Thursday, 13 December 2007


N7 6PN
Nearest tube: Holloway rd
Buses: 29, 253, 254, 91, 17, 43, 271, 153

8pm – till late
£3 with flyer/fanzine
£4 without





With DJ Sets from Julia Sieradzki (The Firm), Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu) & Rob Fenner (RMF Noir)
GUEST DJ Set: Juan Paul Cojones

This year has truly signalled the confirmation that downloading has become the primary way in which people consume music. The most recent models of Ipod have even gone so far as to include the function of storing and playing videos, meaning that, as such things are built to house almost anything you could possibly want, the actual physical format of music is becoming completely obsolete. A foregone conclusion, you might well argue. A modern necessity even. But this writer, although now considering getting an Ipod at some stage to save space, is rather set in his old-fashioned ways.

The other week, I went down to Holloway’s DOC Records to get hold of some vinyl. The actual aim of the trip was to pick up a copy of My Bloody Valentine’s apparently rare first album ‘This Is Your Bloody Valentine’, a classic record that owes much to Bauhaus, The Stooges and The Cramps and shows very little of the brilliance that was to come (although, in itself, it is still a fabulous record.) Anyway, this I did, but while I was down there, I decided to have a look for some rare vinyl by some of my other favourite artists. And, as I miraculously chanced upon one or two rarities, it gave me the impetus to search all of the vinyl in case something else of the unexpected variety jumped out at me.

As I was doing this, I was reminded of the thrill of being a music fan. Yeah, yeah, in the good old days, blah, blah, blah. But call me an old fart, call me a luddite, this thrill was all part and parcel of growing up and discovering music; and, really, truly and honestly, becoming the very person I am today (but enough about its shortcomings.)

That thrill, sense of wonderment and sense of discovery was all revisited in that one trip. Ultimately, it was the excitement of unearthing these gems that brought the very feeling of what it is to be a music fan flooding back to me. And, oh, pass me my pipe and slippers why don’t you, but it’s also the format of vinyl itself that never ceases to please. Before downloading, the gatefold sleeve made up a fair fraction of the record’s worth itself. The artwork, the lyric sheet – it all mattered. It was all part and parcel of the record’s identity, and it affected the way you listened to the record and certainly the way you heard and interpreted it. And if it conveyed some sort of message that either reinforced or complimented the music, then all the better. Not only this, but nothing sounds like vinyl. Go on about crystal-clear sound quality until the cow-droids come home, but I prefer warmth to soullessness.

I am reminded of visiting record fairs and perusing every single stall, trying to make sure that the few bob I had went towards the most valuable item or items there (well, valuable to me, anyway.) I am reminded of fishing through the old papers and magazines on sale, hoping to find some rare article or interview with a band from years back. I am reminded of glancing at the fruits of my labour while heading off home and feeling very pleased to have uncovered such a rare gem or purchased something I might not have purchased otherwise had I not been in that shop at that very time. Above all, I am reminded that I am a music fan.

This may well be about some silly sod’s fetish for second hand record shops but the music industry business model will change for good. As people stop buying CDs, they will eventually peter out. As more and more people download, you can expect the prices of everything else to go right up (gigs cost a bomb these days, ever wondered why?) But as the emphasis is taken off the consumerism and commercialism and ultimately the artifice of modern music, we will no doubt see the re-emergence of fanship. Everything is cyclical, after all.

But, for me, the one constant in all this will be vinyl. It will remain the one physical format and will hopefully enjoy a mainstream resurgence. Dance music made sure vinyl wasn’t forgotten and has been responsible for its gradual increase in sales since the compact disc threatened to banish it to the realms of history. Now, more and more bands seem to be releasing vinyl-only singles (save for downloads, obviously.)

