An Interview with 2:54.

17 03 2016

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Last February I finally got to interview a band I had been wanting to talk to for quite some time. A band that hold a wealth of importance to me. Besides, any band that references the Melvins in their name is bound to be great, right? I’ve written about 2:54 many times. There is something about their music that just makes me want to write about it. When I listen to their music, I notice things I hadn’t previously done or certain emotions come out. They’ve always struck me as a band you listen to in the dead of night, through headphones whilst the world sleeps. If any band or singer can give you that, then you’ve found something to treasure for life. In an ideal world, I would have typed this interview straight away. I didn’t. I lost my dictaphone, moved house, and thought it was lost forever until I found it in a box under my bed whilst looking for something else. Sometimes I am a world class tool.

I started off by asking Colette and Hannah how their music should be listened to. As I mentioned above, I set the scene for myself- but is that how they want their fans to take in their music? What are the perfect surroundings to listen to their music, or just music in general?

Colette: “All my favourite music I listen to on the move. Train journeys, in the tour van. That’s what you want from a band or record you love, you want it to be transported. And I like that feeling of motion as you listen to it.”

This led onto my fixation of finding bands that are ideal to listen to at night (maybe that’s why I love going to gigs) and I asked them, what it is like to play during the day at festivals like SXSW (who put them on at 2:54 in the afternoon.)

Colette: “It is one of those things that absolutely changes the atmosphere. You can see people more and you definitely do feel more exposed. You can feel more self-conscious than you would normally but then those kind of challenges are exciting even if they are scary. It’s what being in a band is all about, it toughens you up a bit. And at festivals, not everyone is there to see you so there’s that dynamic as well.”

The first time I saw 2:54 live was at the Union Chapel, and I saw them again at St Pancras Old Church. St Pancras was more intimate and was just after The Other I came out, and I’m pretty sure they did most of the record. They came onto the stage with Tender Shoots playing out of the PA and it was so captivating as it echoed through. It felt like something was calling out to us. I’ve seen a few gigs in churches, and it is something I do enjoy. It feels sacred yet strange. What changes when you play in a church? I’m not religious, but the respectful side of me wouldn’t start yelling a string of swear words in there. Obviously 2:54 haven’t got the mouth of a sailor on stage, but you still have to be a like cautious I suppose.

Colette: “We were playing on the graves, which I found a little unnerving (St Pancras.) At the Union Chapel we had a sound monitor that we couldn’t go above.”

Hannah: “And you can’t have too much reverb! In churches, you can’t play too loud as the building can start to crumble.”

I’ve been to a fair amount of gigs in this country at various venues. I sometimes think I’ve worked out which venue is my favourite, but then I go to a gig at a new venue and I fall in love with it. I think it might be impossible for me to pick one place as my favourite venue. Is there any way a band could pick their favourite place to play? What does a venue need in order for a band to feel that they have just set foot into their favourite venue? Some may regard the sound, so may think of certain shows they have played there that gives it sentimental value. When a band based in London are asked this question, you automatically think “Bet they say Brixton Academy!” Fortunately this time, this wasn’t the case.

Colette: “For me, the Brudenell Club in Leeds. It has all my favourite kind of elements. It definitely has that social club vibe that we grew up on. It has that faded glamour, the layout and it’s so warm and welcoming.”

I guess that’s the North all over!

When I listen to a band I always seem to make a beeline for the lyrics first. Some people connect with a sound more than words (and there are some that I feel this way about also) but for the most part- it’s the lyrics. I did my dissertation at university about Punk and Poetry and it seems that sparked it all off again. Words are powerful, and when you find a band or singer that can make your mind expand on all that you see, feel and think- that’s when you know you’ve found something. I remember hearing Orion from The Other I and immediately thinking about when I first heard Siouxsie And The Banshees for the first time. It was dark, otherworldly and magical. I’ve always felt that 2:54’s lyrics are exceptionally sacred. You have to listen very closely to pick up on golden lines that will stay in your head for an age. Easy Undercover once summed up how crap I was being to someone once (more than once) and Blindfold helped me get out of a job that was making me ill. You make these connections and use it as armour. Their first record came out when I was living at home, and I used to take long walks listening to it. The darkness of the songs fit perfectly as I walked through quiet streets cloaked with fog. It fit the songs perfectly, and it killed time. So of course, I had to ask them what their favourite songs/lyrics were to The Other I.

Colette: “Blindfold and Glory Days. It was really cathartic writing Blindfold. And I love that it has a dance melody, a pop melody almost. And the lyrics are full of loads of questions, and anxiety really. I like that all of my favourite songs from the 60s have that- that melancholy.”

Prior to the tour last February, 2:54 did an interview with Rookie magazine (http://www.rookiemag.com/2015/01/theme-song-254/) and there’s a part towards the end of the interview where Colette mentions Horses by Patti Smith (she also mentions her and Hannah’s love for At The Drive-In and The Distillers which is bloody great!) Horses is probably THE most important record of all time, but that’s just my opinion. When I first heard it, I knew I had found something and someone who was going to change my life. I have my records on a few shelves in my room, and Horses is the first one I see every day. It’s a knowing nod on how to get on through life. Horses was the record that spurred on my love for music and poetry. There are moments on Horses that define greatness. Greatness that no other could compare to, greatness that will never happen again. I watched her play the record in full last November and I have never felt that way during and after a show before. It did something, something that stuck with me- much like hearing Horses for the first time. I don’t know many people who hold this amount of love for Patti, and I had to fit it in somehow after reading the Rookie interview. I asked Colette if how Patti writes is an influence.

Colette: “The poetry and the Punk elements- there’s a fearlessness about it that gets me every time. Such a strong sense of self that is completely seductive. I just find her the whole package, and when you first find out about her- it always seems to be at the right time. I first found out about her when I was supposed to be revising for my exams, and my friend had mentioned Horses to me and I just sat there. I was struck by it.”

I think anyone who has listened to Patti, or to Horses can really understand where Colette is coming from. When you listen to Patti you are in awe of what you’re hearing, and it just stays with you. Her live shows are out of this world- and whatever she sets out to do and to make the people feel, she does it. Live shows are a huge thing for me. I love going to gigs and there is nothing better than making sure I am at work well before 9am so I can bring on a panic attack whilst trying to buy tickets. This was shown in all its glory 2 weeks ago when trying to buy tickets to see The Kills. I failed. We don’t talk about it because it makes me and my friend sad. Next time, right? After the anxious feelings pass when you’ve bought tickets, the day slowly comes around where you get to see the band in question. I always want to know what bands want fans to take from their shows- do they want them to go start a band, if anything? Whenever I’ve seen 2:54 I’ve always left wishing I could drum like Alex or play the guitar like Hannah. Anyone I’ve dragged to see them has always said the same thing. There are a handful of bands that I’ve seen that always make me wish I was musically talented, 2:54 are one of them.

