James Borland bombards Not Sqaures with
the David Homes remx of 'Asylum'
Having said yourselves that you draw influence from
the likes of Soulwax, LCD & Crystal Castles and with such
a fast paced, dance heavy debut in ‘Yeah OK’, who/ what was
it that inspired you to write music like this in the first place?
We wanted to make upbeat music that continues to move in directions.
For example, recently we have felt compelled to explore the
world of disco (and Arthur Russell).
How does the writing process work? Does it come from
jamming as a band or do you bring in ideas individually and
work on them etc?
We jam as a band and quite often leave a voice recorder on,
then maybe end up jamming on a certain part and start the process
again, we each bring ideas to the mix at that point and work
it out from there. We often play new songs live before they’re
finished just to see if the live setting can mould them somehow
more organically with the atmosphere of an audience.
Looking at your tour schedule for December alone it
looks like things are pretty hectic for you guys. Do you get
tired of playing the same songs every night, or do the crowds
keep everything fresh for you?
The gigs are always different, for example we’re going from
Two Door Cinema Club shows where the venues are huge and we’re
playing huge sound-systems to small inimate club venues and
hopefully the odd house-party (basement show in Leeds next week
What could someone expect from a Not Squares live show?
Wide-eyed dance riots, catchy bass riffs, and screaming grown
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Probably our album launch at the end of November, we were surrounded
by friends who enjoy going nuts with our music and dancing their
You’ve been extremely well received from the media
so far in your career, is that in the back of your mind when
you’re working on new ideas?
We don’t really think about media as its hard to predict, but
feedback is always welcome. I guess we probably think more of
what friends, bands or musicians would think rather than critics.
What can we expect from Not Squares in 2011?
New material, remixes, a second album hopefully, we’ve already
got a few new songs on the stove and we’re currently testing
a couple out live. We’d like to take a couple of months in February
and March to focus on writing and recording new stuff. A mega
European and Japanese tour would be nice too.
What is on your CD player right now? Or if you don’t
have a CD player (I can’t quite believe I’m saying that) what
was the last song played on your generic MP3 player?
On the way to Galway today we listened to Selda Bagcan and Ratatat.
Where can you see yourselves as a band in ten years
Ten Years is too far away to think about seeing anything – a
greek architect Christos Papoulias once told me nobody should
plan anything more than 6 months in advance and I believed him.
Finally, if you could open for any band past or present
then who would it be and why?
Fleetwood Mac cos its Fleetwood Mac!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions
for Tasty, good luck with everything!
26.8.10 - Camden Underworld
Willa Culpepper chats with Justin Pierre
and Joshua Cain from the band.
It seems a lot of pop-punk bands, after the initial
late 90’s early ‘00s, have either broken up or switched to a
darker, moodier vibe- trying to distance themselves from their
original sound. You guys have been consistent, without giving
in to the pressure either side. Why do you think this has happened?
What is your motivation for staying that way?
JP: OK. I think as a band we just do what we like.
We play music that we are enjoying- we write it together, and
that’s what it becomes, so we don’t have to try to do anything.
I think that what happens is when a band’s really young- and
we were a little older when we got signed originally, we weren’t
teenagers- I feel like when you’re a young band, you get signed
to a label and you get some success? Your immediate reaction
is to do the opposite on your next record and try to do something-
to change, to evolve, or just open up a whole world of music
because you’re introduced to this thing and it influences you
because you’re still really…influence-able? I’m going to say
something that I just thought of and this might explain it even
more so…I would never call us pop-punk, but I just don’t know
what that means. But I embrace anything- if you want to call
us alt-country, that’s cool too- it’s the same thing to me.
We just do what we do- and that might be the thing that we sound
like pop punk, or maybe because we tour with pop punk bands…a
whole bunch of reasons why labels occur, and are created and
given. So, while I don’t know why that is, I’m totally open
and accepting of whatever you want to call us.
JC: Another thing is labels are different in different countries.
Us being called pop punk here is a different meaning than us
being called pop punk in the United States. I think it’s a lot
broader of a genre here-
JP: I didn’t mean that in a negative way!
JC: We just play and whatever happens happens. You can’t pick
your fans, and you can’t pick the labels. That’s all up to you
guys to figure- we just kind of do our thing.
JP: So luckily we’ve done our thing and…that’s it! I think
what happened was we more interested in experimenting, and a
bit of experimenting happened on our third record [Commit This
to Memory]- the one before this one- just a little bit, y’know,
with strings and that. And I feel like on this record we did
a lot more experimenting with a couple of songs and- Matt did
a lot of weird keyboard stuff, and a little bit of techno- OK,
not techno, but fun beats and craziness. I don’t feel like we’ve
overdone it. To answer your question- we want to write catchy
songs, but other than that there’s never really been any pressure.
Around the same time, there was a sudden phase of bands
with moog/synth/keyboards. You guys had keyboards before it,
and you still do- how did you avoid being lumped in with bands
that were jumping on the carze?
JC: I think what helped us in that situation was we already
were that band…We’d already established ourselves as that, whereas
some bands were seen as mimicking it? We took it from The Get
Up Kids, and the Rentals. I think because we were already doing
it, we managed not get lumped in. Plus we always tried to do
it very tastefully, not over the top and I think a lot of bands
went a little nuts.
JP: I don’t think we really think about what we do, at all.
And then there’s these questions and I’m thinking ‘shit, that’s
interesting…’ Never thought about it. (Laughs) sorry.
No less than two reviews of my dinosaur life used the
words ‘mayhem’ and ‘melody’ in the same sentence to describe
it. Do you agree?
JP: That’s really cool!
JC: I have to say, I like that. I’m into that.
JP: It makes sense to me. We wanted it to be a little rawer,
and little rockier- but still ‘us’. And we’re also very melody-driven
as a band
JC: And our influences…if you take a band like Fugazi, who
are very mayhem-esque, and then Ben Folds, which is very melody.
It binds these things together.
JP: In your MINDDD!
JC: Minds! Mindddds!
JP: …Sorry (laughs)
How did your involvement with Godkiller (anime movie)
JC: That was…
JP: In 2004 we were recording Commit This to Memory and our
tour manager at the time- or the guy who tour managed for us,
had this friend who was making a movie and he said ‘you should
try out for this movie, trust me’. So I went there, tried out
for the movie, got the part and didn’t have time do it because
of the new record.
JC: And there was me going ‘Justin, you cannot do this.’
JP: And I really thought at the time that the show was actually
a reality show where they videotaped bad actors trying out for
movies…and I was seriously thinking that’s what they were doing!
But this guy just happens to like working with musicians and
people who don’t act. So I couldn’t do that. Fast-forward five
years later, he calls me up and he’s like ‘hey, do you want
to do a 13-year-old kid’s voice, for this thing I’m doing?’
And I’m like ‘yeah!’ He showed me the comic, the graphic novel
and it’s really good-looking, but super-inappropriate for children.
It’s all about sex and murder and craziness- but it’s SO good.
And then I heard that Lance Hendrickson was involved, and I
LOVE Lance Hendrikson. He played Frank Black on Millenium- he’s
a genius. So I didn’t get to actually work with him…but this
is the closest that I’ll ever come to acting with him and it’s
really cool that our voices were acting across from each other.
So I just did it for fun. And for free. And it turned out great!
I think it’s an awesome movie. I urge everyone to buy it (laughs).
Between Weezer fandom and a mutual appreciation for
asian pop-culture, would you say you share River Cuomo’s legendary
affinity for asian schoolgirls?
JP: Not so much that…but I’ve always been a big fan of any
foreign movies growing up- I like just any different style or
way of looking at things, because I’m so US-centric in my upbringing.
And in going to Japan, I don’t know, it’s the weirdest thing-
I cannot communicate with people easily or at all. And it’s
this feeling of isolation while you’re totally surrounded by
everyone at the same time- and it’s a strange thing, there’s
something about that place that I reacted to. As a band we all
love Japan, purely because it’s so different from the US. So…I’d
say on some level River Cuomos and I relate, but on others….
Bunny suits, waiting rooms inside brains and school
science fairs- where do you think your favourite MCS music video
themes come from?
JC: I think the favorite theme has always been how not to spend
a lot of money doing it…Videos don’t do anything anymore. When
we started the band music videos were still kind of…relevant?
And even on Commit This to Memory, the videos got on MTV and
things…But nowadays even Fuse seems a little weird- it’s not
as great as it used to be. So I think the idea is to spend the
least amount of money while doing something that can do a lot
for you- but don’t go overboard.
JP: I think it’s all about the idea now. And I say that pioneers
of the video world are definitely OK GO- they’re doing something
different, and that stands out. We’re definitely not the same
band as far as that goes, but in the sense of ‘taking a nod’
or note from them and their ability to come up with interesting
things…I think we’re going to start doings things like that
moreso, within our camp, whenever that may be.
Considering that a couple albums ago everyone was doing
music videos, and now with the internet there’s that pressure
to try and make like ok go in creating a viral video- where’s
the motivation to make music videos at all anymore?
JC: As a band we’re visual people, and we all like movies and
such so they’re just fun to make a visual representation of
your song and do a thing. And honestly with all of our old videos
I think we mostly relied on our sense of humor, and I think
we might return to that as well a little bit? I would like to,
JP: There were only a handful of videos that weren’t our idea-
like most of the ideas are ours or have come from us in some
ways. So that may be different from a lot of bands who hire
a director to write- we just do it. I think the idea is to never
mimic anyone- or if you’re going to, draw from 10,000 influences
as opposed to 2.
JC: Making something ‘viral’ is a joke. It’s such a backwards
thing to say. Viral just happens.
Related to that and the love of movies in your songs
and the several band members who work with film, who would you
say would play you in a movie, who would direct and what would
be the opening and closing credit songs?
