Well vacations are over. Back to the drill. To the routine of work, Netflix, indiepop, subway rides and take-out dinners. On the bright side around the corner there’s NYC Popfest and we all know how brilliant it is. And now it’s even more exciting as the The Hidden Cameras have been replaced by one of the best bands from the C86 period, The Popguns. At least for me, this is a step up for the festival! But then of course this makes my trip to Indietracks not as worthy as The Popguns were the main draw for me at the Derbyshire festival. It’s almost the same lineup! Don’t know exactly WHY this has happened, but it has. Usually some bands were repeated in both festivals but not in the same quantity as this year.

Sure of course some bitter people have commented before that they can’t afford going to both festivals and so it’s great for them to see the bands. And that’s totally fair. But really it isn’t fantastic news for me! I want to spend my vacations at Indietracks, a festival I love, and I will do so this year. But if the trend continues perhaps I should skip next year. The whole beauty for me, aside from seeing friends and the warm beer (not), was to get to see bands that I wouldn’t have a chance to see her in the US. Like when I saw The Brilliant Corners, or Helen Love. Those were fabulous treats! I feel at least this year this is really not the case. BUT of course I can keep positive as there are 20 or so more announcements to be made by team Indietracks and hopefully a handful of proper electric guitar indiepop bands will be booked! Enough of the hippie folky stuff! Come on, it’s an indiepop festival!

Also upon my return I was attacked on some comments by an English person calling me racist and prejudiced. Sometimes I don’t understand people and their ignorance. Just because I don’t agree with them, or because they have some sort of guilt trip, they assume I’m the same as them. I’m not a saint but thinking and believing hip hop is a culture that doesn’t add anything to our civilization doesn’t make me racist. That’s damn stupid. I believe surfer culture doesn’t add anything either, or what about the candy kids culture. What makes me then if I don’t like these things? A monster? Come on. That’s just plain stupidity, to insult me just because I have a strong personal view about these things. But forgiveness and turning the page, right?

So yeah, I’m in a good mood. Just received the new The Haywains 7″ sleeves. Now just waiting for the vinyl records that should be arriving next week. Then cutting the inserts, putting them in the sleeves and then the sleeves in the polybags. Right when all of this is done all pre-orders will be mailed. So luckily you’ll have your Haywains 7″ just before the official release date by the end of the month when the play NYC Popfest.

On more Cloudberry news the fanzine is shaping nicely. Crossing fingers that it will be ready by Indietracks time.

Also the My Favorite reissue for Love at Absolute Zero should be ready by NYC Popfest time. So keep your eyes peeled for that one.

So that’s what NYC had awaiting for me. Also of course a bit colder here than Spain, Norway or Sweden. I know I promised the post about the Salon article about the Twee book. I’ll get on that next week. I will also like to go through about my vacation, but in due honesty there was very little indiepop so it might not be of much interest. I only got to catch one gig, and it was a very small one. It was free and at a bookshop in Seville. The band that was playing was The Royal Landscaping Society, a fantastic and jangly new band formed by Cristóbal (Shizuka, La Chufa Lisérgica, Sundae), Fran (Papel Pintado), David (Los Catarros) and Maria (Wasabi Monster) joins them too, though she didnt at the gig at the bookshop. I think this was their second ever gig, and right now they should have already played Birmingham Popfest this weekend, making it their 3rd ever gig!

I would definitely like to seem them play at a bigger stage, the sound and the setting aside from being cozy, was not the best for them. But even like that they managed to sound really nice, with bright and luminous guitars, full of arpeggios, bringing to mind Harper Lee, Brighter, The Field Mice. That kind of very Sarah Records kind of sound. Just precious little songs. I really hope I get to see them grow more known and also to release their first proper record. I know right now they are selling their demo, and I wish I get my hands on it soon. So far they only had one song released on a compilation on Little Treasure Records. What about them being part of those 20 bands that still need to be announced at Indietracks? I think it would make sense. Just a tip if you haven’t heard them!


And now let’s move to some obscure indiepop from 1989, the Gordon Jackson Five.

Gordon Cameron Jackson, OBE (19 December 1923 – 15 January 1990) was a Scottish Emmy Award-winning actor best remembered for his roles as the butler Angus Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs and as George Cowley, the head of CI5, in The Professionals.

So that might be the Gordon Jackson they named the band after. And of course I think we all know who the Jackson Five were, right?

Don’t know how rare their one and only 7″ is. It seems if you look in the right places you might find it. I still don’t have it though, and I’m kind of in saving mode now, trying not to spend too much money on records. But if you see it, buy it. Especially for the A side, the well-titled “Beers”. The b side is alright too, and it’s called “Look at Me!”.

The record was released by Flatbat Yahoo, catalogue number FBY 1. Safe to think that this was a self-release.

Luckily for all of us, indiepop detectives and researches (ha!), there’s a small bio on Last.fm. It reads:

Wood Green, London, United Kingdon (1987 – 1990)
The Gordon Jackson 5 was an alternative, indie pop four piece band that formed in Wood Green, London, United Kingdon in 1986 under the original name The Backwater Squares, but decided to changed it to The Gordon Jackson 5 in 1987. The band released their 7” single Beers in 1989, but split not long after, in late 1990.

Members were: Paul (George) on Guitar, vocals, songwriter; Mick (Baurice) on Bass and b. vocals; Beamish (Roy) on drums and b. vocals; and Chris Alletson (Ira) on keyboards and b. vocals.

From there I could find out that Chris Alletson has been involved with other bands as there is also a small bio about him:

Chris is a musician from Leicester, United Kingdom. A keyboard player, he has collaborated with various artists since the early ‘80’s, (for example: The Attitude in 1981) until his move to London in 1985, where he took part in verious music projects, notably the Progressive Soul Program, The Gordon Jackson 5 and the Worry Dolls, which earned some ‘John Peel’ time. He relocated to West Yorkshire and was involved in an experimental/synth/drum and bass outfit called JumpCut.

He has performed with Kelvin Cartwright (Kelv), Dave Brown (Dan) of Likemind fame, whom Chris teamed up with to be keyboardist with The Attitude in 1981. Chris and Dan were part of a motown/Stax/70’s/rock cover band Friday Street in and around the East Midlands until 2011.

Cool to see he had been part of the Worry Dolls, a band that I’ve mentioned in the blog before. Sadly though the link to the Soundcloud that also appears on the last.fm page of him doesn’t seem to be working anymore. But you can listen to some of his own recordings here.

That’s more or less all I could find about them or related to them. But maybe someone out there can help? I’m sure someone in London or Leicester has seen them play? Or what about more recordings? I mean, it can’t be that they only left us with two songs, right?!  Use the comment box wisely 😉


Gordon Jackson Five – Beers



Thanks again to Andy and Neal for yet another interview. Some time ago I interviewed them about their most known band Hellfire Sermons. Today we go a bit further back in time to their adventure with Swim Naked. You can also find more about them on their Facebook page. Hope you enjoy reading this!

++ Hi again Andy and Neal! How are you doing!? Once again another interview, now about an earlier project, Swim Naked. Formed in 1982, right? Was this your first band with your longtime friend Neal Carr? And what kind of music were you into at this time?

Neal: We were discovering lots of music together at the time, the band was an extension of that. I was into the likes of Orange Juice, Joy Division, Gang Of Four, The Cure, Teardop and The Bunnymen when I first met Andy and Chent. We were all exploring the likes of The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Tamla Motown, Love, The Creation, The Action, Thirteenth Floor Elevators but also Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Ennio Moricone before and during the time of the band. Joy Division / Warsaw were also a big influence. We actually formed in 1981.
Punk had set this Year Zero thing, which I for one had bought into, and the music press didn’t really cover the past.. so for me, meeting Andy who had already started buying reissued singles by The Creation and Elevators, plus some Motown,, it opened a whole world to me. But we all kind of influenced each other with what we were reading and listening to. Chent was a year older than us and had read quite a bit more it seemed.

Andy: I was a punk when I lived in London into the Cure, Buzzcocks, Vibrators, UK Subs, Gang of Four etc. then the mod revival gave us the chance to listen to the Who (feedback!), Small Faces, soul music, then the US garage bands, the Doors and Velvet Underground. At that time me and Chent listened to ‘Sister Ray’ at least once a day. Chent had done a lot of English classic poetry – John Donne etc, so his lyrics had a literary side.

++ The band as really a trio with the inclusion of Chent Goss. How did you three knew each other?

Neal: We met at Uni. Andy walked up to me with my Cure badge and said “so you like the Cure” – haha. We later found we both know Chent independently. Chent wrote lyrics and one time, I think it was his idea, I put some music to one song. It seems crazy looking back that it took so long,,, I played guitar, Andy bass, and Chent wrote stuff… I don’t understand why no one suggested it.

Andy: Chent appealed to me as a rebel and well read thoughtful character. He had been at quite an eminent private school but had pushed against the conformity and pushiness you find in these places. He got ne onto good writers like Gogol and Kafka, and I got him onto punk music and 60s beat groups and primitive garage bands. He wrote lyrics with no band to play them, but they were good, I could tell.
As Neal says I was so pleased to meet someone else who liked The Cure. We used to listen to records together and talk about them endlessly. We still have one debate from those days – is one band better than another or is it all subjective. I feel that the Velvet Underground are superior to the spice Girls but Neal says that I can’t prove it lol. The argument continues. We have been very good friends and collaborators now for 32 years!

++ Was this your first band experience?

Neal: No, I’d been in a couple of bands at school. Fun, but I have no decent tapes. I certainly cringe at the lyrics I wrote back then.

Andy: it was my first band. I did have a bass and had done lessons, but Neal had hold the music together – but we learnt fast – and some of those limitations actually helped.

++ On Facebook it says that you had a label called Hidden Heartbeat. So, who were they? And how come there are no releases?

Neal: Luminous Crocodile was on Hidden Heartbeat

++ There is a song that counts with vocals by Clare Millington. Who was she? And why wasn’t she full-time on the band?

Neal: The three of us had been the core of the band, but we’d had a drummer (darn it, his name escapes me.. second name Wilson ?) Unfortunately he left Liverpool , but in our final year Clare and another guy (Chis..?) joined to sing and play keyboards respectively. We also borrowed Adam from Where’s The Beach to drum sometimes before Tom Gent (later of Decemberists) joined.
So it was simply that people came and went – and we had two very different singers at one point, which was hard to juggle.

Andy: I liked that about Swim Naked – the songs were very diverse, from violent jams based on the Velvets, to pop or folky things. ‘Logical Silence’ was brought to us by Chris Wilkinson from a Preston band called Horrorshow and its quite a typical student song about difficulty in expression, loneliness, I like our treatment of it. Neal’s guitar is based on the sound of The Misunderstood – bendy chords, the bass and keyboard are maybe like he Sound or Chameleons.

++ Did you play many gigs with Swim Naked? Do you remember any?

Neal: 2 I think… one at a Uni Hall.. and one at The Left Bank Bistro in Liverpool . This was the 6 piece band. We were all terribly nervous, so I don’t think much fun was had.

Andy: That was the two. We had an idea that over-rehearsing would “kill the magic” so it was a bit hot and miss, and didn’t help the nerves!

++ Where does the name Swim Naked come from?

Neal: I think it was Chent’s idea – but I can’t remember where it came from. I always think it was to symbolise freedom and risk in creativity.

Andy: It was about absolute freedom. Funny thin is lots of people like us on Facebook just because of the name – they have interests like ‘nudity’ and ‘hot chicks’

++ On the Facebook page there are some of your recordings. I’m loving “The King of Love and Sex”, “Girlfriend” and “Logical Silence”. Was wondering if you could tell me a little bit of the story behind each song?

Neal: I’d say all our best lyrics were from Chent (KoL&S and GF were him). Some of it was about using our current obsessions with the likes of Kafka or JG Ballard out there… some of it was more personal to Chent. I’m afraid I don’t remember much about these two. Girlfriend was lift from some lyrics Chent had already written,, I think KoL&S was a germ of an idea that crystalised as we wrote the music. I think it may have been a skit on the Doors.
Logical Silence was from a band called Horrorshow (?) that keyboardist Chris was in.. he brought that with him and we re-arranged it. He had a tape of a drum pattern that we all played along to.

Andy: The King of Li=ove and Sex was ironic piss take of macho boasting, its supposed to be over the top. We had a drummer at one time (Lou) who was going through a sex change and he left because the lyrics were offensive – but it was supposed to be funny!
I do like ‘Girlfriend’ – it is quite a good look at a relationship and pregnancy (“her body’s white and leaping, and you lie there shivering in the wind, with an empty mind”), the heavy feet of pregnancy, and Neal’s guitar part rocks, good melody.
Logical Silence was the best song we got from Chris, we completely re-arranged it, and it worked well. Claire’s singing is nice as not trained – its a little bit hesitant. There’s a lot more with her – I think ‘Won’t We’ is good for her voice.

++ There are two other songs, “The Storm” and “The Love Bog”, way less poppy, more experimental I’d say. So you had these two sort of sides in Swim Naked. Throughout your career you always had a more poppier side I’d say, so I’m quite surprised by these two songs. Care to tell me what were they about?

Neal: I think Chent had the biggest hand in the music and lyrics of The Love Bog, We set out to create something very extreme with the music – the weird effects are created by the dischords between the notes on the two vl-tones. It used to freak out our cats. I’m not sure what it is about, I originally thought it was linking love with a sort of stifling torpor, but listening again, it seems more optimistic than I thought.

Andy: The ‘Love Bog’ is off the scale, its based on a dream but sounds more like a night mare, .ore unusual lyrics – “You’re thinking of the smell of meat” and “Fireflies buzzing in the air, of oozing wine, there is no time, no warning sign”. And the discords did used to frighten my cat. The horrific discord comes in on the offbeat, its more like a fire alarm than a song. The Casio VL Tone gave the song its sound. A bit of that dischord effect can be heard in the intro to the Hellfire’s song Sarasine’
‘The Storm’ was written after Neal left to do a side project with Claire called The Lids’. The drummer was really angry at the time and we just poured out the song. I like its atmosphere.

++ From all the Swim Naked songs, which was your favourite and why?

Neal: I very much liked “Alone”, which is about walking alone in a city at night in fear… excellent lyrics from Chent and I think we nailed the music – sort of Joy Division-like. I originally sang it, but Clare did a much better job.
The songs I most associate with the band are Drive, The Venus Men and Dance of My Mother. They were all composed with the three of us plugging away over many months of change – it’s that evolution that I liked. The first two are kind of Velvets/Doors soundtracks to Crash by JG Ballard … the latter is kind of unclassifiable, based on a bass riff Andy had that I couldn’t fathom at first.
Nowadays I feel like The Doors and especially Jim Morrison are overrated.

Andy: I like ‘Dance of my Mother’ which is about a birth, and the closest I have ever heard to it is maybe Sonic Youth, but with better lyrics.
‘Girlfriend’ I love for the catcy repetition of the keyboard set against Neal’s chords.
And ‘Flashing Red and Orange’ is a kind of violent Cramps thing written about some disturbed events at Chent’s house

++ Did you ever rerecorded any Swim Naked songs for your later projects?

Neal: I “borrowed” some of the acoustic/strummy songs for my next band with Clare (The Lids). Otherwise, I think we have just lifted bits now and then,

Andy: The Lids was fantastic, a bit folky, nicely played with Clare singing, many indie fans would love it.

++ Are there any more recordings by the band?

Neal: Yes, as you probably get from the above, there is plenty more.

Andy: About 20 songs looking for a release,

++ Ever thought of putting together some sort of compilation of these songs? Perhaps adding the Jenny Lind and Decemberists songs? It would be a hit I think!

Neal: Andy is very keen.. I guess we never get the momentum between us.

