WELCOME ONE AND ALL Hello dear friends. As you read this, I can only assume that you’ve decided to read, support, or at least skim through the second issue of our little magazine See You Mate (Yeah, See You Mate). A whole nine, dread-filled drudgeful months after the release of vol. 1, the sequel has arrived... and cordially, I hope for you it will be worth the wait. Make yourself comfortable, and join us on a one way trip to journalistic infamy. For both of us, this magazine has been a project of passion, as we conspire to create a magazine that is utterly packed full of information, whilst also looking visually striking. As a nice change from last issue, our team’s expanded; new writers with big ideas have put pen to paper, whilst illustrators and artists alike have pledged a visual feast of portraits and collages to the cause.
To encroachment, And with love, Hannah and Cal
Front cover and image: Hannah Woollam
For so much music is boring, and the journalism even more drab, instead of merely complaining about it, we took great pleasure preparing this for your good selves. Whilst a large part of the magazine’s philosophy has always been, and will always be, to write about passions furiously, arrogantly and with a taste for blood, we are ever grateful for your custom and support.
A RISQUE BENKO OPENING, OR...
FOR LIFE IS A GAME OF CHESS, AND WRITING A MAGAZINE, ESPECIALLY, MORE SO THAN ANYTHING ELSE IS LIKE A GAME OF CHESS. FOR I, THE CRITIC, AM GARRY KASPAROV, AND THE ALGORITHMIC TITANS OF SPOTIFY ET AL, ARE DEEP BLUE. SIMPLY WHAT IS THE WAY TO DEFEAT THIS TIDE OF COMPUTERS TELLING US WHAT TO LISTEN TO? THROUGHOUT THIS ISSUE, I SHALL SIMPLY ATTEMPT TO EXPLORE WHETHER I CAN LAMBAST YE WITH CONTENT BETTER THAN THAT OF A COMPLEX COMPUTER; THIS PRIMARY AIM IS MY OPENING GAMBIT... ONLY TIME SHALL TELL IF THIS IS SUCCESSFUL.
THE WRITING PROCESS OF THIS MAGAZINE WAS ONE RIDDLED WITH TOIL AND HAUNTED BY HICCUPS. I STARTED THE WRITING PROCESS A FAR WORSE VERSION OF MYSELF THAN I BEGAN VOLUME ONE, STRUGGLING TO STRING A SENTENCE TOGETHER AFTER A LENGTHY SPELL OF ISOLATION; CREATIVE EXILE. WHEREIN THE WRITER’S BLOCK EVEN INFECTED MY ABILITY TO WRITE SHORT POSTS ON MY SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS. FOR I HAD SEEN THE GREATEST MINDS OF MY GENERATION, STARVING, HYSTERICAL, PARTIALLY CLOTHED, GRADUATE THEIR BACHELOR’S DEGREE AND PICK UP UNINSPIRING OFFICE JOBS. I ADMIT I WAS THE SAME. SPENDING MORE ON A SINGLE PINT THAN MY WEEKLY FOOD SHOP, MONTHS BEHIND RENT, AND WEARING ONCE-HEELED, NOW HOLED, COWBOY BOOTS THAT HAVE BECOME FLAT-SOLED FROM ALL THE WALKING, I CRY; “FUCK YOU LONDON, WHY HAST THOU LEFT ME LIKE THIS?” AS I KEEL OVER MY TYPEWRITER TO BEGIN THE SECOND VOLUME OF SEE YOU MATE, I CRY FURTHER WORDS – NOT MINE. “I must leave london ARTHUR MACHEN
to-morrow, it is the city of nightmares”
CONTENTS (SECTION ONE) 4
The See You Mate Jukebox
A dive into our favourite release
The See You Mate Liste
MANIFESTO 002 When the first issue of this magazine was published in a state of cerebral din, many of the featured artists and un-celebrated critics who had been faithfully public and complicit in their blackmailed-enjoyment and promotion of the publication caved in and fucked off. Indeed, Shame and the like all jumped ship and abandoned See You Mate at The Windmill; decrying the magazine and surely forever shaming themselves in the process. I remember the evening we found out that we weren’t going to be able to get into the Bat-Bike gig for free (presumably because ‘the [façade of a] scene’ feared our acerbic wit, etc.). “You fucking what,” we said to them, “you expect us to pay? You know we were going to publish this thing in full Comic Sans? You absolute tit – you’ve lost the plot – in fact, the lot of you have! See You Mate will be back!” And just like that, with the flick of a spare idiom soaked in vengeance and half pint of mild, See You Mate went back to the drawing board.
Lowly we worked. With craned necks and hair glugged from sight; with Baxter Dury’s stream of singles exiled from the garret-office and Chiquito’s Deliveroo number on speed dial, slowly the new material seeped out. “London is dead, London is dead, London is dead, London is dead, London is dead, London is dead,” cried Morrissey six times on Glamorous Glue. Somehow, and for some reason still unknown to us, See You Mate listened. The scope for artists, from countries unpronounceable and presumably a bit smelly, bloomed. We had a working-vacation in Israel and discovered the joys of the lute. The conception of only covering bands near or from the capital became a daunting prospect.
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The new magazine began to take shape, and, on the final day of editing, we all agreed that the only literary work that came close to comparing to the finished edition of See You Mate’s second issue was Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece. Wading through a myriad of cracked bowler hats (imploding heads), and with several bowls of mystery eggs (scurrying mice) darting about our feet, declaring their jubilation in long frail tones, we were finished.
In this issue we have prized out an emotionlessness and a sublime sense of the indelicate whenever London is concerned. Nothing in the magazine is theory, in fact, it is all fact. The content must be experienced in much the same vein as how spoken and acknowledged lies are never objected to in the pub. A well-received lie, it should really be called. And although, as consumers, we shall naturally cling to the concept that music magazines are meant for being bought and not for being read, our approach must be diverted to include the idea that: at least half of it must be read. Then, and only then, are you allowed to either place the magazine on your bedside table precariously open, so as to impress a potential home-comer (plot twist: you die alone), or on your bookshelf, along with a range of other unread Penguin Classics.
As Magnus Carter once said: “See you mate. Yeah, see you mate.”
Words: Edward Green
(Yeah, See You Mate)
PLAYING NOW, ON THE NOW INFAMOUS SEE YOU MATE JUKEBOX...
One and all, from the West to the East, it is a pleasure to hold your council here and now on this very page. Like maybe Twin Peaks or Sleater-Kinney, See You Mate and its small but loyal following have had a keen eye on the airwaves hoping and praying for a return, so it is with a grin upon my weathered face that I set the ball rolling for SYM2: The New Batch. And as has tradition dictates, this publication begins with a list of recently released, or soon to be released, tracks and records that have set the imagination ablaze. From music local to our London HQ, and far beyond, let this list be a barometer as to whether the recommendations of music journalist serfs bear any weight whatsoever anymore… I fear the worst.
Nilufer Yanya - WWAY HEALTH For this lo fi intro track runs for less than a minute, but I have always loved skits and shorts. It is with this number that we are grasped firmly by the hand and pulled into Yanya’s wonderland...that wonderland, of course, being ‘Miss Universe’, her near-perfect debut album. Fragmented guitar lines and spoken word lyrics, ooft. They’re going straight in my basket.
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Deep Tan - Air Now regulars in the dingiest and darkest venues of the Big Smoke, this entrancing trio are a bewitching and bewildering, bilingual band, bafflingly banging at boshing out bangers (mellow bangers at that). For it is with delight that I can share my unadulterated joy that their debut single ‘Air’ is out in the open, ready to waft its way onto the radiowaves in all its ethereal delight. Public Practice - Slow Down Cool cats from New York, New York, Public Practice rise from the ashes of the groups WALL and Beverly with a claustrophobic vengeance. De-tuned guitars noodle like utter bastards, while the caustic vocals of Sam York fly from her mouth like shells from a .16. “This city’s going to chew you up, cut you down”, she cries, atop Public Practice’s broken chorus, as the band pummel through one of the best debut singles I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to.
The Cool Greenhouse - Crap Art When I meet Lucifer on the tracks at Mitcham Junction, I will pawn my soul to thee for the chance to write a song half as good as this one. And when Satan is unable to grant me the ability, his talons no longer as good as they were in the Bible days, through Yog-Sothoth’s window I will hurl my soul, tied to a brick in exchange for the chance to have a guitar riff as good as The Cool Greenhouse’s schtick. AND UPON THE INEVITABLE KNOCKBACK OF THIS IDEA, I shall sell every single godforsaken one of my bitcoin, and simply buy the rights to the lyric: “I like my singles to be long, it’s good value for money”, and shout it over and over again atop a Keiji Haino sample until the Cafe Oto punters herald me as a genius.
PICK OF THE PILE
Black Country, New Road - Athens, France And it is with the utmost pleasure and most fiery eyed delight that I assure you in the form of Black Country, New Road’s debut single. Indisputably the capital’s greatest band at time of print, the six-piece’s tetchiness, unease and anxieties flood the music, as squealing saxophones and neurotic guitar lines lay the perfect bedding for frontman Isaac’s dry lyrical cut ups that sound like peak-toy-car-megalomaniac-era Julian Cope trying to analyse a failed relationship mid-acid trip. Recorded in Dan Carey’s Streatham netherworld, Speedy Wunderground HQ, the fury and the intensity of the band’s live shows are turned down a notch, making way for a calculated and cutting 6-minute classic that is perfect testament to the majesty of this group.
Black Midi - Speedway Oh, Black Midi, MY LOVE! Object of mine aural desires! Feted hype band and the most talked about group in London. For I need more, and more of this band in my life. I have the KEXP and NTS sessions in my iTunes library, and lust for more and more every day. There are so few bands that have such a lengthy hype train steaming behind them on every journey, but even fewer bands (none) that deserve it like Black Midi; and it is for this reason that Iust for more. ‘Speedway’ is a strange one, for it does not roar like ‘Ducter’, or explode like ‘bmbmbm’ (BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! - or so it goes), but merely ticks on. It’s a hypnotic and chaotic nugget, as special as the band that made it. Honkies - Moving to Berlin Our very favourite synthabilly cowboy pop group come alive on their kinda-self-titled-debut EP. Any regulars of The Windmill or 5 Bells be all too familiar with this yellow-eyed country number.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
A DEEP DIVE INTO ‘CRAP ART’ FOR EVERY MAGAZINE, WE SELECT OUR VERY FAVOURITE NEW RELEASE ON THE JUKEBOX. THIS TIME, WE BAGGED THE MAIDEN INTERVIEW WITH ‘THE COOL GREENHOUSE’, A MYSTERIOUS DIY ARTIST, CULPIBLE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR ‘CRAP ART’, OUR FAVOURITE SONG OF THE YEAR SO FAR
Rabid, repetitive and right on the cusp of annoying, The Cool Greenhouse are among the finest DIY projects operating in the UK at the moment. A mysterious group, the sound comes from a glitching Casio-like keyboard, the dulling coos of frontman Tom Greenhouse’s witty retorts, and the same guitar riff over and over for minutes, hours, weeks. New EP, ‘Crap Cardboard Pet’ is the sum of this so far. It obeys all of the combo’s self imposed rules. It’s a novel collection of three songs that span 20 infectious minutes; and the highlight comes in the form of closer ‘Crap Art’, a 9 minute post-punk potterer that sees Greenhouse utter: “I like my liquids to be fluid… I like my singles to be long… more value for money”. It is this song that I deem to be the best thing released in between volumes of See You Mate. We talk that very EP, new single ‘Landlords/4chan’ and the state of affairs in a wholly digital conversation.
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11 Can you give me a brief history of the project? We conceived the idea in the Summer of 2015, but didn’t get round to fully committing to it until late 2016 for various reasons. We wanted to do something interesting that wasn’t esoteric or alienating. To be unconventional but still relatable and catchy. We made some rules: overly-long songs, sparse and fixed instrumentation, no ‘proper’ chords or changes, no choruses, be funny, relevant etc. We’ve broken all these rules in one way or another now, but they’re still the guiding force and they’re pretty well represented on the Crap Cardboard Pet EP. Where are you from, where do you live? I’m from rural Herefordshire, right up against the Welsh border. The project was conceived in Cambridge but began in earnest in Suffolk a year later, and since then has been based in London and then Manchester. We are soon to be based in a communal farmhouse near Norwich and hope to stay there for a bit. We’ve been bouncing around too much. Is there anyone else involved in the Cool Greenhouse? I’m not really at liberty to divulge how many people, if any, are involved in the project. I can tell you that it is a band, though. When we’re asked to do something live I tend to do it on my own to a backing track, but this may or may not be because the other members are either plants or pathologically nervous. There’s a running joke that the live band are continually on strike owing to my tyrannical demands and miserliness. I can’t remember if it is actually a joke, though.
How did Cardboard Man come about? Talk me through your writing process for it? There’s a lot in that song. As a heteroboro white middle-class man, I sometimes worry about the extent to which I should be given a creative platform. Then again, freedoms of creation and self-expression seem to me to be something like human rights. The song is a proposed solution to this conundrum, in that it’s a critique of the worst kinds of heteroboro white middle-class men (certain politicians, specifically) and a kind of self-satire. It’s a bit of a paradox because I am trying to undermine my right to speak whilst speaking. So it was doomed to fail, but at least I’ve registered an awareness of the problem, if that counts for anything. Second, it attacks a lazy kind of liberalism that arrogantly refuses to be self-reflective or open to change. This bit came from my mum, really, but I think it’s widespread. She’ll say things like “I’m not homophobic, I really like gay people - they’re really good at hairdressing” and then be stubborn when it comes to listening to how that might be offensive, because she thinks it’s complimentary. This reminds me of the ways in which, say, Farage or Trump purport to be “not racist” - they have a very reductive and singular understanding of that term and refuse to register the complexities or any new developments. And really, often excruciatingly transparently, they’re just parroting certain views in order to ingratiate themselves with certain demographics, or to not get in trouble. So we have David Cameron pretending to like football to earn some working-class kudos but then misremembering his own football team. That’s a bit of an old reference now, but the best and most hilarious example of the kind of guff the song is about.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
12 Tell me a bit about the ‘Crap Cardboard Pet’ EP... It’s three tracks. The cassette (courtesy of Hidden Bay records) also may or may not have two secret tracks at the end. People say it’s a strength of ours that our songs sound like they’ve just been rattled off casually. Which is what they’re meant to sound like, but actually that wasn’t the case with these ones. They were written, by and large, in 2017. But because they’re so long and we have all these rules about instrumentation and no changes or effects, it was quite difficult to come up with versions that had momentum but obeyed the rules. Minimalism is tricky! We tried a few versions and made and released our first 7 inch during the time these were in the oven. I’m quite proud that Cardboard Man in particular does seem to have this sense of building, a dynamism to it, despite the guitar riff just bulldozing through the whole thing. The final track is a 9 and a half minute spoof manifesto, again with a continuous riff. It is actually extremely difficult to play a simple riff with character for nine minutes. And then find some lyrics that will keep it engaging. That was the mission. I don’t know if we succeeded, but people seem to be vibing most with that song, and are sometimes surprised when we tell them it’s over nine minutes, which makes me happy. We wanted to see how far you could take the principles of minimalism into pop without things getting too tedious. Where did the idea for Landlords come from? As a member of the human race I have a feeling that this is from experience. I was living in this ex-council flat near Deptford for a while which had a really stupid arrangement whereby certain things (like the outer portions of walls, the telecom) were still the council’s
See You Mate
responsibility. If there was an issue with something our landlord would inevitably say it was the council’s problem and they’d say it was his and you’d get locked in this endless Kafkaesque whirlpool of call-centres and shirked responsibility until you eventually gave up. It’s an example from personal experience, but this kind of thing is so widespread now it often just is the system - they make things bureaucratically impossible, everyone knows this and decides not to bother, and then they can report that complaints have statistically reduced, or whatever. This particular landlord was also very flashy and was just a ‘professional’ landlord, even though he did basically nothing for us. We were working full-time to support this annoying guy’s lifestyle. It felt very strange and the injustices of renting felt very palpable. We’re donating part of the proceeds from this single to the excellent London Renters Union, who are doing great stuff in fighting these kinds of issues.
