The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Interview: Pixies

Tom Ingham talks Kim Deal, bathroom etiquette and the future of the Pixies with iconic guitarist Joey Santiago.

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“We were assholes, that’s why we broke up – a bunch of fucking assholes, every single one of us. I think that’s the bottom line, I’ve finally figured it out (he laughs).” Pixies axeman Joey Santiago ruminates on the bands split following their last record Tromp Le Monde. “I could kind of tell we were going to split when we stopped appreciating what we were actually doing; how easy it was and how lucky we were to be doing it. I don’t know what the hell happened there, we didn’t even have family so what the fuck were we thinking – Jeez.”

More than 20 years after their last full length release, Pixies dropped EP-1 in September this year. Just three weeks into the project bassist Kim Deal left the band. “It was a complete shock. After three days of mourning we just rolled up our sleeves and thought about the economics of what we were doing. We booked seven weeks in the studio and we had four more left, all of us being New Englanders and working class you know we didn’t want to waste our money.”

“I think she wanted to move on, we thought about PJ Harvey (as a replacement).We were thinking about that for a while but just decided not to do it. Certainly we missed her backing vocals, if we were to put PJ Harvey in the mix it would have sounded …different” he laughs. “It’s whatever’s in the soup, we don’t know if it’s going to be a carrot or an onion. The basic thing is there, the song is there.”

 EP-1 is a slight departure from the raw production styling’s heard on previous works, making the EP hard to swallow for some fans initially. “Gil did that subconsciously I guess; by choosing him we knew we wanted a well-produced record. Who knows, I think the next recording we’re going to do is going to be a lot dirtier.”

“If we were to do another one I would bet on it that we would do a more, for the lack of a better word, grungier sound. It would be the obvious thing to do after coming out with a slick sounding record.”

The foundations for the Pixies were laid during University; divine forces put Joey and Charles in neighbouring suites. “He was a very funny, happy guy a lot of the time. He liked the way the bathroom sounded, he was in there with an acoustic one day and he just started spitting at the image of himself in the mirror, like a lot. I have no idea why, I think just to be funny because, he was laughing as he was doing it.”

The Pixies have been labelled one of the most influential bands in rock, inspiring countless grunge and alternative rock acts. Although often violent and chaotic in their execution, they were by no means strangers to the lighter side of music “‘Here Comes Your Man’ is straight up pop, we never wanted to identify by that song even though the video was really popular. We got invited to talk shows and they wanted us to play that song and we just wouldn’t go on, we didn’t play it live for a while either. I don’t know, we were afraid of the song – we thought that we couldn’t live up to its recording”

“We come across as your regular Joes and maybe that’s why people warmed to us, we didn’t dress like rock stars and I actually can’t do it, I couldn’t wear the outfit, the outfit would wear me. I wouldn’t even try it; I think the riffs are enough. In the grunge movement everyone dressed like regular people.”

Despite being hailed as innovators the band haven’t forgotten their influences, a subject that has become even more poignant following the death of Lou Reed. “Huge influence, I mean that’s one of the staples of what we listened to. I don’t know who said it so I’ll say it, I would never start a band with anyone who doesn’t like Lou Reed or The Velvet Underground, that’s almost a requirement, if you don’t get it then, nope – move on.”

Kim’s song writing rarely found its way onto record, a factor that may have influenced the recent departure.” Oh god I guess, but nothing was on the table. She certainly was invited to write songs when we went to Wales (to record) for some reason she didn’t do it. She might have felts jilted but at the same time, I don’t think we ever gave her a reason to get jilted because there was nothing on the table. We never restricted her in any way. We leave the door open; she could stroll in at any time.”

Performing on November 21st at the O2 Apollo, fans can’t help but feel the band might be lacking something without the iconic bassist. “I don’t know, “lacking” something (he ponders) – her attention to detail on playing the bass? I think her smile, people love her smile, it really is just a magical thing.”

For more information on EP-1 and the Pixies UK tour visit http://www.pixiesmusic.com/natour-uk/