Hello dear Christophe, first of all thanks for doing this. Do you think The Names had an unique sound?
Actually, we did not spend so much time thinking about our sound. We had a very good idea about the band format we wanted to have, however: a new wave band (the term postpunk hadn’t been invented yet) with guitars and keyboards, like Howard Devoto’s Magazine. Yet, in order to think seriously about our sound, we would have needed to spend considerable time in the studio, and we had no money for that. Also, as soon as we started working with Martin Hannett (Factory’s in-house producer, who had been working with Joy Division), our sound was very much in Martin’s extremely capable hands. In retrospect, I think Martin was trying something new with us. We were probably quite different from the musicians he was used to working with, and this may explain why our sound seems so distinct now.
How do you see The Names in the Belgian scene?
When we started playing as The Passengers in early 1978, there was quite a lively punk/new wave scene in Brussels, with bands such as X-Pulsion, Streets, The Mad Virgins, Thrills, Hubble Bubble, Kläng, Digital Dance ... Belgium as a whole was very much the beach head of the British punk and new wave movement (there was an obvious contrast with the Netherlands, where post-hippie performers such as Rickie Lee Jones were big stars; same thing for France). Still, obviously, most of this new rock scene was located in Flanders and Brussels. Most of our gigs took place there. It’s no coincidence, I guess, that we never played in Liège, where old-style heavy metal was still dominant. Also, it’s essential to remember that even in the whole of Belgium, the punk/new wave scene in the late 1970s was extremely small in terms of market share. When The Talking Heads performed in Brussels in early 1978, they played to a crowd of about 250 fans (“everybody” with any punk credibility was there). When The Cure played the Beurschouwburg in 1980 (the Seventeen Seconds tour), there were about 500 people in the audience. The same goes for albums sales. In 1979, Belgian sales of Joy Division's first album Unknown Pleasures amounted to less than 1000. To us, they were “big”. The Talking Heads were huge: they had sold 8000 albums in Belgium that year!
But still as The Passengers you could be the support of your heroes : Magazine
It was indeed magical to play as supporting act for Magazine, XTC, even for The Simple Minds. The 1979 Magazine concert is one of my best memories ever. We were able to obtain these gigs through friendly contacts with the (small-scale) concert promoters interested in punk/new wave. Since the music scene was very small, things could be obtained on a friendly basis. Some of these guys are big businessmen now, so I guess things must have changed. During the short period when we worked with WEA, we obtained other types of supporting act gigs, one with Robert Palmer, for instance, which was absolutely great even if this meant playing to a very different audience.
Once a friend told me that at the archives of our national radio there might be plenty of radiorecordings left….
The only recorded radio broadcast I have in mind would be the concert we taped in 1980 for the RTBF show “Impédance.” Some of these songs were released on the Spectators of Life collection CD. A concert we gave in Paris during a Disques du Crépuscule package tour was apparently broadcast on France Inter, but I’m not sure it was recorded. The one session we would have loved to release was the John Peel session we recorded in early 1982 just before going to Stockport to record Swimming. Unfortunately, buying the rights of these four songs was too expensive for us. James Nice released them in on one of the early LTM project.
I always thought it was strange your debutsingle was released on WEA though….
It did not feel like a miracle at the time. There was a booming new scene in Belgium, and we thought it logical that record companies should be interested in the new bands. In fact, we contacted several labels before WEA, including a very unlikely one (RKM, which had had its huge success with Plastic Bertrand). We felt we could not leave any stone unturned. Recording was prohibitively expensive then (no home studio at the time), so we needed the financial support provided by record companies. The WEA people were quite correct, but they were obviously still into the FM rock scene. Eventually, it became obvious we were not suited to their business plan: they wanted bands that were at least minimally profitable.
So do you think “Spectators Of Life” was a failure?
I think this failure was largely due to ourselves: we did not have the psychological profile or the media savvy to promote this type of music (new wave rock with a commercially catchy angle ... even a disco beat, influenced by the beautiful No. 1 in Heaven album by The Sparks). In retrospect, this failure was a good thing: it left us free to do something more radically alternative, which turned out to be “The Nightshift”.
Which was on Factory, please tell us about it!
We met most of the Factory staff in 1980 and 82: Tony Wilson, Alan Erasmus, Rob Gretton, and of course Martin. As far as performers go, the person we got to see most often at the time was Vini Reilly, from the Durutti Column because we were part of the same Crépuscule tour in 1982. Ian Curtis was already dead when we went to Stockport for the first time in the summer of 1980. I remember meeting Peter Hook in the Strawberry Studio kitchen, but it wouldn’t be true to say that we actually had significant contacts with the New Order musicians. At the time, besides Martin, the Factory person we interacted with most often was Rob Gretton, Joy Division’s manager. We even had a very heated argument with him about Factory’s unwillingness to give “The Nightshift” the promotional support we thought it deserved (his argument was that Factory was above these basely material considerations). We also played with a few factory bands (Section 25, the excellent A Certain Ratio) at Brussels University in 1981. When The Names started performing again at the 2007 Factory Night, we got to meet them again, of course.
Is it true that New Order once played in your place as The No-Names as you couldn’t make it?
Yes, that was in 1980. I think we were scheduled to play in Manchester at the same time as the Swimming recording session. I don’t remember why the concert was canceled. We did play at the London Venue, though, with a few other Factory/Crépuscule bands, but that gig is better forgotten.
Being on Factory was that a good thing for the band? I mean Factory is often New Order and the rest zero…
There are indeed two sides to this issue. Factory did have a very big reputation, and we were absolutely delighted to be able to record for them. There is also not a single doubt that we would have been unable to make this type of music (and indeed have this type of sound) if we had worked with a Belgian producer (we did record a few titles with Belgian sound engineers, and the result was decent enough, but less radical than the Martin touch). On the other hand, in business terms, Factory was a small, fairly non-professional outfit. They mostly survived (probably in spite of serious financial hardships) thanks to the enormous prestige of some of their bands, chiefly Joy Division of course. This prestige gave them a level of media access other small labels could not possibly have.
And then there was Les Disques de Crepuscule, how was that?
