Almost October now. This year has gone so fast! There are no more festivals left for me, though I know some of you will be heading to Berlin Popfest, the last stop of indiepop vacations this year. How I wish I could join you!

Today I finished sending all pre-orders of the Boyish 7″, three days before the release date. Now onto emailing all the mailorders, tell them I have a fantastic new record out. I feel by next week things will get a bit calmer as I still need to order all the boxes, inserts and polybags, put them together and then store them. These things take time, especially as I have the new Pro Evolution Soccer, which is taking me quite some time at nights, after work.

Next weekend I’ll be heading to Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve never been, and I’m just going to check out. Seems like a nice, little, quaint town. What to do? I’m open for suggestions. I’ll just be there for Saturday and Sunday. Need to check if there are any good record stores. From the top of my head, Small Factory were from there, right?

Indiepop-wise New York is quiet. Aside from a future meeting with Shelflife boss who is visiting town, I feel the city doesn’t offer what London offers to indiepop people. I get terribly jealous all the time. I did buy tickets to see My Bloody Valentine, $70. Yes, plus all those crazy fees (one is called convenience fee) then it was like $80. I guess I convinced myself that I have to see them live once, at least. Before they die (?).

The indiepop-list is back, and after a few hiccups (like a silly issue with the illustration used on the website) it’s up and running smoothly. I even posted three replies to it in a single day. I don’t remember replying to threads so many times in the past. So that’s quite an achievement. Of course my friend Mr. Hyde Murphy was cheeky like always, and questions the $7 price for the 3″CDs at Cloudberry. Though explained over and over, and with facts, in this blog, breaking down the price, the guy is still clueless. But what to do, some people are not good at maths or the real world.

I do want to recommend a book this time on the blog. It’s been out for some years now but I only knew about it after Henrik from Twig recommended me the documentary about it. The book is called “Last Shop Standing” and it’s written by Graham Jones. It was such a refreshing read, with lots of anecdotes about the music industry. On top of it all there’s a chapter about The Cherry Boys, yes, the ones that wrote Kardomah Café. So Graham was their manager, so he tells the whole story about them and also some tidbits about the band that followed, Exhibit B. Both great bands, both great guitar pop bands that I always enjoyed. So that was quite a treat! Also in the book Graham discusses lots of issues about the “industry” like MP3s for example. I tend to agree with all his views. I love that these kind of views about how great physical records are actually get published. We do need to make a stand!

And the other discovery this past week was a compilation by Said Liquidator that I found on Discogs. I didn’t have a clue that it existed but it’s a 2 CD compilation with all their recordings, even live recordings. It seems it’s only a 200 copy release so better head there before it sells out. Really enjoying it as I only knew the fab “Third Man” and “Say What You Feel”. I especially love their “Liquidator Jingle” song. Maybe I should try to track them down for an interview!

Other good releases of late are the new Proctors album and the Go Violets EP. I don’t own these yet, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will. Today I’m listening once again to the Homecomings “Homecoming with Me?” album on Second Royal. It’s so ace. The Japanese seem to be making a stir in the indiepop scene now. Lots of great new young bands springing from out of nowhere in the streets of Tokyo and beyond!

And I know, you are wondering when The Rileys album will be out. Well next week I hope to tackle the artwork, it’s very close to be finished and after that I’ll send it to press. Sorry it’s taken a bit too long but you know it’s only me running the whole thing and with two new releases this month I’ve been swamped!

But hey! Let’s move onto our very obscure band of the week!


The Herbs. I’m sure you know The Raw Herbs. But The Herbs? I didn’t use to know them until many months ago I found them through that great blog that is From a Northern Place. A blog that though lacking writeups (wish they had some!) offers a track from an obscure record, and drives me into hours and hours of indiepop investigation!

With The Herbs though I hit a wall quite fast. I couldn’t find anything really. Even Rupert at Turntable Revolution wonders about them back in 2010.

So I’ll tell you what I gather from my little detective work.

The 7″ EP was released by a label called Andy Harper Records. Did Andy Harper had a big ego? Or maybe he was one of the nicest patrons? Or even perhaps he was part of the band? We don’t know. There is no catalog number though so it’s fair to assume this was the one and only release in the label.

The record included four songs. On the A side we had “New York Nightmare” and “U Boat”, whereas on the B side “Strum City” and “One Down and 2 To Go, This City Sure has Sold It’s Soul”. That last one has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

I live in New York, so I’m pretty curious about the first track. So if anyone could share it with me?

The record was recorded in 1990 at Tony’s during the month of March and April. The cover photograph was taken by Graham Buckerfield. With all those palm trees and the 4×4 on the street I would dare to guess it’s been taken in Los Angeles. Definitely not New York.

You might think this record was American with all these nods, but this sounds totally British. The three first songs are credited to someone with a last name Healey. The last song is credited to Healey/Russell.

And that’s it. I hit a wall. Sure, 45rpm is the speed of the record if you care much for that. I do. Sometimes.

I don’t own this 7″ and it seems it hasn’t popped up much on eBay. It’s not even listed on Discogs. But I would love to have it, or at least listen to it in it’s entirety! I also wonder if they had more songs. If they fitted 4 songs on a 7″ something tells me they did have many more songs recorded.  Also, where were they from? Did they play many gigs? I would love to know more about them! If anyone out there knows more let me know!


The Herbs – Strum City



Thanks to much to Ros, Dani, Ochi and Sonia for this fantastic interview! I translated a bunch of questions from Spanish, I hope I haven’t lost the energy or the charm of these answers! If anyone wants I can always share the original answers! Anyhow, Las Pulpas were a fantastic short-lived band from Madrid that released just one CDR demo with three songs. I loved these three songs for so many years and wrote about them some time ago on the blog. I was happy that they got in touch with me and were up to telling me their story as a band, so I’m sharing that with you all. Enjoy!

++ Hey all! Thanks so much for being up for the interview. So Las Pulpas are no more, so let’s start from there. Whereabouts in the world are you? And are you still making music?

ROS: I’m in Manchester now, but about to move to London. Ochi and I have a band called Wachi Wachi here in Manchester, and I’m also playing in Trash kit in London and Electrelane.

Dani: I’m still in Madrid and I sing to myself. It helps a lot these days.

Ochi: I’m in transition from Manchester to London right now. I tried to learn instruments all my life but thought I didn’t have any talent until recently I realised that I have a natural talent for drumming and I am now the drummer of Wachi Wachi.

Sonia: Not right now.

++ In the past all of you have been involved in many other bands. Mind telling me a bit about some of your favourites projects you’ve been in?

ROS: I’ve been in quite a few bands but my favourite was definitely Las Pulpas. We never got anything done, just drank and ate all the time and never bothered to book any gigs or tours but it was great anyway. Also my other favourite band I was in was The Battys, a very short lived queer band in London. We recorded a live CDR which we put out as part of the Homocrime 3″ CDR club.

Dani: The coolest group I’ve been in has been Las Pulpas. It was a party every time as our friends would always show up and join as at our practice space. And after the party we would end up having tapas, of course. (By the way Ros I still have The Battys CDR)

Ochi: My favourite one is still Las Pulpas because it was so much fun, every time we met for a rehearsal it was a party. It was a great time.

Sonia: I had a band when I was in university in Alicante with which we won a band contest and we recorded a CD (it was the 90s). Now I’ve found out that the “leader” has formed another band but with the same name with young girls and without telling any of us that were part of it back in the day. If he thinks we had a NAME, that’s great. So funny. So yeah, definitely Las Pulpas.

++ Let’s go back in time then. When and how did you all meet? And how did Las Pulpas start as a band?

ROS: For me it was all down to Hello Cuca who I was totally obsessed with. I met them at Ladyfest Glasgow 2001, and then I moved to Madrid in 2004 and I met Ochi who Lidia (the singer from Hello Cuca) introduced me to, and then I met everyone else.

Dani: Oh, what a mess. I remember clearly that in the beginning we used to meet for playing, eating and drinking at Sonia’s house, with no real drum kit. And also that Alexis used to join us. Soon after we had to find a practice space so we could be noisier.

Ochi: I slept with them all one by one, even Dani, and then we made a band.

Sonia: (I thought that that myth about sleeping with everyone was about Rosa, our “manager”, but it seems I was wrong). Some of us met before, some met later, and eventually we were together in a band. When we started Las Pulpas we were already friends.

