Goodbye, Faithful Interview! with Artefacts For Space Travel

Artefacts For Space Travel headline Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! on Tuesday 7th July @ The Macbeth, advance tickets can be picked up from here.

I caught up with Joe and posed him a few questions.

The band name comes from a William S Burroughs quote that states, "Man is an artefact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole." What are your thoughts on the statement? Are you longing to become that metaphorical frog? or are you happy remaining a tadpole?

Definitely want to be the frog. I’m very impatient about progress and I have a tremendous sense of urgency about everything. I just don’t have enough scientific knowledge to provide any answers, I can bluff a good argument though. For me the name represents an endless frustration, I believe the only things worth knowing can not be understood by the human brain.
I found the quote one night when I was researching stuff, I thought it'd be a cool band name. I’m not actually a Borroughs fan and have only read a few of his books. I basically only read Philip K Dick at the moment.

You're sent into space to start a colony on Mars, what 5 albums are you going to take with you?

Well I would definitely take 5 'best ofs' because everyone knows that a 'best of' is always a band's best album because it has their best songs on it. Anyone who says otherwise is a complete liar. I would also take in to consideration: if I end up meeting an Alien race while I’m on Mars who have never heard music before, what will I play to them to help them understand human music? I guess it'd be something like this:

Best of Beethoven
Best of Michael Jackson
Best of The Kinks
Best of Bob Dylan
Best of The Beach Boys

Not really sure why I left out the Beatles and the Stones, I think Martians prefer the Kinks.

Two of your members share the same surname as me, are we related?

Yes, Sam and I (Joe) are brothers, we have another brother called Luke who plays the drums, we're going to start a family band, we'll be like an uglier version of Hanson. Oh . . . Are we related to you? I don’t know, do you have any money you can lend us? If you do then you can be in our family. But unfortunately there was only three brothers in Hanson so you’ll have to be the manager.

You site West Coast American bands like Melvins, Nirvana and Pavement as influences ... what particularly interests you about those bands?

I was raised on Guns and Roses and Nirvana. Brit pop bored the shit out of me. I liked metal in my early teens, then I started get into weird Rough Trade indie type stuff. Now I just listen to everything. We're not JUST into 90's American stuff, though Sam and I went to see Melvins and Dinosaur Jr concerts recently, I’m a massive Mark E Smith fan, and I like a lot of 60's stuff. I guess bands like Pavement have that laid back, slacker appeal which we relate too, we're really easy going people. We want to make 'stoner indie rock'.

Has anyone written anything wildly inaccurate about the band so far? how do you feel about terms like "toxic punk sludge" being used to describe your music?

It's really dumb. We find it both funny and depressing. Our favourite live review came from Manchester News and said we were 'either really good or really bad', at least make a fucking decision! Jesus. But yeah it's depressing because we want journalists to listen to us and not just say, 'oooh, loud guitars, they must be influenced by the Pixies'. We like noisy, heavy music, it's not because we're trying to bring back grunge.

If Artefacts for Space Travel ever found themselves in a tricky situation, who would have instigated it?

We've had a lot of punch ups after gigs, it's actually normally us standing up for a friend who has come to watch us and ended up getting into a fight. Some of our friends are a bit rowdy. We once had to fight our way out of Southampton University, luckily students are pussys and we beat them all up with ease. Sam also causes a lot of problems, we thought he'd been kidnapped by Mexican coke dealers in Texas, he tends to wander off and find new friends when he's wasted. Alex's car is always getting stolen too, or towed away by gangsters. Everything is always a challenge with our band. If it can go wrong it will. But it’s normally all just down to too much beer. So I guess the answer is beer would've instigated it.

Are there any new bands that you're particularly fond of?

Don’t know if they're new but I’m listening to a lot of Blank Dogs, it's right up my street. We saw lots of cool bands out in SXSW mainly at a bar called Miss Beas. I want to go see a new band called A Grave With No Name, I like the tracks on their myspace. I'm going to see Ariel Pink on Sunday which I’m looking forward to, he's a sexy fellow.

How did the EP 'Power of The Brain' come to fruition? Any reference to popular brain based game shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire? or Eggheads?

Power of the brain is the name of one of our songs, it's all about telepathy and transhumanism. I watch Egg heads a lot though, I get really angry at the show. I hate that old lady who knows everything, they're such smug arseholes.

Any plans for a follow up?

We're ready to release more, just waiting for the all clear, we have loads of new songs that we like playing, so ASAP for another EP on Stolen Recordings.


Smoke Fairies: The Big Gig

I received a most intriguing text on Monday asking if I was free to play a Smoke Fairies gig on Wednesday, the text read: ‘Urgento, could you play BIG gig Weds? Biggest Yet?’ to which I replied ‘yes!’ and carried on with my office job, wondering what this big gig was, assuming that it couldn’t possibly be that big, maybe a support slot for some dead end popular indie act at the Barfly or something.