JP: Mark Ruffalo!
JC: And I had the weirdest one once, which someone once said
and I didn’t agree with at all…Quentin Tarantino.
JP: Tarantino? Really? For director I’d say Terry Gilliam.
JC: Yeah it would be a weird story. He’d be my favorite. Definite
sense of humor.
I’d say Pixies ‘Where is My Mind’. I guess that would be a closing
one, like in Fight Club.
JP: I’d say the opening song would have to be ‘That’s How You
Sing Amazing Grace’ by Low, and probably end with another Low
song, ‘Walk Into the Sea.’ I don’t know why…just feeling in
a Low mood.
You speak about your anxiety in your songs and on the
commit this to memory DVD- a lot of people have a chicken-and-egg
argument about what feeds into each other with music and mental
health issues- what do you think?
JP: Probably the mental health! But hey, this is what happened.
I am whoever I am, but I had a great teacher who said something
very simple and I’ve just taken it to heart and this is all
I do- “write what you know.” And I just know about me. Who I
am and what I do. And then I write about it. And I feel like
if it comes from a place of honesty, and sometimes it’s scary,
but people relate. And I feel like it’s unfortunate that they
relate because I’m such a fuck-up, but at the same time it’s
good because at least you have somebody. Or ‘here’s somebody,
who knows what I’m doing.’ I think of it as something therapeutic,
and I guess somewhat interesting, so…I guess it’s all I really
know (laughs). Me, me, me! The Me Show, starring me! Right,
You have a lot of pop culture references in your songs,
are you ever afraid that in 10 years people might listen to
it and wonder what you’re talking about?
JP: I hope that it happens! And I think it does.
JC: It freaks me out. There’s a lot of kids who are about,
15, right now and listen to that song and have never seen Will
JP: And a lot of things…sometimes it’s what I believe, and
sometimes it’s not.
JC: Sometimes it just rhymes.
JP: Sometimes it just works for that moment in time and it
makes sense and I have always liked that. I feel like it’s something
that could easily be done…bad. And I hope that I don’t do that-
but I think sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I try to just
put it in there where it makes sense.
JC: You’ve done that a few times and we’ve stopped you.
JP: No, I’m saying the stuff that we have. I’d say Ben Folds
is a good person who just takes a moment from here and from
there- and it works! Whereas if you have a whole song that does
that it’s kind of crazy- like our song ‘Pulp Fiction.’
Are you inspiring younger fans to Google ‘Will &
Grace’ and find out what it was?
JC: (laughs) yeah!
JP: And that’s something too! The line ‘I don’t get Will &
Grace’ (‘Future Freaks Me Out’) didn’t have anything to do with
the show, just people’s infatuation with it. It was like, ‘the
most popular thing ever right now’ and not getting everything
that’s popular but instead of saying ‘everything that’s popular’
I chose Will & Grace. And drum and bass! I love drum and
bass, so that was more from the point of view of the girl, but
JC: Seriously, I’ll find him just reading a book with drum
and bass playing really loud…
JP: It sounds everything out! Its just noise. It has a calming
So for bands that get older, with outside pressures
– do you guys still find touring as appealing as you always
JP: Pressures? I wonder what kind of pressures?
JC: Pressures like…that? (puts his mobile on the table, showing
the screensaver of his baby son)
JP: I think it’s all about concentrating it in bursts.
JC: There’s no need for us to be on the road 350 days, like
we were. It’s more like these few months, then these few months
off. I think that’s the way it’s going to go. But I think when
my son says ‘daddy, I don’t want you to go on tour’ it’s gonna
JP: That’s when you make enough money to bring him along! Let’s
and the Pix
Eloise Quince talks about gits with Petter
from Petter and the Pix.
Define yourself in three words.
As a record, “Good As Gold” is euphoric and compelling.
Was this the intention from the outset?
I dont think we had any clear intentions. I wrote all the songs
on guitar and then i presented them for the band and i guess
we just tried to find a way to play them that everyone in the
band felt comfortable with.
How does the musical process, from pen to polyvinyl,
work for you?
As i just said i write most things on guitar and then let the
band come up with things that they like. The actual recording
process for this album was very fast. We didnt have more then
four rehearsals and three recording days. Then ive done a lot
of reamping. Its a kind of way to build up sonic environments
by re recording things in different rooms. Mattias and Klas
has a rehearsal room in the basement of a school where we had
four different concrete rooms where you can replay all instruments
and record the different ambients from the different rooms.
So i did this at a couple of different locations. You of course
have to do this for each instrument so its quite time consuming.
But i find it very inspiring to built soundscapes with only
organic sounds that ive collected.
Which country do you feel has most warmly welcomed
I dont know as we havent got the chance to tour with this band
Would you perform at Eurovision if you were asked?
If i could write and produce the song myself i might
do it. But its very hard to say because i know that they would
never ask. I would probably say no if they asked but i wish
i would say yes.
Are there any odd facts or myths that surround the
internal visionaries of Petter and the Pix that the Great British
public such know about?
i dont think so
Are there any morals or stories behind your songs?
I think i see all my songs as some sort of stories and hopefully
you can get as much morals as you want out of them
Some of your members are described as being “gits”
on your Myspace. Would you kindly explain the meaning of this?
it just means that they are playing guitar....
Do you have any UK dates planned?
no not at the moment
If you had to name a song that encapsulates your teenage
years perfectly, what would it be?
En Slemmig Torsk I En Brödrost by KSMB
Where has your favourite place to place to play live
its a lot of great venues but i really like places like KoKo
when they have this old theatre look. Thats great....
What does the future hold for Petter and the Pix?
We hope that we can come out and do some gigs but if not ive
just got my studio together so i guess well make another album.
You are probably about to start reading this and thinking,
‘What is the point of this rubbish. This surely is an article
about a band that writes songs about Doctor Who with a young
man who paints himself purple and eats baby food on Youtube.
Where is my meticulously crafted article about the pioneering
turn of the tortured art rock apocalypse shaping itself as the
Foals next record?’
Well, fine readers, be ready to have your collective minds
blown with the fact that this is all in aid of a band called
Chameleon Circuit whose wonderfully nerdy creativity lies under
the title of Time Lord Rock. And be even more stunned with the
fact that it is actually very, very good. So, seeing as Matt
Smith is now piloting the iconic blue box, beaming a little
eccentric genius back into the living rooms of Britain, we thought
that now is peak time for an interview. And because we put lovely
thoughts into action at Tasty, we took this idea and ran with
it. And an awful lot of running we have done with it too, taking
it all the way to band member Charlie McDonnell to merrily babble
about for a bit...
Why Chameleon Circuit? Why not another part of the
The name actually came after someone suggested it in a live
chat, one where Alex was launching the idea of Trock out into
the world. It wasn't like we were going through bits of the
TARDIS and trying to find out which one would make the best
Does any of the music you listen to influence the
Chameleon Circuit songs that you write?
Probably! I didn't have any direct influences for Chameleon
Circuit when I was writing my songs (other than, you know, Doctor
Who) but I just try and write music that I'd like to hear.
Are there any plans for a Chameleon Circuit tour?
If so, can we bagsy front row seats?
No plans just yet, if it ever does happen then we'd hopefully
tour with a few other Trock bands as well. I'd love to have
one though, and of course, the front row seats are yours.
Where in the world would you most like to play a gig?
Probably Wembley Stadium, just because, y'know, it's really
big. A more realistic dream would be to play at a Sci-Fi convention,
that'd be very cool.
How many hours a day do you spend thinking about Doctor
I could give a comedy answer of "24! lololol" but
the scary truth is that, currently, it probably invades about
an hour of my life every day.
Is there a possible Billie Piper/ Chameleon Circuit
duet in the pipe-r-line? (Excuse the terrible pun, I couldn’t
I'm up for it if she is! Which she undoubtedly isn't.
Apparently you are twinning your solo album with Alex
Day’s (another member of Chameleon Circuit). Do you think that
his album will make yours look a tiny bit rubbish? Or do you
feel that you might bring a touch of class to his?
Haha, well twinning means nothing other than I'm putting "This
album is twinned with The World Is Mine" in the booklet.
I hope people don't compare them just because they're twinned.
But obviously mine will be better.
Who is your favourite Doctor?
It's still David Tennant for the moment, but only because I'm
going to reserve judgement of Matt Smith until after I've seen
the whole of the new series.
Are there any heated band debates about who is the
Nope! We'll all happily admit our strengths and weaknesses to
each other. No drama in this band, we're all too nice.
Do you think that there has been an increase in the
hype around Doctor Who now a younger Doctor is frequenting the
There's definitely been an increase in hype now that a brand
new actor is on the scene, but I don't know if it's specifically
because he's younger. It's probably helped in terms of bringing
in a younger audience, though.
Which song are you must proud of on the album?
Exterminate, Regenerate. That was definitely my musical golden
age - it's all downhill from here.
If you were asked to play the next Doctor, what qualities
would you most like to emphasise in your portrayal?
All of the norms: Curiosity, madness, intelligence etc, but
I'd also like to see a more apathetic side of the doctor. I
mean, he's 900, there must be some things that he just doesn't
care about anymore, surely? It can't all be mad excitement.
Amy Pond or Pond weed?
Amy Pond. Hands down. We're talking about who would win in a
Ood face or Dalek Sek face?
Ood face, two red eyes are better than one, silly dalek eye.
Face of Boe or Face of Matt Smith?
The Face of Boe. Best. Face. Ever.
Laser or Sonic?
Sonic, definitely sonic.
Trench coat or bow tie?
I think I'd look silly in both, but probably slightly less silly
in a trench coat.
Raxacoricofallapatorius or Clom?
