interviews [ page 3]
September - early November 2002
Appliance interview by Tone
Appliance have been around since about late 1997. In the early days, they released numerous records on 7 and 10 singles, limited to a few hundred each. Theyve now signed to Mute Records, who are now part of the WMI chain, and in February 2003, they launch their fourth album on Mute. The band is Michael, David and James and they come from Exeter in Devon. Its postrock if you need to give it a name but, for most of us, its just intelligent rock for a dying rock music scene. More details from www.appliance-music.co.uk or www.mute.com
SXP: The new record Are you Earthed? is a return to the earlier guitar sound, whereas Imperial Metric was more electronic based. Why go back?
The new record is not really going back as Imperial Metric had guitar on it.
You are always learning from the last record so this is more developed.
Appliance: The album has been put back because we didn't want to put it out during the Christmas run up. We are instead building up our profile by touring lots.
SXP: Why Are You Earthed?
Appliance: The record was called Are you Earthed? because it is named after a track from the record. It was a pionient title that hints at the fact that everything has to remain rooted, be it electrical or in nature.
SXP: Still happy with Mute - any compromises?
Mute have been sold to EMI so it has all changed, it takes ages to get paid and the LP
put-back was mainly due to their marketing structure.
Appliance: We haven't toured that much this year because we have been recording, though we did some work on the LP in Berlin which was great. Touring in Europe is always good as they treat bands really well. Especially in Greece. Other favourites include The Botanique in Brussels which has a really good festival once a year. Still waiting to go to America though - maybe with Are you Earthed?
SXP: You used to have a fish backdrop; has it retired?
The fish backdrop has gone now. Once you have toured fish for a year or so you need
to give them a rest (we flushed them down the loo!).
Appliance: The Arts Cafe footage was used on our last single Land Sea and Air along with the fish footage and some aerial images from a small plane. There is also some crowd footage from the show so look closely. It may surface on the website at some stage.
SXP: How involved do you get with the making of the promo videos?
Appliance: We tend to be quite involved with videos. We collected most of the images ourselves (apart from the ones that we are in) be it the fish from aquariums and aerial shots from a small chartered Piper.
SXP: Any plans to do anything with DVD?
Appliance: No DVD plans at the moment, everyone seems to use them to fill in quiet gaps between proper LP's and content seems to be lacking.
If possible, describe the average - if there is one - Appliance fan?
SXP: I feel with the new material the guitar lines are very Will Sergeant of the Bunnymen. Is he an influence?
Yes. Will Sargeant is a very good guitarist. James likes guitarists who play
intricate notes rather than power chords. Tremelo is always really important to the
Appliance sound. We supported them last year in Belgium which was great.
Appliance: We are in the frame of mind for touring now which is all-consuming.
As punters and artistes, do you prefer vinyl or CD?
SXP: A few singles have appeared on coloured vinyl, do you choose which colour they will be?
Appliance: Yes we have full say on the colouration of our records. How about that for control!
SXP: Most enjoyable time had as a band and favourite band you have supported as a band and as people?
The best time the band has had was when Michael got out of a sauna in a Frankfurt hotel
and rolled on a snowy flat roof then leaped into the swimming pool. He was trying to
induce a heart attack, but to no avail. We supported Pulp but they were a little
aloof. Six by Seven are a good band, both musically and as people.
Appliance: Future plans
include a Europe tour with Wire and more tours next year till we drop or are dropped.
Baptiste interview by Tone
Tone interviewed singer and rhythm guitarist Wayne Gooderham.
SXP: I last interviewed your band back in 1999 at the time of your second single The Quiet Times. What is the current line up?
Wayne: Its me, Wayne, my brother Marc on drums, Scott Brodie and Chris Ayles on bass and keyboards and Colin Moors on guitar.
SXP: Its taken you four years to produce your album. Are you pleased with it?
Wayne: Its the best we could do. Its not four years really because we have done a single a year and none of the singles are on the album. The bulk of the album was written in the last year.
SXP: So its all new stuff?
Wayne: Thats because a lot of bands stick three or four singles on an album. We didnt want to do that. We are always writing new stuff; we normally write one new song a month, roughly. We were going to re-record The Quiet Times for the album but we didnt because we had enough new stuff.
SXP: Are the singles still available?
Wayne: You can still get them.
SXP: What made you want to form a band in the first place?
Wayne: It was something I always wanted to do when I was little. Colin, who was my best mate at school, was into the same music. When I got back from university, I found that my brother, while I was away, had started to learn the drums and he got into the same sort of stuff. It just seemed logical so we started a band.
SXP: The name Baptiste comes from the French film Les Enfants Du Paradise. Do you think its the right name for the band?
Wayne: Yeah. If you see the film, youll understand why its the perfect name. At the time when we got together, during the latter part of Brit-pop, there were names like Cast, Oasis, Blur and Pulp and we wanted to be a bit more sophisticated.
SXP: You now have a bit of a cult following.
Wayne: I guess. Not many people know we exist, thats my impression but people take more notice of an album.
SXP: How did you go about choosing the eight tracks for the album, because its very much the classic style of album?
Wayne: Thats exactly what I wanted: 45 minutes long. Thats what we said from the start.
SXP: Over the years has your sound radically changed? Youve got keyboards now.
Wayne: I think that even when we first got together, at the first rehearsal, we knew where we wanted to get to. It was me, Colin, Marc. We were all into the Velvets and things like that so its never got beyond two or three chords but I think we have just got better. It has changed in that way: weve got slicker and more in control.
SXP: Musical influences? You were always compared with the Go-Betweens and the Velvets, 69 period. Do you think that you sound like them?
Wayne: Thats always the nicest thing when I read that. I hope so. Its just the warmth of it. [Referring to The Velvet Underground Live 1969:] Theres real intimacy there. Hopefully we put that across. That aspect and the rhythm guitar playing. That is the best rhythm guitar playing I have ever heard. Its become a bit hackneyed now what with Orange Juice, and theres a lot of it, but it doesnt matter its still my favourite. I can listen to it forever. New Order use that a lot. Yo La Tengo too. I was well impressed with their last album.
