Interview: Pink Frost Discuss ‘New Minds’ LP

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Interview: Pink Frost Discuss ‘New Minds’ LP

This past June the Chicago-based quartet Pink Frost returned with their New Minds LP out on Under Road Records. The group features guitarist/vocalist Adam Lukas, guitarist Paige Sandlin, bassist Alex Shumard, and drummer Jesse Hozeny. New Minds is Pink Frost’s third full-length and like their previous effort, 2013’s Sundowning (Notes And Bolts Records & Tapes), it finds the band returning to Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio with engineer Gregoire Yeche handling the recording and mixing. Describing the new record, Adam Lukas explains:

“There is a sentimentality or a sense of loss that permeates most of the songs. Whether that is the loss of truth, the ones you love, your place in the universe, or general sense of meaning in changing landscapes.”

Adam was kind enough to field some questions regarding New Minds, and you can read the interview below, as well as stream Pink Frost’s new record…

LETV: Thanks for taking some time to answer questions about the band and your recently released LP New Minds. The record is a follow-up to your 2013 LP Sundowning, and while it continues the heavy framework laid down on that album, it also refines that approach. How would you characterize the period between these two records? Was it time to assess the band’s strategy, a hiatus from playing and recording, or a period of creative gestation? Was there ever a time that it felt like New Minds might not get finished?

AL: Nah, this album was always coming out. It’s been a work in progress for the last couple years, and we were consistently and obsessively working on the record. Post-Sundowning we went through some lineup changes. I started a label. There was just no rush to release a record until we were totally happy with it. So it became this giant puzzle that I was trying to decode. I knew where I wanted the songs to go, but finding the right path could sometimes be tricky. Some tunes came together quickly, but others were a bit more difficult. Having the space and the time to fully investigate and explore a song can be super liberating, There was no deadline. No outside pressure. We had the time to live with the songs and find out what they mean and were meant to be, but at some point you just need to finish things up and let it out in the world. Or you’ll go crazy. I think we found a great balance on this one, and for the first time, I don’t feel like there are any real compromises. We went in deep with these songs, and I think that you can hear it.

LETV: What is the band’s creative process like as far as writing songs? Does someone usually take the lead in writing or is it a group approach? Can you take us through a track on the record to let us in on how things might go down?

AL: Most of these tunes had a pretty solid skeletal structure before we worked on them as a group. I would generally have the riff and a change or two and then bring it to the band to flesh things out. By the time we went to the studio we were comfortable with the basic arrangements but left some space to improvise and explore in the studio. There are moments of magic when you are recording and you don’t want to be so prepared that you kill spontaneity and the sense of adventure. “Bare Roots” is a great example of this. When we first recorded the basic tracks it sounded great, but was a pretty bare bones rock tune. There were no written guitar solos or sirens. We left the space knowing something should go there, but finding it is the fun.

LETV: New Minds was recorded in Chicago at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio with engineer Gregoire Yeche, and you guys have said that the studio has become “almost like another member of the band at this point.” For music fans and musicians who have heard about the legendary Chicago studio but haven’t had a chance to record there, what can you tell us about Electrical Audio and how it helped shape the sound of New Minds?

AL: Electrical is an amazing place! They somehow strike a perfect balance between professionalism and punk rock. They are on time and ready to work. The gear is amazing and well maintained, and the studio is surprisingly affordable for all that you have available at your fingertips. We have built up a relationship with Gregoire over the last several releases, so it is a bit hard to detach the studio from the engineer, but we love working with him, and the results we have been able to achieve.

LETV: I’m always intrigued by a band’s interpersonal dynamics. While this isn’t a question about “dirty laundry”, it seems good/great bands often need to bridge creative friction or tension between members, and while that can be a harrowing process, the results are often exciting musically. Listening to New Minds there’s that good tension between a heavier need to “rock out” and a quieter more introspective approach. It’s what animates the record in general, as well as particular tracks. Is that ever experienced as a creative tension within the band?

AL: I think this is actually the most unified we’ve ever been as a group. Everyone was pretty much on the same page for this one. It seemed like we could effortlessly go between different types of songs without losing anyone, and the sessions were filled with excitement and good vibes. We’ve definitely been to that place where creative tension and personality conflicts can dominate the group. It could sometimes lead to something great and unexpected, but in the end it was always exhausting and debilitating. The focus would inevitably shift away from the song, and how we could make it better, to issues of ego and all the baggage that comes with that. This LP was the opposite of that. This is very much a ”power of yes” record.

LETV: I find myself these days having to resist the urge to interpret songs thru the lens of current events. While the album’s closing track “We No Time” contains a frantic news clip from a post-election demonstration that had turned violent, lyrically, many of the tracks on New Minds seem very personal and introspective. How would you characterize some of the themes on the new record?

AL: Most are detached musings of watching the world you knew deconstructed before your eyes. It’s about the end of things, and becoming a stranger in your time. Living in a Post-Human, Post-Truth world. Losing all you love with the days of reckoning still to come. I’m a pretty optimistic guy, but the future is not my friend.

LETV: What’s next for Pink Frost? Will you guys be touring the new album? Any upcoming videos?

AL: We’ll have a couple videos coming out, and hope to tour as much as possible.

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