Again, our priority was to make the music we wanted to make. Anybody who helped us do so was our friend. In our view of things at the time, there was in fact no clear division between Factory and Crépuscule. Remember that Crépuscule people (Michel Duval, Katalyn Kolosy ... ) were in charge of the Factory Benelux label, which released songs by Factory bands (A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, I think). Shortly before we recorded Swimming, Michel Duval asked us if we wanted to release the album under the Factory Benelux imprint, which he thought we might find more appealing. We opted for Crépuscule, because we thought this was only fair to him: he was the person handing out the money and Crépuscule was his label. He deserved the credit. This being said, it would indeed be an overstatement to say that those small labels were a happy family. I remember that when we took part in the 1982 Crépuscule Tour (“A North to South Dialogue”), there was some degree of competition among the bands (notably with Paul Haig, who played excellent music, but was a bit of a show-off). Within Crépuscule, the bands with whom we had the best contacts were Marine, Tuxedo Moon, and Vini Reilly. In fact, the best musical contacts we had were with non-Crépuscule Brussels or Belgian bands: Kläng, particularly (Claude and Alain Ongena, Denis Ruffin, our former guitarist Robert Franckson): if they had chosen to move to London, they could have become a great new-wave pop band
And before I forget, how was it to work with Martin Hannett?
Martin was certainly not the easiest person to communicate with, yet he was definitely not out of his mind. He was extremely imaginative, very determined in his production choices, but unfortunately not always very gifted at sharing what he was trying to do musically with the musicians themselves [if you want more information about the way Martin worked with us, check out this previous interview: http://users.skynet.be/fa948594/namesgreenley.htm] The sad truth is that he was suffering from a very serious drug addiction which killed him eventually. When I saw Anton Corbijn’s beautiful Control, about Ian Curtis’s short career, I was struck by the fact that a lot of the people mentioned in the film are dead (Martin, Rob Gretton, Tony Wilson).
I sometimes think “Swimming” is the best Belgian album ever…
Best Belgian album ... I love to hear this. Interestingly, the situation was a little more complex at the time. First of all, we were not entirely satisfied with Swimming ourselves. The album was recorded very quickly (six days ... again, on a shoestring budget), and there were a few problems in the initial stages: Martin asked us to record the drums in a very surprising way. This slowed us down a little bit. Also, we were not too enthusiastic about his choice of mixing the vocals relatively low with regard to the rest of the arrangement. There was also the fact that the music we were making was no longer favored by the media in late 1982: the postpunk wave was ebbing; people were far more interested in neo-funk stuff (Allez Allez) or in the so-called “new romantics” (the ghastly Duran Duran). In retrospect, it is a pity Swimming was only our first album: It should have been our third, at least: Michel, who composed the song, was extremely prolific, and since 1978, we had gone through several sets of songs in different styles. My chief regret is the fact that we never had the opportunity to record the set of songs that immediately preceded Swimming—those we played on stage in 1981. Even though I do like the Swimming material, I think those songs were better than those we ended up recording. Long after the 1980s, we still discovered concert tapes (recorded live on a walkman) of excellent material we had almost totally forgotten. Some of these songs are featured on Spectators of Life. Add to this the fact that in Belgium itself, we were not regarded as a “legitimate” alternative rock band ... too serious, not enough attitude, no tattoos or obvious addictions ... It is only thanks to the more recent Internet fandom that we came to realize that our early-1980s material meant something to far more people than we had imagined. The wonderful efforts of James Nice, who reissued our material on CD, really must be underlined here. Thanks, James: without you, we would be next to nothing ...
So, in short, to come back to your question, by the end of 1982, we felt a little out of time. We were happy to sign off with one of our favorite songs ... “The Astronaut.”
As for you, Christophe, you decide to leave The Names. Why is that?
The main reason why I left The Names in late 2009 was simply that I found the whole business of rehearsals and live gigs too stressful physically (getting old ... hauling 60 kilos of gear, etc.). There were also artistic tensions, indeed. I had the feeling Michel wanted to steer the band towards a tougher kind of music to which I would have had very little to contribute and which I’m not sure The Names are ideally suited to play. We had a few arguments about this during the mixing of the 2009 album Monsters Next Door. Still, I find it very courageous of Michel, Marc, Laurent, Eric, and Christophe Boulenger (the new keyboard player) to go on playing. Ironically, one of the chief benefits of resuming the band’s activities in the 2000s has been to draw attention to our 1980s material: we have never been taken so seriously as in the last few years. Conversely, we were quite disappointed that the new album—Monsters Next Doors—was all but ignored: we thought it was a good effort. As far as my own activities go, I must divide my time between academic projects (I’m writing a book on contemporary realism ... Michael Moore, Zadie Smith, David Mitchell, Robert Altman ...) and songs that I develop at home in the very basic home studio I have put together in the last few years. These are instrumental numbers, sometimes entirely sample-based. Still, given the lack of time, I’m not quite sure whether this will lead to anything ...
Who are endgestalt and how would you describe your music?
kreon: endgestalt is a music project founded in 2008 by two guys who wanted to contribute their music to the dark scene. Our music is kind of electro, with elements of dark electro, ebm, industrial, techno and more. It has these crazy horror-style-elements and can sometimes be very violent and filthy, filled with a good dose of irony. Our songs can be compared with short movies or they are an homage to existing movies. We don´t want to set ourselves boundaries, but it should sound dark.
“elektrokution” is a cd that got released by your own. Was this a decision that’s been forced or something you want to do yourself?
c_PA: “elektrokution” was our first common project with the serious goal to produce a CD on our own. For this reason, we wanted to get the entire know-how of doing a CD production.
It might be a tricky question but some bands prefer being independent as they always gather control over their music. What do you think?
kreon: We love independence. Of course it´s hard work and you can't do everything what a record label could do for you but it is worth it. We can release songs whenever we want or give our CD to others as a gift. Everything is possible and we won’t accept compromise in cover, titles, etc.
To me your music is like you pick up a certain idea from reality or from history and that you built a song out of that. Correct or wrong?
c_PA:Yes and no. Sometimes we have a couple of ideas and build a storyboard out of that and sometimes we just start making music and think of the right ambiance, after we finished the song halfway.
kreon: For me the songs represent our feelings. My biggest wish was to make movies or to paint pictures showing the weird stuff I think about. But movies are expensive and I'm not able to paint all the scenery so that you feel what's going on. So I decided to use my skills as a musician and let the audience feel what I see or get their own impressions as they would by watching a picture.
Sometimes I don’t know what to think…are these two just having some fun or do they really try to have a message?
c_PA: I think we have a good mixture of it and even our ''funny'' party songs have a message. It depends on what the listener makes out of that. It´s like “Fuck u to death”, you can just dance to it or try to find the point we imagined.