++ And tell me, when was the first time ever did you pick up an instrument? How did you learn to play it? And do you still own that first instrument you ever bought?

ROS: I’ve been playing stuff all my life I think. I still have my first guitar, it was a samick, an imitation strat, I saved up for it working at a sandwich shop on weekends when I was 15. it cost me £60. I tried to replace it for a more expensive one when I was about 22, but it wasn’t as nice to play.

Dani: I bought the guitar just after watching The Subsonics playing live. I then learned four basic chords on an internet tutorial. It’s red. Sometimes I think that I would have liked best the black one.

Ochi: I tried to learn bass and guitar and keyboards but I couldn’t do it so I sat at the drum kit last March and realised I could play it. I don’t have a drum kit though yet.

Sonia: When I was little, around 8 years old, I started piano classes and also my  grandpa taught me a bit of clarinet.

++ What about the name of the band? Who came up with it? And why?

ROS: I can’t remember but it may have came out of the tapas we were eating, as mostly our rehearsals consisted of drinking cañas and having tapas in the Galician bar just round the corner from the practice room. that was probably it. We ate a lot of octopus. for me it also made me think of Pulp, who I love.

Dani: I would love to know why. But it sticks, right?

Ochi: I don’t remember how it happened but as the others said it was brainstorming names in a bar over tapas.

++ When you were around there were many exciting bands in Spain that were releasing mostly CDR demos like you, or publishing songs on Myspace. Which other bands from that period did you like? And did you ever felt part of some scene in Madrid?

ROS: The first thing I did when I went to Madrid, before I met any of Las Pulpas, was to go round to this guy Murky’s house. He runs Alehop! records, which is one of my favourite labels. I bought a whole load of records off him for a distro I was involved in back in London. he had some really great compilations. I loved Solex, Nananas, Hello Cuca. There was also a connection with some of the bands I knew from London, Wet Dog and Reverend Pike I think? Country Teasers were on some of the compilations and would play gigs with Solex. I was going to a lot of gigs then, it was the time when Gsssh Gsssh record shop was still open and they had a great label. then soon after we formed Las Pulpas there was a Ladyfest Madrid, so we were involved with that. But I don’t know how much we were part of a scene. there was this really great band called Kaken who were our friends. And Hello Cuca of course.

Dani: I believe Hello Cuca was a big influence for all of us. Around that time we were very into Bananas, Los Incrucificables, Los Muebles, Sibyl Vane… That year, as Ros reminisces, was the year when the first Ladyfest Madrid happened. It was really inspiring.

Ochi: I agree with Dani. Hello Cuca are the band in Spain.

++ Talking about Madrid and Spanish pop. How influential was to you the music from La Movida? If you were to picky up your five favourite Spanish bands ever, who would they be?

ROS: Really influential I think, although I don’t want to talk for anyone else cause I’m not Spanish, but I discovered all that stuff (Alaska, Kaka de Luxe, Paralisis permanente, Los Nikis) through Las Pulpas, mostly through Ochi who listened to those bands a lot at the time, and Carlos Berlanga too. My five favourite Spanish bands are probably Hello Cuca, Bananas, Solex, Los Incrucificables and Kaken. I would also highly recommend the soundtrack to the film ‘Animals’ that just came out, it’s all Spanish bands and is really really good. You can get it here:

Dani: Parálisis Permanente, TCR, Crono, Los Nikis, Hidrogenesse.

Ochi: The movida was and has been and will be an influence for all pop bands in Spain because there was an explosion of freshness and creativity and revolution at that time. I don’t have favourite things but I love Alaska y Los Pegamoides and the Radio Futura first record, from la movida. And then Los Fresones Rebeldes are my favourite band of all time.

Sonia: Golpes Bajos, Carlos Berlanga, Hello Cuca, Parálisis Permanente, Bananas. The soundtrack that Ros mentions is really good, in it you can see what’s happening in Barcelona.

++ And what about your favourite places to hang out in the city? I’ve been a couple of times, and mostly for Madrid Popfest, but I’ve been around a bit. It’s a lot of fun! If you can give me some tips where to go next time, that’d be great!

Dani: As The Specials used to sing, “this town is coming like a ghost town”.

Ochi: I haven’t been in Madrid for 7 years so probably everything has changed. I’m sure the others could say something

Sonia: Now I mostly go to friend’s bars where you eat really well. And when we feel like listening to music or dancing we hang out at someone’s house. I’m not sure what’s going on out there.

++ Tell me about the CDR you released? How many copies did you do? Who made the artwork? And how well did it sell? Did you get many reviews?

ROS: It was Marina, our friend and sort of honorary member of the band. there were often about 15 people at our rehearsals, just hanging out. the image is of her eating pulpo! I don’t think we made very many at all, and it didn’t reallly sell because we hardly ever played and we weren’t really trying to sell it, except to our friends. I don’t think we got any reviews really (but I can’t remember).

Dani: We recorded in a studio in the same practice space we used to rent, during a weekend. I think that the person in charge of the studio didn’t take us seriously because we were a ‘girl group’. Marina was the designer and also the model for the cover art.

Sonia: I think that the CD was a demo that we presented it nicely because we’d like to show it off and also to sell it. We didn’t end up very happy with the recordings, we weren’t ready yet when we went to record and the engineer didn’t want to get too involved. He wasn’t our producer but someone who we just paid for the space. But I’m really glad that we did it!

++ What about the songs on it? Care telling me the story behind them?

ROS: “Me estoy cansando” is a song Ochi wrote about our relationship – a bit embarrassing! It means ‘I’m fed up’ (as in i’ve had enough). “Vaya momento” is about her photography teacher who she had a massive crush on and who looks exactly like her. “Angels on TV” is about a spanish tv presenter.

Dani: “Felices fiestas del mañana”  is about when you invite a lot of people to your house and then later there’s no way for them to leave.

Ochi: Me estoy cansando is about the clash of culture between Britain and Spain, the coldness of British people against the warmth of the Spanish as played out in my relationship with Ros. Vaya momento was initially recorded with my first band Ochiqueochenta, but it was a sort of rap song, and with Las Pulpas it became a pop song and it is about or for my mentor, a very important person in my life. I guess you could call it a crush.

++ Why, after that fantastic demo CDR, didn’t you get to release anything else? Was there any interest from labels at some point?

ROS: I don’t think we had any label interest and we just never got around to doing anything. and then people moved away.

++ And do you happen to have more proper recordings other than those three songs?

ROS: No, we have some live recordings though.

Sonia: There’s only some audios recorded live from practices and videos from a concert.

++ What about gigs? Did you play often? What would you say were your favourite shows and why?

ROS: I think we played less than 10 times. my favourite was a couple of years ago at our friend rosa’s wedding. she was our ‘manager’, although that didn’t involve anything except getting really drunk at our gigs. we were really terrible, and afterwards emma told me off for playing badly, we were pretty drunk though so I don’t think it mattered. we also played a great gig with kaken in a bar in madrid. and we played at a slaughterhouse that had been turned into a cultural centre, that was odd.

Dani:  The first gig, at the Ladyfest, was lots of fun because we only had a handful of songs but it was the perfect time for playing our debut show, so we made a lot of noise.

Ochi: My favourite shows were the rehearsals, we always had an audience.

Sonia: The practices with our friends were the best, no doubt. And the Ladyfest was really special.

++ Because some of you live in UK, I wonder how do you feel about the scene in Spain compared to the one in UK. Where do you think it’s easier to play? Or to be successful? What differences do you see?

ROS: It’s different. I feel like in Madrid there is a bigger difference between bands that come from abroad and bands that come from spain – there’s this weird hierarchy. It also exists in the UK with bands from the US but not as much. And gigs with bands from abroad tend to be really expensive. I guess the best example of that is when you go to big festivals like Primavera sound and all the Spanish bands are playing on a separate stage during the day, as if it was like a showcase or something, and then the bands from abroad get the ‘proper’ slots. Then there is the DIY scene that is not so much like that. but when I was in Madrid there was definitely more of a bar culture than a gig culture, I think there were less DIY venues than in london at the time. In england we don’t really have bars so much, it’s pubs, and they’re mostly owned by big breweries, they tend to be bigger so you get venues in pubs, in Spain there are bars with live music but the bars are much smaller so venues tend to be elsewhere. but there is a really amazing pop scene of course in Madrid – that’s what people in the UK know, most people that are into spanish bands are into the pop bands that play at indie tracks.