Raxacoricofallapatorius, but just if I'm picking my favourite
thing to say.
Do you know what a polyorchid is? And no googling!
“Polyorchidism is the incidence of more than two testes. It
is a very rare congenital disorder, with fewer than 100 cases
reported in medical literature. The most common form is triorchidism,
or tritestes, where three testes are present. The condition
is usually asymptomatic. A man who has polyorchidism is known
as a polyorchid.” I definitely did not just copy and paste that
Can we be expecting any more Trock soon?
Me and Alex are working on lots of other projects at the moment,
but there is still a place in both of our hearts for Trock.
I can't put a date on it, but the second coming is inevitable.
Will you be Tasty’s new best friend?
And there you have it. Feel enlightened as we’ve reached
the Journey’s End. A big thank you goes to Charlie for doing
Oh, and don’t blink.
Interview by Catriona Boyle
It was quite a few years between the first and second
album, how do you feel you've progressed as an artist and person
during this time?
I deifnitely feel that way. I know exactly what I want now as
a musician, and how I want my records to sound...I think that
has come from really sussing myself out as a person. It's taken
me right up until now though, and I feel like it's only going
to start to show in the next album.
Do you feel a bit like you're starting out again, with
a new band, new look etc?
Not so much really. I guess the new look thing wasn't ever really
a part of anything specific, I just look different and that's
all. Still working with friends as well, in terms of the people
I use in the band. That's something I've always really wanted
to stick with, as it feels like you can only really work alongside
people that you feel comfortable with. All of my best musical
experiences have come out of that kind of situation.
Your lyrics draw heavily from personal experience and
your own grief and loss. Do you feel you've put this subject
to bed now, or do you think it will continue to feature in your
I think the grief and loss you're referring to will
always hang over me as a person. The two specific deaths were
really shocking and definitely tragic, and they have shaped
me. That said, I think I've said as much as I can about it in
my songs, and I don't think they'll feature as prominently.
But personal experience is something that will always weave
itself into any artist's music.
Has it been hard to get back into touring?
Not at all, especially when it has come to just going out with
an acoustic guitar and playing solo shows. I've never really
stopped doing that. It does make me really, really nervous,
but that's mostly from the standpoint of communicating with
people onstage. The between song chatter terrifies me. Playing
music just feels natural.
You recently worked with Martha Wainwright, is collaborating
with other musicians something you'd like to do more of? And
if so who with?
I think it's one of the fun parts of being a musician, some
of the chaps from The Earlies play in the band currently. I'd
love to continue to work with them on the next album. But with
regards to duets, I'm not so sure at the moment.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
The Bon Iver album 'For Emma, Forever Ago' has barely left my
record player since I first bought it a bit back. Same can be
said for 'Boxer' by The National. Love them a lot...nothing
really brand new though.
Did you ever consider packing it all in and opting
for the 9-5?
I think as things get a little trickier for people
money-wise, it's something you have to think about. I certainly
have. But this is the only thing I can do well. So even if it
was a case where I was working the 9-5, I'd still be doing this
Who and what inspires you?
Really brilliant lyrics, amazing voices and melodies. A culmination
of things really. It's really tough to explain!
What's next for Liam Frost?
I'm writing another album as we speak, and I plan to really
break the back of that this summer. No idea how I'll get it
out there, but I will of course. It feels like a really exciting
time, being totally in control of things again. It's almost
like being 21 again, just before I signed my first deal.
What's the worst and best piece of criticism you've
Never been one to read reviews as such, as I think I'd disregard
anything positive and just focus on the negative! The best advice
I ever had was from some elder Manchester musicians back when
I was starting out. But to be honest, I've not personally had
any sort of advice or criticism since then. It's a lonely life,
being a singer/songwriter... ;)
from You Me At Six
12/03.2010 Manchester Apollo
Tonight, You Me At Six will play their biggest headlining
show to date. A show that is part of their sold out UK tour
and part of a tour cycle that will take them from the UK to
the Warped Tour. They will be on the front cover of various
music publications. You'll hear a lot about them.
This is where you see if a band can take potential, momentum
and hope, and do something with it.
It's always good to get to interview bands when they're at
this stage. At the least you get to see them wild-eyed with
excitement and a (hopefully healthy) amount of fear. At the
most you get to see that the person in front of you is already
at the next step and is just waiting to stand on a stage and
I get to spend some time with Chris, YM@6's guitar player (and
judging by the guitar he uses, hair style and t shirt choice
Malcolm Young Super fan). Between sound-check and promo visit
we take some time to talk about what is about to happen. Immediately
Tasty (T) – It's always good to see bands at this
point, having heard them for a while, and see that they're at
the start of their next step. You're playing the Apollo tonight
and that's quite a big thing. Josh was saying earlier that this
is the biggest gig you've done?
Chris (C) - Yeah, it's the biggest headlining ever today.
T – How's that feeling? What are you thinking about?
C - Aw mate, it's just amazing. Just to wake up this morning,
walked in there for the first time And I was just like, WOAH!
It's crazy how a couple of friends who just started playing
music just for a laugh and to go and and have fun, now we can
come and do places like this. It's amazing.
T – I think that's the best way to do it too, start
like that and then get asked to play for someone else and build
C - Yeah, it's awesome.
T – Now, you look at band interviews and there are
normally a lot of stock questions or questions you've at least
heard before, is there anything that you come away from interviews
thinking “I wish they'd asked me about that!” I'm basically
giving you free reign to talk about whatever you want.
C - I'm quite a geek when it comes to all the recording sides
and the techy stuff, so I'd like to talk...and I don't know,
sometimes I feel we don't get asked about how we compose and
write the songs, so I think that's a good thing to talk about.
T – Well, I have a question about that! I'd be interested
to know how you approach song writing as a band. Is it a case
of one person coming with a fully formed song or melody and
saying to the rest “play along”? Is there one person who leads
the song writing?
C - it's a number things, we have a couple of different ways.
It either starts with a guitar riff, where either me, Max or
Josh will come in with “look, I've got this idea” and then you
play it to them and that's the base of it, and then we'll go
into kind of the jam mode where we'll jam over it for 20 – 25
minutes and it'll literally just be like a Pink Floyd jam and
we'll just go through, branch off from the idea and see what
happens and then from that we'll see if there's any “oh I really
like this bit” or “that bit”. Or the other main way is that
someone will come in with a complete songs, play it from start
to finish and then you go [to the rest of the band] “is there
anything you guys think could be made better?” and then we'll
just fire it back until we're all happy with it, but if... we
always make sure that everybody's happy with it, 'cos there's
no point playing a song if the person who wrote it is going
“YES! I wrote this!!!” and everyone else is going “oh, for fucks
sake!I hate you”
T – and it doesn't really work in a band if you come
in and go to everyone, “this is the song! Don't deviate!” because
really there's already been 1 James Brown and what are you going
to do? Fine your friends?
C -Yeah, exactly!
T – Have you played the Apollo at all before?
C- No, no, I was counting it out earlier and we've played the
Academy 1,2,3, the Roadhouse, Jabez Clegg and the M.E.N! So
tonight's the first time
T – and isn't it a lovely venue? I really love seeing
C – Yeah, it's amazing..it's so loud as well.
T- I'm reviewing you guys tonight too...
C - Oh awesome...Go easy!
T – No, I can't do that! But I like you guys so you'll
be alright....and tonight you're playing as part of the tour
for your second album, which is a definite progression from
your first and has moved on and you're style has changed. What
do you want to be doing with your next albums?
C – Well, collectively we all have many different influences,
Dan our drummer is into his groove-based stuff and so he likes
a lot of dance music but he also likes a lot of fast-paced metal
stuff. Whereas me and Max both love our metal, but I come from
more of... a big blues background so I'm always jamming out
little blues licks and stuff erm as far as bands go, one of
my biggest influences would be Incubus and also Jimmy Eat World
because I think there the best bands ever but really on the
other side it's like AC/DC and cock rock... I think all our
influences come together and particularly on the second album.
I think we've found our sound. I think with the first album,
we recorded it in about 2 and a half weeks and already some
of those songs were back then 2 years old so they were sort
of on the album because we had songs whereas this album things
are a but more intricate and more of what we're doing now.
T – and that's quite a different approach to some bands who
clearly put years of being in their bedroom, desperate to be
in a band, into writing material that became their first album
and then, when they have to write a second album there's nothing
there. I think it's much better to hear bands that have started
writing songs and kept learning, so that as they get to their
second album you're hearing far more of them rather than them,
C – and then they grow into their own sound. I just like to
think that we're always going to be growing. For me, with my
music taste, I don't want to hear a band's CD that's a carbon
copy of the previous one. I want to hear new...not new directions
but I think we're just going to slightly grow one step at a
time. We're not going to be BOOM we're a pop-punk band...BOOM
we're an ambient shoe-gaze band. It's going to grow progressively
and I'm looking forward to it.
T – Me too, because one of the things that struck
me was how much more I enjoyed the songs from your second album
than the first and I always like that because I don't know about
you, but I get apprehensive if I've liked the first album a
band did and then I buy the second. Before I put it on I will
be thinking “don't suck! Don't suck!” It's a nice relief when
it turns out they've got better.
C – Yeah I do that all the time!
T - Has that ever happened to you?
C – well, this is a bold statement, but my favourite band
ever is Incubus yeah? And how many albums have they done? How
many before Light Grenades? 4? 5? studio albums and it got to
Light Grenades and I liked the single, Anna Molly or whatever,
but I put the album on and it I just thought it was boring as
fuck. I actually like the record, but I can't listen to it in
T – and I saw them about a year ago and they just
looked so bored.
