Emilio Pinchi Interview: “Everyone tries to tell you what to think, and it’s shit”
Ahead of his single launch at Studio 2, Emilio Pinchi talks to Shaun Ponsonby about where to draw strength, developing as an artist and drunkenly recording conversations with friends.
Emilio Pinchi has been trawling around the Liverpool scene for a long time, both as a performer and as one of the team behind the ever-popular Threshold Festival.
We had always seen him perform solo, and were impressed enough. But more recently he has got a band together and has excelled to new heights as live act.
Perhaps this has spurred his creative urge on somewhat. Always an excellent songwriter, each new release has been topping the last. He is forever etched in our minds as being effortless, his laid back demeanour and affable personality reconciling with music more along the lines of Elliot Smith or Courtney Barnett that appears to be searching for deeper truths with a hint of dark humour and self-deprecation.
This is especially true of his latest single, ‘High Times’ – the quotation marks are part of the title, which is reminiscent of Bowie’s “Heroes” in its irony. In the song, he examines the big themes of modern life, juxtaposed with the influence we can have as individuals day to day.
He launches ‘High Times’ at Studio 2 on 15th February, when the single will be available on all the usual platforms.
Planet Slop: Tell us about your new single ‘High Times’.
Emilio Pinchi: It feels like sometimes the world today is supposed to be about fear, or danger, or these huge narratives nobody has any control over. It’s really easy to get caught up in it all and forget the positive day-to-day impact you can have on people’s lives, including your own.
These were my aims with ‘High Times’, in order of importance; I wanted to write a song that I could listen to with my friends at a BBQ next time it’s sunny, I wanted to remind myself – in song-form apparently – that you can draw strength from people around you, and also reciprocate, and I wanted to point out some of the big narratives, but I didn’t want to tell people what to think, because everyone tries to tell you what to think all the time and it’s shit.
PS: The title has quotation marks. I assume this is ironic?
EP: Yeah, pretty much – the song makes a bunch of references to stuff that’s going on at the moment and kind of questions how we’ll remember this period, looking back in the future. I guess it’s meant to be optimistic as well though, like the idea that maybe it’s all a process and maybe some good will come out of it all eventually. You know, if all the crazy stuff doesn’t happen.
PS: There’s an interesting bit about halfway through where it sounds like you’re interviewing someone, or having a conversation at least. Where did that come from?!
EP: So I was at a bar where my friend was working and it was fairly empty at that time of the day, and I’d had a few beers. It was at this point I decided I was going to start interviewing all my friends on my phone’s voice recorder and use them in songs or something. So I was asking her random questions like “What’s your favourite colour?”, just like holding my phone out as if I was a reporter or something.
And then about three months later I was recording the song and remembered the whole thing and just figured I’d see what it sounded like over this instrumental bit in the song. I was just super excited by it straight away cos her answers were all about nature, easily one of the biggest and most overlooked issues of our times. And then there was all this cool ambient bar noise that came through as well and it just kind of took the song into another space for 30 seconds or something so yeah, that was it pretty much!
PS: We last saw you during Liverpool Music Week, and we would rate you as the best act on that particular night. Is it fair to say that you’ve made great progression as a performer over the last year or so?
EP: Well thanks, that’s very kind! I think in a lot of ways that’s been the case, in that I finally got a band together to play stuff live. Also, the year before I’d not really been playing anywhere and I wasn’t putting music out and it was almost like everything was coming to a stand-still while I was waiting for stuff to happen, which is a bit of backwards way of looking at it I guess. So yeah, definitely actually!
PS: Your last EP, During Voided Hours, was only released in the last quarter of 2017. What has inspired you to release new material so soon?
EP: Hah, I think half of the reason was because I figured people would forget I exist if I didn’t put something out! Mostly it was because I have so many songs I never end up doing anything with, so I like to take any opportunity I can pretty much to release new material. So yeah, total self-gratification I suppose? I dunno, I just really liked this new song and wanted to show everybody I guess!
PS: That EP followed a loose concept. Could you explain it?
EP: It is a collection of five short stories all set in different spaces at 5am – together they kind of tell a story I guess? The title track is about sitting on a park bench with someone who’s more or less a stranger and realising everyone has their own life going on. Imitation Of Life is about lying in bed at night during a heatwave in a small town and feeling like you’re suffocating all round. Good Things Weigh You Down is about fucking up and losing everything and sitting on a pavement somewhere at 5am. Surface Things is the space under the covers. Broad Strokes is watching the sun rise over Crosby Beach and realising you’re okay with being out of your depth.
PS: What inspired the concept? I’m guessing some of it was your own private moments?
EP: I guess like any of my music, it’s a mix of working things out and trying to say things exactly the way I want to say them. I never really planned out the concept per se, more the songs all ended up sharing a common setting. Probably because I wrote them all during the same point in my life when I was up at that hour a lot. But I’m a big fan of concept records so I always try and draw parallels between stuff where I can find them.
PS: What is next for you?
EP: The single launch is the 15th, then I’m playing some shows round the country and a little bit further afield. Then I’m gonna do nothing for a couple weeks, which is what I said before I wrote ‘High Times’, so we’ll see I suppose. Who knows?! Total mystery all round. I might try that veggie junk food place on Duke Street!
Emilio Pinchi plays Studio 2, Liverpool on Thursday 15th February. Tickets are available here.