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HOUSE OF FLY53 JOIN THE RESISTANCE Design: ChloĂŠ Baxter House of Fly53 Photography: The Wade Brothers/RW2 Retouching and the best cookies: Judy Rush Hair and make up: Sarah Thompson Lift Wardrobe: Kami Bremyer Set build: Dale Fromnmelt Casting: Kevin the non stop dancer A special thanks to: The Wade Brothers: David Lyndsey Wade & Lyndon Wade and all our Kansas City brothers and sisters. Editorial Editorial produced in collaboration with

Editor: Jonny Ensall Contributors: Will Daunt, Nick Johnstone, Hannah Nakano Stewart, Stevie-Ella Keen, Chloe Gillard Special Thanks to everyone at TIGI for all their support and assistance for the editorial shoots.




CONTENT FEATURES 10 FLY53 Download Album 28 Class of 2009 64 Unsung Hero 96 Classic Fashion





HOUSE OF FLY53 9 Confession 32 Revival 34 Retribution 50 Torment 66 Atonement 94 Divinity
















Words by Nick Johnstone

Words and pictures are all well and good, but we’ve also decided to furnish your ears with an abundance of free music via our impeccable Fly53 Download Album. On it you’ll find tracks from the best of the artists featured in the fanzine. Together they represent a rough-and-ready, down-and-dirty ethos stretching from Irish punk, to Mississippi Delta blues, to ear-splitting hip-hop and techno. Enjoy.

The Undertones – Hypnotised We’ve all heard ‘Teenage Kicks’, right? That ever-soslightly grating symbol of testosterone-fuelled Irish rebellion. But did you know The Undertones have seven LPs to their name, two released this decade? Like his music though, front man Fergal Sharkey isn’t the man he used to be. Both recent albums failed to chart, and the John Peel-seducing punk icon is now a squeaky clean musicians’ rights campaigner. Thankfully, the old classics have been polished up too – 1980’s ‘Hypnotised’ was re-mastered and re-released in June.

Bombay Bicycle Club – Lamplight

MSTRKFT – 1000 Cigarettes

An endorsement from Gordon Ramsey and a logo featuring a moustachio’d waiter atop a pennyfarthing? Bombay Bicycle Club is clearly as refined as it gets. No wonder Jack Steadman and his urbane band mates took their name from the London curry joint. ‘Lamplight’ illustrates nicely what all the swarming buzz is about – sophisticated song structure; assured, lilting interludes; fuzzy rock-outs; and Steadman’s mature vocal, like an unhinged Paolo Nutini. They may not have Ramsey eating from the palms of their hands, but Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley’ll do for now.

Smoking 1000 cigarettes may sound grossly indulgent, but when you do the math, it amounts to one a day for less than three years. The sound of MSTRKFT, however, is brazenly excessive. They’ve jumped feet first into futuristic electro like Justin Hawkins into glam rock, and they’ve come up clutching an album called ‘Fist of God’, which is as much Knight Rider as it is robot rock. ‘1000 Cigarettes’ is an electro tour de force that makes Daft Punk seem prudish by comparison.

Hockey – 3am Spanish

The Rumble Strips – London

Yet more seventies throwbacks sporting bandanas, unkempt facial hair and tank tops, Hockey are forgiven the slight visual resemblance to MGMT because they sound nothing like last year’s critical darlings. This Portland quartet got the funk. They’re also gaining traction quicker here than in the States – British festival crowds can’t seem to get enough of their clever crossbreeding of LCD Soundsystem, !!! and The Strokes. After hearing the drum-pad disco, eighties samples and emphatic synths of ‘3am Spanish’, it’s not hard to see why.

If this is London’s answer to Friendly Fires’ ‘Paris’, then let’s emigrate. In ‘London’, the Rumble Strips are “bored to the bone.” Not that we don’t like the song. In fact, it’s a rainy, tear-sodden belter, with a reverberant sweep harking back to Northern Soul and Tamla Motown via Mark Ronson’s expansive production style. The Rumble Strips also enlisted orchestrating maestro Owen Pallet – of Arcade Fire and Final Fantasy fame – for their new album, and its punchy horns and nostalgic strings are all the better for it. Maybe we’ll stay in London after all.





FLY53 DOWNLOAD ALBUM : THE GUIDE Eagles of Death Metal - Now I’m A Fool

The Young Lovers – Shake Off The Ghosts

It goes without saying: Eagles of Death Metal do not play death metal. Thankfully, they don’t play The Eagles either. In fact, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and former journalist Jesse Hughes have turned out three albums of blithe, Castrol-stained garage rock tunes. It’s an art they mastered long after growing up together in California’s barren Palm Desert, but their sound is permeated by the dry heat of the Western States. This melancholic ditty finds them sliding around their guitars in fine fettle.

Multi-dimensional production talent Joshua (Hervé) Harvey brings out the inner freak on this jittery, skittering, entirely marvellous little thinker of a tune, from the Shake Off The Ghosts EP. Don’t think less of him (or me) if I were to say it sounds a little bit like Moby - the track’s delicious awkwardness distances it from ‘Play’ blandness, but innovative beats and samples also give it musical depth beyond Harvey’s usual dance floor smashes.

The View – Temptation Dice

The Invisible – OK (Headman Remix)

It’s uncertain if The View’s modest Dundee roots inspired them to name their second album, ‘Which Bitch?’, after a wealthy woman with a speech impediment. What we do know is that its songs remain true to their past, with more words about jail and junkies. That’s not to say they haven’t moved on. Anthemic backing vocals and richer orchestration will have you admiring The View once more. But ‘Temptation Dice’ keeps it simple – it’s as much of a post-Libertines belter as anything they’ve released.

No, it’s not a shock that The Invisible have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for their self-titled debut album. Their talented is confirmed, and has been for some time. Under veteran helmsman Dave Okumu, The Invisible trio have steered, like an errant ship from the Matthew Herbert fleet of artfully produced electronica, into the port of popularity. From which toecurling use of metaphor you might work out that we think this remix is pretty good, with Headman rounding the tenderness of the original track into a ball of discoready electro-funkiness.

Kill It Kid – Date It The Day Sometimes a band shuts itself off from the musical frontiers altogether and comes off better for it. While the hype machine burns up with city-slicking crossover kids, Kill It Kid have been fiddling: their folk violins, blues guitars, and deep south duets could come straight from the Mississippi Delta of yesteryear. And they conceived it all in Bath’s backwaters. On ‘Date It The Day’, Steph Ward’s airy singsong is the perfect foil for leader Chris Turpin’s rich drawl.



















Eagles Of Death Metal Interview by Jonny Ensall Photography Bella Howard Stylist Rose Forde Thanks to The Great Frog




ROCK‘N’ROLL IS ALL ABOUT BUTT-F**KERY Eagles of Death Metal “Rock ‘n’ roll is all about butt-fuckery” is the bold statement that Eagles of Death Metal front man Jesse Hughes has to make about the profession that he thrives in. For him “butt-f**kery” describes, in graphic terms, the hard-living, hard-rocking ethos that he embodies. With a roster of incredible talent backing them up – including Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and Jack Black – EoDM are gradually taking over the world. They’re oversexed, oversized and over here and ready to rock out with their cocks out. Jesse fills us in on the noble cause of “kicking communism right in the balls.”