C – and they used to be so energetic! Now they just stand
T – so what is it, do you think, that you guys could
do to stop yourselves getting like that? Is it enough that you've
seen it happen to bands you really like?
C- I don't know, I think it's always...it depends if your
band grows into like a ballad band - you can't run around the
stage head-banging to ballads. It's a strange one because as
you get older and you've been doing it for so long. It's a hard
one to describe but we know that we won't be able to run around
like mad men for every single show... Warped Tour for example
we're doing 2 months on Warped Tour, there'll probably be 4
days off in that 2 months. We won't be able to run around like
mad men every day, so we're trying as every tour comes along
to put another element of production into it, so that each tour
is different to the last and to keep people coming back really.
So I think, that way, that's how we're going to try and do it.
I know for sure that we won't be running around like mad men
forever because I'm haggard already and I'm only 20!
T – What ambitions have you hit so far? What's next?
C – well when I went to my first show ever which was at the
Astoria, I think we all, I know me and Josh did this we, when
we were younger we made a little list, that if anything happens
with music THAT is my lifetime ambition, to play at the London
Astoria. We do that, I'm done! And then, 2 months before I was
18 we played the Astoria and then headlined it a year later,
and I was like “I'm done! I've done it!” and then the benchmark
after that, we raised it to Brixton. And Brixton we'll be able
to do and we've sold it out on this tour so I think the only
place we can go is Wembley Arena. But I'm not sure if we're
the kind of band to play arenas though. I don't think we...
I don't see ourselves being a good band in an arena. I think
we need we still need some sweat some griminess of a smaller
venue to keep us going. But! But I would like to headline there
one day, I mean we've played it 3 times but I'd love to headline
it I think that'd be a big thing
T – I'm glad you've mentioned this, and it isn't a
case of ability or having what it takes, but I think you are
a band that works in a smaller venue, how you sound is important
but it's also as much as for what you want from both sides,
what you want from the crowd and to give out. And it's also
better to see any band in a smaller venue.
C – yeah, in an arena, when we played Wembley, the crowd were
into it, but it's the first 1/8th of the crowd are the people
jumping around, everyone else in the crowd are just stood there
with their silly light-up antlers on their heads...or sat a
million miles that way. I definitely enjoy the smaller shows.
But it's just something you've got to do isn't it? Another ambition
would be main stage Reading. Any position on the main stage
for Reading/Leeds. That'd be another big one
T – The thing that that'd lead me onto is the kind
of gig you'd do at an arena, I've had a conversation about stuff
like this before,. I'm not going to pay £150 quid to see
the Rolling Stones at the M.E.N. I'd pay a grand to see them
at the Apollo though.
C – and that's I don't agree with, the high ticket prices.
I mean if you're the Rolling Stones then that's fine but if
you're a band like us and some of your fan base is 11 years
old and right up to, I've spoken to guys who're around 25 –
30 and they're still coming to our shows and enjoying it. But
if you've got a fan base that's really young in that young region...if
it was me and I was their age and was thinking “SWEET! I'm going
to go and see this band”, and I logged on and saw that it was
£40 I'd be thinking “where the hell am I going to get
£40 from? I really wanna go but how am I going to do it?”
And it's why we try and make our shows as cheap as possible,
which means we make less money but it's the difference between
people coming to our shows and not, and also coming back to
the next gigs.
T – and it's also the difference between people coming,
and filling a place, which really makes a difference for everyone.
C – oh yeah, definitely. Anyone in the industry would walk
in to a room that isn't full and think it's not so lively in
here, whereas a room that full of people going crazy is a different
T – Do you see any distinction, not a physical one,
between you as a member of a band and the people coming to see
C – For us, it's very simple. Our fans are 11 to 25. we're
20...our oldest is 21 in a couple of weeks. We're in the same
age range as our fans. What we're singing about is what they're
going through. F they're singing along it could mean all sorts
of specific things to them.
We've all got something in common. Which is what we're aware
T- So I think this will be my last question. What
will you see as a sign that you are successful? Things are already
C – It's a hard thing to measure because some people will
say I'm successful when my band has sold 500,000 records and
we've played here, here and here. As far as I'm concerned our
band has been successful in the way that we've helped people
listen to music and come to shows and we've given something
to someone. I don't give a shit about selling records and we're
not going to be a band that will ever sell a million records.
It's not going to happen unless we're crafted into some boy
band...which is NEVER going to happen by the way. Like, so I
measure success very differently. I'd be perfectly content playing
to a hundred people a night for the rest of my life because
all I want to do I s play music, so that's it, done. That's
success to me! It was my favourite hobby ever and now it's my
job. Sounds like a good deal! It's amazing! And we all appreciate
And with that I have to go. We say goodbye and Chris goes back
to preparing for a show. (You can see a review of that in the
gig section of Tasty!) It's very nice indeed to be able to report
that as of yesterday and the announcement of the Leeds/Reading
line up, You Me At Six will tick another ambition off their
list as they have been added to the Main Stage line up. It's
something I don't think you could begrudge them!
I have been told that IS TROPICAL have a slight shower phobia,
but I can disprove this myth by merely saying that we started
the interview a man down due to his soapy needs. However, soldiering
on regardless questions were asked and answered...
How is everything? Good?
Gary: A bit rough.
Simon: Yeah, we had quite a big one last night, but it’s our
last day of the tour. It’s been really good fun. I think that
when we get back to London we thought, ‘Yeah we can have a break’,
but as soon as we get back we have three more gigs and the recording
of our next single, so it’s going be relentless.
Gary: I like how touring gives you headaches and stuff...
Simon: But its good fun...getting drunk on cheap onion cider.
Sounds disgusting, but it’s a lot cheaper because instead of
making it out of apples, it’s made out of onions.
So, I think it’s time for the question on everyone’s
lips: just how tropical are you?
Simon: Actually, we aren’t that tropical, it’s kinda like a
bit of satire, a bit of escapism.
Gary: It’s the opposite of what we are about, and what living
in London is about and how we do our everyday lives. London
is really un-tropical, grey and grim so it’s a way of getting
away from it so we can pretend that we are tropical.
Simon: Exactly, it’s the opposite of what our lives are.
And why is your name in capitals?
Simon: I think it just looked nicer in capitals to be honest.
Gary: Aesthetically it’s just much nicer.
Simon: A lot of times when people write a list of bands they’ve
always left us in capitals and I’ve though that’s pretty cool.
I have to say, when I saw your name, I was drawn in
by the capitals, it all seemed more important.
Simon: Oh yeah, like we are shouting it. I think names are pretty
important for bands, I mean we had some pretty shocking names
we were going to call ourselves. Like when we did one of first
gigs and we had a completely different set and two other people
in the band, we called ourselves ‘The Wizard Lords’. Which is
Gary: Oh God, The Wizard Lords.
Simon: And then we had loads of other really bad ideas...
Gary: ‘Salad Prose’.
Simon: Yeah, we were going to be called ‘The Salad Prose’. But
actually, I think band names help a lot because you think, “Oh
yeah, I wouldn’t mind checking them out.”
How does the musical process work for you? How do you
manage to go from getting a group of people in a room to actually
Gary: I think we’ve always been into the same sort of music,
especially when we were younger and used to hang around together
listening to the same sort of stuff. Music seems to be a natural
progression; one of us will write a song on the guitar and then
another one of us will build something up on the computer and
formulate a song.
Simon: It changes a lot from the first idea to the last idea.
We always end up with something so much different. I think it’s
good though because you can only push off so much. One person
will have an idea and try to push it through to the point where
it’s finished. I think a finished song is much better if lots
of people get in on the idea and change it.
Gary: It’s better if we have three brains working on it instead
of one. It’s a lot stronger.
What instrument would you say your music is most driven
Simon: It changes through song. It depends, I mean, it can be
written on guitar, but we end up playing it on synth. It changes
along the way.
Gary: If we write a song that sounds kind of like guitar based
indie music when played on guitar, it will probably have a different
Simon: I’ve started to get a cold so my singing is quite throaty,
which I find quite funny. But I think because we programme a
lot of stuff in, it takes away the...
Gary: Playing it on guitar, if you put in on the computer you
can take away some of the humanity of it.
Simon: Yeah, if you play something on the guitar, it has a lot
more natural flow to it than if you just programme it in so
it’s exactly at perfect timing, it takes away a lot of the humanity
of the music. But then I guess the songs still have a melody
and stuff in them that would be from a band, but we kind of
make it digital.
So you favour the digitalisation of the music as a
Gary: I don’t know. We like to keep on organic sound, because
it if’s too processed and too digital you lose that. I’d like
to think we have a nice mix between the two.
Simon: I think we are a band that would get played more in club
than get played on a radio.
Gary: I can imagine us being played at 2 o’clock in the morning
because we are loud rather than in the daytime when you’re eating
So you don’t see yourself as a radio band then?
Simon: Oh, no, we’ve got some cracking radio bangers. We’ve
got some massive tunes (followed by hysterical laughter). No,
it would be nice. The first thing we released we chose because
it was the least radio friendly. I mean, it’s nearly six minutes
long and it has a lot of different rhythms in it. We did that
so we didn’t get on the radio, but it ended up getting edited
to the radio and getting played on the radio quite a lot. I
think our next single will have to be radio friendly so that
Gary: The typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse. Otherwise
we’re out of a job.
How do you feel people have accepted your music so
Gary: Oh, ridiculously well. When we first started doing it
we were like, “Oh a few people might be into that,” but overall,
I think people quite like us.
Simon: I think...
(Dom returns from his shower with a towel covering his head.
Simon: Are you naked under that?
Dom: What my clothes? Yeah.
Simon: Erm yeah, what were we talking about?
Gary: People loving our music!
(Gary burns himself on the radiator. Several obscenities follow.
Do not worry reader, the burns are not severe.)
