Tag Archives: interview

The Cravats

IF EVER there was an archetypal ‘John Peel band’, whatever that actually means, then the Cravats are probably it. It seemed like they were doing sessions for Peelie’s legendary late-night Radio One every couple of weeks at one point but I only really began paying attention when they released their seminal single Rub Me Out on Crass Records in 1982.

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Although they largely conformed to the Crass ‘format’ in the single’s packaging, with the front cover featuring the title picked out in the Crass label’s trademark circular stencil, the image in the centre wasn’t some convoluted hybrid CND/anarchy A logo or whatever, but actually featured a member of the band.

I imagined Crass fans all over the UK asking: are these blokes on some kind of ego trip or what? Maybe it was just me being as daft as a brush.

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Snacks

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OKAY, let’s cut to the chase. Who has the biggest record collection in Snacks?

“Aljoscha, definitely, without a doubt,” says Rene Corbett, the New Zealand half of the Berlin-based DJing/production duo. “He’s been buying up large of late. I don’t know how many he’s got now. Every week he’s definitely adding to it. He’s such a good digger.

“He has a thirst for new music. He’s also got a good ear for what people are playing. It’s helped us develop a really cool set, the Snacks kind of sound, so I’m constantly learning a lot from him.”

Who is the best dancer in Snacks?

“Rene,” says the German half of Snacks, Aljoscha Babel. “He used to do ballet. But we both wouldn’t win any prizes”.

“I have to say Aljoscha,” says Rene. “If I get to a certain point, if I’ve had enough to drink, I sort of get better. As most of us do.”

Who can drink the most and still maintain?

“We both drink a bit,” admits Rene. “When you’re playing all night you lose track. I always get to a certain point and think, okay, I’ve had enough. You get passed shots and I’ll say cheers with everyone and just take a little sip and put my shot down. Aljoscha just keeps going. Right through to the early hours of the morning.”

Who is the best cook in Snacks?

“Cock?” asks Aljoscha, with a nervous laugh.

“That’s definitely, Aljoscha,” says Rene, who does not mishear my question. Skype lolz. Although the pair do share a flat in Kreuzberg, so …

Let’s not go there.

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Dennis Morris of Basement 5 and Urban Shakedown

EVERYONE knows the score, right?

Someone whose work you’ve admired for three decades is appearing in town – except you’re broke and worse, broken-hearted, because your girlfriend’s just walked out on you, it’s all still very raw and you don’t really know what day it is.

So you walk all the way to the Whitworth in the rain, and then when you get there, you’re soaked to the skin, you’ve no fags left, everything’s a bit surreal and you suddenly feel utterly disconnected from whatever the fuck ‘normal’ is.

You can’t find the insightful, carefully-researched questions in your pad, so you just end up asking questions about stuff that’s not very interesting, and forget all the stuff you really wanted to know about.

Everybody has been there, right? No? Yeah, me neither.

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Mark Archer

IF YOU live in the UK, you’re of a certain age and you haven’t ever totally lost it to one of Mark Archer’s tunes, you’ve no business owning feet. Hand them in at the door on your way out.

In 1989, the same year the Stafford-raised Archer and a mate called Dean Meredith started Bizarre Inc, Archer also started making Detroit-influenced electronic music with Chris Peat as Nexus 21. Archer and Peat later started a side project by the name of Altern 8, with the sound of raw 808s replaced by sampled breakbeats. After the pair went their separate ways in the mid-Nineties, Archer proceeded to explore a more house-orientated direction with Danny Taurus as Slo Moshun.

One way or another, we’ve all been dancing to Mark Archer’s tune – even if we didn’t realise it.

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Amy Winehouse *1

I HAVEN’T really got anything to add to the blizzard of uninformed opinion that has followed the death of Amy Winehouse.

Who knows what really went on? We’d all like to think that we make our own choices but what happens when choice is taken away from you? When the thing you think you need is really the very last thing you need?

The girl I met in late 2003 and again about a year later was very cool and while she definitely had an edge, she clearly wasn’t anywhere near as tough as she tried to make out. I liked her. She was funny and outspoken and real and honest – all you could want from someone you’re interviewing. And of course, it helps that the music she wrote and the words she sang were just incredible.

It’s a crying shame she isn’t around anymore.

* * *

AMY WINEHOUSE might look like she’s been dragged though a hedge backwards but she walks into the hotel bar like she owns the place.

 We’re introduced and she informs the photographer that, nah, he won’t be taking any pictures while we do the interview. She’s just this minute off the tour bus.

”Look at the state of me,” she says, unnecessarily. Everyone is looking at her already.

“Trust me,” soothes the snapper. “I can do something artistic with the computer 
later on.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m doing something artistic with these zits now. We’ll do the pictures later.”

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Alex Gopher

SUCCEEDING where Napoleon failed, those dastardly French have at last managed to invade this sceptered isle.

But rather than manning the barricades and ridding our supermarket shelves of brie and Golden Delicious, as a nation we seem to be welcoming this particular Gallic menace with open arms and dancing feet.

Whatever happened to the Dunquerque spirit?

In reality, it’s not like we have much choice. With music of the quality produced by the likes of Daft Punk, Air, Mr Oizo and Etienne de Crecy, we can do little but capitulate.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back on the dancefloor, Parisian funk merchant Alex Gopher turns up to deliver the coup de grace with his debut British album, You, My Baby & I.

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Fila Brazillia

THEY know how to do band names in Hull. The Housemartins were named after the tuneful domestic songbird. Everything But The Girl were named after the ladies boutique on Beverley Road.

And Fila Brazillia are named after a huge South American fighting dog which is now banned in this country, thanks to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.

The name is nothing to do with trainers then?

“I think we confuse the hell out of most people.”

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