Hannah: “We want people to hopefully connect to the performance. We very much do feel like a tight gang on stage and we like being able to share that.”

Colette: “Growing up when we went to gigs, we always wanted to emulate that unifying feeling. I hope for connection, any potential connection is what I hope for.”

As generic as it is to ask- I asked the band who their influences were (not just settling for music based influences.) When I listen to them I can pick up on sounds from bands I love such as Garbage, Sleep and elements of Fugazi. Colette’s voice is gentle but tough when needs to be (like Shirley Manson) Alex’s drumming always takes me back to hearing Fugazi for the first time and the heaviness in Hannah’s guitar playing reminds me of Sleep and Rowland S Howard, but who influences them?

Colette: “I think it is the need to get something out of you – a release.” I think this one line sums up 2:54. The urgency in their songs- the words, the music. It all comes alive when you see them on stage and what better influence to have than that. The need to pull something out of you, and cast it into the unknown. It’s powerful, terrifying and inspiring. You don’t always need a list of bands, singers or writers to be cited as an influence- sometimes it is just the urgency to get it out there and I think that’s the most powerful influence anything can have over us.

I chose to end the interview with a question that, if I was asked would probably cause a mental block but is fine to ask others (especially if they are musicians.)

With a knowing nod, after asking what the favourite line from any song is, Colette answered with the always fitting and forever apt “Jesus died for somebodies sins but not mine.”

 

*At the end of the interview we shared what the first records we bought were. Colette’s was Pearl Jam which led on to a discussion about the Now compilations. There was one that had Enigma (the monk song!) and Enya. Those were the days. And if you must know, the first one I bought was Always & Forever by Eternal. From Woolworths. On cassette.





Interview With Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) Part 2.

8 05 2014

 

 

In the first part of my interview with Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls we talked about her husband, Brandon chasing Patti Smith down a street, being misquoted as saying Guns N Roses were an influence and their performance at this year’s Coachella festival.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see Dum Dum Girls live, you will more thank likely leave the show a bigger fan than you were beforehand. It isn’t just Dee Dee that has a gorgeous stage presence; each band member during the live shows seems to be lost in their own world. They jolt their bodies at the same time during certain parts of songs, they all leave you wishing you could play an instrument and more importantly they leave you wanting a more. A good band can put on a solid show, but a great band will leave you thinking of ways to get money to catch the next date on their show. There are a few bands I could happily watch perform live for the rest of time; Dum Dum Girls are in that list for sure. I’m just going by their London shows I’ve seen them at, but their fans are really part of what makes a show. If you can ignore the perverse men in the front row taking equally perverse photos, then you’ll have a good time. Personally I feel if we see someone doing this at a show, we should be allowed to stamp on their camera. Anyway, before I get all mad or whatever let’s just carry on with the interview.

Staying with the live shows, I asked Dee Dee what she would want fans to take from their shows; whether it be the first or tenth time they have seen them live. A live performance can make you gain or lose fans, and sometimes people are less forgiving for a poor live performance. Of course if you have seen the band live you will know what to expect and that’s why you keep going back.

“It depends on the depth of the fan, I think. People who have seen us before and enjoy us, and I think get what we do there’s a different exchange going on than maybe say someone who heard a song somewhere and come to see us. It’s always heartbreaking for me, when someone of course tweets at me, ‘What a boring show. They never move!’ There are so many kinds of performance, we’re not that kind of crazy or out there. We’re not The Who or something! I guess I just hope that there’s an understanding of sincerity. I think we try to perform, we try to entertain in our way.”

I did say to Dee Dee if someone wants to see someone dance around or whatever then they should probably go see Beyoncé or someone. I told her it is obvious you can tell that they love what they do, and if you feel the need to really jump about for no reason on stage then maybe you’re over compensating for something. Take Morrissey for example; he can just stand in the centre of the stage and sing for about 70 minutes, and the fans will leave feeling as if they have witnessed something truly life changing. It’s not all about pointless dance routines and stage talk. It is about how you perform the songs, and you really cannot fake that. Coming Down is back in their set, and you can just really feel the meaning of the song come through when Dee Dee performs it. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried, the song means everything to me. I was standing close to the smoke machine too so….But you can really pick up on the sincerity of the performance from them.

Alright so this month, Dee Dee and Brandon are putting out their record as Haunted Hearts. It’s called Initiation and it’s out on Zoo Music (their label.) It is a bloody good record that is entirely different from what they do in their respected bands. Yet they manage to still bring to the record that familiar sound that lured you into Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls. Their voices together are beautiful. If you’ve listened to the likes of Blank Girl and Merry Christmas Baby (Please Don’t Die) then you will have heard how well their voices sound together. Initiation has a delicate yet debauched sound and will sit nicely amongst any music fan’s collection.

“We wrote the first two songs that came out as singles last year were written much more collaboratively. It was new territory for both of us. I’m really protective when I’m writing songs, and he is a little bit less because him and Charlie work together but it was still the sort of thing like, ‘Can you leave? Can you go somewhere while I figure out if this is good or not.’ And vice versa. And so it took a lot longer with the remainder of the songs. It’s fun to sit and write together, and for me it was a really new thing so it was cool and I think 4 of the songs were written so collaboratively that I can’t remember who did what, so that’s cool. 1 of them was a weird song that I had written as I suppose, for Dum Dum Girls but never really figured out how to translate and so, made so much more sense and felt like it was waiting for this band really, which was Johnny Jupiter. Then the last song, Bring Me Down which I would say, feels more like a Brandon song than a me song. The interesting thing about that song is that, he and I had written almost identical songs, like the instrumentation was the same and so what we ended up doing was his verses stayed, and I think I wrote lyrically an additional verse using his melody and we then adapted the chorus I had written for my version of the song. And for the bridge we sang over each other because both parts worked.”

It meant a lot to have Dee Dee talk about Bring Me Down as it is my favourite off the Haunted Hearts record, I’m a fan of songs that go over 4 minutes and take you into a different world. Their vocals really work well on this song. You’ve got Brandon’s delicate voice (listen to All My Hate And Hexes to get my point) and you’ve got fragility coming through in Dee Dee’s voice. It’s the perfect song to end the record on, and if they tour this record I hope they put this in their set because it is just a joy to listen to, and to have on repeat.

