Love and girls—what else is there to sing about? For Brooklyn’s the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the joy and melancholy of relationships gained and lost weave throughout walls of guitars and twinkling harmonies. Following an impressive shoegazing debut LP, the band members—singer/guitarist Kip Berman, keyboardist/singer Peggy Wang, bassist Alex Naidus, drummer Kurt Feldman and guitarist Christoph Hochheim—enlisted studio heavyweights Alan Moulder and Flood to help them produce, yep, more songs about girls and love on their crisp, radio-ready sophomore album, Belong (Slumberland). Here, Naidus completes our easy questionnaire, revealing his earliest musical obsession and which season of Friday Night Lights really makes him bawl.
Life + Times: What’s the first album you ever bought?
Alex Naidus: Megadeth’s Countdown to Extinction. I was 13 and mighty confused.
L+T: What can you recall of your earliest musical memory?
AN: I remember my mom singing “Love Me Do” around the house a lot. My dad is a Stones guy, so he’d kind of snicker.
L+T: What music do you first remember meaning something significant in your life?
AN: Nirvana, definitely. In fifth grade a bunch of eighth-graders did a lip-synced version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at a talent show, all dressed up like the video. My little mind was blown. After Kurt Cobain died, I used to write “KC 67-94” at the top of each page of my notebook or homework assignments.
L+T: What is the most beautiful sound you can think of?
LT: What movie always makes you cry?
AN: I don’t really re-watch a lot of movies. I will say that large swathes of Friday Night Lights (season three, specifically) have made me weep openly. So emo.
L+T: What’s something people might not know about your album, Belong?
AN: What sounds like the drumstick count-in at the beginning of “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now” is actually Peggy hitting one of Flood’s U2-related Grammys. Wishful thinking.
L+T: Alan Moulder and Flood aren’t an obvious choice for an indie band from Brooklyn. Aside from being fans of their work, what made you realize they were a proper fit for the group and, specifically, this album?
AN: Being fans of their work (and their breadth of work—not just Smashing Pumpkins, but Depeche Mode and the Associates, too) was the impetus, and we knew we wanted to explore bigger, lusher, stranger sounds. We were all really nervous about the logistical reality of working with any producer, let alone legendary guys like Alan and Flood, but they made us feel immediately comfortable around them and (maybe more importantly) with ourselves.
L+T: Let’s say girls didn’t exist. What would you write songs about?
AN: Dudes, definitely.
L+T: Have you ever been in love?
AN: Totally. It’s a really subtle, settling warmth until the person you love leaves. Then it feels like physical disembowelment. Good shit.
L+T: In the Pains biopic, who plays each band member?
AN: Kip: Justine Frischmann
Alex: Bill Murray
Peggy: James Iha
Kurt: Gary Numan
Christoph: Shannyn Sossamon
L+T: Complete the following sentence: “Being from Brooklyn means I can always…”
AN: Make people in Japan think I’m cooler than I really am.
L+T: It’s a rock & roll dinner party. You can invite three rock stars, alive or dead. Who do you invite?
AN: RZA, Charlie Watts and Joey Ramone.
L+T: What song do you wish you’d written?
AN: Archers of Loaf’s “Web in Front.” It’s super short but still anthemic and catchy, also somehow clever and weird. It has endless replay-ability.
L+T: What’s the last lie you told?
AN: “Cool, I’m excited!”
L+T: Tell me a secret.
AN:Everything’s gonna be okay.