Simon: I think some people like some songs, some people like
others. Gary’s mum will like one song...
Gary: That my brother won’t.
Dom: Yeah. Sometimes my rabbits dance around, sometimes they
Do your mums listen to your music?
Gary: My mum walks to work listening to my music.
Dom: She walks to work listening to it?
Gary: Yeah. No, I don’t think my mum listens to it. Although,
I am in charge of her music.
Simon: You’re in complete control of what she listens to!
Dom: And that’s all there is.
Gary: I pretty much play her my own music. She spent a fiver
on the single though.
What did you listen to growing up? What did your parents
Simon: My mum listens to the worst music ever. My mum is a big
Phil Collins fan, but she had this boyfriend who listened to
Iron Maiden and Whitney Houston on repeat.
Dom: What? Together?
Simon: Yeah, one then the other, then the other. I think everyone
likes pop and also has that band they don’t like to admit that
they like. Also, another thing is that we all like some obscure
dark stuff and we didn’t want to make music that was just one
thing. We want a bit of pop and a bit of darkness in there.
Not darkness as in the band, The Darkness. We used to listen
to a lot of Wu Tang when we were younger.
Gary: I think the first time I met Simon he got some of his
Wu Tang out.
Dom: My dad only ever listens to Italian folk music. It’s really
terrible because it’s all at like 180 bpm with like 50 guys
So you said you all have stuff that you don’t want
to admit to liking. Would you admit that to me right now?
Simon: Oh, there is loads of stuff.
Dom: My guilty pleasure is The Cars.
Gary: I think at the moment... David Guetta and Akon. That’s
a big song. I really like Jay Sean.
Gary: It’s a massive song, man. It’s number one.
What’s your song of the moment?
Gary: Oh, Pursuit of Happiness - ‘Kid Cudi’.
Simon: These New Puritans – ‘Attack Music’. Fucking wicked song.
Dom: How about Credence?
In Unison: Anything by Credence.
Dom: That’s quite an eclectic mix.
What’s your favourite 80’s song?
Gary: Probably... ‘Africa’ by Toto.
Simon: I’m not quite sure. I get confused with what happened
in the 80’s. Rio? Was that the 80’s? I’ll go for that!
So you like Duran Duran then?
Simon: Oh yeah, Big Simon le Bon fan. Good man! Good looking
Dom: No. Simon le Bon, Nick Rhodes maybe.
Simon: Ahhhh, beautiful man.
(Dom withers and drapes himself across the floor after a massive
Are you alright? You’re not dying are you?
Dom: No, I’m fine. I’ve been coughing for a few days and when
I cough I get this pain in my... thorax.
Are you sure you want to carry on?
Dom: Oh no, it’s fine. This is fun.
Gary: I like it.
Dom: If not we’d have to talk to the people we’ve been talking
to for the last two weeks.
Simon: My crazy friend has come up for tonight’s show and he
just keeps getting naked. Has he been naked tonight?
Dom: He just got naked and posed for a couple of photos.
Simon: We are on tour with a band called T33TH - they’re on
first – and one guy has his own fanzine...
Gary: It’s like some gay art porn thing.
Simon: He has been trying to talk us into getting naked a lot.
For two weeks.
Dom: Did he get a boner in the changing rooms?
Simon: He was trying.
Have you ever been to Cambridge before?
Simon: I think we’ve been here before. Played the Barfly? Is
there a Barfly in Cambridge? We stayed at Ash’s house with the
Gary: Oh yeah! Yeah it was.
Dom: One time when I was really drunk, me and my friend Amy,
we stayed up all night and we got a train to Cambridge and then
we fell asleep in a bush (hysterical laughter). It was a really
nice day and we were just walking around, and there was this
fair thing so we bought some crystals and took them all... and
just sort of passed out.
Simon: You just bought some crystals?
Dom: I had a purple aura. On the train back I rang my mum and
I was like, “Muuuuuuuuum. I got too drunk... in Cambridge”.
Simon: I love that.
Dom: You do it all the time, just crawl along the floor, trying
to reach the keyboard.
(Dom launches himself across the floor again, arms spread out.)
How do your mums feel about you being in a band? Do
they want you to get a proper job?
Gary: My mum loves it; anything creative. She’s never made me
do any horrible work.
Simon: Yeah, my mum just pretty much lets me get on with whatever
I want to do. She’s pretty...
Dom: Yeah, she’s pretty!
Simon: All of our mums are cool. We stayed at Dom’s mum’s halfway
through the tour...
Dom: We rocked up with like ten people, and were like, “Can
you feed us please. For a day. Make us up ten beds and cook
us a big meal?”
Simon: They are very supportive.
Dom: But I think it’s because they are waiting for a bit of
(whistles and gestures cash).
Simon: Yeah, my mum said that the other day! She was like, “When
are you going to make me some money? I’ve been waiting for five
Dom: Just get a fucking job!
Did any of you do any higher education? Or did you
just always want to be in a band?
Dom: I went to Uni.
Gary: I went to Art College.
Simon: Yeah, I went to Art College too.
Dom: I did English Lit at Uni, but I stopped because I realised
that I was shit at poetry.
Simon: I didn’t even pick up an instrument until I was like
22, 23. If you look carefully, I don’t actually play anything.
Dom: Simon has a delay pedal which means he can play any song
on the guitar.
Simon: When we arrive at gigs and we tune up, it doesn’t matter
because I can’t play anything anyway. So it doesn’t matter what
tuning I’m in.
Gary: Everything sounds wicked with the pedal though. (Mimes
whammy effects for a while like a child with a new toy)
How much would you say you spend on equipment?
Dom: Ohhhh! Like minus £500!
Simon: When we first started out, we had two keyboards. One
got off the plane from America and we plugged it in and it blew
up because we have different power sources over here.
Dom: Oh, and that guy who stole £80 from us.
Simon: Yeah, we had this guy to come and fix it and he ran away
with our money and the keyboard.
Gary: Wasn’t he from Cambridge?
Dom: Nah, I think it was he was from Dartford or something.
Simon: And our other keyboard just never showed up in the post.
But we did get our money back so I suppose it’s alright.
Gary: The majority of the time we steal other bands stuff.
Simon: Like pedals and stuff.
Dom: A lot of our stuff just has other bands names on it.
Simon: A lot of our equipment is Shit Disco’s or Babeshadow’s.
(Simon leaves for a shower. See. Told you they were clean.)
As a request from a dear friend, I must ask... Do
you like tropical juice drink?
Dom: Ohhh, yeah!
Gary: Three for a quid. From Akdeli’s - put that in! (Voila!)
Dom: It’s a really good little Turkish off licence. If you’re
ever in North London and you fancy stocking up on some little
bits and bobs.
Gary: Cheap olives. The coriander!
Dom: Very cheap coriander. The cheapest I’ve seen. And a big
wall of crisps. But yeah, tropical juice is good, but I can
never work out what other flavours there are apart from like,
pineapple. It always dominates.
Gary: There’s a bit of mango in there.
Dom: I don’t really like mango, it’s too sickly.
Do you drive to most gigs?
Gary: Yeah, if they are far out we do, but we do a lot of gigs
in London so we just get buses and stuff. It would cost too
much money to drive everywhere. Because we were doing this tour
with T33TH, we decided to hire a van together to kind of spread
Dom: We’ve had to sleep a couple of times in the van so it’s
kind of double handy.
Gary: We went to Loch Lennon.
Dom: I saw a ghost.
Gary: He was playing table tennis with ghosts.
Dom: No, no, no. I genuinely saw a ghost though. When you (points
accusingly at Gary) were conked out in the back, hugging a drum
kit, I climbed out and went for a walk because I was sick of
being covered in other people’s sweat. There was this shape
that kept following me and every time I turned around it was
gone, like, every time I walked I could feel it really close.
That was spooky.
Do you believe in ghosts then?
Dom: Definitely. But I don’t want to be one. It would be horrible,
just think about the vibes you get off people. Everyone would
be really scared of you, it would be horrible.
Dom: Yes. You’re just used to it.
Gary: I’ll tell you what though, ‘Ghost’ is a good film. That
Dom: It’s heartbreaking. And the shadows that come out and grab
people. I can’t handle it.
Gary: Dom only saw it like three months ago.
Dom: I know! Every time they put on a scary film, I’m gone.
Gary: It’s not scary!
Dom: ‘Ghost’ is really scary! People die and that’s horrible.
So if you don’t want to be a ghost, so you believe
in the afterlife and God?
Dom: Nah, I reckon that the world is a lot more than we know,
but I don’t think that there is some Jacuzzi up there with my
name on it or equally a torture chamber with my name on it.
I reckon that whatever we do doesn’t matter, but maybe if we
are super cool we get to play a game with Tony Hawks before
we die. Do you believe in heaven and hell, Gaz?
Dom: You do?
Dom: No, you don’t.
Gary: I do. Religious ain’t I?
Dom: You’re not religious stop lying.
Gary: I was brought up in a commune.
Dom: You can’t just make up lots of lies for publicity...
Gary: I am too tired to think. (Curls into a ball like a hedgehog)
Dom: Well, I like the Norse way of thinking about it because
they think that there is a massive tree which is holding the
Earth up and there is a squirrel called Ratatosk who runs up
and down, delivering messages and he annoys the tree by nibbling
on it. And I like that idea because squirrels are fucking annoying.
They are never cute, they are just vermin.
What about flying squirrels?
Dom: That is another kettle of squirrels! When we arrived in
Birmingham and our kettle was full of piss. I think it was Mumford
Gary: Was it?
Dom: They played there the night before. Can you definitely
put that in there? (Voila again!)
Gary: We were in the room and the guy from Mumford and Sons
walked in and he pissed in the kettle.
