In the pub with Pete Wiggs and David Best

Saint Etienne and Fujiya & Miyagi have both had new albums out this year, so it’s only right that we put together a feature for both bands. We did a proper interview with David Best around the release of EP2 last year though, and we did something fairly extensive with Pete Wiggs when Words and Music came out, so this time round we thought we’d try a different approach. What if we went to the pub and just had a chat? No more boring interview questions that they’ve been asked a thousand times already, and more of an insight into what they’re really like coming out through the topics that came up naturally. So a couple of weeks ago we sat down in The Urchin to chew the cud about being big in China, getting trick-or-treated by Gomez, rotting whales, Twin Peaks, Columbo, Bowie, Aphex Twin and gout:

IMG_0766eesOn Festivals:
David Best: We’ve just played Glastonbury
Pete Wiggs: We played last year – It was raining.
DB: It’s the first one I’ve been to where it wasn’t raining. In a few weeks we’re playing a Festival at the bottom of Mount Etna, alongside Air, which is quite nice, then another one the week after. Then we’re playing Liverpool Psych Fest, which I’ve never been to. The line up is nuts so I’m quite excited about that.
PW: We’re doing Port Eliot Festival, down in Cornwall. I’ve been going to it the last few years. The first couple of times I took the wife and kids, because I heard it’s a good family one, then last year I couldn’t make it and the wife took the kids without me because she liked it so much! We’re playing this year and we’re all going again. It’s really nice. We’re doing Green Man as well, I’ve not been to that before.
DB: We’re hopefully going to China in the New Year. This Chinese band wanted us to do a remix, and they’re really good – kind of post punk. I suggested doing a swap and it’s snowballed from there. I wanna be big in China! There’s a label based there who are interested in reissuing our stuff. I love going to places I’ve never been to, and I love the idea of going to China.

On fellow Brighton & Hove musicians and journalists:
DB: I saw Steve Mason once. There’s some really good conker trees on Pembroke Crescent, and it just so happened that I was looking for conkers with my sons and he just walked past us. When we started, one of the bands that we were into was the Beta Band.
PW: He’s really nice actually, we’ve made friends since we’ve moved down here. He DJs sometimes at the Coopers Cask. I met him at one of those.
Brighton Music Blog: Do you ever see Simon Price?
PW: Hardly ever, actually. I occasionally see him at gigs, he’s easy to spot. I was in Brighton once, and I couldn’t tell – I think it was him without his horns on and I didn’t want to say hello because he didn’t have any make up on. It probably wasn’t him at all! Do you know Tom from Gomez?
DB: We almost shared a studio with him, but I’ve never actually met him.
PW: He’s a lovely bloke – I met him through Steve Mason. I met him in the pub and then about two weeks later it was Halloween, and I’d been out trick or treating with the kids. I came back and they went off somewhere else so it was just me in the house on my own with vampire gear on and there was a knock at the door and I’d only got two sweets left, it looked really dodgy, and it was Tom and his kids!

On Hastings:
PW: A friend of mine who lives here is just about to move to Hastings.
DB: The old town of Hastings is really lovely. Me and my girlfriend were thinking of moving there years ago, when we first had our kid. It was really lovely. But the new part is just rubbish.
PW: It’s quite Brexit
DB: I didn’t really want to bring my kids up there. We’re spoiled because Hove’s so nice, with all the parks and beaches.
PW: When I was a kid in 1976, we were staying with my grandparents in Hastings and they had this sideshow on the beach that was a blue whale. It was a like a cross between something out of League of Gentlemen and David Lynch. There was these two characters who had decked this area off, you know down by the tall black fisherman’s huts, the very creepy old bit. And they fenced it off and they got this articulated truck, and they ushered you in, you paid money, and it was literally a whale on the back of a truck, covered in tar to stop it going mouldy. Just a dead whale, with flies on it. I’m still quite impressed by it though.

On Twin Peaks:
DB: Talking of David Lynch, have you been watching Twin Peaks?
PW: No, not yet.
BMB: I read that interview about you and Twin Peaks in the Quietus which was hilarious.
PW: We were kind of obsessed with it when it first came out in the nineties.
DB: I loved it at the time, but I was a bit worried – how was it going to work? But it’s AMAZING. It’s just staggering.
BMB: I got really, really excited about it coming back. We’ve got Virgin at home, with something like a thousand Sky channels. Brilliant – I’ll be able to watch Twin Peaks! But what’s the one Sky channel we haven’t got? Sky Atlantic.
PW: We’ve got Now TV for those things, cos you can watch it on that. But our kids are a bit older and we tend to watch telly with them, so we haven’t watched Twin Peaks yet.

