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THE VICTORIAN ENGLISH GENTLEMENS CLUB (LOU/EMMA)

HI, SINCE AN EMAIL INTERVIEW IS ALWAYS A BIT IMPERSONALLY, I FIRST WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AT THE MOMENT AND WHAT YOU’VE DONE THE LAST DAYS? Lou: We’ve just got back from a tour; we got back about 6am this morning. It was a UK tour with the Canadian band, YOU SAY PARTY! WE SAY DIE! It was great. We did split 7” red vinyl single with them for the tour. So in the last few days we’ve driven a million miles, smelt bad, met the locals, heard a lot of YOU SAY PARTY! WE SAY DIE! Songs. It was all fun. YOU ARE FROM CARDIFF, A CITY WHERE I THINK YOU GET LESS PROMOTION THAN IN LONDON. WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG THEN? Lou: Cardiff. We played after two weeks of being together, at the Art College at which we all studied. I don’t see how being a brand new band would work in London, we would have got eaten alive. It’s good that we spent time locked in the audio and social vacuum of Wales to work out how to be a band. AS YOU MENTIONED BEFORE YOU STUDIED ART SCHOOL – DID YOU DO THE COVER ARTWORK YOURSELF? Lou: Yes, I did it. I studied Graphic Design. Adam studied painting; he used to paint oil paintings of dead fish. Emma did film art. She made our first video. DO YOU BRING ARTWORK INTO YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCES – E.G. VISUAL EFFECTS? Lou: We’re aiming to soon. We’d like to have projections… big black words and pictures, on a crappy overhead projector, like a 50’s film. Ideally we’d also like to have an 8-foot tall Canadian black bear in a cage, in every corner of the stage. Ringing a bell. Emma: True, but I would never say we bring artwork into our live performances. To me that smacks of pretentiousness. We make music, not art. AS I SAW ON YOUR WEBPAGE – YOU PREFER KIND OF NEAT COSTUMES FOR LIVE PERFORMANCES. WHAT KIND OF SUITS SHOULD YOUR FANS WEAR? Lou: I don’t know how neat we are, none of us own an iron, and our clothes always smell. I’d like it of the fans wore bad clothes, and gave us their good clothes. Clean ones. HOW DID YOU GET TOGETHER AS BAND? WHICH MUSICALS BACKGROUNDS DO YOU HAVE? Lou: We met at Uni, and everyone liked bad music except us. So we were morally forced to join a band together and spend the rest of our lives in a triangular shackle. None of us are classically trained… or trained at all for that matter. WHAT TO YOU EXPECT TO DO IN FUTURE – MORE MUSIC OR GO BACK TO ART? Lou: Music certainly. You can make it as an artist at any age; in fact, it’s probably better to be older. Band first, if that fails, art later. Then the circus. FIRST TIME I HEARD YOUR BAND NAME, I IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT OF OLD, BEARDED MEN SIPPING ON TEA. WHO HAD THE IDEA FOR THE BAND NAME – AND WHERE DID IT ORIGINATE? NOT AFRAID THAT SUCH A LONG TITLE COULD LESSON YOUR (COMMERCIAL) SUCCESS? Lou: It’s a good way to tell whether someone’s being genuine when they tell you they like the band – whether they get the name right. 99% of people don’t get it right. I guess it is un-commercial, but it makes us look bigger when it’s written on posters. We were desperate to call the band either THE BRAKES, THE GRATES, THE GRAPES, THE RAKES or The SNAKES, but unfortunately for us, they were all taken. Emma: I think a long title does lessen your commercial success. Can’t fit it on the bloody posters. TIME MAGAZINE ALREADY PRAISED YOUR SOUND AS „EDGY SCHIZO JERK-POP WHICH PROMISES AN INSTANTLY ADDICTIVE LIVE ATMOSPHERE“. DO YOU THINK THAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DESCRIBE IT? HAVE YOU HEARD OTHER STRANGE DESCRIPTIONS? Lou: My favourite is „As jerky as a Nissan Sunny and as awkward as Stephen Hawking“. I don’t know, I don’t read descriptions much. People seem to think our band’s weird and backwards, we think it’s normal. WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES IN SOUND AND SONGWRITING? Emma: I like bands that surprise you the first time you hear it. There’s an American band called WELCOME who I’m listening to at the moment, they sound like two records being played at the same time. And BORN RUFFIANS, who sound like a one-man band. Having said that I love the BEATLES, and English people are born knowing the words to every BEATLES song ever written. AS CRITIC I COULD ASSUME THAT YOU TRY TO GET ON THE NEW-WAVE-INDIEROCK TRAIN, WHICH IS ALREADY LEAD BY FRANZ FERDINAND… HOW WOULD YOU OPPOSE THIS STATEMENT? Emma: I couldn’t have less interest in disco beats and music for girls to dance to. People get genres wrong all the time. For example, somehow KISS are labelled as metal. How’d that happen? WHAT’S FIRST – SOUND OR TEXT? Ema: Sound. The lyrics tend to come afterwards, sometimes even during recording. I READ, THAT YOUR DEBUT ALBUM BECAME A LOT MORE DARKER THAN YOU EXPECTED IT TO BE? SO HOW CAME? Emma: I think we made it dark intentionally. I don’t really like happy music. There’s always a darker edge. WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND OF „MY SON SPELLS BACKWARDS“ – I HEARD RUMOURS OF CHEAP COMPUTERS? Lou: It’s about parents claming their childrens’ stupidity is actually dylesxia. Every third person claims to be dyslexic, they can’t admit that they just can’t spell, or have the attention span of a sparrow. At university you can claim a free computer if you pass the test, which about 75% of people at our uni did. Myself included. YOUR ALBUM GOT RELEASED END OF OCTOBER IN GERMANY. DO YOU ALREADY HAVE TOUR PLANS FOR GERMANY? Lou: We’re working on it. It should happen early next year. DO YOU ALREADY HAVE PLANS OR CONCEPTS OF THE NEXT ALBUM – OR DO YOU FIRST WANT TO TOUR AND PLAY LIVE? Lou: We want to do all of it at the same time, all right now – write, play gigs, record. We’ve written quite a bit for the second album. It’s good. CAN YOU REPORT ON SOME SPECIAL MOMENT ON TOUR? Lou: A local band jumped on stage when we’d finished playing and did a cover of BAN THE GIN. It was the most unpleasant minute and half of noise I’ve ever experienced. Emma: But rather enjoyable. And after that show a strange boy was so insistent on coming with us to the next one he sat on the roof of the van and refused to come down. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS EMAIL INTERVIEW. FINISHING IT, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOUR LAST PURCHASED RECORDS HAVE BEEN? Lou: We’ve been asking people to swap their mix albums with us, in exchange for one that we’ve made as a band. It’s been really good; we’ve discovered so much good stuff. Although the mix albums are all that we’ve been listening to, as someone broke into our van in while we were playing a gig in Scotland and stole every single CD we owned. So sent us more, the address is on our website.

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