"I do like the slightly obscure stuff, in the British eccentric tradition. The Groundhogs just did their own thing. A lot of people said that they thought we were from Norway, which we quite liked! "
Incendiary speak to Archie Bronson Outfit
Richard Foster speaks to Sam Windett from the fabulous Archie Bronson Outfit
IN: This new LP is quite a change from Fur is it not?
S: It was quite important for us to do something different and kind of evolve as a band. I feel people can get quite disappointed with bands that do the same thing.
IN: And becoming formulaic in the process?
S: Yeah... but you never know (as an artist) when you will get writers block, so you can understand if a band whose first album is huge endeavours to repeat the same trick – but for us Fur wasn't like that; it didn't kick off, so consequently we were able to be very free with our approach to this release, there was no pressure to repeat anything, which was, in itself, very liberating...
IN: I thought it was very interesting that you managed 50 mini discs' worth of recorded material.
S: Yeah, but it wasn't that much in that a lot of the stuff recorded wasn't that good as music.
IN: So a lot of clay for the potter's wheel...
S: Yeah! You'd probably be disappointed if you heard it, as there was a lot of proggy jamming and stupid noises.
IN: It does remind me of someone like Can, who would record hours of material, only for Holger Czukay to finally cut it into some sort of shape in the studio. How did you manage to decide?
S: The ones that made it were ones that we all agreed were going somewhere, and the ones that didn't were songs that, within 15 minutes of playing them were obviously just going to become messy or convoluted. I must admit that there's a lot of stuff that we haven't listened to twice. And when we got out to Nashville we wrote a lot of new stuff and got excited about them, and consequently they went on the album too. So the decision process was right down to the last moment.
IN: Almost like a painterly process in the way you build on and/or change artistic decisions. Added to that I must say that you don't sound like a British band at all... you sound more like Amon Duul2 which is great in my books.
S: We sound like who?
IN: Amon Duul2 a German band from the late 60s/early 70s; they famously recorded a (garage punk-prog) LP called Yeti.
S: I've heard of that album actually...
IN: Derdang Derdang really sounds like the Groundhogs too.
S: Yeah! It's funny because a lot of people say that we don't sound very English, and that's because we don't sound like anything that's about at present. I really like the Groundhogs too. I do like the slightly obscure stuff, in the British eccentric tradition. The Groundhogs just did their own thing. A lot of people said that they thought we were from Norway, which we quite liked! We like a lot of British bands and we know a lot of them socially, but we are very happy that we've never been gift-wrapped up in some scene like the NME thing. But that whole thing is something that we don't really care about anyway, and I'm happy that you think that we are from Germany rather from, say, Sheffield.
IN: Fair enough! I was going to ask you another thing about your recording process... was it very Beefheartian? Did you ask your band members to adopt the persona of their respective instruments – you know, "walk and eat like that cello?"
S: We didn't get that far, but we did just live off baked beans for most of the time...
IN: CoCo Rosie lived in a bathtub whilst they recorded their first LP
S: We didn't go to those extremes but we did go some of the way in that we all lived together for the period, and it got to the stage where we'd all get up and immediately start recording for hours and hours. We were living in London and the whole period was very claustrophobic; a feeling almost of entrapment...
IN: When I consider what you have just told me, it does seem strange that the album sounds so confident and open and self-assured. Was that feeling of openness the result of you going abroad (to Nashville) to get the LP produced and recorded?
S: The main reason was that the guy who produced the album (Jacquire King) is a friend who lives out there, but the record company gave us the option to do that and naturally we were quite excited. Having said that, what with all the country and western connotations that are associated with Nashville, we were a bit unsure, but once we were out there... I mean the feeling of openness and light-heartedness that you can hear on the album definitely comes from our time out there
IN: Derdang Derdang does have a strut to it.
S: Again that comes from the sense of space we encountered out there, and the heat! And sun... London was very claustrophobic during the sessions and to get out in the sunshine was quite liberating. And it is very obvious to me that you can hear the contrast between where we initially worked and where we actually recorded the songs. I think we'd like to go further with that idea, record in Russia or France or Germany. I think the whole process adds a great, underlying subconscious to a recording.
IN: The last track is incredibly different to the rest. Is there any reason for that?
S: No, not really, we did three different version of that song... I think its track three is another version of that song too, anyway we had a very punky mix and we just couldn't decide but I really like the way it ends the recording; quite fitting we feel, because the rest is quite drone-y and long weighty material, whereas this is a suitable end to the proceedings.
IN: I'll leave you with one final question. What would you say you're final soup is, out of interest?
S: Erm... spicy parsnip, because I can make it. I got quite good at it and yeah, I know that the process of making soups in general is fairly simple and similar, but I have got spicy parsnip down to a T. You want the recipe? I'll send it over when we meet up.
IN: Indeed you shall, I'll swap you for our famous celery soup recipe.