Ochi: I think the scene in the UK is more prolific and it’s not about being successful or not because that doesn’t matter, people just do music for the sake of it and then things happen. British culture is very musical, there are gigs everywhere, every night all the time.

++ Why did Las Pulpas split up? And what happened to you all right after?

ROS: I can’t remember! we are all still friends, I think it was maybe when ochi and I went to london, and then the others formed Las Olivas, who are really great.

Dani: I suppose it’s because it’s really difficult to combine a life of rock n’ roll with a very disciplined and successful life.

++ And these days aside from music, what other activities or hobbies do you enjoy doing aside from music?

ROS: Listening to records, does that count?

Dani: Lately the ones that don’t cost money.

Ochi: I am a photographer so most of my time I spend preparing for projects, reading about other artists and reading theory.

++ Now just some questions because I’m always curious about these things. Do you still buy music? And what’s the favourite record store you’ve ever visited?

ROS: I buy records all the time. the last one I bought was Los Cripis 7″. also I bought cleaners from venus, and a karen dalton record. and tapes of all the bands I see in manchester, like dinner party, sex hands, the comfortable on a tightrope cassette club. I buy most of my records from norman records in leeds, but also sometimes picadilly in manchester. my favourite record shops are probably the ones you don’t expect, in small towns. I went to a really great one in hull once, and found some great cheap stuff but I can’t remember what it was called.

Dani: I buy less music than I would want to. The record store that I remember the most is the one Ochi and me, as teenagers, used to visit in Alcalá de Henaras. On the front it was a jewelry shop but on the back of the shop they had the records. You couldn’t tell from outside, from the street, that they sold records. I agree with what Ros says, that the best record stores are in smaller town.s

Ochi: Ros is the one who buys music at home so I mainly listen to what she brings home apart from a record that I don’t have yet but I’m going to buy, the mantles new LP. I listened to it yesterday in my friend Alex’s car.

Sonia: I really buy little music lately. When I do, they are usually vinyl records and mostly when they happen to be from friend’s bands.

++ And what’s your favourite Spanish dish that you can cook? And your favourite Spanish dish just overall?

ROS: I like them all! I make good tortilla, and gazpacho. I really like arroz con pollo that ochi makes. and Sonia’s paella is the best. I was vegetarian before I lived in spain but it all went out of the window when I met ochi.

Dani: The paella that Sonia makes was a fundamental element in the existence of Las Pulpas. I love eating animals with tentacle.s

Ochi: I don’t have favourite things but the other day for my birthday my friend javi cooked a whole octopus (pulpo) for me and I loved it.

Sonia: Creo que el arroz es mi especialidad porque también es lo que más me gusta. I love eating and cooking. And the most important part of food os the social element of it. I believe that rice is my specialty because it’s what I like the best.


Las Pulpas – Me Estoy Cansando


Welcome to another exciting blog post at the most amazing indiepop blog of the galaxy. What do we offer you? The latest reviews of the latest MP3s of the coolest labels that will link us to their facebook page. Some years ago we used to receive some free physical records from labels but these days we are so content with an MP3 and a mention. We’ll copy/paste some press release. In a best case scenario, if we are feeling terribly excited about your music we’ll write some lines about your band telling how original you are but at the same time mentioning four or five influences we think you have so it’s easier for people to try and download you and them at the torrents and p2p secret networks. Why not, that’s the future isn’t it?

What’s new? We have two new releases for you. Because Cloudberry living now at the city that never sleeps, well, we don’t sleep either. This month we come with two new 7″s, one by Greek, by way of Edinburgh-Scotland, band The Occasional Flickers and Tokyo’s Boyish. I’ve talked a bunch about both bands and both records in the blog so I’ll spare you about that this time. The important news is that you can order them both right now and I’ll ship them to you immediately. The official release date for the Flickers was the 15th and for Boyish the 30th, but they are already at home waiting to be sent to a new home.

This week I received the last Kill People You Like fanzine. You can see some photos of how gorgeous it is here. Not much on it written, but design-wise, passion-wise, and craftmanship-wise, this is a must have. Included two is a unmissable CD with lots of great tracks, many of them exclusive to this release. Among my favourites on the CD are the Flowers and Eva & John songs. Also there’s a mini-zine I wrote for them that for some reason I wrote in Spanish. I thought as the people behind the fanzine were Mexican, well I better write it in Spanish. They were so kind though to save me the trouble and they translated the whole thing for me before publishing! At the time I’m writing this the zine might be already sold out but I believe some mailorders may have some copies (?).

New York now is a bit quieter after the demise of Dominican indiepop stalwarts Franny & Zooey. It’s been a bunch of months that I’ve had a share of indiepop in the city, going to many venues just following this quintet. Yesterday JJ, the guitar player, left for Santo Domingo until probably next year, so no indiepop for us in the city for a while. Their last show happened on Wednesday and it was quite a success even though the venue, The Flat, behaved really like assholes. And not only was their lack of help but their crazy prices for beers. I’ve never seen a place selling a Bud for $6. Not even in Manhattan. The good news about this gig was that it was the American debut of Astrid’s Northern Spies. If you read the blog now and then you’d know that she comes from Sweden and played at one of the train shows at Indietracks. This time she was a little less talkative (fair enough there were less people as she was opening at 8:00pm), but again she dazzled us with her amazing voice. It’s always a treat to listen to her songs. I was very happy to have skipped everything I had to do this day just to be able to be on time.

But before I stop writing this “short” post in a very busy week, I want to salute team Indietracks for announcing that the festival will be back next year!! Yes! So July 25 to the 27. Have you marked your calendars? I hope so. I plan going for my fifth year in a row. This time I will go back to the Alfreton Travelodge, like the first two years! Back to that seedy Little Chef for breakfast, to that picnic table at the entrance to share wine with Andreas and Nana, to have beers there with the French and the Swedes. Exciting times ahead! Book your hotels soon because it seems all prices are going up! I got a double room for 96 pounds. These days it seems they are going for 130 pounds or so. The Premier Inns are going crazy and charging almost 300 pounds for their Ripley location. What will you do? I hope you don’t end up camping!

The important thing is, you better come! And which bands will play? No announcements yet, but if I’m allow to guess the obvious, I think The Flatmates will play, don’t you think?


Today I fly all the way to Australia. Where exactly? I don’t know. Or to be more exact, I don’t remember as I was once in touch with Kieren Fitzpatrick from the band but those were the days of Myspace and well, all that correspondence between us is lost in the midst of a Myspace inbox.

It was back in 2009 when I contacted him trying to find more information about his old band Love Minus Zero. It was the days when I wanted to do that sort of Australian “Sound of Leamington Spa” series. As I’ve said many times it didn’t happen because Egg Records wanted to do it and I didn’t want to clash with anyone. I can be very diplomatic. In any case I did ask Kieren to do an interview for the blog, I wrote some questions but sadly I never got any answers. What I did get were a bunch of unreleased songs that sounded amazing.  The songs were:

– Whose Side are You On (demo 1988)
– Then It’s Gone (demo 1988)
– Porcelain (demo 1988)
– That Brings Me Down (unreleased single 1989)
– No Tomorrow (unreleased single 1989)
– Mary (unreleased single 1989)

If there were more unreleased recorded songs by Love Minus Zero I wouldn’t know. But these sounded great.

The first time I ever head them was through the song “Fade Away” that was included in a Waterfront Records compilation called On The Waterfront (catalog DAMP 31). On that compilation it was the A3 track, and the A4 track was also theirs, it was “Into the Night”. The credits for these songs according to Discogs are:

Bass: Gregory Kasch
Drums: Je Genua
Guitar, Vocals: Kieren Fitzpatrick
Guitar: Michael Royce

I sadly don’t own either this compilation or the one record they released. It seems not too difficult to track their 12″ and I should try to get it on my next paycheck. It was an eponymous EP released in 1988 on the Green Fez label (catalog FEZ 308). Credits as follow:

Artwork By – Jane Cameron
Bass, Vocals – Gregory Kasch
Engineer – Tom Colley
Guitar [Guest Musician] – Brad Fitzpatrick, Michael Royce
Piano, Organ [Hammond] [Guest Musician] – Damon Giles
Producer – Love Minus Zero, Tom Colley
Trumpet [Guest Musician] – Peter Dudman
Vocals, Drums – Joe Genua*
Vocals, Guitar, Twelve-string Guitar – Kieren Fitzpatrick
Written-By – Love Minus Zero

From the guest musicians we gather:
– Brad Fitzpatrick seems to have been involved in The Bam Balams too. I assume he is Kieren’s brother (?). If so, they were based in Sydney and so can it be safe to assume Love Minus Zero hailed from that same town? I think so.
– Damon Gilles is better known for have been part of The Moffs who recorded many records under their 60s sound being my favourite “Another Day in the Sun

And the tracklist was:
A1 Wondering Why
A2 I Am Your Friend
A3 I Believe
B1 Beware
B2 Come On

All different songs from the Waterfront Records compilation. That’s why perhaps Kieren wanted to release some sort of album when I was in touch with him.

