Claudi of Pinc Louds
On the Art of Gathering
September 15, 2021

Claudi of Pinc Louds photographed by Andrés Sáez
by correspondent Clara Joy
I am starting this new series where artists interview artists, as artist organized art. The goal is to help get art back on its feet and bring light to the meaningful work that is still happening in our world in the midst of this neoliberal hellscape we live under. Artist Organized Art helped many artists over the years and I plan to use their site once again as an aid to art and culture, but I offer to be part of this project to all of you too, message me on instagram @clrajoy. I chose Pinc Louds as my first official feature because of how meaningful their art has been to the culture of New York City over the past several years, but especially during the middle of the pandemic. I played a show with Pinc Louds during the early days in covid out in Tompkins Square Park, and have been impacted by the work of Pinc Louds ever since. The ability to gather all types of New Yorkers to watch these performances is very cultural and powerful as a practice. Mothers with their babies, crust punks, old ladies, goth teenagers, the list goes on. With the pressure we feel from industries and platforms to make our art palpable to only one kind of demographic, a Pinc Louds show feels like a true release. The act of street performing itself is an intervention of the forces of power that oppress us as artists in venues, museums, galleries etc. Making art out in the street is very human and real, and proves that people will gather for creative force, and don’t need the big stage to do it, which is truly creative. When Pinc Louds plays on the street, we are all on the same level. It was amazing to play for a sold out show with Pinc Louds for their latest album release, La Atómica in July. Thank you to Claudi of Pinc Louds for sharing your thoughts on street performing in New York City. -Clara Joy
Clara Joy (CJ): Why do you choose to perform on the street?
Claudi (PL): So many reasons…I like looking up and seeing huge buildings surrounding me while I play. They seem so kind and protecting. They make me feel like I’m truly a part of this city, which is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be. Trees can do this too. As can pigeons, flying garbage, humans, sirens, ice cream trucks…I like being another one of these things that makes New York New York.  I also like playing at the same places over and over and getting to know the people I see there on a regular basis. Most times in life, if you’re just another person walking by or sitting on a park bench, you don’t get to talk to the people you see every day. But if you play music for them, that opens a door to a conversation. I’m not a particularly extroverted person, but busking on the street gives me access to a whole world of people and stories I would not know otherwise.

CJ: How is street performing in New York City versus Puerto Rico?

PL: Cops in Puerto Rico are pretty strict about amplified sound, unfortunately, so I’ve never played music on the street there. But I did do street theater with a group called Jóvenes del 98 from when I was 13 till about 19 years old. It’s probably what got me into street performance in the first place, or at least made it not seem like such a crazy thing to do.  The theater we did in Puerto Rico was mostly of a socio-political nature and we truly wanted to make a difference or at the very least inform people about various issues that we felt were important (abortion laws, corruption, consumerism, Puerto Rico’s toxic relationship with the US…). We didn’t want to only perform for left-leaning intellectuals and artists who would probably agree with our views anyway. We wanted to perform for people who might have a different mindset, who we might be able to have a discussion with, or show them these issues in a different light. Because of this, I have always been averse to preaching to the choir, or similarly, to playing only for people who already listen to the kind of music I make (which is what usually happens in venues). I thrive on bringing something new to people who might not have heard or seen it before.

CJ: As a street performer, do you relate to space in a particular way?

PL: One of my favorite parts of the day is when I set up my space for busking. I look at my surroundings, look at where I’ll be performing, and slowly, methodically, I push the garbage and leaves out of the way, I decorate my space with plastic flowers, lights, signs…I set up my instruments, the equipment, the merch, the tip bucket…I take a step back to see my space the way the audience will see it…I change things if necessary. And then I start.  Somebody told me once that this behavior is very much like that of a bower bird. They’re the ones who make these beautiful structures to attract a mate and decorate them with colorful objects such as flowers, berries, feathers or even bright pieces of plastic or garbage. Whatever it takes to make the space as beautiful as possible.

CJ: What is the value in a free public performance versus performing at a venue? Or vice versa

PL: Some artists find it intimidating or even degrading to perform on the street for free or for tips. To me, it just makes sense. I get to practice, promote my project, try out new material, reach a new audience and (hopefully) make a living… all at the same time! On top of that, I feel that if you have something to say and you want other humans to hear it, why not bring your art to them instead of hoping they’ll find out about it and come to you? It can be uphill sometimes (especially at the beginning) and there is a lot of trial and error. Some days it’ll seem like you’re banging your head against the wall, senselessly. No money, no attention, no applause. But what I’ve found is that if you bang your head against that wall enough, eventually things start to work out. You get into a zone and everything starts clicking. It’s a beautiful feeling. You have to lose your ego completely. Accept that you are just another plastic cup on the floor, one more rat on the tracks. You’re not better than the people around you just because you make art. You’re not above other people. You’re not above the city. You are a part of the city. And once you accept that you are a part of the city… then the city has no choice but to accept you.

Venues have some good things too. Let’s see… Indoor heating in the winter. Cops don’t kick you out (though the venue might, as soon as you’re done with your set). The sound might be better. The lights…More things are in your control, possibly. Generally everyone there is paying attention to you since many, if not all, are there to see you. This definitely changes the vibe of the show and can be a fun thing to play with. But honestly, I’ll take busking on a warm summer day at Tompkins Square Park over playing at any venue, any day. Cold beer, hot sun, wonderful people… you get to play as long as you want. You can look people in the eye and truly connect and feel how your sounds affect their movements. It’s very human and very everything I want in life.

CJ: Who are the artists that inspire Pinc Louds?

