Hey there you! Put that keyboard down and get yourself down to Boots for
some eyeliner! Oxfords Trademark have just released their debut album,
Want More on Truck Records, and its liable to bring out the Kraftwerk fan
in all of us. Tasty spoke to Oli, Paul, Stu and, err
.Mandy about liver
transplants at gigs, amongst other things.
then. Is it a hive of early 80s synth-inspired techies, or are you totally
Oli: No, we're totally different. Oxford has a few great bands, but none
ofthem have enough synths.
Paul: Er, I think we're the only ones. When we did our very first gig in
2000 at the Truck festival, we were considered as a bit of a novelty act. No
one was really using synthesizers in a big way in the Oxford music scene.
Now it's become more fashionable in the indie scene to use crazy synth
sounds, so we're not total outcasts any more. That said, I still think that
we're the only ones in Oxford doing what we do (which is sort of nice).
Stu: Iıd have thought thereıd be more science in the Oxford music scene with
the university and everything, but it really is just us at the moment.
Are you happy with the album?
Oli: Yes, it's great!
Stu: I think itıs perfect, itıs been 2 years in the making really, so if
itıs not right now it never will be and it is right!
Paul: I'm one of those really annoying people who could go on endlessly
improving things, so this is a tough question. I think I am happy with the
album though. I love the red bowl and gaunt hand on the front cover. I think
it is a good representation of what we want to sound like at the moment.
Name your top five 80s synth anthems.
Stu: Thats a tough one! Especially if they have to be from the 80s, because
most of my favourites come from the 70s or the 90s!
True Faith New Order,
Left to my own Devices Pet Shop Boys,
Donıt you want me Human League,
Sex Dwarf Soft Cell
Computer Love Kraftwerk
Blue Monday New Order
Seconds Human League
Underpass John Foxx
Suburbia Pet Shop Boys
Never-ending story Limahl
Depeche Mode Black Celebration
Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind
Erasure You Surround me
Yazoo - Don't Go
Human League Things that dreams are made of
Your stage show looks quite impressive. Where does the inspiration come
Oli: When you play the synth, the audience don't have as much to look at as
when someone waves their arms about behind a drum kit. So we strive to
replace the flailing arms of a drummer with various other distractions. Plus
your average band is usually quite boring to watch, and we want to change
Stu: I like to think itıs more of a performance than a gig, it also keeps
peopleıs interest, even if they donıt like us!
Paul: We think of stupid ideas and then try and actually carry them out.
They usually involve science and synthesizers. We want to be the first band
to have an operation live on stage; a heart and lung transplant with us
providing soothing triangle wave melodies to accompany the surgeons.
Stu: Of course what Paul just said is completely true, weıre just waiting on
a licence and a donor.
Do you ever get the urge to write a great big fuck-off guitar pop song?
Oli: All our songs are great big fuck-off guitar pop songs. Just not played
Paul: We do not have anything against guitars, we all love bands that use
guitars, but, that's not what Trademark is about. Anyway, it's really fun
and interesting trying to make a song sound big without using guitars
Stu: Weıd be quite willing to use guitars if we were producing someone else,
but I donıt think you need guitars to make something big, classical music
did ok without guitars for 400 years or so.
Indeed, do you think you write pop music?
Stu: Yes I think we do, I think anyone who performs song based music with a
strong melodic content does pop music whether they like it or not. I mean I
think Oasis are pop music & The Darkness definitely are. Itıs just pop is a
dirty word in some peopleıs vocabulary; it certainly isnıt in mine though.
Oli: I can't stand anything that doesn't have a tune.
Paul: Pop is a massive genre and I think it would be fair to say that what
we do is pop. It's weird because I wouldn't say that we could be described
as electro, electronica, electro-clash or industrial, but I think we could
be described as pop.
Are you wary of getting sucked into the whole London-based fashionista
electro synth pop make-up scene. Or do you embrace it?
Oli: Don't really mind who likes us, surely it's best to appeal to as many
people as possible? While still doing what you want to do, obviously.
Stu: I donıt care who likes us, as long as theyıre fit of course.
Paul: Oh we definitely embrace it, but I'm not convinced that we're part of
it. Our songs are lyrically very different to other bands in the scene and
we look quite different.
do you ever wear make-up on stage...or off it?
Oli: Can't say I have.
Paul: Someone put mascara and eye shadow on me at a New Year's party. I got
a bit of a shock when I woke up in the morning and saw it in the bathroom
mirror. It looked quite good actually! But that's as far as it's going to
go....for the moment!
Stu: Its a bit dated doing that really isnt it. Anyway I only wear makeup
at weekends when Im Mandy.
How much more do you want? And where do you want it? And when?
Stu: I want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it now!
Oli: I'd like a lot more, on Top Of The Pops, and right now.
Paul: We want to be able to afford to keep making music for the foreseeable
future and we want everyone to have the opportunity to hear our music. Where
do we want it??? Wembley Arena - that would be nice, and when....well I
guess as soon as possible and definitely before I go over my overdraft