Pin Me Down
Named after a text message from Russell to Milena, Pin Me Down is compromised of Russell Lissack & Milena Mépris. Based out of New York and London, they mix in a variety of influences to get their futuristic mesh of electronica-crashing-into-pop sounds. Here, Milena gives us a little taste of Pin Me Down.
1. How did the band come about and was there an instant direction you both knew you wanted the sound to be headed?
Milena Mépris: I met Russell when my former band Black Moustache opened up for Bloc Party in New York. He shared my amp for the show, so we met as a result and hit it off immediately. He saw my band’s set and liked my playing and pink Gibson SG guitar, so we became friends from there. We started sending songs we liked back and forth, and then some of our own music, so the next natural step was to collaborate on something… Initally we just played Weezer songs, but the first 2 songs we ever wrote actually made it on to our record. It was pretty amazing! Russell liked my voice and exposed me to a lot the 80s stuff he’d grown up with, like Cyndi Lauper and New Order. I already liked artists like Madonna and Prince, but we went in a naturally more pop direction, I guess because both of our main bands were heavier.
2. Being based in different cities, how do you work on the songs and does that method have its advantages?
Initially it was difficult because we’d record everything on my digital 8-track which was hard to do since Russell was rarely in NYC, but then we both got laptops and learned how to use ProTools and that allowed Russell to record tracks wherever in the world he was and he’d email his ideas to me to write to. It was a long process but also quite exciting to receive new songs in your email inbox each morning… it was almost like we were communicating in a language that we only had access too. As the songs progressed and matured, we decide we wanted to record them properly and share them with our friends.
3. Coming from different bands, how do you approach this project differently, if at all?
For me, I see Pin Me Down in part as routed in fantasy. I can be completely over the top with this band and chose not to take myself seriously. One of our main objectives was to make sure that we had fun and that people had a blast listening to the songs. I think we can naturally mesh a lot of genres because of different influences Russell and I individually have, and then we bounce off of ideas/references we have in common. I think we can incorporate unreal images into our sound. My stage get-up will reflect this…. I feel bad for the boys, they have to wear jeans and t-shirts…boring.
4. What have been some influences for this band and influences that you had before the band started?
For PMD, the influences are Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, Madonna, Prince, New Order, Depeche Mode, Weezer. Individually we like different things. Russell loves the Smiths, Radiohead and Suede, whereas I am coming from the 60s and the 90s, so anything by the Beatles, the Zombies, or Nirvana floats my boat.
5. Can you describe the band in a sentence?
Ummmm how about this… I’m being creative Imagine the girliest rock warrior ever throwing herself off a cliff but instead of crashing, she lands on a cloud made of glitter….and levitates.
6. I heard that Milena was one of the two female guitarists used as the basis for the girl guitar player character in the Rock Band video game...how was it being involved with that?
Yeah, Rock Band was a fun experience, and a big work out too. I had to audition for the part and thrash around with a guitar. When we actually taped it, they put me in this black, super tight body suit that had silver sensors all over it. They put sensors everywhere from my face, to my hair, to my shoes, to my guitar, and these sensors were how they captured my movements. The game is interesting because the movements we did corresponded to set timings – a metronome at several different speeds that work for all the songs, surprisingly not the specific songs in the game. You’d be surprised how much energy is required. They’d let me rock out for a minute or two and throw myself on to gymnastic mats and jump around with a guitar and after a little bit later I’d be out of breath and covered with sweat. All the really girly movements are mine. It was pretty funny to see the footage of my rocking sessions back because they’re really quite feminine.
8. The first single will be out in May as well as some European tour dates; will there be an album released shortly after and any additional dates to follow?
We’re taking it one step at a time, releasing the first single “Cryptic” and its remixes in June, launching the PMD live show, playing our first UK dates in May and during all of this we’re in the midst of making plans for our next single and album.
9. Besides anything music related, what do you look forward to doing when you get the chance/time for it?
I am sort of a workaholic. I recently realized that there is very little time when I’m not doing music-related things, but then again, that comes with being a “musician,” and it’s the life I chose to pursue. That said, I love to stay in and watch foreign films and go to art galleries, enjoy nice weather, drink frozen margaritas with my friends in the summer, play with animals, travel, cook, rummage through thrift store bargain bins for my newest, craziest stage costume, try to take a day off every week.
10. What are some bands you are currently listening to?
Umm.. I am into Queens of the Stoneage, Spoon, Tegan and Sara, Mew, The Duke Spirit, Emily Haines (solo) and her work with Metric, Kings of Leon, anything Jack White does.
Some old favourites/favourite records? Russell and I love Prince Purple Rain, 1999, Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream and Gish, Radiohead Kid A. I am a huge Nirvana and Hole fan. I love David Bowie, Patti Smith, Dylan Bringing It All Back Home, Rolling Stones, the first two Pretenders records.
Anything you're looking forward to being released? I am a huge Secret Machines fan, so I am looking forward to hearing their new record also record #4 by Kings of Leon and the new My Morning Jacket too. THE NEW WEEZER ALBUM too.
Last cd/vinyl/digital purchased? The new Breeders record
Last movie and/or show you saw? Movie: Lust, Caution by Ang Lee – absolutely amazing!