PL: Violent Femmes for their hooky scrappiness.

Pixies for disguising beautiful songs as noise.

Stooges for showing me that spirituality can be raw and explosive.

Bola de Nieve for his waterfall-like honesty.

Daniel Johnston for creating perfection out of not thinking twice.

Ismael Rivera for murdering angels and reinventing flight.

Billie Holiday for turning pain into honey.

Brian Wilson’s “Smile” and Paul McCartney’s “Ram” for daring to be silly while making magic.

Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” for showing me one can make people see with their ears.

Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots for proving that instruments are overrated.

White Stripes for proving that using too many instruments is overrated.

Tom Waits for proving that theatrics don’t undermine music.

My father for playing the kalimba while telling stories when I was a kid.

Café Tacvuba and The Beatles for showing me the beauty of musical shapeshifting.

David Bowie for showing me the beauty of physical shapeshifting and also for making the most beautiful song about the end of the world.

Many others, of course but let’s keep this short ;)

CJ: Where did the name “Pinc Louds” come from?

PL: It came from being 15 years old and thinking “everybody likes pink clouds… I want to be liked… one day I’m going to have a band called Pinc Louds and everybody’s gonna like it.” And then keeping notebooks with funny thoughts and finding them years later and saying “Ahh… the time has come” with a grave voice and freaky white eyes.

CJ: How much do you practice for shows & how much coordination goes into the full band shows with puppets?

PL: We don’t practice too much with the puppeteers actually. Usually we get together to do some brainstorming. Then I turn those storms into a very loose script (dialogues are usually not written, only actions with intentions to drive the plot forward). Then we might get together once or twice to plan some of the movements, dynamics and such. But we don’t really have a space where we can rehearse with the puppets (which tend to be pretty big) so it’s really more talking than anything… and then we perform it.   But it’s a process that works for us because it keeps things fresh and fun. We also hardly ever repeat the same plot in two shows so it’s not like in a play where you really have to iron out every detail to achieve consistency.   With the band we practice more. But lately we do most of it on the street, since rehearsal spaces are so expensive. We’ll use studios to work on new songs and then we get them to where they need to be by performing the songs outside. It’s a pretty heavenly way to do it too. As long as it’s summer.

PL: I hate winter.

Pinc Louds (21) ( Pinc Louds’ lead singer, Claudi (all pronouns accepted), moved from Puerto Rico to NYC in 2015 to fulfill her dream of playing in the subway. Through the “litteral” underground, Claudi met the musicians (drummer Rai Mundo and bassist Marc Mosteirin) and puppeteers that would turn Pinc Louds into the full-blown spectacle they are today. The subway also opened many doors for the band, who would soon end up playing in such NYC venues as (le) Poisson Rouge, Joe’s Pub and Lincoln Center, as well as tours throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Europe and Chile.   Musically, Pinc Louds draws influences from such diverse artists as Pixies, Billie Holiday, Daniel Johnston and Ismael Rivera. Is it tropical punk? Garage doowop? Crooner pop? It’s all of the above and more! Your best course of action is to let go of all preconceptions and enjoy their unique sound and explosive performances, described as “absolutely epic” by Paul Banks of the band Interpol.  Self-proclaimed as an “imaginary band”, Pinc Louds adds to the live music experience by making their shows a participatory adventure. Whether it be by having the audience dance and sing along to actually getting inside giant subway puppets, reviving atomic mutants, chanting spells to a Watermelon God, Roach-Queen-dance-competitions, and more…  The puppets, created in the most part by Jamie McGann, Madison Berg and Jamie Emerson, can best be described as “magical garbage”. Exquisitely made out of found and recycled materials, mattress foam, cardboard, pvc pipes, and other rejected wonders of the modern world.  With venues closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, Pinc Louds returned to the streets where they played free shows twice a week at NYC parks and street corners. These physically-distanced shows gained popularity and brought together a community starved of music, joy and human (even if not actually physical) contact. Pinc Louds outdoor concerts have continued into 2021, for the most part in the East Village, where the band is having the time of their lives sharing, learning and constantly being inspired by the wonderful city creatures around them. A Pinc Louds show is something everyone must experience at least 47 times in their lifetime. Still at number zero? What are you waiting for? More at

Clara Joy (21) ( based in NYC is a known downtown recording artist. Between ages 12 & 13, from an art-studio in a converted mill building, she launched a wildly successful online performance-photo project, SoftOceans, for which she also designed & fabricated hand made clothing-art — selling hundreds of pieces to an audience of over 21,000 people. At age 13, as a working photographer, she professionally documented the artist Alison Knowles for curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. By age 15, she was engaged as a correspondent to cover the Frieze Art Fair recreation of George Maciunus: Flux Labyrinth (1970/2015). She began recording songs as Clara Joy in 2015, with 7 albums and 2 singles released to date, which have earned critical acclaim. Intervening band culture, she appears alone on stages, yet has incited multi-artist concerts in the streets. In 2019 Clara Joy was featured in Humans of New York. During 2020, Part of Something (2021), the first film about Clara Joy was made by Sophia Johnson and debuted in 2021. Most recently, Clara Joy is documented performing with artist Alison Knowles in her feature length video reading of The House of Dust presented in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2021 at the construction site of the artist’s corresponding 3D printed building. Clara Joy was a 2021 invited performer for the Brooklyn Rail’s event dedicated to Nam June Paik and inaugurated the sold out reopening concert of Elsewhere in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. More at

#permalink posted by Clara Joy: 9/15/21 12:00:21 AM


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