You are the kind of band who aren’t afraid of controversies….”Fuck u to death” speaks for itself and my German knowledge is enough to understand “Shockintronics”….
c_PA: Thanks, we regard this as a compliment. Conformance is not one of our best properties. (laughs)
How do you parents react if you show them your cd that contains a track named “Fuck u to death”?
kreon: We are sons that make our parents proud (laughs). It doesn't matter what our parents think about such a title. For us it is only a story that we want to tell. A story about a little girl....
Quite nice cover….is that a real model or something computerized?
c_PA:Yes, it´s a real model, called Miss Overdose. We had the great honour that Martin Black made the pictures for our cover. He is our favourite scene photographer and in our opinion one of the best on this damn fucking planet.
kreon: That's right, thank you Martin, we love your artwork! Just take a look on his page, www.art-in-black.com
Any idea how the reaction in hometown Germany are so far to the cd….I mean is it a long way to go or are you still halfway there?
kreon: We could hear our own music in clubs or on webradio stations and we had releases on several samplers. Sometimes we get fan mail that wish the best for us or we get requests from people who want to get our CDs. So I think, we have achieved a lot in this short time, and I think we can do more. At the beginning of our project I said to c_PA, that it would be so great if they played our songs in a club. It took only 4 weeks after starting the project, and today we can promote our own CD release.
Do you know why Germany still has such a massive goth/EBM-audience?
c_PA: I think many Germans don´t have a problem to be non-conform, like not believing in god or believing what the political authorities preach to you. They just do their thing and that´s a part of the goth/EBM-audiance. It´s a lifestyle!
What’s the greatest thing about being a musician?
kreon: I make music since “forever”. Music means everything to me. And for me it is such a good feeling to create my own music. And of course we do it for the audience. It is so great when people listen to our music and like it.
Sorry, but everyone is tortured to this….what’s your fave record of all time and please state why….
c_PA: Instead of “elektrokution”??? (laughs) That is “Rammstein – Das Model”, because I fucked my first girlfriend to this song (laughs)
kreon: I think it has to be RAMMSTEIN – Herzeleid. The sound of that album was a revolution to my ears and the lyrics are burned into my brain forever. This album has everything I want to listen to: violence, straight riffs played by a hard sounding guitar and lyrics that could be out of hell. And the best: You can even dance to it when listening to the sound of a reloading shotgun. ''Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?'' I thought I want to see the whole world in flames. (laughs)
Last words are yours….
both: We want to thank our fans and everybody who supports us. Thank you! Without your help many things wouldn't be possible.
Give this excellent mini-album to 100 people and changes are quite big that you will have something like 100 different versions. They all might be positive even if such things always depend on who you’re giving it to but you’ll get something like 100 different references. I decided to give it a go and the only thing I am sure about is that they found their basic roots somewhere in the 80’s and that it’s not exactly Glenn Medeiros. Opener “No Falling” is a bit like the minimal electronica from Flying Lizards while “No Name” took me back to the delightful post-punkdays where bands like Associates ruled, all added with the primal scream from Alec Empire though. “My name is Betray” could have been on the genius Propganda debut album and “Lowwit” could have been written by that chap named Giorgio Moroder. And there you have it, the sound from this British band in a nutshell….you read it over cuz you see “British”? Yes, today in 2010 there is such stuff being made in the land of the Queen!
What is with Vikings and music? Some of our readers will come up with Vikingmetal, while others will mention Trike but this band has absolutely nothing in common with that type of music, mind you! Their story is just a bit like the one you see at those dreadful MTV-rockumentaries. One day two Canadians (Xania Keane and Stephen Paul Taylor) decided to do an European tour but as they were a bit addicted to the holy trilogy of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll they ended up being completely drunk in Berlin and ended up without money to return to their hometown Canada. Don’t ask us how they managed to travel to Denmark but they did and rented there some room which was next door to an old Viking cemetery and as some local dealer provided them with some Yamaha-equipment they ended up writing songs there…. Admit it, you couldn’t think of that (neither could I…). And even if it might be the ultimate rocktale it has not that much in common with a Vikingtale as such cuz their music is a curious mix from croonerstuff and old school new wave in the American way. But more new wave in a dirty way or what do you think from one-liners such as “I won’t refuse to lick you but only if you have not been jogging”, “I touched her dirty body” or “I’m so fuckable” (it makes look “Push It” by Salt ‘n Peppa bland). There’s another song on here called “ My Little Pony” and we leave it up to your imagination what they mean here. Hilarious lyrics, but what about the music? Well, of course the band that spring most to mind must be Devo though and that’s the sort of music you’ll like or completely dislike I guess. Stephen sounds a bit as Jarvis Cocker in a voyeuristic way while Xania sounds like she’s soliciting to be part of The Slits. These Canadians found a home by the Belgian label Cheap Satanism and let us put it this way : it’s the kind of music you haven’t heard that much!
A few weeks ago I was thrilled by the newest single “Neutral Eyes” by the duo Neutral Lies and somewhere I got the feeling that this would be the foretaste of something quite beautiful….and look right now in front of my eyes : “A Deceptive Calm”. This duo is formed by the likes of Jean-François Dean and Nicolas Delbarre, two people who knew immediately that they were musically on the same wavelength and little by little it grew as Neutral Lies. Anyone who mentions synthpop, mentions of course Depeche Mode and of course this is the kind of record that will remind you of what Gahan and C° were doing on their earlier records, but Neutral Lies are much more than that. Just like it’s the case with other synthpopreleases you tend to think of Wolfsheim or Melotron, but people who are into this genre know that these bands are something like the cream of the crop from this musicstyle. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they’re French but sometimes they enrich their synthpop with the atmosphere of the one which was created by 80’s French coldwave-acts like Mary Goes Round or Little Nemo. The eighties are indeed the key here even if these guys are in for bands who put everything out of their technical equipment, and so it happens that for some reason they don’t like bands who just are using analogue sounds. Sometimes their sound is as cold as the cdsleeve but it’s just that which makes Neutral Lies such an unique band. Synthpoptip!
This is the way I feel today, probably the way I feel this year... By the way the man on the floor is Mark Burgess, singer from The Chameleons. If all goes well, and I know it will, then me and some friends will be in Holland next weekend to see them again. After having seen Charlotte Gainsbourg, after having rediscovered Stephanie (ha), what more can a man want?
