Thursday, 6 September 2012

Was Ist Das

Our record came out on monday... whoop, etc...

We threw an exhibition on Saturday to celebrate, it was great, here are some photos courtesy of Kieron Lee...

Thanks to everyone that came out and everyone involved, stoked we managed to pull it off.

ALSO to celebrate, our collective life partner, Owen Richards, put up a chronology of our time as a band, from our first show with Hard Skin, Dillinger Four and Ted Leo up to the other day on our balcony with Gershwin.

AND ALSO, I wrote up a thing for Fake DIY that is now below you...

"Sauna Youth are one of those bands who you've always hoped would record an album but that you didn't dare expect ever would. A ferocious live act, they've been knocking around the Brighton and London DIY punk 'scene' for a few years now, appearing on the odd split release and putting out some 7" records and an EP along the way.

But, after a tweaked line-up that sees new members coming in and vocalist Rich taking a seat behind the drums, a debut full-length is here - and it's as delightful as any Sauna Youth fan could have hoped. Merging krautrock influences with a real punk rock spirit, in 'Dreamlands' the band have put together something artistic, aggressive, cohesive, energetic, intelligent, and - well - really very good. We caught up with the band to talk us through the record one song at a time.

Town Called Distraction
We like telling stories, either lyrically or literally. I originally wanted to include a reading list with the record but then forgot about it until I had printed 1500 sheets of A3 paper (twice) and then had to make an excuse to myself why it was a bad idea, possibly because it was going to have ‘Mrs Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf in it and I wasn’t sure if it actually did have any relevance at all to it. Thinking about it now though, I’m pretty sure it does... especially the last song, Hairstyles. The piece of music in Town Called Distraction is both 100% completely improvised and is also 100% completely fabricated and has never been played, that means it is 200% music. It is also 100% a story and also 100% a song, so… it is using around 400% of your brain when you listen to it. How we did this is anybody’s guess… I think because we collaborated with so many people on it, it took on a life of it’s own, just trusting them implicitly as no one had, or wanted, to create a specific idea of how it would turn out. I has definitely cost us a lot in free records to give to people though. There was a version of it that was only using about 85% music total, like some drones and a few field recordings… it drifted along quite nicely but the two times I listened to the whole thing I actually fell asleep. When we first started creating the idea of our town, The Mountain was still in the band and he works as an engineer planning roads and other such seemingly simple but in fact intensely complicated structures… So we devised a brief outline of the town, including population (1,478), major structures and a vague layout and he was going to plan and draw it up in AutoCad or whatever and this was going to be the inside of the gatefold sleeve we were going to get when we pressed the record. This unfortunately didn’t happen.

Planned Designs
Tried to write a song using just one chord and failed… Wrote this while I was still painting a lot, I really like Rembrandt (especially the later self portraits), Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville, I suppose they’re definitely in the mainstream of art but you can’t deny the skill they have in executing their dissections of the human form in oil. I also used to work as a playworker in Brighton and hilariously enough my only post-school qualification is a GSCE equivalent in play. You wouldn’t believe the amount of theory involved in the link between our development and our ability to play and I’m a firm believer that restricting ourselves, or others, a chance to discover their world through playful interaction has an extremely negative effect. I also was reading Nabakov’s ‘Lolita’ and being both amazed and generally made to feel quite uncomfortable by the beautiful language he uses to tell the ugly, complicated story of Humbert Humbert’s and Lolita’s relationship. It’s all that kind of stuff filtered through metaphors and just straight up stealing lines and used to try and talk about the benefits of reclaiming the space around you to use as you wish, eg. Skateboarding or Arts Festivals.

Pines was listening to a lot of Dr. Feelgood around the time that he wrote this, and surprisingly it did used to be a bit more languid and a lot longer but it’s not anymore. I seem to remember listening to my mum’s 7” collection around this time and discovering Cliff Richard’s “Willy and the Hand Jive” and thought it’d be great to have a similar song based around the notion of a dance, “The Snapback”, now I don’t know what this dance would entail, I never got that far but I’m sure it would’ve been great and not to do with masturbation. Writing the lyrics involved the age old tradition of talking about walking around city streets thinking about yours/someone else’s life within a fictional framework of a made up town that acts as a metaphorical foil but trying not to talk about walking around city streets thinking about yours/someone else’s life because everybody has written a song about walking around city streets thinking about yours/someone else’s life.

PSI Girls
This began as a foray into poetry… which was then annihilated by the need to write some lyrics for a song. We were up in Nottingham playing for Joe C and he sorted us out some free recording time in exchange for recording a cover for him for a tape he was putting out. So we recorded a cover of ‘Radio Tay’ by The Scrotum Poles, which was brilliant. We also decided to record this song Pines had demoed but none of us had learnt, or written words for… so while The Mountain and Mince were learning it, I was writing it. Only later did it become apparent what it was about, which might be a good way of explaining what it actually is about. The guys played it very well, I did some terrible vocals takes and we called it a day and nothing ever happened to those recordings (sorry Joe) but we had learnt a new song, which was great.

Viscount Discount
My friends were getting married and I was going with them on a weekend trip to Calais to go camping and pick up all their booze for the reception and meal, etc… I had had quite a busy week at work preceding this and was looking forward to not being the organisational lynchpin of the jaunt, I just had to be in London at their flat for a certain time with a bag of clothes and that was it. Due to this I failed to think about the fact that because Calais is in France and France is not in the UK I needed to have my passport to cross the border between the two, so I hadn’t brought my passport. This was realised within approximately 5 minutes of arriving at my friends house, when he comically asked if I had brought my passport, hur hur, etc… I replied I hadn’t and immediately left the flat to go back down to Brighton to go get it. On my 2 hour journey back home I re-organised my trip, my friends would go on ahead to catch their ferry, I would forfeit my place on this one and booked another leaving from Dover at 6am the next morning and to get there would travel by train from Brighton to arrive in Dover, via a bunch of places, at around 1:00am and the 5 hours between I would figure out when I got there. I bought a 6 pack of beer to help with the 5 hour layover in Dover and my train ticket, using my railcard to get a much needed discount as the minimal cost of the initial trip was ‘racking up’ as they say. Things were going ok, I was pleased I would still make it to Calais. On the final leg of my train journey, not far from Dover just after midnight a ticket inspector checked my ticket and my railcard and saw that it was out of date, he then proceeded to charge me for a second full priced ticket from Brighton to Dover, which was not cheap. He was a champion. I then got to Dover, walked around for a bit finished my last beer, found the port, found a bus shelter, got out my sleeping bag and bedded down for about 3 hours on a bench. Got up, got a coffee, got on the ferry and arrived in Calais just in time for lunch. 

Alice in Wonderland is a fantastic book and it has obviously had a large impact and influence over a great many creative endeavors, this being one of them. When we first started playing this song we would play it last and I would use a loop pedal on my vocals for the ending, after a few attempts of trying to get it sort of in time I realised that would involve practice and patience, two things we were incapable of back then. So we would just try and make it sound as obnoxious as possible and it’d go on for ages, this was great for us, not always the audience. We don’t do this anymore but we tried to re-create it on the record for posterity but had to cut it down because we suddenly became the audience whilst listening back and it was no fun. Instead we made an infinite loop of some nice feedback to finish the whole record off. I like how the words came out on this one and I think it’s a good summary of the overall themes contained within the record. This IS the stupidest party I have ever been to in all my life."

Ok, up next is the single for Static Shock........................

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