It’s impossible to overstate the influence that Ariel Pink’s earliest records have had. When the Los Angeles native debuted in the early 2000s with albums on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks, he quickly garnered a cult following, inadvertently putting his mark on the fringes of avant-pop and indie rock for the next decade and beyond. But here’s the thing about those influential early albums like Loverboy and House Arrest: they weren’t quite right. Reissues of prior self-releases, the Paw Tracks albums were plagued by incorrect mixing, forgotten songs, and loss of quality.
Now, Mexican Summer’s Ariel Archives project is putting things right, reissuing many of Pink’s most iconic and beloved Haunted Graffiti records with new mixes and masters and the reinclusion of songs that were left out. This year, The Doldrums, Worn Copy, and House Arrest are seeing release, three pivotal records in the Haunted Graffiti oeuvre. Today, The FADER is premiering a remastered version of “Alisa,” one of House Arrest’s standouts. Listen to the song above, and read our email conversation with Pink about the archive series below.
In your mind, what’s the value of the Ariel Archives series, when many fans will already have these records and have very specific memories associated with the versions they know?
Well, for starters, a good portion of the material will be available for the first time on LP — previously available LP editions of The Doldrums and House Arrest have always been truncated versions, with songs left off and specific tracks like “The Balled of Bobby Pynn” curtailed to fit a given side on a single LP. With the archives, the albums have been restored and remastered in stereo, for the first time, and across two LPs as originally intended, and with no expense spared for liner notes and quality packaging. For me, it’s like these records are finally available for the first time.
Do you see the influence of these albums manifesting in certain aspects of culture?
I’ve thought so at various times over the past 20 years. But to be frank, I think many of the artists who heard it back at the time have proven to be far more influential on the music of today than I ever was. in terms of reach and appeal. It’s no less palatable today as when I made it.
After you signed to 4AD, and in the late 2000s/early 2010s, there was this spotlight on you that maybe there hadn’t been before, and suddenly there were all these insane headlines about you. How did you see your career after that period?
Much the same way I’ve always viewed things — from the inside, looking without. What I don’t read doesn’t hurt me.
Around the release of Dedicated to Bobby Jameson you kinda spoke about not feeling like you wanted to release records, or be as public a figure as you once were. How does a reissue series like this factor into that? Considering that it’s a form of legacy building.
I’m as big as I want to be. The longer I stick around, the stronger the legacy — the stronger the legacy, the better the pay; the better the pay, the more time I have to pursue other interests or work my butt off reinventing myself every year strengthening my fanbase indefinitely by touring and releasing music and keeping a public profile just to make ends meet.
Does working on these reissues make you nostalgic for how you used to work on albums, as opposed to how you do it now?
Nope. It’s like visiting your parents as an adult after years of being on your own: whenever I revisit my old stuff, 15 year old me immediately steps in and takes over, like no time has passed — not nostalgic — it’s like Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde.