INTERVIEW DATE: Mar '97
INTERVIEWER: Andy Duffy
Matt Bagguley – Vocals, Guitar
Darius Hinks – Guitar
Pete Darrington – Bass
Richie Mills – Drums, Vocals
Since we last spoke to them Derby noisenik quartet, Cable, have definitely been up-lifting the down-trodden! They recorded their new album ("When Animals Attack") in New York with Bongwater legend Kramer, supported their friends AC Acoustics on an extensive (i.e. they included Liverpool!-Ed) UK tour and are now having one of their songs ("Freeze The Atlantic") on the new Sprite advert! After their March '97 show at the Lomax with AC Acoustics we interviewed their charming frontman Matt Bagguley as he did something we never thought bands do personally at their own gigs – their T-shirt sales!…
What was it like working with Kramer (of Bongwater-Ed) in New York on your new album?
Matt : Very interesting…I don't think we could've seen New York with anyone better. He was a good chaperone.
What did you expect from a guy who used to be in a band called Bongwater?
Matt : We expected him to be exactly how he was with us really. He was kind of as mad as we thought he'd be, but in a nice way – he wasn't like, totally unbearable.
He didn't b*llock you all too hard did he?
Matt : No, not really. I mean, being in a studio can be a real nightmare anyway, but it was good. He doesn't live right in the middle of New York and his studio's in New Jersey. And every evening he'd just jump in a car and drive us into New York – show us around, show us the sights and stuff so we had a really great crack and the studio's great. I dunno, it was just a really amazing experience to be able to do that.
Were you happy with the finished product?
Matt : (nodding) Yeah, yeah. It's absolutely great.
What's the album going to be called?
Matt : It's called "When Animals Attack"!!! – When we're in New York, Richie stayed in one night. We had a hotel in New York City on the last couple of nights 'cos we did a gig at a place called Brownie's on the last night which was in Greenwich Village and Richie stayed in the night before [and] watched this programme called "When Animals Attack" which is kind of [a] "Beadle's About" type of thing – but people getting eaten by animals and stuff and it was just really gruesome. So we stole it for our album title! (laughs)
When's the album due out?
Matt : Ermm, I think end of April/beginning of May time. So the single's out on the 14th of April.
Is it gonna have all the things from the second Peel session, like "Whisper Firing Line" and "Apparently", on it?
Matt : Yeah, "Action Replay Replay"'s gonna be a B-side on the next single ["Blue Birds Are Blue"].
"Apparently"'s gonna be a B-side as well, on the next single. So the next single's gonna be like a four track. And then the album comes out about two weeks after that.
Will you have any more singles off "When Animals Attack"?
Matt : Errm, I definitely think we'll be putting a single out after the album comes out, called "Freeze The Atlantic".
Can you remember what the other song off your first demo was?
Matt : "Weakened", "Newie", "Choice" and "Hidden Away" was the other one.
Are you going to be doing any festivals this year?
Matt : Dunno yet. Hopefully [we'll] do some – maybe headline the Monsters Of Rock Festival or something like that! (laughs)
What have the current gigs with AC Acoustics been like?
Matt : Really good. Well, we toured with them about two years ago which is like one of the main reasons we've ended up back up with them now 'cos they're old mates of ours. So I rang 'em up and said, "We should support you on this tour!" – so here we are. We played one other gig with them on this tour and that was in Birmingham on Thursday night and that went really well – it was better than tonight! (laughs) It was quite full.
Last time you played there were loads more people here to see you!
Matt : Yeah!
The band I'm in [Revere] played recently and we had about a hundred people going mad to us…
Matt : Yeah, that's great when you do that.
It was great and it was only our second gig – we seem to have a gig after every two rehearsals!
Matt : We've done about a hundred and fifty rehearsals and then this gig! (laughs)
I always used to listen to "Blindman" and not have a clue what you're playing…
Matt : God, it's so easy – everything we do. We couldn't write any songs that are difficult. That's why it takes so long to write songs 'cos we have to make sure they're simple enough for us to be able to duplicate them and play them every single night otherwise we'd just fall over and our pants'd fall down! (laughs)
What was it like playing London Brixton Prison?
Matt : Awesome!
I read a review that said ""Did someone wolf-whistle?" asks Matt Bagguley, visibly sh*tting himself"!…
Matt : Yeah, we were. We were absolutely cackin' ourselves. Understandably, it was a very strange thing to do.
Did you set it up yourselves?
Matt : We set it up ourselves. It started off being a bit of a joke and we thought, "Yeah, let's do it". And it only went too far because we actually agreed to do it. When we finally saw the paperwork come through and the chaplain of Brixton Prison was saying, "This is gonna be a really good thing – we'd really love you to play" and we thought, "Well, maybe it's not such a joke anymore". We thought, "Well it'd be a really cool thing to do" 'cos, without being judgemental about it or anything y'know, they're stuck in prison and they're not going anywhere. I've got no qualms about going and entertaining. But that's about all I can say about it. We were absolutely sh*tting ourselves when we did it. It was just dead weird because you just see how demoralised they all are when they're in there and they all kind of shuffled into the room. They're allowed to get up and leave the room but there was only allowed to be about seventy of 'em in the room at one time to watch us.
Did you have a slam pit going, or weren't they allowed to start one?
Matt : Nah, they had to stay seated all the time. If they were gonna stand up they'd have to get up to leave the room, but they weren't allowed to dance or anything like that. Y'know, there were like screws (police officers-Ed) all round the walls and stuff with batons and stuff, just in case anything kicked off.
So if there was a headline on the front page of a magazine about it then it'd be ""In prison you cannot mosh!" says Matt from Cable"!
Matt : That's right, yeah! And there's a million and one jokes about playing to captive audiences and the like. But in the end, it was just a really really really cool thing to do in the end because there was a big gap between us and the audience – which we were quite pleased about to begin with. And it was intimidating to begin with and we thought the worst thing we can do is do this gig and look like we're…I dunno…being total voyeurs and just gloating at them. And we really didn't wanna be seen as doing that, and we thought the worst thing that can happen is that they didn't like it – that would just be terrible. If we just bombed and they booed us off or something and halfway through the set they were cheering and clapping and screaming, they were really getting into it. And at the end they all got up and kind of made a bee-line for us and were just crowded round us, shaking our hands and saying, "Thanks ever so much!". And I'm really chuffed we did it. And we really were sh*tting ourselves! (laughs) And I walked onstage and they were wolf-whistling at me!
Would you do it again?
Matt : Yeah, I'd do it again.
How about doing a wedding or a christening? Would you be up for doing those sorts of things after playing somewhere out of the ordinary gig circuit?
Matt : Yeah, I think I'd do Brixton Prison first out of all of those. (laughs) Good reception – they're a good audience! (laughs)
Are you going to do any more videos after your previous video "disaster"?
Matt : Yeah, we made two total video disasters. We did a video for "Seventy" and that never got used. It was a real cut and paste job. But we're working with a producer at the moment who did White Town – the guy that did the White Town video and we were really into that, we thought he did a good job on that. And we know White Town in like a round about way 'cos being from Derby and everything.
Are you gonna do something like the White Town video with you only appearing on TV screens and things like that?
Matt : Nah, he's doing something totally different for us.
Do you mind being in your own video?
Matt : We'd be happy with that, yeah. You can make videos that are really good and he pulled it off with that, y'know. The White Town video proves it, he did that quite effectively. And Jyoti (Mishra, White Town bloke-Ed) wanted to keep a low profile in that and we'd be happy with that as well.
Are there any new bands that you've heard in the last year?
Matt : Ermm, I'm still really into Elevate. You don't really come into contact with too many bands in Britain that you fall head over heels for because Britain is just so totally obsessed with Britpop and resurrecting things.
What about Ireland? There's loads of great bands over there…
Matt : Irish bands? Have you heard of Bambi?
Yeah, I've seen them twice! They're amazing!
Matt : (surprised) You've seen them?!
Yeah, I was at the launch party for their "The Psychedelic Sounds Of The Orange Whip" single!
Matt : Really? Oh right, that must've been tied in with Infectious (the label that Ash and Cable are signed to-Ed) or something because Infectious are distributing the Bambi single.
They're the same age as me and they totally kick ass…
Matt : Yeah? Well there's always Bambi stuff knocking around the office 'cos I know [Uncle] Bob and Andy [MacIntyre] – they're both really into it and they're always raving about Bambi and stuff. So I wonder if they've had something to do with it.
Have you heard anything by them?
Matt : I've not listened to 'em, no! (laughs)
They're like The Beastie Boys when they did fast punk songs like "Tough Guy", which would explain their decision to do a special warm-up gig under the name The Busty Boys!
Matt : Yeah! Right, cool!
What's the track you're donating to the CD ("Radio Kerrang!"-Ed) that comes free with issue 640 of Kerrang!?
