Not many things to review this week. No more festival announcements. For now.

This weekend though was terribly busy for me. I didn’t end up going to Chickfactor (I felt lazy as it was too far, and Amor de Días were playing a bit too early and I was going to miss them, plus the tickets were pricey) but ended up seeing a fantastic Barcelona band on Friday called Univers. They played at Cake Shop, sandwiched in between some not very good bands (with members of some renowned NYC bands), around 10 pm that night. The quartet was in reality incomplete as their original guitar player wasn’t allowed to enter the US because of some visa issue. So the bassist played guitar and their label/manager learned hastily the songs on bass so they could complete the gigs in their US tour after visiting Mexico.

I had been in touch with Aitor, the drummer, thanks to our mutual friend Toni Poni. He was kind enough to bring me all the records they had put out so far. I completed my collection at the end with their setlist. The music was exciting, fuzzy, poppy, with great energy. Even though they sang in Catalan, that didn’t stopped me from tapping my feet while enjoying a cheap pint of Genessee. They were really good! Though they did promise me they are even better when they have the full lineup. That should be very true, so I can’t wait to see them like that. They seemed a bit disappointed and that was understandable, but I think the whole crowd enjoyed the gig. We all look at things through  a different lens.

Next day I would see them again, this time at Shea Stadium. Not a venue I enjoy going. Definitely not. Quite far and in a deserted area. But well, let’s catch them for a bit I thought. They were playing early and then I had the rest of the night. They were great again but the crowd had changed. The old NYC indie scenesters weren’t around anymore. Instead all these strange hipsters, big beards, beanies, and so on. I didn’t catch the other bands though, but it’s a safe bet they were terrible (?). Again Univers were thrilling. While I was watching them I had this feeling of seeing a young Wedding Present doing their first steps. Must have been the fast guitars, blazing guitars that furiously created melodies. Yes, these things can go hand in hand.

Sunday more people from Spain arrived, this time to my home. Lost Tapes, after touring the West Coast and then later SXSW, Nashville and Athens, GA, they ended up in New York for one last show at the Cake Shop. We took the subway with all the instruments. We carried guitars and equipment We transferred to the F train. We got to Lower East Side early and it was all happiness. Suddenly Pau noticed his pedals were missing. There was barely an hour and a half for the concert. They could have played an acoustic concert you’d think, but a friend of the band was going to make some shots for an upcoming video. They needed the pedals. A quick decision was made. Take a cab to my place and back. We should make it in less than an hour. And so that’s how we rolled.

As soon as Pau and me got at the Cake Shop, when we were getting off the yellow taxi, Raúl was calling me asking where the hell were we. We were just outside! The sound guy was asking for the band, it was their turn, and we had just made it on time. Stress went away, and the band played a short but sweet set. They were dreamy at moments, jangly and quite danceable at others. Raúl was the energy, jumping and strumming his guitar with true excitement, and at the same time singing softly in true indiepop fashion. Pau, on the other hand, was the elegant one, playing a twelve-string with dexterity, creating jingle jangly arpeggios that made the songs shine. It was pretty nice, though they plan to “upgrade” their live set for their NYC comeback, for Popfest time. Could be interesting! For now, you should definitely catch them at the Copenhagen Popfest if you go! And in London too where they will be playing along the Wolfhounds and 14 Iced Bears more next weekend at the Northern Star festival.

Now I’m exhausted. Looking forward to a more laid-back kind of time for this coming weekend. Though I have to say that I’ve already started drafting the new fanzine. Those on Facebook might have already seen the cover for it, sporting The Haywains circa 1989. Bands that will be interviewed in the fanzine so far include The Haywains, Don’t Cry Shopgirl, Lost Tapes, Boyish and The Occasional Flickers. And on the 3″ CD that will be included we’ll be having The Haywains (with an old demo from the vaults!), Lost Tapes, Wallflower, Alpaca Sports (in a way), and The Royal Landscaping Society. You won’t want to miss this!


I admit I can be jealous. Hard not to unless you are Scandinavian I think ha ha. But this band was German, and they seem to have been lost into obscurity for a couple of decades now.

The Jealous Chaps as far as I know only released this one 7″. It’s not on Discogs or 45cat. Only the gold mine that is From a Northern Place blog has it. A friend had sent me both songs on it, the A side, “Boys Are Talking” and the B side, “Sheila”. And when I heard the A side for the first time I just couldn’t believe this song was so unknown. This is classic indiepop!! What the hell!

Self-released in 1988 the record has a very Picasso looking guitar players. They play blue guitars. Actually the artwork looks like something out of this blog. Blue, white and black. Very classy! The A side plays, and what are the boys talking about? Love. Of course.

The back sleeve has thank you notes for Andy Jezussek, Martin Peetz and Anja Beisse. There’s some address for contact information and also some company names. Possibly a distributor? Kitsch and Musik und Fun Fun Fun appear on the lower left side. Whereas on the right side the designer for the artwork is credited as “Artificial, Design & Objekte Juergen J. Burk”. He was based in Nuremberg.

So, would it be a safe bet to think that the band was from Nuremberg? Could be. I’m sure my German friends can help and shed some light about them. I’m sure some must have seen them playing gigs, or maybe this record shows up sometimes at record fairs? I wonder what happened to them. They are probably still making music in a way or another.

I play the songs again, how catchy is that line of “when boys are talking, when boys are talking about love”. I love the simple guitars and the little arrangements after each verse. And the raw drumming! Then “Sheila” comes, with it’s cadence, begging Sheila to be theirs. Who was this Sheila? Maybe The Smiths’ Sheila. Wild guess.

Anyone remember them? Whatever happened to the Jealous Chaps?!

EDIT: Andreas has just pointed me out that the Jealous Chaps released another 7″ on Softwerk records. This one included the songs “It’s Music” and “Venice”. The record was released in 1988 and instead of the blue color on the artwork, the same sleeve was produced but with red color.


Jealous Chaps – Boys are Talking


– EDIT –
I’ve just been told that there is no-repeat policy at Indietracks. Later in this blog post I go babbling about it, so forgive me. From Indietracks Twitter I got this: “We don’t have a no-repeat policy, all we say is that we don’t book bands two years in a row :)” . So everyone out there forgive me, I have misunderstood when I go on and on about this policy. I was totally sure it existed, but it’s clear for me now, through official channels even(!) that this rule doesn’t exist.

Hello my dearest indiepop fans of the world. Not the nicest, not the prettiest, not the smartest, but my favourite people nonetheless? haha. After last week review of New York Popfest lineup I think it only makes sense to check out the bands that have been announced to play Indietracks. So let’s do that.

I remember I woke up. Kind of late. 11am. I turn on the computer and I see a friend that has posted the lineup. Then I write a post about it on my facebook. So far, all so natural, right? Thing is, I was leaking the news. I had announced some of the bands 3 or 4 hours before the official announcement. What had happened? It seems people that are involved in press or have a blog (but not me of course) or have a zine (not me either) got the news beforehand. I guess so they could prepare a post or an article for when the time came after the announcements. The news was embargoed until 7:00pm GMT. I guess my friend didn’t notice immediately about this fact and had made it public. Of course he noticed afterwards but it was too late, I had already noticed the whole lineup before he had the chance to delete his post.