SXP: How did you choose the album title?
Wayne: Nothing Shines Like a Dying Heart. Originally it was going to be called I didnt want to call it Baptiste by Baptiste. And I didnt want a title track. Originally it was going to be called A Life So Blue which is a line from Some Would Call It Drowning but then we wanted to keep upbeat about it and that sounds a bit downbeat. Nothing Shines Like a Dying Heart is a line from You Know Everything and keeps with the spirit of the album. I guess the album subject matter is a bit downbeat but hopefully these songs are about surviving the situation. Its meant to be optimistic. Its about getting through things.
SXP: personal favourite track?
Wayne: My favourite track is Confessions of A Clumsy Man, I think!
SXP: I was quiet surprised because I expected it to be noisier.
Wayne: We have had people say they thought it would be softer and how noisy it is. I suppose it depends if people come and see us live or not because we are quite noisy. I like Tired Bodies.
SXP: Could you see yourself in the New Order tradition, not that you have the money to go and remix stuff?
Wayne: No. I wouldnt be surprised if we use a drum machine later on. It would be up to Marc. If there was a song that needed it, then wed get one. What did you mean by remixing?
SXP: You know how Joy Division used to be all droney and then they got all dancey and wrote Blue Monday.
Wayne: We always try and move forward and push ourselves. If we do change it would be natural: an album is a progression from the singles. That makes it interesting for us so who knows? I dont think we have a Blue Monday in us.
SXP: When they were Joy Division, they didnt think that.
Wayne: Thats frightening; when I listen to our first demos, if I heard one of these tracks [at that time] we would have just shit ourselves, theres no way we could do that.
SXP: Thank you!
|Butterflies of Love interview by Tone
The Butterflies of Love originally hail from New Haven, Connecticut. My attention was first drawn to them by Mark Mulcahy of Miracle Legion. Mark also plays drums for them on occasion, has produced them, taken photographs for them and still plays on their releases now. The band are Daniel Greene, the blond one, Jeffrey Greene, the tall one (both play guitars, sing and write songs and are not related), Neil OBrien (drums), Peter Whitney (bass) and Scott Amore (keyboards). The band have released records on Fortuna Pop!, Coffeehouse and Secret Seven Records. In my opinion, theyre the best band out of America since REM. (Tone talked to them on their British tour in September 2002.)
SXP: Are you all still based in New Haven?
Dan: Not at all. Were separated on the East Coast: Philadelphia, New Jersey, Brooklyn and New Haven.
SXP: Any reason for that?
Jeffrey: The lack of jobs. No reason to stay in New Haven.
Dan: Entertainments lacking as well.
SXP: (to Jeffery) Do you still work for the gallery (in New York)?
Jeffery: I was working in prison for a long time and I have just retired so now am jobless and looking for a job.
Dan: We had a big retirement party for him!
SXP: (to Dan) And youre still a teacher?
Dan: Im still a teacher. They gave me a month off for September.
SXP: Are you relieved to be over here rather than the States with the anniversary of 9/11 coming up? Every TV programme here seems to be on that subject and I imagine its like that in the States too.
Dan: I imagine it is right now.
SXP: How do you find New York now? Ive been told New Yorkers are quieter now.
Jeffrey: Theres no difference. New York is no different its still the busiest city in the world. I think everyone there was there when it happened and you never forget for two months the smell of it. It must be like being here [in London] during the bombing, the burning for months and what was burning .horrible. But I think everyone in New York keeps it at the back of their minds and keeps themselves at the front of their minds. Thats just the way they are.
SXP: Turning to the new album, The New Patient. First of all, why the title?
Jeffrey: I got no idea.
SXP: The first album How to Know the Butterflies of Love was self-explanatory.
Jeffrey: If you listen to the songs, The New Patient differs from song to song, and thats the way our music is.
SXP: Most of the songs on the album are a year or two old. I know some of the songs have been released as singles - why the long wait?
Jeffrey: It just takes us forever to get anything done. Its like forever to get anything released.
SXP: Have you got a lot of new songs then?
Jeffrey: Tons and tons of songs. A big backlog. If anyone wants to chuck some dollars at us to make some more records, well go and do it right away!
SXP: I was going to ask was it because you wanted to tour the record before releasing it?
Dan: It makes sense. We come over anyhow but the reason we are here in September is because the record is out.
SXP: As the writers, how do you see the difference between the two albums?
Dan: We have different players on the records.
Jeffrey: This band has been together for four years through the development of these songs. Its a much more band-originated record, its a much more thought out, organised and arranged record. We used to make these documents of who we were and whatever we were up to and then we had the opportunity to make a record and to think about it.
SXP: There are a lot of ideas behind it. Would you say its more experimental and could you see yourselves going more that way?
Jeffrey: No. Its just rock n roll and I like it. Who knows what well be doing.
Dan: We have some complicated minds in the band so it could be experimental that way.
SXP: Do you ever constructively criticise each others work?
Dan: Yeah. There are times where we bring a song forward that someone is really excited about. We get fresh ears on the song and it just doesnt work out.
Jeffrey: Sometimes it just doesnt work out because of the band.
Dan: It doesnt mean its a bad song; its just that the song wont work with the band.
Jeffrey: But Dan has thousands of songs really.
Dan: I have a load that I just rip out quickly and some I think more about and some get chosen either way.
SXP: Do you keep the songs not used so you could do a solo thing with them if you chose to?
Dan: Well, Jeff needs to get some system. I have a new 4-track that I can put the songs down on, so I at least have them on tape in demo fashion.
Jeffrey: If I dont remember them, theyre not worth remembering.
SXP: All your singles here are released on two track CD single and two track vinyl. Is that because you were brought up on vinyl?
Jeffrey: A single is a two tracker: an A side and a B side.
Dan: We always want the stuff to come out on vinyl and so far it has been possible but we all have record players.
SXP: Do you feel part of the Fortuna Pop family?
Jeffrey: Were the biggest headache.
SXP: Youre the only Americans on the label?
Jeffrey: No, theres the Aislers Set from San Francisco. We are the most trouble.
Dan: The most demanding.
SXP: The last time I spoke to you guys on your first UK tour, you got arrested about three times on the way up to Nottingham.
Jeffrey: Yeah. We ran over a girl yesterday in Brighton. We gave her £100 and she let us go. She was going to call the cops so we gave her £100.
SXP: What bands were your original influences that made you pick up instruments?
Jeffrey: The Feelies, Husker DŁ, The Meat Puppets.
Dan: The Velvet Underground, Neil Young, the Beatles.
SXP: Do you feel youre playing to friends rather than fans over here?
Jeffrey: We seem to play now to a lot more friends but also we have a lot more fans. I think, in ten or twenty years from now, well have a lot of lasting friendships out of it. But what a great way: have a rock band, see the world and meet people.
SXP: I believe youve done a Mary Wells track for a compilation.
Dan: Its a Northern Soul compilation for Fortuna Pop!
SXP: Future plans tour the album?
Dan: Try and get some resources together, to make another one.
Jeffrey: And use them for our own resources and break up the band. Its all over, this is it.
SXP: Anything else?
Jeffrey: Were really excited to play these shows and we are really excited for you all to listen to our records.
SXP: Thank you!
|Ian McNabb interview by Tone
I first met Robert Ian McNabb back in April 1985 on board The Royal Iris, a boat from Liverpool that had sailed from the Mersey and was now on the Thames. At the bar, Ian signed my cassette of his first album The Icicle Works. That night, at my first Icicle Works gig, Ian opened the set with Pretty Vacant, said this is for absent friends and ripped into a version that outshone the original. By my second gig, I was on the guestlist because Ian liked my overcoat (a 1950s Bunnymen-style overcoat). By then I was hooked and over the years have seen Ian McNabb well over a hundred times live.
From 1981 to 1988, Ian fronted the original Icicle Works with Chris Layhe and Chris Sharrock whom till recently was drummer for one Robbie Williams. Sharrock left the band in May 1988, to be followed by Layhe. Ian them formed a second Icicle Works and signed to Sony, only to be dropped after one album. In 1991 he went solo and has carried on making timeless albums including Head Like A Rock with members of Crazy Horse, which was a Mercury Music prize nomination. Ians latest album is available online rather than in the shops. Its called The Gentleman Adventurer on Ians Fairfield Records (FAIR cd3). For more information check out www.ianmcnabb.com Tone conducted an email interview with Ian in October 2002.
SXP: Why The Gentleman Adventurer? Sounds a bit 1920s.
Ian McNabb: It just came into my head. I had lots of titles, I liked this one best. I think it sums me up!
SXP: The tracks are a year old, how big is the backlog now?
Ian McNabb: Vast - I have enough material for another five albums if I don't write another tune again.
SXP: Its out on your own Fairfield record label. Are you more organised now that you have done this before?
Ian McNabb: Yeah -
practice makes (near) perfect.
Ian McNabb: Well, that
depends how you look at it. They both sold around 3,000 copies, which people tell me
is "good" now. "Head like a Rock" sold 20,000. I'd rather sell
something like that number!
Ian McNabb: I'm not
mellowing with age. The last album was balls out rock and I get bored doing the same
thing twice; I've never done anything like this album before. It may remind you of
things I did in the past but really it's nothing like. I could've used drums and a
band but I wanted a home made flavour - even though it was recorded in a very expensive
studio. It sounds posh! I think all my albums are easy to listen to - even the
loud ones. They're very musical.
Ian McNabb: Under the
right circumstances it would be fun - but it would overshadow anything I've done in the
past few years. Not good. I think you'd find Chris Sharrock would be the one
opposed to it the most - he doesn't need the money :-)
Ian McNabb: Yes, yes and yes. I can still make money if I do it right. I can't make records if I don't make money. It's worse than it's ever been - but you have to carry on. My biggest problem is being totally ignored by the press and radio - I can't catch up with lapsed fans or get to any new ones in significant numbers - it's a drag.
SXP: how did the great Liverpool acoustic project come about?
Ian McNabb: They just asked me for a track. I didn't even send them one - they bought a CD and just put it on there!
SXP: What else have you been up to i.e. Waterboys/Ringo Starr?
Ian McNabb: I played bass on a Waterboys European tour to pay the bills. I did two gigs with Ringo which were unbelievable fun - a dream come true. I hope it happens again sometime!
Kicker interview by Ged and Paul
Kicker are a six-piece band, based in North London, who play psychedelia-tinged, Northern Soul influenced, indie pop music. Paul and Ged met up with Phil Sutton (drums), Andy Jones (bass/guitar) and Jill Drew (vocals/violin) for lots of Kronenbourg and Becks after one of their rehearsals in September 2002.
Jill: I like your website. I like the fact that we got a good album review and the Music got a bad one.
Phil: Best fucking band in the world? Theyre not the best fucking band in the world!
Andy: Its McDonalds indie rock!
SXP: How did Track and Field find out about you?
Phil: Ive known Steve for a few years. I used to be in Comet Gain. Jill said we ought to start a band. Im a drummer; I thought: drummers dont start bands. I wanted to try and write some songs and thats why I got Andy involved because I dont play guitar so Id hum melodies to him and hed turn them into music and then Jill would add violin to that.
Jill: I was playing the violin all the time in our dingy basement rehearsal studio. I wasnt meant to be the singer but we got pissed one night
Phil: ...and Jill became the singer. Jill was always going to be the violinist and then she started singing. Shes got a better voice than me. Singing drummers are a bit .
SXP: theres not many of them are there?
Phil: no, Karen Carpenters probably the best known.
Jill: Phil Collins! *Groans all round*
Phil: The Standells had a drummer who used to stand up.
SXP: Youve been researching this, havent you, thinking: can I make this cred!
Phil: I watched a documentary on the Carpenters. Karen Carpenters decline started when she stepped from behind the drum kit.
SXP: You should never leave the drum kit.
Phil: No, I shant.
