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interviews - 2012


Dead Wolf Club

Dead Wolf Club have just finished an excellent set. Before that they were driving. Driving was the rest of the day. In Inclement weather they had come all the way from Inverness, got out of their transport, put their stuff on stage and started playing. If I hadn't already heard their album, that alone would have endeared them to me.

They then walk from the stage to my table and we talk. It was pretty great.
Martha, John, Sarah and Alwen were lovely and patient as I tried to record their answers under the Brude's post-gig PA.

Just as they have introduced themselves and I am trying to remember the first question, the music stops.

CJC: I am so glad that just stopped
Sarah: How convenient!

CJC: I remember that years ago, I saw a picture in Kerrang of Megadeath, backstage. On the stage door, was a sheet of A4, and printed on it was “Today is TUESDAY, You are in POLAND!” Have you experienced anything like that yet, on your tour?
(Knowing laughter)
John: It's definitely been that you don't know what day or time it is and you don't know where you are, I think touring really can do that to you because you have to get up and go to different places and there's no time-frame you can anything into. It is relentless (Alwen: It really is)... It's lots of fun and this is our first tour so we're really excited.

Martha: Yeah It's always good, and The Simpsons gave us a really good tip, you can write the name on the back of your guitar and then you can check! (Sarah: Hello!!! <looks down> SPRINGFIELD!!) and then you know you're in the right place.

CJC: When I saw the picture I mentioned, I hoped it was true. I thought it perfectly encapsulated what it's like.
Sarah: It’s like a vacation, but we've only been doing it for 4 days and already we're like “wow!”

CJC: and, now you have extensive expereience of Leeds, how're you finding it?
Alwen: We've literally spent... an hour here. We spent 45 minute setting up and playing and 15 minutes of that was getting a guitar noise.

CJC: I saw you!!
Alwen: It was really really nice that people came out, especially in the snow.

CJC: well, there are some people I know and their house renting decisions are made on “how close are we to here”

The PA is still playing while I am talking to the band, and so far two Pixies songs have played. I don't normally like pointing out that a band's influences are identifiable, but here it seems OK, I tell them that I hear an awful lot of Pixies in them.
John: why would we be mad about that? (Loud agreement)

CJC: Good, that's what I thought,
John: We all really like that sort of stuff, so of course that will really come through.

CJC: This is your first record, I reviewed it and I really like it. I have to tell you though, it went online as an album by Dead Wolf Cub, I'm really sorry. I really am.
More laughter

Martha: this happens with our record label too and quite a few people have been getting it wrong...But Dead Wolf Club's new album is coming out on Scene Not Herd.

CJC: Have you changed how you play based on where you are playing? Has it been something you thought you'd have to do?
Alwen: but every town you go to you get a different crowd and the mentality is different and that's why we've gone touring. London is, like, a million venues but the crowds aren't different there.
Last night we played Inverness and the crowd were just really into it. Some people just really embraced it... we were really going for it but they were just... They were way too wasted to know what we were playing (grins)...but they respected us for going for it. If we hadn't gone as hard, we would have fucking got boo'd out. It's amazing the different crowds.

Sarah: and we're only on the...wait is it Wednesday already? We're going to need something to put on our door.

Alwen: As John pointed out before, we played to some punk OAPs, so punk, the most punk guys you've ever met, but really old.

Sarah: and one of them just wanted us to play (excellent Scottish accent) Sex of Fiurrr!

Alwen: We'd be playing guitars at these old people and they'd say “Play Sex on Fire!”

CJC: But that's the pub band staple! Never play THAT! Even if an OAP asks you!
Martha: We wouldn't know how to play Sex on Fire.

Alwen: It is actually one of the harder, technically hard songs to play.

CJC: I know, it's got tons of dead notes in it, but it's not that hard to play, is it?
I have to admit that at this point the recording is just a mess of voices all talking over each other. While laughing. So I've completely failed as an interviewer and have instead started to have fun with some people I've just met. The world already had a Hunter Thompson and he had the skills to make stuff like this his day job. All I will say is that I was definitely having a good time.

Alwen: and there's a bend in there, it isn't an ordinary bend. I think it's powered by gigawatts.

CJC: a bend that can power time travel? I think I'm going to have to re-evaluate what I think of what Kings of Leon have become.
Sarah: Damn straight.

At this point, Monkey Gone To Heaven gets to “If man is 5...” and we all wait for it to pass, because it's skill.
CJC: I have a terrible terrible open ended question. What next? I don't mean the tour.

John: we're going to go and right some more and then try and get some supports...who were we going to get in contact with?

Alwen: Peter Hook.

Martha: YES! Hooky!

Alwen: Peter Hook, if you've seen this amazing tour, or if you know him, I've got a feeling he'd like our band. And even though you're in the army, if you like our band, can we come on that tour where you play the Joy Division albums? Please Peter?

