Breaking Out: The Big Pink
Shoegazing Brits formed a band and lived the rock life -- but not necessarily in that order.
Despite releasing their first single, “Too Young to Love,” just a year ago, British noise-pop duo the Big Pink already boast a career’s worth of triumphs: winning NME’s Philip Hall Radar Award for emerging talent, touring with TV on the Radio, and, best of all — per multi-instrumentalist Milo Cordell — sharing quality time naked, bound, and abused. “That was the highlight,” Cordell says of the night he and singer-guitarist Robbie Furze spent at an S&M club in Osaka, Japan, after their gig at this year’s Summer Sonic Festival. “Looking over and seeing Robbie completely bollock-naked with hot wax being poured on his crotch.”
Perhaps this brought back fond memories for Cordell, 28, and Furze, 29, who met at a debauched 1999 New Year’s Eve rave thrown by a couple practicing self-trepanation (that is, drilling holes into their skulls to get high). Cordell hails from rock royalty — he’s the son of renowned ’60s record producer Denny Cordell (Joe Cocker, the Moody Blues) and brother of singer-songwriter Tarka Cordell, who flirted with success in the early ’90s and committed suicide last year — but though he and Furze instantly bonded over music, forming a band wasn’t an option. “I couldn’t play an instrument,” says Cordell, with a laugh. “I still can’t.”
For a while, Cordell contented himself with running indie label Merok, while Furze played guitar in hardcore bands. But in 2007, they got together to “make some noise” and quickly realized a rock’n’roll truism: “You don’t have to be a musician to play music,” says Cordell. “If you’ve got a vibe, you can do it. And we were totally vibing.”
Their debut album, A Brief History of Love (4AD), marshals the feedback shrouded melodicism of British greats like the Stone Roses and the Jesus and Mary Chain for, naturally, love songs. “It’s a celebration of loving life, partying, drugs, women,” says Furze. That love of partying — they’re often spotted carousing with the Klaxons, Crystal Castles, and Lily Allen — has earned them the tag “best connected band” by the U.K. press, but Furze says that has nothing to do with their popularity. “We sell out shows in London. Do you think people are coming because we know the Klaxons?” he asks. “They’re coming because we write good songs.”
WATCH: The Big Pink, “Dominos”