Liberty 37 - The "Don't Feel It!" Interview

Anyway, we’re getting a bit out of order in terms of when interviews were done now, but that’s ok, because as well as being the writer of this thing, I just became editor as well and decided it was ok. Anyway, another UK band interview. This one ladies and gentlemen, is with Liberty 37. Say hi.

Liberty 37 hail from the Swansea area, and to date, as far as I’m aware, have released an EP via Org Records, - No Beauty, and have had tracks on some of the Org Radio CD collection like thingies. And probably others to, but I haven’t researched this, so I could be wrong. They’re also due, at the time of the interview, to release their first EP on the Beggars Banquet label, the Stuffed EP. That’s the flier of it to the right.

Musically, well they’ve been described as a Rollins/Sugar like band. A more hardcore Radiohead. That’s probably a fairer assessment It’s melodic. Look straight past that Hardcore tag right now. It’s classic, and in vocalist Ish, they have someone who imparts meoldy and passion into what they do. However you want to describe, it’s really bloody good.

Anyway, time to set the scene for the interview I guess, so let’s do that shall we. Right, imagine if you will, that the band have just played their first gig on the Bullyrag / Beekeepers tour. It’s Wolves Varsity, and it’s one of those hot summer nights that we seem to have just before summer arrives. They’re busy lugging stuff off stage, when yours truly with impeccable timing as ever, wanders up to ask for an interview. Ish, the singer, you’ll meet him later, kindly agrees, before asking about System of a Down whose shirt I’m wearing. But it’s ok, cos I’m sure they own another one. A dash to the car to pick up the tape recorder, also results in picking up one of the demos. One of the last in fact, so if you wanted one, well, um, you’re too late now. Ish also talks about the God Machine, and has heard the Sophia album. His verdict. “Beautiful.” Obviously a man of great musical taste. We’ll ignore the more dubious affliction of supporting Swansea rugby club. But more on that at the end.

Anyway, one of the longest, most waffling intros to an interview is coming to an end. Yeah, I thought you’d be pleased.

The Beekeepers are about to play, and we’re about to sit in the “comfort” of the room that seems to double for dressing room / storage room / interview room and any other room. So please, make yourselves comfortable and let’s let the band introduce themselves.

So, from my left we have, Ish - Vocals, Twink - bass, Sim - Drums and Tim - Guitars.

Ok, nothing written down for this interview, so it’s the old favourite of a wing and a prayer, and your bog standard zine questions. So, given that the band have been through a number of name changes (they were originally Travis Inc, but then some Indie band called Travis forced them to change. So they chose Applecore, which they were then also forced to change). So what happened.

Tim starts. Same reasons as the initial name change. Legal. When we signed the deal as Applecore, we quite liked that, but then after we signed it, the lawyers at whatever company said “you’ll have to change that because The Beatles will have you”. It’s to do with The Apple label with The Beatles. They won’t have you now, but they will in five years time when you’ve got some money.

Ish plays the sensitive sole, as Mr McCartney had just lost his wife at the time “He’s got a lot on his plate at the moment, we don’t want to upset the man. So we had to get in there first. The rest of the guys are laughing, so Ish qualifies the statement. That’s not meant to be tasteless, I’m serious about that. We just wanted a name that nobody else had, that’s why we got a number, cos we figured there might be a Liberty 34, so we figured that as long as we got a number we’d be sorted. Though we have played with a Wave 27. But as we had the higher number, we obviously kicked their arse. But they were nice, they were good, we sort of spiritually kicked their arse, in terms of numbers.

Well, I’ve just done a review of the new Breed 77 single, so they’ve got you on that one.

Aaah. is the collective cry of disappointment. Hope they manage to recover from it. They’ve got us there. They’ve got 40 on us. But fuck it is the philosophical outlook from Sim.

Given all the name changes then, do you think that you’ve learnt anything about the music industry as a result. Is there any kind of resentment at the barriers that this kind of thing has given you to overcome.

