THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Thursday, February 4, 2010
CLASSIC INTERVIEWS : BIS
During the 41 issues that The Original Sin was in paperform, I did many interviews. Some were for personal reasons memorable, others for other reasons I suppose. As some of you are old readers who own the original copy it might be useless, but I know there are new readers around and for them there is a section here which I call classic interviews. Some things might be dated but I prefer to give the interview in its complete form. This one was done with Manda Rin, singer of Bis. Even in the peak of their success, Manda was always willing to give interviews to fanzines. She also did one with The Original Sin.
Let’s get to the bottom of the case! It really was a sort of a dream to do an interview with one of the women I adore most…Manda Rin! Not only does she look gorgeous but I only can have one thing for what she (and John and Steven too!) did and that’s RESPECT! They have reached the status of popstar (“Eurodisco” is a Top 20-hit in Belgium) by believing in themselves, no matter what others told them. I did this postal interview two days after I saw them live in Brussels and if you ask me why I haven’t done it in a direct way then maybe you’re right, but I was too shy. Quite stupid I know cos if there is one band who care about their fans then it must be Bis!
HELLO MANDA! YOUR NEW ALBUM IS INDEED A BIT MORE POPPY (WHICH IS ONLY A GOOD THING!), BUT WHAT’S THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “SOCIAL DANCING” AND “NEW TRANSISTOR HEROES”? I think that it’s quite obvious if you listen to both. I think it’s a bad thing if a band hasn’t progressed by the time they record their second album. The album is more varied in content, and we’ve had more time to concentrate on the beats, our playing and singing.
IS IT SO THAT DEEP DOWN IN YOUR HEART YOU WANT TO BE POPSTARS OR IS THIS SOMETHING MADE UP BY THE PRESS? I think that anyone who’s in a band dreams of being a popstar. What’s better than having a career doing something that you love?
TO BE HONEST I WAS SURPRIZED WHEN YOU PLAYED IN BRUSSELS AND NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE TURNED UP. I MEAN “EURODISCO” HAS BEEN A VERY BIG HIT OVER HERE… EVERYBODY KNOWS THE SONG AND IT GOT PLAYED EVERY HOUR ON THE RADIO. WASN’T IT A BIT DISSAPOINTING FOR YOU? No. We’ve never played Brussels, and because of one song we don’t expect the whole of Brussels to come and see us. We got them dancing, and that’s a good thing. Apparently it’s a dodgy area to go to, and there was someone else playing that night too.
I GUESS YOU MEAN JIMI TENOR WHO IS INDEED A BIG NAME HERE. IN “ACTION AND DRAMA” YOU MENTION BOTH WHAM! AND BANANARAMA. I ADORE POPMUSIC FROM THE 80’S (FROM DURAN DURAN TO HOWARD JONES). DO YOUN THINK THAT THE POPSTARS FROM TODAY ARE MAKING AS GOOD MUSIC AS THEY USED TO TEN YEARS AGO? OR IS IT JUST MELANCHOLY? Well, how many of the chart popstars actually make their own music? I know what you mean though, and I do think that 80’s tunes are more memorable.
WHAT I LIKE SO MUCH ABOUT BIS IS THE ENTHUSIASM YOU’RE HAVING FOR OTHER MUSICIANS. MANDA HAS HER OWN ZINE AND STEVE HAS HIS OWN LABEL. ISN’T THIS A BIT TYPICAL FOR SCOTTISH BANDS? We all genuinely love music and all do our best to help smaller bands that we think deserve more coverage and exposure…whether that’s by interviewing them, or putting their records out.
WHO MENTIONS BIS AUTOMATICALLY THINKS OF FANZINES…DO YOU THINK BIS SHOULD BE AS HUGE AS THEY ARE NOW WITHOUT THE IMMENSE SUPPORT FROM FANZINES? It’s hard to say. Fanzines don’t reach as many people as the mainstream press, but most of our long-term fans heard about us in the beginning from fanzines.
