Pinkshift discuss the influence of Nirvana, Turnstile & more on their debut LP ‘Love Me Forever’

The same weekend we get the much-talked-about When We Were Young Festival with headliners My Chemical Romance and Paramore, we also get the debut album by Pinkshift, a much-talked-about newer band whose great 2021 debut EP has been compared to both of those bands on multiple occasions. As good as that EP was, Love Me Forever takes a massive leap forward. It's one of the strongest debut albums to come out of the punk scene in quite some time.

On Love Me Forever, Pinkshift expand upon those mid-aughts emo/pop punk influences, leaning even harder into their love of '90s grunge, looking to the music that their contemporaries and peers are currently making, and looking outside of punk too. They made us a list of music that influenced the album, which ranges from Nirvana to Arctic Monkeys to Turnstile, and you can see their full list and read their commentary on each pick below. Pinkshift have also really come into their own in a big way since that already-great debut EP. They've fused all of these influences into a sound that already feels unique to Pinkshift. Ashrita Kumar's voice is huge and expressive, Paul Vallejo busts out the kind of heroic guitar riffs that the modern punk scene could use a lot more of, and the whole band nails a balance between antagonizing aggression and welcoming melodies. Pinkshift said that many of these songs deal with "the confusion, hopelessness, and fear that the pandemic brought in the wake of graduating school," as well as "the injustices and failings of the government that were revealed during the peak pandemic years," and these angry, sneering songs are the perfect vessels to convey all of that. At the same time, these are pop songs, and really catchy ones at that. The big, beefy production (by Will Yip) makes them sound both heavier and catchier than they did on their EP. There are moments that are nearly in metal territory, and there's also "in a breath," an emotional piano ballad that's just as effective as their harder stuff. What they really have in common with the likes of Nirvana and Turnstile -- more so than any borrowed melodies that may exist -- is a knack for writing pop music that you can rock the fuck out to.

Love Me Forever is out now via Hopeless. Pick up a vinyl copy here and stream it and read Pinkshift's influences list below...


1. Graduating into a pandemic

Many of the lyrical themes on the record are inspired by the confusion, hopelessness, and fear that the pandemic brought in the wake of graduating school. Almost all of these songs were written while in quarantine, and it was really informed by the injustices and failings of the government that were revealed during the peak pandemic years.

2. Microwave - "Lighterless"

Played this song a lot on guitar and it inspired guitar chord voicings for a lot of the record. Safe to say that the entire album (Much Love) was an inspiration on the instrumental side. Also completely ripped off "Float to The Top" for one of the songs (you have to guess)

3. The Offspring - "The Kids Aren't Alright"

I wouldn't say this is an influence as much as it is someone saying the same thing we're trying to say except almost 30 years ago. We think of our track as a modern take on this classic pop punk track, and it's kind of ironic that so much time has passed it doesn't seem like the heart of those issues has changed.

4. Heart Attack Man - "Puke"

We love Heart Attack Man songs. They're brutally honest and straightforward, to comedic lengths at times lol. With the guitar, the original demo idea for "let me drown" was really influenced by "Puke."

5. Nirvana - "Breed"

Nirvana influences are all over this record, but Breed specifically influenced "nothing (in my head)." The wall-of-sound vibe from this song influenced the guitars and vocals on this song. Fun fact: Ashrita had to go back to the writing board for "nothing (in my head)" because the original lyrics/melody were too similar to "Breed" to pass undetected. Other Nirvana songs that show up as specific influences across the album are "Polly," "Something In The Way," and "Tourettes."

6. Arctic Monkeys - "A Certain Romance"

Their early albums were influential instrumentally and lyrically. When thinking about the goal of our first album, we specifically turned to the effect their first two albums had on us. Some lyrics are a product of Ashrita thinking to themself "what would Alex Turner say." fun fact: this song in particular helped shape "Dreamer."

7. Pierce the Veil - "Besitos"

One thing PTV is known for is how perfectly they incorporate Latin elements into their music. The three of us have pretty diverse musical backgrounds and try to incorporate those into our writing as well.

8. Turnstile - "T.L.C."

The energy Turnstile brings into their music is something we drew a lot from (esp the hardcore elements). fun fact: one of the tracks is very melodically influenced by Turnstile.

9. Citizen - "Death Dance Approximately"

Citizen's mix of pop and rock (and grunge in their early records) ended up influencing a lot of the record. We all dug deep into our punk/grunge roots for this record but also wanted to let our appreciation for pop poke through a good amount as well.

10. The internet

Because most of these songs were written during quarantine, a lot of them are influenced by the way our relationship with the internet, technology, and social media changed while in isolation.


Pinkshift's 'The Forever Tour' kicks off this week in Baltimore with support from Yasmin Nur and Jigsaw Youth. The tour reaches NYC for its penultimate stop on November 17 at Elsewhere Zone One. All dates:

Pinkshift -- 2022 Tour Dates
10/20 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
10/21 - Washington, DC - Songbyrd
10/22 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Roboto Project
10/23 - Cleveland, OH - Mahall's
10/25 - Detroit, MI - El Club
10/26 - Chicago, IL - Cobra Lounge
10/27 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
10/29 - Denver, CO - Lost Lake
10/ 30 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
11/01 - Seattle, WA - Barboza
11/02 - Portland, OR - Mission Theater
11/04 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
11/05 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
11/06 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
11/08 - Dallas, TX - Ruins
11/09 - Austin, TX - Empire Control Room
11/11 - Orlando, FL - Will's Pub
11/13 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
11/14 - Nashville, TN - Drkmttr Collective
11/15 - Charlotte, NC - The Milestone Club
11/17 - Brooklyn, NY - Elsewhere (Zone One)
11/18 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
11/19 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church