It’s almost impossible to keep on top of the media these days, and Steve Warlin and Michael Bollen from Cassetteboy ought to know better than anyone. They’ve been recording and slicing up bits of TV and radio for years, making puerile satire out of the odd things people say, with no topic too close to the knuckle. Princess Di’s death, Harry Potter’s sexual awakening and Martin Luther King’s appearance on Deal Or No Deal have all been attacked with their razor-sharp audio editor.
Michael Bollen: You can’t miss television anymore. It makes our job much easier. With the iPlayer and everything the TV companies have finally caught up with what everybody has been doing for years with Bit Torrent. It’s made the video recorder obsolete, which is kinda good, but I still find myself downloading far more than I watch, or listen too. It completely devalues things.
James Kendall: The problem I have is I’ll dip into stuff but not give it the time to make an emotional impression. I’ll get an album and then skip to the singles, put it in a pile. There isn’t the same collective emotional response to things as there used to be. Like when 28 million people watched Morecambe & Wise on Christmas Day. But when you watch Morecambe & Wise, it’s not that good – surely half the country wasn’t enjoying it.
MB: I’m going to have to take issue with you there. They’re brilliant. Bad jokes but you really like the people telling them.
JK: Maybe there isn’t the chance to get to like people in that same way these days, the high turnover means too many ‘larger than life characters’, also known as twats.
Steve Warlin: I think you do still get the chance to like people on TV. A good example is Harry Hill. We’re both big Harry Hill fans.
JK: His TV Burp isn’t a million miles from Cassetteboy, taking snippets of television out of context.
SW: It’s very similar. In fact he’s used samples on TV Burp that we’ve subsequently used on Carry On Breathing. We didn’t steal any of his jokes, we found the samples then a week later they turned up on TV Burp.
JK: I don’t watch that much British TV though – much more American shows Bit Torrent-ed before they arrive here.
SW: There is still good British TV being made though. Peep Show is good
MB: The new Dr Who…
SW: Oh, no, it’s terrible. [Taunting] I prefer Torchwood!
MB: That is bad.
JK: But with so many channels and places to get audio, how do you choose your samples?
SW: The best ones are said in a funny voice or are funny because of what they are saying. Tone of voice is very important. The one on the album about The World’s Biggest Slag comes from a series of ten documentaries about big machines – bulldozers, cranes, that sort of thing – and I just happened to turn on Channel Five and hear the narrator’s voice.
MB: Although we’ve got a Freeview box, really we just use the terrestrial channels because that’s more than enough. We record everything we watch just in case there’s something good, but if we stumble across something good we download the whole thing off the Internet.
CASSETTEBOY’S TOP TV TO ABUSE
“The classic combination of unusual words – because they’re describing stuff that’s not usually on telly – and old ladies.”
“Terrible acting, bad scripts and insincere delivery. Samples that are delivered insincerely tend to be really good out of context.”
“There’s a style of acting that you just don’t get anymore – theatrical, bombastic, over enunciated.”
Channel 4 Documentaries
“Awful to watch but they over dramatise everything so it make it easy to parody.”
“For his voice and his ludicrous statements, plus his over use of the word ‘bloody’. And he’s always talking about how he’s “laid on” stuff.”
Mike Bollen’s Earth Inc and Cassetteboy’s ‘Carry On Breathing’ are out now