Anyone who says Sweden, says pop (even if some might come up with metal though) but only a handful of people will come up with American sadcore. Of course that is if they are unfamiliar with Holmes . This five-piece band from Varnersborg aren’t that much of newcomers but this second cd (as this is the following up from “Wolves”) has set its target on European playground. If you’re having in mind that a current successful flow of indiefolkband are making it, it’s more than possible, especially as there won’t be anyone around who is thinking of Sweden if he hears this (…not that there is anything wrong with Sweden though). “Have I told you lately that I loathe you” can be best described as a moody record full of melancholic sounding pianopieces, slideguitars, magical vocals from Kristoer Bolander and now and then there’s even some guitaroutburst which is very shoegazing-like. After JJ this is surely another Swedish band to take notice of!
Am I f***’ mad? I guess I am but I wanna be f*** honest too so I decided to f*** up all my credibility (if I should ever have one) and start a new section about “albums that kill me but which are considered to be crap”. Let’s kick off with “Besoin” by Stephanie. Mind you, I am sure she could never sing and that this great princess was just in the right company of some producers who might have thought “wow, we have a princess who is willing to make some music”. When writing this it makes you wonder why they never could convince Lady Di doing this, and let’s thank God producers stayed out of our Belgian Royal House! Serious musiclovers (I’m not serious as I reject being serious) will laugh their ass off seeing me glorifying the music of madame Stephanie (and yes, as a teen I wasn’t only in her music) but in 2010 I still think “Besoin” is one of the nicest popalbums ever. It was somewhere overruled by her lovelife as in these days everybody wanted to be on her side but in the end she was just another princess missing a real fairy tale in her life. To gain some extra money (in that time such things were possible) they decided to come up with a French and an English version. It’s cheesy French pop that has the spirit of typical French 80’s pop that was overruled by one Mr Serge Gainsbourg and that type of music was perfect for its time even if it was the kind of music that was glorified by people who were wearing LaCoste or Millet-jackets but I guess these guys won’t cry in 2010 on tracks like “Fleurs Du Mal”, I will and maybe Stephanie too. “Flash” and “Ouragan” still are one of the greatest 80’s popsingles ever (so check out You Tube).
If the name of Annuals sounds any familiar to you it might be cuz some years ago they used to be signed on some major but as these times the companies just except everything (not satisfied with just something), they returned to their roots and so it happened that mastermind Adam Baker chooses not only for a small label (Banter) but he also produced it himself. “Sweet Sister” is a fivetrack EP that shows the enormous potential of this band. Whereas much of their indiefolkcollegues happen to come up with albums that features 10 same tracks, Annuals make something else from each track. “Howler and howl” is like some carnavelesque indiefolkthing (sounds stupid on paper but in reality it works) whereas “Loxtep” can be best compared to the best of what once Granddaddy used to make , while “Flesh and blood” is a heartbreaking nu-country song. If Annuals should have been signed on Bella Union (we have nothing against your mighty label, Simon) it would have been hyped but now you have to search it at the bottom of the sea of pop, but hey “Sweet Sister” is hanging on your hook!
Due to a very white light and a cheap camera it was impossible to make perfect photos from someone perfect. Not that I care, this is my blog. I wanted something like 25 years to see her. Not obly physically, believe it or not. One day I will die and if they shake me up for those very last seconds they'll ask what means most to me... Adrian Borland, Mark Burgess and Serge Gainsbourg. Charlotte is not Serge and she never pretended that, but she's his daughter. Best actress ever (and not only of the looks). Never thought I should hear words of Melody Nelson or Couleur Cafe performed by Charlotte. Unbelievable, in every sense.....
Hiya! There's me (Nel) and Louisa on vocals, Tom takes care of guitars and programming and Marcus is on bass. Marcus is also my husband - poor fellow!
COULDN’T DECIDE IF YOU WERE GOTHMETAL OR DARKWAVE, NOT THAT IT MATTERS…..
Genres are both useful in order to provide a description of a band, and limiting at the same time. We call ourselves "Ethereal Rock" and hope that it catches on!
YOU ARE AROUND SINCE 2000, WITH TWO ALBUMS… THERE WILL BE PEOPLE AROUND WHO ARE TELLING YOU THAT YOU’RE NOT WORKAHOLICS….
That's probably because we're hopelessly disorganised! I first met Tom as a friend in 2000 but we didn't decide to try writing music until 2001. The full line up was only settled around 2005. So in reality we've only been together 5 years, We've also released a UK -only Ltd. Ed. e.p - which has now sold out.
WELL, I KNOW VERY WELL THAT IT IS A MATTER OF MONEY TOO…. TELL ME, IS IT STILL POSSIBLE TO BE A GOTHBAND IN THE UK
It's possible to make music, and gig regularly. But if one can make a living out of it, who knows?
WHAT I MEAN IS THAT TEN YEARS AGO THERE USED TO BE SOME HUGE BRITISH GOTHSCENE AROUND…FROM NIGHTBREED TO SLIMELIGHT BUT IT SEEMS LIKE IT HAS BEEN FADING AWAY……
I guess things rise and fall in waves... But the next inspiration will come from somewhere, probably from where we least expect it.
CAN’T RESIST THE QUESTION, IF I WALK AROUND IN CAMDEN, LONDON AT THE GOTH-HEADQUARTER IT FEELS LIKE ONLY A FASHION THING…..
I always see the UK Goth heartlands as Northern, seeing as most of the influential bands hail from cities such as Leeds and Manchester our best gigs have been in Leeds and Newcastle (all in the north of England). I think Camden is a big money machine because London as a city will always be mostly about money. I have nothing against fashion in itself, as expressing yourself through music and fashion go hand in hand. However if you go via the DIY route with both fashion and music, you can choose how much you wish to involve yourself with the money-circus.
OVER HERE IN BELGIUM WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM… THE PRESS IS COMPLETELY IGNORING THIS SCENE, HOW DO YOU REACT TO THAT?
There are some great fanzines doing the rounds here (UnScene in print, Nocturnal online) and local press here in Sheffield have started to give us coverage which was unexpectedly nice! Mainstream press has always been fickle, so I hold no expectations. Sometimes the wind blows your way, sometimes it doesn't...
RECENTLY WORLDWIDE THE BIGGEST GOTH-ZINE GOTHTRONIC CALLED IT A DAY BY TELLING THE SCENE IS OVER….AGREE?
The scene will go through phases of strength. The UK is in an upswing at the moment, but it had to sink before it could do that. Whether there's the numbers to support the scene financially is another matter. Print media is being replace with online media which is another factor I think.
BACK TO YOUR MUSIC….”INTOXICATED” IS A RATHER MOODY ALBUM. IS THAT A WELL THOUGHT CHOICE OR NOT?
I generally use writing songs as a way to work through stuff in my head, so it's natural that often the subject matter is often thorny. Happy things don't usually need addressing!