Jill: When we started we werent going to do gigs or anything like that. We recorded our first single, which came on For Us, the Rough Trade in-house label; we just decided wed quite like to do something for us really. Paid for it ourselves. Did it, thought it was quite good and sent it out to a couple of labels - not interested.
Phil: Delia at Rough Trade said youve made a recording havent you? Well put that out.
Jill: And after that a couple of labels came back and said: we wanted to put that out! I have to say Track and Field werent one of those labels!
Phil: Steve knew of us, hed heard the single and he said: do you want to do a gig? Track and Field were putting on Comet Gain and wanted us to support. So we supported, they really liked one of the songs and said: can you do a single?
SXP: How do you get on with Comet Gain?
Phil: I actually live with David only for the past two days, which is an experience.
SXP: Do you consider yourself an indie band playing Northern Soul or a Northern Soul band playing indie?
Jill: I wouldnt describe us as Northern Soul to anyone who doesnt know us what we do.
Andy: And if you said youre a Northern Soul band to someone whos into Northern Soul theyd probably kill you! These people get very precious about their music and I dont want to upset anyone. In laymans terms we are an indie band but we do have influences before 1986. When we started, we wanted to assert some kind of identity. Weve all got broad taste in music and we wanted to feed that into our sound. We listen to a lot of soul music, we listen to a lot of garage music, psychedelic stuff, a bit of New Wave; theres a lot of things as well as your bog standard indie as well.
Phil: Were a pop group; thats the way weve always thought of ourselves.
SXP: When you put trumpets etc on, theres going to be a slight drift towards Northern Soul.
Phil: There is because of Jills voice. But the original idea was we were going to make it more mariachi like Love, something like that.
Jill: Weve done this Northern Soul cover which Fortuna Pop! are putting out next year.
Andy: Since You Left by The Inticers.
Phil: We dont know when its coming out cos Comet Gain are on it too and were still waiting for David to get down to Toe Rag and do something.
Jill: Butterflies of Love and Airport Girl, are on it. Spearmint were going to be on it but they dont do covers. Weve done a Pavement tribute album for an Italian label. Spearmint are on that and theyre the only band that arent doing a Pavement cover.
Phil: Which is quite admirable.
Jill: I really like them. I think theyre one of those bands who should have had a couple of hits. Just passed everyone by.
Phil: Theres still time!
SXP: Are the songs suggested to you for you to cover?
Andy: The Northern Soul thing, we were tearing our hair out for ages about what we were going to cover. Ive been to a few Northern Soul nights and I know what theyre like. If we did something like Our Love is in the Pocket wed probably get crucified. I just delved deep into my vinyl and started playing all these old 7s. I just started thinking: well I want to pick something thats not particularly well known, not particularly a floor filler something we can work on and build on. We did it in the last few shows and a lot of people have thought its a new song of ours. They thought it was brilliant our best song yet! The original version, its not like the best Northern Soul song in the world, productions a bit dodgy
Phil: a real 60s 2 track affair .
Andy: so its a good one to do cos at least we can give it a bit of stereo.
SXP: Were you invited to do a particular song on the Pavement album?
Andy: they asked all the bands to choose their songs. Quite a few people went for Here but we went for one off Wowie Zowie which is one of the less popular albums.
Phil: It was quite good because Danielle, who is coordinating it all or putting it out, said its her favourite, which is both good and bad. Thats my swansong on vocals cos Im not going to be singing. On the album I sing about half the songs but I was always supposed to be Mr B Side. *laughter* I wanted to be the singer in the beginning and Ive gradually withdrawn. Jills a much better singer. Im alright in an indie kind of way.
Jill: In the early days it was really handy you singing. I got really nervous. It was nice knowing you had a few breaks. And I was doing a bit of keyboards.
Phil: There was a lot of Jill the elfin beauty singing etc, etc - and then the drummer sings a song.
SXP: Youre described now as a London band but where are you from? Some webzine called you a Croydon band.
Jill: Thats cos the first few singles were recorded in Croydon and then theres Comet Gain.
Phil: Ive not been to Croydon for years. David used to live there and Rachel lives in Croydon. When they were doing their Tigertown album I did a bit of percussion on it. I liked the studio, really cosy and not a bad engineer. I knew Jill was quite nervous about going into the studio for the first time, we all were a bit apprehensive so I thought wed go somewhere thats nice and cosy so thats why we ended up there for the first 4 singles.
Andy: Most of them live in Stoke Newington but I live in Lewisham. Ben lives in Shepherds Bush. Im originally from Plymouth, [Phil: Im from Oxford, Jill: Newcastle] Lauras from Leeds and Cats from Edinburgh. A good national representation!
SXP: When is the album released?
Phil: Monday [16 September]. I was against it to begin with, for purist reasons. I wanted to go straight on to do an album. The argument is because theres no recording costs we might get a little bit of money back.
Andy: And it gives a better picture of what were about. You buy a single and you get 2 songs and usually our A sides and B sides are different from each other. A lot of people would have been confused by the first single. The Rough Trade description was: The A side is Dusty Springfield, the B Side is Stereolab! Lots of people thought were some sort of space rock sort of band.
SXP: Would you rather be Dusty or Stereolab?
Andy: Well be Kicker.
Phil: Dusty in Stereo. I think wed quite like to be Shocking Blue when they did Send Me A Postcard. Thats one of my favourite pop songs. If we could get near that Id be very happy. Just that song, none of their other songs.
Phil: I cracked with the CD idea. I was talking to Alistair from the Clientele and he said no one has heard of us (cos they have loads of vinyl) and then they put the CD out and then everybody loved them. I think were a bit of a singles band but we want to try and do an album, see how it turns out. If its a disaster well just turn it into lots of singles! We just want to do everything at one desk. Bens whos just joined is quite a good guitarist and hes introduced us to the world of arranging songs. Weve got an engineer/producer were really happy with.
SXP: How did you find him?
Jill: He owns our rehearsal studios.
Phil: Its mainly punk bands who recorded there and I think he was desperate for some pop music! tompaulin did their last single there with Jim Reid. We want to do an album and an EP that isnt on the album. Hopefully well start before the end of the year.
