Pinact on The Part That No One Knows
We meet up with Glasgow three-piece Pinact for a Saturday afternoon pint in Sauchiehall's Nice 'N' Sleazy to chat about their latest album, The Part That No One Knows
A heady mix of fuzzed-out guitars, melodic riffs and crashing cymbals, Pinact’s sound instantly conjures up the ghosts of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana. Just don’t be too quick to pass them off as mere grunge revivalists, sighs singer and guitarist Corrie Gillies. “I get why we’re labelled that way, but if you listen to the actual music… not every song is like a fucking Nirvana rip-off, you know?” He pauses. “Well, there’s maybe one or two that are,” he adds, as the group burst out laughing.
After releasing their debut record, Stand Still And Rot, in 2015 on Brooklyn-based imprint Kanine Records, the group are back with their follow-up – The Part That No One Knows – on the same label, recorded with the help of Rory Attwell of Test Icicles fame. It’s their first release as a three-piece, since bassist Jon Arbuthnott came on board alongside Gillies and drummer Lewis Reynolds.
A group’s sophomore release is always regarded as a high-pressure undertaking, Gillies confirms: “It was a tough record to make, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. This time round we’ve got a contract… When you go through the stages of writing a record, or anything creative, self-doubt creeps in.”
It took Pinact a lot longer to write and record The Part That No One Knows, compared to the relative speed of Stand Still and Rot, which was recorded and mixed in the space of six days. “We recorded in a studio on a boat on the Thames. We spent like two weeks recording it," Gillies tells us. "For us, we’d never spent that much time in a studio, so it was kind of a different process to the way we’d usually go about doing a record. We had one day off in those two weeks, and on the one day we had off I got food poisoning,” he grimaces. “I felt really ill for a few days – though maybe that helped to add a sense of desperation in the vocals,” he laughs.
Lulling the listener into a false sense of security, The Part That No One Knows begins with a gentle piano overture before the blasting guitar work of the second track, Bring You Down, steers the record firmly back into noise rock territory. The album title seems to hint at this kind of confounding of expectations, we suggest? "'The part that no one knows' is a lyric from one of the tracks on the album," Gillies muses, “but it’s sort of about moving on in your life…” He trails off, and takes a sip of his pint, as Arbuthnott and Reynolds rib him for not having prepared his answers.
Arbuthnott steps in. "I think it’s about how much work goes into a record, and the part that no one knows is everything that leads up to making that record. Everyone thinks that these ideas and emotions are just plucked out of nowhere. I think now, in the Spotify generation, we just listen to a record and if we don’t like it, we skip it or we go on to something else… but people [have] put their emotion and heart into it and spent a long time on it."
There’s no doubting that a solid work ethic underscores this band. When Gillies and Reynolds started out as a two-piece, Pinact gigged relentlessly, often playing house parties and makeshift venues. They’ve also encountered their fair share of setbacks. Personal circumstances caused the group to entertain a semi-revolving line-up – at one point, Chris McCrory of Catholic Action stepped in after Reynolds temporarily departed – and it seems as though Pinact are only now entering a period of stability.
"I feel like throughout this band’s career, for want of a better word, we’ve had to work harder than I think other people have," Gillies admits. "And I still think we constantly have to work harder. For some bands things just happen really quick and easily, and I think a lot of bands, if they went through some of the stuff we went through, they wouldn’t even exist anymore. There’s a sense of persistence with this band."
Though they’ve had their fair share of obstacles, it’s their love of music – and in particular, playing live – that has steered Pinact through. Just over a week after we meet them for this interview, Pinact will embark on a short US tour, before returning to the UK for a further run of live dates in August and September. Of their exuberant and often rowdy performances, Reynolds enthuses, “It’s great watching a show where you feel like at a certain point in a set, it can get so wild that it feels like it could fall apart… but it never does. We’re on that fine line,” he smiles. “We try to be really tight, we practise a lot, but I love it to just sit on that edge. If it was too straightlaced and neat... that’s not what we’re trying to achieve as a band.”
“I really love playing shows, that’s probably my favourite part,” Gillies admits as we wind up the interview. “I like recording, but I think writing can be gruelling. You just end up hating yourself,” he laughs. “It’s that self-doubt thing that I was talking about, that comes back and you just start to think ‘this is rubbish, this is so bad’… that’s just part of it.” And then, in a light-bulb moment, he shrugs and adds, “That’s the part that no one knows, you know?”
The Part That No One Knows is out on 25 Aug via Kanine Records
Pinact play Vegan Connections, The Flying Duck, Glasgow, 11 Aug; Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 10 Sep