Scene and Heard

Photo:Verity and Sarah On Ice

Verity and Sarah On Ice

Photo from a private collection

Photo:Dom On Ice

Dom On Ice

Photo from a private Collection

Miss Pain - Pop art action

By Louise Halvardsson

Plenty to look at
According to a flyer Miss Pain is an electro- glam pop art action. Sarah Pain on vocals, theremin and synth, Verity Pain on synths and Dom Pain on vocals, guitars and synths. So what could you expect from a gig with Miss Pain?

"It will definitely be plenty to look at." Verity says.
"We try to make it as visual interesting as musical interesting." Sarah continues. "We decorate the venue in a theme and dress in a theme. It's the whole experience."

Props and refreshments
Their ideas seem to be endless and can be quite contrasting. Around Christmas they had an ice- skating theme and did a show called "Miss Pain on Ice." For Halloween they dressed up and made props inspired by Hitchcock's film the Birds. On most shows they also have refreshments to match. For the "On ice" show they offered mulled wine and iced gems (little biscuits with icing on them).

Colour coordinated dresses
What is it that keeps Miss Pain together if they change all the time?
Sara points out that the general idea is to be glamorous. When they are not putting on their own shows, they always pick a theme anyway and wear colour coordinated dresses. Verity explains that even if they change from being militaries to being house wives the songs are still the same. But if it wasn't for all the props and dressing up she would feel terrified on stage.

"What influenced the whole kind of mindset was when we were at art college. They were really picky about presentation and having a lot to back it up. You had to intellectualise it and think about it a hell of a lot before you actually put it in front of people." Dom says.

Music or style?
Miss Pain has been accused of being style over content. Dom thinks it's because so many bands don't have any style. They all agree that it's lack of imagination to wear jeans and T-shirt and just tear it down to music.

"A lot of the songs are to do with us being who we are, doing what we are doing, dressing like we are dressing." Sarah says.

Even if it can annoy some people Miss Pain thinks it's very important to keep a sense of humour in what they are doing.

"Some of our songs are about important issues... but we're not gonna acting out like we were 13- year olds going on about how awful everything is. " Sarah says.

"Spectre: discord" is a stream of consciousness going on in a woman's head. Or more likely what you are told what's going on in a woman's head.

"It's like a huge list of handbags and shoes and lip gloss and cardies and dresses and boyfriends and matching handbags and sparkles and boyfriends with make- up set to a Phil Spector- beat."
The handbags have a special meaning to the band, going back to Sarah's days at art college when people were saying bad things about her and her friends way of dressing.

"For every insult I covered a handbag in paint and hit the canvas."

First gig in Worthing
Today Miss Pain appear to be very confident, but it hasn't always been the case. Their very first gig was in Worthing and they played there because they were a bit scared to play in Brighton.

"None of us had been in a band before so we just wanted to go away somewhere an practise and get it right."

After all Miss Pain find themselves lucky to be in Brighton because it's small enough to make a name. There are also lots of creative people around who are writing for cool magazines, and are doing art stuff. The club "It came from the sea" put together a CD with local bands and handed it out for free.

Miss Pain think if would be difficult to do what they are doing elsewhere. People wouldn't be so open and when they lived in Oxford it wasn't half as much going on. On the other hand if they lived in London they would get lost, unless they were at the right place at the right time.

Difficult cross-over
Now having reach some kind of fame in Brighton, how do they cope with walking about in their normal clothes?

"It could be a difficult cross- over sometimes. Like when you are walking down the street having a really bad day." Sarah refers to when she was just coming out from hospital, not feeling very well and had a guy screaming after her in the street. "But It's not like we are particularly different people. All of us enjoy dressing up and being theatrical."

They wouldn't say they are normal as other people are normal in every day life. For example Sarah never wears trousers or denim. Most of their stuff come from charity shops.

"I have Miss Pain clothes and than clothes that are my clothes and clothes that are kind of both." Verity says.

The only one who has a real problem with the double personality is Dom. People at work once freaked out when he forgot to remove his nail varnish. "Nobody at work really understands it. It's like an alien thing to them."

Added to the site on 26-09-05 
This page was added on 22/03/2006.

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