26 February 2013

Interview: Nephu Huzzband

Back in 2008 I interviewed Nottingham band Nephu Huzzband for Subba Cultcha. They were the current kings of indie rock and they'd only released one EP! Here is the interview again, pulled from my archives and  polished on the arm of my jumper until the dust falls to reveal their shiny faces once more.

When Nephu Huzzband released their debut EP ‘Papers’ late last year sections of the press, and indeed the nation, fell instantly in love with their ‘noisy sonic indie using two vocals/guitars, bass and drums’ sound. The catchy melodies of their songs did procreate a certain heartspark among the masses. New single ‘Nurse! Nurse!’, due for release on 5th June is expected to implant them further into our psyche.

How long has the band been together and what brought you together? 

We all met at school and came together through all listening to and wanting to make a similar style of music. Innocent enthusiasm to be honest, with Tom and Rob jamming together in the school practice rooms. There were quite a few people who had already formed bands, but weren’t particularly great. So Tom and Rob would hijack their practices, using their gear to jam. Tom then asked Jamie if he fancied a go at playing bass. We practised as a three piece for a while, before Adam, who was in the year below the other three, was asked to join

Your 2nd single ‘Nurse! Nurse!’ is due for release early June. Is it in the vein of debut ‘Papers’ musically?

Nurse! Nurse! could be described as being in a similar vein to Papers. They’re both fast moving songs, though Nurse! Nurse! is even shorter at 87 seconds (1:27), there is an extended version at a full 2:37 mins. However the b-side, Lions and Tigers and Bears, is quite different to anything we’ve recorded before. It’s a fair bit slower than some of our other material and quite melodic.

You’re planning to launch it at The Dublin Castle, London on 5th June, is that still the plan?

Yes, that’s the plan. We’re going to be giving away 250 free CDs of the new single and door entry is free (thanks to Bugbear Promotions), it is also being recorded live (for release) by Fleetwood mobiles, plus there’s three other bands playing, so anyone in London should come down, as it’s going to be an awesome night…and you all get on the record as the live audience!

 What inspires you, as a collective, to make the music you do and do you find it evolving in tandem with the increasing exposure your material now seems to be attracting?

We all have loads of individual influences, which you can probably hear in the riffs and hooks each of us contribute to our songs, but collectively we listen to a core of bands that include …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Sonic Youth, At The Drive-in, Q and not U and others of a similar style. There’s definitely been an evolution in the music we’re trying to write, partly due to the great feedback we had with our debut EP ‘Papers’ . We do tend to think about song structures and lengths more than we did when we first started writing. However we do try not to let the ideas flow when writing new material, otherwise it can sound forced, and loses the music’s energy, intrigue and honesty.

You have a fan base that is growing daily. This must make you quite proud that your body of work has stirred someone enough for them to say they are a fan of Nephu Huzzband?

We are very proud of what we’ve achieved, a year ago I don’t think any of us would ever have thought we’d be shouted for an encore in London or have performed live on the BBC or XFM. Honestly though, it still seems strange to think people would declare themselves a fan. At a gig recently we had people coming up to us asking about the next single, and what would be happening after that-all our vinyl remixes were picked up at the show. And just people paying a genuine interest still surprises us, as we have so much going on in the band itself.

Where did the bands name originate from? And if that isn’t the question you’re sick of being asked then what is?

 We’ve probably been asked that question in every single interview we’ve ever done, but I guess with a name like ours we’re going to have to get used to it. The spelling originally came from an unpublished poem we came across, but since then we’ve started coming up with different meanings for it, as the whole story needs a large whisky to get through and hear it out.

Do you think social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook are now a vital marketing tool in today’s music industry? Or a lazy opening for bands that are no longer prepared to place faith in their material and sing for their supper the proper way?

They’ve definitely changed the way the industry seems to be working, and it’s a good thing for both bands and fans. We had a number of our first gigs through people having heard us on myspace, and our producer, marc rose, first heard us via this platform. It’s a really easy and effective way to communicate with listeners at short notice. As a fan it’s also a great way to find and hear new bands as well as seeing what your favourite bands are currently up to and keep an eye on gigs/dates etc etc.
However the internet phenomenon thing is probably not quite what people are making it out to be. Bands don’t just get deals and sell records through putting a song on the net, they still have to get out there and play to the people and still make records with professionals.