It’s excellent to know that in an age of ever changing and improving technology, the record is still in with a fighting chance.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

The fact that grown adults play make-believe (i.e. pretend they seriously believe in baby Jesus, etc..,). It makes for an interesting study in anthropology.That and the cut-price alcohol deals.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

The all pervasive, nefarious intrusions upon my earlobes of Noddy Holder and the like imploring me to part with my cash to the strains of cheesy crap.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

Favourite: Leonard Cohen - The Future (Or, if you want something topical, 'Don't You Want Me', by The Human League).Worst: Cliff Richard - Mistletoe and [some cheap, undrinkable crap (] Wine [) grown on my Italian estate].

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

The words 'Gift-Horse' and 'Mouth' spring to mind here, especially when it's quite clear that the person in question has put some thought into the matter. Nevertheless, it is frustrating to receive something selected by the giver to reflect your interests when they have no knowledge of them, leaving you with something you can neither use, or admire.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Supping a measure of VSOP Cognac topped up with 10-year-old Tawny Port whilst pondering the best Port / Cognac mix and the year to come.
1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

First of all, I’ll be off work & still get paid, that’s a pleasant thought. I approve of the food & drink, cos my mum’s a vegetarian and she buys nice wine. I also like to see people’s faces when they’re given a ridiculous present but they act really delighted just to be polite!

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

Thinking about how many turkeys die at Xmas, just to be eaten. Rather vulgar…Also the fact that Christmas is a money-making institution. Don’t you think it’s really cruel to make kids believe that Santa exists just so they can find out one day that their granddad looks rather camp in a red costume?

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

If we’re completely honest here and put the joke aside I find Christmas songs cringeworthy. Britney’s Xmas song’s alright though.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

I can’t think of a dreadful present I’ve been given but an occasion springs to mind where I bought a present for someone but just before Xmas decided to keep it for myself. I never said I wasn’t selfish or anything, did I?

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Probably not a lot cos you celebrate Xmas on Xmas eve in Germany

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

Sean Connery’s hairy chest.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

Drinking my brother’s piss. It’s a family tradition but one I don’t like to dwell on.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

My favourite would have to be ‘Mysterious Girl’ by Peter Andre, it’s a classic. The worst would have to be, well, who was that guy with the beard?

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?Once I was given a mirror by

Father Christmas in his grotto in Asda. What an insult.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Sneaking out the back door for a fag praying for boxing day.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

I used to like presents, but now I like Christmas Dinner, Boxing Day lunch and presents. And Santa Claus the Movie with Dudley Moore. Classic.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?I don't like the fact it's now just another money making exercise. However, if you look past that, you can still find good things like people getting together, appreciating each other.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

This is a very hard question! But I'm gonna go with my first thoughts: Favourite - I wish it could be Christmas every day by Wizzard, it's impossible to resist singing along to that. And worst...anything by Cliff Richard. Maybe just Cliff himself.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

About 4 years ago I think my Mum had some kind of crisis where she wished I'd been a girl, and got me all these lavender things, and a hot water bottle Teddy Bear, which I err, never, ever use, obviously...

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

I'll either be a) Jumping around like a nutter drinking beer (in my parents living room)b) Crying in a corner hugging a bottle of Port wearing a Santa Hat with flashing lightsc) Being sick from eating too many sprouts

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

I like the fact that I can be extremely drunk and no one will look down on me for it. I like the weather, there’s something about winter that I find very attractive.I like Mulled wine, (why can you only get this at Christmas?)Time off work is always nice.I’m kind of at a loss after that.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

I hate the fact that Christmas is an unholy marriage between two of the greatest evils in society: Capitalism and Christianity. I hate the fact that the one time of year that everything is closed is the one time of year where there’s fuck all on TV so you have no choice but to sit comatose being brainwashed by an inane talking reindeer.Fucking Christmas adverts.

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

My favourite is “Last Christmas” by George Michael, although I prefer James Dean Bradfield’s version.My worst would have to be all of the others, except maybe Fairytale of New York.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?


5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Hopefully I’ll be in an alcohol induced coma that will last until Boxing Day when I can go back to my flat and resume normal life.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

watching my family go bugfuck

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

watching my family go bugfuck

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

all holiday music is so dire. but when i was little my dad used to play 'tubular bells' every xmas morning. not really sure why. so let's just go with that for favorite. or "feeling hard" by B234EVA.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

somebody's shitty demo cd. "merry christmas, listen to my band". fuck you.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

ketamine, probably!

