I had a lot of issues and I thought that presenting them on stage would be cheaper than therapy. How wrong I was!
Introduce us to all to the members and your musical history
I’ve been through a few line-up changes but the current line-up has been going for 5+ years and finally I feel like I have a pretty solid group. The guitarist is Jim Beck, who I met while performing in a nightclub. Dan Tompkins heard that our previous bassist had left and then basically pestered Jim until he was in the band. Andy was a local drummer and friend of my brother. He stood in for one of our soundchecks and we knew we loved him just in that short amount of time! In early 2017 we asked him to join the band.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
“Why did you do it?”
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I don’t really know what’s going on in general, so either none or all depending on your perspective?
What useless party trick do you have?
I can change a harp string in under 2 hours. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions for the people watching
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
It’s always lovely playing to our dedicated fans and friends but I think I prefer playing to a new crowd, staring them in the face and giving them a “fuck you” performance.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I’ve been playing gigs for so many years and have a lot of terrible experiences as well as good ones. Some standouts of recent years would be my first harp performance where I was so nervous that at one point I completely froze and had to sing half a song a-cappella, or the time that one of my bandmates was so drunk that they fell off the stage! We’ve come a long way since then.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Andy builds submarines and drives a forklift.
Jim bullies Dan mercilessly and Dan loves it.
I live with 3 snakes, 2 tarantulas and 1 unforgettably violent cat (actually maybe that wouldn’t surprise people)
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
As dark as Space.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
People remember us either for the fact that I play the violin in the band or that the music is as dark as Space.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
Now that Lockdown has been lifted, I no longer have an excuse for being antisocial, which is pretty vexing.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Our favourite song live is probably Murderess from our album Waiting To Burn. It’s groovy and sleazy and Andy teases us to the point where we don’t know quite whether we’ll hit the stops together, which is part of the fun and general vibe of the song.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
The single is called Fucked Up Feeling and I can assure you, it will give you that fucked-up feeling. Don’t bother listening to it if you’re not prepared to play it LOUD.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
I wrote Fucked Up Feeling when I was having a bad day. The lyrics are completely stream-of-consciousness because I didn’t change a thing about them and instead built the rest of the track around it. The song is about addiction and self-sabotage.
What was the recording process like?
I went to LA to visit my friend Jason Achilles and took this track with me. While I was there, I spent about two days finishing the pesky middle eight and then we got Jason’s friend Ryan Brown (of Dweezil Zappa fame) into the studio to play the drums. Jason has an old-school studio (Organic Audio Recorders) where he records with tape, and he and Ryan sped the song up about 15% to drum along to, so that it could be slowed down afterwards to get a really heavy sound. Watching Ryan play drums at this speed while still keeping the slower vibe of the track was amazing, really watching a master at work. On my last night in LA Jason and I did a vocal session that started at midnight and ended at about 8am, a few hours before my flight. It was one of the most intense experiences I’ve had recording a track and I think you can really hear that in the sound.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
My songwriting up until recently has been driven by the desire to be concise (a strong pop influence with as few chords as possible and lyrics that repetitively drive a clear message) but this is probably the last heavily hook-driven song we’ll be releasing for a while. I’ve been composing on piano for much of the next album, which has resulted in more complex structures and more poetic lyrics.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Absolutely not. This song has been produced to within an inch of its life due to Jason being probably the most anal person I have ever met. Jason mixed it himself to a certain point and then we got Evan Rodaniche (Cage9) involved. Evan adds polish to everything he touches. We sent it to Epicenter Mastering. For many, mastering is a dark art, but Jason is always involved and highly critical during this process as well.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
We are in and out of the studio at the moment, preparing some new singles to share throughout the year. I could not be more excited about these songs. Visuals are a strong part of the band’s artistic presentation also and we have some great video concepts we are working on alongside these tracks.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I’d like to mention my new side-project HVIRESS (pronounced “heiress”). This is a duo with Mishkin from Birdeatsbaby. If you’re looking for dark, electronic pop check it out – we’ve just released two singles (“Arrival” and “Golden Apple”) and a third will be coming soon…