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Friday, April 29, 2016

These Go to 11: interviewing The Treasures of Mexico

And here comes another great musician answering our questionnaire. Today we have the pleasure of having Mark Matthews, formerly on the amazing The Dentists and now leading the terrific The Treasures of Mexico. A lot of indiepop, you'll see. These Go to 11!
The Treasures of Mexico, indiepop hunters
Mark Matthews, The Treasures of Mexico
Do you remember The Dentists? If not, write down the name and add it to your "things-to-do" list, because they were a great, shamefully underrated jangle-pop band from Chatham, UK, active from 1984 to 1995. The combo disbanded, but former founder members Mark Matthews and Bob Collins kept very active in bands like Coax, Fortress Madonna, The Great Lines, The Claim... involving themselves into side projects and contributions until Mark began The Treasures of Mexico alongside Bob and Russ Baxter from Secret Affair, coming out with one of favourite records of 2015, the magnificent 'Holding Pattern', an effervescent and hyper addictive jangle-pop treaty, out digitally via our dear friends from Shelflife. With a follow-up in the works while their members keep themselves busy (with Bob Collins and the Full Nelson, World Beginning With X, Stuart Turner and The Flat Earth Society) all we can say is: cheers to the great musicians who never give up! Here we go!

1.First record that you bought (be honest)
The Flinstones goes punk!
Ok so the first record I bought with my own money was an LP by The Rezillos called 'Can't Stand The Rezillos'. I saved up, and had to cycle twice to a very small shop in the housing estate that was Twydall, where they had to order it. I think they only usually carried the Top 20. I saw The Rezillos on Top of the Pops performing their song 'Top of the Pops' and I just thought they were incredible. They looked like the cast of the Flintstones and sounded like a cross between punk (which I was too young to appreciate really) and glam rock, and the band were just whizzing about on stage like demented puppets, singing 'everybody's on Top of the Pops' which I didn't understand but liked the sentiment of. The LP is a gem, full of hooky power pop and from that I discovered the previous singles including 'Can't Stand My Baby' which is probably my favourite Rezillos song. 

Before 'Pirates of the Caribbean'... there were the Ants
2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
First un-chaperoned concert was probably The Monochrome Set at the YMCA in Tottenham Court Rd, London. Andy Warren had just left Adam & the Ants to play bass in the MS, and loads of Ants punks turned up to chant 'Ants! Ants! Ants!' at him every time there was a break between songs. He remains a bass playing hero. Last concert I bought a ticket for was probably The Luxembourg Signal in Brighton, if you discount local bands.

Madonna gets electronic
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Guiltiest is probably later Madonna - I especially like 'Ray of Light' and 'Music' but let's keep that to ourselves.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Would be my 1978 Rickenbacker bass instrument wise, and record wise I would say Blueboy by Orange Juice 45 on the Postcard label.

5.Favorite lyrics (not yours)
So many....'I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice', (Smiths), heard for the first time on John Peel, but really anything from Morrissey. Or 'You and I' by Wilco. Or Teenage Kicks. Or The Doors....I could go on and on....the other lyric that always sticks with me is Edwyn Collins on 'Consolation Prize'; 'I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn's, I was hoping to impress. So frightfully camp, it made you laugh, tomorrow I'll buy myself a dress - how ludicrous

Malkmus, living up the 90s
6.Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
I really wouldn't be overly keen to meet anyone really. I've had chances to meet Andy Warren but never taken them up. I think maybe if pushed I'd quite like to meet the guys from Pavement, Malkmus in particular but any of them really. They seem pretty grounded and I feel like it would be a productive conversation. I met Liam Gallagher once mind you and we had a good chat about football. He was absolutely lovely.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. Love the Factory stuff.

Wes Anderson in the Republic of Zubrowka
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Any movie by Wes Anderson and I recommend 'Grand Budapest Hotel' if you haven't seen it. I love both but Wes takes it for movies and Douglas Coupland would take it for books.

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Well I think generally musicians are always most proud of the last thing they've done, otherwise there's not much point in going on. To that end, the song 'Let's Start At The Beginning' from the last Treasure album takes it, but obviously I'm most proud of the songs I'm working on right now.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
That's a good question. Personally, I think the concept of "indie" needs to be retired as it died a long time ago. I still think of the original definition which was music distributed independently, outside of the major labels, but that quickly got into difficulty when artists like Kylie Minogue -genuinely indie at the time- started to take over the Indie chart. Then they tried "alternative" as a category and everything became subjective. I think music is just music now and it's not indie v. majors anymore, it's all changed, but the real battle is going to be hard product v. downloads. I dread the day that you can't buy a physical CD or piece of vinyl. Personally, I'd like to go back to vinyl and downloads. CD as a format holds no real interest for me.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
Still making music and sending it out on CD to about 6 interested friends!         
 Zillion thanks Mark!

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