Was it hard evolving the band from a solo production to a live band?
I’d spent a few years producing first before deciding that it would be more fun and rewarding as a live band. It was difficult at first. The hardest part was realising that the music I’d spent a lot of time sculpting and trying to sound a certain way, would sound very different when played by live instruments. So it took some time before I got it clear in my head that what I was losing in the style and interest of a highly-produced sound was more than made up for by the impact and expression of a musician going for it on stage.
Do you set a mood before you start, or does the mood develop?
A song can come in a multitude of ways. It used to be that I would compose the music and take it to the band, but it’s increasingly been an initial idea that we’ll work on together in the studio. Our recent single came in a totally different way for me. I had an idea for a stop frame animation that I wanted to make, and so I wrote a tune specifically with that in mind. This allowed me to go back and forth between the song and the animation so they ended up inspiring each other.
How do you go about crafting the songs – you’re not starting with a verse or a chorus for instance?
The animation was a very interesting time, especially as I’m not an animator. Painstaking and backbreaking in equal measures. It’s rough and ready but has a charm about it, and I’m glad I did it myself as there are some really personal elements that would never be in there if some one else had done it. Like a lot of bands now, we are fully aware that there simply isn’t money about and so we do everything ourselves and have released our single on our own Broken World Records label.
In this sphere of music are the goals different – advert syncs rather than Bloc Party support slots?
Our goals are similar to those of a lot of bands. We want our music out there, being played on the radio and peoples iPods, and even though our music is of a certain ilk that is very suited for syncing to adverts and TV, we also have played rocking gigs at Glastonbury and other festivals so this will still be part of what we do. I suppose the main difference is that I don’t see us ‘doing the circuit’ so to speak, like lots of bands.
When we reviewed the ‘Some Grips Slip’ single we compared the sound to Lemon Jelly and Hot Chip – who originally inspired the sound of the band?
My influences have changed over the years and they have probably all made their mark in some way. From my mum playing Cat Stevens as a child, to bands like Fourtet, and The Books in more recent times. Also mixing my style with a rock drummer, funk bassist and a folk violinist has had its effect on the live sound. One thing I have noticed is that I get less inspired by other bands these days compared to ideas, sounds and scenarios that happen around me. I find it infinitely more exciting to make a piece of music entirely from sounds recorded in the streets than worrying if we are dubstep or math rock enough.
Didn’t you win a brand new car recently? How do you do something like that?
I heard there was a remix competition to make a piece of music using the car sounds from a Hyundai. So I set to work on a funky little mechanical mash-up, and after a month of frenzied voting I won. It’s definitely my highest musical wages so far. Off the back of that I managed to get a commission making a music video along the same lines for The Car Of The Year Awards, out of all the sounds from the British motor industry. It was good fun but that’s enough car music for now.
What makes yellow such an argumentative colour?
I had an argument about yellow with a friend driving down to a festival one time. She thought that a passing car was yellow, when in reality – my reality – it was lime green. No colour for a car I might add. The actual colour was insignificant, as it made me realise that we all view the world through different heads, and depending on our hard wiring or equally our upbringing, we can experience the same situation very differently from others. I’ve always been intrigued by psychology.