You've seen the "God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead" video now find out a little more about Scumbag Philosopher.
The band are heading to Manchester twice over the next month. Firstly supporting The Fall at Moho Live on Friday 3rd of June and then heading back to Manchester on 2nd July for a Designer Magazine show as part of our Funf night at the Roadhouse
Q: Your music has recently been defined as ‘post-punk-avant-rock.’ How do you feel about that? Is that an accurate description of what you do?
The ‘post-punk’ bit I get - and as a big fan of the Gang of Four etc approve of. The ‘avant-rock’ bit I don’t understand – if it basically means avant garde rock then that’s not really us; we’re neither rock nor avant-garde. The latter always means lots of stop-starts and silly time signatures to me.
Q: You recently collaborated with Phil Vinall, who has previously worked with the likes of Placebo, Pulp ad Elastica. How did that relationship come about?
We first met him over a decade ago when a previous band called Passing Clouds got two successive singles of the week in a now defunct music paper called Melody Maker. He rang us up because the review made us sound interesting. Since then, we’ve kept in touch and I’ve done stuff off-and-on with him – including the mixing of the two singles from our album.
Q: Through being defined as post-punk, and supporting the godfathers of said genre, would you say you have taken much influence from The Fall?
Well, we’ve got a cantankerous looking singer (Grant) who talks rather than sings so there’s a similarity. However, he doesn’t do that as a paean to Mark E. Smith – it’s just that Grant can’t sing very well. However, I’d better own up to being a massive Fall fan so there’s bound to be a bit of The Fall in what we do – but I’d say it runs at about 5%.
Q: Who else has been important as influences in your musical development?
Weirdly, for me, it’s rarely been about anything directly musical – so I can’t point to band X or band Y and say “if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have bothered’. Instead I think I’ve been more touched by quaint old punk/post-punk notions of self-activity and originality. When I were a lad and was in my first ropey post-punk band the worst thing that could be said about you was that your band sounds like another band.
Q: Music of this genre has historically been heavily influenced by political and social issues. Is this something you try to reflect in your music?
If you’re talking about post-punk from the old days then that’s partly true – but for every Gang of Four/Scritti Polliti/Au Pairs with their polemic there was a host of sound-alike bands whose motivation was to “get on in the music industry.”
But if you’re talking about more recent post-punk revivalists I don’t think there was much political stuff in there. Take Franz Ferdinand as an example: I’m pretty sure, as individuals, that the members of that group are pretty switched on politically but you’d never pick up on that from their music.
As for us, it’s all politics with a small ‘p’ – the petty humiliations of being at work, the hypocrisy of the celebrity system etc. We’re not exactly The Levellers are we?
Q: You are set to release your latest single ‘God is Dead so I Listen to Radiohead’ on May 23rd. What can we expect from the new material?
A: 'God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead' is about a certain kind of suburban Nietzsche freak who attaches themselves to certain introspective musicians and to certain philosophers - or rather to their more well-known quotes and.
In the 70s that musician would have been Bowie - these days it's Radiohead.
So the song contains lines like…
"I've got a will to power, that's why I don't shower."
"I live with my mum in a chalet bungalow and I've read half of Ecce homo."
But mainly it's shouting "'God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead".
The song was first released a couple of years ago on a limited edition 7” single and was a gen-u-ine indie hit in Italy and Spain.
Btw, some members of Scumbag Philosopher think Radiohead are great and the others think that they're doggy-do.
There's also a crazed companion video featuring lame spoofs of Radiohead vids (ever wondered how Thom does that singing in water thing?), drunken clergy and a Benny Hill chase sequence.
Q: You’re supporting The Fall at a couple of exclusive shows at the start of June. How are you feeling about these performances?
As a big fan of The Fall I’m pretty excited about it all. However, I’m a little bit apprehensive about what other fans of The Fall are going to make of us – they’re a pretty partisan bunch.
Q: Lastly, are you at all intimidated by Mark E. Smith?
A previous band that I was in supported The Fall many years ago so I’ve already encountered him and he was perfectly civil to us. So, no, I have no reason to feel intimidated.
Scumbag Philosopher on the interweb thingy:
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All Interviews by Alex McCann unless otherwise stated
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