Initiation has a constant spacey feel to it. You feel as if you’re on a Spiritualized kick when you listen to it. As someone who has never touched drugs, this record does feel like a lucid trip that you don’t want to come down from. Music always gives you that pure high that you can’t find in anything else. Your favourite record will always give you that life affirming buzz that you can’t get elsewhere, and I wanted to know what influenced this record as it is unlike Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles and what feel they were going for when making the record.

“With the first two singles we put out, it was what you would expect. But when we remixed them after we recorded the rest of the album, when we started recording we knew what we wanted to do something different. We knew our references were not going to be guitar music, for the most part.  I didn’t play guitar at all; I played synth and he plays guitar, and it’s all drum machine. We wanted to reference, like a lot of the reasons why we love Spacemen 3. And like with Spiritualized, just really lush synth stuff and very groovy bass-lines. You know like, a nod to Motown. Just groovy. I don’t know if it’s trippy weed music or what but, that stuff that really sparkles I think is what we were looking for. We were looking to make dance music that was beautiful, I think. Although I wouldn’t necessary quote me- you can ask him!”

Initiation is a record that you can let your limbs go wild and loose to; it’s got a really freeing feel to it that will make the shyest of dancers jolt and jig in the privacy of their own home.

Zoo Music isn’t just home to their record and Dirty Beaches last release; a few weeks back they put out a record by Denmark’s Gäy. They are teenagers who play like they have just been thrown out of CBGBs for being too young and too wasted. They’ve got a real Television sound going on, and knowing how young they are and how well they play is pretty damn awesome. I wanted to know how they got hold of the band and why (although by listening to them it is fairly obvious) they wanted to work with them.

“They played a show with Crocodiles that no one went to in Copenhagen, and that’s how Brandon knew them. He was obsessed with them, he was like, ‘They’re crazy, they look like murderers!’ The bass player was filming the set on stage. They’ve got Television personalities. They’re great, but I haven’t met them yet. I think they’re really cute and little and Brandon was like, ‘They’re really intense!’ “

Something I’m really interested in is how a band/singer write their songs and how they want their music to be found or heard. When you start off writing something in your cramped room and it then becomes the soundtrack to many people’s lives, is there really a better feeling than that? Dee Dee’s way with words reminds me of how Patti and Shirley Manson write. Careful, simple but extremely effective. You can put Morrissey amongst them also. The best songs are to the point and don’t sugarcoat the ugly feelings we try to hide.

“Usually I have the theme or the chorus; not a catchphrase but the thing that sort of enforces the rest of the song. I usually have that in mind beforehand, and I sit down and I kind of just make something up as I’m writing a verse and once I’ve written the other parts musically, I’ll go back and be more aware of what I’m writing. But it generally just starts kind of free association and I go back to try to refine it. But I do spend a lot of time making sure it is worth being said, at least that’s my intention.”

“If somebody could have a ‘headphone moment’ with a Dum Dum Girls song that would be cool because that’s the kind of fan that I am. You know, having mini life-defining moments while listening to Spiritualized or Brian Eno or something and be like ‘Oh my God! It’s all coming together right now!’ It’s a lofty goal but I hope that sonically it’s enjoyable and I hope that there’s substance that’s observable.”

Towards the end of the interview we talked about having a family feel on tour with regards to the bands they have on tour with them. This tour they have Crocodiles and Vorhees who is also their sound engineer (and was getting changed in the toilets whilst I was interviewing Dee Dee; her shoes are as amazing as her music.) Having that kind of environment on tour, regardless of even how different the support act are makes everything easier. When you see people in the crowd booing a support act or standing looking bored, it’s rude really. We discussed that, that attitude needs to go.

“When you go see a show and it’s cohesive, not necessarily 3 bands that sound the same but there’s a wave to the evening that’s enjoyable and there’s different things highlighted, that to me is how you have a successful show. Not like, ‘Oh my God I’m waiting for the headliner.’ Can we just stop and enjoy the evening. So when I’m trying to find bands to take on tour, there’s always this issue. I just ask bands that I love , and we then figure out if it can work. We just took Blouse on tour in the State, I’ve asked them for years but it never worked out. We just had the best time, and Jules fell in love with their drummer, and they’re still together. It’s everything that could go right on tour went right. It was so lovely. I don’t follow a lot of press, but a lot of the stuff that I did read made note of it being an enjoyable pairing. That we were different but complimentary. The fact that Charlie is such a stunning front-woman, and has this amazing voice and we’re both different in the way we perform but worked. If we take a band on tour, you’ll always see Jules and I out there watching, but on this last tour I saw so many funny photos of us in the wings. Somebody filmed us trying to make Blouse laugh from the side of the stage!”

I ended the conversation telling Dee Dee about a video I saw of Crocodiles online where someone has just filmed her dancing to the band rather than filming the band. Put the camera/phone down, and just enjoy the show!

It was an absolute pleasure to spend a half hour with Dee Dee and just talking about music. She’s got a beautiful spirit that you really pick up on when you talk to her. She makes music that you can truly believe in, and you can’t ask for more than that.





Interview With Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) Part 1.

5 05 2014

 

 

Interviewing bands is always going to be a strange thing for me, I can’t really explain why. However I doubt anything is going to top me interviewing Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls in the toilets at the Scala in London last Thursday. I am greeted with an “I know you” and a smile as I am introduced to her, from others those three words could echo trouble. As in, “Oh shit, what have I done now.” I’m a shy mess at the best of times, but when I am in the presence of musicians I admire, I seem to be alright. I suppose it should be the other way, but it isn’t and I’m totally okay with it.

When I finished my interview I was left with a bunch of questions in my head that I wished I had asked her, but maybe some other time. For now, we’ll stick to our talk in the toilets sharing a little bit of Jameson I bought her.

Like a few bands I listen to and love, Dum Dum Girls are ideal to listen to when it is dark outside. They are a night-time band; a band that after you’ve wasted a sunny day indoors, you just stick on some Dum Dum Girls for the remainder of the evening and fall into the night-time. They recently played Coachella, and I think a few years ago at SXSW Alison Mosshart (The Kills) said playing in the daytime doesn’t really feel right, that their music is made for nighttime. I wanted to know what Dee Dee thought towards playing in uncomfortable and blistering heat and does it change anything about the music.

