did the “Say No to Love” 7″ single, as well as the “Heart in Your Heartbreak” and “Belong” 7″ as well.

Is there anywhere you are especially looking forward to visiting on Tour?

Well, we’d never been to Luxembourg before, and we played there last night.

They made us drink Absinthe before soundcheck, claiming it was a local tradition. Who were we to argue…

Who makes the best distortion foot pedal?

My friend Danny Taylor (he plays in Zaza too). He modified an American Big Muff and then added a MXR micro-amp for boost and put it in this cool rainbow, translucent case. It’s called the “Painbow.”

Which one is better? Siamese Dream or Melon Collie?

Siamese Dream. The vocals are sung in a way that is more lilting, soft and strange relative to what was expected of a 90s Alternative act in the wake of Grunge. Also, it is not burdened with the idea of being a great band – it’s just a great album. It’s not self-aware, it’s just very natural. I like that a lot.

But there are some incredible moments on Melon Collie, especially “To Here is No Why,” “Muzzle” and “1979” – there were about 8 potential singles on that album – all of them exceptional in their own way. And the beauty and restraint of songs like “33” and “Take Me Down” (James Iha) – those are fantastic too. Plus, hats off to Flood and Alan Moulder, they made the album sound heavy and huge in places, without ever relying on generic rock sounds – it’s massive, but so totally The Pumpkins sound.

Still, I think double albums, however sensational, are too large a song-cycle to really allow a record to be enjoyable in its entirety.

I’d rather play a short record 3 times than a long one once.

Finally.. Where is your favorite place to eat in New York?
Dallas BBQ, but basically just for the Red, White + Blue “Firecracker” Texas-sized frozen Margarita. It’s pretty USA! USA! USA! in all the best ways…

Catch them on tour in Feb / March 2010

24 Magnet, Berlin, Germany
26 – Gleis 22, Munsters, Germany
27 – Bitterzoet, Amsterdam, Holland

1 – Kortrijk, De Kreun, Belgium
3 – King’s College, London

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