Incendiary share a pint with Bow Mods, part two

As Patrick Johns did say to me "When you started humping the floor during Country Girls it made me get a little bit of a funny feeling in my winkle" I said "that wasn't my intention Patrick, although you did look gorgeous in your hat"



Bow Mods, part the second; in which Phil describes his body for Incendiary's readers...


IN: Looking at your myspace page, it's quite clear to see whose friends belong to who.


PCS: To begin with it was all his, so I was like "Fuck this! I want mine". All the blogs are me. Ne'er-do-well is kind of the brains behind many things.


IN: Beauty and the brains. 


PCS: Yes, I think that's apt.  I will say this: I'm lily-skinned and erotic. There's no part of my body that's unattractive, clearly. We work together, and then the presentation of it is me basically because he doesn't like to perform. Talk about that Iain. Justify that.


IN: Yes. When I first saw you play NDW was on stage fiddling with your Kaos pad, and now you stand at the back taking notes.


PCS: He lets me do my thing.


NDW: It's much better to be in the audience.


IN: How long will that go on for? When you're playing Knebworth will you go on and take the applause? Will you let him?


PCS: I don't care because I am the front man. I like being the front man. I like being the centre of attention on stage. That's where I belong, I don't give a shit if he's on stage or not. What is great is that we write the music together and we have our little tug of wars about that, sometimes. As long as what is being heard is what we intended to be heard then it doesn't bothered me that he's not on stage.


NDW: It's quite useful having someone in front of the PA making sure that what's coming out of the speakers is what we want. I want to hear them play. I like hearing the songs being played by the band as apposed to being a nervous wreck carting a lot of gear around and wasting all the sound check that would be better used on them. I listened back to a recording of one of our gigs at the Betsey Trotwood and I couldn't hear me at all so I thought I'm no going to do it anymore. It's much better; the band is much more stripped down.



PCS: We're the classic 4 piece now aren't we...


NDW: I don't think many bands use backing tracks that use real instruments. Most of them might use electronic drums or something. We have our brass section, or whatever, on backing track and that works really well. The drummer triggers it. You couldn't have Country Girls without it. It's good because it means that you can introduce a lot of stuff that you can't get onto the stage of a pub. The last gig we did a lot of people came rushing over when they heard all this brass. They were trying to work out where we got that from. It liberates you as a band.


IN: I wasn't at your last gig, I was wondering what I missed.


NDW: We were worried. We were thinking 'has he gone under a bus?' Well... the band looks very different: white shirts, black ties.


PCS:  I bought them these white shirts, black ties and black trousers and I said "Accessorize however you wish". I didn't want it look like the male version of that Robert Palmer video. I don't want them to look like it's the Phil show with them backing me. Sam put a suit jacket on, Patrick wore a really cool hat and Randal had some really cool trainers. But of course I don't really notice because I'm doing my thing, rolling around on the floor. As Patrick Johns did say to me "When you started humping the floor during Country Girls it made me get a little bit of a funny feeling in my winkle" I said "that wasn't my intention Johns, although you did look gorgeous in your hat"


IN: How's the fan base growing?


PCS: We do get myspace messages now: "We want your babies", weird shit. So many positive comments from strangers but they might not live in London.


IN: Any plans for a tour then?


NDW: Our plan is a homecoming tour for the five primary members of the band; we're going to go to our home towns. Peterborough, Bradford, Leeds, Derby and Bath. That'll be the tour, two weekends in autumn.


PCS: Leeds is already lined up. We'd have an instant audience in Leeds because of word of mouth.


NDW: Airplay. That's going to help. We're going to get some airplay on the BBC in the next few weeks.


IN: Really? Who's going to play you?


NDW: Probably Tom Robinson on 6music, possibly Kershaw on radio3 stuff like that. I think that will have quite an impact, although they're quite niche shows. Even if 0.1% go to our myspace page, that's quite a lot of people. We're trying to get some distribution for the album. We're doing as much as we can while trying to write more songs as well.


Since the interview John Kennedy has played them on XFM and they've had a track played on London's Resonance FM and been made Tom Robinsons Record of the Week on 6music.


IN: Do you endlessly remix, or can you draw a line under it and say 'that song is finished'?


NDW: I'm quite good at that 'cos I just want to get on with the next one A good test of when you've written a good one is when you just want to put it on endlessly. You do catch yourself wanting to come home and listen to it. That's a good sign.


PCS: We will go back; we're not scared of just having a go. Having a first try, so version one is there. We let that settle and then you can see the floors in it.


NDW: We do kind of demo it and then let it sit.


PCS: We just whack it out. OK the lyrics might not be there, the tune might not be there.


IN: Were you writing a long time before your first gig?


PCS: Totally. We were writing for months...


NDW: A year.


PCS: ... before the first gig. We started off with things that weren't coherent ideas. They were just words that sounded good to begin with, set to the music that Iain was doing. But we decided that we wanted to structure it more.


NDW: We got more confident with lyrics.


PCS: Well, to begin with one line would be from Shape magazine, one would be nicked from the Bible and the next would be from a Nigella Lawson cookbook. It wouldn't even rhyme. Ultimately we weren't satisfied by that. But one of the guys from 'Bloody Awful Poetry Club' said recently Aspen Glamour is one of my favourite songs, why don't you play with that anymore?" We'd discarded it because of the state of the lyrics. I've just given Iain my new lyrics for that. He'll go through them, and say yes or no and we'll fight over what'll make the cut. We also discuss my vocal style for the songs, 'cos it does differ from song to song. 


NDW: "I want you to sing this one like Michael Howard." Remember that one?



PCS: I'm equally at home spitting out cock rock or crooning lush ballads. On stage I like to explore different personas and I enjoy using props and costume. 


IN: I think the live performance shows that. I think you do it really well.


PCS: Thank you. I do put thought into that. I want it to be a theatrical experience but something that doesn't take away from the music because the music, for me, that's the most important thing. What I do is embellishment. I personally love performing.


NDW: I like the fact that we've got three fairly straight blokes behind you on stage.


PCS: They're all performing too. We are a funny looking bunch on stage. I enjoy that. I think it's one of our strengths. You've got the brick shit house, and pretty face of Patrick, the bald headed earnest drummer of Sam and Randal, well.... he's in the zone. Ultimately we're shit hot and you should all come and see us now.


I couldn't agree more.


The Country Girls EP is available now from the band's myspace page:


to return to part one, click here


Words: Chris Gibson.

Studio Photos: Courtesy of Sophie Ziegler