Dom: He was pretending he couldn’t see us because he had sunglasses
on, but he got it, pissed in it and played a bit of banjo on
the way out.
Are you starting a hateful war with the dapper Mumford
Gary: I love Mumford and Sons!
Dom: If there was one band that I had to have a hate war with,
it would be them.
Is there a band that you’ve met and thought that they
were absolute twats?
Dom: Actually, no, but I do hate the idea of Maximo Park and
that guy, Paul Smith, but apparently he is super, super nice.
Gary: Apparently he is a super sound Geordie or Sunderland man
Dom: I guess, in principle, the Jonas Brothers, but I think
they are very confused young men.
And that is it - half an hour of mockery, laughter and squirrels
for your enjoyment reader. And if you didn’t pick up that bit
about Mumford and Sons – they pissed in the kettle! Thank you
to IS TROPICAL for their time. I would also like to say a big
thank you to Miss Hannah Venetia Jones for making this possible
and taking us to McDonalds at one in the morning. Isn’t it wonderful
what you can achieve with a clapped out Peugeot and an old Cambridge
Hello Shabby Rogue, how is 2010 so far?
Can’t complain really, we’re getting loads of radio play , the
record is getting good reviews for the most part and we’ve really
been hitting it in the live shows.
Many artists recall their second album as being the
hardest to write. Do you agree?
They’re all a bloody nightmare! But interesting nightmares .
Like the way people enjoy horror films and rollercoasters.
What was the original inspiration for ‘By Hook and
A lot of it was drawn from difficult times in our lives but
hopefully tied together by the idea of actually arriving somewhere
How are you feeling about the reception from your
So far so good. A lot of people seem to be getting what we do
which makes us feel pretty good.
One of the first ideas for the album was to record everything
live. How did this notion come about?
Capturing the live energy of the band has always been a priority
of ours, some tracks have more production than others but most
of it is close to what we do live.
If I Google ‘by hook and by crook’, the first hit
is a phrase dictionary that derives the meaning of this saying
as ‘by whatever means necessary - be they fair or foul’. Is
this a suggestion towards the piecing together and creation
of the album?
The saying is actually “By hook OR by crook” implying that you
might employ one method or the other, we definitely needed both
and then some.Yes the album was definitely completed with a
by any and every means neccessary philosophy.
You have a diverse sound that spans many genres. Is
this because you don’t want to be labelled and boxed?
I don’t know if any artist ever wants to be labelled or boxed,
ourselves included, we have three songwriters in the band all
with widely varied influences so we tend to go where it leads
us and look for the common thread after the fact.
What were your favourite albums when you were growing
I started out with classic rock, The Who, The Kinks,The Beatles,Bowie,Hendrix,
then got into folk and prog. Leonard Cohen met King Crimson
at some point and they got on. Eno’s Another Green World would
be up there.
Any guilty pleasure records on your shelves at home?
I have anthologies of both The Carpenters and the Bee Gees but
I don’t feel guilty.
Vinyl, tape, CD or download?
Vinyl is still unmatched , unfortunately expensive and impractical
Thank you very much! Tasty wish you the very best
with the album and we hope you have a great year.
Your latest album seems to owe a lot more to Latin
America than Scotland. Have you always been interested in this
sort of guitar playing, or is it something that you've developed
a taste for recently?
I’ve always liked percussive guitar playing, using the body
and strings in a slightly different way than you might expect.
It was about four years ago that I actively started studying
Flamenco guitar. I realised pretty quickly that although I loved
the emotive, energetic side to the music, it left me cold melodically.
That was when I started writing my own music again, using some
of the techniques and rhythms that you would associate with
Flamenco but with a more personal approach to the melody.
Who are your current musical influences?
Minutemen are easily the biggest influence, both musically
and in many other ways. Other than them, Baden Powell (the Brazilian
guitarist, not the scout leader), Sabicas, early Black Flag,
Fugazi, Kaki King, Alasdair Roberts, Tattie Toes, The Ex, Joanna
Newsom, Gordon Ferries, James Orr Complex. The list goes on
… I‘ve been listening to a young folk singer called Emily Portman
from the north of England a lot recently. She has a really beautiful
voice and an amazing talent for harmony.
What do you want people to get out of listening to
It depends on how much energy they want to invest.
First & Last is supposed to be a snapshot of my life at
that time. It is accompanied with a little bit of writing from
myself that explains what each song was written about. It would
be nice if people could spend some time with both. On the other
hand, I love instrumental music’s ability to mean many different
things to different people. Basically, I hope that the record
elicits an emotional response from the listener, be it recognition
Do you prefer playing as a solo artist, or working
with other musicians?
It depends on the time of day! I’ve always been part
of a band before so composing and performing solo still has
some novelty to it. I do miss the joint creative process though.
My next album will actually be made up of collaborations with
some of my favourite musicians (Alasdair Roberts, Aidan Moffat,
Emma Pollock and Luke Sutherland to name but a few) so I’ll
be getting the best of both worlds for a while.
Why did you decide to release your music under the
Creative Commons license?
One of my favourite quotes is from a man by the name
of Tim O’Reilly that sums it up better than I can manage –
“Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists
I choose to release my music and writings under a license that
fosters and encourages sharing, remixing and the building of
new works from my own because above all else, I want my music
to be heard and writing read by as many people as possible.
With traditional record companies continuing to fail
to latch on to modern methods of music distribution, do you
think young musicians can hope to make a living out of music?
If so, how?
Compared to the last album I released under a more
traditional system, First & Last has made at least as much
money but has been much more widely consumed. All on the basis
that people can set their own prices. That is not to say that
I make enough money from the music to live off of. And to be
honest, that’s fine. Nobody owes myself or any other musician
a living. The truth is that it has never been easy to make a
living from music, major label deal or not. The vast majority
of musicians that get that elusive deal end up never seeing
anything past the rapidly dwindling advance. There is no shame
in working a day job whilst creating music. The day I stopped
trying to make a living out of music was the day that I rediscovered
my love for it.
You advertise a "Will Play For Food" service
on your website. What has been your favourite meal so far?
I’m not sure how to answer this one without getting
into trouble! I think that the last one I did, for Aiko and
Graeme in Leven, may win out. But only because I’m a sucker
for sushi, plus they got me drunk and made me brunch the next
day after letting me have their bedroom.
If you could play for anyone, who would it be and why?
My parents. I miss them.
Killed Sgt. Pepper?
Interview with Anton Newcombe from The
Brian Jonestown Massacre by Chris Moffatt.
Anton Newcombe from the Brian Jonestown
Massacre is many things. Complex, frustrating, controversial
and perhaps a genius. A prolific songwriter and musical polymath,
ten studio albums haven’t dimmed his burning creative desire
and willingness to push the musical envelope. Commerciality
is the last of his concerns, and with musical influences from
country to opera, he’s undeniably one of the most fascinating
musicians working today.
Many people will know him from 2003 documentary
Dig! which followed the Dandy Warhols and the BJM as one rose
to fame and the other fell apart. The film, together with mountains
of column inches from the popular press, would lead me to expect
a dark, volatile and disturbed character. Or in the words of
the NME, “a self-sabotaging megalomaniac with a worrying gun
fixation and violent tendencies”. Instead, the Anton I meet
is polite, softly-spoken, humourous and fiercely intelligent.
I caught up with him in London two weeks
before the start of a worldwide tour for the new album Who Killed
Sgt. Pepper? to discuss the big issues of the day: invisible
geometry, Neo-Greco architecture and Kerry Katona.
On the new album (Who Killed Sgt Pepper) I feel there’s
a wider range of sounds compared to previous BJM material –
there’s overt influences from soul, bhangra, electronica – what
were your main inspirations on this album?
I was trying to do something cinematic. I had a sense,
with the economy crashing in Iceland and knowing that it’s going
to happen everywhere, that there’s heavy times ahead of people.
You’ve seen the pound doing parity with the euro? Nuts. Maybe
it’s my last gasp before I settle into middle age.
I think there was a discussion between my manager and myself.
“If you have a record finished, I’ll book you guys a tour out
in Australia”. There’s no point in touring without a new record.
So I just finished the record to force his hand.
The first track is subtitled “Reaching For Dangerous
Levels of Sobriety”…
But I wasn’t sober when I was doing it. I was completely
mashed on all that stuff, in Iceland.
Is sobriety something you want to work towards?
I used to tell my friends that “I need a drink, because
I’m reaching dangerous levels of sobriety”. Like, basically
I’d been drinking a litre a day for quite some time – years
– and that kind of buzz … it takes a month to get that drunk,
you know? So that’s what I’m talking about with “dangerous levels
of sobriety”; when you start to get nervous. But now I don’t
drink any more.
I just joke around with titles. I put that song on the EP called
“Smoking Acid”. You can’t smoke acid, right?
There’s some pretty interesting song titles on there.
For example, Detka! Detka! Detka!
It means “baby, baby, baby…”
It’s in Russian, right?
Yeah. I flew my friend over to help me do stuff in
Russian. I’ve put out, like, three hundred songs, and when I
make up stuff I try and get people to help me with other languages.
Doing underground music internationally...file trading and putting
it out everywhere. No-one’s ever done that.
Not just singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in German to make
some money, but doing it for real. I wanted to do something
that I’ve never done…that no-one’s ever done before. There’s
no music like that in Russia. See, I’m really into world music.
Like the Pakistani music that I listen to, the songs that I
identify with, I have no idea what they’re talking about.
But it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I listen to words, and
I find the ones that I like and sing them... It’s just music
to me. I think that’s really interesting.
It’s always interested me how you can listen to music
from, say, Cuba or Mali, and you haven’t got a clue what they’re
singing about, but you can still make a connection with it.
