Goodbye, Faithful Interview! with Das Wanderlust

Das Wanderlust recently released a great debut album full of chaotic charm and they'll be headlining Goodbye, Faithful Kingom! @ The Macbeth on 1st September. I posed a few questions to singer/keyboardist Laura and guitarist Andy and here's what popped out:

I'm enjoying your new album Horses for Courses, it was definitely worth the wait. What took you so long to release it?

Andy: Fannying around trying to get a ‘proper’ label to release it. In retrospect it was a massive waste of time that could have been better spent writing more songs. You live and learn though, eh? We’re really pleased with the way the album itself came out, though.

I was surprised not to see your 'big' hit singles The Orange Shop and Sunday School on the album but pleased to find that the album stands up without them. Why did you decide not include them on the record?

Andy: We wanted to not try and cover too much old ground with the album. We decided that we’d only include tracks on the album that we hadn’t previously released versions of that we felt did the songs justice. There are two re-recorded versions of tracks off our original demo EP from 2005 on there, …Robot and Sherlock Holmes…. The Orange Shop was on that EP too, although much slower, badly played, and called Lenor. Also, we got sick to death of playing that song live, so the last thing we wanted was to continue feeling obligated to play it. Imagine what it must be like having an actual hit!

The album track Celebrate Ourselves covers social networking sites, paranoia and jealousy. Are you opposed to sites like Facebook? Do you think these kinds of sites are turning a generation into self obsessed idiots?

Laura: I recently deleted my Facebook, because who gives a good God damn that I ‘just ate some toast’. Nobody should care, I’m not interesting, I’m totally boring and so is everyone else. MySpace and Facebook are used by loads of people to make their normal lives look totally amazing and like a film, which makes other people feel bad about themselves and sad that they don’t have a film life, and in turn makes them jealous of the film life people. So then everyone just becomes really false and they take loads of stupid posed photographs of themselves and it becomes one sick battle of who’s the coolest, ‘and I’m a photographer’, and ‘I’m in a band’, and ‘I’m a blah blah blah.’ When really nobody is anything other then just a person who does the same stupid stuff that everyone else does; going down the shops; watching telly; and reading magazines. I don’t spend any time on the internet anymore, it makes my head feel funny.

The lyrical content on the album is pretty bleak at times, like in Pyramintro, "my lucky stars, they do not exist" and We're All Doomed, "sometimes I forget that I'm doomed". Are these all personal or character based?

Laura: They are all personal. If I don’t keep myself busy I start to think a lot about things and then I get sad, which is what We’re All Doomed is about. I’m really just a depressed sixth former goth at heart.

I like the way Laura's voice morphs into a robot on the last track I Wish I Was A Robot, no question here, just sayin'

Andy: I like that way that rain makes all the snails come out.

Any current plans for a follow up to Horses... or will there be another agonising wait?

Andy: We’ve already abandoned our first attempt at recording the follow-up! The songs are all finished, we just didn’t play it as well as we could. We’re going to start again in the next few weeks, but in the meantime we’ve written a Christmas song which we need to record as there’s an obvious deadline for that. The second album’s going to be a lot more varied than the first, and with less reliance on the old slow/fast, quiet/loud business. And its going to be longer. The songwriting’s become a little more sophisticated, and we can’t really get away with playing crap any more. Being a crap lo-fi band gets pretty tired pretty quickly!

You've been through more drummers than I've had hot dinners. What's your ideal hot dinner?

Andy: Vegetable dhansak, chana massala, onion pilau, peshwari naan.

Laura: I like sausage and mash with onion gravy and peas. Yeah!

Red sauce or brown sauce?

Andy: Red sauce is good with almost everything. Brown is an acquired taste, and really for far more specific applications (such as cheese on toast). HP is the undisputed king of brown sauce, but for an interesting and exciting alternative to Heinz tomato ketchup I recommend you check out Tiptree.

Laura: I’m allergic to brown sauce, which is why I only sing ‘red sauce’ in that song. I love red sauce. Chips without red sauce are a waste of my time.

The composer Robert Schumann used a finger stretching device in a vain effort to better his wife Clara in the piano playing department. This plan failed dismally and destroyed his fingers rendering him unable to play piano at all; to add insult to injury his wife ran off with Johannes Brahms. Have you ever cheated at anything and got your comeuppance?

Andy: I went through a long phase of being really quite naughty in secondary school, and as a result letters started being sent home to my parents. I hid them all underneath the bottom drawer in my room, thinking that was a brilliant and original hiding place. The longer this went on, the more ridiculous the situation got as more and more letters got sent home, until one day my carefully constructed web of deceit came crashing down around me when my Dad phoned the school to ask why he hadn’t received any letters for such a long time. I came home from the scouts that night to find him in my room surrounded by the letters, and more angry than you’ve ever seen anyone in your life. In hindsight I should have burnt the fuckers. What an idiot.

You win the lottery and experience a strong impulse to travel, or wanderlust if you will. Where are you going?

Andy: Scandinavia, Japan and Canada are top of my list.

Which five albums are you taking on this trip?

Andy: You’d need some decent driving music, so ZZ Top, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Quo, and Meatloaf.

Are there any new bands that tickle your fancy?

Andy: An Austrian multi-instrumentalist called Mayr sent us her CD the other day for a pilot radio show we’re putting together – she’s very good.


Smokin' Fairies at Abbey Road

A few ventures of a musical nature have happened recently, the most notable being a recording session at Abbey Road studio with Smoke Fairies. Abbey Road is obviously best known over the world for its history with the Beatles and that famous album cover where they’re striding across that zebra crossing, which apparently is soon to be moved because according to the council its current location is causing too many accidents. Here’s a theory though: maybe there are so many accidents because it’s a big tourist spot for Beatles fans who no doubt pose for photos on the zebra crossing blissfully unaware in their Beatles-obsessed haze that it is actually a proper road in frequent use. Because it’s situated in the posh area of St Johns Wood it’s populated by people who have far too much money driving fast cars whilst wearing stupid over sized shades and bathing in the glory of their disgustingly vast wealth, blissfully unaware that as they turn the corner they’re going to plough into unsuspecting tourists who are pretty much doing what parents tell their children to do when they’re being overly annoying; playing in the road.

Anyway, I’m not really interested in famous hot spots, The Beatles achieved what they did not because of that photo but because of what’s inside the studio, and what’s inside is quite astonishing. It really is an amazing place full of staggeringly good equipment and clever, interesting people, or as I like to call them: The Orchestrators of Dreams, which actually sounds a bit Harry Potter and funnily enough, the orchestral soundtracks for the Potter films were recorded at Abbey Road in studio one, the largest studio at the complex which has a cavernous live room and that was the room we got to use! This room has the most incredible acoustics that made every note you played sound lusciously boomy. It was such a marvellous experience recording there.

We recorded two songs in the short time we had at the studio Sunshine and new one Devil In My Mind. Sunshine has already been recorded before and will be our next single out in the next month or two I believe but we decided to record a different version because we wanted it to sound like it does when we play it live as a full band. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the recordings but I’m sure they’ll see the light of day at some point in the not too distant future.

I’ve taken some photos of the studio but considering I’m officially the worst photographer in the world they don’t really do the place justice. I’m sure you can find some better shots online.

The next Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! is on 1st September and the wonderful Das Wanderlust are headlining. I’ll be putting up the interview with them very soon. Advance tickets are available here.


The internet free for all

I've decided to document interesting things I've read on t'internet here, mainly because I have a memory like a goldfish and this way I can archive articles and stuff I like, which is nice - who knows, it might be nice for you too.

Here is an interview with Chris Anderson who's just released a book entitled Free: The Future of a Radical Price which looks at industry within a "freeeconomy": getting stuff for free on the internet. As a musician this is a topical subject what with illegal downloading supposedly killing the music industry, which incidentally, I don't necessarily think it is. Obviously the argument being that if people are downloading music for free there's no revenue for the artist. Pre-The Internet there were still countless bands and musicians that were getting paid sod all, like The Nihilist Spasm Band, because very few people were buying their records as they didn't know about them. Bands of that level of popularity are still not getting any money but some, the good ones, are getting considerably more recognition and exposure than bands like The Nihilist Spasm Band ever did. The problem for bands and musicians who hope to make a morsel from music is how to turn that added exposure to their advantage. There's loads more stuff about that in the article and the book.

Another thing I came across was the Small Biz Podcast. I downloaded it completely by accident but found it rather interesting, especially the interview with professional 'thinker' Dr Edward De Bono who has insipred people like Brian Eno. After listening to the podcast I've now added two books to my reading list. Let's raise a glass, or two, to happy accidents!

One more thing that held my interest for FAR too long was this stupid game. Don't try it, you'll get hooked then curse yourself for wasting so much time trying to get fuzzy ball creatures in the boxes. But it was quite a fun waste of time.

Advance tickets for September's Goodbye, Faithful Kingdom! are on sale now here. Das Wanderlust are headlining and after listening to their new album I'm excited to be seeing them again. If you don't know them they sound a bit like a Deerhoof and X-Ray Spex... this is pretty bad comment but I also think the singer, Laura, sounds a bit like how I'd imagine Janet Street Porter to sound if she was in a punk band. There will no doubt be an interview of some description with them on here some time soon.


UPDATE: and now, rather ironically, you can get Chris Anderson's book about free stuff for free on iTunes as an audio book. Do a search for 'Free: The Future of a Radical Price'