Interview with Noise-pop/avant-garde recording artist Ariel Pink.
Twenty-nine-year-old Ariel Rosenberg, aka Ariel Pink, is a Los Angeles-based noise-pop/avant-garde recording artist whose very existence seems wrought with contradiction. His work, while undeniably abstract, and often steeped in layers of swirling cassette tape noise, still manages to convey all the hallmarks of finely crafted pop music: effortlessly musical and insanely catchy, yet somehow always underpinned by a slightly bleak sense of nostalgia.
"Insecurity spurs me on," he professes. "I alternate between thinking I'm the best and worst musician on the planet. Realistically speaking, I'm probably somewhere in between the two: middle-of-the-road - not all that worthy of anyone's attention." But attention's something he's certainly not short of. From a reclusive existence spent recording in his one-bedroom apartment, on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, Ariel found himself flung into LA hipster limelight when art-rockers the Animal Collective decided to put out a string of his recordings - reissues from the Haunted Graffiti series - on their acclaimed Paw Tracks imprint.
Still choosing to write and produce everything himself, using a cheap multitrack cassette recorder, he cites "father of home recording" R. Stevie Moore as a major influence. "I wish I had a Moog," he sighs. "Haven't ever been able to afford a good keyboard, or good anything for that matter. I record on my Portastudio, which is very much an instrument, if not the main instrument in my case." Ad hoc recording methods even stretch to him beat-boxing most of his own drum sounds into a handheld mic! "It's my sound now," says Ariel. "It wasn't deliberate, but it certainly forced me to make do with very little."
On where he finds inspiration for songs, Ariel is philosophical. "To date, I haven't really expressed or revealed much about myself or my personal life in any of my lyrics," he explains. "So not much of me is ever conveyed in any one song per se. It's more a transparent fantasy-self, burdened by a reality so mundane and unextraordinary that it can say, think and feel whatever it wants to without a fear of punishment. I personally don't believe there's good or bad art." He may well have a point. But, in an age of fleeting trends and neurotically hygienic recordings, Ariel's heady mix of whacked-out psychedelia and DIY Baroque pop couldn't have come along soon enough.