Andy: We should do a compilation. I would have 2 or 3 Swim Naked songs, 2 from The Lids, 2 from Swim Naked after Neal left, 2 from the Decemberists, 2 from Jenny Lind, then 2 from Hellfire Sermos before Neal came in, and then some Hellfire stuff. We should do it

++ How was the recording sessions for Swim Naked? And how do you think these songs have aged?

Neal: A lot of what you hear are practice tapes, and they were great for us… though I do wonder why the neighbours put up with us!
In summer 1982 we recorded in a small studio in London , KoL&S is from that session. It came out quite well, but Drive and Venus Men sounded neutered even back then. We just didn’t have the nous then (or for many years) to get what we wanted from a studio. I think the instruments were recorded well enough, but we needed to be able to take charge of the end result and we couldn’t,
The practice tapes still sound quite exciting to me. I feel we have since learned more about how to arrange a song, get good and repeatable sounds, keep it interesting etc, but these songs are largely driven by enthusiasm and our interactions and experimentation – and it shows to me in a way that still makes me happy. In addition, the condenser mics that tape recorders had compress the sound in a way I’ve always liked.

Andy: It was all bad experiences in studios back then because no-one really bothered to help us get the sound right. The practice tapes are way better. But then, pre-internet, you couldn’t release your music unless a record company would do it, and so you needed a demo to play to them. But now we should release the good practice tapes – they have the sound and the dynamics.

++ Liverpool during those early 80s had a very exciting scene. How did you enjoy it and how do you think you fit in it?

Neal: At the time of Swim Naked, we didn’t really fit in. The scene was between the whole Teardops / Bunnymen thing that had just gone national and before the likes of Icicle Works and Pale Fountains.
The only band I remember mixing with was Where’s The Beach. It wasn’t until later with Decemberists / Jenny Lind that I felt we were part of a bigger scene… but even then, we would be playing with a lot of bands who clearly wanted to be the next Duran Duran – not our thing at all.

Andy: Then we just went to see the bands, and maybe saw them in the Everyman. When we practiced at Dock Road we were part of a scene with Half Man Half Biscuit, the Jactars, DaVincis, Jenny Lind, The Room, and that was good. Then in Hellfire Sermons we were part of a national scene via Kevin Pearce of The Claim, Jasmine Minks, Emily and briefly the very early Manic Street Preachers

++ And then when and why did you call it a day for Swim Naked?

Neal: I quit the band in 1983. I was a bit frustrated with Chent never doing the same thing twice in a row – which at other times I thought was a great advantage, but if you do something good and never do it again it’s a recipe for disaster with me. Clare seemed to provide an opportunity to do something more songwriterly which I also felt frustrated we could not do enough (though I think that was a daft idea of mine nowadays – I would never dream of presenting a written song to the band, it takes out all the fun).

Andy: I was sorry Neal left, but I think he had to because the load on him was so great – tuning, arranging, working out at what point the chorus would come. An Chent just couldn’t reproduce the musical or vocal parts so they were either great or terrible and you couldn’t control which. When it was good it was mind bending but then if you could never do it again, was it music?

++ What did you all do music-wise immediately after? Did you take a break?

Neal: I went on to The Lids with Clare. Although we did some good stuff, she was not really committed the way I was. We joined with three other guys in a band that never did get a name. I got more back to a poppier sound, but was also frustrated because there was less full-on collaboration. I split in the end because not enough writing or practicing was happening for me (no gigs ever played). I put up an advert and after a couple of false starts with others, formed Jenny Lind with Ken.

Andy: We found Colin Pennington and played him the demo of ‘Flashing Red and Orange’. He thought it was strange but had potential. So we formed The Decemberists and set about being a hard working Liverpool band, loads of gigs, postering the town, and actually built a local following, which we only realised when we played The Neptune Theatre in support of the Liverpool socialist council and a huge cheer went up when we started ‘The Gift Horse’. The two bands – Decemberists and Jenny Lind ran in parallel for a couple if years – I shared a flat with Neal at that time – and eventually the time was right and Neal came across to the Hellfire Sermons

++ What would you say was the best moment, the highlight, for Swim Naked?

Neal: Playing the Left Bank Bistro was a highlight, but the best memories are of writing songs at weekends in Andy and Chent’s house – evolving songs out of ideas

Andy: The best times were playing together, trying things,learning things, finding you could do anything, whatever you wanted in music, and learning to write expressive songs. The strength of Swim naked was that the songs were never written to be successful or even liked by other people – it was just us enjoying the moment.

++ We can wrap it here, short and sweet, but one last question, were these songs distributed in any way? Perhaps as demo tapes or something? Or have they only been for rediscovering since the digital era when you uploaded them to soundcloud?

Andy: Never distributed! A few are up on the internet – Soundcloud and Facebook. maybe we will relaease one more to go with this interview and go on your site?

++ Thanks again Andy! Anything else you’d like to add?

Neal: Thanks for the opportunity to think about this again Roque

Andy: No that’s it, but keep doing what you’re doing Roque.


Swim Naked – Logical Silence


Thanks so much to Madelaine and Sarah for this interview! Some years ago I wrote a post about Fibi Frap and through many different channels eventually got in touch with them. You can’t imagine how happy I was! I always loved this band, since the first time I heard them, and I’m not exaggerating when I say they were among my favourites of that time period. And then I was even happier when they were up for doing this interview! It’s great to know a bit more about Fibi Frap, to give some context to the music, to the songs, especially after such great answers both Madelaine and Sarah have given me! Anyhow, please enjoy and discover (or rediscover) the fantastic Fibi Frap!

++ Hi there! Thanks so much for being up for the interview! Whereabouts in Sweden are you now? And are you still making music?

Madelaine: I live in Umeå, it’s about half way between Stockholm and Kiruna (650 km home, 650 km to stockholm). I am doing a master in fine art but, yeah I just started a new band before Christmas, we’re called Thir and I hope something can pop up soon, on the net, to be listened to. it’s a rock pop grunge noise thing 🙂

Sarah: I still live in Göteborg, where I have lived for the past 12 years. I am still making music, I’ve recorded a bunch of songs together with various friends ever since Fibi Frap ceased to exist. I’ve gone by a few different names; Iluvsera, Saragasso etc. I still make pop music, but a bit more lo-fi I guess. The latest recordings were inspired by Blade Runner though, one of my all-time favourite movies, so a lot of synthesizers.

++ How did you two meet? Was it immediate friendship? And when did you decide it was time to make music together?

Madelaine: Nah, we met at school, we went i guess for five years just as classmates but then finally we realized we needed each other, we wanted badly to play in a band I guess and we had a common reference: smashing pumpkins. I was really competitive at the time and i did everything i could to collect more EPs and singles and releases from them than Sarah had. I don’t think Sarah really cared. Anyway she tried to introduce me to Neil Young at the time, but I was really in to Swedish indie and didn’t understand this old man cowboy thing. took about ten years i guess, but now i love him more then most music. we tried different constellations with guys, never really worked out so we just decided to do a duo. much better, immediate success 🙂

Sarah: I think we must have been about 10 or something when we met for the first time. We were in the same class at school but never really started hanging out until in the 8th grade or so. And then it wasn’t until we were 15 or 16 that we really became good friends and started making music together. Both of us were into music and wanted to be in a band but couldn’t quite figure out how this was done, so we decided to start a band together. Our first songs were about an old boyfriend of mine that had continued on to wooing a friend, so I wrote songs about what an asshole he was. Great inspiration for punk music.

++ What instruments do each of you play?

Madelaine: synth, guitar, bass, stuff, and now I play the drums.

Sarah: I play guitar, bass, some synthesizer and you know, things I find. I wish I could play the drums but nah, I’m really not good at it.

++ Was Fibi Frap your first music adventure?

Madelaine: Nah, it came out of trying different constellations with guys, always me and Sarah and a guy, usually flirts/boyfriends to play the drums or solo guitar, but they were always so difficult to work with. idiots really, hehe. best band name was ‘Cat Woman Aid’, my boyfriend at the time Ralf Rotmalm always comes up with awesome band names, still.