John: We're begging you Pete. Please. Give us a fucking hand?

Alwen: Not even, I don't even like Joy Division.

CJC: well, from what I hear, he's a lovely and friendly, accommodation man and not at all grumpy or curmudgeonly, so I imagine you're all set.
Sarah: I think we're in there then. We're in!

John: we're going to, really, focus on new material, release something in the summer , try and play some festivals and record a split cd.

Sarah: we just need a lucky contender. Someone fortunate enough! (That's quite an amount of wryness she got into those sentences)

CJC: I really enjoyed reviewing your album, and seeing you live. What do you like most, what are the differences you enjoy of each?
And here, I have to confess that I am fine that the response is a tumble of the whole band talking enthusiastically at once. I honestly can't make out much of what they say for 2 minutes. I think that's great. It's a good enough answer all by itself. Especially as they're all laughing with each other.

Alwen: In response to your original question, when we play live it's unpredictable. We rehearse, but you've just got to go for it, and if you lose the plot and it ends up being aa three song set, I like that.
With recording you get to think about it.

Sarah: I like the freedom of it. There are some situations where it's very nailed down and you're asked to play this beat, and this beat, then this beat in that order. But if I want to change my groove, I love that these guys will go with it [live] they want to, it's great.

CJC: I have a criticism. I don't know why are you so mean to your instruments.
(rest of band laughs at John, the main guitar hurling culprit)

John: no, always trash your guitar as much as possible at every single show. You have to have at least 10 new bashing.

CJC: No! C'mon! Think of the bands that do it! You have KISS, and Motley Crue!
Alwen: Wait! Think of it like Pagans! We're The Dead Wolf Club, and at every show there has to be a sacrifice!

Alwen: It isn't a club, we're not Bombay Bicycle Club, we're not named after an Indian Restaurant and we never will be. We're not being trendy. We are a club and our instruments, they know! They signed up for this, like the Ribena berries! These guitars were sat in the shop, waiting for this. Every time John sees one, it's nearer to reaching Nirvana...I should probably stop.

CJC: I'd rather you didn't, because this is gold!
Alwen: There's too many analogies. Things have all kinds of different uses. These tables, they aren't here for eating off! I'm going to get someone and put them through the fucking table. Everything has many uses. Guitars have loads of uses.

I feel I have to point out that this is someone holding court, not necessarily advocating violence against anything other than guitars and Ribena berries.

Sarah: This is a subject close to your heart isn't it?

CJC: it started off terrible, now I think your breaking guitars rules!
Alwen: I apologise, to my bandmates, I got a little bit passionate there...

Rest of band: various versions of hearty We enjoyed hearing it.

CJC: I can't wait to transcribe this!And so, as they pass me a bottle from their rider, I leave Dead Wolf Club to see friends and then drive off to somewhere else and do it again. I am not in the slightest bit jealous. That's a lie. I am, however glad that they get to do it.

I have also been left with a tip to look up WolfMonkey, who are a three-piece folk band from Lapland who do metal covers.

Christopher Carney

Dan Sartain

Tasty's Matt Bull chats to Dan Sartain about his new album 'Top Tough To Live', The White Stripes and Norwich.

Thanks for doing this interview. Firstly, with the amount of energy so prominent in your records, especially in Too Tough to Live, I wonder how you manage it? Aren’t you tired?
I take human growth hormone like Sylvester Stallone.

Fuck Friday is one of my favourites from your new record. Can you recall exactly what fuelled your anger when you wrote it?
Shia LeBeouf

It’s very “Dan Sartain” to write songs that are just one or two minutes long. Why?
Brevity is the soul of wit.

I read an interview that you did a few years ago that there is not much modern music you like. Has this changed?
I like the Spits and a band called Paint Fumes. Kerry "Two Tears" Davis is still tearing things up too.

The impression one gets when listening to your discography is just how spontaneous your music sounds. How do you begin to write the songs you do and at the same time retain their vitality?
God chose ME to write this music. It's a heavy burden at times.

Have you got any plans to come back to the UK for a tour?

And be honest, where do you most like to tour?
I like driving through the mountianous desert best.

Pretty old news now but it has been a year since The White Stripes have split. After touring with them for a while, and having Jack White produce “Bohemian Grove” on his record label, did you feel particularly affected by their departure from the music scene?

I fixed this for you, "Pretty old news now but it has been a year since The White Stripes have split. After touring with them for a while, and having Jack White "produce" Bohemian Grove on his record label, did you feel particularly affected by their departure from the music scene?" To answer your question, I hope Meg finds a new guitarist.

And finally, your approach to writing music that is sincere, engaging and energetic excites me and, I’m sure, many others. If you ever come to Norwich, would you like to have a beer with me?
Only if you do the same when you find yourself in Alabama ;)

Thank you. Best of luck with your new album Too Tough To Live, released in the UK 30th January 2012.