Your voice is an instrument. It’s just music. You’re
connecting with that energy and spirit. That’s what opera’s
about too. Mozart… it’s one thing to hear Germans sing, it’s
really guttural, but once they start toasting, Jamaican style,
they’re the best in the world. It’s the language – click click
click – it works really well with the Jamaican style.
The best underground international musicians are German toasters.
It works perfectly. Their oom-pah is very rigid and staccato,
and German’s a horrible language to listen to music in, unless
you listen to Bach’s aria Die Jesu. You hear the woman singing
about “That’s my son, I buried him, he is risen”. It’s so intense
that they never play it on classical radio. No-one really knows
about it. It’s insane; it’s the high point of all music. It’s
really amazing stuff. It doesn’t matter what they’re saying.
You know French is the same way - a lot of French stuff is
like “bleugh bleugh”, like when they try hip-hop or something,
and you go “urgh”. But if you bend it the way Mozart did, you
can take the words and the syllables and try to stretch it out…
A couple of years back Dungen put out the Panda song. It’s
in Swedish, it’s just rocking. It was so great that they did
that. Basically they’re playing like Sixties, like our style,
but their own thing, kicking ass. Singing in English, that song
would have been forgotten very quickly along with the cycle
of the record. But since they did it in their own language,
in a couple of hundred years that will still be there because
it’s contributed to their culture. I think that’s brilliant.
You’re very prolific compared to a lot of artists.
Why is that – do other bands not work as hard, or are they just
not as talented?
To cut a long…well…[pause]…there’s a lot of distractions
that come along with success in the business. It’s juvenile
to some people; they don’t have a love for the craft. I think
a lot of people would pay for the notoriety if they could bypass
the actual performance.
Musicians talk about how they play in front of crowds every
day, and they get so bored. Early on, if you get an opportunity
to play Glastonbury for the first time, and you’ve got a sore
throat, you just think “I’ve got to do it anyway”, and you power
through. But if you’re Oasis or somebody, you get to say “We’re
not going on”, it’s not a big deal any more. It’s really weird.
I was watching quite a funny video on your blog earlier,
where they’ve captured what Britney Spears is actually singing
into her mic during a gig, and it’s totally out of tune. That’s
the artifice of pop, I guess.
You know Michael Jackson had the fifty shows booked
at the O2? There’s no way he could have done that, physically.
Do you know he only had to actually sing or talk for thirteen
minutes out of a three hour show. Think about his music, it’s
all that chka-chka [Anton proceeds to do a pretty convincing
Jacko impression]. How can you possibly sing that in the first
place? There’s no guitar pedal that does that. That’s thirty
tracks in a studio, so of course he’s playing a tape. I feel
naked sometimes standing on stage knowing that we’re just doing
Doing it for real?
Yeah, like sink or swim. I’ve played on the same day
as the Black Eyed Peas. I’ve watched them play, and they weren’t
playing. They’re having fun. They pressed play and jumped around.
“Will I Am, bring the beat now”. Dumb! You know, I feel bad.
Bad for them, or bad for the people watching?
Both. People get trapped in this TV culture. You’re
whole life seems bad after watching this edited, fast paced
thing, because you’re life doesn’t really work that way. You
sit around and you wait for stuff to happen, then reflect on
it afterwards – that’s real life. So of course you need to get
fucked up on drugs or take Prozac because there’s no way your
life can compete with the media. But they’re, like, entertainers.
Even if they are, that’s not the point. I was never
interested in virtuosity. All I know is that you can go to HMV
and I have fifteen of my albums for sale, and that means a lot.
There’s only so much space in a CD shop. Bob Dylan will have
maybe, thirteen. The Beatles will have the same number. Nuts!
So that’s making the grade, in a way.
So many bands start out interesting, then once they
discover a formula for success, they get on a rollercoaster
of churning out the same type of album again and again. You
haven’t done that. What drives you to keep creating new music?
I’m teaching myself, I’m creating stuff myself. There’s
nobody to call to ask how to do this. People forget that developmental
aspect of what I’ve done. I’m fascinated by the suspension of
disbelief. I like the alchemy involved in audio. I’m interested
in geometry. Invisible geometry, implied geometry, patterns.
When I get in the mood to write, I like the studio environment
in foreign countries. To be able to go someplace, set up a studio,
live in hotels, do tonnes of MDMA, speed and booze and be recording
at Bjork’s place and go nuts – it’s an interesting kind of witchcraft.
It’s like…why do you think they’re called wines and spirits?
Some kind of religious connotation?
Exactly. That’s what I’m interested in. Creating really
weird soundscapes, but only to the point where I go “wow, that’s
weird”. When I get to that point, I generally leave it.
How do you normally write? It is jammed together in
the studio, or do you write alone?
I don’t really record as a band. I did one version
of the Take It From The Man album with the band, but 90% of
it is just me playing everything.
I make up things in different ways. Sometimes I write songs
walking down the street. Sometimes it’s like the subconscious
showing off, almost, how clever I am. I had a girlfriend once
who said “Why doesn’t anyone write songs like Syd Barrett any
more, he was so great?” And I go, “oh, but they do, watch”,
and I wrote a couple of songs that were exactly in his style.
This record I was setting out to do something cinematic, but
I was also interested in these forty-million selling records.
Like Michael Jackson, Rock With You. What is it? All the marketing,
his performance, his persona? Is it the beat, this killer groove
that he had that nobody else had? Is it all these things? So
I just decided to take the actual grooves, not samples, of some
records to base things on, then imprint my own music on top
It’s interesting you mention the groove of the tracks.
For me you can enjoy the music on two levels – you’ve got the
superficial groove that makes the tracks great to dance to,
but then there’s a deeper level when you start to get into the
lyrics. Is that a deliberate thing?
Yeah – I’m also interested in content. Some of the
stuff we’re singing about just gets heavier and heavier. Especially
in foreign languages. One of the songs from one of my EPs is
the Icelandic version of the Serious Matter song, we’re singing
“I am malice and I follow you like a cloud, like a cloud I follow
you down”. One of the darkest things you can possibly say in
this…caveman language. “I am malice, I am ill will itself following
you. I am malice”. In Icelandic. It’s like, woah, this is the
heaviest song ever made in that culture.
This record was recorded in both Iceland and Berlin.
How did those countries influence your music?
It’s interesting being somewhere with everybody speaking
a foreign language, and you only understand what you choose
to look in to. So you’re walking round like a ghost.
Do you like that invisibility?
Yeah! There’s so much history in both those places.
Right where I live is where Kristallnacht went down. On top
of that they had Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon there, right where
I lived, we’re talking hundreds of thousands of years ago. Non-stop
inhabitance. Weird. All the way through Roman times, everything.
Mental. Any place that’s going to be haunted, it’s got to be
that place, right?
That’s why they’re so forward thinking. You have to be. You
look at the UK culture, and our common bonds. We’ve pulled together
through adversity over many years. A lot of people don’t understand
– London is the new Rome. Rome got sacked, that’s why that is
there [points at laurel wreath sculpture on the wall of the
hotel lobby]. That’s not Celts, that’s Romans. All these columns,
they’re neo-Greco. If you go to some place like Pompeii, they
have buildings exactly like this. Multiple stories with bay
windows; they’ve had them since Roman times. And it wasn’t that
long ago, this stuff.
Going back to your music, what do you want people to
get from it?
I don’t make music to have people dress like me, or
act like me, or make them like my little monsters. I don’t want
that. Especially when I was talking about delving into drugs
…even though it’s dark music, I don’t want people to do that.
At the same time, now that I don’t drink, I don’t want to be
a commercial for that either. I’m not advocating this. I think
it’s a magic machine. I have my own motives but people won’t
relate to those. I like juxtaposing things, like sad music with
happy lyrics. Somebody else can get something completely different
I think it’s really positive to take alienation, frustration,
and turn it into something that you can use, that isn’t destructive.
I think that’s the greatest thing about art. The second greatest
thing about art is that you can interact with it, and make what
you want of it.
I always think the best songs are where you have sad
music with happy lyrics, or happy music with sad lyrics.
Yeah - I like that!
I know you put a lot of your music out on the web for
free, and you encourage people to download it rather than paying
for it. Can we talk about that?
The industry doesn’t give a shit about artists. Never
has. It’s about making a statement. You know…Lily Allen, bitching
about file trading? She doesn’t make any music out of records.
She won’t make any money whether people trade them or not. There’s
no way she could have a record deal where she gets paid for
every copy of the record, because they advertise her shit, she
has a tour bus, a band, the cost of recording to recoup. Unless
she did it all in her Dad’s studios with Dad’s friends, still
she’s never going to make money. The Stones are never going
to make one penny off it – it doesn’t matter how many records
you buy. Ever. Bat Out of Hell sold 35 million copies. That
was recorded in the Seventies…
[At this point we’re interrupted by an elderly American
lady with a camera, who is apparently “from Wisconsin” and wants
to take a photo of “the rock star”. Anton makes polite conversation,
and as she leaves she turns to say “What was the band called?
Brian and the Massacre?”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter” Anton replies, looking sheepishly
at the floor.
In an instant, he’s transformed from arrogant rock star
to gentleman entertainer. It’s a revealing moment. “I get embarrassed…”
he mumbles, then takes a cigarette break.]
You know what I was just pondering? You know like, billion
dollar bank bonuses and all this crap? If people are entitled
to all that reward for doing their job, don’t you think Mercedes
Benz should charge three billion dollars for a car? For every
single skill and trade. If they’re going say people are entitled
to that much money for what they do, everyone should start charging
that much. Like sculptors… one hundred million dollars? Sure,
I’ll make you a fireplace.
That would make inflation pretty interesting…if everyone
starting charging millions of pounds for what they do.