YOU GOT THE HELP FROM MATT HOWDEN, HOW DID YOU GET IN TOUCH WITH HIM?
He's a friend who lives up the road :) He and Marcus used to jam together years ago as we all love making music and live in the same city, it just seems natural to fuse that together sometimes. We've played each other's album launches and he guests on our Blue Shift ep too.
AS FOR YOUR MUSIC, HOW DO YOU SEE THAT…CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL OR IS THERE MORE BEHIND IT? I MEAN, SOMETIMES I HATE IT IF THERE’S MORE BEHIND IT AS BEAUTY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF…..
I want to create something that people can emotionally resonate with and something that matters to someone. Writing-music-as-therapy is awesome because you get to take something brutal and ugly inside, and turn it into something that people can enjoy and perhaps feel like someone out there feels the same way sometimes.
I GUESS IT’S NOT EASY FOR A BRITISH UNKNOWN GOTHBAND TO BOOK GIGS OVER HERE, BUT IS THERE SOMETHING PLANNED YET?
We would love to tour Europe but so far no promoters have approached us and we can't afford to risk taking time out from our jobs on the off-chance that there would be an audience! I guess local promoters would know if there was the demand to see us or not...
WANNA ASK YOU A SIMPLE BUT NAUGHTY QUESTION…. WHY HAVE YOU FALLEN IN LOVE WITH MUSIC?
Because music has the power to transport you emotionally and psychologically. It can be both an escapism and a tool to address problems. Walking around with music in your headphones can make the world more bearable. I love to express myself through writing songs, it's such a buzz.
THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW , I LEAVE THE LAST WORDS TO YOU…..
Thanks for interviewing us! It's great to know that there are people out there who are as enthusiastic about their music as we are :)
Well, sometimes dream happen I guess. Out of a sudden I got the opportunity to interview a hero...Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17. Don't forget to scroll down to the end when you are dying to see Heaven 17 perform their legendary classic "Penthouse And Pavement". I saw this show myself in Gent and it's one of those things synthpopfans must see simply as this timeless classic is a legend on its own. The pics on this page are from Tracey Welch. Hello let me first thank you for wanting to do this. I am a long time fan so these questions will also sound as if they were asked by a fan…
When you started out, did you ever had in mind that your sound would once be seen as legendary and influential?
When we started out, we knew we wanted to make an album that would pass the test of time and I think we did manage to do that…
I suppose you can never really know how what you are doing is going to be judged by the passage of time but having just spent the last 8 or 9 months re working and re programming the tracks from penthouse and pavement I think they really do sound as good and fresh today as they did the day we first recorded them.
It’s always a fantastic compliment when other musicians or bands mention you as an influence and we have been lucky enough to have that honour quite a few times.
You were part of the so called Sheffield scene, was there really a scene as such or just the coincidence that there were different bands making industrial music at the same time?
I suppose there was a scene really, in so much as we knew most of the other bands that were working at the same time. Sheffield is a pretty small place when it comes to where we all used to hang out so you would always be bumping in the other bands and musicians.
Also as the steel industry fell apart there were lots of small factories and work places that were left empty and they were so cheap to rent that bands would take over them as rehearsal space or studio space, consequently you could walk through that area of Sheffield on a Sunday afternoon and hear ABC playing or The human league or Clock DVA or Deaf leppard or many other bands that were trying to make it at that time.
Exciting and fun… great times.
Why oh why does it take a band so long before they could play on stage?
A few reasons really…
Martyn and Ian had pretty much toured constantly with the Human League and were tired of it… also MTV had started the same year as Heaven 17 and we thought it was a much more modern and future facing route to take than the old rock’n’roll album tour scenario.
If we were right or not, who knows? But as a consequence, now we actually do play live. We are still really enthused by it, and not jaded by years of touring. In fact we bloody love it.
I also mean I can guess by the time “The Luxury Gap” was such a huge success, I guess the pressure must have been high then to get you on stage…
We did have a lot of pressure to play live at this stage but we were stubborn northern boys and we stood by our ideals and ideas… although we were offered a million pounds to tour the USA at that time and we said no…. now that might have been a bit silly…
You were one of the first bands who started their own record company, BEF, so in a way you were very punk. How logical was it to put out your own record label back then? In fact why did you start BEF…was it meant to create it to give Heaven 17 their change to conquer the world, I mean on BEF were artists that were almost like household names of the 80’s.
Again this came out of the fact that Martyn and Ian didn’t want to be a normal band so they decided to sign a deal as a production company. In essence your right BEF was pretty much a separate label attached to Virgin. It was another way of gaining more control over what were producing.
The reality was however that Heaven 17 became began taking up much more time and the running of BEF as a label took a backseat.
Your first single “(We Don’t Need) That Fascist Groove Thang” immediately got banned. I guess for a DIY band that was a sort of knife that hurts a lot, especially as it seems they didn’t even care to listen….
Yes it did hurt a lot and it was stupid as well. It was a really important record for us and when the critical and public acclaim came we were so pleased but then the bloody BBC took it upon themselves to ban it. I still don’t really understand the small mindedness of it. In fact the other day a journalist told me she had chosen it as a record of her youth on a BBC local radio show and they had refused to play it. It’s still a political hot potato 30 years later.
You were at the cradle of one of the greatest comebacks ever, Tina Turner. How did that make you feel?
It was amazing to work with Tina Turner. It came about as we had contacted her to sing a track on the BEF music of quality and distinction. We went to meet her at her house in LA… it was hilarious three young guys from Sheffield hanging out with Tina Turner in the Hollywood Hills.
After she got over the fact that the band was inside a computer, she really enjoyed the experience and asked us if we would write some new materiel for her. We were right in the middle of writing The Luxury Gap we said we didn’t have time but suggested doing a cover with her. “Let’s Stay Together” was that cover and the rest as they say is history! It is a real honour to have been involved in bringing back Tina Turner to her rightful place in the pop firmament.
You always were close with The Human League. How did you react when you saw that this underground band suddenly became a multi-selling band? Was that something you wanted yourself or was it more a frightening idea?
When the League split it was clear to see that both sides wanted to distance themselves somewhat from the first two Human League albums. We did it by finding a new sound. A new instrumentation helped us achieve this. The League did it by getting in new writers and producers and becoming more pop. I have always loved the Human League both pre and post split. We were all really happy to see the success they had.
I always thought your 1980 debut “Penthouse And Pavement” must be the most overlooked albums ever. The sound was revolutionary.