SXP: Some of your singles go abroad.
Jill: We had a bit of interest in Germany. We got some end of year website list, it was quite bizarre.
Phil: We got ninth in the top ten bands of the year
Jill: Alongside Ash and the Charlatans and Starsailor.
Phil: We were higher than the Charlatans! The whole scene indie bands starting out is much healthier abroad. Theyre much less snobby. The NME, for example, is really interested in if its major label. Yourselves are a good outlet. Abroad theyre more wide ranging, open minds. Here, theyre an assumption that theyre wilful underachievers.
Andy: If you ever see a band reviewed in the NME thats got a 7 single out without a bar code its always going to mention either hairgrips or Tallulah Gosh or twee.
Phil: Which we got quite a lot and it annoys the shit out of us.
Andy: We moan about lack of exposure but at the same time weve been able to develop without scrutiny. I feel sorry for these bands that do 3 gigs and theyre on the front of the style magazines. You know theyre going to do one album and get dropped. Were not a fashion statement. If you want to do that you might as well stamp a best before date on our heads. I want to be able to listen to what weve recorded in 10 years time and still be proud of it.
Jill: Its about not being under pressure. With Track and Field, youre not under any pressure.
Phil: If one of you is having an off day you can just slink into the shadows. I cant imagine what its like for White Stripes.
Andy: Anything remotely good gets seized upon immediately and isnt given a chance to develop. A lot of bands have been ripped apart because theyve had so much attention focused on them at an early stage.
Phil: I think Bis are a good example. Not necessarily everyones cup of tea but the vitriol against them was shocking. Steven Wells should be strung up for the way he treated them.
SXP: Youve done a track on a benefit compilation for a Nottingham Centre.
Andy: One of Lauras mates. Its some sort of social activist group. Were all fairly left-wing. Its a decent cause. Thought itd be quite nice to stick out one of our tracks that weve had on vinyl out on CD.
SXP: Youre not political in the way that Comet Gain are.
Phil: Feck, which is his nom-de-plume, is really into his pop culture hell kill me if he ever hears this and his cool politics. You can ask him whos his local MP and hell go eh?. Hes into his French New Wave and radical politics. Davids more of a sloganeerist. When I was in Comet Gain we did Say Yes to International Socialism. That was an Edwyn Collins quote: are you a socialist? Im an international socialist.
Andy: If you get more political youre in danger of sounding like Chumbawamba or U2. It overshadows the music.
Phil: I think Comet Gain tread the fine line but they dont overstep or hector. But he is a bit of an old Red Wedger at the end of the day!
Jill: He writes a great pop song and hes a damned good bloke. Get that in!
Phil: So when youre touring, let us support you on tour, tightarse!
SXP: Youve played with some really good bands. Best ones?
Jill: I love the Tyde. Weve played with Birdie a few times and I love Birdie.
Phil: Im loath to admit it but Comet Gain. Theyve been the best and the worst band live. I do like that Felt type song that the Tyde do which is a lot of them. I think weve been really lucky and most of the bands weve played with are bands that I really like. Were quite choosy.
Andy: My favourite is Miss Mend (now the Projects) at Reading as theyre as much into drinking as we are! We played with them at the Rising Sun and about 10 people turned up. Both bands were as drunk as the other so at the end we just got on stage with them.
Phil: It was brilliant. The drummer was drumming and I took over on drums and he went and played the keyboard. And Lisa and Jill were pretending to be Abba and standing back to back. Adam and Amanda from Saloon were promoting the gig and they had to pull the plugs on us! We just wouldnt stop. It was drunk people saying hey, were never gonna stop. This is gonna be a Krautrock groove that goes on forever! That was the best band weve ever played with. Worst band? I was thinking of Westworld. Sonic Boom Boy. There are a few bands who dont float my boat but Ive never played with one where Ive thought fuck off.
Jill: Whats the most bizarre gig weve done? Probably Blackburn. With tompaulin. Tonys Empress Ballroom. There was a tap dancing class on the floor above us.
Phil: It was like a Busby Berkeley movie was being filmed upstairs. You could just hear the [makes tap tap sound on table].
Jill: We werent allowed to soundcheck until the tapdancing class had finished.
Phil: Lots of tables, mums and dads sat around. And the first band on were a Verve style local band, and their relatives were there, but there were loads of people just out for Sunday night. We were really dreading finishing the first song. But they were really nice.
SXP: Is there a Kicker van?
Jill: He hasnt driven us for a while but theres a bloke called Paul. Hes in Ten Benson, thats why he hasnt driven us for a while. The soundest bloke you could ever meet.
SXP: Off the record, arent Ten Benson a bit rubbish?
Phil: I was at the Reading Festival and Im not very keen on festivals theres nowhere to sit down, theres grass everywhere, it was horrible! - but I was there because Bis were playing and they were on the same label. I got quite drunk and I wandered into this tent. A bloke came up to me with a microphone and he said what did you think of that band and I said shit. Who? Them? They all want to work in a burger joint cos theyve got burger joint costumes on, theyre rubbish. And he says this is for the magazine and he took a picture. I completely forgot about it and I was on the tube; Id bought Select and I was flicking through it going la, la, bloody rubbish, and I saw my face going *gurns* Ten Benson? Who? I think theyre Americans who want to work in a burger joint. And then he put something in he made up like I came because I love the Select new band tent. I was really embarrassed and I was convinced that everyone else on the tube was reading it and thinking: whos that gormless twat? Then I was in the van with Paul taking some gear back and he said Im joining a new band: Ten Benson!. So I dread meeting them. They probably didnt read it. I dont know anything about them anyway. Ive slagged them off in the music press and I havent a clue what they sound like!
Jill: Anyway, he is the best bloke in the world. But its not the most comfortable van in the world to drive up to Blackburn and back!
Phil: Dont say that. Hell never drive us again!
SXP: Why did you form a band?
Jill: Track and Field started the gigs and club because there wasnt anything they wanted to go to or hear.
Andy: In the same way its the same reason we formed this band. Because when we formed it there was a load of shite around. Glam rock bollocks. Any old whiny bastard with an acoustic guitar.
