By Will Yannacoulias
Photos by Madi Demas (Instagram @photosbymadi.d)
Jangly clanging guitars, meandering surf melodies and a sloppy, slacker art-punk energy combine to give Saskatoon's Pink Perry an authentic edge of effervescent cool. Vocalist/ guitarist Mark Fergusson, vocalist/ bassist Bailey Parr- Kennedy, guitarist Ben Soy and drummer Denys Schmitz promised good things to come last November with the single "May", and delivered with the January 31st release of their debut EP Coming Of Age Film. Pink Perry celebrated the release of the EP on Saturday, February 4th with a show at the Black Cat Tavern, sharing the stage with Rosemary Service and Cupid's Heart. NSMZ spoke with Pink Perry about the group, the distinctive sound captured on their debut EP and the Coming Of Age Film release party.
Tell me a bit about the band, when did you get together?
"Mark and Bailey met at a house party in 2018 and again at an open mic in 2019 where Mark performed solo. Mark was looking to put a band together and Bailey told Mark that he could play bass guitar. Bailey lied. Bailey began learning bass guitar the very next day. Mark and Bailey had a carousel of band members for three years, while building a repertoire of songs. Mark focused on writing songs and Bailey would rotate in and out of multiple groups looking for musicians to poach."
Coming Of Age Film is a great record, catchy songs and such a cool vibe. Where does that clangy, jangly art punk sound come from? "May", your debut single released last November, wasn’t included on the record, what informed that choice?
"Mark here, while I am the principal songwriter, everyone writes their own parts and contributes to the arrangements in the song so credit is spread evenly. Everyone contributes to the song's formation. I took early inspiration from the Jesus and Mary Chain, Pavement, Alvvays, and Sonic Youth. That would explain the jangly, clangy, pop sound with flurries of feedback. Sure we're a *punk* band but these are pop songs. That sound came about because of unique influences, other band members trying to match the vibe of a song. We recorded and re-recorded all parts of each song over half a year, I had to learn how to mix on the fly, and met people who had skills and technology that I did not (and still don't) have, which is why the production quality jumped immensely between the first single and the EP.
We looked at the 10 songs we had at the time and went 'okay what do we want to put on the EP' and we picked those four songs, and 'May' as a single. The songs are different enough from each other but still sound like the same band- a trait that I love about the Stone Roses debut LP. 'May' was our debut single, it was left off the EP because in the digital age it is easy to access media so its not necessary that they're packaged together. We don't have the means to produce physical copies at present, if it was possible to put out a 5 song disc and have people buy it in sufficient quantities then that would be neat. Both 'May' and 'Coney Island' are either one chord songs or they have no chords. Music theory is subjective."
The Coming Of Age Film release party was such a fun show- what a great turnout! Your thoughts on Rosemary Service? Cupid’s Heart? Why did Pink Perry choose The Black Cat as the venue for the release party?
"In regard to the gig we did not know jack about putting a bill together, so we had to figure it out the hard way, forged through pain (it wasn't super difficult, really). We met the Rosemary Service at an open mic, they were and still are cool people. They keep things loose and groovy so we like that. They had some good songs with some great humour so we decided to get them on board. We ended up having to replace a band on the bill a week before the show. We went through a list of who was around at the time and we settled on Cupid's Heart. Bailey and Mark saw Cupid's Heart at Amigos in early January, they're a kick ass duo from Prince Albert, a land as rugged and mysterious as they are. Bailey and Mark made friends with them and asked them to come to the show. When we had to replace a band Mark explained the circumstances to Cupid's Heart and asked them to bring their instruments and play with us. They accepted within 10 minutes to our delight. We picked Black Cat as the venue because other bands and friends of ours played there so we knew the vibe."
Pink Perry are looking forward to keeping the momentum going after the album release and the Black Cat debut party, with another 30+ unreleased original songs in their repertoire, more shows planned and a full length album in the works. Coming Of Age Film is available on all streaming services.