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Ariel Pink

A few days before Ariel Pink's appearance at Plissken Festival of Athens, The Basement had the chance for a chat with the American charismatic musician. With an exceptional release in 2014, 'Pom Pom', and more than ten albums in his long and absolutely creative career in music that commenced in the early 00's, Ariel's forthcoming show is absolutely unmissable. For me, it all started back in 2010 when I had listened to his masterpiece 'Before Today', so I can be considered a late fan; that's the reason I had missed Ariel's shows in Athens during the past decade, and that's why I'm so eager to see him this time, which will be the first of my life. Regarding the interview itself, it was a bit "adventurous' and "challenging", I knew it from the very beginning that it would not be a "cool usual interview"... I may sound a bit naive or extravagant right now, but I think that the whole thing with this interview made me a "different and better Mike". I told this to Ariel himself... Anyway, I would like to deeply thank him for putting some of his time for this chat. C u at Plissken, dear!

 

The Basement: Hi Ariel! Les’t start from...the start. When did you first start playing music and when you realised that this is the thing you would like to do in your life?
When I was very young I knew I wanted to make music. Little by little I amassed lyrics, musical ideas, equipment, practice, gradually becoming confident with achieving acceptable results. 

The Basement: I just listened to your new song ‘Wait A Minute’ for the movie ‘Heaven Knows What’ - beauty... Also read that you make a cameo in the movie and have also seen you as cab driver in the short film ‘Vegabond’. Should we expect more of your acting talents in future?  
I don't know. We'll see. I guess you can expect me to do anything - it doesnt matter to me. 

The Basement: Let’s return to music. I counted 10 albums so far (am I right?), which one would you pick as your favourite?
There are more than 10. I dont know how many. But I love them all the same. 

The Basement: Last year you released ‘Pom Pom’, your first ever album without your band ‘Haunted Graffiti’. What happened ? 
The record is not the first without 'my band' - only the name changed; I thought shortening the name would make it less confusing. I was wrong. 

The Basement: How do you usually write your songs? What it your favourite... writing process?
I just write when necessary. I don't force anything. I wait until I get an idea. I learn other people's songs and I trust my inner voice to take me where I need to go. 

The Basement: Your music is always supported by beautiful and striking videos. But, especially, the clips for ‘Picture Me Gone’ and ‘Put Your Number on My Phone’ are mind blowing. What was the inspiration for them? 
I don't know. Life... Ask the director of the videos, Grant Singer. I'm a musician. 

The Basement: What happened with Madonna? Big fight as it was reproduced in the media or was the whole thing exaggerated, as it very often happens?
Nothing happened. Everybody knows this. 

The Basement: I totally respect that Ariel. But, on the other hand, what about things her manager said : “Madonna has no interest working with mermaids” ? And what about Grimes, who later accused you of misogyny ? How did you cope with all that ?
Well, it wasn't Madonna who said it. Who knows if she's even on twitter. I've been asked so many times about this in the past 6 months, it may well be my crowning achievement so far, career. I deal with Grimes and Madonna with grace and humility and I try to watch my mouth now so that assholes (like u?) have nothing to report on - understand? I doubt my name gets brought up when they are interviewed. It's waste of everyone's time to repeat their names in order to have me restate the obvious. How i put up with such line of questioning is a damn good question! I must be enlightened. lol

The Basement: For me, you sometimes seem to be so cynical and harsh, while some others you sound so sensitive and kind. Am i saying bullshit right now or do you see these two sides in you truly? And, if yes, under which circumstances each one of those two sides activates?
Yes, although I would say that I'm less harsh and less sensitive than I come across. 

The Basement: I think that even in your singing, I can sense that you change roles singing in different voices, it’s like you create different personas. Am I right ?
Yes.

The Basement: How would you describe yourself? I mean so many things have been written about you, most of them probably exaggerations, media and publicity tricks and shit... Who is the real Ariel Pink?
None of your business! lol

The Basement: I read that you and The Flaming Lips are working together right now, along with Miley Cyrus. What we should we expect by this collaboration and when we will have the chance to listen to the outcome of it?
How should I know? I don't have any expectations, so neither should you. 

The Basement: Some people, even fans of yours, are very skeptical about the whole thing.. You know, they say "Miley is so mainstream and so shallow etc.. What is Ariel doing with her?" What would you comment on this?
Who really thinks like this? Are you twelve years old? What's so shallow about the mainstream? Miley is a magical talent who happens to be loved by millions. I admire and respect her for all she's achieved and her tireless dedication to her art. 

The Basement: Which bands or artists of nowadays would you consider as the most important and interesting?
Music is timeless and emotional; not important or interesting per se. 

The Basement: What about your main influences as a musician? 
I dont know anymore. Whatever my friends listen to. 

The Basement: What are your hobbies and interests beyond music?
History, science, politics, leisure, reading, learning something new, partying, food, stimulation.

The Basement: Plissken Festival, Athens: What should we expect?
Expect whatever you want. I don't like photographs. 

Not your first time in our country, though. It was another one at Technopolis, back in 2009. What are your memories of that show?
I've been there more than once, at least 3-4 times in smaller venues, but always to new audiences. New fans may be trendy, superficial, or temporary, but at least they are not so-called 'Real Fans' - who drop you if you are friends with the wrong people, i.e. Miley Cyrus.

The Basement: we have a thing with lists here in the Basement: your 10 Best Albums of all time plz... :)
The thing about top ten lists - I don't like them. not only that but I can never decide. So, no list - sorry!

The Basement: Okay. What about your favourite songs over the last couple of months?  
I dont like to share personal information.

 

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