My complain was, “Allo Darlin’ again?”. My excitement came for The Popguns! I had wanted to see them last year. I was happy to have met their drummer as he was at Indietracks drumming for his other band, The Fireworks. I took a photo. Good fan. This year it has to be with the whole band of course. But what about Allo Darlin’? Sure, I’m not a fan, but that doesn’t mean that I can be objective and say that Indietracks goers love the band. I understand that. The thing is, Indietracks boasts a no-repeat policy. I know they’ve broken this policy before with The Smittens (who knows why, but they did), and well, they are doing it again. Isn’t this the third time Allo Darlin’ is playing? I don’t know anymore. For me this is a bit annoying because this in fact takes a space that another band, that has never played, could have taken. Right? I’m not into conspiracy theories, but, some people gain benefit by shifting records of their bands at this festival. I leave the thought there…

The March 10th announcement read like this:

Gruff Rhys, Allo Darlin’, Dean Wareham, Rocketship and Withered Hand are among the bands playing this year’s Indietracks Festival, held on 25-27 July at the Midland Railway in Derbyshire.

Also playing Indietracks this year will be Spearmint, The Spook School, The Popguns, Sweet Baboo, Let’s Wrestle, The Very Most, Franny and Zooey, The Wellgreen, Night Flowers, ONSIND, The Blue Minkies, The Yawns, Thee AHs and Lost Tapes.

Cheaper early bird tickets are available until 11 May. There’s full details about today’s announcement here: http://www.indietracks.co.uk/?p=757

We’ll announce lots more bands shortly!

I wish I was less critical sometimes. But seriously? Gruff Rhys? Doesn’t he play other big festivals in UK? Isn’t he something else other than indiepop? Are we to repeat the fiasco of Herman Dune some years ago? Questions abound. I guess the idea behind is to bring new people to the festival, to make some more money (though as far as I understood, the festival wasn’t losing money).

An anonymous friend tells me that perhaps it has to do that the organizers know there is a very loyal crowd that will always come, so they stopped catering and caring for them. I doubt that. I do think the organizers are not like that at all. I just think they are branching out, being naive perhaps. I wouldn’t think they have Machiavellian intentions. I myself think the next wave of announcements will leave all criticism behind, that they will announce the better bands. They just needed to have some bigger names on this first announcement so the press part got rolling.  I trust them.

Dean Wareham is a surprise indeed. I’m not sure how are his shows. Galaxie 500 is definitely a cool band. I’m not going to argue against that. But will Dean play some of his old songs? Perhaps. Will Dean sound poppy enough? Who knows. I think he is fitted for the church venue. But as a headliner, perhaps he won’t. We’ll see. I will definitely skip this one too.

Rocketship. The first band that is repeating from NYC Popfest. So here’s the deal. If I see a great gig at NYC Popfest, I’ll be front row at Indietracks. I already expressed my excitement and my doubts about them. Half of Rocketship material is legendary. The other half is un-listenable. In any case, I find it a true success to get the band over the Atlantic. How many legendary US bands get to play the UK many years after their heyday?! Now… here’s an idea that just occurred to me. Doesn’t one of the Holiday guys live in London? Why not reunite them too. That is a band I’d DIE to see!

Withered Hand. Not indiepop. Don’t care. Didn’t he play some London Popfest? I think I was louder than him singing with a microphone. Ugh.

Spearmint! Second band to repeat! Damn. It seems I’m jinxed. Maybe it was a bad idea to attend both festivals! I trust that Spearmint will be great, glorious, poppy, everything I love about them, all of that, they will make it in real life. As I said on my previous post, this band I won’t be missing. Please, main stage for them.

The Spook School. Third band to repeat from NYC Popfest! They repeat Indietracks too after two years? I love Spook School, I love the band, I love the songs, I love everything about them. Not that keen about the no-repeat policy thing to be ignored though I have to admit. Even though I want to see them again, a thousand times. But to put them in the league of Smittens or Allo Darlin, that was not cool. They are better, and more exciting than that. Nevertheless there’s no going back. Count me in for seeing them at the main stage.

The Popguns. This makes me the happiest. As I said lines above I’m very much looking forward to one of the best indiepop bands from the 80s. From what my French friends that got to see them in Paris I know they won’t disappoint. I hear they sound as thrilling as ever. I can’t wait. Front row. Photo with the band. Buying all merch. Support 100%!

Sweet Baboo. Let’s Wrestle. The Wellgreen. The Yawns. ONSIND. Better skip them.

Franny & Zooey. Fourth band that repeats NYC Popfest. Though this makes me happy! First Latin American band to play Indietracks. Who would have thought! I wouldn’t have. Me coming originally from South America, I would have never thought that it would be a Dominican band, and not a Brazilian or Mexican band, the first to play Indietracks. An achievement!

Thee Ahs. New record coming out soon. A fun gig last year at NYC Popfest. The Canadian band is a treat. Who can forget Sarah’s white t-shirt with a bikini printed on it. A classic of last years. Lots of fun, raucous pop. Hope they haven’t “matured” their sound!

Lost Tapes. Fifth band that repeats! That’s already five bands! That would make a whole festival day at any other festival. Oh well. For me this is great news though, as the band will be able to keep selling and promoting the 7″ we put out earlier this year. For me, one of the best new bands out there at the moment, and I’ll finally see them for the first time this Sunday! I’ll let you know how that goes!

The Blue Minkies. Here I have to make a stop. MANY THANKS to MARIANTHI for this band. I may be wrong, but I only know two Blue Minkies fans in the world. Marianthi and Daniel So Tough So Cute. This must have been Marianthi booking them or suggesting them, or something. I’m eternally thankful. This is like the rare treat. Like that time that Dorotea reformed. I’m very happy, so thrilled, that this will be one of the one bands that I won’t miss, that I will try to get their setlist and all. Hopefully they even bring merch. Please don’t put them on the church or in the train. At least on the shed. Lots of points here for team indietracks, bringing a superb band back to the indiepop scene!

Night Flowers. The last band for now. A newish band that I’m really enjoying. They have a new release coming out, and that is great. Hopefully won’t be sold out until Indietracks because I’d like a copy. Their sound is fresh, juvenile, and dreamy. It does remind us all of the Pains, not the early ones with distortion, but the later ones, with British accent and a more shoegazey nerve. I dare to say that they have a bright future ahead of them, and I look forward to seeing them. Again, I modestly ask, no church, no train, for them!

So that’s more or less what I’m looking forward to. What are you looking forward? At least at this point I know that there won’t be many clashes to worry about! 🙂


The Starke Adolf compilations have been on standby for some time now. I kind of lost interest in doing them mostly because a lack of interest in the Swedish bands I’ve been asking to contribute songs. Feels it’s like pulling teeth. So hard to get me a WAV, a photo and some liner notes. I understand sometimes life gets in the way, that there are other priorities, but I tell you, I’ve had answers like “nobody would have interest in listening to these songs again”. Can you imagine?!

There was one band that I wanted to add to the 2nd volume of the Starke Adolf that I just remembered today. I exchanged some emails through Soundcloud with Kris and agreed to include it. The song was “TVP Wannabes”, the band was “Gang of One.”

As far as I know it was a duo formed by Kris and Jenny. Jenny from Strawberry Fair (perhaps I should ask her for help, she was so great when I included Strawberry Fair on the first volume). My first encounter with their songs was AGES ago on soulseek. I can’t recall who I got these songs from, possibly Dimitra, who always had the latest stuff from the Swedish kids of that day. I’m talking about 2004 or so.

