PBSM is Lauritz Carlsen (vox, guitars) and David Tholander (bass, drum machine). The third EP from Copenhagen-based pair, Rainbow Girl, is out now - we caught up with them to find out more.
We take some direct inspiration from the dark side of 80s UK rock music.
First up, tell us about yourselves - what led you teaming up as PBSM?
We’ve been playing together since we were teenagers in different constellations. After moving away from each other we started this recording project sending recordings back and forth from Copenhagen to Berlin over a period of about 18 months, now we’re a full-blown power duo!
Who do your take inspiration from?
Well, our taste is very broad. We enjoy styles like neo-soul and mainstream pop, David (Bass) is particularly indulged in soul divas at the moment and Lauritz (myself), I’m always a bit behind, only noticing the new cool thing once it’s already old news – or maybe just before it gets cool again?
Why the name ‘PBSM’?
We started out as “Pitch Black Spinney Machine”, but no one could remember our name so we compressed it to PBSM. You could also think of it as a kind of acronym, Pb (Lead) and the sexual fetish, S&M. That seems like a pretty appropriate name for a rockband no? Haha.
How would you describe your musical style?
Lately we have started thinking of it as being somewhere between 80’s Don Henley and BRMC. We take some direct inspiration from the dark side of 80s UK rock music (such as The Sound). Other than that, you could call it up-tempo and melancholic alt rock. Someone called it chromatic rock a week ago, I don’t know exactly what that is, but it sounds kind of cool. Chromatic…
If you could collaborate with any living artist or band, who would you choose?
We’d love to be the backing band for Debbie Harry, Billie Eilish or Lana del Rey!
Tell us about your EP Rainbow Girl, what’s it about? What are its themes?
The key for all tracks has been a shared lyrical concept of alienation, gender-roles, fluid identities, social interaction - especially formed around a strangers/non-strangers dichotomy - and the magic that happens when people feel their way into establishing relations and respond to one another. Title track ‘Rainbow Girl’ takes this a step further with adding a pinch of playfulness to that particular moment.
When did you write Rainbow Girl, and where did you record it?
We wrote and recorded it in 2018 from our studio in Copenhagen. It’s where we go to let the world alone for a moment and just concentrate on the music. We are seriously into vintage gear, so the space is quite chaotic, but it has a lot of vibes and a lot of cool stuff to make sounds with!
How does Rainbow Girl represent your style?
Rainbow Girl came off as a rock and roll slow jam and several bpm’s below what we usually do. Probably because it was written and recorded during the heatwave last year in our non-airconditioned studio. It sort of has this nighttime vibe to it – which is something intrinsic to all of our songs, regardless of tempo.
Can you talk us through each song?
‘Nothing But Strangers’: It’s the first single of the EP and it’s sort of self-contradictory with the combination of a cheeky hi-hat and the very sad lyrics. But maybe that’s what makes it work -not making it too depressing or too happy.
‘Rainbow Girl’: It’s our personal favorite on the EP. It could be due to the fact that it’s got a different and slower groove than what we normally do. New is always exciting! But we also like the very sexy vibe it ended up being swept in. We need to do a more explicitly sexy song……note to self.
‘Leave for Better’: It’s written upon an idea of two people waking up being dead/in a new world. Speculating on how it may be a better place than where you came from. It used to have a long intro but we got tired of it and decided to let the drums set off the song.
‘Caused Trouble’: It’s built around a chorus that we have had lying around for a while. It had several different verses and arrangements earlier on, but nothing really seemed quite right. Finally, we got It done! Ahhh.
‘Higher’: We try to have a guitar solo somewhere in the mix every time we release an EP/album and this time ‘Higher’ was the right spot. We went really crazy when our go-to drummer Lasse Herbst did the tomtoms right when the solo kicks in. Feels very epic right there! We have a good friend that always skips to where the guitar solo starts when he listens to music -he is obviously a guitar-player himself, haha. We hope you will listen the whole song though.
What are your hopes for Rainbow Girl?
As a part of the EP we have done a collab with South Korean insta-starlet and longboarder Jin Choi, who has supported us with visual material for the music video. Now we are trying to push it in South Korea, so we if it goes well we might pay a visit over there and play a few shows. That would be super exciting!
What other plans do you have for the year?
Right now we are trying to plan a few shows in Berlin and we have started working on new songs, so that’s something we’ll definitely look more into as well.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourselves one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Time: Last Friday. Advice: Don’t drink those last few glasses of prosecco. Haha….or it could also be when we were first moving to Copenhagen some years ago. Maybe we should have just started out the two of us. Band life has been less complicated since we went that way.
Watch the video for ‘Plastic Magic’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates go to the PBSM Facebook page.