The electronic music micro-genre known as vaporwave might also offer a few clues. “I got turned onto vaporwave a few years ago and when I heard it, I thought, ‘Oh, this is kinda what we’ve been doing all along,’” Beck says. “It’s taking normal pop music, slowing it way the hell down and adding a ton of effects to it. So I was really taken aback that Internet kids are doing it now. We’ve been doing this for a long time -- but live.”
However you describe them, Pinkish Black originally formed in 2005 in Fort Worth, TX, under the name The Great Tyrant. At the time, Beck and drummer/synth stylist Jon Teague were joined by bassist Tommy Atkins. When Atkins committed suicide in early 2010, Beck and Teague took two years to emerge from what Beck describes as “a drunken stupor” before reforming as Pinkish Black. “We’re not a two-piece band by choice,” he adds. “We were kinda forced into it.”
The duo’s fourth and latest album, Concept Unification, is an ominous and dreamlike journey through the sinister world of commercial propaganda. We recently spoke with them to find out more.
1) What’s the story behind Concept Unification? Are the songs linked together thematically or lyrically?
Beck: Yeah, it’s about being sold something that’s “new and improved” but isn’t new or improved at all. That’s kind of where we’re at in the world right now, I feel like. There’s no more taste—there’s just tastemakers. The phrase itself is just business jargon. It’s that Edward Bernays thing of “selling the sizzle.”
Teague: It’s business new-speak. It’s a fancy way of saying re-branding.