How was your Glastonbury? playing the Pyramid Stage is quite a big deal. It was quite a big deal my friend. I got to play before Spinal Tap, I got to meet Spinal Tap and I got to give Graham Nash a guitar. I told him the first song I learnt to play was ‘Bus Stop’ and I thought I was going to die. Who did you enjoy watching? I saw Crosby, Stills and Nash and Dizzee Rascal. Dizzee Rascal’s my favourite – ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ baby come on! Also, I’ve got my obsession with Lily Allen going on hard. Why Lily Allen?

hot, and you know she’s hot. She’s so hot and she seems so horny and I just want to get to it, hard.

You’re a man of many monikers. Talk me through some of your favourite nicknames?

Anything that makes your dick move is awesome. Dizzee Rascal, dude he’s got the line, “if you don’t believe me bring your posse bring your crew.” And he uses the word “loo” in a rap song. It’s amazing.

I’ve got one nickname that’s “The Biggest Dick Of All Time”, that’s my favourite nickname. Then the other nickname that I love is “You’ve Got The Biggest Dick I’ve Ever Seen”, and then, um, “The Biggest Dick Ever In The World”, those are my favourite nicknames. We’ve got to add those to Wikipedia for sure.

What’s your next tattoo going to be?

Are there any nicknames you’d like to steal?

The next tattoo that I’m willing to get is one that says, “Kiss my ass communism”. Ronald Reagan saved us from the peril of communism so it would be in honour of Ronald Reagan and rock ‘n’ roll. “Fuck communism”, that’s what it’ll say – “The Big Gipper says, ‘Fuck you communism’,” that’s what it’ll be.

The only nickname I’d like to steal is The Gipper, which is Ronald Regan’s nickname.

What is it about Dizzee Rascal that you like? Are you into hip-hop?

That’s a pertinent message for the modern world. It’s a pertinent message for the modern communist, “Eat a bag of dicks!”

What does that refer to? The Gipper refers to kicking communism right in the balls. That’s exactly what it refers to baby. Would you ever live in the UK full-time? I honestly have considered moving to England many times. I mean I’ve written a song called ‘English Girls’. I obviously love the country.

She’s so fucking hot dude. She is so




The ideal situation to listen to the Eagles of Death Metal album for the first time is to be completely naked in a shower room with two Greek boys and just be ready to get naked in a shower room with fifteen Greek girls. The boys are going to have the palm fronds and they’re going to be fanning your lightly olive-oiled body and making it chill ever so tingly, right before you get down with the ladies.



Are you greatly influenced by English girls then?

where’s the best place for me to listen to it?

I think the entire world, inevitably, after the Roman Empire, has been influenced by English girls everywhere. There’s just no two ways about it my friend. We’re just two different people separated by a common tongue. Come on, you know what I mean?

The ideal situation to listen to the Eagles of Death Metal album for the first time is to be completely naked in a shower room with two Greek boys and just be ready to get naked in a shower room with fifteen Greek girls. The boys are going to have the palm fronds and they’re going to be fanning your lightly olive-oiled body and making it chill ever so tingly, right before you get down with the ladies.

If you had to do a 9-to-5 job, what would it be? I’d become a gynaecologist… and an emotional therapist. So it’ll be rad – while I probe you and prod you with my instruments I will also therapise you and let you get all your problems out. I’m going to be the first theragynaelogicist in the world, that’s what it’ll be… or a gynaetherapist… or a gynaepist. If I’ve just bought the new Eagles of Death Metal album,

What does it take to be a good rock front man? Is there any sort of preparation you need to go through? The formal training for being a rock front man is to first, take so many drugs you get sent to rehab. Once you’ve taken so many drugs you get sent to rehab you’ve got to make a song about it, and it’s got

to be a song that sucks – you’ve got to get a song that bites so many dicks that it couldn’t possibly bite another dick. Then you’ve got to take that song and you’ve got to give it some butt-fuckery that’s so hard, that it turns it into a good song. And after that you’ve got to take so many drugs you don’t even know your own name and then you’re ready for the stage. Describe to me the Eagles of Death Metal fashion sense. It’s one part Joan Jett 1978, two parts Roger Corman biker film and three parts let’s get down and have sex. The new Eagles of Death Metal album ‘Heart On’ is now available.




CLASS OF 2009 With the year in pop just past its halfway point, we reflect on the progress of the brightest of the start-of-year buzz bands to see who’s made the grade and who has work to do.

Words by Jonny Ensall and Nick Johnstone

La Roux

Passion Pit

Sounds like: Two parts 80s synth-pop to one part 90s dance and one part computer game music. The secret ingredient is Jackson’s singing, which has the eerily haunting quality of both a bad Top Of The Pops performance and a school recital.

Sounds like: There’s some similarity to the Australian psych-disco of Cut Copy and Empire of the Sun, as well as to the experimentation of weirdo Brooklynites Chairlift and Dirty Projectors. Ultimately, they’re themselves though, and uniquely pleasing for it.

Any good? The masses seem to think so, but we remain unmoved. The judgement day is coming for ironically naff retro-pop and this will be first up to face the reaper’s scythe.

Any good? Yep. Without a doubt the 2009 frontrunners in the race to be quite good.

Surprisingly, there’s more than one person in La Roux. There’s the “redhaired one”, the band’s eponymous heroine, and then there’s some other guy. I don’t know who he is or where he is. France maybe? It doesn’t matter as moz-haired, child-faced, 80s-attired front woman, Elly Jackson, has gone about cheekily transforming early expectations of red fever into actual chart success without much need for a supporting cast.

These former Clash cover stars are the best of the bunch and a shoe-in for a positive mid-term review. What’s not to love: the warbling, yet entirely determined singing effort of Michael Angelakos; Michael Angelakos’s beard... They’ve got it all. One excellent EP, ‘Chunk of Change’ has led to an excellent album, ‘Manners’ and a residency at the top of The Hype Machine’s most blogged list.

Overall Mark: A+ Overall Mark: B-

Little Boots

Master Shortie

Sounds like: The eighties (again), but also the realisation of the pop dream of a small girl with an incredible ear for a hook.

Sounds like: The distilled influence of a few decades of hip-hop and dance culture, filtered through the brain of a geeky, prodigal kid who’s trying his best to do a Kanye.

Beautiful, beautiful Victoria Hesketh - transformed from Dead Disco front woman and Blackpool electronic protégé into a female pin-up and great white musical hope for salivating industry execs. Her greatest challenge: overcoming the cynicism of a public already bored by her good looks and well-produced, idiosyncratic electro-pop songs. The charts like her, but not as much as her doppelganger La Roux. However L-Bo made a good showing with debut album ‘Hands’ to capitalise on the underground success of launch pad single ‘Stuck On Repeat’.

Any good? Borderline. Initially promising but yet to produce anything to match up to ‘Stuck On Repeat’. We proclaim her guilty until proven innocent and label her with a “no”. Overall Mark: C+

Master Shortie is that all too rare commodity: an intelligent, saleable, inventive and unrestricted hip-hop artist who does more than just hip-hop. He’s also a bit of a show off, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The young man (merely twenty) has eschewed the advances of the industry in favour of doing things himself - styling, production, distribution. If you can forgive the obvious crossover comparison, there are hints of Dizzee Rascal in his everyday lyrical flare, though unlike Mr Rascal, he’s got the tight jeans and guitar licks to reflect his indie sensibilities.