Well, we should. We’re living in an insane period of
time. A new kind of feudalism where everything seems to be doomed.
Like in Zimbabwe where everyone was a millionaire for a couple
So you’ve got the tour starting in February?
I think in twelve days. I’ve got to go to Los Angeles
and start rehearsing. Then we go to Australia, New Zealand,
a little time off, then I’m back here for a few days. North
America, South America, I think we’re playing India, Indonesia.
Have you played out in Asia before?
We got offered to play a festival in Hong Kong, but
I was in such I mess. I couldn’t find my passport. Sometimes
people steal things from you, you know? So I told them I caught
the flu and they were very superstitious about that because
Do you enjoy the tour lifestyle?
Well now I don’t drink and that social lubricant is
gone, I’m nervous about it. I’m just going to go out there and
try as hard as I can.
Do you write when you’re out on tour?
I’ve been known to, but a lot of what I do now is studio
based. I think I’ll probably work on some bits. I’m working
on more than one record right now, but there’s no rush to put
them out. It confuses things, takes up space. Let’s just see
how people perceive this one. I have my doubts whether anybody
will like it.
What are your hopes for this record?
I always hope that…it stands the test…like New Kids
on the Block. There was a time, when you were a little kid,
that boy groups like that were the biggest thing in the world.
And you can even look at Kerry Katona, Atomic Kitten. Where’s
their music now?
And why would you even care in the first place? It’s
all marketing. Horrible.
Mainstream radio and media is like a joke to me. Ten to watch,
the BBC Sound of 2010. [Ellie Goulding] is a folk musician,
and she’s decided to work with house music beats. It’s crap!
Somebody telling us that this is the “sound of 2010”. What does
Every one of those New Year lists has the same people
Exactly. At least what you’re doing [Tasty Fanzine]
is fan-based journalism – that’s great. People should only write
about things that interest them. Why do you see so many critiques
I was thinking the other day; What would it be like if everybody’s
wishes came true at once, no matter what they wished for? Every
single wish, every dream came true. Simultaneously. The whole
It’s not going to work!
Weird concept, huh? Everybody wants different things.
It’s probably a good idea for a song.
I don’t think I could describe it that abstractly,
but I was thinking about that. What if every wish came true…
time would be irrelevant, immediately. It would be like, morphing,
like Scanner Darkly but with everything you’ve ever known, at
That’s going to melt your head.
I like that.
You shouldn’t think too much about that kind of stuff.
I shouldn’t think at all, that’s what society wants!
Don’t think too much.
A lot of people don’t.
Scary, huh? The whole thing about everybody dumbing
down their opinions. That’s the whole thing in America, with
the militarism. But at the same time expecting everyone to defend
themselves? [Laughs]. What are you going to defend? You’re too
stupid to even see things as they are. How are you going to
defend yourself against the next marketing campaign?
At one point, to justify you’re actions you want everyone to
be as stupid as possible so you can scam them and continue your
agenda, but the next moment you need them to be alert? Against
terrorism? What a joke.
The best one I heard was that the EU has dedicated 420 million
Euros to Haiti relief. Except they were already committed to
giving 400 million Euros before the earthquake. So they’re only
committing to 20 million more. Ridiculous.
It’s a question that’s always troubled me. You see
these kinds of situations going on around the world, and it’s
hard to appreciate how bad it is, but what can I do as an individual?
That kind of stuff is horrific, but there’s always going to
It’s finding the balance of telling people that we
need to get together to contribute, but not to be shocked that
people are eating each other. The press is getting pissed at
America for not feeding people, turning away aeroplanes from
around the world. But these people are crushed. They haven’t
eaten in a week, they’re dying, so just toss the stuff out there.
Shooting people for looting in a situation like that is absurd.
It isn’t really looting, at a certain point. The soccer players
that crashed in the Andes and ate the dead bodies weren’t guilty
of crimes, at some point.
What choice did they have?
Evidently they had zero choice. Crazy shit, huh? [pause]
Sorry, I don’t want to bring you down.
It’s fine. It’s all part of life. You have to talk
It’s part of our life. You don’t have to… I understand
it when people get overloaded. It’s stuff that I think about
- the perspectives. Quite often.
I think that’s why celebrity culture is so big. It
takes people away from thinking too much about the real things
that are going on in the world. They’d much rather see Britney
Spears dance around on a stage.
It isn’t just about sales. It’s intentional. It’s obviously
intentional. The way that things are is the way they want it
to be. Without even attaching some imaginary “they” to it.
So you mentioned you’re working on a few different
things at the moment?
I’m tempted, if I get a little bit of time, to go to
Paris. Just to camp out for a month and try to make a record
in French. But I’m having a hard time with people’s scepticism
about what I’m trying to do. First of all they’ll say things
to me like “There’s no good [music] in France…” Well, they like
Serge Gainsborough. They like the great stuff!
I want to do a record in French, so I’ll do it phonetically
and I’ll work with somebody. I need to be introduced to them
personally, and talk them into it. Have them come to the studio
and do a French record. And I want it to kick ass. I want to
have some of the best contemporary, relevant music in that language,
ever. I don’t think it’ll be easy, but I’ll approach it exactly
like Mozart did with his words, like an opera.
See the problem is they try to say so many things and sing
in a style…like the rappers. It doesn’t work phonetically. But
if you did it like opera, slowed it down, so you’re stretching
a sentence over a verse or two. It can be done.
Will that be a Brian Jonestown Massacre project?
I’ve always worked with other people. I don’t believe
in all the conventional rules. I never stand in the middle with
my group, as the singer. I always had Joel stand in the middle.
Those rules…I just don’t think they matter. I don’t have to
sing every song. It allows me to enjoy it, to have somebody
else do it. I’m just experimenting with stuff.
[At this point, Anton and Nina start discussing Kim Larsen,
the Danish rock musician, and Anton recalls a story about Larsen
regaling passengers with songs on a flight from Copenhagen]
Another person I’ve heard that’s done the same thing before
is Iggy Pop. He was at a party at the Chateau Marmont in LA,
and it was right when Brian Wilson came out of his shell. When
they got rid of the psychiatrist who was prescribing him brain-damaging
drugs. [Brian] walks into a party and they’re like “Brian, I
love your work”, and this was before he came out with Pet Sounds.
There was a piano in the suite – they have house-sized suites….people
live in that hotel, super-rich people. Like, you can’t go to
the ninth floor, that’s Britney Spears’ floor. Seriously.
So Brian sits down at the piano and he goes “I always loved
that song…” and he starts singing “Momma’s little baby likes
shortbread”. And he wouldn’t stop playing it. And he’s singing
it for like, forty minutes straight, and he wouldn’t stop. Every
different variation. Like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but bebop.
And everyone’s like “okay Brian…”
One time I bumped into Iggy… I was doing illegal raves. It
was before I started the band. We were doing house parties,
big ones in California. We did it for a long time, made a lot
of money doing it. Iggy came to one of my parties. They were
big – we had like 25,000 people on the mailing list. It wasn’t
just rave music, we played all kinds of stuff.
Anyway Iggy comes to it, and I’m like “Iggy, will you do me
a favour and sign my Volkswagen?”
He’s like “No”. Fuck you! I was bummed. Like, here you are at
my happening party, and you won’t sign my Volkswagen. But he’s
cool. In magazines before he’s said stuff about me that’s really
positive. Him and Patti Smith, that’s why I’m in the UK. Patti
was curating Meltdown, and they agreed that they liked my project.
As far as the spirit of the music goes, trying to get ahead,
not trying to dress up as “something”.
Evidently to get ahead you should get into banking.
Work at Goldman Sachs. What, I get a million dollar bonus? How
many records do you sell? How much money do you make from that?
Every single person that works for Goldman Sachs got over a
million dollars as a bonus this year.
I’m in the wrong job!
Exactly. How does that make you feel as a person?
Finally, are there any artists that you want to spread
the message about?
I’m interested in a lot of music. I put out a death
metal record before Matador did. I’ve spent my own money – a
lot…I’ve helped a lot of people. You know the Black Angels used
my equipment and my studio to record their stuff? So I’ve helped
people out. I taught Black Rebel Motorcycle Club how to play
guitar, in my house. I’ve made my contribution.
I’d like to get a shout out for the TomJoeTwins on YouTube,
that did the Lego Fucking Mental video (http://www.youtube.com/user/tomjoetwins)
They’re 14 year old twins in the UK, and they do all that stuff.
Somebody showed me that right when it came out. I was like “we’ve
got to use this as the video”. I made it and one of their friends
was like “You stole from the TomJoeTwins”. This is not commercial
music, and it cannot be commercial music because of the subject
matter and the language, the adult content. It can’t be used
to sell soap! This is pastiche! Like Andy Warhol and the soup
can. It’s exactly the same thing that I’m doing. You guys used
the zombie genre – you didn’t invent that, that’s a pastiche
We’re just trying to make people happy and I’m sorry that it’s
so dirty. I felt uncomfortable talking [to them]…they were like
“it’s so cool that an artist like you could like our stuff”.
I like it. They do great stuff.
With that the posse head out into town in a blizzard of
cigarettes and anecdotes. I recall the famous Dylan quote: “A
man is a success if he gets up in the morning, gets to bed at
night and in between he does what he wants to do”. Anton isn’t
as well known as he deserves to be, and the Brian Jonestown
Massacre will never be a mainstream band, but that doesn’t really
matter. In many ways it’s a good thing. Newcombe’s doing what
he wants to do, and the music is there for the people who are
willing to seek it out.
Who Killed Sgt. Pepper is available on download now, and
will be released on CD and vinyl on 23/02/10. The Brian Jonestown
Massacre will be playing UK dates in May 2010.