Sarah: Yeah, we played a lot of music but it wasn’t until we had fired all out male friends from our bands that Fibi Frap was formed. And I think we were tired of being in a band with people who didn’t really care. So we decided that we were going to be the only members.

++ Where does the name of the band come from? Does it come from an encyclopaedia volume as I thought it does?

Madelaine: Yup. My next project was gonna be coco dies, also a band in the same encyclopedia.

Sarah: And I also wrote a song called Coco dies, which didn’t become a Fibi song but it had potential! Maybe we should record it? It’s a good song!

++ You listed a long list of influences in your old mypace: manga, picknix, Boris Vian, Paul Auster, Maurice Blanchot, Magnetic Fields, Will Oldham, Morrissey, Computer Vikings, Oski, Lifli, Brendan Perry, Neil Young and the guys, The Cure, Alma Cogan, Nina Simone and looove. This list makes me happy, I can only say great taste. But can I ask then, what were your favourite mangas?

Madelaine: This list of influences that you refer to, we were probably having some beers and having fun. Don’t remember so much Manga, me an Tobias was at one point looking at Chobits. Otherwhise I mostly liked Anime, but I think I didn’t know about the difference at the time. I like Miyazaki, and some other stuff but I’m not a fanatic.

Sarah: I am not a manga fan, that was never my thing. And so we just wrote down our favourite authors, philosophers, bands, friends etc. I still love Neil Young, Nina Simone, the Cure and Alma Cogan. I grew tired of Paul Auster constantly repeating himself, forgot about Magnetic Fields and Will Oldham. Still like the Brendan Perry album though.

++ You were from the northern part of Sweden, how is it there? But afterwards you were in between Stockholm and Göteborg. Is it much different? And where there any like-minded bands in town that you liked?

Madelaine: Kiruna is far from everything. But it’s weird and beautiful and our home. 20 000 people. When we grew up there was a real dystopian feeling in town. The future didn’t look good at all, it was said the mine was gonna close down in a few years and the military base where a lot of people worked closed down, and there were no jobs. People left their flats, keys on the kitchen table. Houses were being closed down, turned of the heating, left to rot. So the feeling was that of: get the hell outta here as soon as you can. Now, 15 years later, they found more ore, and the area is the strongest growing economical area in Europe kinda Klondike. Gold rush kinda situation. There is nowhere to live, and lot’s of jobs! Now they have to move the whole city because it’s slowly falling down in the mine hole. So it’s the last few years to see our home town as it was…

Sarah: But I still liked growing up in Kiruna because it was such a small town. However, when I was about 15 years old I started growing restless. I wanted to do stuff, see the world and discover new things (and meet new people!). But the atmosphere with the sun shining 24/7 during the summer and the constant darkness during the winter sort of form my music, and I still think that that sadness can be traced back to growing up in Kiruna. There were, however, no like-minded bands in Kiruna. At the beginning we were frowned upon, since there were no girls playing music in a band back then. But we decided to continue on and then we were accepted, I think. But not everyone liked Fibi Frap, some people thought it was just silly music for silly people. Being in a band meant that there was a bass player, a guitar player and a drummer of course. Otherwise it was just weird. And so we were weird. And we didn’t care.

Madelaine: Stockholm and Gothenburg is real towns. Lots of people, and stress, and stuff going on in every corner. We did not hang out with other bands. We didn’t really identify with them and didn’t really listen to that kind of music. I don’t know why we were invited to play all those gigs in those gangs. Maybe it was the synthesiser we used and the fact that we were two cute girls from the north making strange music. We listened more to rock and stuff I think.

Sarah: Yeah, we were always outsiders I think. Everyone was really nice to us and we got to play with a lot of band with great people, but it was never the kind of music we listened to. We grew up listening to Smashing Pumpkins and Neil Young and Van Morrison (I like older men apparently), or rock. It just wasn’t our kind of music, although I can see why other appreciated these bands.

++ And what were the places you loved to hang out in town?

Madelaine: In Kiruna? We sat at the café most of the days after school I think. Safari it’s called. The first café to serve sandwiches, rest of the world style, the founder was from Tunis. I guess we spent a lot of time studying too. I studied science and Sarah studied Humanistic studies.

Sarah: I don’t know if it was the first café to serve sandwiches, but it was a café that was famous for its sandwiches since they were huge. I didn’t study as much as I should have, although I still managed to have good grades. I preferred sitting at the café drinking tea or coffee and smoking way too much. There was always someone there who you knew, otherwise you’d just bring a book.

++ Did you play many gigs? Which would you say were your favourites and why?

Madelaine: A few actually. one of my favourites were at LAVA, in Stockholm, because it was the first time we had a female sound technician, she actually listened to us and did not pat us on our heads, like all guys always did when we were a duo of two really young (cute) girls. and she was impressed on how quick we were at setting up. other gig was at monsters of indie at Debaser, Slussen, in Stockholm. it was just so cool to get to play there. and at the festival Popaganda, in Stockholm too. but actually i have such fucking stage fright, so all gigs were really horrible for me actually. i was always shivering like a leaf and pale as a ghost and Sarah always tried really hard not to look at me at stage because then she became nervous too.

Sarah: We played at Lava twice, the first time was amazing, the second time was not. One of my favourite gigs was the second to last one, at Underjorden, in Göteborg. It was just around the corner from my apartment and a lot of people and a lot of friends showed up, plus we connected with the audience and yeah, I really felt present during that gig. In my mind that was our farewell gig, since the last gig was one of the worst ones we’ve played. It was at Join our Club in Göteborg and we hadn’t seen each other for some time and during the whole show, a drunk girl was standing right by the scene, telling (screaming) the person she was talking to on the phone that she was listening to the worst band ever. I really didn’t want to play and I think Madelaine felt the same way.

++ I want to ask about the Starke Adolf gig. How was that? I have this very idealized view of that club!

Madelaine: We tried to talk about this gig and no one of us remember anything. But we remember a friendly and nice feeling.

Sarah: Yeah, I hardly remember anything. I remember that a lot of friends were there and that it was really fun playing. People really seemed to appreciate us. But apart from that I don’t remember much. It was the only time I went to Starke Adolf.

++ And what about playing a festival such as Popganda?! That must have been quite big?

Madelaine: I was part of the group who arranged the festival and the rest of the group really liked fibi frap and wanted us to play, I have never been so nervous my whole life, I don’t remember anything.

Sarah: I really liked playing at Popaganda. I was so nervous before we entered the stage but after a song or two it felt better and it was really fun. But it was strange as well since we were used to playing on smaller stages.

++ At that time there were many fantastic indiepop bands throughout all Sweden. It was like a explosion of very underground but very creative bands. Did you feel there was some sort of scene, or you always felt like outsiders?

Madelaine: I dunno, Kiruna is so far from everything, and there people either played Metallica – music or in cover bands. oh, but that’s not true. there were many bands experimenting, sometimes towards the verge of performance art, and having fun, but almost always guys. I guess that’s where the outsider feeling came from. Most of them were quite a bit older too, I never dared to talk to them because I thought they were so smart and cool. little did I know. I know some of them now as we have grown up, and they are all rather humble and not too cool for school at all. The rest of the indie or twee scene I was not very familiar too before we came to play in the south of Sweden. And by then we had already our own sound. There was a scene I guess, but in the south everything was so intimidating, everyone had such cool clothes and sun glasses, and i guess i just got really nervous. But we came to know a band called Laakso and or Pello Revolvers and that made it all a bit less scary. They were a bunch of really nice guys. (still no girls though). But then I got to know of bands like first floor power and honey is cool, and finally there were some women to have as role models.

Sarah: Well, I don’t think there were so many bands that were experimental, there was this one band that was some kind of performance thing but it wasn’t that serious. I don’t think I thought anyone was cool in Kiruna. I always thought I was way cooler than anyone (the mind of a teenager), so I didn’t really care for impressing people or found things intimidating (and if I did I would never have admitted it). Laakso and Pello were friends of ours so they weren’t scary at all. Still, there was apparently a twee scene in Sweden where some people thought we belonged (we didn’t, though). In Göteborg I listened to the bands I liked, but it wasn’t pop music. However, they were really creative. So I think we bonded with creative people but not people belong to a certain kind of scene.

++ Were you involved during those years then in anything other than making music? Like, fanzines? radio? gig organizing?

Madelaine: I worked for four years with the popaganda festival, it was cool, got a really nice insight in the music world, and the dirt:
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money 
trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and 
pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. 
There’s also a negative side.” (hunter s thompson)
and I also totally lost the wall between me and other artists, the magic was lost in a way, in a good way, and if I see a gig or meet an artist I can talk to that person freely no matter how much I love that persons work.

Sarah: I wasn’t really involved in other things during those years, I was a part of Union, a community where a lot of musicians and other creative people were involved; selling records, setting up a Union festival in Göteborg and so on. But that didn’t last that long, and then I just focused on the music.

++ Your first EP was released in 2002. What do you remember from the recordings session? Where did they happen?

Madelaine: They were really fun. took place at Tobias Asplunds flat, he had recording devices and he was a real friend. I don’t remember much other that it was completely without pressure.

Sarah: The sessions were wonderful. I remember them quite clearly. We recorded the songs at Tobias’s apartment in Kiruna, spending long days and nights at his place writing, playing, laughing…. I really did appreciate those days since it was so much fun and it was just about the three of us hanging out and being creative. And I think that comes through in the EP, you can hear us laughing in the background, cracking up due to our incapability of clapping our hands at the same time. We were both 20 years old, not knowing where our lives would take us and where we would end up. This was in March I think and we knew that after the summer we would leave Kiruna and move to Linköping and Stockholm. So those recordings meant, and means, a lot to me and I still enjoy listening to those songs.

++ After this first EP you appeared at P3Pop radio. How did that happen and how was that experience with Hanna Fahl?

Madelaine: Hanna Fahl was so warm and friendly, such a genuine music lover. It was fun!

Sarah: She was great, she was really enthusiastic and kind. I listened to the recording the other day and apparently the studio technician was the one who decided that “Longing” was going to be called…. “Longing”.

++ You also contributed some songs to the Alltid Hela Tiden label in Sweden, Robots and Electronic Brains in UK, as well as Popgun in the US. Did you contribute to any other compilations?

Madelaine: Oh, I don’t recognize half of those 🙂 I remember ‘My secret garden’ it was a label and Martin released some compilations.

Sarah: Nope, I think that’s it!

++ “How Fast is Your Heart Beating”, your second EP, was released by My Secret Garden Recordings. I interviewed Martin who ran the label not so long ago, and I feel he had a great ethos for running the label. How was your experience with him? And how did you ended up releasing this EP with him?

Madelaine: I don’t remember how we came to work with him. but he was really trust worthy and nice to us. also a real music lover.

Sarah: Well, I guess he contacted us since he wanted to release some of our songs, and we did, and he was a great guy.

++ What about the “Remember Being Born” release? I’ve never seen it. What was included in it?

Sarah: Well, those songs were never released, that’s why you’ve never seen it. We recorded the songs in Göteborg, just the two of us, and just “released” them at myspace. We thought about making an actual record but we never found the time. One of my favourite songs, “White beast”, is one of the “Remember Being Born” songs.

++ Are there any unreleased songs by Fibi Frap still?

Madelaine: I think there might be some, maybe Sarah knows more. there was a song called parking lot, wonder where that went!?

Sarah: Yeah, “Parking lot”! It was Madelaine’s song that we recorded in Stockholm with Johan, I think it was the same session when we recorded “Where’d you learn to kiss that way”. It’s a fun song about an ex-boyfriend of Madelaine’s. We also recorded one of my songs, which didn’t have a name, that was really catchy.

++ And among all of your songs which would you say are your favourite? And why?

Madelaine: Hollywood or Catherine. Sarah was so good at writing and it always get’s boring with your own stuff after a while. we wrote half of the material each.

Sarah: I like “Longing”. A lot. I like the way it was produced, leading up to a crescendo. And “To Make You Happy”, which is an oldie but a favourite. I always liked the way we wrote songs. I would come to Madelaine with a sketch for a song and say that it was missing something. She would come up with this great harmony and it would just be the missing piece I had been searching for. And the other way around. We completed each other’s skills in song writing, and we’d just get each other and know where the other person was going with her song.

++ When and why did you decide to call it a day?

Madelaine: I don’t know, did we really? I guess. I moved to Umeå because of love, it was too far. I am still here but love is no more. I guess I’ll be moving south again in a year or two. Malmö or Stockholm or even Gothenburg. If close to Sarah I’d say we’d probably play together again. I love her and our voices go well together.

Sarah: I’d say it started before Madelaine move to Umeå, I think the distance created problems for us since it was difficult and expensive (we were both students back then) to travel back and forth and it was also difficult to find the time. We would only meet when we were playing somewhere and that just wasn’t fun anymore. I hope Madelaine comes to Göteborg so we can play together again, I really miss that and I miss her.

++ Aside from music, what other hobbies do you enjoy doing?

Madelaine: I don’t have hobbies. I work. I work with Art and Music. I also work at a pub/club called Scharinska here in Umeå, it’s a great place. On my spare time, I travel and watch series and drink beer. I also love to go to my brothers cabin in Abisko, it’s in a national park called Sarek and I just sit there, and look in to the fire or walk in the mountains.

Sarah: I was going to say exactly the same thing: I don’t have hobbies, I work. But that sounds so depressing. I’m a high school teacher, which takes up a lot of my time but it’s also very rewarding. There’s a wrestling club in Göteborg called Gbg Wrestling and so I’ve become a wrestling fan. Other than that: writing music, go to clubs to watch bands play, drink beer and watch TV-series. I bought a nice camera a couple of years ago and really enjoy taking pictures. My father was a photographer and I’d like to think that I’ve inherited that part of him.

++ I’m going to be in three weeks or so in both Göteborg and Stockholm visiting. Can I ask for some tips? Maybe your favourite bars, or restaurants? If there’s any areas or sights that you like too?

Madelaine: I didn’t live in Stockholm for a long time now (8 years), but I go to Magasin 3, and Bonniers Konsthall to look at art or to the moderna museet. and I go to copacobana to have a snack. I want to eat at lao wai at some point because everyone talks about it. there was a great restaurant at the etnografiska museet a couple of years ago, but I don’t know if it is still there. I always went to debaser slussen but I have heard rumors about it moving now to Strand. Strand always have good gigs, saw buil to spill there in the autumn.

Sarah: In Stockholm I would go to Fotografiska (museum of photography) which is great, and maybe eat lunch at the nearby vegetarian restaurant Hermans.I would go to the pub Akkurat to drink beer and maybe even go to Boulebar and play some boule. The nicest area is still Söder, but anywhere near the water is great. And I would go to Grand Hotel to eat expensive but oh so delicious brunch. In Göteborg I would go to Haket Bar, The Rover, Tre små rum to drink beer. Haket is wonderful since the staff is really friendly (and they have the best sushi in town), Tre små rum is small but very cosy, and The Rover is easy going. Though, I suggest that you only go to Tre små rum if you’re really into beer since no Carlsberg is allowed (they actually have a sign that says so) and if you try to order it the bartender will give you the stink eye. I would try to stay near the water; buy some coffee and just look at the ducks and at people. There’s a great coffee bar called Bar Centro behind Nordiska Kompaniet (department store) and a restaurant called Dubbel Dubbel, where you can find great dumplings, that I would recommend. If you’re interested in gigs I would check out Skjul Fyra Sex or Koloni. Although these places could be hard to find and requires a bus ride.

++ One last question, will there be any chance in the future for a reunion gig?