Any Good? For now his progress shows future potential, and if he can keep his ego in check, we might see good things in 2010. Overall Mark: B





CLASS OF 2009 The Big Pink

Dan Black

Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell are hardly new to the business, if “the business” means partying hard and making music with the sharpest of East London artistes. In fact, Cordell’s own label, Merok, was at least partly responsible for bringing us Klaxons and Crystal Castles. Now, The Big Pink, clad in black hoodies and small leather jackets, are feted as the next big noise outfit in My Bloody Valentine’s protracted canon. Arty pics clogging up their MySpace reveal a passion for exposed human flesh and blurred photos of rock heroes.

Hailed as a cornerstone of the Wonky Pop movement, clean cut one-manband Dan Black sealed himself in an 18th Century Parisian Cellar to record new LP ‘Un’. He loves mashing up hip-hop beats with other genres. So far, so wonky. It’ll come as a surprise, then, that Black once sang and played guitars for middle-of-the-road indie outfit The Servant. Sounds like: Black’s beats are undeniably heavier than the results of his previous incarnation. For 2008’s ‘HYPNTZ’ tune, the Londoner took lyrics from Notorious B.I.G. and sampled Rhianna’s ‘Umbrella’ underneath. He now finds himself, for better or worse, looking like Calvin Harris’s younger cousin, toting a Roland 808 and a dummy’s guide to sounding like the The Neptunes.

Sounds like: The kind of 21st Century shoegaze the Jesus & Mary Chain would make if they’d formed last year in Dalston. Any good? Maybe their haircuts and social connections are more noteworthy than their music to date, but the potential is there.

Any good? In a word, “no”. His music is more derivative than inventive and his live shows are a bit of a shambles. We recommend a return to the cellar for this pop wonker.

Overall Mark: A-

Overall Mark: D

Dinosaur Pile-Up

The Temper Trap

Sounds like: Funnily enough, early Foo Fighters, but with a sharper pop sensibility. This gives them a listenable yet more authentic sound than Dave Grohl’s recent outings, with self-consciously titled songs like ‘Summer Hit Single’ and ‘My Rock ‘n’ Roll’ straddling the pop-grunge divide nicely. It’s hard to imagine their chugging riffs venturing far beyond a sound of the 1990s though.

Sounds like: It’s shiny pop-rock with soulful, cherubic vocals, U2-inflected delays, and a genuine knack for likeable melodies. Occasionally the Scissor Sisters spring to mind, as does Prince, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the ever-glossy Empire of the Sun. On bringing out the acoustic guitars for live sets, they can’t help sounding slightly Jack Johnson though.

Obsessed with Back to the Future and deriving their name from a Brontosaurus-related incident in King Kong, Dinosaur Pile-Up are living in the past a bit. Front man Matt Bigland claims to listen daily to the Foo Fighters’ first two albums, made before they sold out to Radio 1, apparently. These are not your average high school skater doofuses, however, and they’re piling up quite a following in mainstream grunge circles.

This Aussie quartet have so far crept around under the shadow cast by major 2009 export Empire of the Sun. Truth is, The Temper Trap fit way better into our surfer-dude typecast than their androgynous, featherwearing compatriots. One EP and a clutch of radio-friendly single releases down, they’re off promoting new album ‘Conditions’ to sunburnt festival crowds over the summer.

Any good? Will the masses ever tire of tasty morsels of melodic postgrunge from Nirvana’s rich lineage? If not, then Dinosaur Pile-Up have done good.

Any good? Those who wretched at the sugariness of Empire of the Sun might just find The Temper Trap have enough sandy grit to satisfy their tastes. These boys may have universal appeal in excess, but do risk drowning in a sea of blandness.

Overall Mark: B+

Overall Mark: B+

























MSTRKRFT Interviews by Jonny Ensall Canada’s hardest dance fiends MSTRKRFT have come up with the goods again on second album, ‘Fist of God’. It features an epic selection of hip-hop collaborations with big names like Ghostface Killah and N.O.R.E. to ensure that socks will be tidily blown off. The record is, however, a bold step away from the straight-down-the-line electro-disco they’ve become world famous for. DJ superstars JFK and Al-P, aka. MSTRKRFT, discuss how hard it is keep the beat fresh, why hip-hop matters to electro and why Daft Punk should matter to everyone. Dance music, by its nature, is pretty repetitive and derivative. What do you have to do to keep your music sounding fresh? JFK: Well, the thing about making dance music in general is it has way more confines than rock music or punk or whatever, in that dance music is the only type of music that has an express purpose. Dance music is for dancing, y’know? No amount of advertising or promotion or marketing will get people

to dance to a song that they don’t want to dance to. No amount of negative press will stop people dancing to a song they want to dance to. So when you’re making dance music you’re always trying to work creatively within much closer confines than any other type of music. Even drum ‘n’ bass has much more freedom in terms of rhythm than our weird electro genre, where things really have to be straight. It’s a challenge but that’s also part of the fun of it. The fun is being creative within the structured confines of what you can do, particularly the structure of the song so it becomes playable for DJs – the mix-ability of it so that it works well with other things. Like Led Zeppelin never thought, “I don’t how this ‘Dazed and Confused’ track is going to lay over that Black Sabbath song that just came out.” Do you think people sometimes overlook how clever you have to be to make good dance music? Al-P: Well I don’t want people to listen to a song we produce and think, “Oh wow, that’s really clever.” And just be chewing on their glasses and thinking about

how clever it is. The kind of music we make is real visceral music and it’s something that needs to be felt rather than thought about. We’re not making, like, avant-garde art music, we’re making music that people need to enjoy in a party environment. It’s really about tapping into that emotion. The new album is packed full of hip-hop and R ‘n’ B vocalists. Where did this direction come from? JFK: Traditionally, in the late seventies, eighties, even into the nineties, urban music in America was so very electro sounding, prior to becoming so sample based in the early nineties. It was still dudes with synthesizers and drum machines for a long time. And so we decided, why don’t we try and make a record that’s like our sound now and bring the R ’n’ B and rap music back to it and see if it would work? It was really just an experiment that we conducted in front of the world. Are you pleased with the result? JFK: Yeah, I really love listening to our record I think it’s awesome. Al-P: It met all the goals we had


Like Led Zeppelin never thought, “I don’t how this ‘Dazed and Confused’ track is going to lay over that Black Sabbath song that just came out.”


set for it. And it’s a lot different from the first record we made which was more us just experimenting and seeing what we could come up with. It is still experimental in the sense that we’re putting together these two things [dance and hip-hop], but we had the intention of doing that from the beginning rather than just figuring it out as we went along. One of the album tracks has the title ‘Vuvuvu’. Where did that come from? JFK: We were with Justice, who we were good friends with, and we were going to go DJ. At the time we were playing a lot of the same tracks and we were deciding, “You get that one, but I get this one,” and deciding who would get to play what. I can’t remember what song it was that me and Xavier [de Rosnay, from Justice] were debating over, but he was like, “No, no, no, I don’t need this ‘vuvuvu’ music. All I need is kicks and snares to drive them wild.” So then we made a song that sounded like “vuvuvu” and called it ‘Vuvuvu’.

Your music shares a lot in common with the French scene. How important an influence has French house been on you, particularly Daft Punk? JFK: For me, Daft Punk is really important because, before them nobody else had awesome videos. ‘Da Funk’ was getting played on MTV like crazy. Not ‘cos of the music but because that video was just perfect. Like, “what the fuck is this? I have to watch it.” Daft Punk is really a massive package, and I don’t think anyone wants to follow them in saying “let’s make a better light show”, or “let’s make a better suit”. Really in that sense, everything they’ve done is like the (Andy Warhol) Campbell’s soup can of this music. Why bother following? Figure out your own thing to do. ‘Fist Of God’ is available now.





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KILL IT KID Kill it Kid can’t be accused of jumping on any bandwagon. These five delta blues rockers have thrown out current pop trends altogether. Instead, they’ve ridden a metaphorical DeLorean to Dirty Thirties’ Mid-West America, fraternised with Robert Johnson, and come back with a violin case of old school-sounding blues tunes with some 21st Century angst. Maybe that’s what got them signed to One Little Indian just three months after forming, to join the ranks of Björk and Asobi Seksu. It doesn’t hurt that these former Bath Spa music students abandoned their studies to spend the winter recording way out in Seattle with producer Ryan Hadlock of Foo Fighters renown. It was full-bodied singer Chris Turpin who woke up this mornin’ at 9am to chat about wife-beating, shotgun sleeves, and swine flu. So far this year you’ve missed out on playing the festival circuit. Are you regular festival-goers? We hoped to be at Glastonbury this year, but it didn’t happen and we were very pissed off about this. Our drummer has said he’s not going to Glastonbury until he’s playing it. I’ve been to WOMAD a few times. It’s refreshing and eye-opening to go to festivals where you hardly know anyone on the bill – I saw some blinding Indian slide player with a three string guitar on his lap, and he was just pulling out the most terrifying licks I have ever heard.

You played a gig at St Pancras station the other day – were the commuters happy to see you?

more scratchy than usual, so it worked out pretty good.

I think so. The punters kind of got it. We thought it’d be some kind of Black Cab Session-type thing, and we could turn up and busk it. But it was sponsored by Bang & Olufson and there was a champagne bar, and the ‘Monopoly’ man who owns all the train stations and the Eurostar was there. They’ve got this done-up guy at the front with a cool jacket, and he’s done all his hair – he’s there purely to present the thing. It was right at the end of nine shows in a row and we were all getting ill: my throat was even

So the more ill the better? Apparently so, yeah. I thought it was swine flu, but don’t think I was quite that lucky. What exactly have you lot done to make the delta blues fresh again? We use the rhythms and structures of the delta blues, placed into a modern song form. We felt we couldn’t relate to a lot of music that was being put out about going out and getting trashed on the weekend.




Interview by Nick Johnstone

So you don’t go out and get trashed at the weekend? Not so much. It’s not that we don’t go out and have a good time, we just like playing shows as much as possible. There’s a quote about Woodie Guthrie – in that 1930s world of the Dust Bowl, he was nervous about what he said because he thought the airwaves were sacred. I don’t reckon lyrics about girls you shagged on a Saturday night are the best thing to whack on a song, as much as it’s good fun. What are your lyrics about then, if not shagging girls? We’re a bit off-piste. A lot of the songs are about love, loss and relationships, but we’ve done something with that and made them aggressive. Do you have to have the blues to sing the blues? There’s lots of types of blues, from ones about how much you’ve drunk to beating your wife, so it’s an odd one to call. There’s a quote which says the blues is about a desire to keep a brutal experience in your consciousness and then make light of it – that’s about right.

But you haven’t been beating your wife. What experiences do you sing about? Some of the big hitters are about the idea of breaking up from a relationship and rather than saying, “oh, it’s really tough, I can still smell her perfume, taste her hair, or whatever”, changing it round and making it aggressive. Country writers moan about their women and the answer’s always at the bottom of the bottle. The guys in my songs get retribution and revenge. I came out of a couple of crap relationships and didn’t want to write miserable songs about them – that won’t get you anywhere. Crap relationships? In my last one, two ex-girlfriends were holding hands, crying, and shouting down the phone at me. It was double the impact – a big mess. I had been a bad man. If you could go back in time – where would you go and when? I’d go back to the 1920s Delta in Georgia, Atlanta. Going to some of the juke joints and playing with those guys would be pretty cool.


Where do you get your anachronistic stage gear from? Second-hand shops mainly, and now Fly53! We’ve gone for this MidWest thing with the cowboy cut and shotgun sleeves.

















THE VIEW There may be a good time to speak to The View’s Kyle Falconer, but bang in the middle of the Murray-Roddick Wimbledon semi-final is not one of them. Nor, I suspect, is any time before midday. The Scottish singer sounds merry, disorganised, partly incomprehensible and thoroughly caught up in the zeal surrounding his fellow countryman. Luckily, I’m finished before Murray’s defeat, but not before being briefly embroiled in the chaos which evidently follows the four Scottish miscreants around. Below, he talks Glastonbury, blood poisoning and Coco Pops.


Interview by Will Daunt

Where are you right now? I’m watching Murray playing Roddick. In England. There’s a whole bunch of us. It’s second set. I’ve only followed the past couple of games, but I should’ve followed them all. This one’s brilliant. Proper tense. Gone all the way to tiebreaker. [Shouts loudly]. Just annoying we can’t get it on the bus. Are any of you big sportsmen? Pete’s right into his football. He plays a bit of tennis as well. The rest of us are no good. So your last album was called ‘Which Bitch?’. Is that because you were all messing around quite a lot? No, I just liked the sound of it. It’s not meant to be about the girls, or which bitch we were singing about. It’s about police officers and, I don’t know, Indian pirates and stuff. It came to me when I was in hospital in Japan. I had blood poisoning, I was in for a week. I had quite a few things wrong with me. When we first started touring this time round it was all a bit much – I was hitting it hard. Our bassist had to sing all the songs until I came back.

Are you still hitting it pretty hard, what with the festivals and all? Which ones are you playing this summer? Um, well we just did Isle of Wight. And Glastonbury as well. I played an acoustic set as well. There were two tickets on offer if I played acoustic, and some mates were outside in the car park and wanted to get in, so we did that on top of our Other Stage performance. Nothing ever comes from nothing. That’s very noble of you. Did you stay all weekend? Yeah. I was pretty wasted to be honest. Didn’t eat that much. We were there from Thursday to Tuesday. I thought it all shut up on Monday? Well, it does. But we hid in Carl Barat’s tent and had a wee party. He’s a nice lad. It sounds like you haven’t calmed down since the first record then. I don’t really see the point in calming down. I’m still busy living, man. I’ve just turned 22. I’m still young. Doing the second record, we’d just go to the pub and get it down us, all

the potions we could think of. We’d get fucked up, record, then wake up and see what it sounded like. It always sounded great. I’m going to be co-producing the third album. Normal producers want to go to sleep, and often we just want to carry on throughout the night. What’s on your rider at the moment? Coco Pops, socks, crackers, cheese, and all the rest. Vodka, cider. I love Coco Pops. They turn the milk all brown. I’m obsessed with macaroni cheese as well. If we’re on the road, it’s all I want to eat. Where do you get that from? I can’t think of many garages that sell macaroni cheese. Wherever I can find it. I just request it - “You see that cheese sauce in the corner? Pick up some fucking pasta and stick it in there. And I’ll pay what you think it’s worth.” Oh, gotta go mate. Tennis is coming on strong. The View’s album, ‘Which Bitch?’ is out now.






HOCKEY Interview by Nick Johnstone Photography Ben Cook Stylist Rose Forde Thanks to All Star Lanes




Portland four-piece Hockey seem a bit dumbstruck today. They’re forgiven, considering only a year ago they sold just one copy of 1,000 lovingly produced EPs at their washout release party. All of a sudden, they have record deals with Capitol and Virgin, an eye-watering marathon of European festival dates, and an endorsement from Gang of Four’s Dave Allen. They’ve even played Jools Holland – what more could a band want? No more comparisons with MGMT, as it turns out. And with their first LP, ‘Mind Chaos’, due out in August, the band’s demure lead singer, Ben Grubin, and a surprisingly sanitised bassist, Jerm, were eager to tell us why. How are you both? Jerm: Good. We had a half-day off yesterday. I did my laundry, called my parents, bought some groceries – very civilised, considering. You played the John Peel stage at your first Glastonbury this year. How was that? Ben: It was so damn quick – we didn’t see another band and never left the backstage area. It would be nice to play on the big stage one day. It’s the most well respected festival in the world, so there was a lot of anticipation going into it, for sure. Strangely, a lot of the other festivals we’ve played felt bigger somehow. Because Glastonbury’s just such a big festival, we were just like a drop in the ocean.

Jerm: We did see Bruce Springsteen backstage though. Tony got his photo taken with him. The Boss has still got it – he’s pretty spunky. That’s quite a full calendar of European dates you’ve got lined up. Have you gone down better here than in the US? Ben: We’ve only just started over here, but there does seem to be more of an audience for our style. In the US, it’s very fractured. People over there are only unified behind people like Beyoncé and Nickelback. The UK’s a smaller place where people are really into their music. Maybe the US will get more into it in the future You went to live in Portland, Oregon in the autumn of ’07. It’s


quite the cultural hub. Did that inspire your music making? Ben: The first thing we did was disappear into our basement and record, before we got deep into the city. Portland is a cool place just to do what you want to do. You can do anything there and people will get into it. Tell us about ‘Mind Chaos’, the EP you released in May last year. Jerm: It was just so not a release, really. We had 1,000 copies printed, played a CD release show and sold one copy of it. We were like, “CD release – everyone come down!” There were like 20 of our friends there. It epitomised a “quiet” release into the marketplace.



People describe you as a hybrid of The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem. What do you make of that?

Your first single was called ‘Too Fake’. If you could have plastic surgery, would you have anything done?

Ben: People need to do those comparisons. It’s just what music is nowadays – a kind of soup, a mix ‘n’ match soup. Those are two cool bands. I think our music has something to do with them, but we’re not like, “oh, they’ve caught us out.” Jerm: I think people need a reference point. There’s so much music out there that it’s like “please give me some idea – something specific.” As long as people aren’t saying we ripped off The Strokes or LCD Soundsystem, there’s no problem.

Jerm: I’d probably have my lips inflated. I’d love to have massive lips. Ben: Well, I’d probably have some kind of skin injection, because I’m done with being pale and pasty. I’ve fitted in well here in the UK though.

What’s the most irritating label you get then? Ben: When they say we’re like MGMT, because it means they don’t like us. Jerm: They’re thinking, “These guys are trying to piggyback the fame of some other people who do their hair up.” Ben: Yeah, I had a bandana on at a show, and people thought we were just trying to be the next big band. But we don’t sound like MGMT, so it’s just a put down.

Ice hockey, field hockey, air hockey or none of the above? Ben: We’d probably have to say ice hockey, because most of our fans are huge ice hockey followers. It’s like a cult in the States, and in Minnesota, where my family’s from, it’s the biggest sport. So I’d be pretty scared if we said anything else.



HERVE Hervé is Joshua Harvey, one Londoner who controls a whole army of production monikers: The Count, Voodoo Chilli, Action Man, Dead Soul Brothers, Speaker Junk, The Young Lovers… It’s a lot of names for a single human to go by, but it’s a list that attests to the versatility of one of the UK’s most impressive production talents. Along with Switch and Sinden he’s helped develop a scene now known as fidget house (a joke genre-title that’s went too far), but that really encapsulates everything from house to hip-hop, techno, electro, bassline, dubstep and beyond. Josh has led the way in terms of innovation, producing endlessly eclectic musical offerings under his various superhero aliases. Most recently his self-titled album release as The Young Lovers has brought a blissfully jazzy edge to his sound. We caught up with him to discuss bass lines, skirting the ghetto and dressing smart.





Interview by Jonny Ensall, Photography Ben Cook, Stylist Rose Forde

The sort of music that you produce as Hervé is very bass heavy – close to being dubstep at a different bpm. Do you think it shares a lot in common with dubstep? Yeah, totally. I soak it all up, I listen to everything. Y’know I also make dubstep records, I make 4/4 bassline tunes – stuff like that. It’s not what I’m known for, but what I’m known for is a bit of a burden really because people tend to ignore albums like ‘The Young Lovers’ or these other strange bits and bobs that I do. Your most recent compilation was called ‘Ghetto Bass’. What’s the closest you’ve come to the actual ghetto? Not very close. The name just represents the culmination of where a lot of the music comes from – really just the urban sound. The phrase was powerful, it just sounded right. Who’s your favourite DJ to listen to? I think that as a straight-up acrossthe-board DJ, Martelo is probably my favourite. He’s just got an amazing array of tunes that he can twist and turn with really skilfully.

I think he’s probably my favourite contemporary DJ – I mean taking away all that nonsense of scratching and transforming and all that crap, which I have no interest in at all. My idea of DJ-ing is playing good tunes and making people dance. Do you ever worry that by using so many different names you’ve diluted your appeal a bit? It bothers me when I see people that I think aren’t that great doing well, but that’s my choice and I find what I do much more satisfying than taking my top off, standing on turntables and going “yeah look at me!” I want recognition in every way it comes for what I do, and the more I get the more rewarding it is, but ultimately I just want to be happy, make music and have fun. Do you think you have to be quite nerdy to create the music you do? There’s definitely something nerdy about the way that I make music and get interested in it in a way that would bore most humans (and most normal girls) to tears. You have to be a bit of a geek and interested in various things that involve being on your own – there are definitely geek

genes involved. Do you think that you and your contemporaries have raised the bar for dance music? Completely. I think there was a period of time when Dave [Taylor, aka. Switch] and I, and Trevor Loveys [the other half of Speaker Junk] just started using and abusing the technology to levels no-one else could. Most people can’t, I think, reach the levels that Switch and I reach in terms of the way we make stuff. There are some amazing kids out there of 21 who can hear what we do and copy it… but anyone can copy. I’m just waiting for some of those kids to make the leap from copying to blowing my brains with some amazing new weird stuff that I can’t work out. But I definitely feel that we totally raised the bar, there’s no denying it really. Are there any negative feelings towards the people who copy your style? Not towards the people but the general genre. So many people jumped on it and copied it, just ripped the whole blueprint, and the funny thing is the spirit of what we


did was because we were fed up with what was going on. We wanted to make different dance music and people started copying our style that was supposed to have no style and be something new and a mixture of things. Suddenly people have made it a bloody genre by copying it to death. It’s almost like we didn’t get the time to develop it, sit on it a bit and mess it up a bit.