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

Amy: That I can always count on that satsuma in the heel/toe area of the stocking. Every year. There's something wholly stabilizing about it.
Jess: Fairy lights. The rest of winter is so dark and bleak, I like the sparkling things in the street at Christmastime. And Christmas movies, I’m a sucker for them. In fact, if I’m honest, I’m a sucker for all things Christmassy, except the day itself.
Astrud: When people completely cover their houses in big plastic decorations. I’m going to buy a gift for our house of a 5 foot santa that plays music and dances. I think everyone will appreciate it. You can get them from Argos- I’m going tomorrow.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

Amy: When it's raining!
Astrud: that sense of enforced domestic stagnation- coincides with having to watch programmes like strictly come dancing- harsh.

3. What are your favourite & worst Christmas songs?

Jess: Worst has got to be Slade. I like the David Bowie and Bing Crosby Little Drummer Boy because they look so uncomfortable in the video.
Astrud: Some carols are really good- the one’s with exultant three part harmonies and round are obviously amazing.
Amy: My favourite goes 'Little donkey, little donkey, carry Mary home..' But the reason I love it so much is 'cause I sing a choir-voice version to our cat with the words 'Little Roxy, little Roxy, carry Amy home..' I always get this rediculous image in my head when singing it, of this little black cat quite capably carrying me home on her back!..

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've ever been given?

Jess: My aunt has a knack for getting me really weird presents, but the worst must have been the year she got me a frog purse, made from a real frog. It was basically a dead, dried out frog whose bum and back legs had been cut off and a zip stitched in their place. She didn’t even buy it as a joke, and couldn’t understand why I found it so disturbing, or why she found it abandoned on her driveway on Boxing Day. Oh, I was a vegetarian at the time too.
Astrud: Sorry, I can’t beat that one. That is the worst present anyone I know has ever got.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Jess: Simultaneously feeling sick and shovelling more food in my mouth.
Astrud: sitting in my room playing guitar/ listening to a cd I’ve just been given when I should be politely talking to relatives- juvenile but true. If I had got the frog purse I would just be feeling sick.

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

I like doing completely nothing for a a week or two just sleeping alot and basically making no effort at all ! i mean i do that alot anyway but at christmas i get force fed alcohol by my parents which is unsual but good as it means i can revert to unconsciousness much quicker!

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

The judgement of gifts and the fineline between pleasing someone else or annoying them a bit like sex without the guarentee of my own gratification! Oh and that it's a religious festival and religion is all bullshit!

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

my favourite christmas song is defo "i want an Alien for Christmas" by Fountains of WayneMisteltoe and ChildRape by Cliff"I had an enema and loved it!" Richards that smug self righteous cunt needs a serious beating outside and in!

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

i never actually recieved(!) it but a girlfriend who quickly became an ex girlfriend did inform over the phone she had bought a strap on for me!

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

skinning up a mega doobie and playing some form of computerised mayham either solo or with my brother (or even rob)

1. What do you actually like about Christmas?

Wandering the streets whilst everyone else in the world is too busy gorging themselves or slumbering in front of one of those oft repeated Tim Allen wank piles.

2. What do you utterly despise about Christmas?

The fact that it appears to be starting in the middle of FUCKING NOVEMBER!

3. What are your favourite and worst Christmas songs?

Oh...My Dad used to sing some shitty parody of mistletoe and wine which never fails to warm ones cockles. I'll sing it to you one day. As for the worst... Probably the original.

4. What is the most dreadful gift you've been given at Christmas?

A mug. The cheapest, shittest eyeshadow ever, Chlamydia.

5. What will you be doing at, say, 6pm on Christmas day?

Erm. My half sister if I get half the chance. It's unlikely though. She was born to a different mother, and lives in a different place. She has no idea who I am...


This month: Well, everything.