The songs I heard the time were three “Target Practice”, “Something to Do” and “TVP Wannabes”. The first and second were covers, Henry’s Dress and Bubba and the Shop Assistants, obviously. The third song though was for me a one-hit wonder, a true classic, a song that could have been an hymn for those days. A song whose lyrics expressed what we all have thought about hipsters, posers and wannabes. They put it all so perfectly in words.

Ah! how I love how they namedrop the Funday Mornings in between McCarthy, Felt, or the TVPs. You require a lot of guts to do that! Anyhow, I just thought you’d enjoy this song, and discover one of these obscure projects from that time, the time I fell in love with indiepop, with Swedish pop, with Sweden. I’ll see if I can find out more about them. Maybe I get a renewed interest on the Sound of Starke Adolf series. That’d be total happiness!


Gang of One – TVP Wannabes


I’m feeling quite sick today, sore throat, maybe starting to get a cold, but as I promised last week, I think it’s good time to go through the NYC Popfest lineup. Though before doing that I want to tell that I have started work on the 9th Cloudberry fanzine. I’ve started to contact the bands that will be featured as well as the ones that will contribute tracks for the 3″ CD. Hopefully it will be ready by Indietracks time. I’d love to sell a bunch there! Now let’s start getting excited about NYC Popfest!

I’ll only go through the bands I’m excited to see, in alphabetical order.

The Arctic Flow – I believe they will be playing the free Saturday show at Spike Hill. They will go on first. I don’t seem to find online the schedule for Popfest but I’ve seen some of it on Facebook. The Arctic Flow were invited last year to play but they didn’t come. I think it had to do with playing solo or something like that, I can’t remember. In any case I’m very glad that Brian is coming to play to NYC the beautiful songs that he has been crafting for many years now. I’ve really liked the few things I’ve heard, the EP on Holiday Records and lately the 3″ on Little Treasure. I definitely want to see this band.

Bart & Friends – Of course! I think this is one of the bands I’m looking forward the most. I’m pretty sure they will be playing on Friday at The Knitting Factory. I had the chance to work with Bart on a little 3″ some time ago and later I’ve been enjoying the EPs on both Matinée and Shelflife. Bart is an indiepop hero, The Cat’s Miaow, his previous band, is one of my favourite bands ever. It is no surprise I’ve interviewed Bart in this blog so many times, talking about each of his projects, from Girl of the World to Pencil Tin to Cat’s Miaow and more. I’ve heard some rumors that as many in the band are librarians they will be visiting some of NYC libraries. Exciting! Extra points for the band as I will finally meet Scott Stevens (who is part of the Friends part), an old friend from Summer Cats! So far I had the chance to meet Hugh and the other Scott, Brewer, of the Cats. So this is pretty cool. Also Scott S used to be in The Earthmen who also appeared on an interview in the blog. We have agreed on having some great dinner that Friday before the show! Good times!

Colour Me Wednesday – In due honesty, I haven’t followed them in all these years they’ve been playing gigs. I have always missed their gigs when I’ve been in the UK. Their recordings remind me a bit of a band I used to love in the mid-00s, The Sorayas (from Sweden). This is punky indiepop, but has that Britishness that I like. Not sure what day they’ll be playing, or where, though I’m hoping they are a nice surprise for me.

Don’t Cry Shopgirl – Very VERY excited to see them. It’s been some months since they appeared on Facebook. I remember writing some lines about them here on the blog, and then just after that, hanging out all the time at Indietracks with Astrid and John. Sweet people! It’s interesting how friendship happens! Astrid is perhaps a bit more known as she plays solo with a project called Northern Spies. Under that name I saw her play in a packed wagon at Indietracks while everyone was sweating and then months later here in NYC. Actually she is in NYC now too! The truth is, after listening to their songs for the first time I knew I had to release them. So yes, there will be a Cloudberry 7″ by them this year. We’ve been working on the artwork this week actually! They will also be playing the free show on Saturday and I think this is one that I will say you can’t miss!

The Flatmates – I am going to see them. I’m not sure what to expect. Martin and Rocker are the only original members. I like Brian and Lisa, but I have to say I’m very skeptical after the single they released (mostly due to the artwork being kind of terrible). But The Flatmates are the The Flatmates, a band that I’ve always loved, so I’ll be there front row. Let’s see what happens.

Franny & Zooey – A band I must have seen as many times as Allo’ Darlin haha. I must really love them. I could tell so many anecdotes and stuff about them, but I think it has to wait. I may have seen them around 10 times  play here in NYC and I’m happy to call them my friends. Real friends, the kind you go for beers every single weekend. In the last few years I’ve seen an evolution in their songs that I can assure you that you’ll be surprised by their next release. They’ve gone full indiepop! I believe they’ll be playing Cake Shop on Thursday, hopefully not opening because I may miss them because of work! It’d be a shame because it’s been months since they left NYC and they are coming back especially for this gig, so crossing fingers!

Gingerlys – It was Ed Shelflife that tipped me about them while eating Korean food here in NYC months ago. I think he will be putting out a 7″ by them. I was so surprised that a band this good in NYC hadn’t been under my radar. Then I tipped Maz. Then I’m very happy that they’ll be playing Popfest! May be the best new band in town. One of the bands I look forward to seeing the most. And that’s because I’ve been unable to attend any of their shows yet! Terrible me!

Gold-Bears – Jeremy is back. Who’s coming with him? He always finds the cool musicians, though I must admit I loved the first incarnation the most with Erich and Santiago. Mostly because they were so cool haha. Anyways, the Gold-Bears have a new album coming out and it’s coming in a white and green sleeve that I had to Photoshop some days ago! Energy, excitement, and fast guitars, that’s what they bring. I can see them many times and will never have enough. One of the happiest moments of Cloudberry is indeed when we released their 7″. Now I’m hoping to hear their new song as well as their classics. Can’t wait for my favourite This Poison wannabes 😉

The Haywains – So yes, you know that the Haywains 7″ is coming out on Cloudberry just for NYC Popfest time. What can I say about the legend that The Haywains are? You’d think they’d sound boring and mature after 20 years. But when you listen the 7″ songs that’s not the case. They sound as fresh as ever. Fresh as a lettuce! And what’s even better is that I can assure you that live they are one of the funnest bands I’ve ever seen. Their Madrid Popfest show that I attended last year was glorious. I think this might be one of the gigs of the year for me. They are playing Knitting Factory of Friday too. I believe they are the headliners that night? Anyways, I just can’t wait. Can’t WAIT! Oh! and they will also be appearing on the next Cloudberry zine I was talking about earlier…

Heathers – Because they sound alright on bandcamp, though they are terrible with emails. I’m still waiting for my copy of the 7″ 🙂

Lost Tapes – Our last 7″ we released was by this Spanish band, and what an EP it is. It’s lush. It’s beautiful. Precious even. It’s classy. It can remind you of moments of the 80s, postcards of Brighter and The Field Mice. It’s no surprise they’ve been just touring the West Coast and now they are playing at SXSW. They will be playing next week at Cake Shop too where I’ll meet them in person for the first time. They’ve been invited to Copenhagen Popfest and Indietracks too. It seems this is their year. One of the best new bands around for sure. Quality.

Marine Life – A band I’ve never heard before. But I’m liking what I hear on Bandcamp. It says their debut single will be coming out on Elefant. That’s a big deal isn’t it? Especially as this doesn’t sound like all the 60s influenced bands that Elefant seems to be preferring these days. Marine Life reminds me to many of the American bands from the 90s. #Poundsign# anyone? Worth checking out the live set.

My Favorite – The quintessential NYC indiepop band. The one and only. The first one. My Favorite is back. I could write so much about them because I love them. That’s why I wanted to release The Secret History album last year. That’s why this year I’m teaming up with them for a co-release of a reissue of Love at Absolute Zero on vinyl. Hopefully later this year the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen of their early recordings will be released too. Dream come true. More importantly, seeing them live, after all my Swedish friends always raved and boasted about their tour in their country, with the pinnacle of Hultsfred festival when My Favorite became a cult band, that’s a dream come true.

Pam & Bart perform as THE CAT’S MIAOW & THE SHAPIROS – This might be the intimate moment at Popfest. It may need a lot of beer to keep me going after getting all sentimental by these songs. When it’s the Cat’s Miaow Pam is not Kerrie, but she is still Pam. She has the voice. It will be definitely interesting to hear. The Shapiros? Match made in heaven. Never thought I’d listen to them. Btw, there’s also a Shapiros interview in the blog!

Rocketship – Another classic band. For many indiepop heroes and legends. For me a fabulous, an outstanding band, that in their earlier period released their most magnificent stuff. The 90s were glorious for Rocketship. The 00s not so much. That Garden of Delights album was the biggest letdown. Here I’m hoping then to hear the indiepop songs, the ones that made Rocketship a band loved by everyone! (also playing at indietracks)

Spearmint – This was perhaps the biggest surprise (maybe not much as a surprise now after they’ve also been announced for Indietracks). I didn’t think they were still going you know. The band fronted by Shirley Lee has been a favourite of mine for so many years. I’ve djed many times their songs, and I remember always having this sort of paradigm about loving their song “The Flaming Lips” and hating the band by the same name! In any case, a band that name drops Said Liquidator in a song, or the BMX Bandits in another, well, that’s a band I love. It’s funny that the day they were announced for Popfest I was actually listening to their A Week Away album. Coincidences. Destiny. I don’t know. But it’s great!

The Spook School – Cloudberry graduates with one 7″ two years ago. Time flies! I thought it was just last year. When I saw them play at Indietracks 2012 I knew they could be big. They are so talented. They are so much fun. And Niall, the drummer, is party personified. Last year they released their first album and what a cracker it was. I feel they will be one of the bands New Yorkers will like the most. Funny how when Nye was living here they didn’t play, now that she is gone the whole gang is coming for it. Life has that kind of things. But the timing couldn’t be more perfect! They are such a treat!

Stars in Coma – I saw Stars in Coma in Berlin Indiepop days. At a small venue. It was nice. I saw André once too when I djed at a little venue in Malmö ages ago. Those were the days. There’s a connection of course with Cloudberry. There was a 3″CD very early on when the label was just starting. There was also a CD album that we released through Plastilina. Stars in Coma is so prolific. I’ve lost count how many releases they have now. But what I do know for sure is that there is a whole bunch of fantastic songs that you should start discovering.

The Zebras – I like them though I’ve never been head over heels for them. They make great luminous pop. Classy, smart, elegant. I stopped following them in 2007 or so. Why? I don’t know. I guess it didn’t connect as other bands do. BUT, I’m hoping to get excited by them once again. The song “Chase” on the NYC Popfest page is very STRONG. If they have more like this one, I might fall in love!


Über obscure band today. Let’s roll back to 1988.

That year sees the release of a 7″ by a band that sounds more 1984 than 1988. They are called Mexico Red. The songs included are “Eternal Flame” and “Follow me to Heaven”. Both of them are beautiful. They were meant to be classics. They should have been in the Leamington Spa compilations that my friend Uwe has stopped releasing.

They have elegance and class. “Eternal Flame” even has trumpets. Oh I melt. The question arises immediately, with a single this strong, that these days is highly sought after, how have they disappeared from the face of the Earth?

Where does the name come from? Definitely they must have liked Mexico or at least Mexican food (can’t blame them). The Red part? Maybe they liked the idea of a communist Mexico? Who knows. The cover art is beautifully illustrated in black and white. A sad looking girl that seems to have a knife in her belt.

The credits on the back sleeve just add more to the mystery. Lyrics and Music by Del Kwai. Who was Del Kwai? It’s enough of a strange name, but google doesn’t really help me find him.

The label that put out the record was Hummingbird Records.  Possibly a self-release.

The 7″ according to Popsike also included an insert. Not so sure what says in it. I sadly don’t own the record. But maybe someone out there does? And can help us with the insert?

Anyone out there remember them? Where in the UK where they from? Did they have more songs? Would love to know a bit more about them! Hopefully someone can help!


Mexico Red – Eternal Flame


Thanks so much to Martin Sernestrand for the interview! 2014 marks 10 years since My Secret Garden Recordings started as a label in Goteborg, Sweden. For us nostalgic people seeing the new Facebook page that Martin put together has brought many smiles and memories. You should all make yourselves fans! The label was a true DIY project, small runs of 25 to 50 CD-Rs for every release. All done with passion. Among the releases we remember bands like Evergreen Days, Everyday Sensations, Penny Century or my favourites Fibi Frap. It didn’t live long, but the legacy, at least for me, is really rich. Time for you to discover (or rediscover) this great label from the last golden age of Swedish indiepop!

++ Hi Martin! How are you? First thing first. It’s been already 10 years since My Secret Garden Recordings started. Looking back in time, how do you feel your releases have aged?

Hi! I’m fine, just a little bit cold. But it is getting better day by day. Yes, it is unbelievable. 10 years! Time just seems to fly away. I was actually listening through all the releases the other day. Overall I think they still hold up to the same standard as before. In my opinion they have aged well and are still relevant.

++ Where did the name of My Secret Garden Recordings come from?

It is a Depeche mode song. Taken from the album “A Broken frame”.

++ Was this your first label project? What about music, do you play any instrument, have you been in bands?

Yes, it was my fist label. I had ideas of starting a label before but this was the first time a sat my plans in to reality. I myself don’t play any instrument. But I have been in some bands when I was young. I played bass in a band when I was around 14 years old but when they realized I couldn’t play they made me the singer. But I couldn’t sing either so I got the sack. Lol! Some years ago I did some unlistenable electronic music under the alias J.Fryer (ie John Fryer).

++ What pushed you to start the label? And did you ever consider it doing it with more people, or was it always a one-man project since the start?

It all started with my fanzine No Disco in the early 00’s. Through that I got a lot of contact with bands and one day the idea of starting a label and releasing the music I liked came to me. It’s sort of grew on me. I didn’t thought about it too much. It just came naturally. I have always been a loner so to speak. Not that I don’t have any friends but I like doing things alone and I’m more comfortable doing projects like this alone. Maybe I’m a little bit of a control freak. I don’t know.

++ Most (if not all?) your releases were releases on CDR. Why the format? Did you burn them yourself, one by one?

It’s a perfect format. It’s cheap, fast and you can do almost everything yourself. I did everything together with the artists/bands. Layout, track list and even song titles. It was very diy.

++ Do you remember the sort of “infrastructure” of the label? Was it all bedroom based?

I guess you can call it bedroom based yes. As I said before. I tried to do everything myself but with some help from the artists/bands. The goal was to keep it as cheap and simple as possible. But the end product still should be something that people wanted to have, pay for or steal from me.

++ And who took care of the artwork for the label?

I did almost all the artwork. Sometimes the artists/bands had an idea but it was always I who did (copy and paste) the final product.

++ Are there any labels that you’d say influenced you in starting your own or influenced you in how to shape it?

Yes, of course. There were (and still is) a lot of labels (and people) that I adored back then. None mentioned, none forgotten. The whole diy ethics was very important to me. I wanted to have a close contact with both the artists/bands and the ones who bought the records and listened to the music. A lot of people wrote me letters and e-mails and the whole diy community was very nice and friendly.

++ Where you always based in Gothenburg? I was curious if you ever attended the famous Starke Adolf club and if you could share experiences of those halcyon days?!

I was born in a small town just outside Gothenburg. When I was 12 years old me and my family moved to Borås (about 70 kilometers from Gothenburg). Then in 2003 I moved back to Gothenburg and I still live here now. Of course I attended Starke Adolf. Many times! It was a blast. I look back very nostalgic about those years now. All those people, labels, fanzines and bands. It was fantastic!

++ Have you ever thought about you or anyone else releasing any of the stuff from your catalog? How would you feel about that?

Not at the time. Back then I was very stubborn. A lot of people wanted me to re-release stuff that was sold out but I decided not to do that. For me it was very important. All the stuff was released in 25 or 50 copies. I wanted it to be something…I don’t know…but I wanted it to feel special to have one of those releases. To hold them in your hands. But I know a lot of people, beyond my control, uploaded songs and made it digitally available. Which I always thought was cool.

++ How much of an impact would you say My Secret Garden Recordings had in the Swedish scene? At that time there were many small labels, wondering if at all you feel part of a scene then?

I’m the wrong person to say so or even speak about my own label in that way. But yes, there were a lot of small independent labels in Sweden back then. And still are. It was not only Swedish people I had contact with. I spoked with people all around the world. The diy community was (and is) very big and because of the internet you can very easily stay in contact with people from all different countries. 

++ Are you still in touch with the artists you released back in the day? What are they doing now?

I’m still in contact with some of them via Facebook and other social medias. But less and less over the years. Too bad.

++ There’s really not a full discography online for the label. Would you mind writing it down for me?

I have just posted it on the official My Secret Garden Recordings FB page (https://www.facebook.com/notes/my-secret-garden-recordings/discography/496466800464379?stream_ref=10). I can post here also if you want. Or?

++ Something about the label is how personal it was, there are these sort of pre-raphaelite and art nouveau influences in it. That’s something that caught my attention. How important and how planned was this aesthetic for your label?

Yes, you are very attentive. It was a style (and still are) that I liked a lot. And I think that a lot of the releases, especially the Evergreen days releases, was very well planned. I wanted the music and the lay out to go hand in hand so you can see and feel what it all was about. Me and Emelie Berg (ie Evergreen days) seemed to have the same thought about almost everything (regarding the artistic appearance) without actually talking too much about it.

++ And abroad, outside of Sweden, how was the support for My Secret Garden Recordings?

Really overwhelming actually. I got a lot of feedback and good response from all over the world. Good reviews and a lot of people writing about the label and the artists/bands. Especially in Asia, North America and some parts of South America.

++ How did it work for you to put out a release, from finding a band, releasing their records, organizing gigs, or promoting them? What was the best part of it all?

Most of the time I contacted an artist/band (sometimes the other way around) that I liked and asked if they wanted to release something on My Secret Garden Recordings. If they said yes they sent some songs to me. And then I decided what songs I wanted to release. Either they got an idea for the sleeve art or I made a proposal. After everything was done I pressed the actual release and sold it via my webpage. I never organized any gigs but I got some help promoting my releases via blogs and fanzines all over the world. Also sold some stuff via different online stores like Fraction discs (http://www.fractiondiscs.se) and so on.

++ I think the most regarded releases of yours are the ones by Evergreen Days. How beautiful are the songs. She was also your first release. How did Evergreen Days ended up in My Secret Garden Recordings?

I meet Emelie Berg (ie Evergreen days) through mutual friends and I had since before knew and listen to her other project called The Set Designers. After buying the seven inch single released with The Set Designers Emelie Berg sent me some new songs on cd-r. After hearing these songs I immediately asked if I could release these songs. And so My Secret Garden Recordings had started. 

++ Is there any Swedish band right now that you feel would have fit perfectly in your label? And what about back in the day when you were running the label?

A lot. But if I should mention a few I would say Action Biker, Paddington Distortion Combo, Compute, The Honeydrips and Strawberry fair.

++ I remember you collaborated with some other people like Robots And Electronic Brains. How did these come up?

I can’t remember exactly but I think Jimmy at Robots And Electronic Brains contacted me after hearing about the label. He had reviewed some of the releases and even some issues of my fanzine No disco. He asked me if I wanted to be included on the compilation and I said yes.

++ You were supposed to release one final compilation album if my mind is not playing tricks on me. I think I have good memory. What happened to that compilation and where the songs to be included are still unreleased?

Yes, you are correct. Back in the days I was supposed to release one last compilation called “This Was My Secret Garden”. It was supposed to be released late 2005 or early 2006 I think. But I got tired and lost the motivation to release it so it was never actually released. There are still some unreleased songs yes.

++ When and why did you decide to call it a day? Do you miss running the label?

Late 2005 or early 2006 I think. As I said before I got tired and lost the motivation. Sometimes I miss running the label. Sometimes not. I actually thinking of releasing some stuff for the 10 year celebration later this year.

++ And these days to what do you dedicate your time? Any other hobbies?

I work as a teacher. It takes a lot of my time. I still listen to a lot of music and still buy a lot of records. One of my hobbies is to collect different stuff (Depeche mode records, retro video games, comic books and Star Wars action figures).

++ And do you still follow the indiepop scene these days?

Sorry but no, not that much. Not like 10 or 15 years ago.

++ Looking back in time, is there anything else you’d have liked to do with the label that you didn’t have the chance to? And what would you say was the proudest moment of the label?

I would have loved to have released more stuff. But at the same time I decided to quit because I got tired and lost the motivation so I guess I can’t blame myself too much. It wouldn’t have been right to release stuff I didn’t liked or wanted to release. The proudest moment of the label?! Hmm, holding the first releases in my hands, hearing the songs on the radio, reading about the artists/bands in a fanzine or on a blog, getting hand written letters from people all around the world and so on and so on…

++ As a music person, that was involved in many ways, I want to ask you what’s your take about music in this age? Do you think physical records can survive a little longer?

Oh, I don’t know. But I hope so. I love to buy and listen to music on physical records. Any format is great. I just heard a program (on the Swedish radio P2) about cassettes and that people is starting to buy and listening to music more and more on cassettes. So who knows? But at the same time free digital music maybe would end a lot of unnecessary consumption that in the end isn’t good for the planet.

++ And one last question, what do you think is the most rewarding part of running a label? And if you’d recommend anyone to do something like it?

