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|An Interview With Prettier Than Pink
's Lei Bautista
August 25, 2005
by Karla Ash
They are the best New Wave band you probably haven’t heard – yet. The Filipino-Irish collective Prettier Than Pink is a slam-dunk; a group of lovely ladies who can generate a pogo party as ferocious as Franz Ferdinand. Originally formed in the Philippines where they apparently earned a Gold record, Prettier Than Pink are now based in Los Angeles, CA and signed to Sutton Records, an independent record label formed by All-Music Guide historian Michael Sutton. According to leader Lei Bautista, this is a revised version of the band; she is the only original member, and the group’s sound – guitar-based dance rock with psychedelic kisses – is far edgier than before. Bautista recently took the time to answer my e-mail inquiries.
Karla Ash: “Mars” is a really enigmatic song. To me, it seems to represent somebody who is distant and untouchable, like an attractive man who is aloof. Is that the analogy behind the words?
Lei Bautista: No, not at all. My daughter Summer wrote most of the lyrics on “Mars.” It’s about the planet Mars. There’s nothing intellectual behind it although I guess people can interpret it in whatever fashion they want.
KA: Why did Prettier Than Pink change its sound?
LB: When you’re recording for a major label in the Philippines, you have to appeal to their market. Our second album in the Philippines, UnPink, was more adventurous than the first, and the creative evolution between that and Chop Suey is apparent. I was finally given the artistic freedom I had longed for with Chop Suey. And the time was right for a New Wave album although there’s a lot of ‘60s on the CD as well.
KA: Did you listen to New Wave growing up?
LB: Yes, I did. New Wave was very popular in the Philippines during the ‘80s. I’m not good at remembering names, but I’m familiar with most of what became radio hits like the Smiths, Seona Dancing, Fra Lippo Lippi, the Lotus Eaters, and Depeche Mode. I’m happy that the sound is back; my kids and I really like Franz Ferdinand and the Killers. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to share that style with a younger generation. It’s like when I was a kid and hearing the Beatles for the first time.
KA: What separates Prettier Than Pink from the other all-girl rock bands today?
LB: Well, we’re not punk. Many of those groups are loud and aggressive; that’s not us. Also, the title Chop Suey is the perfect description; we’re a mix of different styles. We’re classified as New Wave, yes, but we’re open to just about everything on a musical level.
Find out more about this four-piece at their official website, http://www.prettierthanpink.com.