Melbourne’s Pinch Points: “Community, diversity, big riffs!”

Original photo Chelsea King. Handmade collage by B.

Pinch Points make fast-paced punk with jangly guitars and a tone so sharp it could cut diamonds. Their songs are catchy with no-frills, while writing their own book of sarcasm with lyricism expressing sardonic observations of society, done so cheekily and fun you can’t help but smile along with them—after all, we’re all in this together. Pinch Points aren’t afraid to say what we’re all thinking.  We caught up with them to talk about their new live record and music in the works.

A few days ago you released your LIVE at 3RRR digital album and limited edition cassette; can you tell us about the best and worst show Pinch Points have played?

PINCH POINTS: That RRR show was a great night and we’re so glad we recorded it. By far the most amazing show we’ve played so far has to be opening Golden Plains the other weekend. The adrenaline that comes from playing in front of 10,000+ eager punters is overwhelming. It’s surreal to think about that happening now that we’re all cooped up inside self-isolating.

Our worst show might have been at the Landsdowne in Sydney. Our original venue was shut down last minute so we switched to a graveyard slot show, playing right after another gig in the same bandroom. The band before us went on and on with a Rolling Stones cover and by the time we played we were fairly frazzled and not many people turned up that late.

What do you personally get from playing live?

ISSY: immense joy playing with my best friends! And the adrenaline rush that comes with it.

Can you remember who or what made you first think, I want to play music?

JORDAN: My first introduction to playing music was when I was 13 and super bored, sharing one room in a guest house with my parents in Fairfield. All I did up to that point in my life is play video games but we no longer had a TV. There was an old nylon string acoustic in the corner though and my Dad taught me a few chords one day and I guess that was the beginning of a lifelong obsession…

ACACIA: Like Jordan, my dad taught me basic chords when I was about nine. I was obsessed with The Ramones, Nirvana, Hole and The Runaways, so I started learning covers of “Cherry Bomb” and “Celebrity Skin”, which led to writing my own stuff. Joan Jett and Courtney Love were two big figures for me, who made me feel like I could have a place in rock music.

ADAM: There was a tiny bass lick somewhere on the first Jet album that I thought was unreal as a kid – and then at high school they offered bass lessons. Played bass for about five years before I bought a guitar. Never learned that bloody lick though!

ISSY: Definitely dancing around my living room to Avril Lavigne’s Sk8ter boy when I was five brought out my inner punk. My parents really wanted me to find an instrument to play so I started with keyboard, then flute, then guitar, but none of them really clicked like the drums did. My brother was learning drums at the time and unfortunately for him I shared/stole his drum kit and haven’t looked back since!

When you first started playing live did you ever get nervous or scared?

PP: For sure, and we still do. Backstage at Golden Plains when we were waiting for our cue to walk on stage, the adrenaline was hitting us all in a big way. We hold some perfectionist tendencies when it comes to executing some of our trickier songs, and definitely get nervous about stuffing them up (not that mistakes matter, they add character).

Photo by Chelsea King.

You played and recorded the RRR’s Dropout Boogie with Zara set two days after wrapping your tour with Tropical Fuck Storm; what’s something you learnt from your time with TFS and watching them play night after night?

PP: It was amazing hanging out with TFS and watching them every night. When they play it seems like they’re all working in harmony to conjure up this gigantic beast for the audience. Each member plays their own parts separate from the others as well, though. Also, they have so much power. They put all of their energy into the show but in a really unique way.

What was the first concert you ever went to? Tell us a little about it.

JORDAN: I bet Acacia has a good one. Mine was the Powderfinger and Silverchair double headline tour! You ripper!

ACACIA: Besides The Wiggles or my dad’s band, perhaps Missy Higgins and Tim Rogers. Classic Aussie pairing.

ISSY: My parents took me to see Michael Bublè when I was about 10. I used to listen to “Call Me Irresponsible” with my Mum every day on the way to school, as well as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”.

ADAM: I don’t think I remember the first concert or show, but the earliest large show I remember was Herbie Hancock at the Palais. Still the best show I’ve ever seen.

Have you been writing new music? When might we see a follow up to last year’s Moving Parts LP?

PP: We have been! We’ve written more than half of a new album already and it’s sounding fierce. We had a whole bunch of plans in place for the release already but it looks like the whole pandemic situation has derailed that. All we can say is we’re doing our best to work on the album and will release it when the world is more ‘normal’.

What direction is your writing headed in?

PP: One of the most rewarding but also challenging parts of the writing process for our new record has been incorporating more collaboration. In our first two releases, Adam brought in a lot of material that was already pretty fleshed out. We’ve made a conscious effort this time to include everyone’s ideas from the beginning, which has made for a slower writing process but amounted to us having some really awesome songs that we feel represent everyone’s creativity.

Sound-wise, the new album will broaden the PP sound even more to include some softer and heavier moments, while being generally more direct and perhaps even simpler at times. We’re still figuring it out though.

Photo by Chelsea King.

We super love your guitar tone, nerdy question; how do you get your sound? Why did you decide to go clean rather than distorted?

ADAM: As well as punk, metal, rock etc., I always liked jangly bands. I’d been writing some hardcore stuff a few years ago, and couldn’t find the “tubescreamer” pedal I’d been using. Then I heard Nutrition and Uranium Club on Bandcamp and it all made sense.

We just use compressor pedals so that the lead lines jump over the chords and we don’t have to do the ‘pedal dance’ when playing. Recipe as follows:

  1. Humbuckers, bridge pickup, all guitar knobs on full;
  2. $50 compressor pedal, sustain on full and attack at zero;
  3. Fender-style valve amp, clean channel, and turn up the pedal output until it’s about to get crunchy;
  4. Bass at zero, mid and treble full, presence as high as possible without it being too harsh.

How does playing live help your songs develop?

PP: We often record at the first chance we get, so playing the songs over and over again at shows lets us get way more familiar with them. This leads to us picking up the pace of a lot of them and learning to belt them out with more energy than the recordings.

What’s something that’s really important to Pinch Points?

PP: Community, diversity, big riffs!

Please check out: PINCH POINTS. PP on Facebook. PP on Instagram. You can find PP releases on their bandcamp and via Roolette Records in Australia and Six Tonnes de Chair in Europe.

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