This is actually my first blog entry in English. Nevertheless here comes an interview with the British band Male Bonding, who did a great job releasing their new album "Nothing hurts" at Sub Pop in Seattle. An article about the band will be published at SLAM Nr.50 written by me.
1. When did you three found the band? Can you tell us something about the whole band history? When did you first meet each other?
We knew of each other. We ended up working in the same second hand record stores, we’d be at the same shows. Eventually we moved in together and that’s when the band really happened. We’ve been active as a band for a year and a half.
2. How did a London Noise Pop Trio like you got signed to Sub Pop in Seattle?
By releasing our own records. Simply. We have our own label (Paradise Vendors Inc) and Sub Pop purchased a split 7” release we did. That was the initial connection. That’s how we engaged with them, with one of our records. It’s a very cool engagement.
3. How long did it take to produce “Nothing Hurts”?
The actual recording took just over week. But it was difficult because we are so used to doing all these things ourselves. It’s hard wrestling your mutual vision with a third party. You make certain sacrifices to the cause…and sometimes you sacrifice too much. So for us the mixing and mastering of this record saved the day and that took a little longer. So although the recording was a difficult experience for us, we love how it sounds and we’re proud of this record.
4. What are your favourite tracks of the album, and why?
For me, I like ‘Franklin’ and ‘Worse to Come’ mainly because they reveal a slightly different side to us and it’s these flashes of something else that keep everything interesting. I think those songs are quite suggestive.
5. Are there any songs, that did not make their way to the album? If yes, why? Are they probably on the next album? Do you play them live?
Yes. There were a couple of songs that we have recorded before in some shape or form, or that we used to play live that we felt just didn’t make the cut. They just weren’t good enough as far as we were concerned. We don’t play them live. We move on quite quickly. We’re already playing three new songs in our set that are not on this album.
6. Are there any bands, that influenced you to become a musician, or to found your band?
We are in the van right now driving through Belgium listening to Fugazi. We got talking about them, how they’re almost untouchable musically. We’re united by the fact that separately we have all watched that Fugazi film ‘Instrument’ and we’ve all felt the same crazy inspiration from that film.
Obviously we’re nothing like Fugazi but if we can feel just a little bit of that kind of energy and spirit that they create I think we’ll be okay.
Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Catholic Education’ was the first record that made me hear guitar and want it more. For me it kicked the door open on wherever it is we are now.
7. What kind of music (or bands on your ipod) did you listen to while “Nothing Hurts” was about to be created?
Cheap Trick. Woods. Jay Z. (particularly ‘Empire State of Mind’…we were in New York, it was ultimate authenticity). The Beets. German Measles – we saw them, actually we played with them. They were amazing. Just before we recorded we played a show with No Age in an auto parts warehouse. The blew us away. In the best way. It was a lesson in everything for us.
8. Who writes the songs? Do you write the lyrics first and then the music? Or do you jam and then the songs arise?
It changes. It’s changing. Some of the songs are pure collaboration, all ideas born out of us three playing together. But more recently, John has the basis of a song idea, usually with lyrics and we then knock it around in the practice room. We make changes and get it in to a shape we like. Everything has been a learning curve for us. I feel we’re, individually getting more confident. The songs where I have written the lyrics, the lyrics and concept definitely come after the music. Whereas John will have his lyrics and concepts from the beginning.
9. Whose cat jumps around the booklet of Nothing Hurts?
Charlotte’s. He’s called Ayler.
10. And now the question, that nobody wants to answer anymore: Why is Male Bonding the name of the band?
It came before the music. We had this band going before we played a single note. It was always going to be called Male Bonding. For whatever reason you like.
Thanks guys. I hope I see you soon live in Vienna, Austria!
Fotocredits: SUB POP, MALE BONDING!