As I said we were trying to find our own sound and something away from THL we got really lucky. Fascist Groove Thang was the first track that we worked on. Martyn had the idea to add a bass guitar solo in the middle of the track (the Human League would never do that). It proved to be an inspirational idea as we found John Wilson and that in turn led us to the sound that would define the new album and Heaven 17.
I recently saw you on stage performing that album, does it still gives you the same vibe and do you explore anything new in it?
Both Martyn and I love playing the album live. We haven’t performed it for thirty years, but now we’ve done this. It’s joyus!!! Some of those songs I only ever got to sing once (or however many times it took me to get it right in the studio) then that was it… no more. Now I do get the chance to sing them again… and I love it!!
Just like everyone else I like “The Luxury Gap” but have you ever wished “Penthouse and Pavement” got that recognition instead?
The Luxury Gap had the hits. People are going to remember that one with a bit more love but for me Penthouse and Pavement is the heart and soul of Heaven 17. I do adore The Luxury Gap but there was something about the time and the feeling around at the writing and recording of P&P… it was electric.
I don’t mean it in a bad way, but “The Luxury Gap” wasn’t the usual 80’s album in the sense from three hits and seven fillers….and by that standard wasn’t it a curse as well? I mean it was almost impossible to top that album…
It has been hard to top its commercial success, but there are songs that are not on that album that are easily as good as anything on it. It’s not a curse to have produced such a great album. It’s a joy.
How did you feel as persons when you noticed that the following up “How Men Are” wasn’t going to be “The Luxury Gap” sales-wise?
That’s life. We wrote the album we wanted to write, we didn’t try and produce a second Luxury Gap. We always go the way we want to go. If it’s not as successful, so be it.
I had the honour to see you different times and you’re not just a jukebox like many of your 80’s collegues but a real vivid band….
We do always try to make our performance modern even if we are playing old songs. I think it helps that to be honest I don’t think our songs sound old anyway…
Talking about the 80’s, now they’re cool but anyone who said in 2000 that the 80’s were cool was shot down immediately.
It’s just one of those things… I think the 80’s wa a really good time for songwriting… maybe the last great decade… until the next anyway
Have you ever considered yourself as an 80’s icon?
I suppose I might have to believe it…
I don’t want to let this sound as a tricky question, but do you think there will ever comes a time that you’re having another “Penthouse” or “Luxury Gap”, both artistic and saleswise?
You are back on the road for quite some time and you will play at the Sinner’s Festival in Belgium too. How do you find the courage?
As I said we really enjoy playing live and were not tired of it… I’m really excited to be playing the Sinners Festival. I’ve done plenty of sinning in my life so it’s about time we celebrated the fact.
Thank you so much, I leave the last words to you….thanks!!!!!
I just wonder if we will be able to perform The Luxury Gap live, it’s a whole different ball game… still we always did like a challenge.
Don’t miss Heaven 17’s “30th Anniversary Penthouse And Pavement Tour.”
Ticket Hotline: 08700 603 777
Edinburgh HMV Picture House (Nov 22) Glasgow O2 ABC (Nov 23) Manchester Ritz (Nov 25) Birmingham HMV Institute (Nov 26) London HMV Forum (Nov 28) Oxford O2 Academy (Nov 29) Brighton Corn Exchange (Nov 30) Bristol O2 Academy (Dec 1)
Are there still people on this planet who have never heard about The National? Whether you want it or not, their “Boxer”-album from 2007 has been declared more than one as the albums of the decennium. Even Obama used one of their songs in his election campaign and over here in Belgium their forthcoming concert in Belgium was sold out in less than a day. With all these graceful words it’d be quite hard for them to come up with the following up and it will only be the future that will decide if this “High Violet” will go the same way or not. If they ever ask you to sum up this album in one word then that word can be : beautiful….and that’s not only because of the voice from Matt Berninger. From the moment that they start this album with “Terrible Love” you feel that you will be bounded to your chair for the next 45 minutes. In a way you can state that this album is a perfect balance in times as this bunch from Brooklyn use the new wave revival (“Anyone’s ghost” sounds as Joy Division whereas “Conversation 16” is like Editors with a chorus of angels) while other songs are doing it the Americana-way (“Runaway” sounds very much like Leonard Cohen and on closing song “Vanderlyle Crybaby geeks” you can hear Bon Iver). Far too early to state that this will be a timeless record but I know that during the coming months this cd will always be hanging around my cd-player….
Even if I never hated Nirvana, I never liked it when bands got compared to them. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I heard too many clones who responsible for making the 90’s one of the worst decades in music. For reasons I never got to understand this trio from London are compared with them anyway… Okay, they’re a trio, they have a raw energy (Nirvana were sounding energetic on “Bleach”) and their debut happen to be released on Subpop as well. Male Bonding might be the most punksounding band you can meet today and their sound is a real attack to the likes of Arcade Fire or Animal Collective, all genius bands but they seem to get drown into their own created psychedelica. It happens to be one of the dirtiest records you’ll hear this year as it comes quite close to the early years of The Fall, The Ramones or The Buzzcocks but with the sound of an airjet. If you add to that some shoegaze (My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and The Mary Chain) and raw noise-rock (Husker Dü) then Male Bonding can be described as one of the most promising guitaracts of this moment. “Nothing Hurts” is the ideal middle finger to show people who are misusing our beloved music to rape it with their misplaced intellectualism. If Male Bonding were around in 1977 then they once would become legends.
I sent an email out in sheer frustration with a full list of The Fall's discography, and Fra (the drummer) sort of casually dropped into a conversation that he liked "Perverted by Language". Fra is very convincing.
I SUPPOSE PERVERTED BY LANGUAGE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE MUSICAL OUTLET FROM JEREMY THOMAS.
Feh! Not at all. I mean yes, it's me looking for a musical outlet, but not at all as a "my" band - I've always wanted to work with people and for the people I work with to be just as equally valued as I am. This is very much a team effort. Being the singer and frontman, things just naturally tend to focus on me.
HOW DID IT EXACTLY START?
It started when I replied to an add that Ronan had put online. He sent me a demo of a few songs, and I knew we would do great things together before the end of the first chorus. So we started getting together to work on stuff. We both had a clear Daan / Depeche Mode sort of idea, but it didn't work out like that at all. We needed a drummer and something else. Fra & Vas came as a package, and Élise came in when we decided that I was better off just singing without playing the bass.
WHAT ARE YOUR RELEASES SO FAR?