13 Have you ever found any Greenhouse slander on 4chan?
No, but we intend to post this all over 4chan when it’s released, so watch this space. Hopefully we won’t get trolled too mercilessly. We’ll see... Tell me about the writing and recording process for these two songs.
What about 4chan? This one’s our jab at the online alt-right and the trolls. I have this suspicion that they’ve garnered disproportionate political influence just because they spend so much time active online, and that’s where everything happens these days. If your average 4channer spends 100 times more time active online than your average human, then in effect each 4channer counts for 100 people, and they appear to be everywhere. Obviously 4chan, which played a key role in the development of the alt-right, has had a very real impact on the political landscape recently. But you can’t shake the feeling that really it’s just a few hundred lonely internet-savvy guys in their rooms out to cause trouble. This song imagines what life must actually be like for some of these people. It’s also replete with many references to obscure 4chan memes, lots of which we learned about from Angela Nagle’s great book “Kill All Normies” about the online culture wars. Hopefully people will enjoy looking them up.
I’m not sure I want to talk about those processes too much because often it kills the magic a bit. The intent is more interesting. Essentially we think the present situation when it comes to things like renting or the alt-right is pretty dire, and so there’s a need for a revival of socially-minded music, and we predict one. You can see it stirring with people like Idles or Sleaford Mods - we thought Childish Gambino’s “This is America” might kick things off. So many songs at the minute just aren’t about anything, which is totally fine, but a bit of a shame because the political potentials of music aren’t being utilised much, and they ought to be when things are this terrible. The challenge is not to make it too crass (pun intended) or on-the-nose. You can’t just shout “fuck the tories” anymore, that’s not going to make anybody sit up and think because it’s been done to death. Thinking of interesting ways of commenting on these issues was at the forefront of our minds when composing and recording these songs. Anything else you’d like to add? Yes. We are supporting The Shifters on their UK tour in March. We hope to have a full band but they will probably be on strike (again). The Crap Cardboard Pet cassette is out now and the 7 inch single with Landlords and 4chan is due March 1st on Drunken Sailor records. Finally, thanks very much for having us. See you mate.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
unlawfully and at the bequest every issue we shall enshrine
many such kind patrons and encant the names of
‘SEE YOU M
With as much context as you need, it is with precaution I ask that you heed this very warning; 99 artists follow w then, and returned to our godless headquarters in the region known as SW20, in the knowledge that with th mediocre but notable ones. This is meant to be imposing, an exercise in being simply swamped and saturated, have transcended. Take heed ye voyagers, it is about to get dense. Adam and the Ants: ‘Dirk Wears White Sox of ‘glam’, for better or for worse. Africa 70: Of course, the group that backed Fela on several of the most essen to take a load of drugs and conduct an extremely fun and insightful piece of ethnographic research; bombasti actual real life band. Babes In Toyland: So gnarled, angry, and fiery, among the most inspiring muscal outfits and cavemen! The Bloody Orb: The most homo-erotic, and best, prog outfit the West Country ever produced. only to the last band I mentioned. Boris: The definitive Japanese noise outfit of the last 25 years; don’t let the M so high. I wonder if he listens to Pavement like an ordinary guy. Casa Bien: Kasabian tribute band, formed crack-riddled streets of Rhyl, The Canoes found fame with their sophomore LP, Capsized North of Stockport dethroned the then Conservative MP for Aberconwy, Guto Bebb, by camping out and protesting outside his ho track of the 60s. Find it at your peril. Citizen Cone: You don’t deserve hi-budget pop stars, you deserve this man pop that’s half untuned guitars, half vaporwave sax samples, and half terrible, terrible lyrics. Claire Rayner Kil played twice a day for a decade by John Peel. Cornershop: Everyone knows and loves ‘Brimful of Asha’, but early, lengthy dub jams, straight from Jamaica. Hey Dadawah, Ja-makin’ me want to listen to your music! The D life can throw up no more good music, or good moments, in fact. DJ Banaman: The best dance music artist th record that Lee Perry or Scientist had nothing to do with. Dracula’s Daughter: Too into the Manson Family, to Bournemouth trio, toted by Springwatch’s Chris Packham as ‘Hampshire’s answer to The Beatles’. Bournemou London bands try to sound like ‘Detective Instinct’, but sound like Interpol. Fido Castrel: Yes, yes! She is behin record of field recordings from an Alaskan oil rig, but she disappeared eternally after the ‘Frau Clovens is a TE to translate over the Internet. It didn’t. Flower Travellin’ Band: “Aiiiiiiiiiiii-yar!!!!!!!!” [riff]. Gang: Four of them; Ma just don’t sound good anymore. But they are. Gas: Ambient techno shaman. Quite boring most the time. Gutte of Leeds’ greatest ever band. Herbie Hancock: Quite simply, The Man. Hubbard, L Ron: Founder of scientolog No imps, just one amazing single: ‘Holland Tunnel Drive’. Karl Heinz Munchausen: Experimental German pic Royal Family. Kero Kero Bonito: RYM royalty, bridging the gap between J-pop and Dino Jr. Lightning Bolt: G she meant, but boy did she mean it. Atomic Bongos, mannnnn!!!! Mac Beth: Aiming to be ‘Portishead on an App The 11th best Japanese rock and roll group of all time. No citation. Mainliner: The fifth best Japanese rock a giants, his entire career, every single album is visionary. Especially ‘In A Silent Way’, ‘Sketches of Spain’, and th guy, goes to Jamaica in the early 70s, comes back with a record of slightly racist but pretty righteous early dub should rip off No Bra more. Nico: ‘Desertshore’ and ‘Marble Index’ probably remain the two darkest, most hard to Norma Frazer: ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ is just one of those songs… The Normal: Had two songs. Still the Brazilian Velvet Underground. Ish. Paranoid London: Improvised techno by two London-dwelling American c space disco pioneer, taken far too early for my liking. Bring him back. Peter Grudzien: Johnny Cash on shroom Pulp: The thing about Pulp is that Jarvis Cocker constantly walks a tightrope between being loathsome and lo Is Hardcore’. Rockets: The French Kraftwerk. The Rocky 4: Inauthentic Camden hipsters with music Masters with trust funds and shit haircuts. The Ronettes: Insurmountable amount of 60s mega hits, if ever there was a one lo-fi folk album on BandCamp called ‘Black Burn and Munch Esther Seat E’. Cool dude. Scientist: By far called ‘The Specials.’ Setback: From Dagenham, five wacky English proletariat idiots, with a passion for Mambo that once released a William Burroughs collab called ‘And I Set Fire to My Entire House and Everyone Inside’. back with them. Sons of Kemet: Robbed of a Mercury. Suburban Lawns: Another one of those great post-pun man to have been both the best musician of Saturn, and the best musician on Earth in his own lifetime. As gre now, as well, you know. It didn’t die with bloody Sun Ra! Taj Mahal Travellers: Nurse With Wound made a big off one band and one band alone… the Taj Mahal Travellers!!!! Taman Shud: One of the better bands to adorn Mid song, the singer halted the band, and shouted “Cal Cashin, how dare you trespass upon my domain! You mind. You can guess the rest. Tirzah: Responsible for ‘Devotion’, last year’s most beautiful album. Tommy Cas bands. Doesn’t really matter, it’s a corker. They actually have more than one song, you just don’t need to listen a hellish day of philosophy lectures, proceeded to make a 2 day long album of tunes on just a set of spoons. Jus accent. William Onyeabor: ‘Fantastic Man’. World Domination Enterprises: Industrial rock group with 3 bassi Southerner with a clarinet and some big dreams; hear ‘Poltergeist vol. 2’, for the real hits. Yellow Magic Orc Johnson: Peckham power-pop trio, claim to have never heard anything by Huey Lewis and the News, but mino an ego, it won’t let me go, what am I going to do?” I
yourselves, the executive artists from music’s rich
decision of past into
is as indomitable
with biographies, short. Alas, I am aghast to say that I have travelled forward into the when, backwards into the his list we have begun a comprehensive compendium of every good artist ever conceived, alongside several , but I gladly and duly tell you thus; once a single song from every artist has been listened to, it is then that you x era, the very best and very worst 80s pop group will always be, and always have been, the definitive definition ntial Kuti records. Akira Ishikawa (and Count Buffalos): Japanese maverick, money aplenty, went to Uganda ic, and always brilliant. Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity!!!!! Forever!!!!! Anal Magic and Rev. Dwight Frizzell: An of the 90s.The Badgeman: The finest outfit the West Country have ever produced; rustic shoegaze for druids . Black Midi: Obviously the best guitar band in London, you stupid fucks. Black Country, New Road: Second Merzbowheads say otherwise! Bunny Lee: What about the production values of Bunny Lee? How did they get d of people in my Spanish GCSE class. Terrible. Could only play ‘Fire’, badly. The Canoes: Hailing from the t, which entered the Welsh music charts at an optimistic 12. Heavily political, the three-piece singlehandedly ome for an entire 2 years. The Castaways: Had one song, and one song only, but it happened to be the best n that performs Bowie covers in a thick Minnesota accent with a cone on his head. Choosy Susy: Lo-fi bedroom lled my Dog: Relatively unknown solo artist who released only one single, ‘Claire Rayner is Guilty’, which was t it is the deep cuts where magic is made, and Indian tradition meets beta male lad rock. Dadawah: Fantastic, Damned: Don’t get the cre dit they deserve. Dean Blunt: Listen to ‘The Redeemer’, but only when you feel like hat Mali has ever known. Probably. He’s up there. Dr Alimanto: ‘Best Dressed Chicken in Town’, the best dub oo into amphetamines, too good for it to matter. Dolly Parton: Not a novelty act, you cowards. Eisler Crown: uth’s not in Hampshire, Chris. The Fall: The reason I do what I do, you do what you do, and the reason all those nd ‘Free Clandestine’, the only 21st century rock record to have any relevance today. Frau Clovens: One great ERF’ scandal. Not actually a TERF, just tweeted an applause emoji at Graham Linehan, expected the sarcasm argate motley crew that just released a banging 31 minute single. Gang of Four: Ripped off so many times they ersnipe: And yes! The year that brought us Marcelo Bielsa’s voyage to English football also brought us the city gy, released an album called ‘Space Jazz’ as soundtrack to one of his books. It’s so bad, it’s amazing. impLOG: ckup artist from the 70s… largely unsuccessful, but once slept with an ‘unnamed member of the Monegasque Guerilla two piece, from that America over there. Lingua Ignota: Hell on record. Lydia Lunch: I don’t know what ple computer’, sounds more like Massive Attack on an Acer. Pretty classic Bath trip-hop. Magical Power Mako: and roll group of all time. Even less citation. Mika: League of his own. Miles Davis: Stood on the shoulders of he ill advised ‘You’re Under Arrest!’ As sure as Germaine Greer is a pedo, Miles is a genius. Mycologist: White b tracks. Returns to Skeggy. Gets laughed out of town. NEU!: Bands should rip off NEU! less. No Bra: Bands o listen to, evil records ever conceived. Massive Nazi. Turned her son onto heroin age 13. Interesting character. e best British post-punk band that didn’t wear makeup. Orlando Julius: King of ‘Super’ Afro Soul. Os Mutantes: cowboys. Paranoia Clan: Slovak noise rock troupe, record in a cheap shit room. Patrick Cowley: Shamanic ms. Porter Wagoner: The third best country singer ever, after his wife Dolly Parton, and his better, Johnny Cash. oveable, whilst also walking the tightrope between sexy and creepy. It’s easier to just love Pulp, if only for ‘This degrees trying to rip off the Country Teasers and stumbling upon the jackpot; ironic cowboy bebop for wankers an argument for pop’s golden age it’s for ‘every time The Ronettes put a record out’. Roque Santa Cruz: Has and away the most special artist of the 1970s and 1980s. A big title, considering the second most are literally o. Shriekback: XTC side project. Better than XTC. See also: Dukes of Stratosphere. Silverback: Grunge group . Exiled to the UK because it was terrible. Snuck back into the US after the first outbreak of bird flu, bringing it nk groups people should rip off next time they fancy releasing an album of bad Joy Div pastiches. Sun Ra: Only eat as Miles Davis, as wacky as Masahiko Satoh, more classic albums than digits. Szun Waves: Jazz is good g mistake in citing these as an influence, as it exposed thus; Nurse With Wound’s career was built upon ripping the recent, fantastic, Trashmouth Compilations. Title Fighter Street Fighter: I saw them once at The Windmill. ur vulgar writngs have set my career back years”. A fist fight ensued. One of us lost both hands, the other their sh: Estonian musical man mountain. U-Roy: The Original DJ. The Units: Another one of those ‘have one song’ to them. Walker Brothers: Only on this list for ‘Electrician’. Will Coldwell: Went to my uni, and then, following st bashing really. There’s a bit after about 6 hours where he goes; ‘and the gods made light’ in a plastic Russian ists, and a penchant for simply, infectious choruses. Simply unstoppable force. Wyndham Carroll: Chin-spittled chestra: Dubbed ‘The Japanese Kraftwerk’ by idiots, never has a band been further ahead of its time. Zorro or hit ‘S*@t to be There’ says otherwise. Zounds: One of the best UK punk bands; they sing; “ABC, go: I’ve got ask myself this every godforsaken day of my utterly futile life.
SECTION NUMBER TWO
AN ESSENTIAL REIMAGINING OF MUSIC PAST
AND FOR WE ALL TAKE GREAT PLEASURE IN GAZING UPON THE PAST IN SEARCH OF BEAUTIFUL MUSIC THAT IS NEW TO US. DAILY, WE CURATE PLAYLISTS OF AFROBEAT, MIXES OF 60s GARAGE BANDS, AND DJ SETS OF DEEP HOUSE DEEP CUTS. BUT WHEN EXPLORING THE PAST, THERE IS TOO MANY DIFFERENT ROUTES, A MILLION DIFFERENT TOUR GUIDES AND A SATURATION OF THINGS THAT ARE SIMPLY GOOD.
