The famous Pinkish Black singer talks about his new electronic project with Pallbearer’s Joseph D. Rowland and his undying penchant for doing weird shit.
Daron Beck has already had his twenties in music at this point.
After spending several years as half of The famous Pinkish Black duo from Dallas (and in The great tyrant of Denton before that), the theater artist is now coming out a record as part of a new project called Information_Age.
Working alongside Joseph D. Rowland of acclaimed doom metal band Pallbearer, the new effort is more in line with the original giallo movie soundtracks of yesteryear.
To celebrate the release of his new duo’s self-titled debut album, we caught up with Beck to see how he handled the creative life during the pandemic, how his new project was born, the status of Pinkish Black and, yes, even his thoughts. on the ABC version of American Idol, a show on which he appeared once as a lookalike when it aired on FOX.
You survived several heart attacks a few years ago. How has this affected your behavior during the pandemic, if at all?
I had two heart attacks two weeks apart. The second was from prescribing drugs that did not work with my system and caused blood clots. I received stents, prescribed some medication, and made some dietary changes. Things look pretty much normal now. I was pretty good at staying home last year and luckily I avoided getting sick. I was worried about what might happen if I contracted COVID. I’m glad I didn’t find out.
Let’s move on to your new music. How was Information_Age born? How did you and Joseph de Pallbearer first meet?
We met the guys from Pallbearer at a gig we played together in Texarkana when the two bands were relatively new. We immediately hooked. I told them they sounded like a Journey 45 rpm record played on 33 – which, coming from me, is a huge compliment. We did a two week European tour with them in 2017 and spent a lot of time on the bus chatting and playing music, most of which was electronic music of some sub-genre or another. . When Joe asked me to do some vocals on the music he was writing, it was a journey to hear that it was going in the direction he was taking. I wasn’t sure my vocal style was suitable, but I was very happy with the end result, and it was great working with Joe on it.
How do you go about sharing and working on the music? Do you have the unlimited Dropbox monthly plan or just a full Google Drive folder?
Pretty much a full Google drive! Joe would send me the pieces of music, and I would find a few words and send several vocal harmonies for him to play with. It is the same with the Zombie and his friends covers the project I have been involved with for the past six months or so. Steve Moore of Zombi would start the pieces with keyboards and guitars, and send them to AE Paterra (also of Zombi) for the drums, then to Bryan Richie of The Sword for the bass parts, Jeff Gretz of Zao for the percussion, Philip Manley. from Trans Am for the guitar and finally to Kane Banner for the graphics of the YouTube videos. They would send me roughly a rough mix for me to sing along to, and Steve would put it all together. I haven’t been in a room with another person making music for about 17 months, which must be sort of a record for me, having been in bands quite regularly since 1988.
You recently told Stereogum this new Information_Age project is the kind of music that made you want to be a musician in the first place. What are these primary influences?
I’ve been a fan of electronic music since my sister introduced me to Depeche Mode when I was 11 years old. I absolutely loved Skinny Puppy as a teenager, and my musical tastes have varied since. Aside from the Giorgio Moroder-meets-Bauhaus “idea” I had of where my vocal style would work in this project, it came back further in my record collection to a lot of sophisti-pop stuff that I was using. grew up – like ABC, Dead Ou Alive and even Roxy Music during the “Slave To Love” era. Not many people take these musical paths without irony these days, but I really like this stuff. One of my all-time favorite bands is Danny Wilson, who is basically a sophisti-pop Steely Dan.
What are these musical influences that made you believe you could play? I ask because there seems to be an “a-ha!” moment for people when they realize it. Like, seeing Johnny Ramone playing barre chords on TV, and people going, “Hey, I can do that too!”
I got a guitar around the age of 10 and learned to play by learning “The Chain” from Fleetwood Mac and pretty much just mixed the chords from that song to create my own songs for the song. first year of play. Around the age of 13, I went to this place called New Day, a partial day mental hospital in Fort Worth for about a year. They had a music teacher there who taught me power chords for the first time while teaching me “Mother” from Danzig. Around the same time, I learned barre chords while playing Pixies songs. It opened up a whole world of notes to me. In my late teens, when I started seriously trying to play keyboards, the simple fact that I could make a lot more noise – and also more fleshed out compositions by being able to play bass parts and leads. at the same time – really changed the way I went about writing.
Listening to “We Were Alive”, I feel like I’m watching a good Dario Argento movie from the early 80s. Do you take that as a compliment?
But of course! Aside from Fleetwood Mac, my first musical influences were horror movie soundtracks. Return of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre I turned to punk when I was 10, and Dawn of the Dead was my introduction to keyboard prog via Goblin’s music on the soundtrack. I will be forever grateful that I was able to spend a few weeks of my life touring with Goblin and seeing them perform every night. Some dreams come true! [Laughs.]
What is the status of Pinkish Black? Are you hoping to do any shows or release material soon?
We’re in relaxation mode for the first time since The Great Tyrant was formed in 2005. We enjoyed not having to worry about “what’s next?” For a minute. We have a potential tour on the horizon, but probably nothing until 2022. We are unlikely to have a new release this year because we never got to fully tour our album. Unification of concepts which came out mid-2019. I’m sure we’ll have a few recordings in the works over the next year or so. I think we’re more concerned about cracking down on one of our records because they’re out of print and we don’t have any to sell on tour.
Do people ask you when you opened for Sleep at the Granada a few years ago? I still think of this concert as the loudest show I have ever seen. I was standing at the back of the balcony for this show, and it always rocked my world. It was crazy. I saw Dinosaur Jr playing with eight amps behind J. Mascis, and it still wasn’t as loud as that Sleep show.
[Laughs.] It was fun ! Once again, a group that I have had the chance to do several concerts with and that I can even call friends at this stage. The rules of sleep – and, yes, they are loud as hell, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We’re pretty loud too, but I hope someday have a setup like theirs and be the loudest two-room synth band in the world – if I haven’t already. [Laughs.]
Rather than being another person asking when you were on American Idol, I want to know if you’ve watched the show since it moved to ABC. It seems like they genuinely want the people they hire now to succeed, even if they don’t. And it looks like the awkwardness they once created for television is now mostly reserved for contestants with helicopter parents.
I can’t watch this shit now. It was a different time when this show started, and the way I saw it was like a vehicle for real “strangers” to be on TV. It was a weird, mean series when it started, and I thought it would be hilarious to see what they said about my voice. Of course, I never really thought I would be a real competitor, so it wasn’t as heartbreaking for me as many of those kids who see their dreams shattered because their musical ambitions only go as far as performing. To me it’s just more weird shit than I did with the other weird shit i do. The last time I watched the show Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Steven Tyler were judges. It was terrible, and I didn’t want to watch it. It was all awkward and not in a good way. I’ll take William Hung’s days on what they have now.
Buy and properly distribute Information_Age’s debut album here.