With the exception of any natural disaster wiping out the world, in what position might we find the band 5 years from today?

Hopefully we’ll still be writing and playing credible music to credible people who want to hear it. I don’t think we aim to be playing worldwide arena tours or anything. But to be able to tour the country and play music to people who want to hear us, and be selling enough records so that we don’t need other incomes, would be the collective Nephu Huzzband dream. We enjoy the creative independence we currently have, and are looking forward to more adventures and exposure once college is finished this year.

So, apart from the imminent release of ‘Nurse! Nurse!’ what’s the next step on the agenda?

We’re just trying to concentrate on writing new songs, then over the summer to go back into the studio and record another session single. Apart from that we just want to be getting around the country playing as many gigs as possible to as many people as possible.

 Finally chaps, where can people find your music online?

You can hear it at myspace.com/nephuhuzzband and it can be bought from indiestore.com/nephuhuzzband and iTunes as well as most other digital online sites

Thanks to Tony at Manilla PR

20 February 2013

Playlist For January 2013


1:Villagers…The Bell 
(from the album Awayland)

2:Camper Van Beethoven: Come Down The Coast
(from the album La Costa Perdida)

3: Hilly Eye: Almanac
(from the album Reasons To Live)

4: Dawn Richard: Return Of A Queen
(from the album Goldenheart)

5: The Ruby Suns: Kingfisher Call Me
(from the album Christopher)

6: The Joy Formidable…This Ladder Is Ours
(from the album Wolf’s Law)

7: Wimps – Nap
(from the album Repeat)

8: Pillowfight – In The Afternoon
(from the album Pillowfight)

9: Local Natives – Colombia
(from the album Hummingbird)

10: Happy Jawbone Family Band – Martian Santa
(from the album Tastes The Broom)

11: Indians – Lips Lips Lips
(from the album Somewhere Else)

12: Radar Brothers – Couch
(from the album Eight)

13 – Bad Religion – Fuck You
(from the album True North)

14: Lord Huron – Time To Run
(from the album Lonesome Dreams)

15: Bleeding Rainbow – Shades Of Eternal Night
(from the album Yeah Right)

16: Mathew E White – Big Love
(from the album Big Inner)

17: Delphic – Freedom Found
(from the album Collections)

18: Ethan Johns – The Turning
(from the album If Not Now Then When)

19: The History Of Apple Pie – Glitch
(from the album Out Of View)

20: Biffy Clyro – Little Hospitals
(from the album Opposites)

21: Aline – Teen Whistle
(from the album Regarde Le Ciel

22: Pere Ubu – Mandy
(from the album Lady From Shanghai)

23: Serafina Steer – Skinny Dipping
(from the album The Moths Are Real)

24: Tomahawk – White Hats/ Black Hats
(from the album Oddfellows)

25: New Order – I’ll Stay With You
(from the album Lost Sirens)

26: Dropkick Murphys – Don’t Tear Us Apart
(from the album Signed And Sealed In Blood)

27: The Night Marchers – Loud Dumb And Mean
(from the album Allez Allez)

28: Blood Red Shoes – Red River
(from the album Water)

29: Dutch Uncles – Godboy
(from the album Out Of Touch In The Wild)

30: California X – Lemmys World
(from the album California X)

*Published In Subba Cultcha*

17 February 2013

Live Review: Sad Society (From My Archives)

Sad Society
Bannermans, Edinburgh
23rd Jan 2009

Sad Society, third band of the evening, have been a perpetual inclusion on the punk circuit since their formation in the early 80’s. Their catchy old-school anthems and chant-along chorus-lines bring an incendiary rapture to the Bannermans crowd, as opener ‘Novocaine’ quite quickly demonstrated. It’s a ferocious, unswerving set with Deek Wilson (possibly the second most-recognised front-man in Edinburgh?) guiding each song with typical sarcasm and derision. Through ‘Presidents Of Fear’, ‘Slaughterhouse’ and the melancholic observations of the atmospheric ‘Suicide Party’ they donate an atmosphere relished by a crowd who are so fond of this band they know every song word-for-word. Many old favourites, including ‘No More U.S Laws’ inculcate a camaraderie throughout the room, never more apparent than on ‘Religion’, possibly the most perfect song ever written for the genre of punk rock. Deek’s sneering ‘and I’m not fucking satisfied’ lyric is a master of incensed articulation. Sad Society could quite easily have slotted into tonight’s headline position without effort, but the noteworthy thing about them, and the majority of bands involved in the healthy scene Edinburgh has, is that they have no elitist snobbery; they’re just happy doing what they came together to do: play the music they believe in for the people who share that belief."

