Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit: The Pinker Tones

For today's Global Hit, we revisit a band we met a year ago. The Pinker Tones are an eclectic, electronic-music duo from downtown Barcelona. But they recently moved from their studio penthouse to a log cabin in the woods. They call it Pinkerland. Well, it turns out our reporter in Spain, Gerry Hadden, is a neighbor. So he hiked over to Pinkerland to catch up with the band and hear their latest creations.

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A couple of years ago the Pinker Tones became underground super-stars with electronica number like Mais Pourquoi, or "But Why." In the video cartoon two impish little musicians follow around a sexy French singer. Those little guys were The Pinker Tones - Professor Manso and Mr. Furia. They've since grown up a bit.

Happy Everywhere is the lead single off The Pinker Tones new record, Wild Animals, released this month. It's autobiographical. The Pinker Tones did in fact move to the woods.

Professor Manso (left) and Mr. Furia: photo: Anne CassutoProfessor Manso (left) and Mr. Furia: photo: Anne Cassuto

Manso: "It's always better to work surrounded by trees than surrounded by cars."

That's professor Manso, one half of the Pinker Tones, sitting on a couch inside their new studio, Pinkerland. It's a cozy little pine-board cabin nestled in the green mountains above Barcelona. Pinkerland is a play on Alice's Wonderland. But as the lyrics explain Pinkerland is not the bucolic utopia they'd expected, says Mr. Furia.

"Morning stones, frozen bones
Bugs and ants, up my pants
Country mice eat my rice
Bats and spiders in my nightmares..
I want ot leave the city, I like it in the woods
I'm happy Everwhere, it's just that I'm a little bit scared.
I'm happy everywhere, just a bit scared�"

Furia:"It's a bit of a joke, based on that reality. Because we are obviously city boys. But we like the country. When most of city people go to the country, the first time, a lot of the initial illusion disappears between the hard reality of the country. So we wanted, it's a bit of nature vs culture in the old Rousseau way. But with a post-modern attitude."

Musically, The Pinker Tones upbeat formula hasn't changed� retro-synth sounds, dance beats, latin horns� but their songs feel tighter, and grittier, than their last hit record, Million Colour Revolution.

Manso:"I think it's a normal evolution from the other two records. In that sense if million colour revolutions was like the utopic way that we could see the world. The world seen as we would like it to be. Wild animals is more like the world we see actually.

The Pinker Tones world has become a flurry of festivals, tours and appearances. Their songs sound different in concert. You could call it post-post-modern. Because they resample their own sample-laden music, creating self-referential... and very danceable... songs.

For these live shows the Pinker Tones add a third player, DJ Nino. During a concert in Barcelona this weekend the trio was busy pushing buttons and loading computer samples. In 90 minutes of non-stop music, no one played a traditional instrument. But it was hardly boring. The three danced, hopped and air-guitared all over the stage, dressed in black shirts, silver ties and silver space jackets. Their high energy antics got several thousand university students on their feet and dancing.

The boys in PinkerlandThe boys in Pinkerland

Whenever The Pinker Tones wrap up a show, or these days an international tour, they regroup back at Pinkerland. There, as they put it, they digest all they've musically 'consumed' on the road, and keep on writing.

Manso:"The idea basically to mix everything we like. Always based on our own music."

And here in the woods there's no one to interrupt them.

For The World, I'm Gerry Hadden, Pinkerland, Spain

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