Q&A: The Pinker Tones, Shades and all

Read more

At the risk of blurring the lines between my so-called “professions,” I got a chance to interview Mr. Furia of The Pinker Tones to set a few things straight before we get to share the stage for their upcoming, first-ever Oakland show (UPDATE: This show has been canceled). Through Skype, while out on the terrace of his home in Barcelona, the one half of the duo that never takes their shades off, patiently answered all my life-long doubts regarding fashion, groupies, transvestites, and tractors.


Today I’m talking to you as a journalist, but on April 2nd I’ll be the DJ opening for you guys at Oakland’s New Parish.

Will you be wearing your luchador mask?

Oh, I see you googled me before the interview.

Hombre! I need to know whom I’m talking to. There’re too many delinquents at large out there.

Is there any special request for the DJ from the headlining artist?

No, basically just play good music, whatever you think is good music.

Is there any particular song or artist that if I play right before you go on stage it would kill your mood and ruin the night?

No, we are really open minded, even if you play something we hate, we’ll only just subtly mock you. We are very British in that sense.

Well, in connection to that, I was just thinking about The Pinker Tones earlier today, and I realized you guys are the Spanish band that’s the most fun to listen to since Zapato Veloz.

(Laughs) I’d just add that we sound a tiny bit better than Zapato Veloz. Right? Because even with all the nostalgia that one could have for Zapato Veloz’s songs like “El Tractor Amarillo,” they sounded really horrible. It was something that you could stand for a bit on AM radio but on FM it was absolutely unbearable. That’s how bad they sounded.

So, I shouldn’t be expecting one of your bootleg live versions of “El Tractor Amarillo” any time soon.

Absolutely not. In fact, we recently changed our live performance from the DJ set up we used to do to something that combines more of a live rock band. But we still somehow maintain that irreverent spirit of doing live mashups and bootlegs.

How many are you on stage now?

We added only one, a drummer. So we’re four.




After the show, backstage, can I pretend to be part of your band to get my share in the harvest of groupies?

Sure! We have a saying: where four can eat, five can, too.

And groupies won’t notice because on stage I wear my mask and you all use sunglasses the whole time.

Of course!

The Norwegian group Datarock stole that shades aesthetic from you and the name, Data, from me. Shall we join forces and go get them together?

Poor them, have some mercy, they live in Norway, they have enough trouble with that. No, really, we met them a couple of years ago in Miami and they were really cool. We even talked about doing something together. But no, I think they came out right around the same time we did, maybe a bit later, but not much. I think there have been way more serious cases of people stealing aesthetics or ideas from us, but I’ll leave it at that.

Do people, and by people I mean record labels, ask you if you guys are going to come up with another hit like “Sonido Total?”

Well, there won’t be another “Sonido Total.” That was a song that reflected that particular moment when it was done. “Sonido Total” helped introduce a lot of people to the Pinker Tones universe and realize that there’s a lot more beyond that one particular song.

Before The Pinker Tones you guys were involved in the film industry, right?

Yes, I was working as a scriptwriter for a documentary back then and they offered me to do a tune for the soundtrack, that’s when I first met Professor Manso, who was a photographer and had done some film shorts before that.

You know, there’s one thing about Spanish film that strikes me as odd, to say the least. I get the impression than from every two movies we get from Spain, one is about transvestites.

Yes. And the other one is about the (Spanish) Civil War! (Laughs)

Dude, what’s up with that?

That’s something you should ask Amodóvar, who’s probably the culprit behind the trend. I think the problem is with the foreign distribution, those are the type of films that get picked up for distribution based on the international success of Almodóvar.

For the past 10 years or so, your hometown, Barcelona, has been unquestionably the coolest city in Europe. How much longer do you think it’ll be able to hold that place?

Well, with the terrible economic crisis we’re currently going through, it’ll lose—I don’t know. I don’t know, maybe it still has many years more.

Is it true, as one of your songs says, that you saw a young Italian buying a Mexican sombrero as a souvenir of Barcelona?

That’s a shared memory of our teenage years, something we both, Manso and I, remember seeing happening repeatedly back then. You see, Italian high school kids used to come to Barcelona for their graduation trip and we never figured out why they used to buy Mexican sombreros here! Mexican sombreros are, obviously, from Mexico, and they have nothing to do with Barcelona! But maybe because there’s not one typical hat that represents Barcelona…


If you happen to be in Oakland, catch our inquisitive writer DJ Juan Data opening for The Pinker Tones on Saturday, April 2nd. Complete tour dates below.

4/9 – Vive Latino Festival – Mexico City
4/10 – Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK
4/11 – The Outland – Springfield, MO
4/12 – Czar Bar – Kansas City, MO
4/13 – The Gramophone – St. Louis, MO
4/14 – Green Dolphin St. – Chicago, IL
4/15 – Diesel – Pittsburgh, PA
4/16 – Chief Ike’s Mambo Room – Washington, DC
4/17 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY