Friday, 13 August 2010

Shrag Interview- Indietracks Festival 2010

Melissa Greaves Interviews the exceptional SHRAG at Indietracks:

MG: So to begin, what are your general feelings about this weekend so far, how’s it been for you?
Steph: Really fun
Helen: It’s been amazing, I’ve sat on a fake horse at 4am and had arguments about Joy Division and stuff in the campsite. Yeah, and we arrived just in time to see ‘Allo Darlin’ playing as the sun was going down, and it was kind of, incredibly emotional and lovely . It’s just been great, it’s a really nice atmosphere and we’ve got a lot of friends here.
Andy: I’ve enjoyed the twenty minutes that I’ve been here, it’s been fantastic so far.
S: Has it been emotional for you so far?
Andy: Oh, it has.
MG: And how would you rate that emotion on a scale of one to ten?
A: An eleven.
MG: And are you guys big train fans, or are you just here for the music?
H: Massive train fan, no seriously I am actually because I can’t drive.
S: You’ve got every episode of Thomas the tank engine on blue ray.
R: No one in the band drives so it’s an appropriate festival for us.
H: Yeah, we spend a lot of time on trains as well because we rehearse in Brighton but two of us live in London.
S: Actually, we’re sick of trains! At least we don’t have to pay for these ones.
R: We can’t afford a van, so we often go to gigs on the train.
A: Can we do a non train festival.
MG: I saw you play here two years ago, since then you’ve jumped up the line-up. Would you say that as the festival has progressed, so have you?
H: Well, we were just saying, it’s lucky for us the way this has happened because we’ve just got the new album coming out, so it’s good timing. Yeah of course over two years we’ve progressed.
S: Hopefully we’ve got a bit better.
H: The proof will be in the pudding tonight.
R: You’re not allowed to get too good for this crowd, or you won’t fit in. If there’s not enough mistakes, it’s not lo-fi enough.
S: People get angry if you don’t fuck up enough.
MG: Do you think you might headline this festival at some point?
H: I doubt it, we tend to plateau don’t we.
S: We’re splitting up after this gig actually, that’s our surprise.
R: People reform especially for festivals, we disband.
H: No, we’re not splitting up. Are we…
MG: Have you been doing any other festivals this year?
S: No just this one, we don’t really get asked to do festivals. We did Off Set last year.
R: Yeah, it’s only one festival at a time isn’t it?
S: One per season
A: We’re really milking the festival season.
MG: You’ve got a new album out, can we be expecting a tour at some point?
H: Yeah in October, it’s meant to be coming out on the 4th of October, so we’re planning a UK tour around then. Then hopefully we’re going to America, just applying for visas at the moment. So potentially October should be busy.
MG: And will you be playing Leeds/Wakefield on that Tour?
H: Yeah we like playing Leeds.
S: Yeah Leeds is great.
A: I used to live in Leeds, and I haven’t been back, I spent years playing in bands there, but since I’ve been playing in Shrag, we haven’t played there.
S: We can expect a big Andy following when we play there.
R: We used to play there a lot.
H: Yeah the Brudenelle Social Club
R: Joseph Wells, the Lady Fest thing.
H: Yeah, we’ve always loved playing in Leeds.
R: We played Wakefield on a Monday night, that was a highlight
S: I think people actually left before we came on, it was a school night and a lot of the people their we’re really young. I think they had to go home, to go to bed and get ready for school.