IN A GAME OF CHESS, THE ‘SCHOLAR’S MATE’ IS NOT THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE TO CHECKMATE, BUT THE FASTEST, SLICKEST METHOD OF CHECKMATE THAT COMMONLY OCCURS. FOUR MOVES FROM WHITE, THREE FROM BLACK. LET THIS SECTION OF THISHERE MAGAZINE BE THE MOST STRAIGHTFORWARD INSIGHT INTO MUSIC’S GREAT PAST... COME NOW, MY FELLOW SCHOLAR, WE HAVE LITTLE TIME.
Les Rallizes Denudes, the greatest band you’ve never heard of.
The GTOs, girls talk outwardly and outrageously, and possibly for the first time with feminine alterity on a pop record
The search for Plastic Bertrand, the faded great hope of yesteryear
BLIND BABY HAS ITS MOTHER’S EYES... YEARS ACTIVE: 29 ALBUMS RECORDED: 0 PLANES HIJACKED: 1 A BRIEF HISTORY OF LES RALLIZES DENUDES, HISTORY’S FINEST ROCK ‘N’ ROLL BAND
May this feature begin with a simple instruction. Scour the history of music; scour it. Scrrrrrrr. Scrrrr. No pal, I don’t mean ‘scour’ as an unwieldy synonym for ‘study’. Put down your reading glasses, get on your pink rubber gloves. From your under-the-sink cupboard take out that grizzled pad of wire wool and take it to the musical history that the elders taught us. Take that Bob Dylan; feel the wrath of my scouring pad! Have some metal wool, The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses! Scrub, scrub, scrub, fuck off Pearl Jam! Who even listens to Pearl Jam?
See You Mate
19 From hereon in I invite you to envisage a fantasy world; wherein the very concept of music that is revered or relevant is dashed. When we talk about music, it’s so often in past tense. For a megalomaniac music critic with very little footing in the real world like myself, discussions of musical history come up many, many times a day. In Vol. 1, I delved into my frustration at The B-52’s and their status as a novelty act, whilst the more self serious post-punk and new wave acts have managed to bloke their way into the wider musical canon. Why? Seriously, why? The idea of a musical canon has always fascinated me endlessly. A kind of assumed belief amongst everyone with an interest in recorded noise should hold the same subjective bit of thing in the same high regard. In beginning this magazine, I was adamant that I’d not only talk to an echelon of new artists that cater to my vision of musical genius, but also establish an alternative history of popular music. Lay down a monolithic set of artists and principles through which I see the musical world, and invite you, the reader, to stand in my shoes. Walk a mile in them, headphones blaring. Like what you see? Cool, let’s get together some time and listen to some Sun Ra. You can keep the shoes. They look better on you than they do on me. So, where was I? Ah. Yes. I remember. When we talk about the greats, the very greatest artists in their field, the same [white, American/British, male] names crop up. And they’re nearly always alright, y’know? I’m not one of these hacks that’ll sit here and slate The Beatles or The Stones for lazy shock value. But, the essence is that the same names do appear time and time again; and they’re all pretty similar when you deconstruct them. They’re groups or artists who, do their thing, make
a record in the studio every couple of years, dress in a fairly cool way, and are ultimately fairly upstanding citizens despite the odd deviance - you know, maybe they said something vaguely anti-Capitalist on stage once, or experimented with drugs when they were young. But the band I’m here to tell you about today are certainly not one of those bands. Welcome to the realm of Les Rallizes Denudes… and wipe your feet on the way in. Whilst virtual unknowns in their day, Les Rallizes Denudes have become increasingly cited as one of the most intriguing prospects of Japan’s rich musical past. Formed around kingpin Takashi Mizutani, their music has a quality you can’t quite put your finger on. From their formation in the late 60s, they perfected that Denudes sound almost instantly, and whilst there are so many remarkable things about this band, I think we should begin where everyone’s first experience with their next favourite band begins, with their music itself. So singular in its brilliance, even before you consider that this band’s American contemporaries were The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators and Love, the Les Rallizes Denudes sound can be put down to a handful of basic components that never really altered throughout the group’s two decade existence (despite the almost non-stop rotation of personnel). There’s this taut bass sound, maybe the first thing you notice, that plods along carefree, childlike - and yes, we’ll have more on the band’s original bassist later. There’s minimal drumming, as the band freak out, the drummer makes the least amount of noise possible at all times. And the guitars! When Takashi Mizutani plays guitars, they stay played; howling banshees of riffs, spectral melodies that
(Yeah, See You Mate)
20 seem to pass through the rift of the speaker, or the headphones, instantly and fill the room with astral neuroses. A precursor to My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth’s axe-wielding wizardry for certain, but the wild and unfettered way in which this noise is mined from the instrument gives the recordings of the Denudes an autonomous quality - particularly prevalent on their best known album, ‘Heavier Than A Death in the Family’, wherein the guitars and vocals interlock as some sort of ghoulish ritual partaken in in order to push through to the world we know. Even though it’s easy to imagine these fuzzy, misty guitar sounds coming from a guitar - they’re more guitarry than My Bloody Valentine’s, more melodic than Sonic Youth’s - they sound like spectral visitations that would simply exist whether exorcised or not. Perhaps this is something in my mind, imprinted on the music because of the elusive nature of the band, but there’s something (dare I say?) magical about this music. After all, every ‘record’ of theirs is recorded on shoddy bootlegging equipment, which entwined with the howling guitars makes for a very unique sound… perhaps even accidentally. Mizutani was adamant that the Rallizes should never make a conventional record. He never really took the band into a recording studio, musing that what it did to the sound was extremely detrimental. And, you know, he might have a point; how many monolithically good live bands just can’t nail it in the studio? Takashi Mizutani’s radical approach to music is all over the band’s boot-legged discography. His slender figure, leather suit, and omnipresent sunglasses loom throughout his art. For over 20 years, Les Rallizes Denudes existed as a staple of the Japanese underground, playing live but never recording, and perhaps even more infamously, playing the same
See You Mate
group of a couple dozen tracks over and over, choosing to morph them instead of write new ones. Indeed, next to nothing is known about Mizutani. It feels reductive whenever a journalist describes musicians not from the global West as ‘mystical’ or ‘shamanic’, but it’s difficult not to describe a man so influential that so little is known about in any other way. This elusiveness is such that when talking about him, or the Rallizes, there are so very absolutes we can deal in. But deal in absolutes I will try to, as I have perhaps a paragraph or two of information that isn’t speculative of the man and no more. Enrolling in 1967 at Kyoto’s Doshisha University, Mizutani was a part of a wave of Japanese intellectuals aghast at the rapid Americanisation of their post-war culture. He formed the Rallizes amongst a strong university folk scene, full of like minded individuals. Like minded individuals that watched ‘mock American’ pop songs begin to rapidly gain popularity at this time. Like minded individuals that did not like what they saw one bit. Obsessed with French culture; the cinema, the cigarettes, the music; Mizutani was a Francophile of the highest order… this love is what spawned the band’s name, although notably there is no translation for the world ‘Rallizes’ in French, or any other language. The group were left wing radicals, and within a year of Mizutani’s university education commencing, the Rallizes were taking shape. Mizutani latched onto the sound the Velvet Underground and San Fran occultist rockers Blue Cheer as the groups were at their peak, and upon hearing Sister Ray from ‘White Light/ White Heat’, he felt as though his lust for a longer, repetitious, incessant kind of rock music was valid.
Notably at this time, they started to play a track called ‘Smokin Cigarette Blues’ that would later appear on the comp ‘Flightless Bird (Yodo-Go-A-Go-Go)’, which was a nihilistic onslaught of guitar noise not too far from the cathartic noise rock that would permeate the US underground decades later. It’s common when listening to the group to think; ‘ah, I can’t believe this came five years before punk’, or: ‘I can’t believe that this band nailed shoegaze fifteen years before ‘Loveless’ came out’. When we talk about the Rallizes, there are few absolutes in terms of facts, but it is certain that this were a group years upon years ahead of their time. In 1970, perhaps the band’s most notorious act was carried out, and it wasn’t an act of music, either. An act that in just a few whirlwind days, Moriaki Wakabayashi, the group’s original bassist, would gain more exposure than Mizutani’s musical endeavours would over the next fifty years. Working as part of The Japanese Red Army, a radical left terrorist group, Wakabayashi assisted in hijacking a passenger plane and flying it to North Korea. Now, I don’t profess to know anything about the political situation in Japan in the early 70s, but I think that’s unspeakably cool. The Japanese government didn’t think it was cool though, and Moriaki Wakabayashi has spent the rest of his life in North Korea in exile, alongside the rest of the Japanese Red Army group that never returned to their homeland. Consequently the Rallizes’ affiliation with Wakabayashi meant that no matter how big the noisy innovation… they had to keep a low profile. It took years for Mizutani and his band to shake off their affiliation with Wakabayashi and the Japanese Red Army, so it’s at about this time that concrete historical facts about them dry up. From 1970 onwards, the band’s history is mythical, unknowable.
And that’s a strange thing. It’s often quite boring to say: ‘imagine if these punx were doing their antics today!’, when looking at things that happened before viral media. But in the age of the internet, it’s not too hard to imagine that a face melting psychedelic rock band that stole a plane might get a wee bit more coverage. The best way to unearth further is by simply listening to the bootlegs upon bootlegs that exist of their live shows. ‘Heavier Than A Death in the Family’ remains the definitive album, in many ways. You’ll recognise the black, white and red sleeve - it’s got cover art that let’s you know it’s a classic album before you’ve as much as put the disc in the drive. Predominantly recorded in 1977, tracks like ‘Night of the Assassins’, ‘Enter The Mirror’ and ‘People Can Choose’ would go onto appear on a great deal of Rallizes releases (and just to clarify, by release I mean ‘bootleg’) throughout the band’s career, but this is the best place to first fall in love with them. If the first minute of ‘Night of the Assassins’ doesn’t excite you, if it doesn’t slowly fill your cold hands up with warm frothing blood, if it doesn’t make bubble and gargle at the mouth as it’s spacious tones fill your bedroom, then I’m afraid you’re already lost. Many other live releases remain absolutely essential listening for anyone into guitar music. ‘Live 77’, a treat from the same year as ‘Heavier’, is every bit as blistering, 1974’s ‘Great White Wonder’ has a staggeringly beautiful song called ‘Otherwise Falling In Love With You’, and David Keenan says about ‘The France Tapes’: “If you buy one electric guitar album this lifetime...” Lots of classic albums for a band that went into the studio two or three times over four decades, and binned everything they ever made in a studio. For me, perhaps the best relic is ‘Blind Baby Has It’s Mother’s Eyes’. Every day,
23 I wish I could make an album as great as it. And every minute, I hope I can say a sentence as good as its title. Among the most clearly recorded scripture of Mizutani and co., it is a compilation of three of their recordings; the first track is from 1986, and if I knew no better I’d say it’s a few different versions of the same track spliced together a la The Fall on Spectre vs Rector, whilst the other two recordings are from 1977 and 1983. It spans the group’s creative peak, but is one compelling, cohesive album that squeals and sprawls. It doesn’t feel as ghostly as ‘Heavier Than A Death in the Family’, but for my money ‘Blind Baby Has It’s Mother’s Eyes’ is still a record that contains a fucking curse within its grooves. There’s a warmness to the ghosts that haunt the band’s oeuvre generally, but ‘Blind Baby’ is just a fucking evil record. It thrives off slow buildups, tetchy atmospheres, and huge payoffs. Mizutani’s whispers are often engulfed in microphone feedback and his guitar’s reverb is thick enough to tow lorries. I’ve been listening to rock music of all kinds my entire life, and so seldom has something got through to me so instantly. Takashi Mizutani and Les Rallizes Denudes are among the most notorious and beloved cult bands of all time, despite their relative unknown status throughout the whole of their career. Especially since Julian Cope did the lord’s work, and made them the focal point of his 2007 book ‘Japrocksampler’, they’ve started to slowly get the credit they deserve. In my mind, Les Rallizes Denudes are one of the most important bands in the canon of popular and experimental music; in the eye of my mind, they’re among the greats. And let me tell you thus; when we enshrine See You Mate (Yeah, See You Mate)’s alternative history of popular music, the name of this band and will be written in largest font. Mizutani now leads a very quiet life, some
say in Tokyo, some say in Kyoto. Some say he resides in rural France. He’s unphased by the idea of preserving his legacy. Apparently. I’ve scoured (this time, to mean studied) the internet in search of someone that has met Mizutani, in pursuit of a first person account of what the fella’s like. Alas, one doesn’t exist. No one has ever met him. And above all, everything we know about him has been mediated so many times that that might not even be true. I don’t even what proof I have outside of their music that they even existed at all - other than the mantra that they must have happened at some point, it would be much harder to hoax Les Rallizes Denudes than just have a real one. But what I am adamant about, sure to my core, is that they remain one of the most truly life affirming groups to ever lay down sound to tape. Listen to them, love them, burn them on CD-roms, talk loudly about them at the pub, do acid to them, crochet with them on in the background, and just make sure Moriaki Wakabayashi didn’t hijack that plane in vain.
WORDS: Cal Cashin
(Yeah, See You Mate)
OPENLY. OUTWARDLY. OUTRAGEOUSLY. A LONG OVERDUE LOOK AT THE GTOs, ONE OF HISTORY’S MOST UNFAIRLY FORGOTTEN ROCK AND ROLL GROUPS
Once Upon A Time, in the sunny city of Los Angeles, a circle of groupies became the first ever all-girl rock group to garner any major media attention. Although, around this time bands such as The Pleasure Seekers and Ace of Cups were making a noise in their various local music scenes, it was impossible for women to make a true impact in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, where testosterone was baked into its very core. If a girl band was lucky they might get to share the stage with their local heroes as a support act, but to be photographed by major magazines, to be seen as an artistic collective, the real deal, a Zeppelin or even *gasp* The Beatles? This wasn’t something that happened.
See You Mate
25 Then… enter the GTO’s. Girls Together in many forms - Only, Openly, Outwardly, Outrageously. The multifaceted nature of the acronym alone demonstrated how the group was a safe space for the women to express themselves freely without any male influence. This gaggle of girls featured a variety of eccentric individuals – firstly, there was Miss Mercy, a proto-goth who was was as bizarre as she was enchanting. Miss Christine, an aloof willowy beauty who made her own clothes. Miss Cyndrella, famous for spinning tales and the future wife of John Cale. Miss Sandra, who acted as the mother spirit of the group. The feisty Miss Lucy, and the wild-eyed Miss Sparky a Californian girl and future cartoonist, and the notorious Miss Pamela, known to many as Pamela Des Barres, who, with the publication of her memoir, “I’m With The Band”, became the most recognisable Rock ’N’ Roll groupie in history. There was also the mysterious Miss Johna, an originator of the GTO group some two years before the record came out. On debut album Permanent Damage these diverse personalities come together in a clash of colour. There are deeper philosophical musings on life and death and love, but fundamentally, the girls made a record that was honestly reflective of their inner world. No cliches, no contrivances, and most importantly no songs written by men for women – where the female voice is in fact a fake male fabrication of what they think the female experience should sound like – an all too common occurrence in sixties pop. Permanent Damage was an album of real women singing about their experiences and feelings that were as funny, touching, sweet and true as they were a touch tragic. None of the women played any instruments, so most of the songs function as spoken
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See You Mate
27 word, that floats dreamily over organs and guitars. A personal favourite is ‘Who’s Jim Sox’, which explores the discomfort that teenage girls experience during physical education lessons, having to work their growing bodies to undressing in front of one another. It isn’t expert wordplay by any means, but the sounds are satisfying and the world the girls create is vivid. It is both relatable and uncomfortable. In her autobiography, Miss Pamela explains how before ‘Who’s Jim Sox’, the girls had never written a song before. They all gathered together in a slumber-party style, staying up well into the night writing and laughing together. It was such a lovely and rare thing for a woman at that time to have - to be creating and expressing themselves so freely, especially together. And even more rare, there was a man encouraging the artistic pursuits of a group of young women without some sordid ulterior motive. I have always respected Frank Zappa as a musician, but what he did for the GTOs makes me respect him as a man. He offered to record and produce their album, pushing the girls to write songs and express themselves, and in the studio he made no adjustments to their songs, instead he enhanced them by adding the musical aspects that they were not trained to do. He led them towards their idealised creative self. It is a sad reality that in the twenty-first century Zappa would still be considered a rare gem of a man and a musician. Putting the album’s content aside, Permanent Damage is the sort of creation we should be working towards. Hasn’t the world of guitar music stayed a man’s game, because the guys won’t let the girls in? Even a seasoned artist such as Laura Marling still has male musicians trying to convince her to not play her own guitar on her own songs. We need more Zappas, helping female musicians to reach
their creative potential instead of letting their insecurities push women in music aside. Together, the GTOs and Frank Zappa demonstrated how a woman’s experience is as valuable in the world of rock ’n’ roll as a man’s. In addition to the spoken word tracks, there are interviews with various friends of the band - The Plaster Caster Sisters of Chicago, Rodney Bingenheimer and the BTOs (The Male GTOs) - some catchy flowery tunes about love, and a few Miss Mercy tracks where she sings about death and Brian Jones. It all sounds simple because it is. It isn’t a work of genius, but I don’t believe that art should only be valued purely if it comes from great skill. The reason I love this album so much is for its gusto, its energy, its imperfections make it beautiful. It doesn’t matter that ‘I’m In Love With The Ooh-Ooh Man’ sounds like a nursery rhyme, singing along to its playful lines, as the girls chant in chorus: “it makes you feel oh-so alive”. The girls had a real zest for life, and on this record that zest is infectious. This album proves that it doesn’t matter how good you are at music or art, or whatever your chosen discipline. If you have dreams and passions and enough heart you should make whatever you want. Don’t let anyone piss on your creative fire, be like the GTOs.
WORDS: Eleanor Philpot
(Yeah, See You Mate)
CA PLANE POUR MOI, MOI, MOI...
THE RISE AND FALL OF PLASTIC BERTRAND, OR: THE RISE AND FALL OF ALL THAT IS BEAUTIFUL AND HOLY IN THE CROSS-PLANETARY PLANE OF LOVE
Mother Earth is not what she once was. Scorched and scorn, destroyed and bastardised by the very bastards she homed. Smoke billows from the surface up to the atmosphere; plumes of black smog crawl upwards and engulf the once-blue sea of sky. Indeed, the sky’s ablaze and the planet is coughing like a first-time smoker. I have seen the future – yes, I can tell you of the future – for I have gazed forwards and seen what there is to see. There is nothing to see. Not even a dystopian future to behold, only a dystopian present. What did this? Whom? Whence? Why? For it was not tyranny that drove Mother Earth to oblivion, nor was it greed, gluttony or sloth. Quite simply it was plastic, and plastic alone. Failure to pick the wrong plastic has been detrimental to humanity’s progress since the olden days, when we called it shellac and made it out of beetles. A need for carrier bags, for single use straws and disposable cups has doomed us, doomed us to our unavoidable doom, and our children’s children’s children’s children will suffer the brunt of our actions. We deserve this plastigeddon, we do, and I invite the apocalypse upon thee with a knowing wink.
See You Mate
There is, however, another way; the other way. If, instead of drowning our mid-morning hangovers with teabags filled with plastic particles, we shun the multi-purpose material and canonise Plastic Bertrand as our savior, the world could be a much merrier place. Plastic Bertrand is the pop star we never deserved but the one for which we shall yearn eternally. A Belgian of Ukrainian and French stock, he was born with the name Roger Jouret, but he always deserved better. After struggling through a series of Belgi-punk groups that never really matched the sum of their parts, Plastic rode the new wave on a surfboard made of dreams. And oh boy did he know how to surf. After the international smash hit success of debut single Ca Plane Pour Moi, the official anthem of cartoon teenagers and ne’er-do-wells up to no good, Plastic rode this surfboard-dreamweapon-analogy-thing (stick with me, please) further and further. But what most people don’t ‘get’ about Ca Plane Pour Moi, for their grasp of the Flemish-French dialect is so poor, is that Ca Plane Pour Moi is not simply a ‘foreign version of punk’, but a calculated and crucial critique of its braggadocious nihilism from the mouth of a man that truly spited the subcultural fad.
29 Not content to simply regurgitate his punk and new-wave success over the course of several albums, Plastic took his focus off his Earthly audience - who saw him as no more than a quaint novelty - and started to fly spacewards. He flew and flew, overcome with disgust every time. [This is a fucking incredible para] Over the course of his next few albums, Plastic really got into his stride. Once Plastic put down the guitar, and started to play a mixture of synthesisers and cardboard cut-outs of himself, things really started to glide. Tout Petite la Planète and Major Tom are by far his two most vital works, from 1978 and 1983 respectively, they bookend his peak and capture almost the exact same feeling, for the linear qualities of time have never been an issue for him. As Plastic soars through hyperspace with no need to turn back, he coos: “such a small, such a small, such a small planet”. Plastic Bertrand knows he’s one of the world’s very few true visionaries. He knows for his home-world to survive he must be treasured. And he knows he simply will never be seen as anything other than a figure of fun. Alas, we are all damned, for we have alienated the divine. From his astral journey, yes, Plastic returned, however all hope was lost. In the 1987 Eurovision song contest, Plastic Bertrand finished 21st out of 22 representing Luxembourg. There was truly no respite. Indeed, the rejection fried him to the point where he’s now unrecognisable. The 90s and 00s saw him release a string of albums that truly couldn’t be the art of a man sound of mind. In 2010, it was found in a court of law that the first four Plastic Bertrand albums, all the classics, were actually written and performed entirely by a man who
was not Plastic Bertrand; a man called Lou Deprijck. Some say that this may compromise the inevitable canonisation of Plastic Bertrand. But for me, the magic isn’t solely within the music; it’s the music, alongside the packaging, the narrative, and the fact that the artist’s name is literally Plastic Bertrand. Some might say this article should be about Lou Deprijck, but some people are simply morons. In 2019, nothing is known of his whereabouts, but he is surely a husk of the man he once was. During his most recent public appearances, he looks like a heavily made up Steve Carell, reprising his part in ‘Foxcatcher’. The need to write this article was in fact prompted by a potential sighting of Plastic on the tube, but it turned out to be simply a man eating poppadoms straight out the packet. Who can really know where Plastic is now? How long he has left? How long have we got left? I have the answers. But those are for another time.
Words:Cal CashinArt: Hannah Woollam
(Yeah, See You Mate)
30 SECTION NUMBER THREE
FOR THE FOOL GAZED AT I AND I AT THEM, AND SAID: “FRIEND, THIS IS THE PATH TO FOLLOW NOW”. YES! THE PAST IS A DIFFICULT PLACE TO NAVIGATE! YES! IT IS AN ATTRACTIVE HOVEL IN WHICH TO CALL A HOME! BUT FOR IF YE STARE TOO HARD AND LONG INTO THE PAST YOU ARE LOST. I ADMIT, I TOO, AM DIRECTIONLESS IN MY PURSUIT OF RIGHTEOUS PATH, THE NEW SOUND, THE MELODY MOTORWAY. INDEED, FOR ME TO WRITE FOR YOU A MUSIC MAGAZINE IS THE BLIND, LEADING THE BLIND, LEADING THE BLIND FOREVER MORE. BUT IF FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN GETTING YOUR BANG FOR YOUR BUCK, AND YOUR VALUE OUT OF THE VERY REASONABLE RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICE, ALLOW ME TO ASSUME THE ROLE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD. TAILORED TO THE VERY NEEDS OF YOU, READER, WHAT FOLLOWS ARE A CRUCIAL SET OF INTERVIEWS WITH THE VERY BEST MUSICAL ARTISTS IN THE WORLD TODAY. FROM LA, TO LONDON, TO AMSTERDAM, THE GLOBE HAS WELL AND TRULY BEEN SCOURED.
See You Mate
AND SO THE VERY NOTION OF THE FOOLâ€™S MATE IS LUDICROUS. TO GET TO THIS POINT, YOU MUST TRULY WANT TO ORCHESTRATE YOUR OWN DOWNFALL. MAKE OF THIS CONCEIT WHAT YOU WILL, DEAR READER, MAKE OF IT WHAT YOU WILL.
A crusade of the Bethnal Green Museam of Childhood with Snapped Ankles
A communication with Jockstrap
A conversation with Death Valley Girls
A correspondance with Lice
A cig break with Jerskin Fendrix
A catch up with Pip Blom
A carouse with Yowl
(Yeah, See You Mate)
Words: S e e YCal o uCashin Mate
DIAL THE RINGS ON A TREE A VOYAGE INTO THE LUSTROUS, WEIRD WORLD OF SNAPPED ANKLES
(Yeah, See You Mate)
34 And when the primitives that once inhabited neolithic Britain gazed out unto the woods it was the first of the ultimate unknowns; the source of dangers most unknowable. For, their very existences were characterised by hunting, gathering, and the close-knit communities they spent their whole lives. What remains of these societies gone by so long ago; religious monoliths, stone circles like Stonehenge and countless others; tells us thus – the hills and the planes were the sanctum where lives could be carried out to the fullest. These stone artefacts have told us much over the years, but beside the supposed signs of the mass consumption of hallucinogens, the thing that is most telling to how these ancients lived their righteous lives is clear; stay out of the woods, for if ye should be fighting the monsters, ye may become monsters. Over the past 4,000 years, countless advances in technology have changed the most part of the world so much that our pagan ancestors would not even recognise their own land. What remains however, is the spectre of The Forest. Whilst the forests of Earth remain intact, they remain unknowable, often impenetrable crucibles of mystique that the vast majority of humankind will stray away from after dusk. Whilst we used to avoid the woods for fear of being torn apart by stone age wolves and shadowy demons, our mythologies have updated, with new frets and fears. The folktales of Europe show that very recently, forest spectres and spirits, and imps and monsters were spooking our forefathers and foremothers in the not so distant past. So for all the technological advances, the forest remains unturned; in Britain, we have a working scientific knowledge of what goes on in our forests when we are
See You Mate
not there, yet, the feeling that the unknown is out there and far more powerful than the known will always creep in. When dealing with such natural areas of mystery, we need an approach that does away with objective sciences, and looks upon such areas in a way that is utterly fresh. Wolfgang Voigt, the German ambient techno pioneer known as GAS, has spent his career exploring heavily wooded pastures with sound. On ‘Zauberberg’ (1997) and ‘Konigsforst’ (1999), thick, unholy electronic textures surround a muted kick drum, a musical sensation that one can only equate to being led through the eery woodlands of the Black Forest by a mute, hooded figure. With his music, Voigt captures an unspeakable phantasm of the forest better than words ever can. Voigt’s picture of the forest, however captivating, however right, does certainly play to the expectation that any unknown within the endless trees is ultimately dark and spectral. And it is the forest, the green netherworlds that lie far from our heavily industrialised cities that our story begins. There’s this enigma within the trees, and the human intuition tells us that we should fear that enigma; there could be beasts, there could be monsters… there could be anything. Therefor, the forest’s mystery always feels like it has a dark, bleak subtext; anyone that’s ever seen any horror film, from any country, ever, will know, nothing within is good and everything is predatory; but for a second, I want to invite you to subvert such notions. Snapped Ankles’ whole mythology revolves around such a mantra. Their debut album, entitled ‘Come Play the Trees’ last year gave us a glimpse of woodland that was truly alive. They pose as forest spirits, but instead of the looming, subtle threat we’re used to when we gaze into the darkness that trees, Snapped Ankles are lively,
35 energetic and more mischievous than malignant. Their music fizzes and their get up inspires, for all we know, they may make the true music of the forest… and we can only watch with intrigue at what they summon with their caws and cries and calls into the blackest of nights.
convenience, or for the fact that the cafe inside is reasonably priced, very pleasant, and ultimately quite quiet on weekday mornings, but I like to think that the music of Snapped Ankles has something in common with the definitely-haunted dolls that were all the rage in the 1920s.
Every once in a while you can grow fatigued by all of the music you’re seeing; fall into an intellectual coma of sorts, unable to rationally wake yourself up with the records you once loved. To pull yourself out of a period of great fatigue, it takes something incredible to cut through the drab and do away with the infectious boredom. Late May this year, I found myself in such a predicament. Sounds didn’t feel as satisfying, noise didn’t taste the same, and everything was oh so grey. In a single evening, though, alongside Scandi operatic metal outfit Circle, Snapped Ankles single handedly reignited the fire. At the Boston Arms, in Tufnell Park, Snapped Ankles had made themselves at home, transforming the live room into some kind of psychedelic forest set. They took to the stage in full forest imp get up, and played – how they played – a set of komische post-punk freakouts that turned malfunctioning repetition into a thing of magisterial beauty. And over the space of a sweaty, transportative half hour, I was cured of any kind of music fatigue.
“We were thinking: ‘oh shit. Now we’ve got to play to our mates’”, he says: “and we thought they’d be thinking: ‘oh, you’re still in your stinky costumes’, But it went off.” There’s a lot of surreal things about Snapped Ankles’ stage show, that are a lot harder to describe than they are to behold in the flesh. But perhaps the most pertinent, the most striking, is the ghillie suits that the whole band wear, that transform them into rock ‘n’ roll sasquatches.
“Wasn’t that great? That went off,” Paddy Austin exclaims. Since that fateful Summer evening, I’d been looking for any excuse I could to interview this group and get to the bottom of how this band is. At Austin’s request we meet at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, a huge Grade II listed Victorian building that houses some of the strangest artefacts in any museum in the country, made even stranger by the fact that they were all artefacts that had been children’s playthings. It’s highly likely that Austin’s chosen this place for
“The main thing for Snapped Ankles,” Austin remarks: “is that we were looking to make cold rock, or cold dance music with guitars. We wanted a lack of flourish. We’d play at parties and we’d just sit on a riff for ages.” Although this formula developed, the hypnosis of this early goal still manifests in the live show. “Normally, no frills guitar dance music puts you in that post-punk world of black skinny jeans and being cool. “I’d found the sniper suits online and thought they were a good subversion of that, I’d never really been in a masked band before.” The suits are more than merely cool costumes, it seems. “The suits are ‘non’, in the way that post-punk had a whole element against the individuality of hippiedom. Let’s be drab. Let’s be nothing. Let’s be non.”
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37 Anonymity is seemingly a big part of what Austin and the rest of the Ankles are doing. “We’re on the cusp of a new world, with facial recognition.” He continues: “With our masks, there’s a hope that - because you don’t get the face recognition - you take in other things. The next step is the ‘deep fake’. Have you heard about it? A deep fake is where you fake footage, that next level.”
“Something I saw in the ghillies is that, especially in our world, with facial recognition, when you see a band live, you just look at their face,” Austin says. Snapped Ankles’ performance is in some ways, without ego, but in many more ways, it inspires traditional obsession in a way that you’ve never experienced it before. In a live environment, you’re presented with these entrancing rock stars that look like half terrifying half endearing. The costume has always been the thing that characterised Snapped Ankles, for me, so I wanted to dig deeper. “At around the same time we started, I started looking at these books about pagan beliefs, the Green Man and forest devils.” Austin continues. “We were wearing the suits, AND THEN these coffee table books came out that documented yetis in the mountains and the alps. All the countries have their festivals, like we have Morris Men, but in Austria they have these monsters with bells and masks that come to all the kinds and ask: ‘have you been naughty?’ and then get ‘em. They look like the straw men or the Green Men, which have historically been a manifestation of your fear of the past.”
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38 “For me, it was tracing a line between the role of those monsters, and then when you read about Elvis and his hips, or Iggy. They’re the embodiment of the worst aspects of humans to remind everyone not to be bad.” Austin carries on, we’re on our second flat white now: “It doesn’t change, it’s just the same shit in a different costume. Snapped Ankles is a bizarre, potentially jokey take on that.” “Yes, The Mighty Boosh got their first,” he laughs: “so we just had to go, ah, The Mighty Boosh didn’t happen in our world.” There’s probably a series of ‘who wore it better?’ debates to be had, but ultimately Snapped Ankles are on an upwards trajectory to make their own take on the yeti iconic. “The band have all interpreted the suits differently. For example, I’ve read all these books on masks and shamanism, and the history of that, whilst the other guys in the band bring their own interpretations. Mikey’s started wearing horns, and becoming this fierce thing, whilst Giorgio, our drummer has these headphones, and he’s essentially drumming blind.” In an interview with Noisey, the band led an interviewer into the depths of Epping Forest, on the North East outskirts of London, a place all too influential to the band and their mythos. In said interview, the band spoke of creating a ‘forest of sound’, doing to the hummus of the forest floor what Nik Void and Gabe Gurnsey have achieved with the notion of the Factory Floor. It is this principal which makes Snapped Ankles tick, and move forward in a way that is fascinating to think about and makes the pulse race to behold. Another key part of the Ankles’ aesthetic, their myth, are the instruments they play; the log synths. Big logs, a la Twin Peaks’ best character, are mic’d up to a synth, and hit to make noise - Austin calls them “future bio-analogue instruments”. They’re
See You Mate
used to devastating effect live. “It started off an installation,” Austin says: “looking at synthesisers; how people fetishise them, and how you’ve got to be kind to them. I want to treat a synthesiser like I treat a guitar or a drum. I want to really brutalise it.” “They’re just not designed for that, so I started putting electronics in wood, but it wouldn’t work,” he says. “So I got these old drum synths, and strapped them to the logs. That gave us something we could brutalise. We built the most untunable, unplayable objects. But, they’re robust enough to play live, so they became our tools.” ‘COME PLAY THE TREES’, reads the sleeve of their debut album. And played with such life, they conjure up their own narrative of the woods, wherein the ghouls, spirits and goblins of the forest are lively, mischievous party animals. ‘Come Play the Trees’ is the band’s debut album, coming out after the band had been playing together nearly half a decade. “Initially, we were doing a string of performances with a friend of ours, called Daniel Oliver, who did a seance. We were his band, and he’d take the audience into an imaginary forest,” Austin says: “He would say, ‘I want you to imagine a forest, a metaphysical forest, where there was a massive murder, and we’re going to have a seance to go back to that murder.’ It’s a thought journey.” Everything about Snapped Ankles is very cinematic, and indeed I recognise my love of their performances coincides with a love of 60s and 70s horror – when, instead of CGI, intrepid filmmakers had to make their monsters from felt and papier mache. But a love of cinema runs deep throughout Snapped Ankles discography. The stand out on debut album is ‘Johnny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin’, a lysergic love
39 letter to Jean Luc Godard. The Godard film ‘Weekend’ is in itself dense in cinematic references, as it climaxes with characters howling the names “Johnny Guitar” and “Gosta Berling” (Google ‘em) down walky talkies, whilst a “funky” drummer plays solo in the forest. You can imagine quite easily how this has come to be a point of rich influence for the group... “I remember seeing that film way back, on DVD, and bits of it…” Austin says. “Well, I didn’t get the full thing at first… but the funky drummer drew me in a bit more. He’s raging against everything in it. Even the hippies that he was kind of part of.” Another big inspiration is Soviet art house director Andrei Tarkovsky, whose ‘Nostalgia’ was the chief influence of ‘Director’s Nostalgia’, a prime Ankles deep cut. “‘Nostalgia’ is about the director trying to recreate his childhood, with a film crew and a budget. He’s having lots of problems, though, trying to get across to a film crew what his memories were, and what is right. So the song’s about this notion of a man trying to tell other people what he’s got in his head, while he’s got a load of people around trying to get across their own ideas… I like that notion; I’ve got the microphone, so I’m the director, the compere, and I can stop the song like that. Or not.” One of Snapped Ankles’ most inspiring performance came a few years ago, in the form of ‘Drum Cinema’. This was a phenomenon born out of a night the group put on, and the need to fill it with some sort of performance. An example of Drum Cinema can be found on YouTube, where clips from Blue Velvet, Misery and Peeping Tom are triggered at different times by different electronic drums. It’s a cohesive, enjoyable spectacle that simply uses cinema as another instrument.
“I was running a film night and showing the weirdest and best films I could find… not all art house, some would be shlock, like Society or They Live,” Austin says. “I fucking love They Live,” I reply. “Great film. Have you seen Society? No? Watch Society…” He continues: “Anyway, we used triggers and DJ software, so you were just switching on clips, then added another layer so it wasn’t just a cut up… three people, all who know their film, then create jazz.” Snapped Ankles are one of a cluster of new artists in the land of ‘New Weird’ Britain today, reinventing the live show; the need, almost, to make a live performance more than just a performance. We’ve seen it with Lone Taxidermist’s ‘Trifle’ shows, changing the very role of the audience, now Snapped Ankles are morphing their own live shows into something that transcends a simple band-on-stage performance. At recent gigs, Snapped Ankles have taken to venue’s stages, whilst their own creation, “the Satellite Ankles” play a separate drum kit and dance in the heart of the audience in full sasquatch get up. “The Satellite Ankles just play textures and tones. We brought our own speakers to the Moth Club recently, alongside our own PA. So depending on where you’re stood, you’ll hear a different sound. It’s not for the people going bonkers at the front, it’s for people on the fringes, engaging them without the usual jumping on the crowd or pulling out some amazing laser show… our friends Stealing Sheep in Liverpool did something similar, with a marching band.” However, the next chapter of their existence sees them go further into the realms of the uncharted. For the idea of Snapped Ankles was birthed in the forest, but shall it stay there for all eternity. Nay! Onwards,
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40 forwards. New single ‘Drink and Glide’ sees the combo leaving the woodlands behind, aghast of what the conurbations and townships that surround the woods now like a colosseum. The press release reads: “Snapped Ankles eye up those in search of self-improvement through casual mindfulness while self-medicating to survive the mundanity of suburban living with mind-altering concoctions borrowed from the internet.” “We’ve done these performances recently,” Austin says: “where we’ve kept the heads, but dressed as estate agents. Everywhere we play in London, you can’t go back; it’s all being turned into flats. We’re always playing closing down parties.” Alas, gentrification is ever on the mind of Paddy Austin, a longtime London native that’s seen bands and scenes and all that come and go.
“So we were being invited to play and perform at all these warehouses and arts spaces…” he continues. “So we thought, what’s the worst thing we can be? What’s the monster in the room? It’s obviously estate agents who fuel this. Your big corporate motherfuckers, naming no names. So we created a video piece, and instead of logs, we put our synths on estate agent signs. It’s quite theatrical, I don’t know how it’ll translate live…. I bet you’ve never seen someone bang out a tune on To Let signs.” The future is bright, that wacky alchemy is at play. “We’re not always going to be stuck in our ghillie suits, but we’re definitely going to keep them. Everyone has their things. We’re keen to not be too pinned down by them, and to not use them to write songs.” There’s always a fine line with quote unquote costume rock, a leyline that if crossed can see the most encapsulating project fall into self parody in a matter of seconds. To cease being an artist in a costume, and become a mere vessel for the costume is perhaps one of the worst fates that could befall anyone. Take the hedonistic genius of those early KISS records, particularly Kiss Alive and Kiss Alive II, and compare them to the placid proposition they became in the nineties – Sad!
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41 “Writing music comes in different ways, from jamming, finding obscure gems, havin’ a bit of this and a bit of that,” Austin remarks. “It’s that pressure of performing that a lot of our stuff comes from. We’ve got a loads of groove tracks in the arsenal… the themes will come out and that’ll be the swampiness. For us, swampy is groovy.” The idea of “swamp rock’ permeates our conversations a lot, Tony Joe White and Creedence both making cameos. I suppose the idea, in America and Australia at least, of a common naturally occurring ecosystem with a fair amount of unknowable menace, draws parallels between the forests of yore. Indeed, as a genre, ‘swamp rock’, a kind of highly guttural white man electric blues that festered on the banks of the Mississippi in the 50s and 60s, is something that has seeped its way into the forest cries of Snapped Ankles – a shared kind of rural gnosis is eternally prevalent in the band’s cyberbilly space jams.
“I’ve never seen a real swamp,” declares Austin. “Not many swamps in the UK, is there? More bogs, right?” Quite. Currently, Snapped Ankles are objectively one of the finest live forces you will ever see. We walk swiftly once more around the Museum of Childhood, and make some remarks about how pre-about 1980, it was simply impossible to make a humanoid toy look anything other than creepy. It is now that Austin takes his leave, off to join the other Ankles in what we can only assume is a top secret woodland lair. As I retreat to the fabled See You Mate (Yeah, See You Mate) hideout, to prepare for the inevitable release of vol. 2, Snapped Ankles gear up for something way more exciting. And so, the second cycle begins, and from tiny acorns… I present thee... Stunning Luxury.
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See You Mate
Words: Cal Cashin. Art: Carris Povey
FOR WHEN POP MUSIC LEAVES YOU SPEECHLESS BEAUTY, LUST AND UNEARTHLINESS. TRAVERSING ALL THAT JAZZ WITH JOCKSTRAP
For it is the words that separate us from the animals. Language, semantics, pronunciation… “the shape of the tongue and the teeth in the lips”. Spells and incantations, insults and slurs, poetry and music – just what words can do is simply astonishing. But it is the most powerful of all things, I believe, that are simply beyond words.
Leave you speechless.
Breathless The indescribable.
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44 Searching for the right words but never finding anything close. Seldom do a musical artist leave you meddling with nothing more than vague descriptors, grotesque cliches and empty metaphors. Ethereal. Can cut the tension with a knife. Like shit, off a chrome shovel. This is what Jockstrap do. A London five-piece formed around the ultra creative hive mind of Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye, they create pop music like you’ve never heard it before. To boil it down to its simplest components, it’s one part Mario Kart, one part Franz Waxman’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ score, and one part PC Music. But with Jockstrap, perhaps it’s best not to be so quick to reduce everything down to its bare bones straight away.
November saw the band release ‘Love is the Key to the City’, a 20 minute mini album that comfortably ranks among the greatest records of the last 12 months. Simply glorious, it’s a transportative odyssey that, in less than the time it takes to play a game of FIFA, will leave even the most hardy and outspoken consumer short of words. Artists like this are so rare for me, as a man of way too many words, that I see it as my duty to get to the bottom of the whole who, what, why, and how of Jockstrap. In the latter stages of 2018, I opened a dialogue with Georgia and Taylor via the medium of email, to allow myself to document as fully as possible, the story of the very excellent pop combo. It’s difficult to envisage such enigmatic music having a face, being made by human beings, with dreams and wants and basic human needs. But when the music itself sounds like ‘Love is the Key to the City’, it’s a pleasure to lose yourself longing in the gloaming.
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45 *** In the beginning… “I met Taylor in Sundial Court, our university’s student halls,” Georgia says. “We’d always bump into each other in the courtyard and have dance-offs in the Basement… “I asked Taylor if he’d be keen to produce some songs I’d written. I told him I had a banging name for the project.” Jockstrap took full flight as a project at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Georgia and Taylor from extremely musical backgrounds – the latter’s parents both performers in the West End – the group of course has its roots in DIY; but the musicality is arresting throughout. “I started the piano at six, and producing bro-step at 11,” Taylor says, while Georgia responds: “I started the violin when I was five”. ...and then there were five. In the live band, Taylor is responsible for the bulk of the synths, samples and other electronic dabbling, whilst Georgia alters frequently between vocals most divine and violin flourishes that took you to Another Place. Whilst to the tasteless and the partisan, this Old Hollywood strings/hyper modern electronic marriage may seem jarring, nothing has ever sounded more true. Friends and fellow Guildhall students Melchior Giedroyc, Michael Dunlop and Lewis Evans join Georgia and Taylor live, of course an important addition, as anyone that was lucky enough to witness their livewith-string-quartet at Ol’ Pancras Church in November will testify. On the ‘Love is the Key to the City’, this old/new dichotomy is at the very forefront. It’s the very skeleton holding the group
up. To witness it at work we need go no further than “quirky love rap” ‘Joy’, one of the singles. “Joy begins as an ethereal prelude of strings and vocals, but abruptly cuts to a quirky, kind of manic, love rap,” Georgia tells me. “I wrote the first half, and Taylor wrote the second. It shows the two faces of Jockstrap. The video captures the sensory colours of the music, vividly… “It’s about two girls lying on a throw of their own golden hair, and they’re writhing about in it. They’re playing with fruit. I guess I’m the goblin in this Rossetti pastiche.” Meanwhile ‘Hayley’, a marriage of video game soundtracks and YMO’s jilted electronic pop, is another standout moment. “The song was written at the piano,” Georgia says: “Recorded and produced in Taylor’s room with the addition of a 21 string orchestra which was recorded in Guildhall.” Georgia adds of the number’s composition: “I wrote the song after I got into all of the Louis Theroux documentaries. I write about people, and a particular Theroux episode had a great protagonist within it. The song was written at the piano, recorded and produced in Taylor’s room with the addition of a 21 string orchestra which was recorded in Guildhall. “Hayley was a prostitute living and working on a ranch in Nevada. Charismatic, sexy, intelligent; she was a women I was drawn to immediately, and so was Louis. The chemistry was so blatant. The song is about her, their relationship and a backstory I made up.” Paired with a lo-fi adaptation of the narrative, the video captures the essence of Jockstrap. Yes! I am serious about the majesty of this band; the uncanny beauty that festers every single space of their music. But self-serious
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46 and straight-faced this isn’t; hypnotic and joyous it is; grainy film, as watchable as it is listenable, the video to ‘Hayley’ acts as the visual fanfic we’ve always wanted – but of course, never searched for, as this is something that definitely exists on the darker realms of the internet in numbers. The visual side of what Jockstrap do has parallels the music; of course, it is the audiovisual world of cinema that perhaps acts as their most obvious influence. “We both love cinema,” Taylor tells me. “All types of films and their scores. From Bernstein to Mica Levi... orchestral music in general has really influenced the project.” Georgia Ellery’s string parts are stirring, they wouldn’t feel out of place on a range of classic noirs or quirky vignettes from Hollywood’s first Golden Age. Indeed, Jockstrap are strikingly cinematic. Not just these lavish strings, but the songs themselves narrate “snapshots of a particular time, and particular feelings”, and do so to compelling effect. Georgia says: “‘I Want Another Affair’ and ‘Charlotte’ are personal songs… songs about people and relationships.”