In my mind it is time well spent. You should know that it takes a lot of time. But it is fun and rewarding. Be sure to release music that you love and don’t care about what other people think or say about it. Unless it is good words, words that will make you feel good!

Peace out!


Evergreen Days – Tonight


Getting in a better mood here at Cloudberry HQ after the New York Popfest lineup announcement. So, I’m going to promise that next week I’ll go over the bands and share with you all my expectations, my hopes and everything that has to do with this fantastic event that will paint this city with indiepop.

There are a couple of Cloudberry news that I want you to be aware of too. First is that The Rileys CDs are finally home. I started shipping them today! If you haven’t got a copy, maybe now it’s the time! They look and sound fantastic!

The other piece of news is that The Haywains 7″ is now being pressed at the factory. It’s official release date is for their show at NYC Popfest but I’m sure it will be ready before that. So keep an eye or pre-order now!

As I was saying, not a classic post this week either. I bring you yet another interview I did from the vaults. This time one from May 21, 2007. Long time ago! Cloudberry at that time had only existed for 4 months. This interview was conducted by Fabien Garcia (from Anorak Records) for his Anorak fanzine. A printed zine. The interview was published in the second issue of this zine written in French. So most of you never understood what was going on. Here is the English version. Hope you like it. I feel I haven’t changed much.

1 – Tell us a bit about the history of Plastilina Records, Mira el Pendulo and Cloudberry Records. What were your first motivations ? How did you choose those names ?

Plastilina Records starts in Lima, Peru around January 2006. We were four geeky friends (Jalito, Jose Emanuel, Sete and me) in love for indiepop and as a result that there’s no indiepop in our city we decided putting a label together. What we wanted was to release and support the bands that we liked. Everything we do is in hope that we could create some indiepop scene in Lima. We are still looking to release a local band. Oh yes, the name means Play Do, or plasticine, you know that colorful (and nutritive) material you used as a kid to make some nice “sculptures”. Pop is colorful right? I guess that’s the reason.

About Mira el Péndulo, well, the name is taken from a nineties cult Spanish band, El Niño Gusano. It means Watch the Pendulum. That was my moniker in some forums I used to participate. I used to write in some of them about new music. Not many people cared about that so I decided to start my own blog. That was November 2004. There werent really any motivations when I started, I thought no one was going to read me to be honest. I have never thought about myself as a writer or journalist but something has to be wrong with people, because everyday they flock to the site! I receive so many visits and half of them don’t speak Spanish! My friend Romina from Argentina usually writes in the blog too!

My latest adventure is Cloudberry. On this one I’m going solo. At first, as most stuff a boy does it was to impress and do it together with a girl. Oh well, it didnt work out, we broke up just before the first release. Cloudberry is actually the backlash of the C-06 tape that I released with my blog. After the success of this tape I noticed I could run a label by my own and that I didnt need much money It could be done in a DIY manner (an attitude that I still think can change the world) and that I could try to fix all the stuff that I see wasn’t working with many labels that are indie but seem corporate monsters. I went “personal”, I believe that the label and the listener are in the same ground, so I’m in my way building friendships with bands and fans all over. That is what I believe indiepop is, we are a community, and I have Cloudberry as a mean to get everybody together. Cloudberry has the intention to release most of the bands I like, on a different format, a 3″ cd-r single, as I think the “single” is the best format for indiepop. Would anyone disagree on this one?

2 – Was it difficult getting started ? Or did you get advice from other people ?

To be honest it wasn’t difficult to start. I started all of my ideas silently without telling anyone. I was very sure of what I was doing. It doesnt take much brains to know what this is all about. I’ve got advice and doubts of people along, sure, but I have very strong convictions on this projects and what they are aiming.

3 – How do you choose the bands ? Do you mostly find the bands for your records through demos, the web or asking ?

Choosing bands is what I like the most about the labels. I love scouting! I go on the web for hours and look for new bands and new sounds. I do this everyday, mainly because I update my blog daily. Then it’s pretty easy, I write to the bands I like and ask if they are interested to put something out. Usually they are interested. I’ve found some bands by them submitting me demos but that doesn’t happen very often, I must say.

4 – What’s your favourite record you’ve put out and which record are you most proud of (if there’s one…) ?

My favourite record is Amida’s EP “Arts & Crafts” that we released on Plastilina last February. I think this band is going to be great, they just make the music I like the most, you know, accelerated jangly guitars, playful keyboards and quirky vocals. It’s C-86 today. You can listen The Bodines in them, you can even go to Postcard Records time and find influences there. It’s just my cup of tea. We had never released an EP before as they require more effort from our side, but I thought that this band deserved it. And I’m proud of the result, they recorded 6 smashing tunes!

5 – What are your favourite bands and which band would you dream to sign and why ?

My favourite bands… McCarthy of course, that is THE BAND. Then I love early Wedding Present, nobody can beat Gedge guitars and what about his howling? I like the Field Mice a lot, Stockholm Monsters, TVPs, Fat Tulips, TCR, Throw that Beat in the Garbagecan, Los Planetas, The Man from Delmonte, Alaska y los Pegamoides, Would be Goods, The Hit Parade (Julian Henry is one of my heroes!), etc etc. I have so many favourite bands I admit!

I’ve just made a dream come true and I’ve signed St. Christopher on Plastilina. I’m speechless.

6 – Which label is a model or an influence for you ?

Of course Sarah. What they meant for all of us is such a huge influence still. All of our indiepop values come from all those writings and ideas Matt and Clare left and also for that almost perfect catalog they put out. I also love Siesta Records, they have created such an strong identity based on aesthetics. But then I’ve been influenced by mainly small labels, today I really like Yellow Mica and Fabulous Friend, I think Cloudberry shares a lot of values with them. The sound that I look for comes from small labels like A Turntable Friend, Waaaaaah, Heaven, Tea Time, 53rd and 3rd, even Subway that is a bit bigger. Those obscure little labels are what I adore. Plastilina on the other hand looks up to Matinee or Elefant, it’s sound is much more eclectic but always inside the indiepop spectre. I feel a strong connection with Music is My Girlfriend and Fruit Records, two labels that started around the same time as us and have a very similar approach.

7 – Tell us a bit more about Mira el Pendulo. Why did you created this webzine ? Who writes MeP ? Why don’t you write a fanzine instead of a webzine ?

That is a question I have in my mind too. I would love to write a fanzine like yours. I need to get organized with my time first, but that’s a project I want to do in the near future. There isnt a good reason for why I haven’t done it yet aside from me getting busier with the labels, my studies and my job.

Mira el Pendulo as I said is going for it’s third anniversary. We do interviews, reviews and sometimes some little essays. There have been several contributors during this time, but none can keep with the fast pace I have of a daily band review. So they usually leave. The only one that has been with me for a long time and still is, is Romina, from Buenos Aires. She’s lovely, when she is not writing she is correcting all my grammar mistakes haha.

The zine was created as a response to the multiplying mp3 blogs in English and the almost non-existant in Spanish. I was a bit annoyed that most blogs in English are very anglo-centric, I would never see a review of an Indonesian band, or a Brazilian band, so this is a response to that. I embrace all pop bands, from every corner. I love that! I think indiepop is a global thing.

8 – Have you ever been in a band or wanted to ?

