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Thursday, April 24, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Desperate Journalist

We are back with our interview series and I'm extremely happy to do so with one of my most exciting discoveries of 2014 so far, the very young post-punk band Desperate Journalist. Fated for big things, I already wrote it before: this is a band to believe in. These Go to 11!

Desperate Journalist
Desperate Journalist, dignifying a
noble profession with killer tunes
Hailing from North London, this quartet began their career in January 2013, making their live debut (that took place at the Negative Creep club) a month later. They quickly began to get the attention of good-eared people, and the buzz became "official" with their first single "Cristina", which entitled their debut EP, released in June that year. Two more tracks followed that November: the mesmerizing single "Organ" backed with "Distance", out on Label Fandango / Fierce Panda. Now the countdown is almost over for another release, the single "Happening" backed with "Vengeance", out on May 5th on Giant Haystacks Records. Ebullient but atmospheric, urgent but pensive, straightforward but passionate, fuelled by the magnetic voice of Jo Bevan (also on the most promising act Violet Hours), this is post-punk at its best. Here we go!

Band of brothers...
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Simon: Oasis, "Definitely Maybe"
Jo: Gay Dad, "To Earth With Love" (single). I'm not entirely sure what the first album was but I think it might have been the first Garbage record.
Rob: "Appetite for Destruction" by Guns N’ Roses. I still remember how amazing it felt when I put it on for the first time.
Caz: My parents bought me some French pop records when I was a kid... I can't remember what the first one I went and bought for myself was, but I know that Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" was one of the first.
  
2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Simon: First, Oasis at the NIA, 1997. Last , CuT at The Black Heart in Camden
Jo: First gig was Asian Dub Foundation, with my parents. Last was No Joy and Fear of Men, sometime late last year
Rob: I think the first might have been Bush in Wolverhampton but I wouldn’t swear to it. I think the last one was the Heartbreaks earlier this year.
Caz: The first one was this French metal band called Supuration (now Sup) when I was about 12, with my sister. It was a taste of being grown-up, and it made a big impression on me. The last one was Jonny Cola & The A-Grades at Cargo, last week.

Def Leppard...
Rock of Ages or aging Rock?
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Simon: I like most 80s pop. Bananarama...Belinda Carlisle. You name it.
Jo: I don't believe in feeling guilty about songs you like! Music is only as valuable as the response it elicits from you, whether it's Taylor Swift or Einstürzende Neubauten.
Rob: I love "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O’Connor and I don’t feel guilty about it.
Caz: I’m not embarrassed about anything I like listening to, but some people probably think I should be embarrassed about Def Leppard!

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Simon: My silver Italia Maranello bass.
Jo: I have the same mic that James Murphy used in LCD Soundsystem (Sennheiser MD409) - it's amazing. We use it for recording but haven't played big enough stages to use it for gigs yet. Soon.
Rob: My Jetglo Rickenbacker 360/12. Sometimes still have to look twice to believe I own it.
Caz: My little 60's Watkins tremolo guitar amp which I got from a charity shop for £3 and sounds amazing.

Oh, those shy guys...
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Simon: "Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to" The Smiths.
Jo: This is a really difficult question but off the top of my head: the whole of "Wings" by the Fall.
Rob: I’ve got to go with ‘I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing’ from "Faster" by the Manic Street Preachers as I have it tattooed on my arm.
Caz: "It doesn’t matter if we all die” ("One Hundred Years", The Cure)

Brian "musichead" Eno
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Simon: I want Birdland to reform and we'll support them.
Jo: I would love to pick the brain of Brian Eno.
Rob: I don’t really like meeting new people so I’m not convinced meeting a musician I admire would do either myself or said musician any favours whatsoever.
Caz: I would have said Robert Smith and Conor Oberst but I’ve already met them! I’d rather not meet my idols anyway because I get terribly star-struck and make an idiot of myself.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Simon: Manic Street Preachers' "Journal For Plague Lovers". I have it on my bedroom wall.
Jo: XTC's "Go 2".
Rob: I’m torn between "The Queen is Dead" by the Smiths and "Dog Man Star" by Suede
Caz: "Cassadaga" by Bright Eyes. The record comes with this little “Spectral decoder” that you use to see the true cover.

On Lynch's one-way road
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
Simon: Films probably. I recommend "From The Sea To The Land Beyond". Cool archive footage of English coastland with a soundtrack by British Sea Power. 
Jo: I love both. I recently saw "Local Hero" for the first time, which is a fantastically underrated and moving film. My favourite book is either "Riddley Walker" by Russell Hoban or "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess. Weirdy-language books are the best.
Rob: I’m not in to films so much apart from odd historical epics… I would however highly recommend "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy, "The Masterpiece" by Zola and "The Idiot" by Dostoyevsky. Of course "Don Quixote" by Cervantes is very good too.
Caz: Both. It’s hard to choose... I’d recommend the ones that I loved so much I had to watch/read them again as soon as I’d finished them: "Lost Highway" (David Lynch), and as for books, "The Outsider" (Camus) and "Les Enfants Terribles" (Cocteau).

9. Songs (of yours) you are most proud of
Simon: "Cristina" - the populist's choice.
Jo: From a selfish melody/lyrical perspective, "Distance" is my favourite.
Rob: I’d probably go with "Happening" which should be our next single. Mainly because I came up with a guitar part that took me several months to be able to actually play properly. I’m also quite pleased with how it’s got quite an odd chord structure, manages to be essentially a pop song and is still nice and boisterous.
Caz: "Mistakes" - It's the first song we’ve ever written together and therefore my first ever drumming performance.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Simon: When i was young i thought it meant any guitar band in the charts that wasn't Heavy Metal. Ha! Now I know it's a lot more complicated than that...
Jo: It used to mean independent but now I suppose it's shorthand for any guitar band
Rob: I think it should mean being able to make the music you want to make. I suspect that now it’s just shorthand used by lazy journalists to describe bands with guitars they can’t be bothered to listen to.
Caz: As Jo said, for me it used to mean anything that was DIY and outside of the major labels but now it just means any guitar band!

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Simon: Probably answering questions about 10 years ago
Jo: Sleeping on top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies. On a bus.
Rob: Probably in the same flat, on the same street, having curry in the same curry house.
Caz: On tour, but also having a house by the sea.
Zillion thanks Desperate Journalist!

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