There’s also another Love Minus Zero track on yet another Waterfront compilation. On Waterfront catalog DAMP 43, on the “On the Waterfront Volume 3” compilation the song ‘Wondering Why’ was included. But this is just the same as the one in the EP.

And that’s all there is about them. Now that Myspace disappeared I don’t know where to contact Kieren. I wonder if he will find this, and maybe perhaps remember the interview! Would be great to know the story of the band. But if anyone out there know anything about this obscure Aussie band, don’t doubt to share!


Love Minus Zero – Fade Away


Thanks so much to Andy, Tim and Paul for this fantastic and very thorough interview! I wrote about Shine not so long ago on the blog, and thanks to my friend Andreas I was finally in touch with them. One of my favourite “obscure” bands from the 80s, they released one flexi and a 12″ split with The Bardots. The important thing about Shine! is that all of their songs are really good! So you better rediscover them now! Hopefully there will be exciting news about them in the future, so keep an eye on this blog!

++ Hi Andy, Tim and Paul! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! I see Andy dedicates his time to photography these days. So what exactly do you do in this field? And how rewarding this is for you?

Andy: I actually work on a nature reserve, by shear fluke my bird watching hobby has become my living. I enjoy taking photographs and do a little teaching of this on the side, enough to fund some occasional birding around the world.

++ And what about music? Do you still pick up your guitar some days?

Andy: I’m still heavily into music. Ive always had fairly broad tastes and recently Ive been producing more studio based electronic tracks, more just for fun than anything else, although a remix I did last year did get released. I just bought a ‘new’ guitar a few weeks ago from friends who run a carboot stall, it’s a first generation USA made Fender Bullet and it sound ace!

Tim: No, I’m afraid not. I’m more of a listener than player these days.

Paul: I’ve still got the guitar I had then but I don’t play it much now though I’d like to given the right opportunity

++ Had you been involved in any other bands prior to Shine!? When did you learn to play guitar?

Andy: Yes a few, a basic punk band, a Joy Division influenced post punk outfit then The Mysterons from which Shine! rose from the ashes. Difficult to put a date on learning to play, still a bit shaky now! but probably 1980/81.

Tim: I’ve been in several bands prior to Shine! All with Paul and with influences from glam rock to punk. I learned to play bass by myself and I borrowed heavily from Peter Hook and Jean Jaques Burnel.

Paul: I started off on keyboards. The band started in about 1975, it went through various name changes and ended up as ‘Stranger Still’. Tim was also in the band (on bass), as was my brother who played guitar. When he left to go to university in 1981 I took up the guitar, trying my best to rip off Bauhaus.

++ Tell me how did Shine! start as a band? How did you all knew each other?

Tim: Andy, Paul & I were in an indie band called The Mysterons which folded when the singer went to college. The three of us decided to carry on with Mark (the drummer) and take it in turns to sing. Paul & I had been friends since school and we met Andy when he joined The Mysterons.

Andy: It was spring 1987 and the singer from The Mysterons knocked on my door (he lived about 20 doors down the road) and asked if I’d like to play with them. This first time I’d properly met Tim, Paul and Mark apart from seeing them out occasionally in King’s Lynn pubs. The singer of the Mysterons left for university in September so that band had reached an end. The Mysterons songs were quite complex in parts so Shine! was a breath of pop fresh air and we hit the ground running. We played our first gig at the West Lynn Community Centre 21st November, so we’d written a load of songs in a couple of months.

Paul: Tim and I were in a band called The Mysterons with Mark (drums) and Andy joined later on when our other guitarist left. When The Mysterons split we decided to carry on and this because Shine! I can still remember our first rehearsal and how it all instantly fell into place.

++ And who came up with the name of the band? And does it have any meaning at all?

Tim: I believe Andy came up with the name and he’ll furnish you with the details.

Paul: Andy will have the definitive answer as it was his idea, but I seem to remember him saying he heard some kids by the side of the road chanting ‘We will Shine!’ Who they were and quite why they would do so may never be known….The exclamation mark may have been my idea, but I think I originally wanted it to be ‘Shine!!’

Any: I actually was cycling home from work and heard a group of children chanting ‘we will shine’ at least that’s what I thought they were saying? I think we wanted to avoid having ‘the’ in front of name too so Shine! stuck. I can’t remember how the exclamation mark came about? No meaning at all.

++ How was Norfolk back then? Where there any other good bands in town? What were the best venues to play and hang out?

Andy: King’s Lynn was to some extent quite cut off. You realyl did have to make an effort to travel to see bands, normally in Norwich, Cambridge or London. The scene around King’s Lynn was quite good with bands like The Chancers and The Boatmen. Our hang out was most definitely The Wenns which is a pub on the Saturday Market Place in King’s Lynn. A huge amount of time was spent in there! We played many local gigs at the West Lynn Community Centre but the Norwich Arts Centre provided us with some of the best gigs.

Tim: Norfolk had a rather healthy music scene, lots of bands, though there were few places to play unless you headed for Norwich or Cambridge. There were quite a few bands that drank in the same pub and most were friendly. For some reason we always supported a heavy metal band called Passion Flower Hotel (God knows why!). The best local venues were Norwich Arts Centre & The Junction in Cambridge.

Paul: Well we were based in King’s Lynn and there was a good local scene there, and we would socialise with many of the other bands, usually in Wenn’s, a pub on the Saturday market place. Live venues locally tended to be village halls which we would hire, along with other bands so we could share the cost.

++ Talking about playing, did you play many gigs? Which were your favourites and why?

Andy: Somewhere I have a list of all the gigs we did that Tim compiled, I’ll dig it out and send you a copy. Personally I used to get very nervous before playing and the adrenaline rush from playing always left me slightly unsettled, I think the point was ‘does this make us more attractive to women?’, which it probably did:) Best gigs? I have a hazy memory but supporting the The Darling Buds with the Norwich Arts Centre full to capacity was particularly good.

Tim: We played 50 gigs in a 3 year period which doesn’t sound a lot but most other local bands didn’t play nearly as many. We always ended up playing the Wilde Club at the Arts Centre as Barry got us support slots with bands like My Bloody Valentine, Darling Buds, The Wolfhounds etc. Barry financed the flexi disc & 12 inch.

Paul: Tim can probably tell you how many as he tended to document these things, but we did gig regularly, playing in pubs in Cambridge, Peterborough and Norwich. It’s difficult to pick out a favourite but I think The Oxcart in Peterborough was our first gig outside of King’s Lynn. It was a new-ish pub on a housing estate and a very unlikely venue but we went down surprisingly well with the regulars

++ What about the aesthetics of the band? I see you always wrote your band name with a particular font, and also the artwork for the both the flexi and the 12″ split is very similar. Was this on purpose? Who took care of the looks of the band?

Andy: Ah the joy of letraset! The posters of our gigs and the flexi and 12″ came from b&w images cut from some charity shop books I’d collected. A lot of them came from the Photography Year Book 1967. Tim put it all together and I used my work place photocopier. Although we provided the art work for the cover of the 12″ sleeve, it was botched together by somebody else, well I didn’t like how it had turned out. The black and white images suited our photocopied poster campaigns and gave an overall look to our ‘publicity’.

Tim: We liked to stand out from the other bands and we had a particular style. Most of the artwork was done by myself though I plundered a book of sixties photographs for interesting pictures. There wasn’t a fashion style within the band but we all tended to wear the same sort of thing.

Paul: Tim and Andy looked after the artwork. I had nothing to do with it. I was always very impressed with what they came up with.

++ It seems you always worked with Barry Newman. How did you meet and how close was your relationship with him?

Andy: Yes Barry Newman is a good man. He put in a lot of effort in establishing his Wilde Club nights at the Norwich Arts Centre. I think we must have sent him a demo tape angling for gigs. He obviously liked what we did and had us play there quite a few times and that lead to him releasing the Millions and Millions flexi disc on his Baz McHat label before it became Wilde Club Records.

Tim: As mentioned Barry financed the singles and got us most of our gigs in Norwich. I believe we just sent him a tape and he invited us to play the Wilde Club one night. He seemed to like us and asked us back for more gigs. The relationship was not that close but he really did help us quite a lot looking back. He did invite us to do a reunion gig (20 years) but the band are all living in different parts of the UK now and would have been a nightmare to organise.

Paul: He used to put on gigs at the Norwich Arts Centre and he often booked us to play there. I can’t remember who approached who though.

++ My favourite song of yours, and possibly one of my favourite songs all-time is “Bite the Apple”. Is it much to ask the story behind this fantastic song?

Tim: Over to Andy. I think you’ll find the bass line makes the song…….!

Paul: Better ask Andy as he came up with the song in the first place. The rest of us added bits to the arrangement after he’d brought it to the band, including the vocal harmonies. Andy had the opening guitar riff and I came up with the riff at the start of the verse.

Andy: Wow thanks I’m glad you like it so much. Tim, Paul and myself would write the basic songs structures and lyrics and present them to the rest of the band for approval. If you wrote the song then you would be singing the main vocal. It all worked well and provided an element of competition. I wrote Bite The Apple, Tim provided the bass line and Paul the guitar flourish. Bite The Apple (an adam and eve reference) is about the madness and delight of love with just a tiny element of doubt thrown in at the end.

++ Who would you call your influences, especially for those fast guitars?!

Paul: Has to be the Wedding Present! They were bringing an excitement to guitar music which had been missing in the mid 80’s.

Andy: I think we all loved a good pop song, still do. I guess the C86 bands gave us a sonic template to work on. Most obviously The Wedding Present. I heard Go Out And Get ‘Em Boy on John Peel and it struck a chord (pardon the pun). The Smiths, Joy Division and New Order to some extent and certainly The Velvet Underground.

Tim: My own influences at the time were That Petrol Emotion, The Smiths, June Brides, Mighty Lemon Drops, House Of Love and we can’t really deny it……The Wedding Present.

++ You contributed songs, as far as I know, to two compilations, “Everlasting Happiness” and “Everlasting”. Do you remember at all how you ended in them with “I Just Can’t Celebrate Today” and “The Art of Lying Low”?

Paul: Not sure how that came about. Rubbish answer. Sorry.

Tim: Not sure how these tracks got put on the compilations. If it is Andreas who compiled them then I guess he is the man to ask. Both these tracks were on ‘Numbrained…’.

Andy: Both of those songs were ‘properly’ produced. The Art Of Lying Low was recorded at Lifetime Sounds in Duke Street, Norwich for the Millions and Millions flexi and I Just Can’t Celebrate Today was recorded at Raven Studios at the Bite The Apple session. Ive no idea how they ended up on the compilations. I think Andreas wrote us a nice letter and we gave him the recordings to use.

++ Which would you say was your favourite songs? You know, those that you always had to play at gigs, and why?

Andy: Well we didn’t have that many to play. I really love playing She Looks So Good, Out Of Touch, Million and Millions and Bite The Apple mainly because they were simple:)

Tim: My personal favourites were Millions & Millions, Bite the apple & No way I’d much rather be. We tended to write new stuff then play it live with a few old favourites as encores but we were never precious about doing certain songs as far as I can remember.

Paul: I don’t think there were any particular favourites. Everything we’d written got played live at some point. With three of us writing there was usually an even split between us in the setlist

++ Also, how come you didn’t release any more records?!

Paul: Lack of money!

Andy: We really just spilt up before any further plans or expressed interest in us took hold. We didn’t play any further a field than East Anglia. We received a tiny amount of interest from Food Records, I think they signed Seymour instead, what became of them?

Tim: We drifted apart in 1990. We were into different sounds around this time and it co-incided with Paul getting married and moving away.

++ There are two tape albums by Shine! These are very obscure to most indiepop fans, so do you mind telling a bit about them? How many copies were made? And if possible the full tracklist for the nerdiest of fans? 🙂

Paul: I’ll have to find the tapes first!

Tim: They were 4 track recordings produced by Paul. The first tape was our live set at the time and the second was a bit more sophisticated as Paul got into production more. No doubt he can tell you the details. We made a few hundred copies of each I believe.

Andy: They were self produced and recorded over many months using Paul’s portastudio four track. Lots of bouncing down and over dubbing of vocals and guitar parts. Pretty rough and ready indie pop, a fair representation of our craft.

The first tape – ‘Shine!’ (I don’t think we considered an actual proper title for it) was made between January and June of 1988. It came with a free Shine! badge.

You Can’t Help Yourself
THe Art Of Lying Low
Empty Heads Ring Hollow
Out Of Touch
It’s Nice To Be Loved
She Looks So Good
It Could Never Happen To Us
Stop Looking Back
Millions And Millions
The City Can Wait

The second tape – Numbrainedeadumbrain was recorded in 1989/90(?) certainly released in 1990. The production is slightly slicker, with perhaps a dash of psychedelia thrown in.

Tim hand painted most of the covers so they are all originals.

20 Days Away
I Just Can’t Celebrate Today
Give Me Soul
All Fall Down
Open Up Yourself
Dangerous Day
The One That Stops You

++ The split 12″ was released by Wilde Club Records. I haven’t seen much written about this label/club online. I’m more curious about the club. Did you go often? What was the best about it? And how important was it for your town?

Paul: That was run by Barry Numan. He was quite a big figure in the Norwich scene at the time.

Andy: http://norwichmusic.wikia.com/wiki/The_Wilde_Club

This was Barry Newman’s baby. It was based in Norwich at the Arts Centre which was a converted church, the acoustics didn’t suit everything but the list of gigs Barry put on is enviable. We supported My Bloody Valetine, The Inspiral Carpets and McCarthy among others. As well as travelling across from King’s Lynn to see Mud Honey, Bob and one of the best gigs Ive every been to, The Four Brothers.

++ So, what happened in the end? When and why did you decide to call it a day?

Andy: Circumstance took over. In a moment of clarity I decided I need to go to university and signed up for a access course in september 90 in order to again entry the following year. Paul got married and moved to Norwich at the same time and somehow practicing and gigging became untenable. Myself and Tim hooked up with a keyboard player and wrote some songs with a drum machine driving the beat, but we never gigged.

Paul: Well I moved to Norwich in 1990 but the others did continue for a while. It wasn’t an acrimonious split or anything like that, but I think we had done all we could with our 2 guitar / bass / drums lineup in the face of the burgeoning dance music scene.

Tim: It ended amicably in 1990. We still speak to each other though Mark is not in touch anymore.

++ Are you all still in touch? What did you do after Shine!?

Andy: Yes, thou I live ‘up north’ so not as often as I should. I went to the University of Manchester in 1991, played quite a few gigs in a band called Dooba based in Leeds in the mid 90’s and since then a lot of birding.

Tim: Andy & I carried on for a while with a keyboard player/programmer but it didn’t last. I played in one or two bands after, one with Paul again but this folded soon after also.

Paul: Not as much as we should be! Shine! was more than just the music. It was three glorious years of my life which no one can take away from me. After Shine! I played in Norwich based Ivy with a CD release ‘The absence of angels’, and got to tour with the Wedding Present’. I am now involved in the rather less rock and roll musical activity of barbershop singing!

++ And these days, aside from music, and photography in your case, in what other hobbies and interests you spend your time?

Andy: Well birding used to be my hobby and now it’s sort of my job. So now music has become my hobby. I have some good monitors, Ableton Live 9, assorted instruments and software. It fills the waking hours very nicely indeed.

Tim: I listen to music all the time and still do some artwork in my spare time.

++ Thanks again! Looking forward for more Shine! news in the near future! Anything else you’d like to add?

Andy: Roque, your email was shot out of the blue, it’s nice to know we aren’t forgotten:) and it’s given us an opportunity to reminisce.


Shine! – Bite the Apple


How was I supposed to feel the past weekend? I did travel upstate to Beacon, a charming and quaint little town, to visit their one and only attractive, dia:Beacon. A fantastic museum with pieces by renowned artists like Stella or Flavin, names that I remember like yesterday from my days in university. Everything was huge in the museum. Every piece. Every installation. Even the museum was huge. High ceilings. Stairs. Basements. Even the parking lot. I love traveling by train. That’s one thing I love about Europe, though there I end up going to a castle, or to a cathedral. But better not compare, it’s all different here. I traveled in good company this time around, and on top of that had cheap and tasty dim sum. True, I never had cheap and tasty dim sum in any of my European train travels.

I did have Chinese food once on a train travel in Europe. We were in Swansea a year and change ago. I was still in love, and I believe she was too. I hear these days she moves in with her new-ish boyfriend. Moving fast and big steps  my lucky mittens. How things change in so little time and how easy it is for some people. Anyhow, she taught me that time what was a water chestnut. I didn’t know it’s name before even though I had had it many times before. I think I thought it was some sort of crunchy potato kind of. If you are Peruvian you might be familiar with ‘olluco’. I thought it was something similar to that. That’s why I remember that day having Chinese food at around 6:00 pm, like a proper American because we had to burn time until the next Swansea-Cardiff train at 7:00pm. It was empty the restaurant. And there was no fortune cookie.

At the Beacon Dim Sum place it was different. When leaving there was a big bowl with tons of fortune cookies for one to take. How much fortune one can get?! I asked myself. I looked around. No one was checking. I grabbed a handful of fortune cookies and put them in my tote bag. To my surprise many of my friends that day did the same when leaving the restaurant. I guess, a lot of fortune is always a promising thing.

But the fact is there was no fortune. On Friday I headed to Erik’s to watch the game with a bunch of Peruvian friends. The game that we had all been waiting. Peru-Uruguay in Lima. At the Estadio Nacional. We had no injured players, most of our players starting in their clubs and giving fine performances. Only Zambrano from Eintracht Frankfurt was suspended, but it wasn’t much of a worry. We were supposed to win this game and be very close to qualifying. But, if we tied or lose our chances were going to disappear. Guess what. We lost. 1-2. Unbelievable. A game that we had in our pocket for the first 42 minutes when Uruguay barely crossed the midfield. When we created chances. When there was a penalty the referee didnt give us. When Pizarro once again failed to deliver an easy goal opportunity against Muslera. The fact is, we Peruvians are not made for clutch time.

When we need to win, when we need to make the kill. We don’t.

And that’s how I felt the whole weekend. The whole week. Heartbroken. Not by a girl like a year ago but by my national team. A team who got nervous, who kicked the table before it’s time. Who got exasperated and got red carded. When things were so close, when things needed cold blood, and good decisions, and to think with the head and not with the heart, that’s when we lost the game.  Some people in the many forums I read, blame it to a lack of world-class quality in our players, but I don’t believe that’s it. I don’t want our players be like Luis Suarez acting like everyone is breaking his leg after a little foul or provoking every opponent. That’s not fair play. Or Lugano jumping with his elbow on the opponents head to every loose ball. I don’t want that. That’s not class. That’s dirty. That’ not good. But I do want them to keep calm, and not break into desperation when everything is against us including referees and the mafia driven Conmebol. I hope this lesson is learned by the younger kids that will take on qualifying to Russia 2018. Because I’m very sure we will make it. We have a good generation coming up and we don’t need a effing visa to go to Russia unlike the EU who treats us a little less than terrorists. So we’ll make it, just keep the hope and don’t despair.

Of course my certainty and hope for the next qualifiers don’t take away my disappointment right now. We were close once again like in 1997 when we were eliminated by goal difference in favor of the arrogant little strip of land called Chile and I cried in front of the the TV alone when we lost that game in Santiago. Again a clutch game. And we lost it. The TV showing how the Chilean police hit our players at the airport. The Chileans attacking our players with racist chants and holding little black plush monkeys. You see European friends, you ban and disqualify teams like that. In South America no one cares. It’s all about money. And yeah, Chileans believe sometimes they are descended from those Aryan gods the third reich went looking in the Himalayas. The world a lot of times doesn’t make sense. I know.

That’s how I feel at 29. Happysad and very hopeful. 2018 will be the year when I’ll see Peru again in a World Cup. I may just as well skip traveling next year to Brazil and instead save that money and go to UK for Indietracks, for Indiepop, my other passion. Footie and girls are not all in this life you know.


cantel : The raised section of the medieval war-saddle, high to keep the knight in the saddle.

Interesting, I love the medieval times, the crusades, castles and all that. But I doubt their name comes from there. Let’s check if as a last name it makes more sense.

Cantel: This very interesting name is early medieval and job descriptive, and refers to a bellman, one who rang the ‘Chanterelles’ – the trebles, or who sang the treble in a choir. The derivation is from the Olde French, the word being introduced by the Normans after 1066. There are at least five modern alternative spellings including Chantrell, Chantrill, Cantrell, Cantrill and Cantwell, sometimes the name is a diminutive meaning ‘Son of Cant or Chant’. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip Canterel which was dated 1203, in the “Staffordshire Assize Court” during the reign of King John, known as “Lackland”, 1199 – 1216.

I wonder if any of these entries shed some meaning about the band The Cantels. The truth is that we know a bit about them already because I wrote about their previous incarnation, The Capitols, some time ago.

One of my interesting ideas about their band name comes from the A side of The Capitols single. The name of the song was “Who Can Tell?”. So if you get ‘Can Tell’ you get Cantell. That’s almost as Cantels, right? Just an idea.

The only member I’m sure that was on both The Capitols and The Cantels was Sue Emilon.  But maybe there were more. I still don’t know who was Jimbo on The Capitols 7″.

The Cantels only released one 12″. It wasn’t an album but a max single. The A side had “I Want to Be Alone” and “Emily”. The B side had “Poor Misguided Fool” and “Pictures in Your Mind”. On the capitols we know Sue wrote all the songs. Here she wrote 1 and 4 and co-wrote 2 and 3 along with Simon Vincent (though on Discogs it credits it to a S. Maragah).

We do have names for the band mates on the back cover, but not last names. All of them start with an S. Coincidences? Sue played guitars and sung. She also played the piano on “Emily”. Steev drummed. Simon played guitar. Spencer bass. And Simon Vincent played organ.

There are some nice liner notes, some thank you notes, that read like this:
Thanks to Jane, Simon V, Rob and Anna, Phil Savage, Trevor, Simon Romer
Love and Thanks to Jane for giving me the Words to Emily

The record was released by Bubble Records in 1988, catalog Bubble 001, so I assume it was self-released.

The only other sort of clue is that they hailed from Moseley in Birmingham. I’ve never been there but I’ve read both The Rotter’s Club and The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe, so it is kind of familiar to me.

And that’s really all I could find about them. I often ask myself if these names were fake names or not. On The Capitols I got to know that Tank was really Pete Byrchmore. Here in the Cantels it’s already puzzling that all have names starting with S. Also Sue Emilon was already using this same name when she was in The Capitols when everyone was using fake names.  Emilon being more of a French saint name.

Do anyone out there know anything else by this enigmatic band that? Did they record more songs? Did anyone catch them live? Whatever happened to them? I don’t want to leave them alone!


The Cantels – I Want to Be Alone


Thanks so much to all Michael and Ralph for this fantastic interview down memory lane. The Pariahs are one of German’s best jangle pop secrets. I wrote a bit about them not so long ago, and now at last we get to know their story. And what a story! Interesting that they are back, and also here at the end of the interview you can listen to an exclusive demo of Offer Me. On top of that, they have just added new stuff to their ReverbNation page. Don’t miss it!

++ Hi Michael & Ralph! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! How are you doing? Are you still based in Berlin and are you still making music these days?

Michael: Yes, we still live in Berlin and we’re still (or should I say: again) making music together. Three years ago, I took our old 4-track-demos and remixed it again. Then after I sent him the results Ralph and me met, took our instruments and played together for the first time after a 16-year-break. We found out that we still like what we’re doing and so we startet making music together regularly with Thomas Bleskin (Ex-Decades), who established a littler recording studio in his sleeping room. Then Silke Nauschütz joined the band. Only a few month later – in December 2010 – we decided to record two songs in a professional sound studio, engineered by Hardy Fieting (Scream Silence). We recorded “Rock’n’Roll Has Saved My Life” and “Winter’s Finally Gone” – both songs were written by Ralph. On drums: again Ralf Kündgen! That was real fun!

