This interview with BIG DEAL originally aired in our September Issue of F&L. It goes a bit out of our normal fare but has the attitude we admire, not to mention I really like this album. Some cool perspectives on being a band and the whole racket that is involved with it, while explaining the cool concepts on the June Gloom LP. – Kevin
With your newest release June Gloom, music fans and purists can bask in the underground/pop/garage intricacy of these amazing compositions that appear to draw upon such groundbreaking releases as Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” and the Pixies “Bossanova” while adding a completely new component. What was the process in the writing and recording of the newest collection?
KC- We started writing for it when we were in California after SXSW. We really wanted to move on from the first record and keep evolving into what we glimpsed the band could be. Our favourite bands and our favourite times in music were when, for lack of a better word, independent bands changed the mainstream. I don't really think that's possible anymore as mainstream is now tied into reality TV shows where they engineer emotions and everything else is squabbling for scraps.
The coolest thing about the newest release is the inclusion of a double vinyl release and it comes with an iron on transfer to make your own T-shirt. As a product of the 1990s myself, it’s refreshing to see a DIY approach that embraces slacker ideology and the concept of beautiful dropouts and losers. How does this type of approach affect the band’s personal belief system and lifestyles?KC- In part we just wanted to thank people who actually wanted something physical , who are either aware enough to pitch in and help a band survive , or have a real appreciation of the format. Personally , I love things that you can make your own, or modify to suit you. It was also a lot more feasible then putting a shirt in every vinyl!
AC: When it' so easy to steal music I think it's cool to reward those who don't do it and are actively supporting bands. They can wear their iron on transfers as a badge of honour!
“In your car” is a monster hit on the digital airwaves. The video has an entrancing quality to it with brilliant simplicity, not to mention a great single! What was the basis for the song and accompanying video?
KC- This is news to us! Great news! though we are skeptical without seeing it for ourselves. Alice started the song in California, I finished it in London when we returned. I really wanted the video to be in the desert where I grew up. It has this incredible beauty that's threatening and brutal and a bit scary. The creatures in the video, i wanted to look like the guitar lead sounded in my head.
A favorite of mine is “Close your eyes” on the latest album, on this track it’s like a daydream experience with the Velvet Underground and the Vaselines providing the second hand buzz. How does the band balance more straight ahead synth garage rockers with moody ballads in the writing process?KC- They are both parts of us, and something we miss from a lot of modern rock music. Balance is a really important idea to us, but it's also really liberating as you can go as far in each direction. Led Zeppelin records were almost always half acoustic ballads, which isn't the way a lot of people remember them, but makes it better going back to it.
Have you had experience with Southern California’s notorious June Gloom? It always gets the best of me every year but remains oddly cathartic at the same.KC- We have! My mom now lives in San Clemente and she finds those months really hard, and I find it funny. I lived in Costa Mesa for a couple years and I liked it the most when it was gloomy and dark and cloudy, and moody. Such a relief from the endless sunshine! And now, it's the inverse. London is gloomy for all but a few weeks of the year. That is balance for you.
What are some of your favorite bands that played a role in your decision to make music for a living and outside of the band, do you have non-musical occupations?KC- I love Nirvana and the Beatles and Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, Afghan Whigs, Sunny Day Real Estate. Those bands got me through growing up. I feel a sort of debt in that respect. I have/had all kinds of jobs, teaching guitar and working in a pizza place , waiting tables. I was a roadie for Dick Dale.
What is your opinion on how the digital revolution has changed the release of recordings and accessibility to artists? Do you feel you have more control in the creative process or does the help of a recording company offer a more lucrative lifestyle in terms of distribution and live gigs?KC- Accessibility is the easy part to understand. Anyone who hears of something can immediately look it up, which is amazing, but also kind of sad. It's the hearing about it part that is now the commodity. And that’s where it gets confusing. We have never been written about on a high profile blog in the states. Major labels have the power to market their bands relentlessly. Still not an even playing field but…
From your combined experience, what is your advice for new indie bands looking to make an imprint in the indie/underground music world? What DIY methods work? Which ones don’t?Alice: To be honest I don't think we're in a position to be giving advice on what works, as we're definitely still figuring that ourselves. But this seems to be the plan that new indie bands are following for success.
1) Make your band name a misspelt word to make it easier for people to Google. Usually it's coolest if you take a fairly mundane word but just change it slightly. For example ' I've just started a new band called 'Cetchup'.
2) Make sure you have a logo ( this is more important than the songs). It must look good on t-shirts, that one day might be sold in Urban Outfitters if you're lucky.
3) Make sure you have a collectively clear image and brand that people want to get behind.
4) Play some songs…(maybe)
1) Work really hard on writing some great songs that you really believe in and want to spend the next part of your life playing all over the world.
2)Be in a band with your best friends. If you're going to be stuck in the back of a van for most of your life you're going to want to be stuck there with people you love.
3)Don't compare yourself to everybody else, especially if you're on an indie label. Trying to compete with bands on major labels is like trying to compete in a marathon against Olympic athletes who have money and support behind them and you're just a normal guy and all you've got is a really cheap pair of running shoes. There is a chance you could win, or even just make it to the finish line but you're going to have to work twice as hard.
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