What made you decide to start the band?

I don’t think we really decided as such, it just kind of happened. Sam and I had been messing around with synths and drums and sketched out a couple of songs. Then, whilst walking around in town I bumped into Hopey, who I went to school within a different town 100 miles away! It turned out he’d moved to Lancaster too, so he started coming along to the sessions and the rest, as they say, is history.

Introduce us to the members and your musical history?

Sam Kirkham – Multi-insturmentalist, linguist and also percussionist in jazz band Kader. Enjoys experimental and contemporary classical music.
Mark ‘Hopey’ Hope – Multi-instrumentalist, is the proud owner of an increasingly expanding collection of synthesizers and effects pedals. Enjoys LCD Soundsystem and wine.
Derek Meins – Vocalist, occasional knob-twiddler. Released records in Eastern Lane and The Agitator. Usually tired.

What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

‘What do you think you could bring to the company?’

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?

Only the ones we invent ourselves.

Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?

Yes. I’m not telling you what though, the shame is private.

What useless party trick do you have?

I can cure hiccups through mind-control. A man from Glasgow called Brian shared his wisdom with me and passed on the healer’s mantle.

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

Maybe our first ever gig. We’d spent so long writing and recording everything that it was a relief to find we could actually hold it together on stage.

What was the worst experience on stage?

We did a gig once where a very important piece of equipment broke whilst we were playing. That was not… great.

Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?

All three of us, coincidentally, have won an Olympic medal and are also members of MENSA.

If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?

Literary-minded electronic post-punk. Assuming they spoke English. 

What makes you stand out as a band?

Our legs.

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?

There are indeed many things currently happening in the world that induce disdain, but the incompetent, self-serving and utterly contemptible excuse we have for a government is a constant source of vexation. 

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

We have a song called, ‘Queen of the Land of the Free’, which has a big instrumental wig-out bit at the end. I enjoy watching Sam and Hopey make a royal racket in that one.

I hear you have a new single. what can you tell us about it?

The 1 Big 1 is based on a book by Russell Hoban called, ‘Riddley Walker’. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Kent, in which language and society have broken down. It’s a mind-bending piece of literature, and I guess the song is a homage to it. Hopey wrote the music and I just fitted my singing around that. Sam added some percussion and drums. Bosh.

Talk me through the thought process of the single?

My friend Raf Rundell phoned me and asked if I could help him to write some songs about a book he’d just read. He told me what the book was and I got a copy. I was totally blown away by it! I went down to London and we did some writing, but it didn’t really work out (some drinks may have been taken!). So, I went home and basically stole his idea (apologies). Hopey had written this piece of music and the lyrical ideas I had seemed to really fit. 

What was the recording process like?

The bulk of the recording, as with most of our stuff, was done in our home studios. When we had the main structure done, we went to a studio near us which is an old church in the middle of nowhere. There, we recorded the guitars, drums and vocals. It seemed quite a fitting location to be recording a song about Riddley Walker.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?

Steal other people’s ideas. As long as they’re not Ed Sheeran.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

No, it is utter perfection.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

We’ve got our album ready to go, so we’re working towards releasing that over the summer. We’re also writing some stuff for a collaborative compilation organised by Gated Canal Community in Manchester, so that will be a fun thing coming soon too.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Thomas Ragsdale has done some remixes of our single which will be released on cassette tape. He is an incredibly talented and frustratingly prolific man, as well as being very nice. You should check out his work and his label, Soundtracking the Void. Aside from that, I’m sure the world has enough going on without us getting involved.