Yes, it’s that time of year again: Christmas is upon us and before you know it, you’ll be waking up in a pool of your own vomit and wondering what exactly you were doing when 2008 decided to rear its inevitably ugly head. But, before then, you’ll be enjoying the annual festivities, drinking great loads of goodness-knows-what and doing many vulgar things that you would never have done were it not for ghastly old tradition deeming it appropriate. Like eating Christmas pudding, for one thing. Let us now take a look at some of the staples of festive tradition and take a moment to wonder what, how, when, where and, most importantly, why the fuck….


As you may or may not know, I happen to be a vegetarian, so any meat-munching of any kind (hur hur hur) gets automatically frowned upon. But regardless of this, some people just refuse to be told. They can’t keep their gnashers out of that pork. So why is it then, that even though most of them profess a distaste for turkey, that they go ahead and ‘festively slice’ it anyway? Because it’s Christmas, that’s why. It’s about giving, receiving and killing animals nobody wants to eat anyway.


Of course, Christmas is a time where bulbous bastards in high-flying jobs get to stuff their pockets and go on expensive skiing holidays. Skiing holidays? Why can’t you just make do with a fucking dinner and a bottle of booze like the rest of us? Anyway, these people are able to stuff their pockets because the companies they run start advertising Crimbo’s loving commercial side from the moment the kids go back to school, thus preparing the ensuing rush to buy absolutely anything anywhere (and at any price.) And if rinsing people of their hard-earned ain’t enough, then the knockout punchline is saved until after Christmas; that’s right, the faithful January sales. Where people go and squander their meagre gift vouchers on shit they don’t want for an insignificantly sliced price.


Musically, Christmas should solely be a time for John Lennon’s earnest plea for war to be over, or for reminiscing about what a fabulous hairstyle George Michael had as he lamented the fact that someone nabbed his heart as he was putting up the tree the previous year. But, instead, every single year we are forced to endure hearing all of the old ‘classics.’ Who can forget Cliff thinking about children (singing Chris-ti-an rhyme) or Paul ‘n’ Linda simply having a wonderful Christmas time (certainly not Paul this year) or Noddy ‘Bonkers’ Holder loudly letting you know that ‘it’s Chriiiiistmas!’? No one can, that’s for sure. But who would like to? I certainly would, that’s for sure.


Who honestly gives a toss what the old bag’s got to say this year? Why is it alright for her to get her own TV show on the one day of the year when absolutely everybody will be indoors when no one else does? In fact, does any fucker even bother watching it???


I spend the other 364 days of the year being happily quite miserable, so why should the 25th of December be any different?

That one time in everybody’s lifetimes when it did actually fucking snow.
Den giving Angie the divorce papers.
Pet Shop Boys making Xmas Number One with a song that wasn’t actually some festive-orientated shit.
That moment when they realised that absolutely nobody in the history of the world has ever found a joke from a cracker remotely funny and therefore decided to make them more and more heroically unfunny with each passing year.
That moment when you wake up on Christmas morning and get all excited when you realise that it’s the one day of the year when you can get half-cut by 11 without anyone flashing you a single frown.


Old bastard.

Continuing the theme of last month's article, X-mess is now practically upon us, So I thought I'd take this final opportunity to impart some advice, and cast it from a circle a little more wide.