Matt : It's a track off the album. It's called "Souvenir" and it's the second track we played tonight, I think. Yeah, Kerrang! just pulled that one out from the album – it's the first track on the album, and there's a promo tape going round at the moment. They're all really into it, so.
Did you hear about the Elevate track on the CD that comes with that new magazine called Sessions?
Matt : Yeah yeah I did, yeah.
I haven't heard it yet, have you?
Matt : I have – I've heard it. The new stuff's really good. They demoed recently for one of the majors, I think it was Warner Brothers or something like that and they got some studio time out of it, but the new stuff's really cool. They're a cracking band, they're a brilliant band.
I know, they were amazing when they supported you guys here at the Lomax. They started the first song, "Turn Up The Treble", and messed it up about ten seconds into their set!
Matt : Ah yeah! But that just gives them an added charm doesn't it?! It's why people come and see bands like us. We're good at stopping completely where we f*ck up and then starting again, right!
Did you mess up tonight? I think "Oubliette" went on a bit longer than normal!
Matt : Yeah, a few times! At least once for each song! No, I do mess things up continually. But hopefully the kind of music that we write just sounds like one great big f*ck up from start to finish! So you can just throw in whatever you want at the last minute and ad lib! Yeah! (laughs)
When you played "The Colder Climate" last April, you kept looking up during the moody instrumental part as if to suggest that any second the inevitable noise explosion was gonna happen and you kept teasing the audience until it did erupt into noise and they weren't ready. It was brilliant…
Matt : It's mind games with the audience!
So what's it about?
Matt : It's about…the lyrical references in that song are about being ripped off and when you feel like you're being stung for everything and you're having to pay for everything – you're paying for water and things like that. The first line in it is, "Tear down your home when the air you breathe has gone." And that's just…it's just like an apocalyptic vision! (laughs) It's real doom and gloom heavy metal stuff really! (laughs) Which is why Kerrang! like us! They go for that like, gloomy metal-tinged element to the music. I try and write stuff that sounds as ambiguous as possible because I'm not…lyrically I'm not trying to project a particular point in words through the music. It's just y'know, supposed to be interesting decorative words at the end of the day.
Well as you said last time, ""Choice" IS about premature ejaculation!"!
Matt : Yeah, it still is! (laughs)
Is "Blindman" self-explanatory by being about a blind man?!
Matt : Yeah, that's right yeah!
Is the first line, "A blind man came looking"?!
Matt : Yeah, it just proves that we can be funny as well as miserable all the time. We're miserable most of the time – 99% of the time but we try and make a special point of smiling once a month maybe.
Is "Blue Birds Are Blue" about everything being obvious?
Matt : Yeah!
Or is it about a hallucinogenic acid trip?!
Matt : No, "Blue Birds Are Blue" is about just stretching yourself too much and just trying to keep too many people happy at the same time and chasing after the 'in' crowd all the time.
Is any of this relative to the music industry at the moment?
Matt : Well yeah, I absolutely detest the music industry at the moment. It really stinks and there's so many people making so much money out of Britpop at the moment. Not that I would have anything against making any money at all but it seems to only be good for those kind of people. And it's just totally creatively destructive on music because at the moment the only bands you ever hear about are bands that sound like The Beatles or sound like T-Rex. It's just sh*t and they shouldn't do it.
Are there any bands out there that you like?
Matt : That I like? No! They should all be put away.
They do all seem to have retrospective tendencies…
Matt : …and it's just so boring – they're disgusting! And as soon as you think, "This Britpop thing can't go on any longer, there's gotta be some sort of backlash to it", another band comes along that everyone starts touting as the next big thing and they're like an even more p*ss-weak, watered down version of Oasis. And you start off with Oasis and then you end up with Ocean Colour Scene and then it just gets more and more diluted the further down the line and they just seem to keep coming along and the industry just keeps churning out more and more bands like that that just aren't kind of stimulating or challenging in any way at all.
Now the metal press are setting up a Blur versus Oasis-esque war between 3 Colours Red and Kerbdog…
Matt : (surprised) They're trying to get that going?!
Why are they bothering? Does it really matter who gets in the charts anymore?
Matt : It sells magazines at the end of the day.
Maybe you guys should do something like "The Girlie Show" or some Saturday morning kids shows to get more well-known!
Matt : We're gonna present "The Girlie Show" one day, that's one of our ambitions as a band – to present "The Girlie Show"! We're gonna hi-jack the show and dress up as women and then we're gonna completely subvert the whole audience and turn it into "The Bloke Show"! (laughs) Are you fans of "The Simpsons"?
Matt : I love "The Simpsons" – I don't get to see it very often 'cos I'm always locked in a gloomy little room writing songs.
Can you imagine yourselves being in "The Simpsons" one day?! I mean, bands like Aerosmith and Sonic Youth have been in it…
Matt : In "The Simpsons"? Yeah, definitely. There's obviously room for us now. All the bands that are a little bit bigger than us have done it. They'll be coming to us next, asking us to do it!
Have you got any future plans?
Matt : We've got a fair bit of touring coming up. We've got another seven dates left on this tour and then a couple of weeks off and then we're on tour with Feeder.
Do you like Feeder?
Matt : Do I like them? (he looks dubious)
Do I take that as a "No, but I respect them musically"?!
Matt : Yeah, I think they're brilliant musicians! (looking yet more dubious) Nah, I've never really listened to them.
Are you playing the Liverpool Lomax with them?
Matt : No, is it K2?
Yeah, the new part of the Krazy House. When are you doing that?
Matt : The first week in April, yeah. Not sure exactly [when].
Are you headlining or supporting them?
Matt : We're supporting them, we won't be the first on – middle band. So I'm quite sure there'll be an opening band.
What was it like playing with Terrorvision?
Matt : (sounding sarcastic) It was fantastic! It was the most fantastically brilliant experience of our entire careers. No, it was lovely. It was very nice.
Do I detect a bit of sarcasm in your voice?
Matt : No, I'm indifferent to it, really. We didn't even speak to them. We went down pretty well and it was quite a small audience as well, which I was surprised about for them – I'd thought they'd be playing to like a stadium or something. It was in Cologne and I think they're probably still trying to crack it there. There's probably about four hundred people there, lots of strange German people dancing in circles and dancing really strangely!
What do you think of Terrorvision's music?
Matt : I don't like it, no. But at least it's not Britpop!
Matt : They're trying to jump on that Britrock bandwagon and that was wrong of them.
I don't think they're trying to jump on any bandwagon, Britrock was…
Matt : …forced upon them by the press which is a bit of a sad thing to do, really. [I] totally ignore Britpop – that's what people should do. They should try and imitate it or compete with it. Don't get upset by it or be frightened by it – just ignore it! Turn the other cheek – the stiff British upper lip talking.
Have you heard the Sophia record? The one with Robin Proper-Sheppard (ex-God Machine singer and now owner of Flower Shop Records-Ed) teaming up with people like Graham Miles and Jim Elkington from Elevate…
Matt : Oh, it's awesome, oh it's brilliant – it's really good. And I really liked the God Machine anyway.
I never really heard any of their stuff
Matt : They were fantastic. You MUST check out God Machine stuff. It's really just really awesome music and all the [Sophia] stuff's got the same kind of atmosphere but it's all really quiet. And God Machine was total full-on, masses of guitars and really heavy – really intense. Yeah, Sophia – they're good. It's good to see Jim and Graham managed to get their faces in the paper from it as well.
Matt : [Yeah,] 'cos they did a gig in London and they were sat on barstools in some little pub. I don't think they've done many gigs but [at] one of the gigs all the press were there and they got a photo of 'em. So they had a bit of glory. Elevate deserve to do really well, so do Sophia.
Matt, do you normally do your own band's T-shirt sales?
Matt : (laughs) No, they said, "Come down just for ten minutes!" but [that's] what happens – everyone's upstairs watching the band, having a really good time. But I'm here with you getting all the glory! So I might just add that it is totally down to me, everything! And I am the most talented member of the band, definitely! All the others, they're just totally useless and they never do anything!
So you organise everything?!
Matt : Yeah, even tonight! I am their leader and they need a leader, otherwise they'd just turn into gibbering wrecks with no direction in life. No kind of sense of morality or anything. I have to teach them my wisdom. So it's thanks to me. I had to…you might not have seen it but I have to go round putting their fingers on the right notes on the strings for them. But I do it so fast that you can't see me doing it.
I was wondering why tonight's performance of "Blindman" was slightly slower than normal!
Matt : That's right! It gives me a bit of time to run around! I just pay them [Darius, Pete and Richie-Ed] a wage every night. They get paid one pound twenty a night.
That's for their beer, so every two gigs they have enough for a pint!
Matt : Yeah!