A release being something you can buy in a shop? Not really. We have a studio demo and a few home recorded tracks. We know we want to make an album, but realistically, we have to fund the recording ourselves, and find a label to distribute it. One of the problems of being a band nowadays is that you're comparing your music with 30 years of U2 and are probably expecting to fund it with less money than they had to spend on a single in the early days.
We have a small budget and not much studio expertise, so we're being careful in making sure we spend wisely. It might take some time though.
IT’S A PAINFUL QUESTION I KNOW BUT 18 YEARS IN BIZ AND ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE KNOW YOU. NEVER CONSIDERED THAT AS A FAILURE?
I'm not quite sure where you got the 18 years from. I first got my arse on stage in 2008, just a few weeks before I hit 40. We're a bunch of part-timers from Brussels. We've opened for For Against and Chameleons Vox. I'd never consider that as failure.
We have people who go to one gig and then come back. These people are not stupid - you really know you can trust their judgement when you see their face in the crowd for the 3rd or 4th time. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that we can blow people off their feet, and they will come back for more. I respect the audience - they're just as much part of the gig as the band is.
That's not commercial success, but we're in it for the music, not for the money. (that's so cliché!)
NEVER THOUGHT IT’D BE EASIER IF YOU WERE A BANDWAGONJUMPER?
What? And be something I'm not? No thanks. Besides - we have a sound. There's no way I'd want to loose that - it's what makes us unique.
Anyway - which particular bandwaggon do you think I could jump on? LOL!
LOT OF THINGS HAVE TO DO THAT MUSIC LIKE YOURS IS SO IGNORED BY EVERYONE.
If you sold 1 million albums in the UK at the height of the '80s, that would mean that less then 2% of the population had bought it. Is that being "ignored"? In this day & age, more than any other time over the past 30 years, you get told what to listen to by the media, who get told what to tell you by the guys who control the formula. If you want something good and exciting, you have to scratch beneath the surface and go and discover the stuff that's driven by the music, not the money.
We're a small band. We get our message accross bit by bit. To really go mass market takes a bit of luck and a lot of money. There's a good proprtion of the people who hear the message who actually like it, and it's spreading slowly and steadily. I'll settle for that.
DID YOU EVER UNDERSTOOD THAT?
Money talks, yes.
I MEAN MUSIC LIKE YOURS IS ALTERNATIVE BUT 1000 TIMES MORE POPPY AS SAY SONIC YOUTH….
I love The Byrds, Abba (yes, I am a big Abba fan), The Police, Psychadelic Furs, The Human League, Depeche Mode, as well as maybe more obvious stuff like Joy Division, Bauhaus, My Bloody Valentine or The Smiths. All of that has worked it's way into the songwriting. It may not be obvious, but I know where I've reused a favorite lyric, or borowed a melody for a chorus, or built a whole song around a variation on a classic bassline. There's such a huge database of great songs and ideas to draw on when you're writing popular music. Take a Joy Division bassline, stick a Furs vocal on it, an Abba chord sequence for the chorus, a Depeche Mode synth lick, and a Chameleons type song structure. Give it to the band and let them bugger it up slightly, and you get a song that's consistant in the set and also sounds unique.
One of the best songwriting techniques is not to listen just to music you like, and certainly don't try to copy bands you want to sound like - you just become a second-rate clone.
Listen to Teenage Kicks or Love Will Tear Us Apart - they are very poppy with great melodies. I can't argue with that.
AND DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT TODAY POST PUNK IS BACK BUT THAT IT ARE BANDS WHO ARE GAINING SUCCESS WHO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT? I MEAN I REALLY DO LIKE STUFF LIKE WHITE LIES OR EDITORS, BUT I ALWAYS THINK : WHY THEM????...AND DON’T TELL THE CLICHÉ THAT IT IS THE MONEY…
My own influences, or rather the stuff I listened to a lot when I was younger, are not "post punk" as such, but rather just stuff that punk opened the door to. Punk said you could take risks and do anything. It opened the door for experimentation and excentricity. It took the "industry" quite a while to regain control and get back to what could be defined in terms of predictable corporate profits. Post Punk, for me, is simply an attitude - stay true to yourself
Editors are good. I'd like to think they got where they are on their merits. You have to ask the question the other way round: Why have more people heard of Kate Nash than of An Pierlé? Why does Coldplay get as many people in one place in a night as Ozark Henry does on a 20 date tour? You know damed well that it's not a matter of talent or quality of the music.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A BELGIAN BAND? NOT IN TERMS OF NATIONALITIES, BUT IN THE SENSE PART OF THE BELGIAN SCENE…
Well we're not exactly bloody German are we.
(DON’T ANSWER IF THAT’S TOO PRIVATE). WHY DID YOU COME TO BELGIUM AND DID YOU DOSOMETHING MUSICWISE IN THE UK, AND IF SO HOW WERE THE REACTIONS THERE?
I sort of got a career, then kids, then decided I needed a hobby. Coming back to Belgium allowed me to take up classical singing where I'd left off when I was 17. And the work situation meant that I could find a bit of time for a band, so I started on that as well. I never managed to start anything in the UK, mainly due to work committments.
I WANNA HEAR IT FROM A BRIT WHO LIVES OVER HERE, WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM BELGIUM AND THEIR MUSICTASTE?
Garner; Cecilia::Eyes; Vismets; The Diplomat; King Terror; Set The Tone; Strawdogs - these are all Belgian bands that I've seen live and who are fantastic at what they do. I could (should?) go on - Vismets ought to be massive; Ozark Henry should be an international superstar; it's nice to see a band like Customs getting a decent amount of recognition.
We're exposed to a lot of music in Belgium, and there's a lot of people who are picking up on it and themselves making very good music. It makes for a very exciting underground scene. I hardly ever go to see "big" acts these days. For the price of a ticket to see Interpol from a distance with crap sound, I can get to see 10 local bands. About a third of them will be at least as good as Interpol, a third will be OK, and the rest will be utter shite. It helps if you keep an open mind - some of the best Belgian acts I've seen have been metal bands - something I never listen to on CD.
I think the biggest problem with the Belgian scene is a lack of all the periferal things that go with it. The funding is politically tainted because it comes from the communities, and that unfortunately makes the linguistic fronteer very hard to cross. If there was more and better press talking about it, that would make a bit difference - the British scene has things like Kerrang, NME, Q, there's none of that in Belgium. The bloggers can be very good, but it's narrowcasting & word of mouth. Someone needs to be telling the punters that the Belgian underground is fantastic, and that in turn should get the people out and paying to see gigs, which in turn would oil the whole thing and maybe get a bit more international interest. I know Francophone acts like Ghinzu export quite well to France, but why should a band like Johnny Berlin have trouble getting a decent gig in Brussels?