Madelaine: I dunno, I could do it, I don’t now about Sarah.

Sarah: I wouldn’t say no, if we felt like it and felt that our music was still relevant and if we’d have fun playing together, then sure! And, of course, if anyone would be interested to come to that reunion gig (except our mothers and boyfriends).

++ Thanks again! Anything else you’d like to add?

Sarah: Nope!


Fibi Frap – Sadeyes


Last week an unprecedented pike of messages in the indiepop-list happened. You know, it’s usually so quiet. Nothing ever happens there. An email conversation going by the subject “Anyone up for a book burning?” had everyone giving their opinion about the announcement of a new book called: “Twee: The Gentle Revolution”.

99% of the people were totally up for the book burning. No one felt that this was going to be a good book. The other 1% were either cowardly asking not to have ‘bad’ feelings about it and instead think of other things that can give you “good” feelings, or asked to wait until we get the chance to read the book.

The book is not out yet. It will be out on June 3rd. So we are mostly supposing things at the moment, but we can figure a thing or two from the book description at the publisher’s Harper and Collins site:

New York Times, Spin, and Vanity Fair contributor Marc Spitz explores the first great cultural movement since Hip Hop: an old-fashioned and yet highly modern aesthetic that’s embraced internationally by teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and even some Baby Boomers; creating hybrid generation known as Twee. Via exclusive interviews and years of research, Spitz traces Generation Twee’s roots from the Post War 50s to its dominance in popular culture today.

Vampire Weekend, Garden State, Miranda July, Belle and Sebastian, Wes Anderson, Mumblecore, McSweeney’s, Morrissey, beards, artisanal pickles, food trucks, crocheted owls on Etsy, ukuleles, kittens and Zooey Deschanel—all are examples of a cultural aesthetic of calculated precocity known as Twee.

In Twee, journalist and cultural observer Marc Spitz surveys the rising Twee movement in music, art, film, fashion, food and politics and examines the cross-pollinated generation that embodies it—from aging hipsters to nerd girls, indie snobs to idealistic industrialists. Spitz outlines the history of twee—the first strong, diverse, and wildly influential youth movement since Punk in the ’70s and Hip Hop in the ’80s—showing how awkward glamour and fierce independence has become part of the zeitgeist.

Focusing on its origins and hallmarks, he charts the rise of this trend from its forefathers like Disney, Salinger, Plath, Seuss, Sendak, Blume and Jonathan Richman to its underground roots in the post-punk United Kingdom, through the late’80s and early ’90s of K Records, Whit Stillman, Nirvana, Wes Anderson, Pitchfork, This American Life, and Belle and Sebastian, to the current (and sometimes polarizing) appeal of Girls, Arcade Fire, Rookie magazine, and hellogiggles.com.

Revealing a movement defined by passionate fandom, bespoke tastes, a rebellious lack of irony or swagger, the championing of the underdog, and the vanquishing of bullies, Spitz uncovers the secrets of modern youth culture: how Twee became pervasive, why it has so many haters and where, in a post-Portlandia world, can it go from here?

The author of the book is called Mark Spitz. I haven’t read anything by him so I have no clue if he is a good writer or a bad writer. A bad researcher he definitely is though and I will tell you why (especially after this feature in Salon magazine).

But let me stop here first. What about the term Twee. Sure I hate it. I’ve never liked as it entails making indiepop a synonym of the word inoffensive. I truly don’t believe that. BUT at the same time I understand and accept that it’s a term that for most of us, Twee.net might be the best example, that twee in the end means indiepop, C86, p!o!p!, neo-aco, or however you want to call it. We all know, even if we don’t like the word, that twee is indiepop. Or at least, a sort of sub-category within indiepop. Can we agree on that?

Sure the term has been in existence longer than indiepop has existed. But it’s use was also almost non-existent in the English language. Maybe they used it to name Tweety bird. Who knows. But I can’t think of many examples. It’s rise as a word to describe something has to do with our music in the late 80s. It was mostly a term to dismiss the cutesy bands of the indiepop spectrum. I believe it was after 1994, when the Sha La La list was functioning and Twee.net was already established that the word gained power. And it was especially used to tag those small bands that were appearing in the US in the mid 90s like say The Receptionists or even Tullycraft, bands that had a sweeter, funnier, and cheekier approach.

So explain me then what does Arcade Fire has to do with anything of this? Sure they had one release in Asaurus, but that wasn’t a proper indiepop record. They released some, but in general it was pretty eclectic. What does Nirvana has to do with it? They championed The Vaselines, but does they make them a big part? Maybe a little footnote perhaps, and even so.

It’s mentioned that it’s the first great cultural movement since hip hop. This might not be liked by many that read me, but I don’t think hip hop has anything to add to culture. If there’s a culture surrounding it, it’s a terrible culture and I feel uneasy with even mentioning hip hop and twee in the same paragraph. There’s no comparison of the values of one and the other music genres.

Generation Twee has it’s roots in the 50s. That’s a very strange claim. I guess I’ll wait for the book to read what’s his point about this. But it does seem farfetched. I can see some late 70s groups influences in it, like The Buzzcocks, but all the way from the 50s? Perhaps some sort of aesthetics? Morrissey’s quiff? It feels like he is just inventing something here that has nothing to do with our beloved indiepop.

I love this phrase: an old-fashioned and yet highly modern aesthetic that’s embraced internationally by teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and even some Baby Boomers. I love it especially because I have no clue what they are trying to say. Should we be surprised that people in general, no matter the age, like some sort of music? Is our indiepop that terrible? Or what? I don’t get it.

Then there’s that list of “influences” or perhaps “examples of what Twee is. From that list I only like Morrissey and a bit of Belle & Sebastian. Zooey Deschanel can be pretty ok. But that does make her indiepop? That’s really stupid. I like one movie by Mirand July, her latest was very mediocre, but were her movies indiepop? No. Wes Anderson is very overrated. I think he is among the most pretentious and vacuous directors out there, but who cares what I think, are his movies indiepop? Do they show indiepop values? Again, no. I really don’t have to deal with Vampire Weekend, or even beards, right? I don’t remember Edwyn Collins sporting a beard. Or Davey Woodward doing so. Which indiepop stalwart sported a beard? Maybe he is confusing lumberjacks with musicians. Poor research. Again.

Then of course there’s the issue of ukuleles and kittens. This requires a long post. I dislike both. But a big part of the indiepop fandom loves them. So I’ll leave it like that for now. I guess he has a point about this. I can understand kittens in a way, they’ve been in so many jacket sleeves, but ukuleles? That’s only for the most terrible bands out there and thankfully I can only count with my fingers the bands that say make indiepop with an ukulele. Etsy, crocheted owls, food trucks, artisanal pickles, McSweeney’s, honestly I don’t see any connection at all. Maybe he is playing a game of six degrees of separation?

Twee movement in music, art, film, fashion, food and politics. Damn. I WISH! I dream of someone making an indiepop film. I know the Sarah documentary is coming up, and there has been a couple too like BMX Bandits documentary or the great Dolly Mixture one. But not really a feature film yet. That’d be something. Indiepop music sure. Indiepop politics. Yeah that exists too. Indiepop art? Mmm if you consider the art of the records, perhaps, I can be ok with saying that that exists. Indiepop fashion? I guess there are sort of looks people go for. Though I tell you, I’ve seen some people with mohawks or piercings all over their body following indiepop concerts and not missing any day of an indiepop festival. But I can see someone saying there’s a sort of fashion. But what about saying that there’s indiepop influence in food. You have to be quite stupid to make such a claim. What’s an indiepop food? Marmite because there was a band called The Marmite Sisters? Doesn’t make any sense.

And then they say: and examines the cross-pollinated generation that embodies it—from aging hipsters to nerd girls, indie snobs to idealistic industrialists. Really? Again? Do we need to break down people this way? Clearly he hasn’t gotten what indiepop is. Indiepop is not like this. We are all equal. Bands can be fans, and fans can be bands. Fanzine writers can run a label, a label person can write a fanzine. Everyone does everything, it’s all about democracy and equality. And we don’t like hipsters or snobs or yuppies. Just for your information Harper and Collins.

