Country blues duo the Pink Flamingos—Kim Kylland and Lauren Cobb—may have grown up in Orange County, but it might be better to say they just come from Circumstances.
How did the band start?
KIM: We've known each other our whole lives, pretty much.
LAUREN: We kind of had to start a band to survive.
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KIM: We met in Ireland because I was living in Norway and traveling around Europe. We had all these plans to travel, but I stayed in Europe eight months longer than I should have, so I couldn't go anywhere that was governed by the Schengen Agreement. We stayed in Dublin, and we spent all our money really fast. So we started busking [playing music for money on the street] together. We paid our hostel rent with it.
KIM: We probably wouldn't have started an actual band if we hadn't got stuck there. We just played together before. We didn't have a name or anything. When we started playing with bands, they said, "You should call yourselves the Pink Flamingos." We always thought that would be a really cool band name. We have these matching pink flamingo tattoos.
LAUREN: And we love John Waters.
Were you accepted as buskers?
LAUREN: There's really shitty nights and then other nights . . . It's two American girls in the dirty streets of Dublin with drunk guys coming out of the bars. We could make like 70 quid within an hour.
KIM: We were like, "What the fuck are we doing?" I remember being out in the cold and the rain like, "If we don't do this right now we're not going to be able to eat tonight." And hostel rent would be due and all our belongings would be back at the hostel and we'd be kicked out if we didn't, but we always did. It was just sticking it out, like the nights you don't feel like singing to people. Or when there were too many drunk assholes out and you're like, "I don't want to deal with this." But we stuck it out, and it always paid off. And people told us we wouldn't make any money playing our own songs, but we did. We didn't really know any covers. We know some Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline stuff, but we played a lot of our own stuff, and nobody does that over there. Everybody plays covers. It made us think we can do something else.
Why did you leave?
KIM: After five and half months of really not eating that much and not knowing where you're going to stay . . .
LAUREN: Not having a steady job there, you can't stay.
KIM: It was basically bouncing from hostel to people's houses to not knowing what we were going to do.
LAUREN: We got a room, though.
KIM: We rented a room in the shittiest part of town, called East Wall.
LAUREN: We didn't have a shower. There were gaping holes with pipes showing through.
KIM: And no hot water. But the people we lived with were beautiful, amazing musicians.
LAUREN: They basically saved us.
KIM: I wanted to go to school. We'll go back eventually. That seems like a second home to us.
What was it about Dublin that you responded to?
LAUREN: It's one of those things where you don't think it'll be that big of a deal, and it turned into this amazing experience.
KIM: We didn't even plan to stay there, but six months later we were like, "Oh, my God. That was the best six months of my life."
LAUREN: It's so different. You can trust people there. You can meet people that day and stay at their house that night.
It's not the typical band formation story.
KIM: Not having a practice space and having to get the songs down as we were busking them . . . it was totally flying by the seat of our pants.
LAUREN: Sitting in Orange County, we would have been so lazy. You're not in the real world. You're really not. You're in fucking Orange County.
KIM: Maybe for somebody else it would be different, but we grew up here. Being over there was something different, and we always had to be on it.
LAUREN: I would not take it back for anything.
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