I want to start a band. I just dont know people that will play with me! I want that badly, I love writing songs. I had three band experiences. With the first two I had some compilation releases in my country, Peru. Both of them on compilations by indie magazine “69”. The first band was called Demolicion! (name taken from a huge Peruvian garage hit by Los Saicos – that’s the 60s) and we played Spanish 80s punk-pop in the vein of Los Nikis. That was 2002. In 2004 I formed with other friends Los Rebeldes Walkie Talkie, a twee-punk outfit that sounded in between Bearsuit and Your Place or Mine, that time I had such a great time. The name is a homage to the terrific Hello Cuca! from Spain. Last year again with some other friends we formed Aguacate Nena! a more poppy band but it didn’t work out, after two months of rehearsals and no recordings, we split. Now I’m looking to form a new band.

9 – The most perfect pop song in the world for you is ?

What a difficult question! I’ll answer you from the top of my head as I think that would be the most honest thing to do, Hey Paulette – I Really Do Love Penelope. Like One Thousand Violins and You Should All be Murdered have to come very near to perfection for me too.

10 – What’s coming out in the next months on Plastilina and Cloudberry ?

On Plastilina The Occasional Flickers album should be released in mid July. It’s a jangle pop band from Greece, though the main member has just moved to Edinburgh. If you like The Lucksmiths, Another Sunny Day or This Happy Feeling bands, this is for you. After that Kawaii’s second album and St. Christopher Sarah Years retrospective should be out this year.

Cloudberry is very very very busy. I haven’t given details to anybody about the future releases as I keep this very quiet, but as this is a fanzine, and I LOVE fanzines (there’s nothing like printed paper!), I’ll give you a list of some future releases that are confirmed! The Westfield Mining Disaster, The Morning Paper, Twig, Robert Church & The Holy Community, Bedroom Eyes, Scottish Polis Inspectors, Hari and Aino, The Local Heroes, Signed Papercuts, Matador Jose, The Electric Pop Group and many many more!

11 – What do you enjoy to do outside the labels and Mira el Pendulo ? What are your hobbies ?

The other passion I have is football. I love it. I even love playing videogames like Pro Evolution Soccer. That’s my favourite one! I play with Arsenal and for a time I was first place in the online ranking of XBOX… then I moved and as the XBOX was my roomates I dont play online anymore. I love reading and watching movies. French Cinema is what I like the most. And Im not saying this because Anorak City is French! I love Eric Rohmer’s movies so much. The Antoine Doinel series are great too, I always felt identified with him. And if it’s not a pretty obvious thing to say my main hobby is collecting records.

Now I’m also doing some DJing on Wednesday’s night on a pop party we are throwing every Wednesday, this is a lot of fun too.

12 – The last word…

Merci Fabien so much, it’s been an honor, I never thought I’ll be answering interviews in my life! But if I had to say something I’ll say what lovely Sheggi used to say: DON’T STOP INDIEPOP!



Now into the obscure, dark, and lost pages of indiepop history. Bands that are forgotten. Names that don’t ring a bell. Places that have been erased from our collective memory. Time to unearth yet another band, The Catchmen.

The sound of seagulls greet us when we start playing the opening song of the one and only 7″ they released. The song, “Everybody’s Looking for the Sun”, has a cheery vibe, beachy even, that reminds some classic guitar pop bands from the late 80s like 35 Summers or The Bloody Marys. A simple but yet effective song with a catchy chorus full of “ta-da-ta-tas” and strong riffs.

The B side, “Wet Than Dry”, is the total opposite. This is a song for winter definitely. The summery feeling is gone, and now the band is in true depression. A sadder tune, less upbeat, they sound heartbroken even.

What does Catchman mean by the way? The dictionary tells us:
one who sorts floating logs according to owner’s mark by deflecting them with a pike pole

Not my area of expertise. Logs? Pike poles? No clue. Must be something people do in the countryside.

The first time I heard this record was the A side on the From a Northern Place blog. Later Joel would send me the B side.

There is no date for the release of this record anywhere although Discogs and 45cat have it listed. We do know though that it was released (most possibly self-released) by Taking Liberties Records. The catalog being TL-1.

I feel it was more of a promo 7″, from the scan on 45cat we see on the back cover a handwritten message saying to ring Dennis if anyone wanted more information. I assume Dennis was part of the band. No other names are associated to this band sadly.

Google doesn’t give any more clues. Possibly the record is quite scarce if it was pressed just for promo. I wonder who knows anything else about them? Where were they from? English possibly, but from which city or town? Did they record more songs? Whatever happened to them?

Would love to know a bit more. Who can do the detective job for me and track them down?


The Catchmen – Everybody’s Looking for the Sun


Thanks so much to Graham Wakefield for this interview! The Primary Colours only released one 7″ in 1987, but what a great piece of guitar pop it is! Classic indiepop! These days the members of Primary Colours still go on making music under the name of Wily. You can become a fan on Facebook here. Now enjoy the story behind the music!

++ Hi there! Thanks so much for being up for this interview! So these days you are called Wily and in the late 80s you were The Primary Colours. When did you change names? And what would you say are the main differences between the two bands if any?

We had been playing and recording as The Primary Colours for about 8 years and had given it our best shot to make it professionally. We had received some interest and recognition through the single (Don’t Tell Me) and other demo recordings but had not had the break we were looking for. The live music scene was changing with many venues closing or putting on only tribute bands or Karaoke. We were becoming more disillusioned with the whole music scene and we were at a crossroads. We still wanted to play and record and so we decided to reinvent ourselves again but no longer ‘chase the dream’.

We started to write songs with different influences (including REM, Radiohead, Oasis etc)  but also add more 1960s covers to the set. We became Wily in March 1996…… the same personnel but with a different set and outlook.

++ How did this long lasting friendship start? When and how did you all meet?

Founding members Atheesan Arudsothy and Andy Jackson were at school together and started jamming when they were 13 years old. Graham Wakefield was at the same school but a couple of years below them. He started playing in a band with Atheesan in c1977. Simon Gillmore was playing the drums for a mutual friend’s band and we all at some point played in bands together, although nothing long term. When Atheesan, Andy and Graham decided to put a band together in 1980, they auditioned drummers without success. When they asked Simon to sit in on a rehearsal, the band ‘clicked’ and The Agent Orange was born.

++ I read that your first band was The Agent Orange. What kind of sound did that band have? And are there any recordings from that period?

In 1980 when The Agent Orange formed we were in the post-punk/NewWave era so our music was very influenced by this. The sound was dominated by two thrashing guitars and a driving rhythm. Everything was fast! There are some poor quality recordings from rehearsals around somewhere but we did make one proper demo in 1982 – by which time our sound was evolving and becoming more accomplished. The two demos were ‘You Are’ and ‘Immaterial Matter of Fact’, two of our strongest songs at the time.

++ After that you were involved in a band called The Neutral Zone that were described as The Buzzcocks Chainsaw Romantics. Would you say that this moniker was accurate? And how was the experience with this band?

The Neutral Zone was purely a name change because there was another band on the London circuit called The Agent Orange. The line-up and songs remained the same. One of the cover songs we played at the time was ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ by the Buzzcocks and with the effects pedals that Atheesan was using, the guitar sounded a bit like a grinding saw. This was at the time of the rise of the New Romantics(Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet etc). One promoter at a venue we played coined the term ‘Buzzcocks Chainsaw Romantics’ in an effort to describe our sound. We quite liked it and adopted it.