“It used to be much harder for us to translate to daytime, even to just outside. I think we now we have enough insulation that what we just try to bring it regardless of the setting, but it was difficult. The first weekend was a disaster for a few reasons. Superficially, the weather was a lot hotter so we had full sun on us on the stage and on our gear, so that creates visual problems. Jules’ pedal board, I don’t know if it overheated but it shorted so she lost her guitar in the first song, and it took half the set to figure out what it wasn’t. But I gave her my guitar, and our tech was running back and forth; and it wasn’t at all how I wanted it to go down. But, it was one of those weird things where I wasn’t initially that stoked it was a two weekend thing but we had another chance to redeem ourselves. But the second was much better, the weather was mild and we had no technical difficulties.”

A few weeks ago one of the greatest records ever made (The Stone Roses debut) turned 25; they only made 2 full length records but they have influenced many of the bands that I listen to (including Dum Dum Girls) and are easily one of the best bands from Manchester, and England in general. The laid-back and dreamy sound on their debut record is felt in many records that I own and is in the music I listen to. 25 years is a long time and in that time many bands have emerged that stated that The Stone Roses’ record made them start a band. With this in mind, I asked Dee Dee how she would like Dum Dum Girls to be remembered in 25 years time. However, we just ended up talking about how much we love the band instead.

“I don’t know, I hope it survives. That Stone Roses is in my Top 10 for sure. That record reminds me of the first time we came to England, I was doing a ton of promo, and this isn’t a cool story! But I was doing the promo and somebody asked me what my favourite record was, and at the time I was on a massive Stone Roses kick, which is probably my second kick that I had with them because I’m kind of cyclical like that. And I said the first Stone Roses record, and I guess because I have a super Californian accent, when I read the interview later it said (and she does a hilariously exaggerated Californian accent at this point!) ‘The first Guns N Roses record!’ And that’s 100% opposite direction, but I wear a leather jacket so nobody noticed, but it was funny.”

 

 

From an influential band to a woman who kick-started a love for music in so many. Last year, Dee Dee and her husband Brandon (Crocodiles) met Patti Smith in New York. If you’ve seen the photo, you’ll have seen the sheer joy in their faces. Patti has a beautiful child-like glow about her that just transpires into those who meet her. Pretty cool that Brandon is wearing a Patti shirt too. Meeting your heroes always stays with you, and afterwards everything just seems like a daze for days on end. I’ve read a few times where Dee Dee has named Patti as one of her main influences, and is possibly one of the main reasons she makes music. I wanted to know what it was like for her to meet Patti. I’m fairly sure she was a lot cooler than I was and didn’t cry at the sight of her.

“It probably happens to her all the time, poor woman. But we were at a vegan restaurant called Souen which is, I believe in the neighborhood she lives in. And we were meeting Sandy and her boyfriend, and they were really late because they had accidentally gone to the other location of the restaurant so, Brandon and I were killing time and we see her (Patti) walk by and we were like ‘Oh my God!’ so we run outside, or we start to! We get up from our table, and we realise she is about to come into the restaurant so we quickly abandon that and sit back down like children. And the hostess saw what we did and assumed she was who we were waiting for and so tried to seat her with us! And we were like ‘Oh no no! We’re just fans! We just wanted to say hi!’ She was really complimentary and really sweet. And Brandon happened to be wearing a Patti Smith t-shirt, and she said something like, ‘Oh I wish I was wearing a shirt with your face on!’ And so she went to sit down. We then all sat down and said, ‘We HAVE to get a picture.’ And she gets up to leave whilst Brandon is in the restroom, and Sandy gets up and runs out, kind of on Brandon’s behalf to see where she goes and runs back in. And by that time Brandon has come out, and we’re like ‘She left! What do we do?!’ And without stopping Brandon jets out of the restaurant and sprints down the walk, so then I’m chasing him and Sandy is chasing me, and then Brandon says ‘Wait I should stop, this is creepy!’ So we slowly mosey up and totally interrupt whatever normal day she is trying to have, and Sandy selflessly takes a photo of us with her. I recently saw her perform for the first time, although it wasn’t a standard Patti Smith show. It was poetry tribute night that she did. I was still blown away by that. And I think we may be playing a festival with her in New York, not necessarily on the same day but I’ll be there for sure.”

As someone who is fixated on lyrics and the thought process behind them, and I guess this all comes from my love for the likes of Lou Reed, Patti and Morrissey- I had to ask Dee Dee what lyric or song of hers she is the most proud of. She has written some of the most beautiful and haunting lyrics I’ve heard in a long time. The words to Coming Down will always break yet comfort me. Rest Of Our Lives is one of the most gorgeous love songs I’ve ever heard, and more recently- Trouble Is My Name is a song that really gets to you. Her way with words is gentle and the way she sings them really does reinforce the importance of them.

“I don’t know. I guess I have hard time with being that objective about things. I never feel like I write as good as I should. Especially when you have a bar you know, I’m an open Patti Smith worshipper. I go back and I read lyrics or poems of writers that I love, just to keep me in that no filler. There’s a time and a place for your Ramones and your Beatles-esque. When you can articulate something in a simple yet beautiful, compelling way – it is so moving, and she’s (Patti) a classic example. Rowland S Howard, he’s another person who I became obsessed with, his Teenage Snuff Film album. I started listening to it closely and just being massively blown away with how well written it was. End Of Daze I felt there were a few moments I was proud of. I’m in a rare spot where I don’t hate the record that I’m promoting. Not that I hate my records, but sometimes you get too close but I really enjoy playing the new record, and on the last tour it was really fun. I’m pretty proud of it.”

Her somewhat shyness towards just how talented she is, is what makes you love the music she makes and more importantly makes you believe in it. Before Dee Dee started Dum Dum Girls, she was in Grand Ole Party where she sang and played the drums. I’m always in awe of those who can sing and drum at the same time. I’m fairly sure I’d never be able to do it. I’d probably think the drumstick was the mic and use the mic as a drumstick. I guess there’s a frustrated drummer brewing inside of me, with the urge to always tap away at a surface with anything that looks like it can make any noise. So I took this opportunity to ask Dee Dee which is more difficult out of singing and drumming, and also singing and playing the guitar.

“It’s awkward but it is easy. It’s just mechanical. It was physically harder (playing the drums) but I was probably in better shape from it. But when I played the first Dum Dum Girls show, I was too nervous to play guitar so I just sang. So for me, playing the guitar was a lot harder because I was much more a novice at it. Now I’m pretty comfortable with it. But now I put the guitar down more and sing, so I get to do that again!”

