- What inspired the name of the band and what are your influences?
- Noko – The name of the band comes from a painting “Am I Dead Yet?”(2015) by Deborah Griffin and forms the basis of the sleeve artwork of our album. It was on the wall, in the background, throughout the time we were writing and recording the album and kinda chose itself. The influences that have affected my contribution to our sound range from the film soundtracks of John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Lalo Shifrin, Jerry Goldsmith and the rest of the boys in the band, to a lot of 1970s prog rock like King Crimson, Goblin and Van Der Graaf Generator.
- Mary – The fact that the painting was ever present during recording was a big reason, although I’m really interested in the idea that a lot of people are just on cruise control and treading water not really living life to the full, just existing until their last breath as it where. Just asking the question Am I dead yet? I think, is a cool concept. My influences lyrically & Musically come from the genius of Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker and David Bowie all the way to Abba.
- How do you approach songwriting? Are there any themes that you are keen to explore when you start off?
- Noko – many ways : from the most traditional, where we start with a lyric, or even a single line and we flesh it out, to the origin of some of the material in chance collisions of sonic worlds that seem to juxtapose themselves without much intervention. Whilst much of our tonal palette can seem quite self-consciously retro or nostalgic at times, the word content seems to have emanated from ruminating on the modern world and it’s incumbent crises.
- Mary – Noko has pretty much summed it up there are so many ways of writing a song, on this record we explored pretty much every different way we know of doing it, staring with a full lyric with no music to having a piece of music with no lyric! The times we live in are crazy enough to provide themes to write about, there’s some pretty dark stuff going on that seems beyond our control. The role of technology and social media in manipulating and shaping the political narrative is proving to be pretty scary as is the emotional effect it has on people’s relationships and happiness.
- Why do you write the sort of music that you do?
- Noko – I simply don’t know how to do anything else.
- Mary – We have a pretty long history of writing together
Noko produced my post Gaye Bykers project Hyperhead our debut
album called Metaphasia had a couple of songs that touched on this
aesthetic, that was back in about 1992 at the time we both said one day
we should explore this direction, it’s taken this long to finally do it!
- How do you decide what songs to perform live and how do you transpose them into that live setting?
- Noko – That’s easy : our current live set is the album in it’s entirety in order – it’s all there is at the moment. The decision to play it like that was quite liberating.
- Mary – I’ve just finished a tour with Pop Will Eat Itself doing their seminal ” This is the day ” album in its entirety and it went down really well. I think that it just makes sense to play the album track by track in order. We’ve recruited some old friends for the live set up. We have Cliff Hewitt from Apollo440 on drums and Derek ‘Hoodlum Priest’ Thompson on the bass and they’ve added an exiting new dimension to the proceedings.
- What are your plans for the future?
- Noko – We’ll make another album quite quickly, escalate our live show to continually bigger and better things and try not to stare in to the existential void of the 21st century too much.
- Mary – Without sounding too millennial we’re already getting our mood board together for the next album! We’ll be starting work on that in June, hopefully continuing to do more live gigs with the band, it’s important for us to keep moving things forward.