I do think that Brussels has an urgent need for some more decent small venues that can put bands on regularly. Like Gent has the Kinky Star. That's done a lot of good to the Gent scene.
Belgium has a good enough music scene for it to become an export industry. But we need to start by breaking down the North-South divide.
I GUESS YOU PLAY POST PUNK WHICH HAS DEFINITELY BEEN INFLUENCED BY JOY DIVISION…
Personally, I started off with synthpop - Human League, Depeche Mode, Yazoo. It was Paul Young's cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart on his No Parlez album that first got my interest going in Joy Division. I liked New Order's Blue Monday very much, but the link didn't click until a lot later. I still think Peter Hook is one of the most innovative bass players ever. It's in the attitude - he has an anger and personality that just shines through. And Steven Moris is one of the best drummers ever (though I've met a few drummers that hate his style).
I KNOW IT’S STRANGE TO ANSWER, BUT IF YOU COMPOSE A SONG IS IT AN AUTOMATISM TO SOUND POST-PUNK? TO PUT IT IN A RIDICULOUS WAY : CAN IT BE THAT TOMORROW YOU’LL WRITE SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT POST-PUNK..SOMETHING LIKE SKA ORWHATEVER?
I do have some stuff that's quite Depeche Mode-ish and some more that's quite Cocteau Twins-ish. I've even done some electronica, but I don't rate that much. Most of the stuff I've written for PBL is around a strong bassline, and I have quite a distictive bass-baritone, which I simply can't change. But PBL is certainly not restricted to what I write. Vas and Ronan have written stuff, Élise is often the starting point for songs we've written together, and Fra is hugely influential in structuring how things should flow. And the sound really does come from how each of us sounds - Fra's involved in a very physical way, Ronan's lost in the noise, Élise has a great grove, Vas is picking melodies out of thin air, and I have this wierd voice somewhere between Johnny Cash and Dave Gahan. The sound is "post-punk" by accident. Remember, we started off with a clear idea of wanting to do something quite electronic. But in exploring who we are as musicians, it's worked out differently.
I HAD THE LUCK TO SEE YOU ON STAGE, YOU SEEM TO BE TOTALLY INTO ANOTHER WORLD, NOT?
That was an off day - I was so busy organising the gig I wasn't quite there. Usually, I get into the mood of each song. It's sort of like acting - something I get from classical singing - you have to get into character to get a song accross effectively. It's no good just singing the words - they have to be real. But that particular evening, the buck stopped with me to make sure that the main act was a success and the crowd got what I'd charged them money for. It was just a little bit distracting.
But getting up on stage usually allows me to be myself - no worries about the finer details of ettiquette - I know that enough people like what they see. I'm not trying to please a mass audience. We seem to reach a small minority of people in quite a special way, and that's what matters.
ON THAT NIGHT YOU SHARED THE ROOM WITH CHAMELEONS VOX. I GUESS THAT MIGHT MEAN A LOT TO YOU, NOT?
Every time I've seen Mark Burgess, it's been special. The guy has total committment on stage. There were a lot of friends there, and a lot of other musicians who's music I really like, and the best thing was to be able to share that special moment with all of them. I really felt I'd done my little bit to make the world a better place that night.
And it was seeing Mark for the first time that made me understand that you had to beleive in what you were singing. You had to be there emotionally and had to make sure what you were singing came from the heart.
I KNOW IT SOUNDS VERY UNCOOL BUT IN ALL HONESTY I HAVE TEARS IN MY EYES WHEN I HEAR A BAND LIKE THEM. DO YOU HAVE SUCH FEELINGS TOO, I MEAN I HAVE THE FEELING THAT YOU’RE A VERY EMOTIONAL PERSON TOO, JEREMY.
Most of my songs are quite emotional - they almost all deal with human relationships. Somtimes, I've not really understood what they were really about until certain events have clicked into place. Elephantine started as quite a cryptic dream, and only made sense when I later found out the truth about a certain person. Helping hands fitted the bill perfectly when a friend of mine lost his wife to cancer, even though I'd written it some years before. Armadillo is about the stress of having to work with people who are complete jerks. The Idealist is about love as a real human experience and not just some meaningless theme around which to write a song. All that energy is released, and I think people feed off it. Francesco (the drummer) certainly tunes into these emotions in quite a unique way.
WHAT DO YOU THINK FROM ALL THESE BANDS THAT REFORM?
People just love the music. You have to look at what the real motivation is behind it. When Bauhaus got back together, was it really just for the money? Sometimes you have to set personal differences aside for a while and just go back and recreate that brief instant of genius - performing stuff that you've written to a crowd who just love it. I'm sure it must be frustrating at a certain level for Mark Burgess to skip 20 years of material and go back to doing the Chameleons stuff, but it's also a real priviledge to have created stuff that can still sound so relevant nearly 30 years later. Even the biggest bands who've never gone away, like U2 and Depeche Mode, still put on a fabulous show. You can't say that millions of fans can be that wrong.
It does crowd out the market place a bit for new bands however. But that's just the way it is. There's still more people who pay money to go to gigs now than ever before.
DO YOU THINK THAT 18 YEARS AGO IT WAS EASIER FOR A BAND LIKE YOU, I MEAN DOES A BAND LIKE YOURS HAS IT PROFIT FROM THE INTERNET?
Well we've only been on the go for 3 years, though I'd been trying to find the right people to get something going for quite some time before that.
If you gave someone a demo 7in years ago, they would play it at least 3 or 4 times. Now you send them an MP3 and you're lucky if they listen to more than a minute of it. I listen to stuff on Myspace, and it's very rare that I spend more than about a minute before passing onto the next thing. Because there's so much available, recorded music doesn't have the same intrinsic value that we used to place on it years ago. It's much more throw away.
So while the internet makes it easier to reach far more people than before, it makes it much harder to grab their attention long enough for them to come and see you. That's why it's been fabulous to open for For Against and Chameleons Vox - it's grabbed people's attention and made them focus on Perverted by Language as well. And it works both ways. A lot of people came to see us at the Fantastique Nights because we were opening for something decent. That contributed to more people getting to see Red Zebra and For Against, and the overall success of the night.
DOES MUSIC MEANS EVERYTHING FOR YOU, JEREMY, OR IS JUST A PART FROM LIFE?
It's just one of those things that makes life complete. Along with wife, work, kids, friends. You need a hobby, and music just allows you to have fun and do something that makes people happy as well. I know people who play golf, I know people who ride horses, I make music.