AN OTHER THING I ADORE ABOUT BIS IS THEIR TEEN-C REVOLUTION. I REALLY DO THINK THAT BIS HAS DONE AN ENORMOUS REVOLUTION IN THE UK-SCENE AS THEY WERE SAYING THAT ONCE YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELVES YOU CAN REACH A LOT…. We don’t really claim to be revolutionaries, but if people see us as a positive inspiration then that can only be a good thing.
WE ALL KNOW THAT YOU WERE THE FIRST UNSIGNED BAND WHO GOT ON TOP OF THE POPS. WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING THAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND ONCE YOU HEARD YOU WERE GOING TO BE THERE? I was so excited and couldn’t quite take it in.
HOPE YOU DON’T MIND, BUT MY FAVE BIS-TRACK EVER MUST BE “SKINNY TIE SENSURROUND” AND I ONCE READ THAT THE BAND WEREN’T THAT KEEN ON IT…IS THIS REALLY SO AND WHY? That’s me! I prefer the more upbeat, pop or punksongs. John and Steven love it, but disagreements can only be positive. If no one liked it, it wouldn’t be on the album!
ANOTHER THING I SURELY WANT TO ASK IS IF YOU AGREE IF I THINK BIS HAVE BOTH A VERY FUNNY AND EXTREMELY MELANCHOLIC FEELING IN THEIR MUSIC (….THAT’S WHY I ADORE THE BAND). WHAT DO YOU THINK? I don’t think our music is funny…it’s just fun! We love music, and don’t hide the fact that it’s fun to write songs.
MANDA’S FANZINE “POPGIRLS” IS ABOUT GIRLS IN POP. IS THIS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR YOU AND AS I SUPPOSE IT IS, DO YOU THINK THINGS ARE BETTER NOW AS THEY USED TO BE? It’s a very important issue. Some aspects are improving, but I doubt that equality will ever be achieved. Some people aren’t aware of how bad some situations are…that’s why I write about it.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND PLEASE STATE WHY…. “Operation Heavenly” by The Heavenly (WOOOOW!!!-ed). I can listen to it endlessly. It’s pure pop and it’s great to sing to.
WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND TO BE ALONE WITH IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN? Drew Barrymore, and I’d ask her to show me all her tattoos.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HEROES YOURSELF? Kathleen Hanna, Corin Tucker, Molly Neuman and Alison Wolf.
FORGIVE ME FOR BEING STUPID...BUT WHAT DO YOU MEAN EXACTLY MEAN WITH SOCIAL DANCING? Social dancing is a subject at school where you do traditional Scottish dancing.
WHAT’S THE MOST COOL THING ABOUT EACH BIS-MEMBER? Steven (good songwriter) and John (mellow/easy to talk to).
IN THE STATES YOUR ALBUMS ARE RELEASED BY GRAND ROYAL (LABEL FROM BEASTIE BOYS) . SOMEWHERE I COMPARE YOU WITH THE BEASTIE BOYS, SURELY NOT MUSICAL, BUT WHEN THEY WERE STARTING OUT NOBODY BELIEVED IN THEM AND NOW THEY ARE ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED BANDS THERE ARE. DO YOU SEE THAT COMPARISON YOURSELF? Oh definitely, and maybe one day we’ll sell millions of records too!
IF YOU HAD ONE WISH THAT WOULD BECOME REALITY AT ONCE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE? To have a house.
IF THERE COMES A DAY YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE KIDS, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THEM TO SPEND THEIR LIFE AS A POPSTAR OR NOT? Depends what their attitudes are like. I would recommend school qualifications though.
BIS…KANDYPOP…SO TELL US, IS BELGIAN CHOCOLATE REALLY THAT GOOD OR IS IT JUST AN OVERRATED THING? Oh, I love it. I bought my mum some when I was in Belgium and she’s addicted to it, and they’re expensive in Britain.