As Decisive Pink, Kate NV and Angel Deradoorian make abstract and infectious electropop. Loaded with analogue synths, their debut record is a playful, sultry and “quietly magical” sonic delight

“It wasn’t like a plan, you know?” stresses Kate NV, one half of Decisive Pink alongside Angel Deradoorian. “We just wanted to jam, and this is the best way to do stuff – have no expectations, make something out of fun and curiosity.”

“Start with a plan and it won’t work,” chips in Angel.

There’s a lot of this in my conversation with Decisive Pink – Kate picking up on Angel’s thoughts and vice versa. It’s clear the duo are not merely collaborators. They’re mates who spark each other into laughter and ideas, and it’s this conviviality that is so key in making Decisive Pink’s debut album, the astonishing ‘Ticket To Fame’, so addictive and immersive.

There are pristine anthems here – the stunning electropop of ‘Haffmilch Holiday’, ‘Destiny’ and ‘Ode To Boy’ – but there’s also full-tilt weirdness and quirkiness in sublime tracks like ‘Potato Tomato’, ‘Rodeo’ and ‘What Where’. In a musical era where collaboration is so ubiquitous that it starts looking like a way of hiding, Decisive Pink are that very rare thing – a band forged in a sense of fun and mutual playfulness, where ego is negated by sheer delight.

Lyrically, ‘Ticket To Fame’ is about dualities – ancient and futurist, internal and external, the pleasures of silence and solitude versus the need for sound and connection. Musically, it walks a compelling tightrope between crafted and spontaneous. Crucially, it’s the sound of friendship.

“When we work together, it’s so easy,” nods Angel. “Because of our mentalities, and because we’re both very open and receptive to each other, we don’t shut each other’s ideas down, so there’s no competition. Curiosity and openness guide us. We both come from classical training, so we know how to compose and arrange, but we also love the freedom of krautrock and experimental music. The process of making the record meant there were accidents and, importantly, there were accidents we were stuck with that we couldn’t re-record.”

This process had distinct stages. Kate and Angel have been friends since 2014 and have wanted to work together ever since, despite individual commitments and the pandemic getting in the way. Naming themselves after a painting by Wassily Kandinsky, they finally recorded the instrumentals for ‘Ticket To Fame’ at a mutual friend’s studio in Cologne – Kate describes it as a “spaceship” – which has an extensive collection of old analogue synths.

“We were working on these old Prophets, a Juno, a Jupiter, a Rodeo, loads of others – where you might have one crazy-ass sound you’ll never be able to recreate anywhere else,” says Angel. “And often, that leads to accidents… mistunings and modulations that we have no idea how to ‘fix’, so we leave it because it sounds cool.

“We’d end up in these weird Moebius loops, strange basslines and delays – just really loose. And because Kate is so good at production, detail-oriented arrangement and editing, she would be sending me back her structures and final compositions while I was working on lyrics and performance.”

“When we were in Cologne, we were so excited about all the synthesisers that we just kind of beelined to whichever one looked fun and began writing a melody,” adds Kate. “And then we realised, ‘Oh, this is actually going somewhere’. And that’s how we started everything.”

Completing the album lyrically and vocally in Los Angeles required a different set-up, and a small booth in Angel’s apartment gave the singing an intimacy and warmth that rubs up beautifully against the glacial arrangements. For Angel, it signalled a deepening of the duo’s relationship.

“Something special that Kate and I both have is that we don’t want to insert our egos,” she says. “We’re just making ideas as they come – we’re being very receptive. I think that’s a really powerful and feminine quality.”

“It’s a strength,” agrees Kate. “Because then we get to sit inside these different realms of sound and experimentation, and just allow it. So there’s really not much resistance. And even when there is, we examine this thing we feel and realise it’s working. That’s an amazing moment – questioning your own resistance, but also how nice it is to change.

“Sometimes people jam and it’s all about showing how cool they are, being competitive. We serve the music, not our egos. We’re more like instruments putting music into the world. I love this approach because it is so feminine.”

I wonder how Decisive Pink differs from previous bands or collaborations they’ve been involved in.

“When Angel and I make music together, it’s also a dialogue with the instruments that sets the mood, an endless conversation,” says Kate. “You can’t talk to someone who’s only talking about themselves all the time. So the balance between letting the instrument set a mood but also using the accidents that happen to set your own mood is really important.”

“We have an inherent language between us that doesn’t require those kinds of ‘band’ discussions and arguments,” adds Angel. “It’s more like, ‘Yes, yes, yes – the green light keeps going off!’. We’ve played with lots of guys and have had to collaborate in all these different ways. This is a very different experience. It feels sacred. We’ve been through the experience of ego and musicianship for the sake of showing how good you are at your instrument, and what’s different here is the simplicity – tapping into the emotion of a sound. We’re not just playing with toys – we’re interacting with the synths we use, and having a dialogue between the two of us that leaves space in the sound where other people can interpret the vibe.”

Decisive Pink might have only just begun, but ‘Ticket To Fame’ is a meeting of minds and one of 2023’s most startling debuts. Long may they play.

‘Ticket To Fame’ is out on Fire

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