Last weekend we met up with Andy Halliday, lead singer and founder of Flash Bang Band to talk about their new album Bite Your Tongue, and the journey they’ve made to get where they are.
We start at the very beginning, and the origins of the name of the band:
“When the band very very first started it was me and a guy called Len. He moved into my flat and we started making music together. We were trying to make electronic music and one day I was playing a guitar song to him, and he suggested working on that, so we did it on the computer, and that was the beginning of the band basically. Me and Len made about twenty tracks that were my songs but produced by him on computer. He cut up all the drums, we found horn sections and stuff, it sounded really cool and then he just decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to be in a working band – he didn’t want to play shit gigs and stuff. During that whole process we had to come up with a band name and we couldn’t come up with anything that was very transparent. Every single name that we came up with seemed to mean something. In the end we went onto Wikipedia and hit the random article button I don’t know how many times and we were both completely exasperated, and then it came up Flash Bang. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_bang Originally we called it Flash Bang Project. Our friends told us that it was the shittest name they’ve ever heard in their life, so we called it Flash Bang Band instead, which our friends were happier with”
Starting again Andy reformed things as a four piece. He put an advert up on Gumtree to recruit a drummer and Rodney Roodt, who moved to Brighton to start a band, is still with the group now. George Laycock, friends with Andy since their teenage years growing up in Dorset, was brought in to play trumpet but before long he left to form Nordic Giants. The band went through a number of bassists and other members before bringing in Rob Carmier, settling as a three piece two or three years ago, and it’s around then they found their sound.
We got around to discussing where the name of the album came from:
“Basically we wanted to call the album Welcome to Planet Motherfucker. Our label told us calling it that would be commercial suicide. Eventually we weren’t allowed to call it that. We had lists and lists of alternative titles and our manager and our label were chucking names around, and we were sat down one day outside the Waggon & Horses and said ‘We’re just going to have to bite our tongues about this’ and actually from that point onwards Rodney wanted to call it “Bite Your Tongue and say Wikky Wooey Nacky” or something like that, but that was dreadful. The title’s all about being frustrated”
There’s been two singles from the album so far – If You’re Driving and Screw Come Loose. Originally there was talk of a third single but with delays throughout the process that idea’s been shelved for now. But the band love making videos, so they’re in the process of making a video for every single track from the album with a few ready to go already. Interestingly, album closer Good Excuse is one of those songs from the from those first demos, which has been a live favourite over the years.
The album launch is this Sunday at the Green Door Store, with support from Clowns and P for Persia:
“We’ve been friends with P for Persia for ages. We’ve always tried to do gigs with them, but for one reason or the other it’s never really happened. The funny thing is that we’ve got a gig on Saturday with them in Chichester with them, and that all happened by coincidence. I used to play in Clowns a long time ago – I was the first bass player. Tom White was originally the drummer. I didn’t really know Tom at all and I didn’t know anything about Electric Soft Parade. When I was younger and doing music and stuff I wasn’t into other bands. One way or another I bump into Tom and get into Clowns, which was really Miles and Andy’s band. It was around the time Flash Bang Band was just starting, I didn’t take it that seriously, I was playing in about five different bands, and we went and did a recording session and I remember being clumsy in the session. I had other things going on in my mind. I didn’t see Clowns play until about a year later and I saw Tom on bass!”
The band have built up quite a live reputation over the years, with plenty of experience under their belt. They supported Dananananaykroyd at The Haunt shortly before they split up, giving them the inspiration for the song Dananananafreud. That was their first review by a bigger blog, which the band see as a bit of a turning point for them, making them taking things a bit more seriously. They also did hired out a bus from Brighton & Hove Buses and played a charity gig with The Beautiful Word driving around town, with one band on each floor of the bus.
Once the album launches are out of the way (there’s one in London too) the band are spending October working on new songs before touring around Europe, borrowing a tour van from their old friends the Nordic Giants, going to Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. Watch out Europe.
Bite Your Tongue is out now on At The Helm Records, and the free launch party is at the Green Door Store on Sunday 15th September.