Then they tell us that Disney and Dr Seuss are origins of indiepop/twee. It’s the twilight zone, isn’t it? I start to worry if the book will really be exactly what this book description is. What will happen to those reading this book and have really no clue what indiepop is. This is creating a caricature of all of us, and a bad one, one that is not close to reality. The only right part of it is a line that says “to its underground roots in the post-punk United Kingdom“. But one line among a lot of crap? Even mentioned my favourite Whit Stillman doesn’t help. I love his films, and I hold them dear, but to say he is indiepop! Or what about mentioning Pitchfork? For f*ck sake, they are all that indiepop isn’t!!! Its’s like the nemesis! They champion everything else but indiepop. They do it all for money, not for the kids, even less for the music. And indiepop is not about the money. Anyone involved in it knows that. If we break even we are already more than happy.

Then the last paragraph is a bit more accurate when they mention: “Revealing a movement defined by passionate fandom, bespoke tastes, a rebellious lack of irony or swagger, the championing of the underdog, and the vanquishing of bullies“, though I strongly disagree when they say there’s a lack of irony. That’s tremendously wrong. I think there’s so much irony, so much wit in indiepop, that we could give away to other genres that lack of intelligence. Perhaps these people don’t care about lyrics. I’ve met some like that in my life. Boring and uninteresting people.

Twee became pervasive? Not really. It’s a very small scene. A little pocket that no one really cares about, only us in it care about it. It has many haters? I haven’t met any. I only meet people that have no clue what indiepop is and give me a hard time explaining them what it is. So yeah, all wrong.

Then there’s this on the Salon feature:
“No. Twee.”
“I don’t know what that is.”
“You know! Everything happening in Brooklyn.”
“No, Twees. It’s a movement!”

I go to Brooklyn often for drinks, to party, etc. I have never met anyone that knows about indiepop or twee. I’ve never seen anyone sporting an indiepop badge/pin. Or even a t-shirt. I believe the author lives in NYC, somewhere in the five boroughs, most possibly Brooklyn. I’m very surprised he would make this claim. Because even a The Smiths t-shirt is kind of rare in Brooklyn. I think the ones I see the most these days are Black Flag t-shirts if you are wondering. And yes, Im very observant.

Anyhow, to dissect that interview would maybe require another post, as it is a big joke to twee/indiepop. So I’ll get on that on my next post, on part 2.

The question for now is, if this is just a book description to catch people’s attention, to get sales, or is the book really like this? That’s the answer I’m looking for. I guess we’ll have to wait until it’s published! Let’s see how much it will be hurting our indiepop scene,how many will jump in the bandwagon, and how many ‘haters’ (at last) it will create of indiepop?


Now into the obscure band of the week: The Clamber. Though it’s surprising that someone has uploaded to SoundCloud the song “Choose The Way”.

Clamber: an awkward and laborious climb or movement.

More like a laborious climb to find out who this band was!

That song was the A side of their one and only 7″ released sometime during the mid 80s. A British band most definitely as on the back sleeve we can clearly read Basildon, Essex. The only other information on the back is that the record was produced by both The Clamber and D.J.M. entertainment. The sleeve was designed by Mark Molloy.

Aside from those credits we do know that the B side was “Everywhere You Go” and that the release was the first one in the catalog of Clamber Records. So definitely a private release. Some descriptions I found online of previous listings on eBay say: “Somewhere between Friday Club, early Style Council, Ala Pana Fuzo and Where The Hell Does Jane Smith Think She Is.” Definitely on the right track. I can guess that this description must have written by the great Uwe at Firestation Records! The only other clue we get is from the center label of the record. It credits both songs to a K. Boardman.

Aside from that, there’s nothing else online about the band. Listening to “Choose The Way” one ends up wanting to know more, to research them properly, find out what happened to the band, who were the members, and how can one find a copy of it, with a sleeve (as it seems the sleeves are rare too!). It’s a great track obviously. The trumpets. How can I be won by trumpets!!! Catchy, classy, elegant. The kind of record I love! Check it out!


The Clamber – Choose The Way


Thanks so much to Klaus Cornfield for the great interview! Throw that Beat in the Garbagecan! is one of my favourite bands ever, so it was quite thrilling to receive these answers! On top of it all this year the band is reuniting for a one off gig in Berlin and I’m so planning to go. I already have a concert ticket! Just missing the plane ticket! But yeah, it’s so exciting! There is more information about the event here if you are wondering. And you can buy the tickets here! Throw that Beat had a wonderful career, with many albums, EPs and singles, all of them packed with hit-songs, and many indiepop classics in my book. If you haven’t heard about them yet, well, maybe it’s time for you to discover them, and if you are a fan like me, I hope you learn a thing or two, or just enjoy the interview! Happiness!

++ Hi Klaus! Thanks so much for being up for an interview. First of all I have to say that I’m so very happy that you are reuniting for this one gig in September. Why did you decide to come back? And will there be more concerts or this is just a one-off?

I was about to become 50 years old and decided to ask Oli, Lotsi, Iwie, Alex and Ray to play once more, just for the fun of it. They jumped on the train all together quite happily – and it grew fast from the idea to play “a bunch” of songs to a whole 90 Minute Rock show. But we decided also to keep it cool. One big evening! No further promises or expectations.

++ I have never seen you live before, so for me this is going to be a great first time, so looking forward to it. Many German friends have told me that your gigs were so much fun back in the day. What can I expect in this gig? Is it going to be the full lineup of the band? Are there any unreleased songs that you’ll play? How many songs will you play? Bringing any special merch? Any little gossip will do!

Of course we printed a new poster and we will sell a few leftover XXXL shirts that were stored in my parents cellar for quiet a long time. Some rare records from another ancient box will be also waiting for our meanwhile loaded and grey haired fan people at our merch stand, along with our iconic merchandise girl Soosoo Sunbeam. We are very happy to announce that Lotsi will be back for this concert, which for me is the very exciting element in this whole enterprise. The fun will be there i suppose, the awkward announcements, Iwie’s silly hat, me stepping on guitar cables and falling over…I don`t think anything can change that in us…

++ So going back in time, and I know most of your German fans will know all these answers, but I think the English-speaking won’t, I want to ask about the early days in Nuremberg. How was it? Was Throw That Beat your first band experience? And if there were any bands in town that you liked at the time?

No, there was not one band in town that we liked when we got started. There were 3! The shiny Gnomes, the Truffauts and the Gostenhof Giants. Along with some other fine talent like the Kern brothers or Albi Illegal and his psychedelic hardrock group the Illegal State of Mind. And we had the Zabo Linde, a club in the south part of Nuremberg which introduced us to great small indie bands in the eighties, like the Feelies, the Go-Betweens, the Milkshakes, the Wedding present, the Television Personalities and many more. We were all the musical children of one man. Michael Demmler, who owned a small alternative record store and gave me my first very good record. My first buy was the Television Personalities live bootleg “live at Forum Enger” and “Jonathan sings” from Jonathan Richman. That was a new world.

++ And talking about cities, now you live in Berlin, and the gig will be happening in Berlin. When did you move? And whereabouts in Germany would you say you have the biggest fanbase?

I moved to Berlin 10 years ago. I don’t want to say it is the perfect place to be automatically, but for me it was. It’s a little bit like Piccadilly Circus in London. Everyone comes here once in a while. Some old friends who I know from all over Germany moved to Berlin as well. Since we used to play so many shows all over the land, we have a good chance to find many of our audience in the biggest and dirtiest city that’s available. Berlin. Anyway, no matter where we would do the concert, there will be a lot of people that have to travel for it. I only worry a little bit about the CO2 that will be released only for this one concert….ayayay…what a shame…

++ You took the name of the band from a B-52s song, but the whole band had great stage names, I always wondered where those names came from. For example, the Cornfield part. What’s the story behind that?