“Hayley was charismatic, sexy, intelligent; she was a women I was drawn to immediately, and so was Louis Theroux.” - Georgia Ellery See You Mate
“‘Joy’ about two girls writhing about on a throw of their own golden hair. They’re playing with fruit. I guess I’m the goblin in this Rossetti pastiche..” - Georgia Ellery ...And then 2018 was capped off with Jockstrap’s debut headline show, in an old King’s Cross church, alongside shows in Iceland and beyond with sincere support from the Quietus, NTS and a whole manner of other sites and zines. Perhaps though, the band’s sonic meddling that has drawn the most attention is their collaborations with maverick Hackney troubadour Dean Blunt, to whom, Jockstrap composed the string arrangements for the ‘Soul on Fire’ mini album for the most part. “We were invited into the studio for a day – me, Taylor, and our friend Felix Stephens – who plays the cello,” Georgia explain. “We jammed over his tracks for a good 4 hours. It a very different process to the way we work, almost the opposite, but it was fun.” Alongside their own achievements, the Dean Blunt collaboration is the most recent evidence of Jockstrap as our reptilian pop saviours. Jockstrap’s music is simply glorious, and often does leave you speechless. Hard to put your finger on exactly what’s going, it’s also difficult to pry yourself away from the immersive netherworld that they’re voyaging into. For my money, Jockstrap’s brand of pop music is the most refreshing and glorious I’ve heard in a very long time; so daring their sound; so transportative, their music; so wonderful, their world.
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See You Mate Words: Cal Cashin. Art: Karim Newble
HATE THE HEAT. LOVE THE DESERT.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, SOMETHING FAR BETTER THAN QUENTIN TARANTINO’S NEXT FILM LAID DORMANT. SOMETHING MORE TASTEFUL. BUT SOMETHING FAR DARKER. THAT SOMETHING IS DEATH VALLEY GIRLS
The city of Los Angeles has a reputation and history like no other. For many people its rich history of cinema makes it one of the cultural capitals of the Western world… it signifies glitz, and glamour, red carpets and solid gold stars in the street, and all the things we’ve come to associate to with ‘the high life’. But this perceived glamour is countered by a dark and gruesome history, dark secrets that people dare not explore…
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50 It’s this dark energy that propels, Death Valley Girls, now a quintet. Formed in the mires of 2013 upon the meeting of vocalist/ multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel, Death Valley Girls are as visceral and ritualistic, as mean and as shamanic and satanic as their name suggests.
We meet Death Valley Girls three albums into their savage journey. 5 years on from their formation, they’ve perfected that dark and woozy rock ‘n’ roll sound that we all spend years lusting for. A mixture of X, or The Stooges, or Destroy All Monsters, with that garage punk hellfire, merged with seductive and potent drones and lots of terrifying motifs repeated over and over – this group is perhaps a glimpse at what The Fall would be like, had their conception been in the scorching heat of rural California instead of industrialised Manchester. Their newest LP is called ‘Darkness Rains’, and it’s the band’s most complete savage document to date. “We love all the dark history in Los Angeles, the music and film world has had some many weird tales and mysteries,” Bonnie Bloomgarden tells me. “We have a kind of love-hate relationship with L.A... hate the traffic, love the food. Hate the sun, and heat but we love the desert. That sounds insane but we love the desert at night, especially for UFO watching.” What we have with Death Valley Girls is a group in tune with their environment, to a
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No more is this apparent; the darkness, the depravity, intertwining so oblique; than througout ‘Darkness Rains’. Our first taste of it came in the form of scuzz rock bastard ‘Disaster (Is What We’re After’, a scorcher of a song that really acts as a battlecry as the Bloomgarden howls the playful titular chorus.
“I’M IGGY POP... AND I JUST ATE A BURGER,
Amicable enough people they may be during their downtime, this combo really harness something evil when they pick up the guitars. Be it the twisted cult of the Manson family, or the unhinged sprees of the Night Stalker, the evils and vulgarities of the LA streets are cathartically enacted upon the world via DVG’s music. The devil’s music, this might be, but god is good.
very brutal extent.
51 The video for ‘Disaster (That’s What We’re After)’ is a unique proposition in and of itself. It features Iggy Pop, chewing through a quarter pounder, before rasping about his love for the band. “Kansas Bowling, the director, had a dream about making this video for ‘Disaster’, so she told us she wanted to make it a reality,” Larry Schemel tells me. “Iggy had been playing us on his BBC show ‘Iggy Confidential’, so he was familiar with us, but him being in our video seemed pretty far fetched. We left it to Kansas who was magically able to contact him, and he said yes! Next thing we know we’re in Miami, where Iggy lives, hanging out with him at the video shoot. The concept for the video is a homage to the old Andy Warhol film of him eating a burger directed by Danish film maker Jorgen Leth.” Elsewhere on the album, a greater focus on sensory nausea is achieved. Tracks like ‘Abre Camino’ and ‘TV Jail on Mars’ focus less on scorching riffs and more on sending the listener into a hypnagogic trance. “They absolutely are spells for rituals, but then anything can be if you use intent!” Bloomgarden says: “‘Abre Camino’ is a good luck spell, ‘The Road Opener’ is my favorite spell of all. We like to play it first at shows.”
‘TV Jail On Mars’, however, is probably the album’s high point. It’s a droning, driving closer that spans six minutes with its winding noisescapes – it’s spectral, it’s dizzying, some might even say it’s haunted. Schemel says: “had been hanging around from a taped practice years ago; we liked it but didn’t know where it was supposed to go as a song, so we just recorded it like we did on our rehearsal tape and it became a sort of a hypnotic, drone closer for the album, building layers with vocals and organ.” The band have a well documented fascination with the darker side of American life, self describing as ‘occult glam rockers’. “Using the word ‘Occult’ has to do with our fascination with the supernatural, paranormal and mysticism,” Schemel says: “We’ve been part of paranormal investigations and on tour have had some weird, unexplained experiences.” On ‘Darkness Rains’ perhaps this is fully realised. In previous interviews, the band have said that they believe rock ‘n’ roll is something from space, and that they give kudos to anyone that can channel this galactic force. However, Death Valley Girls’ brand of rock ‘n’ roll is something far more dark and earthen. Whether it feels contrived to compare DVG and dark R’n’R City of Angels contemporaries like LA Witch to the atrocities of Los Angeles’ past, this is some music with some pretty serious demons.
NG TO ... DEATH ... VALLEY ... GIRLS” (Yeah, See You Mate)
See You Mate
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Art: Beth Newman-Mosely
Words: Cal Cashin. Art: Hannah Woollam
See You Mate
A VERY PHTHIRAPATIC CORRESPONDENCE, FOR THOSE SIMPLY ITCHING FOR MORE AND FOR MONTHS – NAY – YEARS, LICE HAVE BEEN THE ONE AND ONLY PUNK COMBO IN BRITAIN. BY CANDLELIGHT, I WRITE TO THE MAN AT THE HELM OF THE SOON-TO-BE SEMINAL QUARTET, ALASTAIR SHUTTLEWORTH, TO DISCUSS THE DEPRAVITY OF LICE’S MUSIC, THE CREATIVE FERTILITY OF HOMETOWN BRISTOL, AND THE NOBILITY OF HIS OWN PUBLICATION, THE BRISTOL GERM.
A four piece from the wilds of a land we know as ‘Bristol’, LICE are often heaped in with the wave of garage rock sweeping the music tabloids in times of late. Admittedly, their sound is characterised by a tangible Fall/Country Teasers influence, but atop that is something far more feral. Not for the faint hearted, LICE drag the country-garage sounds of South London way out west, and inject them with red eyed psychobilly and vindictive hardcore to make for something truly staggering. This pummel, this masochistic urge to experience the feeling of a goliath band running you over with a sonic bulldozer is enough on its own to draw my bad self to this band. But there is far more at play than the band’s ungodly scronk.
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56 Alastair Shuttleworth fronts the band, bleating twisted narratives atop the mayhem. Often allegorical studies of the human condition, you get the feeling that Shuttleworth doesn’t really like people all that much. ‘Stammering Bill’ sees him sing of how ‘the human race has always been enslaved by its neuroses’, whilst the rest of their so-called debut so-called album ‘It All Worked Out Great vol. 1 and 2’ takes misanthropic pot shot snarls at all manner of hateful peoples and places. In short, LICE appeal to the part of us that doesn’t want anyone to escape the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. An essay could be written itself on the sound of LICE, but today I would like to delve into Shuttleworth’s I first encountered Shuttleworth and the band a couple of years ago, at one of their first shows in the capital. From thereon in I pledged to see this band each and every time I could. Towards the end of a busy year for the ‘satirical art punk’ combo, I initiated an electronic correspondence with the band’s frontman to discuss the process of writing and the very nature of the band’s music. Find the results attached.
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57 Firstly, what literary influences do you have? What I’ve increasingly wanted to do with my lyrics is combine the elements of satire and storytelling I like in writers like William Burroughs and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. with the aggressive polemical style of propagandists like Filippo Marinetti and BLAST’s Wyndham Lewis. It’s a learning process, and It All Worked Out Great 1+2 is basically a set of early attempts at various things while I worked out what kind of lyricist I want to be. For too long, the popular lyric has been servile to the circularity and brevity of the traditional song structure: broken into abstract poetics, repeating itself, saying nothing. I want to get to the point where our songs have character arcs and plot-twists. Secondly, my favourite tracks off IAWOG are Stammering Bill, Little John Waynes and Voyeur Picture Salesman. If it’s not too much trouble, can you tell me a little about the writing process for each? ‘Stammering Bill’ originally had different lyrics on NUTMILK, in which I artlessly shoe-horned the two good characters I had (the sex addict and neurotic farmer) into a forced narrative about equality. The result is on-the-nose and incredibly lame. The idea for those characters, driven by neurotic obsessions into some absurd downfall, came from the ending of Flann O’Brien’s At Swim Two Birds, about ‘the German obsessed with the number three’. I decided to come back to that, bin the platitudes, and add a third character for the second verse (the accountant who dies in the fire). Does it have any satirical thrust beyond ‘The human race has always been enslaved by its neuroses’? Maybe not, but it’s a lot better now.
‘Little John Waynes’ is the only song (apart from ‘Ted’s Dead’) for which I’ve written the lyrics in a single sitting. When we debuted the song live at the Windmill I just made phonetic sounds for the most part, but came up with the title in the refrain out of thin air, which the others insisted I keep. I can’t remember what prompted the subject (although I’d been listening to a lot of Doug Stanhope, whose views on abortion laws might have influenced it), but it all came in one hit after practice one day while I was working out what to do with that title. Early attempts at ‘Voyeur Picture Salesman’ had the same problem as ‘Stammering Bill’ – they were trying too hard to be satirical. After I wrote the lyrics for ‘Ted’s Dead’, I tried writing another linear vignette without a satirical jumping-off point, which similarly ended up making a point by accident which I found interesting: in this case, about people’s desensitization in a highly-sexualised society, and the endeavors of people to capitalize on it. Your lyrics are among the most disgusting shit I’ve ever heard in a song. I fucking love it. Where did this penchant for the frankly grim come from? I have no idea. I’m not a horror fan. I think Burroughs’ use of comically excessive violence and pornographic sequences is amazing, but I wrote the lyrics for It All Worked Out Great 1+2 before I properly got into him. Even before I wrote those, I remember my tutor on a creative writing module I took at university marking my final submission by saying I was ‘genius’ but ‘tasteless and deeply disturbed’. I’d like to say it’s an expression of my frustration with how difficult writing is, or that it’s an example of the propensity for destruction that a lot of my stuff is trying to satirise, but really it just creeps in by itself.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
58 When do you first get into a) music and b) writing? a) When I came to Bristol, was invited to join LICE, and began working to document this dramatic moment in Bristol’s music. Prior to that, I didn’t really do anything involved with music. b) I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember; school contests, assignments etc. When I was a kid I wanted to be a comic-book writer. Apparently the Spiderman comics have gotten incredibly dark these days, so maybe I’ll find a home there one day after all. Do you write anything outside of lyrics? I run a music publication called The Bristol Germ, documenting the dramatic new moment taking place in Bristol’s DIY and avant-garde music. It’s generally made up of long-form, intertwined interviews with the cast of characters driving this historic episode, paired with illustrations by local visual artists. It also contains BLAST-esque manifestos attacking various inadequacies and iniquities in the mainstream music press. I’ve had to put it on ice for a few months while I’ve been finishing my degree, but in the new year it’ll be back, along with the live showcases. What do you try to channel during your live performances? What performers have influenced you? While I’ve learned a lot from Joe Talbot on our tours with IDLES, and there’s loads of performers I love (E B U, Bo Gritz’ Finn Holland etc.), there’s nobody I model myself on. Performing is just reacting to what Bruce, Silas and Gareth are doing, while trying to break the lethargy and
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inertia of our crowds so they react more uninhibitedly. It’s a constant learning process, in which I’m always trying to become less ‘performative’. If I’m trying to channel anything, it’s just the horrible sounds the others are making; they’re three of the most stylistically interesting new musicians working in this genre, and beard-stroking indifference will not be tolerated. Can you talk me through your writing process? It’s changed over time. Around the time I decided I wanted to write satire, I learned how to note stressed and unstressed syllables, in order to work text into syllabic frameworks. When I was struggling with lyrics in the early days, I’d note down what syllables I needed in each line to make it sound good, and write based on what could fit; that took the pressure off writing the content, which is how the It All Worked Out Great songs were written. These days it’s reversed: I’ll write the content and then gradually work out how to fit it with the music rhythmically. It means the content’s richer but the initial drafts are clunkier. Either way, they always suck at the start and gradually get better. My only real goal is to write lyrics that reach the stylistic level of Silas’ guitar playing, Bruce’s drumming and Gareth’s bass playing. As they get better, I have to get better. I think for a lot of people I’ve spoken to in Bristol, LICE are a band synonymous with the area... what’s your personal relationship with the city? We met here as students several years ago, and the music community here has had a huge influence on us as individuals and as a band. Artists like IDLES and Spectres have championed our stuff, and we’ve tried
59 in turn to encourage attention towards this city. There’s work being done in music and art here that, were it given the exposure it deserves, would transform this country’s cultural landscape irreversibly. I’d say a defining characteristic of it is the amount of new artists combining performative aspects of the traditional ‘band’ with the new wave of electronic experimentation that’s grown under Young Echo from the turn of the decade. Artists like Giant Swan, E B U, Bad Tracking, Silver Waves and SCALPING are all examples. It’s almost aggressively eclectic, however, with other projects including the caustic no-wave jazz troupe led by Iceman Furniss, who features on Ted’s Dead.
