Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Pity Sex

Pity SexPity Sex is an emo (refer to question three) band from Ann Arbor, MI who’ve been gaining lots of success after releasing their first release Dark World in 2012. Filled with dual gender vocals, sludgey guitars, and whispery melodies, Dark World blew up on the internet and through the band to the forefront of the emo scene which is coming back into the music world in full swing. Quickly signed by the independent super label Run For Cover Records, Pity Sex recently released their debut album Feast Of Love which has surpassed the hype that followed the album prior to its release. I caught up with Sean St.Charles from Pity Sex to ask him about touring, Ann Arbor, and writing the new album. Here it is:

AMBY: Being from Ann Arbor, is it true that for one day every year local authorities give a blind eye to pot smokers and locals freely enjoy marijuana? If yes, what is Pity Sex’s involvement in this tradition?

Pity Sex: I think you’re referencing Ann Arbor Hash Bash, which is a celebration for the advocacy of marijuana legalization and consumption.  It’s true that you can pretty much smoke weed in public all day with no repercussion, but you can do that on any day in Ann Arbor.  Hash Bash is a touristy sort of thing populated mainly by high schoolers and out of towners. It’s the one day a year that people I know avoid going out and smoking weed. But yeah, for those of us who get down with smoking, Ann Arbor is a rad place to live.

AMBY: One of the most talked about tours of the summer on the blogosphere was your tour with Dads and TWIABP. How was the tour and what was was it like playing with these bands?

Pity Sex: We just got back a few days ago.  Tour couldn’t have gone better.  Every show was fun.  World Is just put out a new record and Dads has an EP coming out soon, so we had a lot of momentum.  Two months is a long time to be away from home, but the time never dragged.  Both of those bands have energetic crowds and sets, which mixed well with our more relaxed vibe.  Every night was a party.  We’ve got only good feelings about the whole tour.

AMBY: There’s been a shoegaze and emo revival both going on together and many critics herald you as the leading band in both genre revivals. Were you aiming to revive these styles or did it come to you independently?

Pity Sex: It’s been sort of strange to be labeled as being part of either of those scenes and even stranger to be considered a band that’s “reviving” them.  We were friends with a lot of emo bands when we first started and have been lumped in with that whole scene ever since. I wouldn’t consider us an emo band, but I think it’s cool that those kids like us. Shoegaze is a similar thing.  Brit plays in a shoegaze band and we definitely borrow from the genre here and there, but I don’t think we’re a shoegaze band. I don’t really know what we are. A pop band?  It’d be interesting to hear what people would call us if we were a brand new band putting out Feast of Love.  Anyways, I’m not going to argue with anyone about how they want to classify us.  If someone thinks we’re a shoegaze band and we’re turning the genre on it’s head, that’s cool by me.

AMBY: Your EP Dark World was very successful and received great reviews from many people. Was there any pressure for Feast Of Love to live up to the hype of Dark World?

Pity Sex: Dark World really took off in a way that we hadn’t expected. Thematically, the record was sort of an experiment.  I’m glad that the experiment was well received but I’ve always had the notion in my head that people who were into it had a misleading sense of what we were about as a band.  Feast of Love is the record that we’ve wanted to write from the beginning so there was never any pressure there. We knew people liked Dark World and we knew what kind of music we wanted to write. There was no need to reconcile the two.

AMBY: Although the lyrics off both Dark World and Feast Of Love are quite similar there seems to be a switch from anger and remorse to melancholy and acceptance. Do you agree with this and if so, is there a reason that this took place in your lyrics?

Pity Sex: When I was writing the lyrics for Dark World, I wanted to mess around with the tropes associated with depressive or dramatic music. I’ll be the first to say that a lot of the lyrics / ideas are over the top. That was the point for me.  I studied creative writing in college, and I approach lyrics like I would any writing.  Dark World was genre fiction for me. The sentiments were coming from an authentic place, but I wanted the lyrics to be “larger than life” as it were.  I always find it a little weird when people really empathize with something from Dark World, but ultimately it’s fine. Everyone has their shit, I suppose.  Feast of Love is way more subdued.  The lyrics are coming from a much more human place. With Feast of Love I wanted to work specifically on “love songs.”  As a theme, I think love is way more delicate than depression is. I wrote songs about the “before” of love (lust, desire, courtship, etc).  Brit, in my opinion, wrote songs about the “after” of love (loss, regret).

AMBY: What’s the best song of 2013?

Pity Sex: The best song of 2013 is ‘Our Song’ by Radiator Hospital.  We stayed with Sam in Philadelphia while we were recording Feast of Love and he was working on his record at the same time.  Being there to watch him record definitely adds something to the song for me, but it’d be the best song of 2013 even if I didn’t know him.

AMBY: What’s something about Pity Sex that nobody knows yet?

Pity Sex: You know, it’s hard to say.

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Reuben Jude Corriea

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