Anyone who goes to their live shows now will see Dee Dee move around more on stage without a guitar in her hands; and the way she moves on stage is like a wild cat on the prowl. Offstage, she is nothing like that- but the passion for music is still there. She, and the rest of Dum Dum Girls are a delight to see perform live, and to see the songs really come to life. I was going to type up the whole interview in one go, but I’m doing it in a couple of parts.

The next part of my interview will include things about Zoo Music, how they signed the brilliant Gäy to the label, what she wants fans to take from their live shows/records, how Haunted Hearts record Initiation was written, what influenced it and how Dee Dee goes about writing songs.

 





An Interview With Mark Spence (Royal Chant/Designer Mutts)

21 09 2013

 

 

Sadly this interview wasn’t done face to face as Royal Chant live on the other side of the world to me. In an ideal world we’d be finding the best whisky and bands we could get our grubby hands on, but alas…we’ll have to wait a while before that happens.

My friendship with Mark started last year I think, or maybe the end of 2011. He followed this blog and wrote some lovely words to me. Words that I sometime read back on when I think “balls to it!!” I didn’t realise he was in a band for a while, but when I heard Royal Chant I instantly fell in love with their music. I’m fortunate enough to call someone like Mark a true pal because he’s just a brilliant bloke with a genuine heart. Of course that is the same for the band in general. If they were assholes, I wouldn’t write about them.

I’ve always loved Royal Chant’s lyrics above most. I love how Mark doesn’t need to create pretentious prose in order for you to truly get where he is coming from. His honestly and that raw tone to his voice is what makes you believe in every single word. If you cannot be honest in what you do, then don’t do it. If only politicians would do the same.

I started writing this a few days ago, but I got distracted and frustrated with what I was writing. But now I have no excuse to get this done as I’ve sliced my big toe, got blood all over my girlfriend’s flat seconds before she was to go out. I pick my moments to have accidents. Walking is going to be fun over the next few days! Anyway, enough with the distractions.

I sent off my questions to Mark hoping I hadn’t asked my pal ridiculous questions, but I like to think I know him well enough to know that he’d tell me that they were shit. Or in this case, give me something to work with. And that he did. What I love the most about our exchange for this was what that he told me the songs that were playing as he was typing up his responses. Here is the first one:

I asked Mark if there was any obvious corruption within the Australian music scene. In the UK and America, you can see who has been marketed as a brand rather than a band, but does it happen in Australia?
“I honestly don’t know.  Possibly.  Probably.  Myself (and thus Royal Chant) exist on the periphery of mainstream media/music, so it’s hard for me to say.  I actually had to think hard to remember the last band that I felt was being “handled” or specifically marketed, but even that seemed mostly self-imposed.  I’ve come across a few bands that were definitely aiming for that 1st tier of pop-wankdom, but it was nothing they didn’t opt-into of their own volition. 

Ultimately, the same rules apply here as anywhere else: money will help.  It can’t make people like you, but it can certainly get you in front of more people and into some enviable situations.  You can get jaded or cynical about that, but the easiest and healthiest thing to do is attempt to operate with an entirely different mindset, to create your own reality. True independence is a realm that few bands actually manage to obtain, and the longer we do this and the more responsibility we shoulder for both making the music and getting it out there the more I realize that most of the B.S. media machine is predicated on people & bands buying into it.  Simply put: don’t.”

Of course people will ALWAYS buy into the shit they are force-fed. Just look at reality shows we secretly watch. The outcome of it seems to always take people’s brains over. In England. Christmas is ruined because of that fucking programme. Every year it seems a regurgitated piece of shit is churned out for people to spend their money on as “stocking fillers” or just you know, a 3 minute piece of audio torture. These shows are everywhere- it is sheer pop-wankdom. This isn’t going to die out anytime soon, and that’s what is truly upsetting. Nothing really lasts anymore does it? Everything is throw-away. When One Direction split up, there will be another pretty boy band to take their place. But what can we do?

“Allow me to digress.  Australia is a very big country with a very small population, whereas the UK is a very small country with a very big population.  Coming from the USA, which is both, Australia seemed very comprehendable.  There’s only a few capital cities, and even Perth is a bit of a stretch for most bands (we’ve never been).  There’s only so many stations, so many stages, so many people that one would need to deal with in order to have the scene “sorted”, although it still seems vast enough for my tastes. 

It’s pretty well established that many bands, once they have had a taste of success and been around the block a few times, tend to get a bit disillusioned with Australia, finding it a bit backwards and provincial, hence the inevitable trek to the UK, Europe, the States, or all three.  It’s a bit back and forth.  There’s heaps of bands trying to claw their way to the top of the Australian heap, and then another level of bands that would like nothing more than to leave. 

Corrupt?  I don’t know.  Probably no more than any other time and place.”

We’re all fucked.

Surely with all the world’s frustrations inside of us, we are desperate to unleash them somehow. Mine is kept in various notebooks that no one reads. Thoughts are private and words are public. There’s always an equal balance I suppose. We look to music to provide some insight into how we can free ourselves. It is so easy to feel trapped and into fall into the traps of modern life. Modern life is dull. It consists of the amount of friends you have on Facebook and if there is an App for anything/everything you do. I really hate, and no part of me can relate to it. Hashtags annoy me, modern slang is fucking awful- and our brains aren’t functioning like they should. Eat junk, turn to junk. Read lies, become a liar. No one wants to have heart or be honest. I think this is ultimately why I really REALLY listened to Royal Chant. I listened as hard as I could because straight away I got it. I got the rage, I got the desire to fix the broken parts and to stop caring for what anyone thought. When a band can drive you like that, then you stop turning to shit when nothing goes your way. So these songs that they write, what does writing songs mean to Mark?

“I don’t know any more, but I reckon it’s my attempt to make sense of the world. It may be the most truthful I get in life.  It may the be most dishonest I get.  Perhaps I’m singing what I really mean but am too cowardly to say in real life, or maybe it is a mask I wear that slowly changes as I do.  It’s what I can do, for better or for worse. I like words, I like melodies.   Songs are perfect for doing what they do best, but quite inept at doing what they shouldn’t.  I’d like to think I’m getting close to both.
I love songs.  The older I get, the more I am in awe of them.  I will listen to the same song for weeks on end, and am always amazed at their power.  Even “bad” songs can change the world, or at least a person’s world, so I’d like to think I’m a lot less judgemental now than I used to be.”

