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Andrew joined Hood in quite odd circumstances. We had a gig booked at the Royal Park pub Â in Leeds. Our previous drummer had left the week before but we turned up anyway without a drummer. At one point in the soundcheck a member of the audience tried to drum along but was hopeless. Andrew was sat in the crowd and had heard all the tapes and 7″s we’d put out and said to his friend ‘I know all these songsâ€¦.’. His friend persuaded him to get up and play and so he became our drummer and stayed for six years. Craig joined a little later. We had a big show in Manchester planned at an event called In The City and we wanted an extra guitarist so we didn’t mess it up. We knew Craig through Andrew and he agreed to do it if we promised to videotape his favourite show « Prisoner Cell Block H » Â so he didn’t miss the show. We were very pleased to have him in the band as he’s an amazing guitarist.
When we first met Andrew he’d mentioned the Famous Boyfriend and soon he’d sent us a tape to listen to. They were like a Northern Field Mice I guess. Andrew told me that they were influenced entirely by ‘Why Does the Rain’ by The Loft. I like best what I’ll call their ‘ballads’ which sound rather like Prefab Sprout to me and I liked a lot of the more loopy stuff on ‘Making Love All Night Wrong’. My favourite two Famous Boyfriend songs are probably ‘I Can See No Point in Trying’ and ‘I Can’t See My Way Out of This’. They should have been on Sarah Records.
When I think of Andrew and Craig I think of two of the funniest, most endearing and warmest people I’ve had the pleasure to come across. Â It’s always a total pleasure to meet up with them as they never cease to make me smile. I’ve noticed here that I’m automatically grouping them as one person and it has been joked that they should have married each other rather than their respective wives! Even though they live in different cities now and have different lives they have always remained very good friends and when they get in the same room they bounce off each other in the most incredible way. They are both incredibly creative and I’d hope to count both of them as friends for life.
We met through the much feted music shop advert when we were 16. Although we only really lived around the corner from each other we weren’t aware of our parallel teenage existence. I think I asked for someone into Perspex Whiteout, The Loft, The Boo Radleys and The Edsel Auctioneer. Craig liked The Smiths, The Cure and Slowdive. So I suppose we had some common ground to work with. The early months were spent straightening out our musical agenda, which turned out to be « Try to sound like The Field Mice. Don’t talk to girls and be home in time for The Bill«
Quelle est lâ€™origine de votre nom ? Where does your name come from ?Â
I think the name was really born from that time where bands were called The Boy Hairdressers and shit like that. It was my idea. Craig’s idea was « Snowblind » a name so bad we didn’t talk for three weeks after he’d suggested it. It was really hard to wean Craig off shoegaze. Took me years.
We were actually quite ambitious as 16 year olds. We were pretty quickly sending demo tapes to Sarah records every week. We once played a gig for a fella in Haslingden who was setting up a tape label or something. He said he was going to rival Sarah. Complete bullshitter. But we saw an opportunity to set up our guitar, bass and dum machine and played to him in his kitchen of his terrace house. It’s the only gig I’ve ever done where I played an entire set to one man leaned against his sink and a whole song with a Jack Russell shagging my leg. I suppose after I’d joined hood we got a bit more serious about putting a record out. I suppose that became the main aim. I suppose the sound at that time of the first 7″ and album was really shaped by starting to listen to more electronic stuff, loads of trip hop, lots of St Etienne stuff like that. Probably the biggest influence was The Northern Picture Library album Alaska it opened our ears to sort of experimental pop. I still love that record so much.
By the time we’d done the first famous boyfriend records we’d started listening more and more to electronic stuff. Seefeel, Autechre and stuff like that. We’d recorded loads of stuff and basically divided them between purely electronic stuff and stuff with singing and carpenters samples. I think I recall basically giving them to 555 at the same time. One became Making Love… And the other the first Remote Viewer release. I think the Famous boyfriend album sold 29 copies and we had to repress the Remote Viewer album within a month or so! The choice to knock The Famous Boyfriend on the head was made by the record buying public.
I think back really fondly to The Famous Boyfriend days. No jobs, no wives, no mortgage, home made wine, playing cricket, watching Prisoner Cell block H and most of all being really, really productive. On a 4 track. Not quite an endless summer but as close as you could get in East Lancashire.
