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Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

More Than a Handful

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the latest band to rise in short order from obscurity in Brooklyn to darlings of the internet, have the sincere, fuzzy indie-pop thing down. The band returns to San Francisco less than two months after its last gig here for a show September 18th at Great American Music Hall. Kip Berman (vocals/guitar) spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from New York about the bandís quick jump in popularity after the February release of its self-titled LP, his love of Girls (the San Francisco band) and Jay Reatardís recent Twitter tirade. The bandís new EP Higher Than the Stars is set for release on September 22nd.

SF Station (SFS): Tell me about the last year.

Kip Berman (KP): The last year has been really way beyond our expectations of what we thought was possible for a band like ours. Weíve been around for a couple years, playing around New York, then we put out our album in February and a lot of stuff seemed to happen after that. It was really cool and positive. We like the record but thought maybe only a handful of people would be into it.

So many of the bands I loved growing up werenít really recognized commercially or even critically outside of a really narrow community. Our record came out and people seemed really enthused about it across the boards. It was really exciting because it gave us so many more opportunities to go places and play shows. Itís been just a wonderful year, and kind of a dream come true. Itís a dream that we didnít even think was possible that came true.

SFS: What are you reaching for now that the bar is raised?

KP: Ultimately, itís never really good to fixate on people with expectations or anything like that. The only thing we can really control is making music that we feel proud of and enjoy. We have the new EP coming out in September and it will be nice to have recordings for those songs since weíve been playing them live for a while now.

SFS: Does it ever get tiresome to tour so much behind the same songs?

KP: We genuinely love the songs that we play every night. I guess we are fortunate in that we havenít gotten sick of the songs we play and they still feel fresh. A large part of that comes from seeing peoplesí passion for the songs when we play them live. When people get excited about our songs, it feels good and we are honored by that. Itís hard to explain, but itís a great experience to kind of feed off of that energy.

SFS: Whatever happened with Jay Reatard and his Twitter dis?

KP: Iím a really big Jay Reatard fan and Alex (bass) is actually a member of the Jay Reatard fan club. Itís okay; I think Jay was kind of just joking around. I donít think he really meant anything by it, and I think the internet has ways of magnifying things. He also wrote us after it happened and said "sorry". I think the whole thing was kind of overblown.

SFS: It seems like if you blow your nose the wrong way itís all over the internet.

KP: Yeah, everyone is so cautious and nice and polite these days. Itís actually nice to actually have entertainers that are entertaining.

SFS: People should let loose a little bit?

KP: Yeah, that is what makes things fun. If everybody were polite and concerned about what they say, it would be pretty boring. Itís nice to have genuine characters.

SFS: Has your love for the San Francisco band Girls grown or diminished since you toured together?

KP: It has grown, of course. We have been huge fans of that band for a while now. I know their first album is just coming out this year, but they put out a single maybe a little over a year ago, and we have kind of been stalker fans ever since. I think their album is going to do really well when it comes out.

SFS: What else do you love about SF?

KP: San Francisco is beautiful. I was only there for a day and a half before, but I would like to come back and spend more time. I donít know what it is I want to do - more than just hang out.

Itís a beautiful city and itís the capital of Star Fleet in Star Trek IV. When they come back and save the whales, there are a lot of scenes of San Francisco being inundated by this alien life form. So yeah, San Francisco is a great place.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart perform at Great American Music Hall on September 18th. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm.