No, we don’t sound very ‘Manchestah’ – not the historical sound and certainly not like the current crop of bands from Manchester. We simply don’t have that clichéd Gallagher swagger, that faux-aggression that bands like The Courteeners play on continually which has actually become a bit dull; mainly because it’s become about ‘attitude’ and not the music.
Incendiary Magazine speaks to Air Cav
We've been hearing a lot about Air Cav one way or the other recently. Friends in Manchester have been raving on about their quirky, melodic sensibilities for some time. After falling for their stuff – especially the cracking single Alliance, which was about as un-Manchester as you can get - and wondering how they'd managed to acquire an elaborate French press release, we decided it was time to have a little chat...
IN: Air Cav. "Un mélange nordiste dynamique des adaptations inflexibles de "Joy Division"/ "New Order", une expression "punk" de mélodies déjantées et une tornade lentement accumulée de nuances fascinantes". Explain yourselves at length.
AC: Explaining ourselves at length? Ha ha... well, really, it's pretty straightforward. We're four people that have become the best of friends despite north /south prejudice and Manchester vs Liverpool rivalry... and we all happen to be on the same wavelength when it comes to writing and playing music. Well, as listeners we have some parallels but we're all in to massively different music and those influences have filtered in to our own material. We all have distinct playing and vocal styles and we seem to bounce off each other quite nicely.
IN: I take it your excursion to France was fun then... do tell...
AC: We had an absolutely fantastic time. We played at a club in Paris called La Flèche D'Or and they put all Mancunian music venues to shame: we were amply fed, watered, looked after. It was just brilliant. We only found out when we got there that we were headlining, and the club was packed. The Parisians were crazy – we thought it would be our Mancunian convoy that would start the dancing, but they were way behind the Parisian kids who had a moshpit up and running immediately! And they all came up to us afterwards for a chat in their excellent English. Frankly, we were overcome. Oh, and if you need info about the night itself – Dave Haslam, legendary Hacienda and now Xfm DJ, invited us to play the night, entitled ‘Haciendazed.' Justine, another Xfm DJ, took to the decks after we played and it was like a little slice of Manchester in Paris for the night!
IN: Do I detect a love of Kraftwerk in your music? A snatch of Kometenmelodie at one point?
AC: Every time I think of Kraftwerk, the comedian Bill Bailey pops in to my mind so I can honestly say I don't take them seriously. As for an electronica influence, it's funny because although we don't use any synths/laptops/weird noises, etc, we do sometimes have that sound. I think that mainly comes from Mark's unique bass playing – he pops, he rumbles, sometimes he's just plain funky!
IN: You don't really sound very "Manchestah"... do you see yourselves as a Manchester style band? Is this a millstone you have to bear, coming from a city that will always attract certain musical expectations from people?
AC: Yeah, I think that's where the Joy Divison and New Order references creep in! No, we don't sound very ‘Manchestah' – not the historical sound and certainly not like the current crop of bands from Manchester. We simply don't have that clichéd Gallagher swagger, that faux-aggression that bands like The Courteeners play on continually which has actually become a bit dull; mainly because it's become about ‘attitude' and not the music. But then, I'm not going to say we're humble and modest – there's no room for that if you're getting on a stage in front of people. However, I do think we're a nice bunch of people and that's not historically the Mancunian way... But musically... Well, it must be one of the best cities to start out as a band. There's so many venues, so many dedicated promoters, musicians, DJs, club owners, etc, so there's enough variety to keep you entertained, but it's also an intimate scene in that you slowly get to know so many people.
IN: I find your music quite reflective too... fair comment? And what, pray, do you reflect upon?
AC: We're all sensitive souls deep down so that certainly makes sense. But it's all about sounds and ambience, rather than a lyrical reflection. Lyrics are almost always an afterthought. But what do we reflect upon? Err... I'm really not sure; it's just sounds and beats that have an effect on us. So if we've struck a chord which pulls on some kind of heartstring, then we'll immediately use that. A song we're writing at the moment even has a ‘sex chord'!
IN: Time for matters to be taken into slightly surreal territory... What would be Air Cav's preferred choice of cranial disguise? Beard, wig, toupee or coloured lens. I should explain... I'm reading "Antic Hay" by Aldous Huxley in which the hero adopts a false beard to enhance his sexual prowess. I'm fascinated...
AC: Some lyrics that have been written recently include the line ‘take off your disguise' so it would appear that it interests us too! As for cranial disguises, a beard might exclude one member until she's at least much older so she might have fun with that. Can we have the ultimate disguise of fake plastic nose/moustache/glasses combo? Not sure it'd do much for the sexual prowess, though, of course.
IN: Favourite biscuits please. Failing biscuits, a damned good recipe to nourish ourselves upon.
AC: Favourite biscuits? It's got to be something oaty with chocolate on... mmm
Although this recipe is pretty good:
120mm of wine
1 large egg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
It's taken from a pagan cookbook and they're supposed to be baked at the spring equinox for fairies! I must admit I haven't seen any fairies flying about, but they taste so good I don't care!
Words: Richard Foster
Photo by Shirlaine Forrest (www.shirlainephotos.co.uk)