Charles Brownstein chats with Fanzine’s Jock Norton about, well everything.
1. Can you tell me about the concept for the video “Roman Holiday” whose idea was it?
It wasn’t so much of a concept as a way of getting around having no money. We just trawled through YouTube for stuff like early cgi test demos and super 8 home movies and then cut it all together. It was
literally just us sitting and going “What’s cool…? Space! Stick it in there!” but it turned out pretty well I think.
2. How was it touring with Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Yuck, and Cults? How did the tour come together?
We’ve known yuck for years so it’s always lovely playing shows with them. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Cults were all really nice as well- it’s great to get along with any band that you’re a fan of and they’re all really cool. We also toured with gross magic recently who are our bands bff’s now. Such nice
guys and an incredible band.
3. Do you find it amusing that the British Press calls you the most “American unAmerican band”
It’s pretty accurate I guess because we listen to a lot of American music, but we also love early rolling
stones and Beatles and stuff which you can hear in our songs I think. I’m sure some people will try to use it as a negative in some way but we just like doing what we do. We don’t feel any pressure to sound “English” or anything, we just want to sound like us.
4. Besides meeting in school, what was it that brought you guys together?
Just being too boring to make other friends really. Having learned our instruments together we find it pretty painless to communicate to each other how songs should go and stuff, just in a sort of innate way. Whenever we’d been in other bands before we’d always struggled writing with other people. We’re also quite polite so we’re really the only people we can be brutally honest with in that respect.
5. Who did the artwork for the Roman Holiday/My Stupid Brain? it’s great.
Thanks, it was actually me. I’d always wanted to do my own artwork so it’s great that the guys let me
do it in Fanzine. We love doing dumb drawings and stuff and me and kit always try and put together a ‘zine for each one of our releases.
6. Is a new LP in the works soon?
Yeah we’re actually working on it now. We’re just doing it ourselves because that seems to be working
for us so far. Again, I think when working with other people we’ve tended to put a bit too much faith
in their ideas and not really stuck to our guns enough on how things should sound. I also like it when
bands record themselves because no matter how shiny or well produced it is, you’re hearing how the band want themselves to sound which is great.
7. Do you think people might start collecting Fanzines again, and their wil be a backlash against blogs
Possibly, I definitely think certain people are into the physical sides of releases like vinyls and cassettes and stuff, and happily that crosses over with our audience quite well. Personally I think both have their place; I love downloading and streaming music but the Marvel app on my iPhone just isn’t the same as opening a nice new comic.
8. You have been featured in the guardian at least a couple of times, are they big supporters of yours/
I guess to a degree yeah. It’s so great to have support from them because I respect them so much as a
paper. I think our parents started taking us a bit more seriously after that because they don’t really read Vice that much.
9. What’s the big difference between the indie music scene in the UK and the scene in the U.S.?
I’m not sure really. Having spoken to Jonny from Yuck about it a bunch the impression I’ve gotten is that’s it’s a lot harder to get recognition over there simply because it’s such a fucking huge place.
Musically speaking there are American bands who want to be the smiths and English bands who want to be the pixies so there’s no real intrinsic difference there I don’t think.
10. Do you ever think we will see a Replacements reunion?
I’m not sure. I was only really made aware of their stuff by the cribs covering bastards of young. I love
what I’ve heard but I haven’t really had a proper look through their back catalogue yet. Maybe they’ll
reunite by the time I have.
11. Can you let the readers know five of your favourite or influential records.
Adam Green- Garfield. This is my favourite Adam green album just because it’s so out there and cool. It’s more concise than the Moldy Peaches album too which I like.
Dinosaur Jr.- you’re living all over me. Probably my personal favourite. The song writing’s so interesting and emotional and j’s guitar playing is completely inspirational. I love the way it’s recorded too.
Blur- modern life is rubbish. This is the best blur album I think. Such great variaty and so consistently
good. People say they hadn’t found their sound yet, but I love the fact that it’s a bit all over the place.
Grandaddy- Sumday. The sophomore slump is probably a better album, but I got this when I was about 15 and it just blew my mind. All the songs are really nostalgic for me. Especially “saddest vacant lot”.
Brian Eno- music for airports. I love instrumental music and this album just sounds completely magical
and other worldly. I still haven’t listened to it in an airport yet though. Maybe it’ll add another layer.