Alastair, thank you very much for your time, can I, however, ask one more favour... What musical recommendations can you throw our way? Last year we all got into Blood Sport, a now-defunct Sheffield band combining Afrobeat rhythms with sounds from Western industrial music, EBM and post-punk. Other artists similarly combining ‘World’ rhythms with those sounds which we’d recommend are Ifriqiyya Electrique, Mutammasik, Rojin Sharafi and Sote. From the current UK circuit, we’d tell people to listen to Ben Vince, Bo Gritz, Sweaty Palms and their side-project Objectified. In the miscellaneous category, Carl Stone and Daniel Wohl. Gareth also recently introduced us to a Danish industrial group called ‘Grim Brides’ and their album is one of the best things any of us have heard in ages. All I know about them otherwise is they have 62 Facebook likes, they claim to also be The KLF, and they are on a ceaseless quest to play Reading Festival.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
Words: Cal Cashin. Art: Llinos Owen
TO HAVE A BRIEF, BUT BOUNTIFUL CIG BREAK WITH JERSKIN FENDRIX... ON HIS ACTUAL, BIOLOGICAL BIRTHDAY, I HAD A LENGTHY CATCH UP WITH THE MAN THAT CALLS HIMSELF ‘JERSKIN FENDRIX’. FOR 10 MINUTES WE SPOKE, AND FOR 10 MINUTES I PARTIALLY UNRAVELLED THE MYSERY OF SOUTH LONDON’S STARMAN.
And if to be a pop star is simply a performance, you would do well to pick such a fine, fine method actor. The slender cut figure of Jerskin Fendrix darts about on stage, casting wiry cursed shadows across the dancefloor; the venue is the 100 Club and it is barely the afternoon as the soundsystem takes a guttural pounding from one of today’s pop greats to-be. So captivating is this character that calls himself Jerskin, as his reptilian croon bellows atop a mixture of euro-pop and industrial noise - the whole room is entranced, immersed as his lips encircle the microphone. “No one man should have all that power...” Quite.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
62 Migrating from Shropshire to London in the unremembered near past, Jerskin has sleuthed his way to musical notoriety after a year of frequent gigging, killer singles, and even rescoring a production of Alfred Jarry’s ‘Ubu Roi’ as recently as September. Notorious and infamous, or simply fabled and famous? Jerskin’s pop music is certainly a total bastardisation of all that is conventionally ‘pop music’, but it is pop music nonetheless and to love the Italo-disco powerplays of ‘Swamp’ or the vocal manipulation of ‘Onigiri’ through a sheen of irony rather than a genuine feeling of adoration is reductive and futile. What’s notable about the rise of Jerskin is that whilst the forces at play are sonics conventionally associated with often maligned strands of pop music, but it feels foolish to tackle his art with irony in the front of your mind. Yes, of course, the fanfare around Fendrix is one millionth the fanfare around your favourite mega pop star, but as he’s come out of the shadows he’s been followed by a passionate few that are so infused, that have had their very lives affirmed by his music. Indeed, I interviewed Black Midi at the twilight of the Summer, and they were much more enthused to talk about the sound of Jerskin Fendrix far more than they wanted to talk about the sound of Black Midi. Maybe it’s in my head, maybe it’s all a hallucination and there is no fanfare, no furore, but since I first heard this troubadour’s music I’ve been captivated to the point of obsession. In my head, very few pop stars match up to Jerskin Fendrix. In my head, he’s the kinda sensation whose posters should line the walls of every teenager’s bedroom. In my head, this man is some sort of quasi-demigod put upon the shores of the island they called Britannicus to reinvent the wheels and gears and cogs of the music industry.
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Alas, my own writings are coloured with my delusions and my eternal infatuation. Jerskin Fendrix is just a man, yes, but a man whose music taught me once more to dream of a world that is a very tilted one to the one in which I inhabit. After the aforementioned 100 Club set, I meet Jerskin Fendrix amidst the humdrum of Oxford Street on what might be the last sunny Saturday afternoon of 2018CE. On his actual biological birthday (I daren’t ask which birthday), we chat for around a quarter of an hour over two cigarettes and a Lucozade.
63 Good afternoon, Jerskin, I’ve been infatuated by the song ‘Swamp’... what’s your interpretation of it and its themes. Thematically, Swamp’s a really interesting song, because it comes from a place towards the end of my university career. It’s a very confessional sort of thing. A lot of what I’ve been doing is trying to contrast having this strident confidence with something that’s kind of pathetic, or revelatory in a negative way… The characters mentioned in it are a lot of friends from home, and people I’ve slept with before, it’s basically about being a dick. The one lyric people always pick out is: “I text girls when I’m booky”. I wrote it at a time when the music and artistic industry exploded with the whole MeToo movement. I think the whole thing with that is basically that every single living man, especially straight men, should reevaluate everything they’ve ever done, everything they’ve ever interacted with. It’s a weird contrast that feels like it should have a braggy sort of rap thing, like LCD Soundsystem, but it taps into a real feeling of guilt, and growing. I think that vulnerability and that admission is a really important thing to talk about. In the environment of the last few years you get people who’ve done these horrible things, get completely vilified, and then on the other hand people with a perfect track record. It’s important if you have an artistic voice to communicate about your mistakes and maybe you’ve been an arsehole in the past, but people can make that mistake and move on from it.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
64 The whole project seems to have really sporadic influences, what has influenced Jerskin Fendrix? It’s really weird, I think compared to a lot of artists, especially in the foetal stages of development, I try not to have a consistent genre. I try to never repeat a texture or a beat, the mismatch of it is a real characteristic. I think the way my voice sounds is really consistent, my lyrics work as jokes in a weird way. I like to look at as much stuff as possible. My background; I started off very classically. I was tutored on the piano from a very young age. I studied a classical music degree, I played in orchestras and stuff, and it’s only the last few years I’ve started playing in bands, and then playing solo. I’ve always always listened to pop music… my parents loved Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, I’ve only worked out recently that I try and take from every single influence I’ve had. It’s usually eclectic, in a weird way, which I hope shows.
You recently scored a performance of Ubu Roi at the V&A, a play I studied for my degree. What’s your relationship with the text? The production, the people directing it were some friends from university, that I worked with closely on plays before. What we’d done before was a different version of Ubu Roi, which was as faithful as possible. Totally insane, shit flying everywhere, people drinking, it was a very immersive audience thing, and I basically fronted this weird funk rock band. We had the oppurtunity to do something at the V&A so we properly thought through how we could expand on that. I was researching previous musical versions of it, and a lot of operatic versions of it done. The thing that really pisses me off is that the music’s always really funny and stupid. It’s meant to be absurd and grotesque, and over the top, but if you have the dialogue like that, the costumes like that, and the set, and all the music with farting brass noises, if you say it 10 times to someone, it’s overcompensating. I collaborated with the director on the score, and we said we’d have one element of it absurd, with everything else more beautiful, ethereal, in a weird way. It makes the absurdity stick out, and reveals more about the play. It’s a really interesting way to approach something, instead of: “Oh it’s a stupid play, it’s obscene, everyone’s naked and fucking about, there’s no thought behind it.” I very much doubt there’ll be more performances of it, but I might put a few excerpts on the internet, I really want to make the music public. It’s very, very difficult to what I’ve done. It’s no longer pop songs, instead of songs over four or five minutes its over 55. I really liked fucking with it.
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65 Jerskin Fendrix simply cannot be the name ascribed to you at birth… No, my real name’s Joscelin, Jerskin Fendrix is like… Awkwafina, you know, a crazy high school nickname, a persona, her friends would call her that. Basically I had a friend in sixth form, very weird guy, very lovely, who’d start mutating people’s names. So, like James Mulhern would be Jugo Mugwump, or something. My first two names are Jocelyn Frederick, so it got changed in that weird way. It feels like a persona, but a lot of my friends from home in Shropshire call me that. It was nice to have a stage name to hide behind, at least at the beginning, the videos and the vocal effects, I like the idea of being something else. Everything I do with Jerskin is completely biographical, so I like the barrier.
What’s lies in the future? I’ve got a song called ‘A Star is Born’, which will be my next single. I want to treat that, spend a few nights working on that. The stuff so far, I’ve enjoyed not really being attached to a label, being DIY and putting it up online, weird and anonymous on YouTube. I basically want something that can get a large amount of people’s attention so I can use the opportunity to start doing weird stuff again. It’s basically just singles, and I’ve been working on an album for the past two years, which I’ll be reworking and shaping. I’m in a situation where I’ve got no commitments or contractual obligations, so I just want to be doing the pop stuff, doing things like the Ubu, and doing stuff in art galleries… I’ve got a lot of music in me at the moment, so I’ll just squeeze until it runs out.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
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IT’S THE NEW THING!!!!!!!!!!! TOO BONE IDLE TO FIND OUT THE ANSWER, AND ALWAYS HAPPY TO TRY AND PASS OFF SELF AWARENESS AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR HUMOUR, I BEGIN THIS PIECE WITH A RHETHORICAL QUESTION. IS PIP BLOM THE NAME OF THE SINGER, OR THE BAND? FOR PIP BLOM IS THE NAME OF THE SINGER. BUT PIP BLOM IS ALSO THE NAME OF THE BAND PICTURED LEFT. AS THE AMSTERDAM GROUP LAY ON THE CUSP OF ‘BREAKING’ (IN A GOOD, FINANCIALLY PROSPEROUS WAY), I LAID OUT A FEW QUESTIONS FOR PIP BLOM, OF THE BAND PIP BLOM.
Art: Amber Bardell
Hailing from an especially musical Amsterdam family, her father was in Eton Crop, a Dutch post-punk band beloved of John Peel, Pip’s music carries on a rich lineage of left-of-the-dial musical brilliance. As well as that, Pip Blom, the band bearing Pip’s name, features her brother Tender, and is managed for the most part by family members… perhaps this synchronicity is the instantaneous brilliance of the music, or maybe we can put this down simply to the talents of the band themselves. Either way, I think there’s something pretty special going on with this band, so I took it upon myself to find out a little more about Pip and the group.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
68 Seemingly minutes after bursting onto the scene, its safe to say Pip Blom is college-rock regality already. Pip’s signature scuzz-pop sounds classic from the handful of singles we’ve been blessed with, and upcoming debut album ‘Boat’ is among the most anticipated indie rock albums of the year. How did you get into writing and performing music? It was a spontaneous thing, to be honest. I saw a poster for a singer/songwriters competition and straight away thought: I want to do this. So that's kind of how I started off with writing songs. After the competition, I decided that I wanted to continue writing songs but in a different genre. More like bands I listened to myself, like Parquet Courts, Micachu and the Shapes and The Breeders. You've said an early dream of yours was to compete in Eurovision. Can you elaborate on this? I always watch the Eurovision and I love it. I force everyone around me to watch it with me, something they don't really like. And I mean, can you imagine participating in such a circus? I would love to be part of that for once in my life. Just for the sake of it.
What influences - musical and non musical - have had the greatest impact on you and your music? Micachu and the Shapes, I love everything they have done. The sounds, the songs, the way they look. It's my favorite band ever, and especially the album Jewellery has had a huge impact on me. If you haven't heard it: you should definitely check it out. My entry point for your music was the ‘Paycheck’ EP… could you tell me about it? We've recorded Paycheck in two parts. The first part was with Pussycat and Come Home, the second one was with Hours and The Shed. I haven't written the songs in one go either, so this really fits the songs. Paycheck is kind of end piece to the songs I've written over the last two years. What are your best stories or anecdotes from your recent tours? I always fall asleep really early 'cause I'm tired. And one night, my brother Tender and I fell asleep before everyone else, and the story goes that we were both talking in our sleep, both in English and we're responding to each other. That's the real sibling telepathy!
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A BRIEF BUT SHORT JUNCTURE, WE PRESENT THEE WITH AN A LIST PLAYLIST, FROM THE VERY TALENTED PIP BLOM. A MIXTAPE FOR EACH AND EVERY OCCASION. AN 8 PART PLAN FOR THOSE THAT WISH TO BE CONTENT.
Art: Hannah Woollam 1. Haze - Ladz Ladz Ladz 2. Sorry - Showgirl 3. Courtney Barnett - Need a Little Time 4. The Breeders - Wait in the Car 5. Ought - These 3 Things 6. Country Teasers - Golden Apples 7. Personal Trainer - The Industry ( Y e8.aTotal h , SControl e e Y -oBack u MSpring ate)
Words: S e e YEleanor o u MPhilpot. a t e Art: Taylor Littleton
TO STOKE THE SOFT FIRE OF MODERN LIVING.
SOME TIME AGO, IN A PLACE VERY NEAR, SEE YOU MATE (YEAH, SEE YOU MATE) MEETS YOWL FOR A DRINK OR TWO. ENJOY.
Yowl have been making a racket in the the depths of Peckham for sometime now, causing all manner of youths to throw themselves into mosh pits with free abandon. It is their combination of dark, moaning guitar lines, combined with catchy melodies and poetic lyrics that gives them a distinctive sound, aligning them with the already impressive formidable post-punk groups coming from the crevices of South London. I catch up with Guitarist, Ivor Manly and drummer, Ton Flynn, in one of the slightly swankier New Cross boozers to discuss the scene and their songwriting style.