I always was cynical, but I think that was what prevented me from getting on, but then I became less cynical and got a deal. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. I don’t think we really have anything to be cynical or negative about.

The industry, it sometimes has very little to do with the musical merit, but that’s not really the issue here. We don’t have vastly inflated lifestyles that we have to support. Well no I do, but the rest don’t, so money’s not really an issue.

We just get on with it reckons Twink. In fact the whole band seem fairly undisturbed by it all, which is kinda nice in a way, a letdown in another way. Maybe I was hoping for some venomous anti-label, anti-establishment rant.

The doors open, and in comes the sound of the Beekeepers again. So if at some point during the interview, a Beekeepers song drifts into proceedings, then you know the doors opened again and that’s all that appears on the tape. Even though it doesn’t appear as it’s an audio tape. Shit, you know what I mean.

Well the label that we’re with, their not entirely industry geared, they’re probably more music geared. They’re one of the only independants left aren’t they. They haven’t made us try to wear hats or anything. But then maybe they’d give us more money reckons Tim.

So was there any reason behind signing for Beggars. Were there a few labels to decide from?

No. Two. NO. The band enter a discussion amongst themeselves as to what actually happened. So we’ll give them a little bit of time to resolve the discussion. But it appears that there’s a toss up between there being no other label, one label or two. Eventually Ish agrees on what happened. Probably.

Well, it wasn’t a dog on heat situation. There was a couple of people sniffing around, but they were the only label with anything solid really. One label said “have you got a van?” and we got a little over excited cos we thought they were going to chuck loads of money at us. That’s Music for Nations someone pipes up. We were keen to go with them obviously, cos Mercyful Fate were on them. And Frank Zappa. But in the end, Bauhaus won. We can have as many Cult albums as we can eat laughs the vocalist, with the tongue stuck somewhere in the cheek I think!

Uh, yeah, that must be great for you then.

It’s not bad, we had a little down sarnie on the way over here laughs the lucky man.

Earlier on we’d talked, and then you said that you’d not describe yourselves as a punk band or anything like that, so how would you describe yourselves.

You’d better have four definitions really reckons Ish. Well, I wasn’t expecting that, but here goes.

Riff based, big choruses and melodies y’know. We like the riffs, we like them heavy, but we do like a little singalong.

Leave me ‘till last, I haven’t thought. I’d say guitar based rock. Yeah, it’s just rock music.

Uh, contemporary man, it kinda crosses genres doesn’t it and I think Music For Nations weren’t too happy about it. They said we’re not hardcore enough and not pop enough. And that’s our point y’know.

Boston for the 90s is the shameless quote from Ish. Hmmm. And we’re not pretty, we don’t wear the right clothes and such. We’re essentially very very unfashionable, but that’s the point really, cos it’s not about a musical movement, it’s about playing the music that we happen to play.

Now I’m sure the fourth one was in there somewhere, but I can’t quite figure it from tape or remember it. Well come on, I had to get some mistakes in here somewhere. After all, I still harbour secret hopes of doing this sort of thing professionally. Therefore I have to get it wrong occassionally. Per interview. Onwards.

I’ve read comparisons saying Rollins / Sugar and also Radiohead. Any thoughts on those comparisons?

The Radiohead thing I think, is that Radiohead are like a genreless band, so they kinda forge their own genre and any other band that comes after themare immediately categorisable as like a Radiohead.

But I guess really they’re just prog rock.

Yeah maybe, but then if you come along and you’re any heavier than them, you’re heavy metal then. I think it’s just the intensity perhaps that people are picking up on, there’s like the lyrical intensity that I think a lot of people have picked up on. And the Rollins thing comes from the fact that I have a tattoo on my back. I like to be compared to Radiohead, they’re a top band.

And don’t forget, says Tim to much laughter, he’s a close friend of Bob Mould. But we’ve also had comparisons, quite seriously to Dave Brock (Old (former?) Hawkwind man) and Marion, all sorts of stuff, whatever people think really.