Lotsi Lapislazuli and Iwie Candy XO7 and their sister Soosoo Sunbeam. They invented fake names for themselves that were so funny that i got jealous and begged them to make one up for me. So they stuck their heads together for a minute and came up with “Kalle Cornfield”. Which i liked, except that i kept the Klaus from my real name. Oli changed to Polli, when we watched too much Monty Python sketches with dead birds. Pollunder means Pullover in German- Oli’s favorite winter clothing, So that resulted in Polli Pollunder. Lord Ray was always Lord Ray, don’t even know where that came from. When we looked out for a band name in 1986, we liked the words “beat” and “garbage” very much, and we decided to use the longest band name of all the bands on the planet.

++ Also by the end of Throw That Beat in the Garbagecan’s run as a band you shortened the name of the band to just Throw That Beat. Why was that?

After a few years the joke was used up and the records became CD’s and there was no way to print such a long name on those crappy tiny plastic things. We also thought that shortening the name would sound fresh and could help the audience to see us in a new light. Did it help? No.

++ You played so many gigs back in the day. What would you say were the best and why?

Brixton University, CBG`S, Open air in Barcelona, Heidelberg, Kotbus, Roskilde Green Stage, Tokio, somewhere in Shibuya on the 8th floor, Transfer in Erlangen, all those and many other concerts were just perfect moments for us i think. It really doesn’t matter so much how big the crowd was, but on those occasions I remember that it was packed and hot and I even remember that I collapsed once in Cologne, because I wore a fake fur hat on stage.

++ And how was the visit of The Fat Tulips to play with you in Germany? Any anecdotes you could share?

They loved to play the blues in the backstage room.They were just so adorable, and they let us stay at their homes when we toured in England.

++ Do tell me how did the first contact happen with them and Heaven Records? How did this friendship start?

That is so long ago, I can’t recall how and why we met them. I guess that someone wrote letters and then picked up the phone. Maybe a fax here and there…those were undigital times…yes…fax…can you believe it?

++ My first encounter with your records was here in the US, through Spinart. How did you end up signing with them? And why only two of your albums came out with them?

Spin Art did very good work. They discovered us a little bit too late to start releasing our records from A to Z, so they decided to make their own compilation. That went up to number 49 in the College Radio Charts, so don’t say we did not make it big in the USA. We saw the effort behind it and for a week we even experienced some kind of hype, especially when we played at the CBGB’s. The room was crowded only when we were on stage, I swear! It was almost frightening…maybe they were crowding up to beat us up…but no. They loved it as if the other bands were Poison and we were The Cure.

++ Most of your records came out on Electrola though. Who were they? And how was your relationship with them?

Robert Wolf and Monika Markowitz wanted to try something new and with us they did. After we got guaranteed in the contract that we would play the music the way we wanted to, we were very surprised, but we liked it!

++ You have so many fantastic songs, but can I pick two and you can tell me the story behind them? What about “A Choclatbar for Breakfast” and “Little Red Go-Cart”

When i was a kid I woke up early in the morning on the week ends and sneaked into the living room where my parents were hiding the chocolate bars. The song seems to use this picture to tell us something about a lost feeling that the author wishes to come back again. I wish I knew what I was really thinking…still. Little red go-cart was Lotsi’s idea while she heard me playing D A G A very fast on my old red Astro guitar. I adore the line “submarines just run ashore, people cry and go to war”.

++ And if you were to pick your two favourite songs from your repertoire, which would they be? And why?

“I dedicate my life to you” is my all time favorite. Its impossible to tell the second one, I think I love them all the same, but the one I call “my song” is the mentioned. First I was singing it to someone else, till I recognized is really about me – which made me cry a little bit, because suddenly it became so sad and still sounds happy.

++ You recorded also a bunch of videos. How was that experience? Who came up with the ideas for them? What was more fun, recording at the studio or filming videos?

For the videos we threw all our ideas together and Iwie would take care of the rest. Hiring a camera and sound man and editing. She still is working in that field and saved our tiny butts from looking stupid with her editing work. A kiss for Iwie! Recording music was a 10 to 20:00 job mostly. Later we recorded in huge studios, where Suzie Quatro recorded some hits and was reported to have thrown a cake on the ceiling. The cleaning woman told us this story from the seventies when she saw how well we behaved – except for the last day. I remember getting very drunk at least once when we finished the record and listened to the pre-mixes. Sooo drunk, I climbed on a lamp…and on a few other things I can’t remember properly. Recording new songs was one of my favorite parts of being in a band. Along with most of the concerts.

++ Something I also love about your records is the artwork, the photos you used, the imagery. Who was in charge of that?

We were lucky to have some talented friends who helped us with the photos, Billy & Hells for example, who I hung out with when we started. We even got Jürgen Teller for a shooting, because he knew Iwie from school. As a cartoonist I supplied a few comic strips, but the beautiful artworks of the albums and singles are made by Lotsi. You can’t beat Lotsi’s stuff.

++ About your songs, they are quite unique, so I always have wondered where did you get inspiration and who had influenced you to pen such songs? Also if you ever considered doing German songs for Throw That Beat?

We wrote one German song! “007 Sehen”. Iwie sings it. Kind of a test balloon. We loved it and were about to do at least one or two more. But we took so much inspiration (that’s how you call it) from English and American music, comics, films and TV shows, (not to mention Mr Kurt Vonnegut) that it felt very natural to us to use English. Gladly English lyrics by German bands were awfully dull in the eighties. And the rest of the world did not so much better with a few exceptions. All these boring clichés that were used made me sick, so we were proud do it a little bit funnier than the rest. We spit on the radio broadcasting and pressed things like “fuck” and other beep words on vinyl…just because we liked it better that way. The trick was to stay open for any subject to sing about. It may be a very small object that makes big sense. Once when we waited for Iwie to show up for our rehearsal and she did not show up, we wrote a song about waiting for Iwie. As simple as that. It ends with a long keyboard solo by Iwie, because she might have been late, but finally she came. It`s still one of my favorites. It seems to say so much more than it really does. The minor chords gives it such a sad and beautiful meaning. But there are a few crappy lyrics as well by me from the very first beginnings. I had to learn the hard way myself.

++ So when and why did you all decided to call it a day? What did you do all after?

That was after our last tour in 1997 I think. There was not much despair or anything. The end faded in very gently when when we drove over a dark autobahn from Switzerland to Nürnberg listening to “My name is Jonas” from Weezer. The workers are going home…that was my feeling.

++ Something I’ve always wondered is if there are still any unreleased songs by Throw That Beat? And if there are plans for any sort of reissues or new releases in the future?

There is a very charming and trashy fanclub tape that waits to get digitalized, and a few very rare covers and B-sides. We will make it available on our homepage soon.

++ And looking back to those days, what would you say was the biggest highlight of the band?

Our very own red Throw That Beat in the Garbagecan! Viewmaster with 3D Bandportraits that EMI made as a promotion gadget for the Cool Album.

++ I’ve been to Berlin before, but as you are a local now maybe you can give me some tips! What are your favourite areas to go for a walk? favourite German dish that I should try? And what about beer?!

Beerlin! If you like Beer, you will find enough variations – If you ask me, try Egernseer. Its hardcore. And eat currywurst, if you can find one. They died out almost in the last 10 years. They are even more hardcore. The best food will be Turkish food in Kreuzberg. Miammiau

++ Ah! and before I forget, favourite chocolate bar?

Ritter Sport Alpenmilch

++ And one last question, how many guitars do you own?

3 Guitars. A small acoustic nylon string from the thirties made out of maple wood and a red 1964 Astro (Instrumentenbau Stromer halfacoustic) and a 1974 Gibson Halfacoustic.

++ Thanks again so much Klaus, anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for your patience! Feel free to correct my words in spelling and commas and dots and stuff. make me sound like i know what i`m doing please:-)


Throw that Beat in the Garbagecan! – A Choclatbar for Breakfast