Phil: In the music industry, theres a lot of people obsessed with: you wanna make your bass a bit beefier Ive given up going to bigger venues cos all you can hear is the kick drum, the bass, bollocks like that, production values and loads of layered guitars. We dont use fx pedals which I think is a challenge.
Jill: Bens really conscious of that but I love it when we do soundchecks and the soundman says got any pedals? cos theyre really arsey bastards - and we say no. Then they like you.
Phil: Ben is the real musician, for want of a better word. Ben works in Record and Tape and Video Exchange. He gets the indie gods in. He gets Laurence out of Felt coming in a lot. Hes obsessed with David Essex! Hes always coming in and buying David Essex albums. He came in the other day and said have you got the David Essex live album cos Ive got all the studio albums. Dan Tracey comes in a lot and various other indie gurus. I went for a job there. They said: do you know anyone who works here. I said: David Christian. One of the interviewers bristled and said: things have changed since he worked here!
SXP: Are you a bunch of slackers then?
Phil: Were not prolific. Weve been going 3 and a half or four years and weve recorded a total of 14 or 16 songs. We rehearse every week. But were just fussy.
Jill: Whereas most bands go out and promote themselves were not good at that. Thats where were lazy.
Andy: Weve all got day jobs but our hearts are in it.
Phil: They say men think about sex every two minutes but I think about Kicker every minute!
SXP: Musical influences?
Jill: I love Saint Etienne. My favourite band.
Phil: I love French pop. I love Francois Hardy Jacques Dutronc, Serge Gainsbourg, the Byrds, Dusty.
Andy: I like Windy by the Association.
Phil: We all like Windy by the Association.
Andy: Thats our favourite song ever. Its the basis of all Kicker songs.
Phil: Although we do like the Astrid Gilberto version probably even more.
Andy: My influences. The Association that was a running joke. Things like Love, the Beach Boys, Os Mutantes, Orange Juice, Shuggie Otis, West Coast Experimental Pop Art Band.
Phil (to Jill): Dont talk about your Radio 1 tastes.
Jill: Dont Stop Moving!
Phil: Its crying out for a cover by an indie band.
Jill: Id love that. Laura would be up for that. Ben would too.
Phil: If you had your way wed be a party covers band!. Shes determined to get us to do Venus one day! The drummings shite!
Andy: Theres lots of covers we do in the rehearsal rooms that never see the light. I used to like that Galaxie 500 cover we did, Parking Lot. It was really perky. Thats one of the few covers apart from the Northern Soul one that weve played live.
Phil: I think theres a real good tradition in pop of doing covers.
Jill: Not Atomic Kitten doing Blondie.
SXP: Favourite tracks of the year?
Andy: I really like the DJ Shadow album and the Streets cos its just so South London and mental. And I like the Cornelius album.
Jill: In John Peels Festive Fifty, I definitely think probably Kicker: No More Tears would have to be in there.
Phil: He didnt play it though, Jillian.
Jill: He didnt? Bastard.
Phil: When I was in Comet Gain, we did my favourite song we ever did and he talked all over the intro and I was so annoyed. Song called Pier Angeli. The Peel Session version was a lot better than the recorded version. He said this is a slow one and later on weve got blah blah blah. I said shut up Im taping this!
Seachange interview by Ged and Paul
Seachange are a 6 piece indie rock band based in Nottingham whose debut single Superfuck has just been released on Radiate. They had just finished a short national tour supporting the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster which ironically culminated in the exhaust falling off their van. We met Simon (drums), Dan (vocals) and Jo (violin) prior to their recent Barfly gig in a Camden boozer.
SXP - Can you explain to us why you are called Seachange?
Simon Its definitely nothing to do with the Australian soap opera or the pharmaceutical company.
Dan - Its just a name that came up out of the ether really.
Simon I didnt even know we were called it until a year after the subject arose!
SXP Are you all at Uni in Nottingham?
Dan No, I read that somewhere.
Jo It was a few years ago.
Dan - We did all meet at Uni though and yeah were all still living there. It worked out quite well cos its cheap.
Simon We lived together for about a year after Uni and its really good cos the music scene is great. Its a really good place, everythings really close and theres less stress than down here
Dan and weve got our own studio that we can go and record things in.
Simon Weve just started putting on a monthly night, and its kind of nice cos theres a lot of bands around, up knowing a lot of bands as well. Theres a good vibe.
SXP Are you under pressure to move to London?
Simon Im not sure thats true.
Dan Maybe things would have moved faster if wed moved.
Jo Everyones a lot more mutually supportive in Nottingham from one I can tell.
SXP Have you always been a six piece?
Dan Yeah. I think the initial idea was to go touring around places we were going to go to Canada and play but obviously we never got the money to do that.
Simon It was like glue, setting up together, living together.
SXP What was the tour like with the 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster?
Simon Really really good. We stayed on peoples floors so it was fairly cheap. And we had our ambulance as well. Bit ironic that its now sick. [laughs]
SXP And what were the B-Line Distasters like?
Simon Aw there really really nice. Got on really well with them.
SXP Their lead singer seems really manic on stage but is totally normal off it
Simon Yeah, its all part of the performance.
Dan It was really nice on this tour because everyone got on really well.
Jo Yeah there was no rivalry or shit like that.
SXP So who of current bands are you really into?
Simon Its only really the bands in Nottingham at the moment, Walls of Grease, Grips, Designer Babies Outside of that, Gold Chains is the only thing Ive heard recently. The first EP is brilliant.
Dan I really like the Streets album.
Simon Have had a chance to listen to a lot as weve been away a lot. Oh and Le Tigre, fuckin brilliant. Dunno if you saw them at all, absolutely amazing. One of the best live gigs Ive seen for absolutely ages.
SXP I read somewhere on your message board that the single was currently number 149 in the charts
Simon I think it was 148. I dunno if it is now. I think that was midweek.
SXP Well its impressive cos youre on a small label, you wont be getting many daytime plays because of the name
Simon It has a good radio reception, received a lot of airplay. I know John Peel, Lamaque and Mary Anne Hobbs have played it.