Yes, the headline is misleading (more of that later). Given the time of year I'm going to dedicate this article to reds:-
Ones to Hit:
Given the fact that most of us will be tucking into big, hearty fare (I'll be keeping mine veggie), especially on Ex-Mass day, why shouldn't we have a wine to match? Tannat is a grape that produces wines that are weighty, and, as its name suggests, tannic (tannin being a component from the skins and seeds of grapes that produces the astringent, drying effect in your mouth when you drink red wines). Its spiritual home is the Madiran AC in south-west France, and one of my favourite examples is Chateau Bouscasse 2003 Madiran (14% ABV), a blend of 65% Tannat, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. It sits inkily opague in the glass, emitting a seductive woodspice before unleashing pleasant, bitter / ripe waves of coffee, dark-chocolate and Black Forest Gateau. If bought as part of a case (12 bottles) of wines from, It's available for a very reasonable £9, However, as I know most of us aren't financially flush enough to be buying our wines by the case just yet, I'll also mention that you can pick it up in person from the Fortnum & Mason wine department for a still not unreasonable £11.50. Keeping it under a tenner, and co-incidentally southern French - My next choice would be Domaine Clavel's 2005 'Les Catalognes' (13.5% ABV), from the Coteaux du Languedoc AC. Ostensibly a red wine, it's a actually a blend of 6 varieties (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Muscat a Petit Grains and Pinot Gris), the two smallest in proportion being white grapes. These provide a freshness and light finish to what would otherwise be a fairly weighty wine. So, what do I mean by that? Well, the thick legs / tears clinging to the sides of the glass indicate that the liquid inside shall pack quite a punch, and the nose seems to support this - rich, potent, purple fleshed fruits in a perfume of damson, blackcurrant spice and freshly baked sweet-pastry crust. However, although this is borne out when you take a mouthful, there is also a balance between the alcohol, acidity and rounded tannins, topped off with a silkiness which is the mark of those fresh and light qualities I mentioned before. It's available for £6.79 In branches of Oddbins or at discounted 6 and 12 bottle rates on their website ( finally, for those of you outside of central London, with no Oddbins nearby, I'll complete my French southwestern 'troika' with a recommendation from Sainbury's - their own-label 2006 Organic Syrah (13% ABV). At £5.49 (sometimes cheaper, when part of cut-price or multi-buy promotions) you get a lot of wine for your money - mulberry, forest fruits and subdued spice on the nose, before a moreish, multi-layered palate of black-pepper and rich black fruits balancing alcohol and soft-textured tannins. I've drunk plenty of both this and the even better 2005 (grab it if you can still find it) over the past year, I can tell you. Shockingly, I couldn't find it on their website when researching this article. But then, fortunately, I couldn't find the next one on my list either... One to miss (at all costs):Gallo Family Vineyards Sycamore Canyon 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (13.5% ABV) - this is a classic example of supermarket wine 'discounting' bullshit, and shame on Sainsbury's for pushing it as a 'bargain'. So, in this issue I giveth with one hand and take with the other (just like God, really, but at least I exist. Can't turn water into wine just yet though folks, sorry!) Why do I hate this wine so much? Well, I hate being ripped off, you see. I'm no fool, I know that supermarket half-price wine deals are rarely, if ever, that. However, when I'm getting a wine that's supposed to be worth well over £8 (I paid £4.39 for it) at a discount I expect it to be worth at least a fiver. Not asking for much, eh? But no, it wasn't even up to that. The nose started to give the game away - slightly baked with aromas of parma-violets and boiled sweets - not what I want from a wine. The palate was no better either - heavy with prominent, volatile alcohol and slightly sweet, confected fruit leading to an aftertaste of syrupy dessert sauces and a bitter anti-climax of a finish. This wine was an insult, and if I'd paid the full price I'd have been extremely pissed-off. Believe me I tasted this wine so you don't have to. So, there you go. I hope I've steered you toward some affordable, quality drinking and away from a notable scam. Call it my present to you for the festive season. I hope it's a good one. You'll hear from me again in the New Year.
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Exclusive Guest DJ for the Christmas Vapour Trail


The Resistance were first brought to our attention via a show they played a few months ago at The Pleasure Unit. The juxtaposition of such a vibrant and dramatic outfit with the dismal and dreary surroundings of the Bethnal Green venue was truly something to behold, and we wrote about them accordingly in the first issue of this very fanzine. But now we are also very lucky to have them grace the Vapour Trail night itself. A truly modern band with a penchant for updating psychedelia and noise-pop (amongst many other things) with a modern electronic edge, the group are one of those who truly need to be seen in the flesh to be completely appreciated. The live shows, backed by projections of the trippy variety, often see vocalist Matt on the floor banging out a primitive rhythm at odds with the aforementioned electronics (bringing to mind the rudimentary-though-effective percussion of Mo Tucker & Bobby Gillespie) but somehow it works. And you will, of course, see so for yourself….