That’s a classic sofa you just bust, I’ll just turn it round says Tim to the others, about the already broken sofa that they are sitting, or maybe falling in. Really, it was broke before. No honest.

They didn’t eat all their brocolli look says Ish poking at the remains of the Bullyrag meal with a fork. Don’t feel it is the plea from Tim. I promised to get a headline out of that, so my word is my bond as some dodgy “geezer” once said. See, I even explain the logic behind what I do. Sometimes. Enough of me, back to the band.

He felt my arse in the middle of a song is the accusation levelled at Twink. It wasn’t on purpose is the defence from the bassist, but it’s not cutting any ice. I don’t care, you still felt it. I’m not saying I didn’t appreciate or value it I’m just saying it happened.

Maybe we shouldn’t have come back, I’m going to try and shift away from that pretty swiftly. Ok, you’ve got the Stuffed EP coming out soon (it’s already out now, so go and look for it) anything so say about that.

The vinyl’s got an extra track on it. And it’s got a frog on the cover. We’re really chuffed with it. We’re really pleased with it, and excited to see it in the shops. It’s about 15 minutes long y’know, three songs. Nothing quite like it y’know. It’s got a frog on it as well, we’re targetting frog enthusiasts.

And is this frog thing in any way representative of the band?

Very much, initially attractive to look at, but when you scrape the surface or perhaps poke a little too fiercely bug eyed little fuckers finishes Twink, not managing to keep the same almost poker face as Ish when he’d started the description.

Liberty 37 - Left to Right - Twink Tim Ish Sim

And after that, have you recorded an album?

No, nothing else at the moment. We’re just doing this tour and then take it as it comes. Maybe an album, maybe a second single, we’re not really sure at the moment. Our label are almost like these progressive sixties parents, they don’t make these rich demands in advance, it’s kinda like “what time shall I be in mam” “oh whenever” y’know. So they’ve got kinda a relaxed attitude towards our schedule. We’ve got songs anyway, which is nice.

So have you got kind of a long term plan with how you want to go with things? Couple of singles, EP, tour?

Well I want to tour in Europe and America, starts Sim, but I’ll probably be banned because I’ve got a drug violation. Much to Twinks amusement. Ok, Twink seems to be a fairly easy going kind of person, whose laughing pretty much constantly throughout the interview, but even he finds this amusing. But we need to tour Europe I think, and we wanna play festival stages. Do another single, then release an album, really a seminal album.

The aim would be to release a Nothing’s Shocking, or a Tres Hombres album reckons Ish, obviously aiming high.

Just a classic fucking album that people actually see and go “have you heard this”. Like that System of a Down tape. Hopefully that’ll be it. Cover all our musical bases, and just put it out, I think that’s the best thing we can do.

To do that then, do you think you need to tour beforehand and build up the reputation through the live shows?

Oh yeah, I mean, this is like our first real tour, first night tonight. I mean, we’ve kinda got jobs at the moment which we have to juggle as best as we can.

The band then actually go into a little discussion as to which of the gigs they are actually playing. So if this is the first tour, do you have any ambitions for it?

NO! comes the answer from somewhere. Ish is laughing, Who said no? Well, we’ve played the odd gigs before, and we’ve had the two geezers and a dog syndrome. Y’know tonight for example, although perhaps most people would say there was nobody there, it was good. There was some people there and they like it y’know.

I’ve seen gigs with less.

Oh yeah, it’s just nice to play actually, and it’s a sunny day. If the weather holds up, it should be good. As long as we can each contain our own vices and medical conditions, it should be fine.

We were on the radio, and that was good, not that anybody outside Chiswick could here it y’know. It does seem that you’ve got to have airplay, media interest and gigs at the same time for anyone to break. People have to be bombarded with information about you unless they really love you. It would be nice to break, but it’s not necessarily the be all end all. I think it would be cool even to be just one of those bands that people “like” y’know.

Well the radio stuff does work a bit, with XFM, and the web.

Yeah. There was another Welsh band did a video or something and put it on the Internet, and they had a guy from Sony New York phone them up.