On writing lyrics:
BMB: Do you still write in those between albums?
DB: I don’t really write music so much, but I always try and write words. So if someone says something I write it down there and then into a note on my phone. I have them by month so I have July words, then I print them off. I’ve got this folder. But also I went through the whole of Columbo and took things from that. I love Columbo – it’s so well written. So I’ve got a big folder of eleven seasons of Columbo. I’m quite interested in Kojak, but the box set is a bit too pricey. I’m waiting till it goes down to twenty quid.
PW: You know record lists, from record dealers? We used to get sent these soul ones, on paper in those days, and we’d bring them into the studio to go through the titles “Oh, that’ll do” and take lines from them
DB: I got bang into Northern Soul and a lot of old soul ballads about six or seven years ago, that’s all I used to listen to for two or three years, but the titles are great, it’s true. I’ve nicked some too.
PW: “Let me slightly rephrase that”
DB: Not even that!
PW: Lyrics are my least favourite bit. I normally leave them till last and hope the others do them. I only wrote lyrics to two of the songs on the new album, and the odd word here and there.

On Aphex Twin:
PW: He did a remix for us way back in 94, and we went around to his flat in London. It was great because he totally lived up to what you’d expect. You went in and there were keyboards all over the floor with wires hanging out, and circuit benders. I didn’t know what that was at the time, but he’d been doing it, and massive speakers which were ridiculously loud. I did actually think “poor neighbours”. We ended up going to watch the fireworks display with him round the corner.
DB: My mate Jordan, who was the Railway Raver on Rephlex, used to go around to his house and play Pong. Jordan’s lovely but he’s the loudest person ever so he’s the last person you’d want to lose to Pong to because you’d never hear the end of it. Apparently Richard James had had enough of him but couldn’t get out the front door because his flatmate had taken the keys so he climbed out the window to get away from Jordan’s gloating. He’s created his own mythology, with all these things he does or doesn’t do. He said he dreamt Ambient Works II, didn’t he?

On major world events:
PW: There’s normally a Saint Etienne gig or recording when any of these big events happen so we expect the worst. We’ve had a few – The day of the Brexit vote we were in Scotland doing a gig and in the morning we had a really sombre breakfast. We went in thinking it was going to be fine. Most elections it’s happened too.
DB: Remember when there was this craze for doing mash ups? Me and my mate did Pied Piper and Axel F on what turned out to be 9/11. I bunked off work – I was working at Amex at the time and I threw a sicky so we could do it. My mate’s flatmate was going “You’ve got to see what’s going on on telly. It’s insane”. And we were like “We’ve just got to finish this”.

On kids:
PW: Bob’s just had his first kid. Late starter. He’s about a year old I think. Bob’s eighteen months older than me, so he’s 52, 53. He’s going to be knackered, especially if he has any more. Now, me and Sarah are like “now you understand”
BMB: Are your kids at the age where you’re influencing their music tastes yet?
PW: I did used to put one of our own records on in my youngest’ s room because it made her go to sleep but they’re both doing piano lessons and that’s the only thing we make them do. They’re much better than me already. They’re both really good. My older boy doesn’t practice but my daughter will just do it. She’s got an amazing memory. She can’t necessarily read it but she’ll remember whole pieces. It’s lovely to hear as well. My son listens to music though – I don’t know what it is half the time. I know what he likes – the stuff we both like is Daft Punk and stuff with vocoders on.
DB: My youngest loves David Bowie. If we sing along to David Bowie and I sing, he’d be like “Daddy, I’m David Bowie”. And if my eldest sings along he says “Daddy, I’m David Bowie, aren’t I? He can’t be”, so I say “You’re both David Bowie – Have you not seen the Blue Jean video? There’s two of him”. And then today before I came out, we invented a game where we had to say the first line of a Bowie song and we all had to guess what it was. It was brilliant.
PW : I feel like I’ve failed in that respect. My son really likes Coldplay. Since he’s liked them I don’t dislike them as much now.
DB: It’s hard to dislike what your kids like.

On gout:
DB: I get gout sometimes. It came on after I went for a drink with Chris who runs Bleeding Hearts Recordings. Some people say it’s worse than childbirth. I haven’t said that – I don’t think it is, but it’s excruciating. I was drinking lots of fizzy pop at the time, so I just stopped all that and I haven’t had a problem in a year or so. Booze is the trigger. Everyone has different triggers – It can be things like asparagus and mushrooms and bacon. For me I always drank too much coca cola, and then if I went out for a drink, I don’t drink too much, often I would suffer. We did a show in Italy once and I had an attack the day before and I had to be wheeled through the airport, and I had to sit on the stage like I was John Lee Hooker. And it was the only show that my mum had come to so I couldn’t cancel it. The funny thing was that it was in an amphitheatre for Nike, and there was these runners, and the finish line was to the left of the stage where I was with my gout-y foot.
BMB: You did that track / mix for Nike – Different Blades from the Same Pair of Scissors.
DB: Yeah – it was tied in with that so it was around that time. And there was Carl Lewis backstage, and I was just there with my gout. It’s not a nice thing. You can control it by taking better care of yourself. But there’s also a correlation between your Uric acid levels and (this is so pretentious) your creativity. “I’ve got to not get gout but push it as far as I can so I can get my songs out”.
PW: Let’s hope it doesn’t come on when you’re on tour in China.
DB: Gout in China. That could be my autobiography.

Home Counties Fujiya

Home Counties by Saint Etienne and Fujiya & Miyagi by Fujiya & Miyagi are out now.

New Brighton Music

Back to a normal sized New Music post this week, which doesn’t take me several evenings to write up. We’ve got plans for a new album roundup later this week too, so watch this space.

Our first track this week is Impossible Objects of Desire by Fujiya & Miyagi, taken from their self titled album, or EP3, depending on how much you like vinyl. Listening to the lyrical content of the track, I’d say that they’d probably describe it as being from EP3:

Next up is Normanton Street, who played at the Unitarian church last weekend to launch their new single Supreme. As with a lot of their videos, it’s filmed around and about town, so see how much you can spot while you listen:

Dog in the Snow launch their new single this Saturday at the Green Door Store. It’s called Magic and it’s taken from their upcoming album Consume Me:

 

One of the supports at the Dog in the Snow launch is Mother Me, whose debut single  Make Me Whole was premiered on Gold Flake Paint last week:

 

Lastly (I told you it was much more manageable this week) we have M U M M Y, who have just released an EP entitled Others. M U M M Y have a few gigs coming up, supporting Aquaserge at the Prince Albert on Wednesday 28th June, and also on the same bill as Stephen Evans at the Green Door Store on Sunday 9th July.

 

 

 

AK/DK and Fröst at the Hope & Ruin

On Friday night we were lucky enough to be right down the front for two fantastic bands at a sold out gig at the Hope & Ruin. It’s been more than a year since AK/DK played in Brighton, but it’s been less than a year since Fröst have been going (although both members are have been in bands for over ten years). Here’s our pics – as usual, click through to view large:

And if you missed out because it was sold out, or want to relive the experience, here’s a couple of live videos from both bands, courtesy of Small Pond and BMusic:

New Brighton Music

Here we are with our first New Music post of 2016. A fair few of the tracks actually came out last year, but we were a bit distracted in December with our Top ten posts. Talking of our Top ten, you might ask why we’re featuring our number one Fujiya & Miyagi again. Well, EP2 is about to get a US release, and the band put out a video for Extended Dance Mix directed by Bob Brown from Shrag:

Continue reading

Gallery : Fujiya & Miyagi and Lost Idol at The Haunt

Last Friday night we headed down to the Haunt to catch Fujiya & Miyagi round off a mini tour to promote their new release EP2. The set covered most of the two new EPs and skipped through a greatest hits of their back catalogue with Ankle Injuries, Uh, Collarbone and Flaws all in the set list. Best of all was the reintroduction of Electro Karaoke, which they always used to close their set with but had been absent for a few years. Support came from Lost Idol who played a set drawn mainly from his recent Chrome Machine Tales album.

Click pics to view large

Fujiya & Miyagi Interview

EP2 by Fujiya & Miyagi came out last Friday so we caught up with David Best and chatted about the new EP, his second favourite joke, new band members and collaborations. We kicked off the conversation by asking to be talked through the four tracks on EP2
rz9a8418es
David Best : The first track is Outstripping (The Speed of Light). I always wanted a song with brackets and now we have so that’s one to tick off. It’s quite a simple song – some of our songs have many layers on them and some are quite stripped back and minimal and this one has only maybe five or six things going on. I suppose it’s just talking about grasping the moment, just get on with it and don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today. It’s quite brutal sounding as well – It’s got a proper guitar solo in it which is quite fun. When we first started me and Steve had a ten commandments of things we wouldn’t do and one was “We will not have a guitar solo”. Then a few years ago around the time of Ventriloquizzing we thought “What would happen if we disregarded all these ten commandments?”

Continue reading

New Brighton Music

It’s actually been a few weeks since we’ve done a new music roundup, with a bit of variety getting back into the things we’re posting. Continuing in that vein, with any luck we’ll have an interview coming soon with our first artist this week Fujiya & Miyagi. Their new release EP2 comes out this Friday, and they’ve just shared another track from it. This is the self referential Extended Dance Mix:

Without any warning (to us at least) Sea Bed put out a new EP last Friday. The EP is entitled The Art of Living, and it includes recent single Geneva which we featured in a new music roundup a few weeks ago. Here’s the title track:

We also included Hello Today by Black Honey in one of our recent roundups, but that was before they shared the brilliant video for the track:

Jacko Hooper‘s After The Storm EP came out at the end of September. Here’s the video for the lead track from the release Time Will Tell Us Enough

We don’t know a great deal about Preston Parris who sent us over his EP under the name Preston Outatime, but we do know that we quite like his Enceladus EP of instrumental hip hop:

Gang put out a double A side single out on November 25th. Dead (featured here) will be backed with another new track Enough Nothing. You can catch Gang live at the Hope & Ruin on November 4th.

Last Friday Kanzi put out their new EP “Sketches, Early Summer“. The lead track is called March and is backed with another three tracks of lush electronica:

Last but by no means least is Who You Are by Tim Woodbridge which came out last week, which reminded us a bit of the last C Duncan album, which is no bad thing at all: