Musicscan: Please tell me a little bit about how this album “House Arrest” came together. Did you approach it any differently than your previous efforts?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Not really. I decided on the title and track listing of the album after I’d recorded and mixed all of the material on it. The companion album released with the BBP version of House Arrest was called Loverboy, which was sequenced from the same pool of recordings.
Musicscan: Your music is very eclectic and incorporates innumerable different styles and genres. Do you think there are still new sounds to be discovered or can modern music basically be reduced to a recombination within postmodern concepts of pastiche and bricolage?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: No, but that¹s a hard case to prove in a few sentences.
Musicscan: What makes for a good song in your opinion? What is a good song?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Good question. It escapes me. In fact, I don’t believe at all in the concept of good song. If that were true, then anyone performing this “good song” would be legitimized by the song itself. But people can ruin (as well as enhance) a specific song, whether it is good or bad. In the end, the defining feature in music is the delivery, or the product, which combines all the elements within it, like song, performance, attitude, medium, arrangement, environment in which one is listening to it, etc... that dictates the aesthetic merits of a song in the modern world. I more inclined to believe that it is this Very feature that persuades us to blindly believe that “a good song is a good song.”
Musicscan: Your songs are quite opaque and multi-dimensional at times with various layers on top of each other, yet underneath there is the structure of a simple and often times conventional pop song. Is that a conscious effort? Do you try to work with this seeming dichotomy?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: I seem to overdo everything. I never know when to stop recording, stop mixing, etc. I constantly layer tracks in order to salvage that which I want to repair. Nothing is ever good enough as it is, so I overcompensate.
Musicscan: I believe you want to art school. Do you think that your music and visual art intercept or collide in your work somewhere? How important is the artwork of your records for you and how does it relate to the music?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: The visual art I make is very different from the music and sleeve art which you refer to. I keep both music and art separate from each other for the most part. I have slightly more confidence in my music and its visual representation, than I do for my own artwork. It is neither response nor indifference to what I’ve learned in art school. It operates with different codes, namely the laws of popular music packaging.
Musicscan: What aspect does irony play in your music? Does it interest you to play with stereotypes, clichés and genres?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: I use my intuition in almost all cases. I don’t think that much about genres, irony, and stereotypes when it comes to how I approach my music. I just start recording and keep on going from there!
Musicscan: What is the meaning of art in the 21st century? Can art contain an effective political dimension?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Good question. Not in its current state. If something that isn’t seen as art transcends what it appears to be, one calls it art. But this means that art itself mustn’t transcend its own medium which is art. So we try to imagine a work of art that transcends the medium of art and we come up with...??? Contradiction? Who is to say? Maybe it’ll only be art in hindsight, after it’s effects have long influenced our environment or sense of reality.
Musicscan: In how far is your music influenced by your hometown L.A. and your immediate surroundings? What keeps you from leaving L.A.?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Family issues keep me here. But I don’t know how it has been influenced. Maybe it is LA that influences me at the core of everything. I don’t know. Johnny Rotten lives out here, somewhere in Malibu.
Musicscan: Is dilettantism a necessity or prerequisite for great music or simply an aesthetic device?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Excuse me? Don’t understand the question.
Musicscan: Do you read reviews or features about yourself? What do you think about
cultural criticism or music criticism to be more precise these days?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: It obviously misses the point. When it isn’t entertaining on a literary level then it has little to no value. I have read many interesting criticisms of my work, mostly in blogs online, which aren’t so literary or culturally defined as published sources.
Musicscan: In how far does it influence your own perception of your work when witnessing how other people relate to it?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Mixed reactions. I get offended sometimes. But I generally only like to read positive opinions about my work. It makes me feel better about myself.
Musicscan: What is the biggest compliment someone could give you as far as your music is concerned?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Unconditional love and support.
Musicscan: What do you dislike about performing live? How do you manage to tour as much as you do anyway?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Only the lack of control, repetition and nervousness that comes with it. It is a different medium than the one I consider myself involved with – home recording.
Musicscan: What can we expect from you in the near future? Any collaborations planned, any tours in Europe?
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Yes. You bet.