Long a prolific songwriter, Ariel Pink is finally lapping up overdue praise

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti with Depth and Current and Gang Starr Museum
9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15
113 N. Crawford, Norman
$10 advance, $12 door
$12 advance, $14 door under 21

The journey into a career in music has been a lifelong process for Ariel Pink, although he didn't necessarily intend it to be.

"I always loved musicians, though I was never really raised to be one," the Los Angeles performer said. "I just had this natural inclination toward listening. I even started to build bands up in my own head before I ever thought of myself as a songwriter."

Pink " born Ariel Rosenberg " started writing songs when he was 10 and began recording them at 18. Those early, home-recorded cassette tapes have since amounted to more than 500 original songs.

He spent his formative years listening to metal and Goth-rock, which inspired his earliest work, but eventually his interests grew to love a little bit of everything, from The Cure to Michael Jackson.

"Metal forged my identity," he said. "It was something that was mine, though that eventually lead to listening to other shit. It wasn't long before I saw the whole experience of listening and hearing different types of music ... there's good stuff out in every type of music. There's the good and a whole lot of bad."

Pink continued to grow in his inspirations and talents, but didn't pursue music wholeheartedly until the early 2000s. His hobby " hinging on an obsession " became a career in 2003, when he decided to move beyond the bedroom and find a way to make a life in music. He shopped his early demos around to various label heads and producers. One found its way into the hands of Josh Dibb, whose band, Animal Collective, had just opened its own label, Paw Tracks.

The upstart released eight albums of Pink's previously recorded material. While the discs were lauded for their ingenuity and ideas, they were met with mixed critical reception; his solo tours were generally panned.

He recruited touring members who would eventually comprise Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, and turned the live shows around. The act gained steam throughout 2009, culminating in Pink's self-proclaimed highlight of his career: playing at Coachella.

"It was just triumphant," he said. "It made me feel like I had really made it and could die happy. To play with The Cure and Throbbing Gristle ... I thought, 'Just shoot me now, man.'"

Pink's future is even brighter now. "Before Today" " his first record comprised of new material " was released in June on iconic British indie label 4AD to critical acclaim, including getting the coveted "Best New Music" label on Pitchfork, all celebrating his mashing of chillwave, lo-fi, pop and Goth-rock.

"Frankly, I expected (the album) to do terribly based on past experiences, especially on Pitchfork. They have had no problem covering me, but they have always given me the worst reviews on the face of the planet. I'm glad they finally acknowledged their unwitting love affair with me," Pink said with a laugh. "Maybe I should add them to the payroll."

The buzz around "Before Today" has landed a new wealth of opportunities, including upcoming slate of gigs opening up for Oklahoma City's own The Flaming Lips.

"I feel lucky as fuck," he said. "I need people to be interested to keep me interested, and something like that keeps me going. This is validation. I love the attention, and I'll lap it up like a dog." "Joshua Boydston

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