Pinkshift and the new pop-punk wave – Kerrang!


Pop-punk is currently experiencing a resurgence. Reinvigorated by social media and a new guard of boundaries pushing groups, the sound and look of the genre is changing dramatically. One of those groups riding the new wave is Maryland’s Pinkshift.

Composed of singer Ashrita Kumar, guitarist Paul Vallejo, drummer Myron Houngbedji and bassist Erich Weinroth, the self-described rat city rock nerds trained at college in 2018. All studying at a research university in Baltimore, they are the first to admit that there isn’t much of a stage at their school, so they met at music clubs and – would you believe it – a night out. Tinder search. Recalling their training days, Ashrita remembers the tipping point: she and Paul had written so many songs they thought logically, we should play them out loud, and how do we do that? We have to create a group to do it.

In the three years since their debut, Pinkshift had performed regularly in the region until COVID-19 put an end to their ambitions. In fact, only a handful of punters showed up to their last pre-pandemic show, most of whom didn’t even know who they were. But now the band’s first concert, scheduled for August, is about to sell out. It’s wild! I’ve never done anything in front of so many people, ”smiles Ashrita.

Things really took off for the band last year after their track, I’ll tell my therapist, went viral. Currently sitting at more 1.5 millions of streams on Spotify, it’s a true outpouring of emotion, built on catchy drums and buzzing guitars, reminiscent of the beginnings of Tonight Alive and Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge-era My Chemical Romance.

I have written it [about] being exhausted and I think anyone can relate to that, ”Ashrita says of the trail’s frustration and vulnerability. Over the past year, I have spoken to so many people who are just fed up with being tired. You are mad because you are sad; I think a lot of people unfortunately resonate with this. “

The latest version of Pinkshift, Saccharin PE, is an expansion of this anxiety. Mixing pop-punk with elements of grunge and alternative rock, the group bends its influences to its whims. They’re holding nothing back: From the muted hope of Mars to the gnarled, raging-fueled Rainwalk, it’s all on the table. It’s easy to see why this is a group that people identify with.

They don’t just tap into pop-punk nostalgia, either; you will hear whispers of all kinds of rock and punk influences. Growing up I didn’t listen to pop-punk – I listened to grunge music, ”admits Ashrita, explaining that it was Paul and Myron who listened to pop-punk, while Erich played ska.

Punk in general has always been popular in times of turmoil, and one thing in the world looks very obviously wrong, ”she said of the coronavirus pandemic. People are drawn to the kind of music that reflects these feelings, which can be angst, or maybe they’re looking for something hopeful. I don’t think people really identify with LMFAO how they did it.

She continues to credit TikTok for this explosion of pop-punk popularity: not just for its role in bringing sound back, but for making it so much more accessible.

You see girls of color wearing alt. makeup and do these tutorials. I see all these different faces adopting this aesthetic and making them more accessible to people.

In fact, social media in general has changed everything when it comes to representation, creating communities that couldn’t have existed. 20 years ago. When you’re the only brown kid in a room full of white kids, it’s like you’re outnumbered, and you don’t know there are so many people like you, ”Ashrita says.

In the past, pop-punk had a certain reputation: whiny boys singing about how much they hate their ex-girlfriends. Of course, not everything is like that, but it is difficult to argue that the scene was not associated with people who had a certain appearance, namely white people and men.

In the future, innovation and shit that sounds different will always be the means of growth and popularity, ”says Ashrita. No one wants to listen to a bunch of 30-White one-year-old dudes complain about the same shit over and over again in the exact same way with the same whining voice. Is it different, you know?

So who is is it worth listening to? Ashrita is brought to life by listing the bands she’s in right now – the ones doing the most exciting things in the ever-growing pop-punk arena. Meet Me @ The Altar, Action / Adventure, Cherie Amour, Jhariah, and Origami Angel are just a few bands that she says do things differently and push shape.

There is so much creativity in this scene which is really cool, ”enthuses Ashrita. Being in a creative space with your successful friends is really cool to see.

Raising small artists is always the way to keep a scene alive, ”she continues, responding to the community ethic provided by the popular pop-punk scene. It is always important to give these artists a platform, because as cool as [Machine Gun Kelly] it’s that there are so many people doing innovative things on the ground.

That’s not to say that she believes in pop-punk to top the charts of artists like MGK and Olivia Rodrigo is bad, however. I think it’s cool that they are expanding the horizons of what’s allowed to be considered popular. As long as [the scene] keep working to train smaller artists who will always do the more innovative things, I think that only benefits us and other bands like us.

With streaming and social media acting as everyone’s gateway to new music, potential fans are both guided into pop-punk and inspired to dig deeper, discovering those bands that are not in the bands. charts around the world. It allows a lot of people to subconsciously step out of their gender comfort zone in ways they really didn’t have before, ”she says, pointing in particular to Spotify’s Sludge playlist: It’s not really a genre, but there’s Poppy and Jazmin Bean and all that weird shit.

Pinkshift Leigh Ann Rogers Promotion

Pop-punk conventions are also tested. Sure, it might not be as surreal as the aforementioned Jazmin Bean, but the genre’s rules bend and break. While there will always be purists who believe that blink-182 and Green Day are among the only true pop-punk groups, the new generation is unrelated to what came before, experimenting with the sound and even the very definition of pop-punk.

I think pop-punk is evolving either towards a renewed version of itself or towards rock. I think there is going to be a 2020s pop-punk and a 2010This is pop-punk, you know what I mean? Ashrita says, referring to bands that incorporate trap, hyperpop, math-rock and even cabaret into their music. Once you stop controlling, when it’s not just about white dudes, you have so many more different backgrounds and influences that come into this genre.

But where will pop-punk go from here?

I just hope the idea of ​​being inclusive isn’t a trend, which I don’t think it is, ”she begins. Hopefully it will bring even more talent, more young people, more diverse people into the space and people feel even more seen. It’s cool to hear Damn, you’re the first person like me I’ve ever seen in this space, ”but I hope that will turn out to be normal. Instead of focusing on our identities, we won’t have to anymore because we will be the new normal. It will be weird if the majority are straight white guys!

Pinkshift are part of a new generation of bands ready to reclaim the genre and make it their own – and pop-punk will only get better. In Ashrita’s words: At the end of the day, it’s really the audience that does it; the public can demand what they want.

The pop-punk revolution is here, and Pinkshift is leading the charge.

Posted on June 25, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

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