SXP Did you think about the problems with the name when you released it?
Jo Its just a throwaway name. You dont really think when youre recording a song that youll be putting it out later
Simon We just didnt think. I dont really care.
Dan Thats the first time Ive thought about that actually that maybe it would have got more radio play if wed called it something different.
Simon One thing I would say, its an in your face title and an in your face song so there you go.
SXP I have to say, Ive seen you a couple of times now and you [to Simon] are such a great drummer. Is that just pure energy or is there something else going on there ?
Simon I just figure if youre going to play the drums you may as well hit them as hard as you can! If you look at Dave Grohl when he plays the drums he always hits them like that [air drums at 90 degree angle]. Technically its probably not really the best thing to do but if you keep yourself fit
SXP Well youll get yourself noticed as well.
Simon - You have this feeling that youre in a driving seat as well
SXP Talking of driving seats are you actually going to stay in your seat all night cos last time I saw you you actually fell out of it a couple of times.
Simon Well yeah if you think about it its a pretty weird thing to be doing performing in front of a room full of people so anything that you can do that wraps yourself in it
Dan Its great fun to watch and I think people are actually terrified of you.
Simon I think people think Im a psycho.
SXP When youre writing songs do you actually think about how to incorporate the violin?
Jo I dont actually try to play it like a classically trained player, I just try to treat it like it was a bass guitar, playing integrated notes rather than what youd normally expect from a violin.
SXP So how many songs have you got now?
Simon Theres between 12 and 20 altogether.
Dan Over the next month theres another 2 or 3 songs we want to put down.
At this point the band had to race off to do their sound check. Check out their sound soon.
tompaulin interview by Tone
tompaulin need no introduction by now. This is the second time Tony Strut has interviewed them for SoundsXP. This time he spoke to lead singer Jamie Holman and guitarist Tap in August 2002 in London.
SXP: I first saw the band around the time of Slender, the second single; prior to that there was Ballad of the Bootboys on 7. Up to that stage, how long had the band been going and how did it come together?
Jamie: When we recorded Slender, Katie wasnt in the band, Lee who plays keyboards played bass as well as keyboards and Amos joined on the day, at the studio. Me and Lee started the band with Ciaron and by the time we did Ballad Ciaron had left the band as a player, he didnt want to play anymore and wanted to stay writing. Was Katie in the band when we recorded Slender?
Jamie: Then we recorded Slender and we didnt have a bass player, and Katie joined after Slender.
SXP: Coming forward in time, how well did the album The Town and the City do critically and in sales compared to the limited edition singles which I believe have now sold out?
Jamie: The singles sold really well. Action Records keep on pressing the singles, bless em, and selling them but thats OK. The last count I had for Slender, and this was about 18 months ago, was that it had sold about 4,000 copies and you can still buy it now. But Ballad , that was meant to be 1,000 and I know 1,000 sold out in the first week and you can still get that now and thats three years on. The Town and the City was weird because its flawed, massively flawed.
SXP: In what way?
Jamie: Production. We spent a lot of time on the singles. I dont think we spent a lot of time on the album but we spent a lot more money. We fell into the classic trap but we did it earlier, we did our second album when we did our first album. It did sell really well, it did OK critically, not as well as the singles but it did OK.
SXP: I really like all the songs on the new Riot single and The Sadness of Things.
Jamie: The Sadness of Things was the first song we ever wrote.
SXP: A lot of the songs in the past, lyrically, were about violence and sex but because of the vocal delivery Im not sure many people actually got it?
Jamie: No, they didnt.
SXP: Do you think people actually listen to the words?
Jamie: No. I wish they did. I used to go out with this girl; I really liked the Mary Chain and she really liked Primal Scream and she used to say at the time that Primal Scream were really sweet and I always thought the Mary Chain were really sweet and nice and quite vulnerable. Primal Scream were the darkest band but just sounded really sweet.
Maybe I underestimate the people who review records because people write about us in terms of Belle and Sebastian: I really understand it for Ballad because of the timing and the equipment we had, acoustic guitars. But you get to Slender and I dont get it at all. Slender is really explicit as a song and Car Crash is really explicit, Them vs. Us is really explicit. I thought at the time we were some sort of Dexys/ Mary Chain/Primal Scream hybrid but, to be honest, no one else did.
SXP: With the new sound, do you think people will realise there is a much darker side to Tompaulin than they first realised?
Jamie: Its weird, its always been dark. Justine Frischmann [Elastica] reviewed Slender and she was probably one of the best reviews we have ever had. She said oh its a bit smacky, its a bit like Spiritualised, and its really Velvetsy. And I was real happy with that. We have released Riot and its been reviewed in the NME as the Beautiful South. They couldnt have looked at whos producing it and I cant believed theyd listened to the song when the second half is just layers of feedback so I think that journalists will keep on saying what theyve always said. In this country opinion is dominated by the NME and the adult press, which the kids dont read; we always get good reviews in the Guardian, and no kids read it.
SXP: I thought your description of Riot... as Nancy and Lee on smack was perfect.
Jamie: I didnt call it that, Jim Reid called it that and I think thats the perfect blueprint.
SXP: Do you and Stacey fell more confident about your vocal delivery now?
Jamie: Yeah, because when we formed the band, no one I know had formed a band as a career move, we hadnt been to music school, we couldnt play an instrument. You have lofty ambitions, you want to achieve something, you dont want to be a run of the mill indie band. Ive said from the beginning I want us to be on Top of the Pops and the thing that holds us back is confidence but like anything you keep doing it and you get better, you get better at writing songs, you get to be a better guitar player. Stacey has become a great vocalist. All the bands Ive ever loved dont do that rock n roll thing, you go and see them and theyre shit or theyre good but theyre always something. Theyre not just Travis.
SXP: How was the relationship with Jim and Ben? What did they bring to your music?
Jamie: The working relationship was great. They brought experience about recording guitars. What you really want is someone who has never made a bad record. So you end up with a short list of producers and then you want someone who is still making records. Retox was out. When me and Tap talked about it, we listened to Stoned and Dethroned, their great guitar record, and we knew that they knew what they were doing because they had done it a lot Its just that really and they bring their name to it, no doubt about it.
