SHORT but rather sweet little fanzine interview with the Jef Antcliffe from Sheffield drums and vocal duo D&V, one of the few bands who released more than one record on the Crass label in the early Eighties.
As well as interviewing D&V, at the same gig I also talked to Flux and KUKL, an Icelandic band who would later become the Sugarcubes. For some reason, I kept the Flux interview but gave the D&V and KUKL interviews to mates to publish in their zines. Needless to say, I lost my copies soon after they came out.
Actually, come to think of it, did I ever see that KUKL interview?
Either way, I recently rediscovered that long-lost D&V interview in the marvellous Punks Is Hippies zine archive. Big love to them.
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D&V – WHAT do you say about them? Well, last year they brought out one of the most original and exciting releases I’ve heard on Crass records in ages. For what it’s worth, they are my favourite band this week – apart from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, of course.
I strongly recommend that you give them a pound and they will send you a copy of their ace new tape which is called The New Beginning. Send the money to 96 Brougham Road, Hackney London E8. Anyway, enough of the adverts. I talked to singer Jef at the Leadmill on one of the dates D&V played with Flux, KUKL and Chumbawamba on the miners benefit tour last summer.
Everything about you – your lyrics, your music, even your appearance – seems very different to other bands with a record on Crass. Is this deliberate?
“Well, yes and no. We don’t really make a point of it. It’s how we are. It’s certainly not deliberate in that sense.”
What is the Nearest Door?
“Well, the single is based around the concept of being inside and outside life. The inside is the individual and the outside is the world outside of you, and the Nearest Door is the mind. It’s something I thought about a long time ago. ‘Why not try the Nearest Door?’ means get in touch with yourself. It’s not as cosmic as it seems.”
Would you call D&V a punk band in any way, shape or form?
“I suppose so, yeah. There’s a lot of people going around trying to define punk, but I’d say we are. Obviously, we haven’t got a grating guitar sound and so a lot of people would think that we are not a punk band. We’re certainly not just a poet and a drummer.”
Do you ever feel restricted by that, just having drums and vocals?
“We did when we first started but that was just because it was a totally new thing altogether. But now Andy’s getting more and more into drum sounds and stuff like that and we’re learning to use the drums more – because percussion is a very interesting thing.
“You are only limited by your imagination – there’s a lot you can do with it. So I don’t think we’re restricted at all. We don’t have a set of songs that sound the same cos it’s a two-way thing on a 50/50 basis of rhythm and rhyme. There’s so much you can do. It’s all a matter of trying hard enough.
“What we found funny was that there was all this talk of Steve and Penny doing it ages ago and at the time we started we didn’t know a thing about it. A lot of people thought we were just following that, and also that Siouxsie and Budgie thing but really it was just by chance.”
Why don’t you play more gigs with non-punk bands? I think you could go down really well with some mainstream audiences.
“We tried that with a few local bands in Leeds, we had a bash at that. It was fun. It was different, and I know what you mean, but in a situation like this tour, you get a group of people who really do bother and care about everything, even small things like putting up the banners.
“Other bands just don’t want to know about that sort of thing. We feel more comfortable in this kind of situation.”
Do you recognise any kindred spirits? Any bands you identify with – though that’s probably a bad word.
“No, I know what you mean. No, not really as such, cos what we do is inside us. And although we’d never get arrogant about it, we’re different to every other band. I listen to any kind of music, from Crass to reggae ..”
Maybe not bands you listen to but they’re doing the same kind of thing as you?
“Well, we’re here – that answers that. We only work with people with the same sort of convictions.”
Realistically, what’s the most you can hope to achieve with D&V?
“Self-realisation I should think, more than anything else. Because at the end of the day, it’s nice to be able to think that you’re maybe inspiring other people to do something, but also it’s a chance .. it’s an outlet for my emotions and feelings. The more I do this, the more I live and do something worthwhile rather than just towing the line.”
Is it by accident or design that you haven’t done any interviews with the music press?
“We’ve been offered them before by Sounds and NME but we’ve never taken them up. Apparently there might be one with Sounds in the near future, but I don’t think it’ll be the usual interview format, with glossy pictures and things. But the only kind of music journalist we’d trust are the freelance ones or whatever. There’s so much they can do to alter what you say.”
Okay, last question. Is it important to be optimistic?
“Oh yeah, very important. If anything, that’s the main thing we try to put across. A lot of people are very sarcastic and say that ..”
The tape becomes totally indecipherable at this point so I suppose we’ll never find out what sarcastic people say. Sorry.