PINS is a band who are currently the definition of up and coming. With their second LP, Wild Nights, soon to be released and seemingly no sign of slowing down where their tour schedule is concerned, PINS are certainly ones to watch if you have an interest in the music scene in Manchester. We spoke to Faith and Lois from the band on the eve of their LP launch.

The band really seems to be going from strength to strength with a heavy touring schedule, supporting Sleater-Kinney and now the second album. Have the past couple years been particularly difficult on you or are you flourishing? Has the relative success had any effect on how you write music or what you’re writing about lyrically?

[Faith] We are coming into our own with this record. We’ve got the hang of it, you know. Since starting the band, I’ve had my head fully in PINS, so to speak, and now I feel like it’s paying off. We’re at the point where we can second guess each other on stage and we have each other’s backs – a little power house. We’ve made an album that we’re really proud of, we’re touring the world and we’re getting to share the stage with some incredible bands. We’re not the biggest band, but we’re having the best time.

With regards to how we write music and lyrics, it’s the same formula we’ve had from the start. We share a tiny practice space in Manchester, so we meet there and play music until something happens, then we demo it and I take it home and sing over it. That, along with myself and Lois demoing our own songs at our respective houses, then sharing them with the rest of the band and fleshing them out as a group. Some of the lyrics on the album do touch on the idea of becoming something, making something. It’s more from a nostalgic teenager point of view as opposed to being directly about how we’ve grown as a band, but, yeah, it’s in there.

[Lois] The past few years have been great. Getting busier and touring more was what we always wanted to do. We’re always writing, and I don’t feel like the way I write has changed a lot, but you’re always influenced by your experiences and what’s happening around you at different times of your life. Playing with amazing bands is always a big influence. Seeing them live and spending time on tour with them can be very inspiring.

Alongside the band, the Haus Of Pins label seems to be coming on well. I love the ethic that goes into the whole thing – just taking bands you all enjoy and slapping them on cassette. Is there a reason you decide to put the music out on cassette? Do you think that people really have to want to listen to something if they’re willing to buy it on cassette in the current digital age of music, or do you think it’s just a bit of a novelty?

[Faith] The first release we ever did was a limited edition gold AA side cassette tape of our first single, ‘Eleventh Hour’ / ‘Shoot You’. We literally did it because we wanted something tangible, but couldn’t afford to make vinyl. However, they looked really great and sold out straight away. We were really proud of them. Cassettes are sweet, especially if you have an old car. I guess they are a little bit of a novelty, but what is wrong with that?

[Lois] We love listening to cassette, and I hope other people do to. Sometimes we demo to an old eight-track. The cassettes do come with a download anyway, so you can listen to it wherever. A lot of people buy vinyl too, for the same sort of reason as the cassettes – going back to the physicality of listening to music – and it sounds fantastic. If we could afford to release on vinyl too we definitely would.

Bit of a cliché question, but how do you feel being based in Manchester has affected your success? Do you feel if you’d been based in London you would’ve found an earlier success or is that an outdated concept these days? What are your favourite venues in Manchester, both to play and to go see music?

[Faith] I have no idea if we would’ve gained more or less success had we been based in London. Manchester is our home and we’re proud of it. My favourite venue for unusual gigs is the Bunker. I also love the Castle, Deaf Institute and the Eagle. I’ve seen so many good bands, like King Gizzard, La Luz, Beverly – and all a stone’s throw away from my house. For big shows I really like going to The Ritz.

[Lois] It’s impossible to say. I think in Manchester there’s loads of other bands to go and watch, hang out with and put on shows with, which made it all really exciting. The Sways [Records] Bunker is one the first places we played. There were some really great nights and great bands on there.

Time for the obligatory all-girl band question. Do you think there’s still a sexism problem in the music industry? Should musicians, both female and male, be making a pointed attempt at tackling sexism and feminist issues, and is the fact that I’m compelled to ask you, an all-girl band, where I probably wouldn’t have asked an all-male band, highlighting the problem exactly?

[Faith] Yes, there is still a problem. There does seem to be a shift happening. People are becoming more aware of the problem, but there isn’t equality yet. I don’t mind people asking me about being in ‘an all-girl band’, because until there is equality I think it’s better to be having a conversation about it than ignoring it.

We recently played a few shows and shared the stage with Hinds, Babes In Toyland, Dream Wife, Honeyblood, Best Coast, and at those shows I noticed a lot of the club reps were women, and the security people at the shows were women, and the fans were women. So I do think we are getting somewhere. It’s not a man-hate thing either. MJ of Hookworms is always voicing his thoughts on sexism and Philip from Paws is a huge supporter of women in music. It’s just as important for men to be supporting equality.

[Lois] There’s sexism everywhere. I think, for us, we experienced it a lot when we started out, but it just made us more determined to not give up. We were fairly naïve to the idea that people would have that attitude at the time, and were a bit surprised with some people’s reactions to an all-female line-up – it didn’t seem that strange to us. The longer we’ve been in the band, the more we’ve become aware of it as a problem in the music industry. We’re lucky enough to work with people who aren’t like that, but not everyone has the same experience.

Wild Nights is out from 8 June on Bella Union.
PINS tour the US this summer then return to Manchester for a Deaf Institute show on 18 September.

Jacob Ormrod