Since then we did a couple of home-made-demos at Thomas’ flat. He’s a composer, too. When Silke left, we started working on German lyrics for our songs – and eventually we found a young strong female singer and founded a new project with our German songs together with her. We just recorded four songs with the help of Marcellus Puhlemann (Nina Hagen) on drums. Producer was our old friend Thommy Hein (Tightrope Walk). We hope to do some more recordings this year and are planning to publish an album in the near future.

++ Let’s start to a time before Pariahs. When was the first time you picked up a bass? And were you involved with bands before Pariahs?

Michael: That was in autumn 1988, when me and Ralph started making music for a “pop session” in our school, one year after we finished our school-education. Before that none of us played in an a band. We only did music on our own; we had started writing songs when we were still kids (12/15)- and in summer 1988 we began to record them on a four-track-recorder – the good old Fostex X-15.

++ How did Pariahs start? Did you know Ralph, Thomas, Ralf and Silke already? How had you all met?

Michael: When we did that gig in the aula of our ex-school on Nov. 8, 1988 we recognized how much the audience liked us. It really had been an incredible reaction. So we decided to build a band. We searched for a drummer in a City-Magazine (“tip”) – we wrote: “Drummer needed for studio and live-performances” and so some called us. Ralf Kündgen was the one we liked most, musically and personally. Then, in the spring of 1989, we rented a rehearsal room in Berlin Neukölln and met two or three times a week. Our first gig was in London, at the “Amersham Arms” pub in Deptford, were the Cutting Crew played a few days before we did. Back in Berlin we supported Edwyn Collins at the “LOFT”.

++ Where did the name of the band come from?

Ralph: I had the idea, though all the time we pronounced it wrong… It was those days with the Smiths and be loners that nobody would touch – “Pariahs” meaning “untouchables”. Sounds rather gloomy now, I suppose, but back then it seemed a good idea…

++ And what kind of bass did you play in Pariahs? Do you still have it?

Michael: I started with a Yamaha then switched to a Warwick Corvette 5-String which I still own and play.

++ Why did you choose to sing in English and not in German like most bands do in Germany?

Ralph: Back in 1987, except for Neue Deutsche Welle (new German wave- but that the beginning of the eighties) I didn’t really care much for German bands singing German. All the music I loved came from Britain, and I wanted to communicate with them. Again, maybe not the best of ideas, looking back.

++ You started as a band in 1989 and released your album in 1992. Why did it take that long for Tightrope Walk to be released?

Ralph: If I remember correctly, Michael and I met at school in 1986 and found out that we were both huge Beatles fans. We both played guitar, sang and wrote songs. So we teamed up and had that little two-guys-gig at a school party – I simply refused to switch to the bass, so Mike did. He also played the piano. We had a six-song-gig which was quite a success. Then we looked for a drummer and found Ralf, who was amazing and so much better than we were. That must have been in 1989. We played some small concerts and developed our material, but the industry never took notice, I think we were not the best live band around. So we took our money (and went to the bank) and financed our album recording Dec 1991 and
released. And again, nobody noticed.

Michael: We booked the studio for 22 days in December 1990 and did “Tightrope Walk”. About 14 days recording, one week mixing. One of the last songs that has been sorted out was “Offer Me”. Before – in 1990 – we had made a 16-track-demo (with Thommy) with four songs on it and tried to get a contract with the record-industry; when we failed we decided to do the album.

++ And why didn’t you release any other records in your career?

Michael: I wish we would. In 1994 we made another 3-track-demo with Thommy and a fourth man, Chris DeVine, on E-Guitar – as a last try – but we didn’t had the money to release it on our own.

++ Do you happen to have many more songs recorded, still unreleased?

Ralph: We do have a few, seven songs were recorded as demos. And we have lots of recordings from the rehearsing room which can never be published. And then there’s countless home recordings, mostly mine.

++ Why the name “Tightrope Walk” for the album?

Ralph: It was the name of Michael’s song, so he can tell you. When we sat down at a pub in Neukölln, I suggested “Friendly and Courageous” as album title – it was song that didn’t make it on the album, so I thought maybe we honour it. But Michael and Ralf weren’t intrigued, so I suggested “Tightrope Walk” and they immediately agreed. My thought was that this recoding for us was some kind of tightrope walk anyway, so it fit.

++ How was the experience recording with Thomas Hein at Tonstudio?

Ralph: It was wonderful. Thommy is incredible to work with, and he has become very successful since then (I think Tightrope Walk was his first independent production), and now works i.e. with Jens Heppner, Nena and Bushido. The only thing was we didn’t have enough time, but Thommy is a huge part in making that album as good as it is. And I think it is, even after all these years.

++ If you were to choose a favourite song of the album, which one would it be and why?

Ralph: My personal favourite song is I Run Away. The best performance is Hey, Turnkey!, and our choice for the single that never happened was Going Down Niagara Falls, so if it is your favourite, we had that right.

Michael: The same goes for me. But iI also like That’s A Bargain, specially the last minute of it, also Rattle My Cage and STP. And some parts of Roots.

++ Mine is “Going Down Niagara Falls”, if it’s not much to ask, what’s the story behind this song?

Ralph: Sorry, no story, just me being artsy, using fancy words over horribly difficult rhythms. But I like the hookline… 🙂

++ And who were the label Civic Dust?

Ralph: Ralf, Micha and me. For the name of the label we were using a line from the lyrics of Niagara Falls. Just a joke.

++ Something that always struck me was that not many bands in Germany, very few really, were doing the sort of jangly pop you were doing. So of course I have to ask what music were you listening then, who would you say influenced you?

Ralph: I could name a few, but let’s just say: Prefab Sprout. And they have a new album out these days, it’s incredible and lights my life…

Michael: ..no to forget Elvis (Costello), R.E.M., Paul Weller, The Go Betweens and Deacon Blue… and Joe Jackson!!

++ And do tell, how was Berlin back in those days? Were there any other bands in town that you enjoyed? And were would you usually hang out?

Ralph: We played support on a small tour of East Germany in 1990 with a band named Big Savod. And there was a band called Club Savage we played with; they a song called “Dance on the Graveyard” which was fantastic, and we dreamed we would produce them once we became stars. 😉
We hang out in a very cheap place next to our rehearsal room in Neukölln. But we would sit in the rehearsal room or in one of our homes, because there we could make or listen to music.

++ What about gigs? Did you play many? Which were your favourites?

Michael: Not too much. We played only a bit more than 30 gigs from 1989 to 1994. We had fun on tour with Big Savod; it felt like beeing a “real musician”. And we did the support for The Immaculate Fools in Berlin in Oct. 1992 again in the famous LOFT on Nollendorfplatz. At Quasimodo (a jazz club) we celebrated the record release.

++ And if you had to choose a highlight for the band, what was it?

Michael: Definetely the first two gigs in London (the Mixer said, he toured with McCartney and the Wings through the US in 1976) and with Edwyn Collins.

++ These days you have quite a bit of presence on the web, I’ve found your songs on Myspace, Soundclick, Soundcloud and ReverbNation. Do you feel the internet has changed way too much how a band can make themselves known? Would you prefer this decade or when you were around to have a band?

Ralph: Hard to say. Back then we were either too early or too late. 1991 was Grunge. Britpop came later. Humph.

++ When and why did you split?

Ralph: It was 1994. We were unsuccessful as a band, but getting busy with our “real” jobs. It seemed natural, though a bit sad. But we went in peace…

Michael: Esp. Ralf was building up his music-career which he did, and he didn’t want to spend so much time in the rehearsing-room without playing gigs. Now he is the drummer in the Udo-Lindenberg-Musical “Hinter’m Horizont” on Potsdamer Platz.

++ And this is what I always wondered, what happened to you after? I can’t believe you would stop making music, am I wrong?

Ralph: Aaaaaaah…..now it’s getting interesting! As he told you, Michael and I reunited a few years ago with our friend Thomas Bleskin and re-started The Pariahs. Thomas’ and my colleague (we’re all radio journalists) Silke joined as backing vocalist and flutist. We recorded to more demo songs. Again, who would want to buy that? Nobody. So Thomas had the idea of casting, producing and promoting a girl band with German lyrics. Well. There’s no girl group, but we found an amazing young female singer and founded a band, and we went back to the studio (Thommy Hein, we’re faithful) back in April this year and did your new songs. We think they’re best thing we’ve ever done. We’re trying to sell this, but as always this seems to be tough. It’s really good material, though. I’m still optimistic…

++ I love Berlin, and I like Germany a lot. And as I always have great meals there, and great beers, I must ask, what are your favourite German beers, and German dishes?

Ralph: My favourite beer is Paulaner Hefeweizen. Goes well with Wiener Schnitzel – sorry, Austrians!

Michael: I prefer czech beer – esp. Pilsner Urquell. And i adore the gulash of my mom.

++ And do you support any Bundesliga teams?

Ralph: Three. Hertha BSC (I’m from Berlin, for God’s sake!), Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund.

Michael: Hertha, of course. And Ralf was a fan of VfB Stuttgart, wasn’t he?

++ And aside from music, do you happen to have any other fun interests or hobbies?

Ralph: I love good films and good television. Also I’m gaming quite a lot. And I enjoy reading.

Michael: I love to go to live concerts, big ones and small ones. This weekend I will see Blur for the first time (yeah, I’m still the old school-type;)


Pariahs – Going Down Niagara Falls
Pariahs – Offer Me (4-track demo)


So it’s time for Cloudberry news on the blog. After going through through memory lane, remembering the great time we’ve all had at Indietracks this year, it’s time to catch up with all the things I’ve been working on since coming back from the UK.

There’s quite a bit of news on the label side. On the blog side you must have noticed that I’ve published many interviews and I hope to continue with that trend. There are still so many bands with their story untold. And of course, I believe, they deserve better in these days, the internet days.

The first important piece of news is that the Feverfew album is now sold out. If you still want it  you can still find copies at many mailorders around the world, but those will be the last copies.  So make it fast. I’m very happy about the success of our first Cloudberry Cake Kitchen release. It proved to be a good idea to take that route, to make retrospective albums of some of my favourite bands from yesteryear.

Continuing with the Cake Kitchen there’s a new album coming out. It’s already mastered and we are taking care now of the artwork which is close to being finished. The new album that will please many 90s indiepop fans is by The Rileys and it includes the whole span of their careers as one of the most refreshing bands from the early years of the aforementioned decade. The album includes all their classic songs from their albums, singles and compilations as well as a bunch of unreleased tracks. In total there are 21 songs and as usual the CD comes in our book-style digipaks with full liner notes. The works. Keep an eye on the website or the blog for information about the release date, hopefully we can announce that soon!

But in the NEAR future we do have a couple of records to keep you all busy. This month, September, is a month of treats. First of we start with The Occasional Flickers 7″ release on the 15th, and then on the 30th, we’ll bring you Boyish 7″. It’s been a long time since we put two records out during the same month, so you can imagine how excited but busy we are.

For both upcoming 7″s we already have pre-order buttons on the Cloudberry site as well as a download MP3 for you all to have a taster. What to expect? Well, The Occasional Flickers are a band that I hold dear and who with Cloudberry have had two related releases. One a 3″ single back in 2008, “When The Sky Looks So Gray” and then with the song “Fly Kite” on the 3″CD compilation “The Skyscrapers Of St. Mirin”. On top of that, their first album, “Scattered Songs” came out in our sister label Plastilina. So, a household name here. This year Giorgos and company return with the smashing “Capitalism Begins at Home”. Witty and smart as always the Edinburgh by way of Athens band have also made a video for this song that you can watch here. The B side for the single is “Visions of Geraldine” and the artwork was lushly painted by Ola Rek who is part of the band.

On the other hand, this is Boyish’s first appearance on vinyl (The Flickers released their debut “Rain Until Monday ” on 7″ vinyl in 2003!). The Boyish record is a 4 song EP aptly titled The Hidden Secrets. The other songs in the record are “Dress Up, Make Up”, “Shadow of You” and “Sha La La”. Two of the songs appear in Boyish’s album and two of them are exclusive to this release. All of them have been remastered for this special occasion by Cris Romero from Sundae and The Royal Landscaping Society at Cherry Sound Studios. As always he has made them sound amazing. If you like breezy shoegaze this is the record you’ve been longing for! I’ve been a big fan of Iwasawa since the days of his previous band, Pastel Blue, so it was quite exciting to undertake this project together. The artwork for this release comes thanks to A Little Island.

But the news don’t stop there. We have also unveiled the artwork and the track list for our 34th 7″ that should be appearing by the end of the year. This one comes from France and it’s by the super duper mega hyper amazing Pale Spectres. The track list will include a Cloudberry favourite, “Better than Love” that appeared on our sea green compilation last year. This is a reworked version of that tune. Also on the 7″ you’ll find “Bicycles”, “Didn’t Know Where to Go” and “Supermarket Love”. Clearly, you want this.

Not a bad end of year for Cloudberry, don’t you think? And it’s all because of you, because without your support to the label, to the bands, to the scene, we couldn’t continue putting out records.  So from here a big THANKS to everyone that has helped us this year in a way or another!


There’s this beautiful song called “I Want to Wear Your Love Like Gold” by the mysterious The Boy Scout Love Triangle, that sometimes appears on my iTunes while I’m working. I believe I downloaded this a long time ago from a blog. It’s really really pretty. So I decided today to google it, see what I can dig.

First stop, Youtube. Someone has uploaded this song. And there’s a photo of a cover of what looks like a record. I know where to look now.

Second stop, Discogs. The record is listed. It’s a 7″ and this song was the A side. There’s another song on the A side, “Shane”, and three on the B side, “Apocalypse is my Maiden Name”, “Fell for It” and “I Never Said I Liked You”. I wonder if all these songs have a similar sound to “I Want to Wear…”, or if they are a bit different. Who knows. Sadly there are no records listed here for purchasing.

The label is called Sprogg Pop Records. It seems this was the only release by the label according to Discogs but there’s some information: Sprogg Pop was a short-lived label run by Ohio-based Nick Wilson, a.k.a. Nick Sprogg, Poppa Hopp, Nicky Ill, or Nicky Illiopolis.  Ohio-based Nick Wilson, a.k.a. Nick Sprogg, Poppa Hopp, Nicky Ill, or Nicky Illiopolis, is a member of Dirty Birds, The with RJD2. Wilson ran the Sprogg Pop label and a music publicity company called BPM Promotions. He also co-owned & operated the Battersea Park Music label.

So Ohio then. I read that the vinyl itself is gold. Makes sense with this song. The catalog number is SP001 and the record was released in 1991. The credits on the record state:

Performer [Played & Sung By] – Christina Myers, Gaye Cronley, J. Stickley
Photography [Back Cover Photo – Harmony H78] – Michele Kinnamon  
Photography [Front Cover Photo] – P. Cassely
Producer – Craig “Big Daddy” Dunson  

Written-By – Stickley
Notes All songs recorded at Eardrop/Pica House in the Spring and Summer of ’91. ‘Shane’ is for Shane Mc., ‘Never Said…’ well…hello pastels!

The Pastels??? Were they fans of the Glasgow band? There is a link for more images on the Discogs listing of the 7″. I can see the artwork cleared. But there’s also what seems like an insert. On it we learn that there were t-shirts made for the band too, with the cover artwork of the 7″ on the front and on the back details of their 91-92 tour.  There’s also what seems a fanzine called “Love In” that is described as the official fan club magazine of The Boy Scout Love Triangle. It used to cost a mere $1. It also has an address for Sprogg Pop. We now know that they were based in Columbus, Ohio.

Gaye Cronley would form later, along the producer of this record, Craig Dunson the band Vibralux who had a 7″ on the Candy Floss label in 1994. This was the home of some known indiepop acts like Red Chair Fadeaway, Red Dye No.5, The Delightful Little Nothings and more. I have never head Vibralux. Time to see if I can find a cheap copy. Seems to have good credentials!

The other member of The Boy Scout Triangle that I know continued making music was John Sitckley. He was involved in a band called The Patsys who released one album in 2006 called “Both Sides Never”. You can stream it on Myspace.

This is where I stop digging. This is where I stop finding clues. This is where I hit a wall.

If anyone out there knows anything else by these unsung heroes from Columbus, Ohio, I’d love to hear it. And a spare copy of the 7″ aptly titled “L’eternité Du Tout” (“The Eternity of Everything”) would be nice to find too, so I can play the record at home, time and time again, and to finally hear the other songs from the EP!


The Boy Scout Triangle – I Want to Wear Your Love Like Gold