++ Soon after The Smiths were influencing you and you became a jangly pop act and you rechristened yourselves as The Mock Turtles. Shame was that almost at the same time another band with the same name was being successful in the charts. How did you take that? And just out of curiosity, how did you like the music of the other Mock Turtles?

When Atheesan left the band in early 1985, the sound completely changed (he had all the effects gizmos). We decide to carry on for a while as The Neutral Zone but soon realised that we had to change. The Smiths were a major influence on our writing and so we evolved again. It was when we teamed up with a local singer (Suzanne Murphy) that we decided a name change was appropriate and she christened us The Mock Turtles. We gigged under that name for about 18 months before we became aware of another Indie band with the same name in Manchester. They were having minor success and so we decided it was right to change our name to avoid any confusion. They released a number of singles before having their biggest hit in 1991 with ‘Can You Dig It?’ We liked them.

++ In 1987 finally you took the name The Primary Colours, a name that you would use for the next eight or so years. Who chose the name and what’s the story behind it?

Choosing a name for a band can be really difficult. You need to conjure up an image with a name that fits your music. We wanted something that said ‘Indie’, was light and ‘colourful’. The Primary Colours was the idea of drummer Simon Gillmore and fitted perfectly. There was no real story behind it.

++ For recording your first and only single, the great “Don’t Tell Me” you had to raise 1,000 pounds! How did you mange to do that?

We saved money from gigs and had to dip into our own personal savings. This was a gradual process. We first paid for the recording, then sorted the art work. Later we had enough money to press the single. It took us a few months to complete the project (it’s so much easier and cheaper today!).

++ And how was the experience of recording at Abbey Road Studios. Was it how you expected it to be?

The recording was made at another studio but it was the post-production and single pressing that was done at Abbey Road. We spent a day there and were very conscious of the heritage of the studios. Everyone we met was friendly and we were shown the studio where The Beatles recorded most of their material. We also walked across the famous Zebra Crossing! It was a great day out

++ Do tell me about gigs. Did you play many in this period? And which were your favourite ones?

During the late 1980s and early 1990s we were playing the London circuit. Looking back now it seems we were playing all the time but diaries show that there were 2-3 weeks between each gig (which was OK as we all had day jobs to keep). Our favourite venues were The Tramshed (a local venue) and The Cricketers. Both were regular venues where we were top billing and played with some really good bands.

++ About the single, care telling me a bit about each of the songs in it? What’s the story behind them?

‘Don’t Tell Me’ has two themes. One is the obvious break-up of a relationship (which is what most people get). However, it is also about (Graham’s) frustration with previous lost opportunities by youth culture down the decades i.e. the Hippies and the Punks. They started with great promise and desire to change the world but failed miserably: “Now the party’s over, you can walk away and leave me standing here to face another day”. Our songs often had a political subtext and ‘Happy All the Time’ was one of those – an anti-Thatcher song set to a jangly pop tune. People thought it was a love song but we were really being ironic.

++ From what I’ve read there were other recordings by the band like “Visions of Yesterday” or “When the People Come”. Why didn’t you get the chance to release more records?

Back in the 1980s and 1990s it was very expensive in real terms to make decent recordings and this was a major factor in not recording as much as we would have liked. As for putting out a single, without a sponsor, this was just too costly. Therefore, we used recordings purely as demos to get live work. We recorded about 30 demos in all.

++ And how many more unreleased songs of The Primary Colours are still waiting to see the light of day?

There are probably about 15-20 recordings that have never been heard other than by friends and followers who bought them (on tape) or by people at the gigs at the time.

++ From all your songs, which would you say make you the proudest and why?

That is a very hard question to answer because each is special at the time of recording. We made some really good demos (at least we think so) of which we are very proud when we listen back. Extracts of a couple of these are available on our website. However, our most recent work ‘Judy’s Smile’ is something we feel very proud of. ‘Mixed Messages’ is one track that we all like. It can be heard on YouTube.

++ I’m quite curious about the incident with Guy Chadwick from the House of Love. You used to call him Mr Potato Head, is that so?

We supported the House of Love in c1988. At the sound check the promoter and bass player approached us and asked if the band could use our bass amp as theirs had blown. We agreed. Guy Chadwick was playing pool and drinking close by. He didn’t hear this conversation. The promoter then asked us if there was any gear we needed to borrow. Chadwick heard this and without looking up said ’we don’t lend our gear to anyone’. We replied, ‘that works both ways’ and left the bar. The promoter and bass player came after us and pleaded with us to borrow the bass amp and apologised for Chadwick’s behaviour. We agreed to let them borrow the amp but said in so uncertain terms what we thought of Chadwick!  Close up he looked like Mr Potatoe Head and so that is what we discourteously dubbed him. He didn’t speak to us all night and got very drunk before playing. They were well below their par that night and we got a much better reception from the audience.

++ You joined the South East London Music Collective in 1990. What were the pros and cons (if any) of joining? With them you released two songs, “Chasing the Rainbow” and “The Lion’s Share”,  on a compilation CD. I’ve never heard these two songs sadly, so if possible, tell me the story behind them two?

There were no cons. It was getting increasingly difficult to get gigs in London as many venues were closing or charging bands to play. The Collective sought out venues and promoted gigs. It was a bands ‘self-help’ organisation. The Collective put on some great gigs, recorded a number of them and produced ‘live’ CDs. They also promoted member bands by putting together a couple of compilation albums to which we were asked to contribute tracks. ‘Chasing the Rainbow’ was about the realisation that our youth (and our dreams) were slipping away (Graham was on the eve of being 30 when he wrote it). ‘The Lion’s Share’ was, for us, an uncharacteristic song about a fractured relationship.

++ In 1995 you decided it was time to stop The Primary Colours and become Wily. What made you take this decision?

I think we cover this in the first question above. It was time to reinvent ourselves again. We wanted to keep playing but couldn’t carry on as we were.

++ Tell me about 2014. Are you planning any gigs this year? And any other future plans for Wily?

As Wily we play regularly. Our live set now consists of 1960s rock covers by The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Velvet Undergound, The Stooges, Humble Pie etc. This music is timeless and appeals to a wide age group. People at our gigs range from their 20s to 60s.

In 2013 we completed and produced an album called ‘Judy’s Smile’. This was purely for our own pleasure and creative need and for people who still follow us. It has been received well by those who have heard it. We plan to release tracks from the album on line during this year. We also want to start work on another album and are thinking about themes and songs.

++ For you, what would you say has been the biggest highlight in all these years involved in music?

There has not been a single highlight really. We love playing music and each of our phases have brought different experiences. Abbey Road stands out, so too do some of the recordings we have made. Getting played on the radio and winning a ‘Battle of the Bands’ listener’s poll 3 weeks running on BBC Radio London was special. Headlining some of the bigger venues was also an experience.

We are enjoying playing now more than ever. We are playing for our own enjoyment and not trying to impress anyone and so there is no pressure. When we record, we are free from any pressure to fit into any genre and so this too brings a freedom to experiment and express ourselves. As musicians we have continued to develop and we are always learning new things.

++ Thanks again for this interview, anything else you’d like to add?

If anyone wants to find out more about our 30+ year history, they can go to www.wilytheband.co.uk and/or follow us on Facebook. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to tell our story!


The Primary Colours – Don’t Tell Me