When Selfish C**t caused a frenzy tearing up venues across the capital, few could have imagined they'd have actually made it to a national headlining tour without imploding. With the raw primal debut album "No Wicked Heart Shall Prosper" behind them they're already thinking about album number two which sets to ante-up the confrontational lyrics, while having the sort of straight up rock tunes that Spastic Dealey can babble on about from an auto-cue. 2005 could be the year that Selfish C**t share the stage with Girls Aloud. Stranger things have happened in pop. Designer Magazine caught up with chief c**t Martin Tomlinson.
Q: Up until this tour Selfish C**t have been known
as a "London band" and as well as playing the main cities like Manchester
you've been stepping out into the provincial towns such as Preston. How
has it translated?
A: It's weird because it's the first time we've headlined our own tour. Because we've supported other bands it's good to know who will come out to see us rather than just being there cos we're supporting the Libertines or whatever. But there's been a big strong presence at every gig and I think people really appreciate it when you go out to places like Croydon or Preston. When we first started no-one knew us and it's weird to think that people actually know who we are now.
Our reputation did precede us and the thing is I don't
think it's that difficult to get banned from a venue. The whole idea of
a band is pretty formulaic and if you step outside of that you just cause
havoc. It's all about finding out how close you can get to people. Good
riddance to the Barfly and the ICA.
Q: It was the Guardian Top 40 People To Look Out For
in 2004 of all places where most people will have first heard of you from,
a list you shared along with James Bourne from Busted and Shaznay Lewis
A: I think he did that cos he found our record and thought we're a good thorn to stick in the side. Why can't we sit next to Busted and All Saints? I think that's where Selfish C**t belong. People think we are isolating ourselves with the name, but that wasn't the intention. It would be a beautiful thing if we stand by our name and still achieve success regardless. I think if good music is good music it overrides the name anyway. We're still quite a young band and we need to work on a richer sound, but once we have that great song nothing's going to stop people from buying it. I see no reason why we won't end up on CD:UK or Top Of The Pops.
Q: What's your background pre The C**t days?
A: Theatre. I did that for a while, but working in the theatre was quite conservative. It's just a bit boring. In theatre you're just performing for the middle classes who aren't prepared to accept new ideas. On the live shows you can break the rules a little bit more. I actually wrote a few plays myself and that was the genesis of what Selfish C**t became, it was semi-political, but when we started the band it was around the time that the war broke out and that was really an eye opener for me. Especially if you're an artist, or maybe not, in London no-one was saying anything whereas we felt compelled to.
Q: Coming from Manchester, London always seems a more
A: Manchester's a bit retro, but London isn't bothered. I've been to New York, Berlin and Rome and London cuts it really hard. It doesn't stop and sometimes it goes too far...which makes for a good night out. I don't really do the gay scene, it's a bit too greasy and oily. I go to the more darker clubs for avante puffs. You've got clubs like Matthew Glamour's Kash Point which really pushes the barrier of high vanity.
There is a real alternative at the moment but at the same
time over exposure can be a bad thing. God bless The Libertines, it's such
a shame that such a great band are splitting up, after what a couple of
Q: What was the idea of the C**t - just to break everything
down to a slogan so it can hit the hardest?
A: I reckon it was just because I hadn't worked out what a melody was. When we started I'd never written a song before, when me and Pat came together he was the musician and I was this wordsmith. We'd started playing gigs when we only had one song, which was pretty shit. It took us about 2 weeks to get to the stage where we had two songs and after that it was like bam bam bam. After 3 songs we'd got a record deal and we recorded the album in one take. A lot of musicians try to get everything so right, but when you think about touring or playing gigs you're on the bottom of the bill so you might as well do your rehearsal in front of those 100 people.
Matt (ex of the performance art collective Minty) thinks
he's inspired me, but I don't really think so. Musically we're coming from
completely different ends of the spectrum. A lot of people don't realize
that Pat's really into rock like AC/DC, Ramones, Shellac, Fugazi and Black
Flag. Myself i'm just simple so it's like The Stooges, Hendrix, Nirvana.
We like straight up rock and roll, but we had a drum machine until a couple
of weeks ago when we got a drummer in. People think we've lost something
now we have a real drummer, but the thing was we always intended to have
a drummer in the band. Our next record will have live drums on it.
Q: So you're already thinking of the next Selfish C**t
A: We've got a record cos we've written the stuff. We're lucky that we don't have to work a job to survive. We'd rather record it now than too late and lose the spirit of it. The next albums gonna be a lot more eclectic. I think the first record it was really black and white, this is and that is that, but this one's a lot more open. And with the drummer in people tend to rock out a bit more, the albums gonna have a fatter sound that can bring more people in. Lyrically as well it's gonna be a lot richer, we're gonna less of a spectacle that you just watch.
Q: Any songtitles?
A: We've got "Stand Up Straight", "Born From A Mother", "Sam", "Whip Goes The Crack" and "Batty Boy", the latter dedicated to all the black men in East London. The lyric goes "C'mon bring your wife along and lets have some fun". It's just about the abuse i've suffered walking down the street. A lot of my friends don't realize the abuse I get because everyone thinks we live in liberal times, but i've been spat in the face down walking down Oxford Street for who I am. I guess "Batty Boy" is the response. It's not angry, I think it's a bit more clever than that.
Q: Where did the idea of covering Bobby Brown come
from? Any over covers in the works?
A: Well, if anyone's a c**t it's Bobby. We found the 7" of it in a second hand record shop when we were looking for Paula Abdul, so we decided to cover it and suddenly Gary Mulholland gave it single of the week in the Observer Music Monthly, which was weird cos it was done as a joke.
"Material Girl" is on the cards, we've done it a couple
of times and I think it's gonna end up on the next album. "Some boys kiss
me. Some boys hug me" - how appropriate?
Q: So what are the plans for 2005? When can we expect
the album out?
A: We start recording it at the end of December so even if we finish recording it by January or February you've got to spend at least 5 months preparing it, to get it right. The idea for 2005 is just to play more shows and make a better record. I think "No Wicked Heart Shall Prosper" is a good record, but it's tough. It's not an easy record to listen to. If we can make a record that people can dance or rock to, and I think this record will do that, then we'd be happy. We'd never want to end up like Chumbawamba, but we do want to make a record that connects with people and is accessible.
"No Wicked Heart Shall Prosper" is out now on Horseglue
For more info
www.selfishc**t.co.uk (Remove the **)
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