Written by Johny Chhetri
09 Monday 09th August 2010

Church, I hated it. I was an altar server for a few years and fell asleep every fucking time (saying ‘altar boy’ makes it sound naff); there is definitely nothing magic about it. Except for the grand architecture… anyway, enough about that, Pivot are back under the new moniker of PVT (due to legal issues) with a new album entitled Church With No Magic.

PVT have been going strong for around a decade and have certainly got a strong cult following, mainly consisting of music nerds. They’ve been likened to experimental bands such as Boards of Canada too, which definitely isn’t a bad thing, and Warp Records snapped them up in 2008 too, so they must be doing something right with all that music they’re making! We caught up with Laurence Pike to talk about church and other stuff.
Would you kindly introduce yourself?
My name is Laurence Pike from the musical group PVT, more often not you’ll find me behind a drum kit. Other members include my brother Richard Pike, and David Miller.
What’s it like being on a leading record label like Warp?
Very nice actually. They give us a lot of room to do whatever we like creatively. I also am very fond of the colour purple, so I find the furniture in their office quite soothing.
Do you remember the day you signed?
Not really to be honest. I think Richard and I signed the contract while making breakfast at the house we were sharing at the time. We did cook and send them a hot dog in the mail from Sydney to London to say thank you (true story), which was a pretty weird way to start a professional relationship now that I think about it.
So the new album is called Church With No Magic, what’s the concept behind it? Do you believe that there’s nothing magic about religion?
I think religion is mostly magic isn’t it? At least that’s what they taught us at school, miracles, walking on water, blood into wine, all that business. In short, no, the title has nothing to do with religion from our point of view. I think the church referred to in the title is more a metaphor for any sort of place of worship, and people worship all sorts of things these days.
Any fond memories of church? Like, personal confessions with priest, was anyone an altar boy?
No alter boys amongst the ranks the last time I checked. Church makes me think of high school; ill-fitting grey slacks, listening to John Coltrane and smoking cigarettes, and guys with too much money that played football.
I think churches are amazing buildings, if not built for a wrong reason; my favourite is St Pauls Cathedral, it’s just so massive and there’s stuff to look at like the tombs of people. What would you say is your favourite church?
I like churches as buildings too, I actually make an effort to visit them if there is one of significance in a city we’re playing in. Rich and I went and had a look a Sagrada Familia while we were in Barcelona on tour, the massive Gaudi cathedral. Although I am a not a massive fan of some of it’s façade, I love the fact that Gaudi died in the 1920’s about 40 years into building the thing, and as it stands they won’t finish it until 2025 or something. That sort of public commitment to one man’s artistry and vision is surely a very rare thing.
What kept you going during the making of the latest album?
The love of a good woman (my girlfriend and I got married in February).
People have been saying there are similarities to Boards of Canada on the new tracks; I’d personally take that as a compliment. Is that something you’re pleased about?
I don’t really hear that to be honest, but we’re fans of theirs from years back, so who knows. People say they hear all sorts of things in our music, and it’s usually just a reflection of what they know more than anything that’s actually there. So far this record we’ve had some real curve balls, which makes me think people are really scrambling for context, which is something I’m pleased about. Most likely that means that we’ve made something that doesn’t sound like anything else really.
So who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to Nina Simone as I write this. This week I’ve been heavy into The Platters, and a guy from Canada called Tonetta. I’ve also got a friend staying with me at the moment who’s having a tough time, so we’ve been listening to a lot of Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and John Lee Hooker and drinking beer while playing scrabble in the kitchen.
Future plans?
Touring the album, hopefully a fair bit and with great success. We’re off to Europe and the UK next month and then possibly the US after that. I dare say we’ll back in the studio writing by the end of the year, in between shows. We’re always pretty keen to make more music and keep things moving forward and developing.
Any wise words for our readers?
Stay sharp, make good decisions.

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