Electric 6
Dick Valentine

When Electric 6 play Manchester Academy on February 26th it will be their 2nd visit to the city in 3 months so Designer Magazine thought it would be rude not to get on the blower and ask them to market Manchester for us. Amongst interesting facts such as which cafe has the best tomato soup (Ed: If you're really interested they said it was Kro Bar opposite the uni) we also asked Dick Valentine them about M's departure from who left singing about Gay Bars and entered the classroom in an arch mission to push Electric 6 on the kids.

Q: You're just about to do another UK tour next month in February. If you were a tabloid rag you might market Manchester as "A bunch of binge-drinking c**ts who never got over the Stone Roses and Madchester". Electric 6 would market Manchester as...?
A: It's about our fifth or sixth time playing a UK tour. Manchester is one of the most user-friendly towns in terms of getting around and making a day of it. There are non more User Friendly than Manchester. Everybody on the street is there to show you where the internet cafe is or perhaps a place to get a sandwich. I've never had a problem getting around.

Q: That's cool. If we were coming to Manchester we'd probably spend our time in Internet cafe's eating sandwiches. Which is the least user friendly town in the UK?
A: London is definitely the most problematic.

Q: Moving from M for Manchester to just plain old M. He's just left the band hasn't he
A: We've been reading all sorts of email's from people who are really shocked, but we've known about it for some time. We just had to find the right time to do it, for him and for us, but he's been talking about going back to school for a while.

Q: M's been with you for a long time. It must be sad to see him go back to school?
A: Since the beginning more or less. I think a lot of people are getting the initial shock, but he's been talking about it since the beginning of May. We don't have a permanent replacement lined-up, but we do have a guy for the next couple of tours and we'll see if it works out. It's somebody a couple of the guys have played in the band with before.

Q: It is the ever changing line-up of the Electric 6?
A: That's the thing. You have so many people in the band with different agendas. It's funny that as a local band we had more or less the same line-up and then once we started doing this for real - people came in and out. I keeping joking that I suddenly find myself in Guided By Voices. I guess that's the way it is, you deal with it, because when you go out on tour you have to have everybody on the same page otherwise it will fold pretty quickly.

Q: From singing about Gay Bars to teaching in schools. Wouldn't Section 28 ban such a transfer move?
A: (laughs) People think everyone in the music industry earns millions of dollars when nothing could be further from the truth. In terms of last year we've done all right, but in terms of a long time career choice he's making the best move.

Q: Plus of course he could make sure the students listen to 24 hour Electric 6 via a Coca Cola ilfritrating the kids style mission. You've got a new label, Warners, behind you. What's the game plan?
A: I think everybody at the label agrees that's this is a better record than the first one. We're now just trying to pick our way through what the singles might be cos it's not as clear cut this time round. We kinda fell into the trap of being a singles band and that's been harmful for us in a way. I thoroughly believe that those 2 hits were a fluke. I've always thought we can make really great albums, but as far as making Top 5 hits all the time - sooner or later our lucks gonna run out. Hopefully the plan is if we make a couple of really good albums and not worry about the radio singles so much it will take care of itself.

Q: Which is why you released "Radio Ga Ga" as a proper single and the far superior "Vibrator" as the download only single
A: I think some of us felt that to. It's pretty indicative in the we've got 12 or 13 songs that are all in that category, so it's hard to pick one that we want to go with. As far as "Radio GaGa" that was just finishing something that we started. Last year we found ourselves in a situation where we no longer had a record label and with two weeks of putting "Radio Ga Ga" out we were put in limbo. So that's why we put it out now.

Q: For "Vibrator" didn't you do protests outside the Ann Summers shop in London?
A: (laughs) It's the first i've heard of it. I'll look into it though because one thing you get used to in Electric 6 is offering blanket apologies. We have the apology form and all you do is fill in the blanks.

Q: It's getting on now. I guess you should sell us the album "Senor Smoke"
A: We really wanted to make this album add to the live show. That's what we see ourselves as cos we don't watch ourselves on TV or read about us in the mags. The idea was 12 or 13 songs that would add to the live shows and make it a little bit different.

There's a slow acoustic song called "Jimmy Carter" which is one of my favourite songs we've done I'm really glad we got to put that out. The first song on the record is called "Rock N Roll Evacuation" and it's a Pixie-esque song. The next single is probably gonna be "Dance Epidemic" or "Devil Nights" which unlike anything you've heard from us. It's almost like something the Neptune's would do

"Senor Smoke" is out on February 14th
The band tour throughout February / March
For full tour dates and info

Post your Electric 6 comments / reviews on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)