A city like Berlin provides attentive residents with too many impressions rather than too few. Instead of complaining about sensory overload, the Berlin musician PINK LINT (Oliver Burghardt) absorbs these impressions and then processes them in his music. The result sounds a bit like a mixture of Blue Velvet (film by David Lynch) and Bambi. Garnished with found sounds and field recordings, Pink Lint’s songs become sonic and lyrical origami. In his Neukölln apartment, Pink Lint works on his musical laboratory experiments – orchestral recordings are blown up and birdsong gets bent into shape (after feeding the aforementioned species, of course). Pink Lint released his third album “Ü” – a comprehensive work somewhere between anti-folk, indie and avant-garde pop.
1: Every condition exists on a spectrum.
2: This three part structure is the perfect setup for a joke, but…
3: I can’t think of anything.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I can’t boil it down to one thing, it’s many small things for me. I’m a visual thinker and it tickles me when two things from different contexts clash and create a little microcosm of their own. Luckily there’s enough weird stuff laying around on the streets of Neukölln. A framed painting of an orange, that someone dumped on the windowsill of a nail salon – I fell asleep on a train once, when I woke up a woman with a huge cat on her head sat next to me – these kind of things. I’m also lucky to have interesting friends, that I can talk to and exchanges thoughts or ideas with – maybe they are the most important part. Other than that I enjoy stuff that shows reality in a new light, like art, the books by David Foster Wallace, Ron Currie, Joan Didion or movies (although I’m not a movie buff) by Fellini and the likes. To be honest, I’m neither reading a lot nor have I watched many interesting movies lately, but some of these examples shaped the way I look at things and made me feel human.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
My mother had a guitar laying around in our house and I picked it up, when I was ten(ish). I started improvising simple songs and calling my mother at work to listen to them. She found a guitar teacher for me, so the “songs” she had to endure would eventually improve in quality.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
This list might look different tomorrow – here are five records I’m thinking about spontaneously:
Why? – Alopecia
(I listened to this one for two years straight.)
Nina Simone – Baltimore
(Nina Simone’s voice is my favourite voice.)
Bonnie Prince Billy – Lie down in the Light
(This record was playing when I was a little bit too high and not able to get out of bed. Something happened.)
Aldous Harding – Designer
(Maybe this album is still too young to be an all-timer, but it’s just too good.)
Destroyer – Poison Season
(I saw the poster for this record (a black and white photo of Dan Bejar) on my way to work a few years ago and thought it looked like something I would like. I did like it, the lyrics are so poetic and cryptic, but not in a corny way.)
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Diversity, freedom, carelessness (good and bad), high rent, accidentally walking into a naked dance party, sparrows, interesting piles of trash – Berlin can be a little bit like social media.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Aside from my apartment, I’d say I feel at home in my Kiez (Berlin, Schillerkiez). There are many interesting (and/or slightly disturbing) things happening at any moment and if you walk on to the Tempelhofer Feld for a while, it’s very quiet. It’s also a very diverse area, I like that. The Keith bar on Schillerpromenade is my favourite bar, it’s dark and cozy and they always have interesting music playing.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would probably sleep more – or I would pull an Elon Musk, “accumulate resources” to leave the planet (for a planet with music).
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
It’s been a while, on tour I found a copy of Robert Johnson’s “King of the Delta Blues Singers” (second volume) in a record store.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I worked with Nils Frahm for a short while, on some recordings I had in my pocket at the time. That was before Nils Frahm put out his amazing catalog of music. Occasionally I still think about how I wasted this opportunity – I remember him being very open and the perfect non-perfectionist and I was a nervous, paranoid person – still am. But with some reflection on my part this could be great. I liked him and his style back then, I just didn’t know what to do with it – right place, wrong time.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I used to play shows with my recording partner David Hoffmann. We traveled with a four point speaker system and placed the four speakers in the corners of the venue, with the audience sitting in the middle (basically surround sound). David played synths, controlled my effects and sent them to the different speakers via Ableton. This worked especially well, when we played in a small church with the perfect amount of reverberation. I don’t know about the performance, but the sound was so massive, yet each element was audible and had enough space.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
When sitting down to write music, it’s not important to me at all. I try to reduce the involvement of any technology at that point – I basically just sing my little songs into the phone and there’s a lamp on the table. When it comes to arranging, I couldn’t do it without the computer. I very much enjoy the possibilities and I’m curious about new stuff, like weird plugins or fun gear that is inspiring. There I want to know, what it sounds like to put a boys’ choir through an arpeggiator or maybe trigger an orchestra with my guitar. There’s so much cool and free open-source stuff, maybe too much sometimes, but I like the randomness it can provide – you can download a free clarinet sample library, cut the samples, only use the mouth noises, transpose it up an octave and make a weird shaker out of it, for example.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Yes, I have an older sister, our lives are very different. I guess, she marvels about how I live and vice versa. I never really asked her, how she feels about what I do, but I guess she’s fine with it. There has never been ill will or any kind of rivalry, it’s all good. I think my music is not her cup of tea, though.
Photo © Oliver Burghardt