(Yeah, See You Mate)
72 One of the things that has always struck me at your shows is how your songs seem to really resonate with people on an emotional level. They’re always someone shouting the words back at you. How does it feel to know you have soundtracked people’s lives? Ivor Manley: That’s always surprising! In my head I’m always like ‘Really?’ Not in a bitchy way, but it’s strange because you’re doing it mostly for yourself. At the beginning it was just our friends turning up to gigs to help out, but when it’s people you don’t know and they really like the lyrics and are really getting into it, it’s really rewarding but very surprising. Tom Flynn: Someone actually came up to Gabriel at a gig in a manchester and was like, ‘I went through a break-up recently and your music really helped me.’ I mean, I don’t even write the lyrics and I was touched by it. I don’t necessarily see the connection there but if they do something for someone in whatever way then that’s great. In answer to your question, it’s a cool feeling. IM: I think when musicians attach meaning to their songs it actually takes something away. I think it’s nicer when someone can bring their own meaning to it, I prefer when things are more opaque. Like with Pavement’s lyrics, I don’t know what the fuck he’s singing about, but I love his lyrics because it’s more about the feeling that he creates. Do you think the buzz about the Music Scene in this part of the city pushes bands to be more creative? Or can it sometimes be counter-productive? TF: It does push people, it makes things feel possible. Being in a band is sometimes really hard for a variety of reasons and if you’re part of a scene,
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whether its intentional or not, you know that people are in the same situation as you and trying to achieve the same goals. Every band we’ve met has always been so complementary and friendly. I think for others who are not definitively in it, then it unintentionally creates a feeling of exclusivity, which I don’t think it’s intending to do. I think it’s just a measurement of a bands progression more than anything else. What bands have been significant in shaping your sound? IM: I mean me and my brother [Mike, guitarist] are always listening to The Jesus Lizard, which is way heavier than the stuff we play. Early Weezer is an influence for everyone, Pavement, Pixies. TF: Gabriel’s a big National fan. IM: Yeah, sometimes when I listen to them, I’m like ah! Gabriel, I see what you were doing here. How do you write? IM: It’s like three different people who bring ideas, and they have to go through Gabriel as he’s the vocalist, and if he doesn’t like it...It’s funny because he’ll write stuff for something but then if he isn’t in to it he’ll just sing it in a certain way so it’ll eventually get purged. The last song we released Gabriel and I had written a demo with just vocal and guitar and then over a month we just added in loads of pretentious, unnecessary things. TF: I don’t think our songs are structurally clear, I don’t think they necessarily makes sense to normal musicians. IM: See, I’m always trying to write a pop song, there needs to be two verses, two choruses and a middle eight, and then one
73 really big chorus at the end, sometimes I do that, but then it will be peppered with some unnecessary bits. Your songs deal a lot with financial disenfranchisement, does this ever make it difficult to create and or function as a band? IM: You spend a lot of your time hauling your amp onto a train at eight o’clock on a Wednesday night down to Guildford and you’re exhausted. None of us are from London so the only way to exist is for us is to work full time. Which definitely puts a strain on things, because you don’t have time to focus on just being fully creative, sometimes you need that time to just relax and think purely about music. I spend so much time scrabbling ideas together in the small hours of the day. TF: Also, I feel like you live a double life, and you’re like which is more fun, working in a office from nine to five, or playing shows and making music? IM: It’s interesting because quite often, because Gabriel has more of a creative writing background, he alway writes from a character’s perspective, especially in the early stuff about unsavoury characters. Like in the Imminent Return it has an anti-christ theme and criticises men’s attitudes towards women, and how they believe they’re innately geared to be violent creatures… Gabriel’s always trying to tell a story. I mean Saturday Drag, where he’s talking about “The strip light”, dude works in a cafe. It’s also grounded in a character’s perspective. One of our earliest songs was a conspiracy theory about Lee Harvey Oswald. You always give the songs such long names...
Living) is the peak of that.We are always calling our songs something stupid in our set and then we have to panic choose names, but even though that name is really long it encapsulates the mood. I feel like your newer material is a real departure from your other stuff, musically speaking. Are you consciously changing your sound? TF: I think we are writing differently, especially with the new demos. I don’t think its a conscience change of direction… Our output is staggered so I think naturally a band changes up how they write. IM: Before we released our first EP we were going at a much more relaxed pace, without any sort of aim. And then it did kinda well and we were like fuck, we need to release a single! So over the past eighteen months, we’ve been figuring out what it is that we want to make. Bringing external pressures into what you’re doing it can rush your decision making sometimes… I went through this phase... I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that episode of South Park where all Stan sees is shit. I felt like that whenever I was trying to write, I was just seeing shit everywhere. Human shit. Whereas now I’ve relaxed, and I feel like I can take the time I need. But yeah, you worry about whatever people might think or where it might go or how it compares to something else out there. Can we expect an album soon? IM: The next few months is just about finding our rhythm, and rediscovering the joy of writing music together again. And if we end up writing a collection of songs that one day fit together, as an album then great. But when it happens we want it to be natural and not contrived.
Warm (Soft in the White Fire of Modern
(Yeah, See You Mate)
AND SO THIS IS CHECKMATE
AND SO IT BE VIA THE FOOL’S MATE, THE SCHOLAR’S MATE, THE WRONG ROOK PAWN CHECKMATE, OR ANYTHING OF SUCH AN ILK, IT IS ALWAYS THAT WE END WITH CHECKMATE – THAT IS, IF WE HAVE NOT THROWN IN THE TOWEL, BUT THROWING IN THE TOWEL IS NOT WHAT PEOPLE WHO READ TO PAGE 76 (AND BEYOND) DO. FOR THIS IS CHECKMATE, THIS IS TIME TO REFLECT, TIME TO DRAW THE GREAT GAME OF ‘SEE YOU MATE (YEAH, SEE YOU MATE) vol. 2’ TO ITS UNWIELDY CONCLUSION. FOR LET THIS SECTION BE THE HOME OF THE BRIC-A-BRIC, THE CLOSING MEDITATIONS FOR MISFIT FEATURES WHICH DON’T QUITE FIND A HOME IN THE OTHER SECTIONS. ALAS, HERE WE ARE, ONCE MORE. CHECK MATE, OLD FRIEND. EXPECT A REMATCH SHORTLY.
See You Mate
Short story: the Betterment of Self by Edward Green
The See You Mate gig list
(Yeah, See You Mate)
The Betterment of Self Words: Edward Green
Two weeks was all it took for Randall to feel expendable. What a dubious position she had found herself in, Junior Departmental PR Consultant they called it! Garbles. She was being given non-tasks and bogus case studies to research, quasi-multiple-choice questionnaires and endless coffee breaks to fill. On her first day, for example, Randall had stayed late and spent hours working out how to make her face look as though it was intensely focused on her work and nothing but her work. By the end of her second week, though, Randall could be found reclining on her spine supportive chair, tossing bulk-bought raisins into her mouth at any time of the day. What glorious tenements she basked in! But it wasn’t simply her feelings of inadequacy that quashed all motivation. Randall wasn’t that fickle. It was her colleagues, too; a myriad of automated workers, unresponsive to any sort of pleasantry she offered and distractedly busy when it came to her own attempts at distraction. Of course, she had decided, there must be a conspiracy against her. But why? What offence could they possibly take from her loud and lengthy phone calls of fluent swearing? What was wrong with having six bags of crisps? What did they have that she, the graduate, didn’t? At the beginning of week three Randall’s office block received a surprise visit from the boss, Mr. Bottomley. Mr. Bottomley was a stout man of great bulk, who enjoyed long, genial summers in the cheap, Southern provinces of Spain. His face could churn butter. Twelve-stone Spanish dunces quickened their pace when he entered hotel lobbies, hoping with a sultry-air to catch some of his widening wealth. Mr. Bottomley had come to announce the installment of a new self-service
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77 machine. To Randall, the self-service machine signaled the beginning of the end: the impending monopoly. Machines, she thought, were the flashy new controllers. Where humans had once utilized tools, as an extension of themselves to write, to cut, to plunder; machines now utilized humans. Humans now required machines to exist. The rest of her colleagues were not so critical. They were all too busy looking forward to the new coffee options the self-service machine would offer. The machine, to them, meant something completely different. Mr. Bottomley stood undefined in the doorway of the office. He cleared his throat in numerous fretted breaths and thought about what he would say. A risible scene emerged in which Mr. Bottomley began his announcement several times, forced to restart each time he felt as though he hadn’t obtained the attention of the entire room. ‘Now listen here, everybody. Everybody. Listen. Listen up. Now then. Listen up all. Good. Okay. No, oh come on now. Right, so, there is to be a new self-service machine installed here tomorrow. It has been configured to respond personally to each of your voices, so don’t be alarmed if it greets you by your name when you arrive for work,’ Randall groaned her recently perfected graduate-groan, ‘you will be required to clock in and out each morning and evening with the machine,’ Mr. Bottomley continued, ‘by using the new face recognition software. This way, correct overtime can be properly logged, and any latencies will be made instantly aware to myself. It’s all in the name of proficiency, you see. The machine has many uses. It can scan or photocopy, it can write html or book you time off work. Heck, it can even make you an oat milk café latte in the mornings,’ a detectable glee emerged from Randall’s surrounding desk, ‘If anyone has any questions about the new device, please, please, don’t try to arrange a meeting with me, just ask the machine itself.’ Randall returned her gaze to her desk and swept up the smatterings of torn paper she had ripped up out of idle habit. She thought back to her second year of university, as she often did for comfort, and drifted from house party to off license in delirious din. Why wasn’t she warned about any of this drab reality? Surely some lecturer of omniscient stature could have had the decency to let the cat out of the bag. Instead, they had stuffed the cat with assessment criteria; hidden it in meta-debate and a Victorian scheme; concealed it until the day came when their debt-ridden offspring secured their dream job in the city, and, in one fatal swoop, discovered the bulbous, decapitated cat’s head for themselves on a lonely lunchbreak. Garbles. The following day Randall arrived at work only to be greeted by a huge monolithic structure. Without having time to register that this was in fact the new machine, a bright blast of vermillion appeared from its blackness and a monotone voice omitted:
(Yeah, See You Mate)
78 ‘Good morning, Randall. I hope you didn’t get too wet on your cycle here today.’ Randall stood back aghast. The electric red light moved about the machine’s surface and followed her movements. Unblinking; an anti-cadaver. The surrounding offices were showcasing their curiosity in the form of a ringside crowd. Ballooned heads battled for space in the window-walled offices which circled Randall’s entrance. She hesitated and the machine saw that she was scared. The onlookers also saw, and knew, that the white in her face wasn’t the colour of fatigue, or fever; it was the colour of fear, open poured, like a bottle a milk. Randall ran out of the office and leapt into the nearest Pret A Manger. *** Mr. Bottomley was spending company money comparing prices on Mediterranean cruises when he heard a knock at his door. Seeing that there were no on-duty assistants to attend to his unwelcome woman from Porlock, Mr. Bottomley accepted his fate, untangled his comfortably-crossed legs from their perch, and answered the door himself. It was Randall. Having no idea who she was or the tirade of inconvenience he was about to receive, he invited her in and offered her a coffee. ‘Do you not have any tea in here?’ replied Randall. She was sure that for her complaint to be taken seriously she must be assertive from the start. ‘Afraid not,’ he replied, ‘I’ve taken rather a disliking to the stuff of late. Plenty of coffee, though. Fancy a coffee?’ Mr. Bottomley spoke in vacant, faceless tones. There was certainly something likeable, almost poetic, about his exceptional disinterest in social situations. ‘No,’ replied Randall, ‘I don’t FANCY a coffee.’ There was a brief silence. Randall looked about the room. Dark, metallic objects which she presumed were filing cabinets bleeped and whirred like moaning toddlers. She felt her face grow red. Feverishly, she tried to recall the tapestry of good-tempered arguments she’d made whilst sat on the toilet earlier that day. Mr. Bottomley soon interrupted the silence. ‘So, what can I help you with?’ he asked, nonchalantly. Randall had no choice but to let it out; to splutter it out, coherently or not. ‘Well, Mr. Bottomley, you see, it’s a few things really. It’s, well… okay. For a start, my position, Junior Departmental something-or-other, what does that even mean? What were you hoping for me to achieve here? Every day I wake up not knowing what on earth it is I’m meant to be doing. Do you know how that feels? To wake up with no purpose?’ Randall let this last point linger. She
See You Mate
79 awaited a response from Mr. Bottomley’s nonplussed state, half-expecting his silence to eventually bloom into some sort of explanation. Nothing came. ‘Since I’ve started working here, I’ve noticed that the all the briefs you’ve given me have been hypothetical. You asked me to create a promotional campaign for a company that doesn’t exist! What’s the point? I mean, what’s the point in a promotional campaign anyway? Why go to university if by studying the creative arts the only thing guaranteed is disillusionment and an undeserved salary…’ Randall was picking up steam here. Evenhandedly she dabbled with every possible method of empowerment she could. She even looked him in the eye, once or twice, ‘…and then you bring in this self-service machine, which to me, is basically a more efficient version of myself. Why not employ a self-service machine to do my job? Why not get rid of me altogether, why not…’ Mr. Bottomley raised his voice, interrupting bluntly: ‘Because I can’t.’ ‘What?’ replied Randall. ‘Do you want the truth? Do you want to know why we employed you? Or rather, why we had to employ you?’ ‘But what do you mean?’ Randall wasn’t prepared for this immediate surrender. ‘Haven’t you worked it out yet? Isn’t it obvious? I mean, I guess it isn’t, to the graduate…’ Mr. Bottomley waited for a response, and then, when he saw one wasn’t coming, spoke in a frank, almost sympathetic tone: “They’re all automated, your co-workers. The whole workplace is self-sufficient. We don’t need you at all, we require you, by law.’ Randall’s eyes widened. She thought about the responses from her neighboring colleagues in the morning. She had simply presumed she was disliked. ‘It’s a new government policy,’ continued Mr. Bottomley, ‘for every one-hundred automated workers in the creative sector, we have to employ at least one human; at least one bag of incompetence. That’s the problem with you lot, and especially you privileged graduate-scheme kind. You think you’re special! You think you deserve more! You’re redundant. The quicker you realise this the better!’ Randall took a deep breath.
‘I call it,’ Mr. Bottomley concluded, ‘the betterment of the Self.’
(Yeah, See You Mate)
CONTRIBUTORS Editorial Staff Cal Cashin Prose Editor email: firstname.lastname@example.org tw: @calcashin_ Hannah Woollam Design Editor email: email@example.com ig: hannah_woollam
Writers Edward Green ig: nedgreen Eleanor Philpot tw: @eleanor_philpot Illustrators Kamila Szewczuk ig: b.ies Llinos Owen ig: lliinos Beth Newman-Mosely ig: blue.b0redom Karim Newble ig: karim_nbl Carris Povey ig: sirracarris Taylor Lyttleton ig: taylorlyttleton Amber Bardell ig: amberbardell
For all magazine related enquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See You Mate
(Yeah, See You Mate)
THE SEE YOU MATE GIG LIST The writing process of this zine was difficult and taxing. For it was done on my downtime from a busy job, whilst juggling a Master’s degree, all whilst trying to keep my six friends as friends. I found myself asking the same questions over and over; for why have I stayed in London? Why not flee to somewhere I can afford rent without working overtime? Where a pint can be purchased at a reasonable price and I can get to places without spending a lifetime underground. Well, put simply, thishere city is as close to home as I’ve ever known a city to be. Once, walking from the grim purgatory of Putney, to home, bearing a wallet devoid of an oyster card, I was ready to pack my bags and flee north. But as the sun set on the Thames, I knew that could never be a possibility. I love this city, through good and bad, and a big part of that is the exposure it grants to great, great music time and time again. So once more, I thank you for reading this, and leave you with a list of reasons to, like myself, stay in the Smoke.
March 2 TEETH OF THE SEA at Moth Club
April 4 PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS at The Scala
March 8 SCOUNDRELS w/ LEGSS at Off the Cuff
April 11 BLACK COUNTRY NEW ROAD at The Lexington
March 22 WYCH ELM at The Social
April 12 ALEXANDER ROBOTNICK at the Jazz Cafe
March 28 SORRY at Dingwalls March 29 WILLIAM BASINSKI AND LAWRENCE ENGLISH at St John on Bethnal Green
April 12 ROBYN at Ally Pally April 23 TIRZAH at The Scala
March 31 DALEK at The Lexington
April 30 STEALING SHEEP at Hackney EArtH
April 2 AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS at Heaven
May 24 SUN RA ARKESTRA at The Lexington
See You Mate