*Published In Music News Scotland*

Photography: Michael Laing

10 February 2013

Alex Harvey: Last Of The Teenage Idols

The captivating master of ceremonies, a million contradictions within a million contradictions and gloriously unpredictable for it. The unorthodox mindset and flamboyant theatrical performance style shall forever live on in the back catalogue that survives him. His intuitiveness for creating music was as flawless as the insight it must first begin from. He was Glasgow’s first real rock & roll legend, a verbal wit with philosophical depth, novelistic charisma and a rough edged working class honesty.

His music career began when he joined a skiffle band in 1955 later evolving into the Alex Harvey Big Soul Band. He recorded his first album ‘Alex Harvey And His Soul Band‘ in Hamburg in 1963 followed by second release ‘The Blues‘ in 1964. Alex Harvey left the Big Soul Band to concentrate on building a solo career, but it failed to develop into anything substantial and achieved very little success. Failure was only his temporary companion and in 1967 he joined the band of musicians of the London stage production of ‘Hair’ where he remained for 5 years during which the band recorded live album ‘Hair Rave Up‘ which contained songs written by Alex.

In 1972 along with guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen. keyboard player Hugh McKenna and drummer Ted McKenna he formed The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Merging heavy rock with a blues/garage/glam hybrid unravelled a perfectly formed soundscape for Alex Harvey’s eccentricities to roam freely across the breadth of its surface building his helter skelter symphonies of anguished wailing, frenzied spoken recitals or some juiced-up reworking of someone else’s song. Debut album ‘Framed‘ was a driving rock and blues juggernaut packed with skilled musicianship and depth. Standout tracks are the epic ‘Isobel Goudie‘ the rock fuelled ‘Midnight Moses‘ self explanatory ‘Buff’s Bar Blues‘ and a cover of ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You‘. Follow up album ‘Next‘ with it’s big sound and glam rock vibe is a much better record than debut ‘Framed‘ and brims with so many great things..like ‘Swampsnake‘ with it’s boogie woogie piano and backyard harmonica…or catchy foot-tapping orgy anthem ‘Gang Bang‘….or the Jaques Brel cover delivered with menacing Glaswegian eloquence…..or throbbing groove pulsing atmospheric masterpiece ‘Faith Healer‘……and ‘Vambo Marble Eye‘ …as examples

Further releases like ‘The Impossible Dream‘ with layers of operatic sawdust rock is a rollicking album of pretentious idealism that manages to remain unceromoniously vulgar, musically, with it’s garage fused indifference. The band also scored top 40 chart
hits with a stunning re-worked cover of the Tom Jones song ‘Delilah‘ and 1976 single ‘Boston Tea Party‘ Alex Harvey left the band later that year re-joining them for 1978 album ‘Rock Drill‘ before quitting again.

On Feb 4th 1982 Alex Harvey suffered a massive heart attack while waiting on a ferry in Zeebrugge, Belgium. On the way to hospital by ambulance he had another heart attack and sadly died. It was the day before his 47th birthday. An ending that came far too soon, too unexpectedly soon, too sudden for goodbye, too immediate for understanding and too unforeseen to prepare for.

*Published In Subba Cultcha*

4 February 2013


The Saints- a minor aversion
The Apartments- help
The Buzzcocks- love is lies
Johnny Thunders- its not enough
The Stranglers- strange little girl
Wire- feeling called love
 Iggy Pop- fall in love with me
The Zeros- she's just a girl on the block
 The Gun Club- fire of love
 Ramones- I wanna be your boyfriend
Modern Lovers- someone I care about
 The Neon Boys- love comes in spurts
 The Nerves- gimme some time
 X- when our love passed out on the couch
 Misfits- come back
The Wipers- nothing left to lose
 Alex Chilton- can't seem to make you mine
Suicide- girl
The Boys Next Door- shivers

*Published In Spin Utopia*