The Zine UK’s Queen of Quirk Rozzie Manic returns with an interview with Static Personality. In a ‘Spoons, of course…
It’s a bright sunny day and I am chilling in Mile End’s favourite (non) smoking area, the Wetherspoons beer garden. Having positioned myself in the seat that gets the most sun, I await the arrival of Static Personality, a freshly graduated and new-to-London indie band bringing ‘sexy party vibes’ (in their own words) to the pub scene. When they arrive they tell me they don’t like pitchers, which I find borderline offensive, but against my better judgement I stay for a chat. Once Will (vocals), Filip (guitar), Hamish (drums) and Harvey (bass) have each ordered a pint instead, we do just that. Don’t worry readers, Jan (tambourine) turns up later.
So, you’ve just come from rehearsal, how was that?Was it for a particular gig?
Will: it was good, we wrote a new song. It’s called “Twins in a Sidecar”, I don’t really know what it’s about. We’ve got a few gigs coming up over the next two weeks, and then we’ll probably have a release partywhen our single comes out on the 24th .
Ah yes ‘The Cortortionist’, so what’s that one about?
Will: It’s about an ex girlfriend…
Filip: She was very flexible!
Will: But also I had a poster of a contortionist on my wall at uni. Some of the lyrics are about avoiding awkward questions, and lack of conversation in relationships. I like to have a few different meanings in one song, so people can take from it what they want.
Did your experience at uni influence you in other ways?
Will: Well, High Wycombe, where we went, the music scene wasn’t…
Filip: It didn’t exist. It’s just a small town outside of London which is only old people and a uni, that’s it.
Will: The uni has gone massively downhill as well, like it isn’t getting any students. I reckon it’ll close in the next 20 years.
Hamish: What High Wycombe? The whole town?
Will: (laughing) Yeah, the whole thing.
You played the SU there, right?
Will: Yeah it was fun playing the SU, and other places in High Wycombe, some of our friends still come up and see us in London which we really appreciate. London is just better for us because more randomers come, and there’s more dancing.
So you feel like London is more the place to be. How are you liking it so far?
Will: I love it, it’s lovely being here. Apart from my bike getting stolen. That wasn’t great. They say that 3 years is the perfect amount of time to spend in a place, and with High Wycombe that was true, but I don’t know about London. I’m not sick of it just yet anyway.
Do you have a favourite venue to play in London?
Will: The Windmill, in Brixton, is pretty good sound-wise. They had the best amps by far, guitar sounds great through them. The George Tavern is a good one for just having fun, and it’s a very attractive pub. The Shacklewell Arms and The Victoria in Dalston are personal favourites of mine too.
Hamish: The Five Bells is good, in New Cross
Will: Yeah, but that’s gone now. They’re going to turn it into a Yates or an O’Neill’s or something like that. O’Neill’s by the way is the worst. No respect to anybody who drinks in O’Neill’s. I mean Jan, our tambourine player, he used to work in O’Neill’s. He hates it. He should know.
Any thoughts on today’s venue: Mile End spoons?
Will: it’s nice. It’s cheap, for London, innit.
Filip: Not as good as High Wycombe spoons
Will: Big love to The Falcon
Filip: Honestly it feels like all spoons in London are trying to copy High Wycombe spoons
Will: (laughing) Absolutely…. not. Their carpets aren’t sticky enough
Where else would you go, if you did get sick of London?
Hamish: I’d like to live in Wales at some point.
Will: There’s a good music scene in Cardiff. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are a good Cardiff band.
So you keep up to date with music, then. Do you have any major influences, old or new, that you would mention?
Will: Yeah. I listen to a little bit of everything. We all have separate major influences.
Who put ABBA as an influence on the Facebook post ahead of the George Tavern gig?
Will: Haha, that was Hamish.
Hamish: I like ABBA. I don’t think they’ve written a bad song. My favourite is SOS.
Will: Nah, it’s all about “gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight”. I think I said the Strokes and Joy Division, but that’s probably just me personally.
Filip: I don’t think our music isn’t anywhere close to the Strokes
Will: I don’t really know… we don’t really set out to sound like a particular genre. We just go into the studio and make music, anything else would be inorganic.
Hamish: You can’t box us in!
Will: The problem is because we’re managing ourselves,it’s sometimes hard to find the right gigs, because it’s difficult to label yourself. I feel like we need someone else to do it, maybe.
Filip: if you’re reading this… you could be our new manager
Will: Yeah, give us a shout! No but I do enjoy it really, I studied music and live events management at uni, so that helps. I hope.
Something you’ve become known for at live gigs is your (incredible) cover of Enola Gay, did anybody have a particular hand in that choice?
Filip: Yeah. So we were sitting by the bonfire…
Hamish: As you do
Filip: And I said, it would be funny to have a funny cover, like Enola Gay. Because I played it before… in my bedroom… by myself… where no one could hear.
Will: And it always comes on the radio, Gold Radio, we used to have it playing in the kitchen and I would sing along to it
Filip: Everybody loves that song, you can’t go wrong with it
Do you think, as an up-and-coming band, that having a cover people recognise helps you stand out?
Hamish: I think we stand out because we’re so attractive, as well.
Besides music, are you influenced by anything else?
Will: Lyrically I would say conversations, and overheard things. People watching. Just doing and experiencing things a line will pop into my head.
How did you get your band name?
Will: We were listening to Television Personalities a lot, so we ripped it off a bit from them. That and the static on this very big TV that we got from Gumtree. (in a dramatic tone) Anything can be an influence!
Did you play in any bands before this one? Or do anything musically?
Harvey: I was in a pop-punk band, then I went to uni and I left it. The thing is the pop-punk band was more hassle for me because I kept having to organise things, but now I have Will to organise things for me.
Hamish: I was in a Jimi Hendrix cover band, but I hate covers… apart from Enola Gay, obviously. Which you can see live at any Static Personality gig, wherever they are.
Filip: At this point we have to keep doing Enola Gay forever, because we have talked about it so much in this interview.
Harvey: I’m a sound engineer as well, me and Jan have just come back from Truck Festival where I was helping out at one of the stages. I’ve worked there for the last three years, and it’s grown massively. It’s a great festival.
Will: We’re not promoting them though! Even though it’s one of my favourite festivals too.
Hamish: Let us play!
I hope they will! Did you see any bands there that you would recommend?
Harvey: Sports Team and Strange Bones.
Any closing words?
Will: Listen to more ABBA
Will: No. Maybe listen to new music. But also ABBA.
Just then, a wild Jan appears. Does he have anything to add?
Jan: I love these bois
They’re good bois, Jan.
The Contortionist is out now! Listen Below:
Spotted at a Manic Street Preachers book signing at The Social by Dizzy and Caffy, the ever stylish Rozzie is the Queen of impromptu, gritty and in depth interviews. Warning: Contains heavy sarcasm and even heavier skeptism about your Indie 2008 wardrobe.