Here are the great Cornholios. They need T.P. for their bungholes... I wanted to leave the introduction to my chat with Pens at just that, but then thought better of it. So imagine that Mike Judge made a scratchy cartoon about three dumbass English girls who steal some broken instruments and get wasted playing a shambolic, bagels ‘n’ Breeders-fueled racket which transforms into an amazing trash-pop funfest called Hey Friend, What You Doing? It would be awesome. Here are the great Penholios. They need T.P. for their bungholes.
Download: Pens, "Networking"
Hey Pens, what you doing?
Helen: I'm at work, and we're playing at the Old Blue Last tonight. Listening to new songs we wrote and getting excited.
Amelia: I'm at home thinking about Beavis and Butthead, wishing I was Kim Deal.
Stef: I have just arrived at Amelia's house, marched here with beers and bike and I am sweating.
Your album is rad. Did you enjoy making it?
Helen: It was a real learning curve to make the album. We were about six months old as a band, we had tons of problems but it came down to doing it ourselves with a load of perseverance and a beer.
You have a song called "Yeah Baby I’ll Take You To Bagel Town." Where is Bagel Town? Or is it some kind of awesome euphemism?
Amelia: Haha. It's actually just about bagels. I went through a phase of only eating bagels and cream cheese. They make me feel a bit sick now.
Tell us about the artwork.
Amelia: Stef and I did the art for the LP together. It's really fun drawing with your best friend. We are both illustrators. I did some drawings for some bands too. I'm currently collaborating with Pete Ohs on a animated music video. And I just did a drawing of us as Beavis and Butthead, I think it's my best piece.
UK DIY SCENE, DISCUSS.
Helen: Ummm, I don't know about a "scene." It's nice to play with other bands, but it's nicer to keep an open mind. No one should be cool, or not cool, because of their friends. To describe it to outsiders, there are just a lot of cheap gigs that people have fun at.
Amelia: Yeah, we try not to bother with that too much. We know them, they are nice people. People always want to brand/market things like scenes so others want in. if you knew us really you'd see there isn't much of a scene on our part. We're dumb losers.
Stef: to me, calling something a scene hints at some kind of exclusivity/elitism, which is why I don't like it.
I saw a really long thread on a stupid message board the other day called "is the DIY ethic sometimes an excuse for being...crap? I think people use 'OMG! DIY!' as an excuse for not really doing things properly." How do you respond to that kind of thing?
Helen: Haha! Well I don't give a shit about message boards. They're full of people being subjective and thinking they're being objective. It's cool to hate on what you think is "cool," that makes no sense.
Amelia: Yeah, people who read and write that stuff are usually just mad at the world. I personally have a hard time not taking it personally. People always think we're trying to be "cool" but we are actually just doing what we want to do. Again, people brand and label cos they don't know how to take bands like us, we can't afford expensive instruments, we're girls and we're not excellent musicians so we expect others to hate. We don't want to be anything, we just do what we do and that’s it. I don't really understand why people want to put us down all the time. I mean, why comment on something you think sucks? I definitely don’t have that much energy.
Stef: It’s just an opinion, so I really couldn't give a fudge. I make music with my two best friends, people took an interest and invited us to do shows. People have a problem with that, F U.
You're heading to the US with Graffiti Island soon. Where are you looking forward to playing? Are you and GI buds?
Helen: I'm excited for everywhere! I've only been for a couple of days before. GI are cool, in fact I don't really know them that well. Am I supposed to say they smell?
Amelia: I can't wait to go to AMERICA! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m going to enjoy every single ficking minute.
Stef: I’ve never been to America, I am so excited that i don't even want it to come cos I’m gonna be depressed when it ends. YEAH!
Pens debut album, Hey Friend, What You Doing? is out soon on De Stijl records. Catch them on their US tour with Graffiti Island throughout August.