Finally, what about your fashion sense – would you say you have one? I think I dress a bit too skater-y for someone who doesn’t skateboard. I’ll have to change up, get smart. The Young Lovers – ‘The Young Lovers’ and Hervé’s compilation, ‘Ghetto Bass’ are both available now.




UNSUNG HERO Great music found down the back of the sofa.

Shuggie Otis The Invisible’s Dake Okumu revisits the multi-instrumental talent of an American legend of funk, blues, rock and soul. “Every now and again you hear a record that fills you with sadness and joy in equal measure. In the case of Shuggie Otis’ ‘Inspiration Information’ the sources of joy are almost too numerous to mention, but the sadness comes from a sense that records that encapsulate these qualities will never be made again. In a cultural climate where product is valued over process and musicianship and artistry are viewed as threatening or too challenging in comparison to marketable mediocrity, it is hard to conceive of the Shuggies of this world finding their rightful place in the grand scheme of things.

drum machines, brittle but assured voice and astounding ability to play the shit out of almost any instrument, Shuggie’s sound comes on like a template for Prince and Sly Stone. The funk is heavy, muddy and warm, the blues gutsy and the psychedelic dimension only adds to an intoxicating atmosphere of boundless creativity and freedom which permeates the record. There are tunes that sound engagingly incomplete and rough around the edges, like brilliant demos that serve only to draw the listener

further in to the artist’s dazzling and unique imagination. In the period leading up to making our record I was listening to Shuggie on a daily basis. I still listen to it very often and I’m always overwhelmed by how fresh and engaging it sounds. This music is deeply nourishing and deserves the widest recognition possible. It’s the truth.” The Invisible’s self-titled album is out now on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Records.

‘Inspiration Information’ is an extraordinary and precious creation, overflowing with warmth, soul and substance. When I first heard it, I was struck by the sense of familiarity that characterises the music. I felt certain I’d heard these songs before – a testament to both their timelessness and their incontestable, if largely unrecognised, influence on modern music. With his early experimentation with Dave Okumu


Shuggie Otis


















WHITE LIES Interview by Chloe Gillard It’s been a little while since a great band came along with such a morbid death interest as White Lies. There’ve been a few bridging the gap between the eighties brigade of gloomy post-punk and new wavers, but no one has picked up the mantle more convincingly than the London threepiece, formerly known as Fear of Flying, who’s album ‘To Lose My Life’ has made the hot summer of 2009 considerably darker and colder. Front man Harry McVeigh would dispute that the band are “dark”, just monochrome. He discusses meeting the Queen, Michael Jackson and the inevitable Joy Division comparisons. How’s the tour going at the moment? Who will you be hanging out with at your up-coming gigs? It’s going very well. We’ve got an extremely busy summer, but it’s really exciting. I can’t wait to see all the places we’re playing over the world – you know all the festivals. We’ve already seen quite a lot of Friendly Fires. We’ve toured with them three times now, and yeah they’re really lovely blokes and I

enjoy spending time with them, so I hope we bump into them again. But also, all the people from the NME tour like Florence and the Machine, she’s great to hang out with. I really enjoy hanging out with her and her band. And it would be really nice to bump into Glasvegas again. The artwork for ‘To Lose My Life’ is monochrome. Does that reflect the feeling of the album – dark? I don’t think so. We chose the image for the album cover and the colour for the album cover because it looks important. And the music is important. But I don’t think necessarily it’s dark. And I don’t think that the colour scheme necessarily reflects what goes on in the music. Each to their own; people can say what they want really. Where’s the best place for you to write music? We wrote most of the last record in two places. One was our practice studio in North Acton, which is really out of the way in like an industrial park. And the other is in my sitting room, in my house. They’re two pretty good places, but for the second record we’re thinking about

the idea of going somewhere really remote and isolated, and you know, bunkering down and just doing it, which could be really fun – but we’ll see. What should we expect from a new album? Well to be honest, we don’t really know what to expect yet. We haven’t started working on it so it’s going to be quite a while. The beginning of 2010 we’ll start writing and recording for it. We’re touring until December, and we can’t really write when we’re on the road. So, as soon as we’re off the touring cycle, we should have some time to ourselves and we can start writing again in our own space. What are you listening to at the moment? I really like ‘Sea Within A Sea’ by The Horrors. It’s a fantastic tune, and they were amazing at Glastonbury. I didn’t see much music at Glasto, but they were one of the bands that I saw, and I was actually genuinely shocked and surprised at how good they were. They were amazing. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long, long time.



What was the first album you bought? This is actually quite poignant, and I’m not making this up. It’s ‘History’ by Michael Jackson. That’s the first record I ever bought. If you could play any instrument other than guitar, what would it be? I’d love to play the harp. That’d be pretty cool. For starters it sounds great, and it just looks like one of those instruments that’s really hard to play and it would be an amazing skill to be able to play it. I can’t even begin to get my head around how people play the harp. It would be really interesting to learn. If you met the Queen what would you ask her? I dunno. Maybe, “What music are you into?” [Laughs] “Who’s your favourite band?” Prediction for a new band set to make it big?

in New York called Violens who we really love. Yeah, they’re great – they’re really cool. Who’s your musical hero? Maybe someone like Josh Homme, from Queens of the Stone Age. I loved Queens of the Stone Age when I was growing up. He really got me into music, and really inspired me to want to become a musician. So if I was to name a hero, it would probably be him. But if I actually met him, I probably wouldn’t think that anymore. [Laughs] So I don’t really want to meet him, so he can remain still as that hero in my eyes. Finally, White Lies are often said to sound similar to Joy Division. If you could say anything to Ian Curtis, what would it be? Gosh, I don’t know. I’d probably ask him whether or not he thought our music is similar? I don’t know what he’d say to that... probably no!