I think the two songs I like best are « your hearts not in it » and « I regret everything ». I think lyrically they’re quite good. You know in your late teens you’ve got tons to try and get out of your system, drinking, love, sex, loss, the future…It was a rich seam of inspiration. You hit 40 and suddenly your writing songs and trying to find things that rhyme with « bad back » and « interest rates ». Fortunately Â there are tons of words that rhyme with « piles ».
I don’t have a working guitar in the house anymore and my wife thinks I have a horrible voice. I think the days of me as a poor mans field mice tribute act are gone. It’d be nice to hear Craig play guitar again, because, despite of his tape loop infatuations, people forget he’s a fucking brilliant guitarist.
Depuis Famous Boyfriend vos projets sont de plus en plus Electro minimales comment lâ€™expliques-tu ? Since FB you seem to do more and more electronic music, why is that so ?
Every time I’ve hit a musical wall it’s always been electronic music that’s seduced me back to actively engaging again. It’s not all I listen to. I still listen to loads of jangling, shambling melancholy guitar stuff. But as far as headphones on I think a certain kind of hissy, blurred repetitive loop really helps me out. I think me and Craig have gone down slightly different paths with the music we do but essentially we get turned on by the same things.
The hood years. Obviously very dear to my heart. It’s testimony to how serious me and Craig took it that we are still very close friends with Chris and Richard after all these years. I look back with rose tinted shades. The reality was that we were all very young and a bit more *angsty*. I was 17 when I joined and probably about mid 20s when I left. So there were plenty of pretty bleak, what are we doing this for, no ones bothered, tortured artists,who put the flange on the bass sort of times. But I think the most positive bit, apart from the friendships, was that we managed to sign to a big indie (it obviously got a lot bigger!) so it did give me (us) a sense that it all mattered. We had an audience, so when we were making the two Domino albums (that we were involved in) it did feel that we were actually contributing to some kind of history of underperfoming left of centre pop.
Est-ce que vous pensez rejouer de nouveau ensemble ? Do you have any plans on playing together again ?
Moteer was something I’m glad we did. I think that it was actually quite an influential affair in the way it looked and sounded. I’m also glad that we diversified output wise whilst still having a clear aesthetic. The older and more curmudgeonly Craig got the less he was prepared to deal with all the shit that you had to do regarding up keep of the label (in the end he was pretty much doing it all on his own) so it made sense to wrap it up. But hopefully it inspired others to do a label, make music or whatever. A New Line (Related) is the first thing I’ve done without relying on Craig. I always suspected I was musical but I kept my feelings suppressed. In reality I just loitered around Craig and Chris and took credits for the output. I think you can see or hear that the Anl(r) stuff is pretty basic and simple but hopefully that’s part of its charm.
I have a whole playlist that I constantly just add new stuff to. I’ve gone through a lot in this last 18 months and now I’m more comfortable with what I like, I’m more of a blurry, fuzzy, four to the floor man these days…Sagat, Perfume advert, Austin Ceasar, Terence Dixon , Efdemin…
Mixtape by Full Moon Fuck
01. The Field Mice – Letâ€™s Kiss and Make Up – Â« Snowball Â» 1989 Sarah Records
02. Nothern Picture Library – Untitled #1/ Into The Ether – Â« Alaska Â» 1993 Vinyl Japan
03. The Loft – Why Does The Rain – Â« why does the rain Â» 1984 Creation Records
04. Famous Boyfriend – Youâ€™re Heartâ€™s Not In It – Â« Making Love All Night Wrong Â» 2000 555 Recordings
05. Famous Boyfriend – A Stick To Beat Me With – Â« The Famous Boyfriend Â» 1996 Orgasm Records
06. The Remote Viewer – Untitled – 555 Recordings
07. The Remote Viewer – Theyâ€™re Closing Down The Shop – Â« Let Your Heart Draw A Line Â» 2005 City Centre Offices
08. The Humble Bee – Fin – Â« The Undescriptible Brightness Shown Â» 2011 Cotton Goods
09. On Fell – A – 7 2011 Moteer
10. The Boats – P Versus NP – Â« Abstraction Â» 2015 Other Ideas
11. Astatine – Titarenko – Â« Warm Machine EP Â» 2011 Orgasm Records
12. A New Line (Related) – Great Palaces – Â« A new Line (Related) Â» 2014 Home Assembly Music
13. Lynne Hamilton – On The Inside – Â« Prisoner Cell Block H Theme Â» 1979