The second text later that day was quite possibly the best text I’ve ever received, it read: ‘Confirmed – Wed – The Forum – Dead Weather support’. The Forum! Dead Weather! Jack White and Allison Mosshart’s new super band! Damn exciting. I then slip back into assumption mode and figure we’ll be first support, on at 7.30pm whilst most people are queuing up outside to get in the place. Even that though would have been marvellous ‘cos it’s The Forum! the cavernous venue with a capacity of over 2000! It’s also the venue I frequented for my first ever proper pop concert: Manic Street Preachers in 1996. I still remember that gig vividly, everything just seemed larger than life, the inescapable loudness, the sea of happy people that enveloped you and the feelings of intense excitement and anticipation. Now I get the chance to play there!

Once again my assumptions prove wildly inaccurate. It turns out we’re the only support band playing that evening and we’re not due to go on stage until 1 hr 45 mins after the door opening time, which is great news as it means playing to a full house and a pretty gigantic house at that.

I get to the venue to find Dead Weather in full swing performing their new single Hang You From The Heavens to an audience of camera men/women shooting footage for some kind of video. That particular song with its infectious riff has been firmly lodged in my head ever since. The band were LOUD. Jack White’s drum kit was a bit different too, he was surrounded by large flat drums, it looked like a kit The Monks would have used.

Following our sound check (which in itself would have been a the best sound check ever had it not been for techies trying to fix Dead Weather guitarists’ monstrous stack of pedals during it) a few hours of nervous anticipation ensues, which include beers and a little food in the most incompetent Italian Restaurant I have ever been to, “oh, you want drinks?” they nonchalantly ask, ten minutes after saying they’ll be straight over to take our order. Rubbish.

We’re back in the dressing room sipping Jim Beam, waiting for our call to the stage, when Jack White wanders in to wish us good luck, which was tremendously nice of him. I’m sure most other uber-famous musicians in his position wouldn’t even know who the support act were let alone make the effort to wish them luck. The most wonderfully lovely thing though was that he walked on stage with us and introduced us to the crowd! It was such an amazing feeling playing on that stage, especially after such a great introduction, looking out, seeing scores and scores of people stretching out and up into the gods of the balcony. Simply marvellous.

This being Allison Mosshart from the Kills’ gig meant the possibility of gossip magazine royalty Jamie Hince and Kate Moss being in attendance. This hadn’t really crossed my mind until I was having a post-gig cigarette out the side door and noticed a horde of sweaty hyena-like men hurtling towards the door, wielding cameras that were towering, mechanical antennae, brightly, incessantly flashing at Jamie Hince as he was walking towards the door, then Kate Moss appeared and these hyena-like men swarmed like locusts. Such a bizarre sight.

I go back in and drink far too much whiskey and some how end up back home in the small hours with a jar of cockles in my possession.

RIP Steven Wells & Sky Saxon


flyering high

One of the factors in 'making a gig more of an event' is presentation. The aim is to make an impression which means the flyer design is very important. Luckily I'm not responsible for this, if I was the flyers would probably look like wonky treasure maps drawn by toddlers with ADD. So we're very fortunate to have Consumer Revolt handling the flyer designs, they also design all the artwork for The Monroe Transfer releases, which I think you'll agree looks very special.

Anyway, the reason I'm blithering on about flyers is because I want to show them off here. They only have a short life spam in the public eye so I thought it would be nice to put them up here, in a nice handy slide show. Enjoy!


Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom!

So, this is it, I’ve entered the Blogosphere! Where’s the champagne? …juice and cigarettes it is then.

I’ll mostly be using this blog to document my monthly club night called Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! hence the title.

The night has been going for over a year now and we’re coming up to our 17th GFK! which is on 7th July at The Macbeth and Artefacts For Space Travel, who are signed to Stolen Recordings, will be headlining. You can purchase cheap advance tickets from here if you so wish.

Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! came into existence when The Monroe Transfer, who I play viola for, were offered a gig at the marvelous venue The Luminaire in Kilburn. The nice people at the venue used to pick bands to curate nights there and we were the last band they chose to do one, I’m not quite sure why they stopped doing it but it’s probably got something to do with money as most things do these days. The gig itself was excellent, we had Her Name Is Calla and Blanket as support acts, who were great, and people turned up and much fun was had. From there I found a suitable venue to set up a regular night (The Macbeth) and the club has flourished, need proof? Well, popular culture website Flavorpill stated that “Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! is gaining a granite reputation for presenting meaningful and progressive underground acts”, which pretty much sums up the ethos of the club. Subba-Cultcha called the night “refreshingly different” and the blog Echo’s and Dust pointed out that “with so many little nights on all over London it’s sometimes hard to sort the wood from the tress, but in Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! we’ve found a little gem”, which was nice of them! We recently put on a nine band summer BBQ spectacular which was ludicrously fun, the headliners Agaskodo Teliverek were simply awesome.

The plan with this club blogging thing is to try and build up a little excitement before each gig by conducting interviews with the bands on the bill, offering free MP3s, videos and other exciting things I haven’t thought of yet. The aim is to try and make each gig more of an event rather than just-another-bog-standard-gig. So yeah, keep your eyes peeled for that.