I think... everyone would say it; actually I’m not going to say it. I was going to say The Big Pink but everyone is going to say that, so I’m going to say… There’s a band





Interview by Jonny Ensall, Photograpy Ben Cook, Stylist Rose Forde



Golden Silvers shuffle into our photo shoot with shy, awkward looks on their faces and make some friendly chit-chat while we prise their immaculately ruffled, vintage clothes off their backs. These garments are then replaced with some more immaculate styling (they’re a little picky, but incredibly nice) as the band begin to enjoy the reflected glory of the endless gold discs that adorn the walls of RAK studios in St. John’s Wood. Golden Silvers are undoubtedly, a fashionable band, a facet that has helped deliver the three-piece with chart success, endless credibility and a little niche all of their own to fill with charmingly idiosyncratic, eclectically influenced pop songs. Their debut album, ‘True Romance’, did justice to all their hype, and now horizons are broadening as keyboard player and vocalist, Gwilym Gold, takes to the rehearsal rooms again to write the new album. We pester him about why the band doesn’t want to dress up as robots, amongst other things. How’s the song writing for the new album taking shape? It’s going pretty well actually. I mean it’s quite hard to satisfy yourself with the lyrics. We’re really exited about recording the new songs as well because we’ve got quite a lot of ideas for the sound. Is the sound going to progress a lot then from the current album? I think it’s going to be totally different. Well, not totally, the songs are always going to be the main focus – I wouldn’t want to do any-

thing that would obscure the songs – but hopefully the first album threw the doors open and now it’s all for the taking, sonically. Hopefully the second album can be like nothing you’ve ever heard. We’re going to be experimenting with the sound a lot more, not thinking of ourselves as a band with drums, bass, keyboard and vocals – songs will be the basic framework and then around that we’re just going to take the sounds from anywhere, rather than having, like, a live band show.

You’re headlining the NME Radar Tour this year. Are you excited? Do you think it’s going to do good things for you? Hopefully. It kind of feels like it’s going to be the last major tour we do of the ‘True Romance’ album. We want to make sure that we take that album home if your know what I mean. After that tour we’re moving on with the new stuff, so obviously still doing a few of the songs, but that’s probably going to be the last tour of that album. We’re really going to try and up



the show a little bit. We might even bring someone else with us for extra harmonies and extra parts. We might get a horn section for the London show and stuff. Any carnival dancers à la Friendly Fires, or how about a children’s choir? Yeah, everything. Maybe a full orchestra. We could bring them along in our little six-seater van. You won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition in 2008. Did that really matter to the band’s career, or would you have done alright without it do you think? I think it’s kind of a bit of both. Truthfully, we didn’t actually know we were in that competition. It wasn’t like we had banked all our hopes on winning it. Anyway, we’d already set up the Bronze Club [Golden Silvers’ own live music night], and we felt we were just starting to create a little thing for ourselves. We kind of felt, in this day and age, that we didn’t always want to rely on anything like that, or any record labels, or anything. We wanted to think: “We’ve got to build everything ourselves, and


create a whole new thing of our own.” But then on the other hand, obviously winning the competition helped us quite a lot, not just because we got to play Glastonbury, but because, that’s where people like Huw Stephens heard us, and he’s been a supporter ever since. So things like that have really helped. How would you describe your fashion sense, perhaps a bit new romantic? Hopefully you wouldn’t call it new romantic. I’d describe it as more like Miles Davis, ‘On The Corner’ kind of style.

sort of Top Of The Pops type show. Will you be dressing up as robots for your stage show any time soon? It’s probably off the cards. Someone told me yesterday that the Bestival dress theme this year is space. So if we see it anywhere, it’ll be there. It might be but don’t bank on it. Golden Silvers’ album ‘True Romance’ is out now.

The video for the ‘True Romance (True No. 9 Blues)’ single is a brilliant recreation of a retro pop show. Did you have any particular reference in mind while making that? Truthfully, it wasn’t anything specific. We were watching quite a few of these old, funny Italo disco pop shows from Italy in the seventies. There’s one where the band is all dressed up as robots and they actually attack the audience with, like, a spark plug. It’s more stuff like that more than any English









Interview Will Daunt, Photography Ben Cook, Stylist Rose Forde

For a band all still in their teens Bombay Bicycle Club have achieved a ridiculous amount. Their debut album, ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ was produced by Jim Abbiss, a man whose golden touch blessed the debuts of both Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys. They’ve played Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, whipped up crowds on various nationwide tours, and got the likes of Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe salivating at their very name. And they did all this while still studying for their A-levels. Not that you’d suspect such an industrious ethic speaking to their bassist Ed Nash, whose nonchalant middle-class drawl washes over you like an episode of Skins. I caught up with him a couple of hours before the band drove up to Manchester to play a gig at a ruined castle.


How are you Ed? Good, yeah. Not bad. You played Glastonbury last weekend, any favourite moments? On the last night I was really drunk, and I found this stand that sells foot long hot dogs. It was pretty amazing. I only had one though. The concept was good, but the hot dogs themselves were disgusting. You played both the Park stage and the Guardian tent. Which was better? The Park is great, it’s out the way and it seems like people go there to chill and actually listen. And there’s a sushi stand up there. Also, Jack (Steadman, the lead singer) was sunburnt by the time we played the Park stage, and that’s always funny.

about our band, but the tent was full - we were the first band on the first day. It was a humbling experience. I think I’d prefer to go to Glastonbury though.

slightly odd party.

Being such young bucks you must have been to quite a few 18th birthday parties recently. Any ones stand out?

Well, I think we were just bored of playing in smelly little venues around the country, sitting around waiting to soundcheck, so we decided to do some acoustic gigs which would give us and our fans a nicer experience. They’ve been amazing so far. The last one was completely unexpected. We turned up at this beach and there were fifty or sixty people there. I don’t know how they found it, because it was

A friend of mine had one, which was themed and decorated like the video for Beastie Boys ‘Intergalactic’. That was great. People were wearing yellow hats and gloves, and dressed as robots. There are so many others, but they’ve all gone out of my head. We all enjoy a

How did Glastonbury compare to other festivals you’ve played at, like Reading and Leeds? Well, I think Reading and Leeds suit us a lot more actually. People are there just to see bands, but at Glastonbury people can get distracted. Reading and Leeds are more rowdy, people drink more. Our first gig there in 2007 was amazing. We didn’t think anyone really knew


Is that why you decided to do the current dates in odd places like beaches and mines instead of venues?


87 Well, I think we were just bored of playing in smelly little venues around the country, sitting around waiting to sound check, so we decided to do some acoustic gigs which would give us and our fans a nicer experience. They’ve been

completely secluded. We played and then everyone got a little crazy, we left just as everyone was getting really wasted. Do you still attend Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant on Maida Vale (the place after which the band was named)? Yes. They gave us a free meal last time we went. We’re considering starting up loads of side projects with names like McDonalds and KFC. We’d save a lot of money on the road if they both gave us free meals. If you were to be a superhero, which one would it be? I’ve thought about this a lot. It would have to be Wolverine. He’s a real person – he doesn’t have any really amazing powers, he’s just a badass. I wouldn’t mind being a badass. Having claws on your hands might be a bit inconvenient though, especially when you’re trying to play bass. But then if I was Wolverine, I wouldn’t be bothered with playing bass. I’d just be out being a badass. Ever had any life or death experiences? I’ve had quite a few actually, none

very fun. I got sucked under a boat when I was a kid – my foot got caught in a rope while we were going along and I was whisked off the deck. The boat had to come to a complete halt before I could be dragged back up. I was under the water for a long time. But I got through it.

bury), I would’ve said Alex James, because I find the cheese farmer thing incredibly irritating. But now he’s still irritating but also really cool because of Glastonbury. But actually, the cheese farmer thing is so annoying that he’s still really irritating.

Who irritates you most in the world? Before Blur played last Sunday (on the Pyramid stage at Glaston-


amazing so far.





















