Pixies unveil new album 'Doggerel' and describe it as 'Doolittle Senior'

"The only bar that we subscribe to in general is we don’t want to be boring" says Black Francis.

It's early April - the day of Pixies' first UK performance in three years at the BBC 6Music Festival in Cardiff.

It's a rare chance to sit down with the entire band - frontman and songwriter Black Francis, lead guitarist Joey Santiago, bass player Paz Lenchantin and drummer David Lovering.

"You would have thought that I spent a lot of my downtime writing songs but I did not" says Francis.

"In fact, I procrastinated until the absolute last minute.

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"I finally sat down and informed my children that I would be a bit vacant for a couple of weeks, and I sat up in my attic with a guitar and hoped for the best”.

Procrastination or not - the results were highly productive, feeding into a pile of 40 songs considered for the band's forthcoming record 'Doggerel'.

Recorded in Vermont in early 2022, the album's publicity boasts "a mature yet visceral record of gruesome folk, ballroom pop and brutal rock".

Joey Santiago offers a simpler description - "Doolittle Senior" - invoking the band's 1989 classic.

"It’s a mish-mash of songs like a good radio station. We're not like... one flavour. We'll give you twelve flavours! I really love it".

'Doggerel' sees the band reunite with British producer Tom Dalgety, who previously helmed 2016's 'Head Carrier' and 2019's 'Beneath the Eyrie'.

"It’s interesting working with him because he has become familiar with the way that we play, and the things that we’re capable of and the things maybe that we’re not capable of" says Black Francis.

"It’s interesting hearing him playing the band like an instrument a little bit. I think that’s maybe the first time I’ve experienced that with a record producer.”

The band will release new record 'Doggerel' in September Credit: Tom Oxley

"There are times when I’m doing ‘the guy’... the way I play" adds Santiago.

“Oh damn, there’s that guy again”. And [Dalgety] will say “Joey, you’re allowed to do that” he laughs.

"It’s silly, but I’m afraid to sound like me!"

'Doggerel' includes some Pixies firsts, including Santiago's first songwriting credits with the band, contributing lyrics to 'Pagan Man'.

"The last song we did in fact was an unfinished bit of music that the producer kept insisting that we try again" says Black Francis.

"I was not in the mood to compose a lyric because I was already spent, if you will. So Joey wrote the lyric.”

"Charles had these sounds and it was just a matter of grabbing them and making sense of it" Santiago explains.

"It was a fun puzzle. My version of what looking at a cloud looks like. This is what I see!”

April's show marked Pixies' third performance in the Welsh capital since 2016.

The band followed the show with a return to the legendary Rockfield Studios (where they'd decamped for 2014's 'Indie Cindy') for a week or so of additional recording.

"It's more like 'play ethic' I think, because we enjoy what we do. I don’t worry if it’s the right kind of song or the wrong kind of song" says Black Francis.

"It’s not that I’m not paying attention, but how much are you going to keep thinking of everything? At some you need to just ‘do’."

You can see more from Pixies and a variety of other artists in Backstage, a new show starting on ITV Cymru Wales at 22:45 on June 16.