Music cures all. It stops bad moods, it eases nagging thoughts and it can make you feel good about yourself. For instance the other night when I saw Jessie Ware, it somehow managed to make me feel a lot more love for my girlfriend when I looked at her. I really didn’t think it was possible, sometimes things happen and it’s just bloody beautiful. I also once listened to Radio 1 and realised I disliked a lot of their “presenters” but that’s a different story.

I like to know certain things about bands I love, and they are probably sick of always being asked it- but I like to know what made them want to make music and when they feel like chucking it all in; what makes them want to continue. I knew Mark would give me an insightful answer because he’s that kind of guy.

“I always thought I could do it so I did. I was always drawn to music, even before I could make it.  Singing songs and dancing around, doing stupid performances like all kids do.  Also, writing songs from an early age, and always believing that I was better than I actually was.  Delusion, ego, & arrogance were essential to my development.  I can’t speak for anyone else on that though.

The thought that we can always do better.  I love it.  I’m an addict.  Hearing a great song will definitely do the trick, or being inspired in any way.  There’s always a guitar around, and always some melody in my head and a few words that need to find a home.  There’s got to be ego involved in there somewhere, right?  I guess, whether rightly or wrongly, I believe “I can do that”, and haven’t stopped trying.

That’s pretty rare, but a good sleep and a good idea have always done the trick.  I can count on one hand the times I have thought about chucking it in, and even if that happened I’d keep on making music on my own.  I’m a full-time musician and music teacher, so even if I said “right, that’s enough, no more Royal Chant”, I’d keep humming & strumming in some form or fashion. 

I guess I could always quit the whole thing and do something else, but I’m not really fit to do anything else.  Anyone need insurance?”

The fight that Mark has is evident. It’s in his solo work, with Designer Mutts and with Royal Chant. There is an equal amount of passion in his music, regardless of who he is making it with. The way he is with his approach to music is inspiring. There have been many times where I have questioned why I bother writing about music, but then I read something Mark has written or I listen to Royal Chant and everything starts to slowly make sense. Slowly. Always slowly. I think as well, it is because I know that he means every words. It’s the same with the likes of Patti Smith and Morrissey; you know they mean their words which is why you truly believe in them and cling onto them. You cling onto them with red raw hands and teary eyes- everything you have and are just depends on it. Music is more important to me than I first realised. The older I get, the more I come to depend on it. I’ve never depended on a person, it has always been music. And I think it more than likely will always be that way, for many reasons.

Royal Chant have a song called Nothing Ever Happens, It Just Seems To. The occasional cynic in me really loves this song, and it is by far my favourite song by the band. And it is (so far) my favourite song that Mark has written. I do tend to change my mind a lot, but as it is a song I frequently listen to, I know it will remain my favourite. There is something about it that just basically sums up the daily disappointments and frustrations we all feel. You cannot escape it, ever. Even the toughest and happiest of people are bound to feel a slight twinge of these feelings that many deem as “ugly” or whatever. I regard them as what makes us human; everyone is different thought, thankfully.

I thought now was a better time than most to ask Mark about this song. I’d been meaning for some time, but I held back and listened to it more and more before I asked him about it.

“I’m always happy to talk shop! If I remember correctly, I was working on a cruise ship again at that time.  When I left America I was in pretty bad shape.  For all the normal, human reasons…heart broke, cash broke, strung out, a worthless waster, etc etc.  Hopping on a cruise ship largely saved my life. 

Having said that, once the magic of Europe wears off (or once I become stupid enough to become immune to its eternal magic), playing drums on a cruise ship is a somewhat insane experience.  Repetition.  Endless repetition.  I also flew out to LA twice to record the Water Never Waits EP by Sickboy (my moniker/band at the time).  Los Angeles has never been a good fit for me, from the biggest aspects down to the smallest detail.  It’s a weird, crazy place, and I would be happy to never go there again. Having said that, I did enjoy recording there, but it’s not like I was in some fancy studio. 

Anyways, string all those lines together…my shit metaphors for LA, my mindlessness, my recovery from my former life, my not-quite-adjustment to my new life, general confusion, a bit of optimism, a large chunk of skepticism….
Flat tyres, prescription speed….yeah, that’s LA, and a pretty big metaphor of my life, if I may be so bold. I do remember putting a reasonable amount of effort into that song, as it was a fairly hefty “piece”.  I mean, it wasn’t a throwaway, so I kind of knew that I was dealing with something that meant something, even if only to me.  Some songs are beautiful throwaways, while others are bloated pieces of crap.  Sometimes it’s OK to be serious, at least that’s what I tell myself.”

The band doesn’t really play this song live anymore, but if you’re so lucky to find yourself watching Mark do a solo set- he does a stripped back/acoustic version of the song.

Royal Chant have a new song out called New Nowhere which can be heard here: http://royalchant.bandcamp.com/

Of course you must play it as loud as you can, just to hear how raw it is. For me, it’s the Royal Chant that I know and love. It sounds like something I heard by them over a year ago. They have a distinctive sound that echoes throughout their music, but at the same time they never repeat themselves in what they do. They make bold and unapologetic music that appeals to those that know there is more out there. That there is more to life than what we have. Thing is, we are the only ones who can change that. With a new song out, Royal Chant have no plans to be quiet. They will come to the UK right?!


“Of course we’re coming to the UK!  In the simplest of terms, I want to keep writing and recording and touring, for as long as this band lasts, and beyond (if it should ever come to that).  If you want to get down to brass tacks we’ve got our new Small Town Bruises all wrapped up, and then we’ve got another LP worth of material after that (tentatively titled Societé Catastrophe) , so it’s really just a matter of keeping things together and keeping everyone sane and happy with enough food and cash so that they’re not throwing their whole lives away.  I don’t know if it can be done, but it seems we’re making a decent go of it.  I don’t want to stop and am not planning on it. 

Things we want to do: take Royal Chant to Western Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, and the USA (again!).  Rinse. Repeat.”

Music aside, Mark is a pal that appreciates two of the finest things in life; tea and whisky. I couldn’t interview him and not ask about his best and worst whisky. I’ve tried some whisky that made me feel like my insides were on fire, and it is a really awful feeling. I’m not someone who sees the appeal of getting drunk or thinking alcohol is the cure to all social situations. I like whisky because like tea, it has a comforting and warming feeling. Tea is obviously cheaper, and whisky is rarely consumed by me but when you have a bad one, it is terrible. Like anything really, right?