1. First of all, explain how the band came together -a potted history,if you will....

We got together in 2005, but we'd all been indifferent bands beforethen. We've spent the last few years as anexperimental instrumentalband, played lots of gigs and released two singles onour own label. Thesewere moderately successful and got on Radio 1 but wewanted to take it further. Our singer Matt was inanother band called the Khe Sanh Approach. He was along time fan and friend of the band, our bands playedtogether a lot and we arranged gigs together. When theKSA split up he was the ideal choice for our band andhe joined us full time in 2007. Nico is dead, Iggy Popis old and Julian Cope has gone mad. Matt is easilythe next choice and he's just as good as all theabove.

2. What were the initial aims in terms of style, soundand substance?

When we started we believed that the music around uswas boring and we wanted something more. There were nointeresting bands in Cambridge and the sheer lack ofambition in all of them was depressing us. We didn'twant to play boring indie rock in a pub back room toour friends. We wanted to make something no one hadheard before and do something that people willremember. We like noise and we like pop music. It wasgood to combine them, use them as a starting point andtake it from there.

3. Who would you name as your key inspirations andinfluences?

We like unusual sounds, interesting ideas anddifferent ways of doingthings. We're all into 60's psychedelia, Krautrock,pop music,electronic noise and rock and roll. We gerenerallyall admire people who have done something new from theVelvet Underground to My Bloody Valentine. We couldprobably answer "The Velvet Underground" to just aboutevery question here.

4. You put on a particularly exciting live show. Tellus about whatinspired the slides/backdrop you use & also what youhope to conveythrough live performance.

When we started out we didn't have a singer and thismeant that wedidn't have the same traditional focus that peopleare used to when theysee a band. Lots of people tend to get unsettled whenpresented withsomething they don't understand. We liked thepsychedelic lightshows theWest Coast bands had in the late '60s and it was away of making thingsmore interesting, and again, it was making more of aneffort than mostbands do. So many bands just shuffle onstage wearing jeans and at shirt and it's just lazy and indicative of howapathetic and unimaginative most bands are. We want tomake lots of noise, have a good time and have muchbetter shoes than anyone else.When we play live we want to get a reaction frompeople. Ideally we want to blow their minds but evenif they don't understand us and throw things thenthat's much better than if they talk amongstthemselves or go to the bar. Nothing is worse thanbeing competent and average.

5. Tell us how you arrived at the set-up ofinstrumentation you use.How do you see yourselves furthering your sound infuture?

Most of our live set up is due to necessity. We ownand use a huge variety of different instruments whenwe write songs, but these are sampled and put onto the laptop so we don't have to bring them to gigs andhave someone playing them. The guitars go right intothe PA and we don't use guitar amps. This means that we can go to gigs on public transport, and we only need 4 people in the band rather than 8 or 9. It's took 3years to find a singer who can actually sing, we likeand who actually understands what we do. If we had to find a drummer too we'd need several lifetimes.6. Finally, what is next for you?Through some very generous donations we've been ableto build a pretty good recording studio with lots ofvintage gear and a big old desk and we're currentlydemoing new tracks. After that we're going to play asmuch as we can and see what we can do with this. We'vedone a lot already but it's always interesting to tryto take things further..


We first featured Monday Club in Issue 1 of ‘The Vapour Trail.’ This month, we are lucky enough to have them play at the night itself. With a sound that brings to mind the likes of Patti Smith, Bauhaus, PJ Harvey and Joy Division (although still remaining very much their own creation), the group produce a highly atmospheric and often very ferocious sound. Based heavily in almost-tribal rhythms, the songs often have a dark and bluesy feel not heard since The White Stripes last meant anything. With choppy guitars and throbbing, melodic basslines, the fact that the three of them are able to create a sound so intense while remaining extremely melodic and often very poppy can only be a good thing. 2008 should see them make some serious waves but, for now, we let them answer the questions and therefore tell the story….