SXP: Did the relationship live up to your expectations or were you a bit wary?
Jamie: We were a bit worried because were Mary Chain fans and, because youre fans, you know what they are like. But we were more worried because of their track record of excellence, 21 great pop singles; we havent got 21 great pop singles. But for me it was possibly the best experience of recording a record.
SXP: When you first knew that you were going to record with them, did you pick out songs you thought they could do justice to?
Jamie: No. We demoed the two most recent songs - that is the absolute truth - two songs that were ready for recording and sent the songs to them and then we recorded some more with them after that. In fact, by the time we got to the studio to record the second time, we had written a new song so we did that, which they hadnt even heard. So we didnt go Mary-Chain-sympathetic, we just did what we did.
SXP: There has been a serious gap between The Town and The Country or was it the My Life at the Movies single
Jamie: It was My Life at the Movies.
SXP: ..which is about a nine-month gap since your last London show. Why so long?
Jamie: Weve got a new label Track and Field.
SXP: How was Glastonbury?
Jamie: Glastonbury was fucking ace. It was the first thing wed done that was like what big bands do. We had backstage passes, we got a shower and a hot meal, had a great sound engineer, played to a lot of people and the best thing was people were shouting for songs. I think it was a turning point; we had recorded with Jim and Ben and we just became a band again. Im sure all bands go through the same and we came out fighting. Stacey had the best gig I think she has ever done. She was made for the big stage.
SXP: The cover of the first album is really original: a yuppie in designer gear sitting on a rubbish tip texting.
Jamie: Youll have to talk to Tap because he does the artwork, he commissions it all.
SXP: (to Tap): With the first album you had such a unique cover. How are you going to follow that?
Tap: I dont know, to be brutally honest. The girl who takes the photos is a girl Ive known for a long time and thats her work. She shows them in galleries and she always has a body of work on the go and when we are going to release something, she lets me come down and release a picture. Its just something that fits somehow.
SXP: Jamie, you gave me a demo tape called In The Black. Is that the new album title?
Jamie: Working title: In The Black/Back in Black. There is a Mary Chain song called In The Black. Theres loads of new stuff. Ive said this before: the thing about tompaulin is we could have remade The Town and the City and we could have remade Slender but we didnt want to do that. When we made those records, I really didnt know how wed sound in 12 months.
I think we are the most ambitious unsigned band in the country: we always have been. We have never signed a contract. Weve paid for everything. We are the band that phone up Jim Reid and say come produce us. No, we havent got any money but we have got these songs. We were the only new band on the new band stage at Glastonbury. This is not a time to be fiercely independent, this is not a time to change. For a small independent label who dont have much money, this is not a good time to say we are going to change what we are doing. This is not a good time to say we have been listening to hip-hop and drum loops. We cant help it. I dont think we will ever get signed. We have really good management and a really good press officer and thats the closest we got.
SXP: Do you think the sound will alienate tompaulin fans who wish youd stayed in first 7 mode?
Jamie: We dont want to keep the fans who wished we stayed in first 7 mode. We dont understand it. They can stay with the first 7, thats fine. You dont stay with bands because they are brands. Its not Coca Cola. You stay with bands because they make records. You go to see bands because theyre great, shit, crap, whatever, and thats how you experience music. Bands have a right to make bad records and you dont have to buy that record. Its not a brand. I hate the idea. I think its laughable because were so poor that some people are going to say Im not going to see tompaulin because they dont use acoustic guitars anymore. I broke it, cant afford another one.
SXP: I really like the new demos but I was expecting it to be feedbacky
Jamie: Did you expect it to be a Mary Chain blueprint?
SXP: I expected it to be Mary Chainy but it wasnt.
Jamie: I dont think it is, that would be easy. It would be really insulting to say to someone like Jim Reid: OK, we are going to rape your corpse. You take elements of it; its based on things that are already there. You have an understanding when you say to Jim Reid: Beach Boys/Shangri Las and he says that is there and you go from there. I think the relationship that the new songs have with the old ones is not just feedback because theres feedback on Its A Girls World, theres feedback on the album but people choose to ignore it. It was there on Ballad of the Bootboys.
SXP: Future plans? Youre touring with the Butterflies of Love. Have you met them before?
Jamie: Yeah, we like the band.
SXP: Right, now on to micktravis. Who are micktravis? Are the names on the record real names?
Jamie: Yeah, names as on record. Garth [Garfield Grieve] wrote it with Tap. Tap wrote the music. Garth wrote the melody and the words. I dont play on it.
SXP: You do on the B-side.
Jamie: Yeah, I do on the B-side. Stacey wasnt even there on the day we recorded it. I play it live but that was a one off. Garth has some new songs and wanted to play. I have known him since I was 10 and he made a record and Sean Price said would you promote it? So we did.
SXP: So Mick Travis isnt a real person like Tom Paulin?
Jamie: Its a character from the If trilogy of films. Its used by different members of tompaulin for different things. Me and Ciaron both write under it, which is confusing, we have recorded under it and will probably record again under it.
SXP: Is there an albums worth of material yet?
Tap: Probably an E.P.s worth.
SXP: Why did you [micktravis] sign to Fortuna Pop and not Track and Field?
Tap: It made Sean really happy; hes in love with that song. He would have shot us if wed said no.
SXP: Does he realise it sounds like Lee Hazlewood?
Tap: Yeah. I think thats why he wanted it, to be honest. I dont think Track and Field wanted it. Sean heard it first. He heard a demo.
SXP: Who writes the songs. Is it you and Garth?
Tap: Yeah. He has all the songs worked out so well in his head, based on his knowledge of country music, all the melody to the song. It is already written but he cant play anything.
Jamie: So Tap goes: thats an E and thats a G. The plan for Yvonne was before we played it, we sat down in my house and watched Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin. And Garth s a showman. You would have noticed we stopped and he carried on.
SXP: Thanks for your time.
Jamie: Youre welcome.