Gentle Friendly / drone the pop way
Gentle Friendly begins as an environmental experiment in instrumental hodgepodge. After a friend rescues a drum-kit and some coffee from “a skip” David and Daniel [ and their drum-kit, their coffee, their friend and two old keyboards ] get together and start making enough noise to make the neighbors complain. Though their baptismal attic is no longer a viable venue, the London duo still makes noise-pop that is everything but neat. Sounds accumulate, loop and come back to bite you in the ass, because let’s face it, there was no need to have that seventh tequila-whatever-the-hell. And for the love of old coffee, click on the player below before you read another word.
Ripstatic from the debut album Ride Slow by Gentle Friendly [ Upset The Rhythm, 2009 ]
1. You guys are Londonites, do you have any fucking idea how lucky you both are ?
Ha, to be honest, no, thanks. London’s just where we live, but you’ve got to count your blessings, I love the city but it’s a beast to live in. but you live in Venezuela; I’d go there in a heartbeat.
2. Ok, so let’s cover the basics: tell us about the history of the band, its most important gigs, the albums the band has released and about your plans for the future.
We met in a living room long ago, relocated, found some gear and got together, played, taped, toured, made some records. We put a cassette out which you can’t get anymore, I don’t even have a copy, then “Night Tape” on No Pain In Pop, then we’ve got a full length “Ride Slow” coming on Upset the Rhythm in November. And now we’re starting putting together sounds for the next record after that, which will be “Wedding Tape”.
3. Could you explain what you think your music is about? What has the press said about your music so far?
I don’t know if we or the press have any idea what we’re doing.
4. What does it mean to be in the Southeast London scene (aside from the location) ? Which bands fall into the “Southeast London” category?
We’ve lived and worked in southeast London the past few years; there’s a lot of art stuff going on over there. we practiced right next door to Anish Kapoor‘s place. But scene wise talk to No Pain In Pop, they hold down the south side.
5. Is there a used [ or broken ] instrument market in London ? If so, where can I go buy some stuff to play with?
Deptford Market is a trade secret, you go there on the right day, you can find anything.
6. An easy one: what music genre do you enjoy the most when dancing ?
If the mood is right, it doesn’t matter
7. What genre of music do you feel more comfortable composing ?
8. The band decided early on to ditch guitars – which were uncomfortable due to their heft and size. If you eventually get to the point where you hace access to a minivan / roadie, would the instrument selection grow ? how big do you think it would be too big for a live show ?
Well the guitars are still out, but you’ve got to keep playing live simple. you can’t rely on a tonne of gear for a good show, you just have to go for the gut. Although we have bigger amps now I don’t see things ballooning into some kind of jefferson starship nightmare, that won’t happen.
9. How does the interaction with loops and recorded material in the live shows work?
We have to control it ourselves, everything is looped on the spot, so its unpredictable, sometimes we play the samples and sometimes they play us.
10. A DJ has to play a song immediately preceding your show and one immediately thereafter. What would you consider perfect choices on their behalf?
The perfect opening would be some kind of drone piece, ’cause then we can bring in our own drone, so the two would blend together. Or an extended drum roll intro, then a gong hit at the end.
11. How is you relationship with No Pain in Pop?
12. Who designs the cover art for your albums ?
The art for the new record was done by us, Lloyd Bowen and Jayne Helliwell.
13. Does it still make sense to ask “can you describe how you compose songs” ? what is the most interesting answer you have ever read for that question?
Yeah, composing is a process just like any other, nothing mysterious about it – you can sit there waiting for the muse to hit you, and light some incense and candles and concentrate really hard and wait for something to happen. It’s better just to press “record” and see what happens. maybe that in itself is mysterious, I dont know. I like the brag you hear a rapper make from time to time that all their stuff comes off the top of their head ’cause they’re so busy with other things – “…i don’t even write shit cuz I ain’t got time”
14. And finally, the inward-looking question: we are magazine editors and fans of both magazines and music, do you guys read any magazines on a regular basis?
i’m not big on magazines..i picked up a copy of Cat World the other day but that was just to collage
[ With thanks to Michu for the collabo. All photos from the Gentle Friendly myspace website ]