1. First of all, how long have you been together and how did you get together?

Jess: We’ve been together in various forms since the summer of 2003. I remember that because it was the longest, hottest summer I can remember, and I remember the three of us squeezing into amy’s bedroom in the sweltering heat bashing out a song called ‘the body song’ which started with the words ‘sit and listen to the melody, this is a song about my body’. We had to break every couple of minutes to hang out of the window and get some fresh air, I don’t really know how we’d got together. Astrud and I have been friends since we were 14 and wore glitter and sweets, and we met Amy at 6th form college. Astrud and I had been talking about forming a band for years and that summer Amy acquired a drum kit, I acquired a bass, and it just happened.
Astrud: I’d been playing keyboard in my room making atmospheric instrumentals and taping them onto a dictaphone for about a year and a half while I was at university. I started learning guitar and piecing chords together and I wrote a few songs. I played them to Jess and Amy and Selmin, (who originally playing guitar in the band) and we tried a few harmonies and they sounded cool so we thought we should start writing more stuff together. Jess and I wanted to have a band when we were 16 and the only song we ever learned was shakin’ all over. I knew amy would be good at drums because she used to mix drum and bass records. I thought a band would be more fun than solitary writing and playing which is cool but the social element changes the whole way you make music.

2. Your songs have a sense of bleakness running through them at times while being very immediate and catchy at others. What inspires your music, be it bands and/or other influences?

Amy: David Lynch, ATP!, things that appear simple but have a quality about them that's beguiling/infectious, Ad Reinhardt's Black paintings, minimal/..'big' drumming - Stereolab, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Deerhunter, Liars, Todd Trainer (Shellac)..Extra points for lush Rock Out sounds! - Nought, Deerhoof..a bit O' Iggy!
Astrud: It’s true that I have a penchant for liking dark kind of music- I always have done. But I love great pop songs. I think it’s an amazing skill to write very uplifting music- and probably even more difficult to write lyrics that sound sort of joyful but meaningful at the same time. It’s something I’d like to try. Rather than bleakness, it’s the pathos of situations that I find interesting- there’s light there, it’s like the excitement something glittering in dirt. As for the catchier ones, it’s a challenge I have with myself to write melodies that stick in your head.

3. What would you say your overall aim is in terms of style and direction?

Jess: I’m not sure that we have one. Or if we have one one day, it’ll be different the next.
Astrud: I think the thing is with our band is that everyone brought in their own styles to playing or writing that’s formulated the overall sound. We try and experiment with how we write and try different instruments to keep things forging ahead- it’s the accidentals in this process that can create new songs.

4. With your live performance, you appear to have a knack for conveying lots of energy and creating an atmosphere. How important is live performance to what you do?

Astrud: live performance is often the way I’ll come across new bands or acts I like as I go to a lot of gigs and it’s a very immediate way the band can grab you, but the performance shouldn’t necessarily be about grand movement- it depends on the act, sometimes the less someone says and does the more compelling they are. I think we’d like to experiment with light shows or visuals, which I think would work with our music.

5. A rather corny question, but what was it that made you all pick up your instruments in the first place?

Jess: I picked up the bass when we started the band! I was learning guitar when we formed, so it made sense for me to try out the bass rather than have three guitarists (we used to have a second guitarist).
Amy: Having a drum kit in front of me + beats in my head! Seeing/meeting other encouraging female drummers in my teens at Riot Grrl or Ladyfest events.
Astrud: I just really really wanted to play guitar- I had been learning a few chords here and there and just wanted to practice until I got good. At the time my boyfriend and one of my friends could play really well so the fact that they were really good probably encouraged me to learn as well. It was a personal thing for me to particularly want to play guitar over any other instrument- I was aware of the gender imbalance of female to male guitar players, which was something I wanted to help shift.

6. Finally, what is next for you?

All: Keep on making music that we really enjoy coming up with + playing! We hope to release a single soon too.


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