“It happened 3 weeks ago, as best I can remember.  Here’s the scene:  I’m playing drums for this amazingly talented musician named Lioned Cole (who just so happens to be from my hometown of ATL, Georgia, USA), and we’re hanging out in the…I dunno…hangout area with the owner of the bar/venue.  Of course he wants to meld his trumped-up sense of power with actual musical authenticity, so he trots out his bottles of really expensive Japanese scotch/whiskey and commences pouring these heroic shots whilst explaining its value. 

Look, there’s a long story about its origins and cost, but what happened is that I skulled my shots coz I thought he was yelling at me for being too slow, but I found out that he was yelling coz I drank them too quickly and failed to pay homage to their expensive and convoluted origins.  It may have been premium stuff that only rich people can afford, but it felt like firewater going down my throat.

Worst?  Is there such a thing? I guess there’s some pretty nasty stuff at the bottom of the shelf that I’m sure I’ve gotten into at one time or another, but anything will do if you put enough mixer in it.  No mixer? Who cares. Just get it down and it will do what it’s meant to do.”

I haven’t written this much in a long time. But if you can’t write highly about a pal, then who can you write about?! There were a few more questions I asked, but I wanted to keep in with a certain theme. I’m not sure if I know what it is, but for now..the rest is hidden. For a while.

Royal Chant are a band to believe and invest in. They are a comforting crutch and genuinely adore their fans. Their fans adore them.

They are a band destined to play the dingy and sweaty bars with questionable health and safety regulations. Their music is powerful in ways most miss out on doing. They could be your next favourite band because of their sheer honesty and love for what they do.

Brilliant song-writers who do not need to write ridiculous phrases in order for you to connect with the music or for you to feel something completely new. Their advantage is their love for what they do and the music they play.

The sooner they come to the UK and the rest of the world; the better.

Finally, I must add how Mark ended his email as it is possibly the best sign-off ever:

Big hugs from down under.  Hopefully 2014 is the year we make it across the pond.  Your friend in tea, cider, whiskey, & boobs xoxo

 





An Interview With Crocodiles.

31 08 2013

 

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“I don’t have the time for a graveyard of the mind that they call shame.”

 

“Don’t meet your heroes” they say. Balls! I say. Meet them, and let it be known it’ll be the greatest moment of your life. I don’t want to say Crocodiles are my heroes, they are more like a guide. They are a solid music connection that in short, saved me from lord knows what a few years ago. I found their music as I was hopelessly walking around a music shop. I needed something to cease the aches and find my soul. Summer Of Hate changed my world. Yesterday I got to speak with the band who changed my world, for the better. Music is my guide and I guess it is my teacher. It is my everything. And the main reason as to why I never have money. I wouldn’t be able to live with it any other way.

Luke, their tour manager walked me over to Brandon and Charlie as they were having their photos taken and being interviewed. I watched and I had a brief moment where I thought my questions were shit. Maybe they were, but I told myself I was asking what I wanted to know. Turns out, I want to know a lot because I like to write a lot. I watched their shoot, and Brandon looked over and winked in what seemed like a reassuring way. I didn’t mind waiting at all. I’m the least confident Music Writer, so I had this panic inside that my Dictaphone wouldn’t record. Let it be known that Brandon and Charlie are the most genuine and loveliest guys you will ever meet, if you’re lucky enough to do so. If you want passionate conversation about books and music- go to these guys. They’re on the same level my uncle is on, which is why the interview immediately didn’t feel like an interview but just laid back chat with pals. Let’s get into it.

For anyone like myself, who grew up in a small place that just exhausted you of anything good/positive, you need to find something to be your outlet. You have to believe there is something better out there, or you will be stuck in a rut during your entire existence. I asked Brandon and Charlie if the frustration of being in a small place made it easy for it to be placed into their music:

“It’s apparent on our first record, but I guess that changed a bit with touring and that same frustration of kinda being stuck there was pretty stifling. It’s not to say that San Diego is a bad place you know. A lot of people we know and love are still there, so its nice to go back to. But in terms of spending every day there (especially when you’ve travelled) would just get a little bit old.”

I think to fully understand this, you must have lived somewhere which in a way sucked you dry but gave you the fight to find something to work for. Those that are familiar with the likes of Dirty Beaches, Cold Cave and Crocodiles will get this straight away from their music and in a way, inspires you to do the same. There’s always a way out.

Brandon lives in New York, and Charlie lives in London. Their bond is beautiful. The friendship they have is wonderful to witness. It is obvious by the way they are on stage, their sense of humour and generally how they look at each other. You can tell the other knows what one is thinking as they answer questions- it’s the ultimate bond. So with such a gorgeous friendship yet living miles apart- how do they go about writing songs?

“If we’re together in person, we might write a few things from the ground up. But more often than not, one of us will have a skeletal idea like a verse or a chorus. And we get together when we can, it’s expensive. Maybe once or twice a year I’ll come over here (London) or Charlie will come to New York and we’ll spend a couple of weeks or a month working on songs.”

By nature, I’m not a nosy person. I don’t care what someone does. Or who someone does. I don’t care for personal lives and things, but with musicians- the one thing I always want to know is what influences them, but for the most part I don’t want to know which bands influence them because I think sometimes that can get in the way of how you listen to them. You can sometimes pick up on other bands, and it drives you away. All too often I’ve heard Crocodiles be compared to The Jesus And Mary Chain. As someone who had The Jesus And Mary Chain played to them at a very young age, I really don’t hear it. I really don’t. The only thing I can pick up on is the fact they have dark lyrics at times and portray certain subjects such as love in all its dark and haunting glory. But musically? Not at all. If you pay attention to Crocodiles lyrics you can pick up on literature being a huge influence. Touching on this was really cool because we spoke about the sordid literature of Marquis de Sade. If you’ve never read anything by him, you’re missing out. But his work is pretty twisted.

“I think on this record, Jean Genet and Marquis de Sade. We like a lot of poets like Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen. Richard Brautigan’s surreal take on things works its way in too. Sometimes it’s the spirit of a certain book, like, ‘how can I replicate that in the discipline of art that I do.’  Obviously we’re not trying to be as filthy as Marquis de Sade!”

There’s so many things we can take inspiration from, and I don’t think literature is given the credit it deserves when it comes to influencing music. Many want to hear the bands that influenced bands. Books are equally as powerful because they can set your mind off in so many ways. You are given a scenario by the writer, but you paint the picture in your mind with their words. Sometimes the darker the sound, the more apparent the literature influence is. Take Zola Jesus for instance.