We talk a bit, ok, I talk a bit, about the net and how it can expose you to new bands, demos etc. Almost like a technological underground is the way I see it. But that’s boring.

I think our exposure, with the whole network so far, has been purely through fanzines, and so far, every time we’ve had a manager and they were saying “we’ll get an interview with X Y Z” sort of mainstream magazines, but the attitude and the aim of the fanzines is far more fucking where we’re at. And that’s not saying that we wouldn’t want to be featured anywhere else, because any exposure is good, but it’s different. There isn’t sort of that attitude of “are you my friend, ah yeah, my sister knows you, have the cover” that sort of thing.

I mean Org and Sean, who you were mentioning earlier, is a brilliant writer I think, the way he writes about bands. His passion. The thing about ‘zines is that doesn’t matter if the person hates the music you love, or can’t spell, it doesn’t matter, because what they are doing is as important as the bands themselves. The commitment to the music and doing something that they love. And that’s the most important thing.

Ok, I HAVE to ask about Take It Like a Man. That’s just a bastardised version of the Paranoid riff isn’t it? Heads turn to Tim.

It has been said, and when it’s been pointed out, yeah. I would put my hand on my heart and say that I didn’t sit down and rip it off.

Watching tonight, it struck me more than listening to the CDs that there was a more emotional side to the music. Almost like an emo-core sort of sound. Would you agree with something like that. Sensefield, Texas is the Reason, that sort of thing.

Yeah, I mean I love that kind of stuff. It beats the Hawkwind comparison anyway and it’s perhaps more constructive. Yeah I suppose, it’s still riff based guitar music, and it’s quite driving, so it’s going to fit the same thing.

And is there anything that drives you then in terms of writing the music, where you get the inspiration from.

Not really. It’s just making music that we want to hear. There’s a lot of bands which just don’t produce the music. I’ve been reading stuff, and for example, and I’m not getting down on them, this is just personal opinion, but there’s the band Redwood have been getting a lot of amazing press, and Led Zeppelin comparisons, and all these soaring emotions, and that’s right up our fucking avenue. And you hear it, and it kinda lets you down. There’s certain bands that you listen to, and when you put them on, you can tell “yep, that’s the kind of music I like” and there’s very few of them around. And I confess that we’d really like us. Yeah, agrees Tim, I’ve not really been moved by an album since Nothing’s Shocking. It’s like walking into the sea and going “whooo” y’know, there’s certain albums that can do that, like the first Quicksand album.

Ish questions Sim, who has just spilled his beer everywhere. What drives the way you play? Limitation really.

You mentioned Janes Addiction. What did you think of the reunion idea?

It’s good, but it didn’t come to Britain, and so it’s sad in the same way. Eric Avery wasn’t there though, so there was something missing. It’s about the four members, and it’s much the same with us, as much as we may joke about say getting Chester Thompson to play for Sim if we went to America, it wouldn’t work, we’d sound like a different band. And I’m a bit dubious, I mean reunions fair enough. But I wasn’t really sure why they did it. I mean if they were to produce an album full of new stuff, then fair enough.

So what did you think of the Kettle Whistle album?

The first track is great I think. Yeah, they’ve almost got like this divine lineage, their albums are like such astonishing moments, but Kettle Whistle I just don’t think pulls it off.

I think if they did it for the reason that they did get big sort of posthumously didn’t they, and the people going “oh I didn’t see them”. So for that generation of kids that grew up and didn’t see them, I think is a good reason for it.

Apparently the band saw them a number of times, and I was lucky enough to see them twice myself.

And with that really we’re coming to an end. so, are there any final messages?

Come to our gigs, buy our records, be our friends. Yeah, we are fairly approachable. We’re nice guys really.

And we finish. Well not really. We enter a discussion as to how Wales are finally going to beat England again in the rugby. But the masterplan obviously cannot be revealed, but let’s just say it includes Lilly Savage and the drummer from Cradle of Filth. So be afraid. And bloody confused.