Friday, December 10, 2004

Steve Lamacq interviewed us

Here is a really early one from the first days of Gringo Records.

Return Of Lamacq (geddit?) was Radio One from Colchester in December 1997! I wrote him and sent him a record hoping he might play it and instead he asked us (me and Matt) on the radio to talk about the town known as Colchester. Along with Lamacq came Ash and Symposium. Ironically in the same year that Mogwai played the Arts Centre, this was the venue's "biggest and best" show of 97. The Arts Centre capacity is about 200 so naturally the towns sheep snapped up all the tickets in minutes. I wasn't, I didn't. Blag one, I tried. I was offered 2 at the price of £20 each by Dwayne Time Records. I declined the offer. I'd genuinely have liked to have seen Ash. Symposium however are lame and always will be, even though I look like William (except I'm not in a crappy band). I snuck my dickphone into the interview and pre-interview I think I unintentionally insulted Steve Lamacq. Sorry. Transcribing this felt like being caught masturbating. We fucked up royally. The agenda was to lap praise on our hometown and we didn't feel like doing that (and lying). Post interview we doubted whether an would be used in the show at all. Pretty sweet, pretty funny. Its inclusion may seem egotistical but Radio One cut out at least half of the interview so it would be a shame if it never got heard/read in its entirety:

S: It is the Evening Session coming live from St Mary's Arts Centre, Colchester or at least from a truck outside parked on the street and er we welcome next Matt and, Jason from well the local scene really, both guys do fanzines, Jason's is called No Pictures and Matt does a fanzine with a couple of mates, called Damn You which has a pretty nice picture of Columbo on the front. So when I was around in Colchester there seemed to be very little going on, there were one or two bands but nothing very much of a scene but I believe it has got slight better....
J: Yeah, yeah erm Teebo and Lando. We picked them up late last year, both from Halstead and we immediately made friends with them.
S: Teebo and Lando.
J: Yeah.
S: Which rhymes very nicely. You did a split single with them.
J: Yes, two songs by each. It was all recorded on 4 track, so its pretty lo fi. I was very happy, I loved it, certain people wasn't.
S: Tell us about er, give us a break down of some of the bands that are around at the moment.
J: From Colchester, Whose Mistress, they really are fantastic, it would be an insult to call them a punk band. When I saw them I thought they were very political, very direct. Other than that Hirameka Hi Fi are really cool. Tom from Teebo is one of them so there’s a Gringo link. Next single. Ripley. History wise we've had Blur, Special Duties both really cool bands. Blur went through a dodgy stage but their last album was fantastic. The previous two were a bit cheeky chappy but this ones gone back to the roots, really alternative, definitely against Oasis.
S: What’s the gig scene been like? Have many bands played here?
M: We've had quite a lot, it’s better than what it was. We've had a lot of bands we're into, Mogwai and Labradford and people like that.
S: And that’s at the Arts Centre?
M: Yeah, yeah that’s about the only venue really. There's the Twist which does local bands but the Arts Centre's been pretty good this year. Hopefully it will be good next year as well.
J: We've had Gold Blade, Panthouse (sic), they were really excellent gigs. Quickspace were good as well. And actually when Mogwai played here they had Arab Strap with 'em. Arab Strap are a phenomenal band.
S: What do you put it down to, with people doing fanzines and forming bands? Do you think people were just fed up that nothings going on?
M: I think that’s probably it. Now everybody sorts of meets together. Before we were sort of imagining people not doing a lot, stuck in their houses. Now they're getting bands going, doing fanzines. Things are happening because of that.
J: There’s some dodgy people in Essex. It’s a way of avoiding them and meeting decent people.
S: What are you saying Jason?
J: Oh, Essex. Colchester is a fine example of Essex. Essex is the meeting of farmers and London exiles. And of course you get your townies and your meatheads.
M: And you've got your army people as well.
S: So, er, as well as your fanzines, gigs and Gringo, are there any other labels in Colchester?
J: There’s another little label, Ye Gods. I understand they've put out two singles, Ripley and Imperial. (they're) not for us. They're not our sort of music but Ripley have actually had coverage. I know Melody Maker have.
M: I don't know if Ye Gods is still going. They haven't put anything out in a while.
S: I think there’s a couple of singles coming out in the new year. So with all these new bands coming out, where do you see it going? Not only on a local level but on a national level.
J: Gringo's really exciting. After the Hirameka Hi Fi single we hope to be involved with Bob Tilton. We was going to do a split seven inch with their own label but they've suddenly decided to do a ten or twelve inch which will hopefully mean we will do the split release with Subjugation. And I know you've made some contacts in Leicester.
M: Have I? Erm, no I haven't. Dunno.
J: Alright, he's met this mate in Leicester...
M: Oh yes..
J: I don't know his bands name though.
M: Erm, San Lorenzo.
J: Yeah, there’s this band called San Lorenzo and hopefully we'll be working with them in the future.
S: So, one of the things about Colchester is obviously that people know Blur, it seems to me that instead of, er, a load of bands forming in Colchester, which I thought would happen at one time, bands that would form in Colchester would sound a bit like Blur, mods and Britpop influenced, we find that in fact bands that are coming through sound more like Sebadoh or Pavement, you know, noise led.
M: Its probably because Blur kind of distanced themselves from Colchester didn't they. I don't think people really think of them as being from Colchester. It’s not as if they're about all the time.
J: We've had our fair share of Green Day bands.
M: I don't really know why it is, just everybody's gone noisey around here.
J: I think it’s possibly a direct response. I know you look at the indie, so called indie now, I call it major label indie, you've got all this crap in the charts, erm stuff in the charts like Ocean Colour Scene, its all retro and horrible, the Seahorses and things like that, you can't hear the guitar. I think the whole indie circuit has gone underground again, it’s a complete reaction. I know, definitely on our level, its more attainable to be like this as opposed to like Ocean Colour Scene and to be honest we'd rather desire to be that way. We've got this band from Clacton called The Noize. They're getting like response. Apparently Virgin were interested. They're just dire and it really is worrying. We want music to progress. Even though we can't profess to be too up ourselves at least we're doing something more than them.
S: So what’s it like actually trying to attract an audience? I always remember going to gigs that were half full. Has it got any better?
M: Well, a lot of gigs I've been to haven't been too full. I know Belle And Sebastian sold out but that was kind of understandable because people came from elsewhere. And the same with this one tonight I think. I've been to a lot of gigs here where not a lot of people have turned up but it might well be due to advertising rather than people not being interested.
S: Do you think that there’s a problem that Colchester is quite close to London but in a way its not far away enough you know you get that situation where Manchester and Glasgow and places like that are so far away almost from the London music scene that they seem more romantic, whereas Colchester is almost on the music industry's doorstep?
J: Erm. yeah but just look at tonight I think if the bands come, people will come out.
S: Do you think it would be good if more bands came to play here?
J: It would be brilliant, yeah.
S: Excellent, best of luck with both the fanzines and the records.

Jason Graham (taken from No Pictures 7)


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