Interview by Will Daunt

The Rumble Strips were tipped for great things when they released their debut, ‘Girls And Weather’ in 2007. Simon Williams, the head of Fierce Panda records, said that when he first saw them, “they were beyond fault. It was like watching an orchestra, but with only five people playing. And wow did they have some songs.” Somehow though the Devon lads missed out on widespread success, and their brand of skewed ska-pop slipped off the radar once the initial buzz of hit single ‘Motorcycle’ had worn off. Unperturbed, the band continued to write, producing a series of brilliant songs with production dandy Mark Ronson. The fruits of these sessions are collected together on their new album ‘Welcome to the Walk Alone’. I caught up with singer Charlie Waller, who at this very moment is looking for somewhere to live. Open your doors ladies.


You’re playing your album launch show tonight at a rather eccentric venue, the dilapidated Wilton’s Music Hall in London. That sounds like something special. I can’t remember who saw the venue in the first place, but we all decided it would be a really special place to do a gig. I think Matt might have gone to a wedding there a couple of years ago. But I’m not sure that’s the reason why we’re playing. It’s going to be fun though. We’re playing the whole first album through in order, and we’ve got a mini-orchestra behind us – a string quartet and then a five-piece brass section.

The new album features two quite different but well-known production talents – Mark Ronson and Owen Pallett. How was it working with Ronson? Did he make you polish your instruments? You know what? He actually did make us polish our instruments. I don’t know why. I don’t think it really makes a difference. He’s quite a smart man, and I think he thought that perhaps we were a little scruffy. He bought us all matching suits as well. He’s a very positive sort of fellow though, and I think we can all be a little miserable. He helped with some arrangements and things, and made it all really fun.


How about Owen Pallet of Final Fantasy? He’s quite a special talent. He’s a very talented guy. The big difference between him and Mark Ronson is that he’s got a sort of Canadian twang, and Mark’s got an American twang. Mark’s quite trans-Atlantic. At first Owen couldn’t do it though, and I thought that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to get him in anyway. I was worried that we’d end up chucking strings and horns on and it would end up just sounding a little cheesy. Like expensive but not that good. But he suddenly did do it, and the difference he made was amazing. He’s very sympathetic to the songs. Some songs there’d be hardly



anything happening and he’d add the perfect little plink of harp, or something like that. It would never be over done. You said in a recent Clash interview that you’d only just started using the Internet. Are you still living without any other modern necessities? I’ve stopped again. I’m homeless at the moment, so I’ve got no modern necessities. I stayed at our manager’s house last night. You haven’t got any rooms to spare have you? The Rumble Strips make great dancing music. Would you consider yourself a good dancer? I’m a really fucking good dancer. It’s always been the way I get girls. The band only seems to attract middle-aged men, so dancing has always been my way in. I twirl them round. Hold them close. Old ballroom dancing style. The band are all in London now (although it seems you actually have nowhere to live). How’s that working out for you? I don’t really want to live in London now. The band’s here, which is kind of good, but I think I’d like to move to Spain. I don’t think the

rest of them would come. Maybe we could write over the Internet? If I learnt how to use it. There was a period when you were out of both the Rumble Strips and your other band, Vincent Vincent and the Villains, when you were working on a building site. Did you mind that, and do you think a bit of a gritty hardship is a good thing for a musician? No. I’d prefer to have been signed when I was 18. I was 26 when I got signed, which is a long time to be chasing it. I worked doing maintenance at a club on the Wandsworth Road for a while. Screwing down tables so girls could dance on them, that kind of thing. But I don’t think it did me that much good. I haven’t been back there since. Henry [trumpet player] has had some quite interesting jobs. He was an undertaker for a while. He’d be on call in rehearsals, and he’d have to go off and get the body. He’s a trained hypnotist as well. He’s an interesting guy. What’s your personal highlight on the new album? I love the title track, ‘Welcome to Walk Alone’. It’s really up, and it’s a really solid tune.








Michael Bradley, bassist with legendary Northern Irish punk-rock outfit The Undertones, looks back through the band’s fashion archive.

“Fashion wasn’t a subject discussed amongst the band or with our manager or with any record company and we certainly never met a stylist. We just wore what we wore on stage and off.” The Undertones. Derry, 1978, L Docherty FLY53 AUTUMN/WINTER 2009



The Undertones fashion sense - and there was one, despite what the photos suggest - was loosely based on Derry’s 1970s young rioters look. Kind of. Starting with the shirt - Ben Sherman, if we were lucky, but more likely a basic small print wide collared number, as bought for us by our mothers. (Why we didn’t have more Ben Sherman shirts is something that I can’t understand, as in the late 1970s there was still a Ben Sherman factory in Derry. When I was about thirteen, I had a number of matching shirt/tie combinations bought at a discount by a sister who worked there. I seem to remember them costing 50p each.) Trousers were based on the parallel look which came to Derry via Scotland. The hard men at our school (St Peter’s in Creggan) wore them a good few inches above the ankle. Usually flannel material, although also available in denim (when they were called “skinners”). We carried on the style a few years after its peak. I don’t know if it ever actually reached London because by the time we went there in late 1978 we had a lot of explaining to do about the shortness of our trousers. They were usually worn above a pair of black oxford brogues, highly polished,

with small metal heel inserts. These were either put in by a proper shoe repairer, or else you bought a packet in Woolworths and hammered them in at home. The great thing about them was the ability to strike a spark when walking along the footpath. They were also great for making an entrance as you clicked your way up the aisle when going to Sunday mass. Of course, the other shoe of choice was the Dr. Marten. The boot at first - I don’t remember seeing the shoe available in Derry until the start of the 1980s - and usually in oxblood. They were always associated with, again, the Derry hard men, until punk arrived and they became the shoe of choice for your average punk rocker. When we first went to London, we made the pilgrimage to Holts in Camden Town. Dr. Marten heaven, of course. One of my first purchases was a pair of oxblood Dr. Marten brogues. They were the perfect shape and colour, with the wingtip in exactly the right place - not too close to the laces, not too close to the toe. They were also made of the polishable leather, not the waxed leather that you sometimes get. They eventually wore out, and I have never been able to get a pair as good.

One item of clothing always associated with the band was the snorkel - the blue nylon parka with fake fur around the hood. In the early 1970s almost every schoolboy in Derry had a parka - green cotton, midlength, red lining, with rabbit fur around the hood. By 1978 this had evolved into the shorter blue snorkel. A brilliant piece of clothing, especially in the winter of 1978, when the fully extended hood not only kept out the cold, but also enabled you to hide your face so you couldnt be spotted by the boys hanging around the shops in Shantallow waiting to beat up Feargal Sharkey [former lead singer of the band]. In the summer, the coat of choice was either the Harrington or the Wrangler jacket. Levi jackets never featured in Derry. It was a Wrangler town. Harringtons were usually black, with the standard tartan lining. Sometimes the dandies among us would wear a red one, or light blue. In a moment of madness in London, I bought a light brown one in Praed Street in Paddington.” Michael Bradley - The Undertones The Undertones, A ‘ n Anthology’ is now available, as well as the 30th anniversary re-issues of the classic albums ‘The Undertones’ and ‘Hypnotised’.


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