Have you ever listened to a band and immediately could tell where they are from? Of course it is easy with the likes of The Fall, Morrissey, Arctic Monkeys- you can hear their accent in their music. Is it easy to cancel out where you are from so you don’t sound like you are obviously from there? Do Crocodiles try to not sound like a “typical” San Diego band?  Do they feel they made a conscious effort to not sound like where they are from?

(At this point the interview was moved to an alleyway. It seemed pretty fitting to interview them in this spot!)

“San Diego has a weird music identity, the stuff its famous for is like Blink 182. It does have a really cool history of underground music too, and there was a point there was a San Diego sound that we didn’t want to sound like. We just write tunes we like.”

It’s good that Crocodiles never took inspiration from fellow San Diego residents such as Blink 182 or that one called Jason Mraz. Crocodiles, if you excuse the pun, have bite. They have a genuine raw sound that has that Punk DIY ethic firmly instilled in them, making them one of the hardest working bands around, Just looking at their UK/Europe tour schedule over the next few week, and also their tour of the states; but you can tell when they play live, that it is everything to them. And for the fans, it is everything to us too.

I was really interested to speak to them about this tour particularly because they are playing some really small venues and in some places where you wouldn’t think would know what to do with a band like Crocodiles with their delightfully rambunctious sound.

Their tour started in Chester. A quiet Roman town where I suppose nothing really happens. I’ve only been a handful of times. So how did they find it?

“There wasn’t many people there. I mean, I wouldn’t call it a turkey. There wasn’t that many people there but it was also our first gig so it takes a few you know. We played Manchester last night. And we wanted to play a few small places first. Chester is a beautiful place. We’ve played Wrexham before, and that was really good.”

Purely from a selfish point of view here, I got to speak to them about playing Italy. Crocs will be playing Turn soon, and that’s where my stepdad is from. A beautiful city that I think everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime. I wanted to know what made them want to play somewhere like Turin (why not of course!) And also, Brandon knew I had an Italian last name (my dad’s side.) Not many pick up on this/pronounce my name correctly. You give up after a while, ha!

“We’ve played Italy a few times. We’ve spent a lot of time there, and a few of our shows are there on this tour. Our main shows on this tour are England and Italy. And also it’s the first city you come to if you’re coming in from the North. We get chance to have a look round too, we come back for vacations. I got to spend some time in Naples which was really cool and different to other parts of Italy.”

FORZA ITALIA dear reader, Forza Italia!

What I love about Crocodiles is that they make it easy for you to just feel so free. When you listen to their music you can’t help but sing along and move your body about in a questionable fashion (it’s exactly what I did at their show at Sebright Arms.) It is like they just set something off inside of you. I looked around when I was at their show, and there were people who had come to watch them on their own but they didn’t hold back. It was like a sense of freedom just took the crowd over. It was truly beautiful to be part of something like that, you don’t get a band like this often, which is why fans of Crocs just treasure them. I wanted to know if they act the same way their fans do when they go to shows because they make their fans feel free with how raw their sound is.

“You’d be surprised, we played Norwich and they stood still! I would assume we have similar tastes to a degree to our fans. I’m a music fan first and foremost. It depends. Naturally..a bit shy.” -Brandon.

“It depends on how drunk you are. I saw The Stone Roses and of course I was cutting loose. You have to when they’re playing some of the best songs ever.”- Charlie.

“Big cities in general people are bit more reserved. New York crowds are similar to London crowds. The cities are quite similar anyway.”- Brandon.

Some people are afraid to let go at shows, some will just go for it. Sometimes though, it is the band you are seeing that just go for it. I mentioned seeing Alex (Dirty Beaches) a few months back at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, and when watching him it was like seeing someone unleash a wealth of emotion and also healing at the same time. I asked them if they have a similar way of performing, and sort of just letting go. I mentioned their set at Rough Trade last year where I first saw them, and it seemed like they had to hold back a bit because it was in a store.

“That’s what I love about him. His whole presentation is a complete 360; it’s just amazing. In terms of someone who has a record label, that’s the kind of thing I’m attracted to. We put out a record for a band called Punks On Mars, it wasn’t that successful. But they had their own look. They looked like oddballs but they just did their own thing. We love playing at record stores because they support us, but it feels weird. It’s bright and in an awkward environment. It does feel pretty cathartic on stage. Going forward and letting it all out.”

I asked Brandon and Charlie was about two of my favourite songs off their new record, She Splits Me Up and Me And My Machine Gun. I mentioned they had a “dreamy” feel to them, which I apologised for using that word because it is overused. I wanted to know what was behind these two songs (when I really love a song I do like to know what inspired it.)

“She Splits Me Up started with a chord production. It came together in bits and pieces. Charlie had the riff; and in soundchecks we played round with it.” – Brandon.

“We collaborated on the lyrics and one of us had the idea,  about a girl who is mean to you, but you like it. Kind of like Marquis de Sade.”- Charlie.

“We wrote some of it in Mexico City and finished it in New York.”- Brandon.

The last question I asked was about I Like It In The Dark which sounds quite like early Primal Scream and possibly Happy Mondays. Was it an influence?

“The song came out with a Baggy influence, a lot more than we intended. We were really thinking like Hey Bulldog by The Beatles, the piano part. And soul music too. We started to do it, and it didn’t sound complete without a Gospel kind of sound. The song is about Atheism and we thought, how are we going to find a Gospel singer who’ll sing on a song about Atheism. My brother plays in a Soul in LA, so I asked him ‘Do you think Aphrodite will do this?’ Her full name is Aphrodite The African Goddess Of Love.”

So there you have it. I could have happily spoken to them about their music, music in general and dissected Marquis de Sade’s filthy literature with them in-depth. It was an absolute pleasure to spend some time with them; in an alley discussing what we did.

At the end of the show, as I was leaving outside I saw Brandon and he gave me a hug goodbye. I always said my interview with Warpaint was my favourite, but I think Brandon and Charlie surpassed that. This felt like talking to old friends, and as someone who is a bit awkward and shy; I felt perfectly at ease in their company. As I’ve said before, they are truly two of the most humble and genuine people I’ve ever met.

Meet the bands/singers you love and the next time you’re at a gig, let it all go.

I’d like to thank Nita and Luke for arranging this. And also to Brandon and Charlie for their time.

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I think my grin sums it all up!