MG: Right now let’s talk about your songs and the lyrics. The song ‘pregnancy scene’ isn’t a very common topic for a song, what inspired the lyrics to that song?
H: Steph had just joined the band, and it was around that time a lot of our friends seemed to be getting pregnant. Both of our friends did that, so I think we were just moaning about it.
S: I’d just bumped into someone who told me their girlfriend was pregnant, and we had a practice and I just remember walking off like “Everybody’s fucking pregnant”.
H: We thought we’d write a song about it.
S: We couldn’t say it to their faces.
Bob: It would’ve been a bit harsh to express our disgust to their faces like “errrr disgusting”
S: “What you doing that for”
MG: Have these people heard this song then?
S: Yeah, I don’t think they’re aware of it.
B: “This is to all the mothers in the house”
MG: Okay you’re video for ‘Talk to the Left’ features a pretty impressive dance routine, who choreographed that dance?
B: I’d like to claim the choreography credit for that, if I may.
S: We were all round Helen and Russell’s the night before, and we had to do this video the next day. We had no idea what to do, so Bob was like “ Why don’t we do a little dance routine for that”, that’s as far as we got. We all thought it would be hilarious if we all had black t-shirts with an arrow actually pointing to the left.
H: Just to ram it home.

MG: So where does the name ‘Shrag’ come from?
H: We used to live in, well we all met each other in Brighton. There’s a big apartment block called Sussex Heights, Bob had a flat more or less right at the top, well it was, but just not the pent house, so yes the name emerged the ‘Sussex Heights Roving Artist Group’.
R: Was it roving because you had to move?
H: No we just put that in there.
B: It would’ve been Shag otherwise.
S: A lot of people think it’s Shag anyway.
R: I do worry about t-shirt sales, I think we need to come up with an image, or something, and make the word slightly smaller, because not many people would want Shrag on their chest from a distance.
H: There wasn’t really much thought into it
R: We didn’t really think we’d last more than two years
H: We didn’t think we were gonna make a record
S: Never thought it was gonna be on a t-shirt that’s for sure.
B: We never thought we’d have to explain it to anyone either.
R: Least of all my Mum, that didn’t go well
MG: Why, how did she react?
R: I think she just mentioned my age and tutted, or it was probably just worse actually, just humouring me like ‘oh right!’

MG: If you could any song by any band, what would it be?
R: ‘I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that’
S: Anything by Meatloaf
H: Me an Leigh-Anne the old drummer always wanted to do ‘Walk of life’ by Dire Straits, but the others wouldn’t do it. Odd Box records are putting together a Prolapse covers record, they’ve asked us to do it, so I’m hoping we can get that together at some point.
R: We’ve had failed attempts at a few Orange Juice songs.
H: We covered a Bright Eyes song
B: The Manics did that as well, I think of a cover and either The Manics or Placebo have done it.
MG: What would you’re dream festival line up be?
B: Can they be dead?
S: Seems a bit mean just to wake them up for my pleasure.
B: I don’t know, I’ve seen some of my favourite bands reform, I saw the Velvet Underground reform, and I thought they were terrible, I mean, they’re my absolute favourite band ever and when I saw them I was just so disappointed.
S: I think ESG, they’re always good
R: I’d get Michael Rother in, I saw him in Spain and that was well good.
H: Suede
S: Sonic Youth
B: The Fall
A: Boredoms, Jeff Mills
B: Yeah yours is more ATP isn’t it
S: Maybe Alvin Stardust and some fella from the 60s
MG: Would you be on that line-up as well?
H: Oh yeah definitely, we’d have to headline

MG: You’ve supported bands like: The Cribs, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, who’s been your favorite band to support?
H: I’d probably say The Cribs, we’ve done two full tours with them, and like we got to play London Astoria before it got closed down.
S: It’s all about what we get in return really isn’t it?
H: But they’re just really very sweet, funny people and we always have a good time.
R: And we get to see a world that the likes of us shouldn’t be allowed in.
H: The first time we did it we didn’t have a clue like, how to be professional or anything and they still invited us back.
R: A hidden joy is being able to start really early like half seven. It was good because you did your stuff, and then walk off and get drunk for the rest of the evening.
H: Pretend to be famous
R: Every time we’re like an hour later on the bill, and you’d want that, but we’re like ‘Aw I wish we we’re playing at seven, I’m too drunk.’
S: Seven seems to be our perfect time to play. We’re just drunk enough, but not overboard.
MG: Are you looking forward to your set tonight?
H: Yeah, really excited, we’ve never played on a outdoor stage before, bit nervous but yeah just mainly really really excited.


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