This Et Al
James McDonald 13/02/2007
After hearing This Et Al towards the tail end of last year, it became obvious to me that they were far smarter than your average band. With their debut album 'Baby Machine' set to hit shops in April, I caught up with Wu to talk about life.
GIITTV:Your debut album 'Baby Machine' is out on 9th April, what can people expect from it?
Wu: Well we did a limited edition pressing in November so it'll have the same tracks but we're currently working through stuff to make it really special. Expect an awesome album. I'm really fed up of hearing it, but really quite proud. Looking back, I can't believe we managed to make a self-funded album from start to finish with no support, worked
full-time and had so much stuff going on at the time. We should write a book.
So you're from Leeds (although we won't hold that against you!) and have close links with a lot of the bands in the city, namely Forward Russia. What kind of motivation has their success given you?
Seeing Kaiser Chiefs on Live 8 is a bit like "whoa!" and a wakeup call for everybody I thought. They used to work on the bar at my local, so in a year Simon went from doing the beer delivery to playing Live 8, one of the biggest musical events of all time. It's a strange world the music business.
I think everybody knows where they want to be, but some have faired better than others. All the bands I know work flat out and work really hard. What I like about Forward, Russia! and iLiKETRAiNS inparticular is that they don't have Northern syndrome. There's a big thing in the North about being
'proud of where you're from' and 'respect your elders' etc. etc. It does my head in if I'm honest. All of a sudden everybody's proud to be from here.
At risk of being shot for such an unoriginal question, what's the story behind the band's name?
I will shoot you solely because of this question. We plucked it out of our arses if I'm honest. At the time there were so many bands called 'The (insert irrelevant word here i.e. Vines)' so we just thought, lets change it up a bit and come up with the most pretentious name possible. We
succeeded! It's sometimes a curse rather than a blessing. We've been called This Hotel, Et Al, This Et All, The Et Al etc. It's This, Et (like yet without a Y), Al ("don't call me Al").
Punter: "What's your band called mate?" -
Me: "THIS. ET. AL."
Punter: "What? Hotel n' that, yea' nice one, shit hot mate, got a cig'?!".It's worse when promoters get it wrong. "This Et All" is the most popular one.
Fucks sake. It ain't that hard is it?
I've spent a fortune buying your long since deleted singles off eBay. How many were sold and did this initially come as a surprise to you?
Oh dear. That's a bit daft. I don't actually own the split we did with Forward, Russia! How lame is that? I find it strange that people want to buy limited vinyl's for so much money. I live with Simon from iLT and he said somebody bought a CD-R for £30. Pretty flattering I guess. We sold a million records last year, maybe more but it was definitely a figure around
that mark. "You've Driven For Milesâ€¦" went triple plastic and I was voted 'Sexiest Male' in lots of magazines.
You've been described as sounding like 'Placebo flamethrowing their way through Biffy Clyro's back cataloge', which is nice, but how would you describe your music?
I think the best explanation I can come up with is the one I use for every interview. Sorry. "It's big, loud, dark, ambitious, emotive. A hybrid of My Bloody Valentine soundscapes, â€¦Trail Of Dead visceral thrashing, Queens Of
The Stone Age riffery, Mogwai's delicate bits and The Smiths
Yeah that'll do.
You like to wear shirts and ties onstage, are they for luck, or just incase you're refused entry for looking scruffy?
We've kind of moved away from that a bit, but I think all bands should make some kind of effort before you go on stage to look a little different to the norm, whatever that is.
I heard a rumour that you weren't too fond of the police force. Is this true sirs?
It's an unfounded rumour. Pigs Make Children Sick isn't about me hating the police. It's more about their perception in the media and voyeurism. I think it's important that bands explore some important issues. Pop music can
still enlighten people. We don't want to be another soppy, floppy haired British Indie band, we have things to say (some would say we have floppy hair and they wouldn't be wrong). For me, 'Can You Speak European?' has a much
stronger, more obvious socio-political theme than 'Pigs Make Children Sick' or 'He Shoots Presidents'. We're sick of hearing songs about chav's splitting up and bouncers chucking you out of a club - its boring.
What's been playing on your stereo's/iPods this week?
Lots of stuff. Just got the masters of two new tracks we recorded so been listening to that. A Tribe Called Quest, QOTSA, Subtle, Suede, new iLiKETRAiNS single, Leeds On The Bone compilation, old Outkast, MBV, The Knife, coughâ€¦Journeyâ€¦cough, loads of stuff.
How long have you been together now? Do you still argue about trivial things like girls or money?
With this line up only since August (Simon is our
new bass player), with the old line up, since 2003. We used to argue loads but not much at all anymore. We don't tend to argue about music, which is definitely a good sign! On tour, we're like the Brady Bunch.
Tell us some more about the recording process. Anything unusual happen?
We spent a lot of time drinking red wine, brandy and smoking weed during the recording so there were some very interesting episodes. There was certain occasions I was convinced I'd completely lost it. Richard Green (producer)
was obviously a nut short of a fruitcake and we all loved his previous bands (Ultrasound and The Somatics). The studio was really cheap and it wasn't like a normal commercial studio, which helped as we were recording the
album at very busy times in our lives. There were so many different instruments and gadgets to play with; vintage amps, vintage guitars, vintage mics, a 'real' Hammond organ (with the massive speaker), sitars etc. etc.
Richard tended not to interfere too much in the writing side of it, like a stereotypical producer. He was much more interested in the sound and textures of the songs sonically, trying to make each bit sound different. On 'Cabin Hum' we plugged the guitar into the amp as normal, then put a biscuit tin (with a silver mic inside, which looked like an electronic shaver) on a chair, recorded it, flipped the tape, then recorded it backwards. Ha ha. Oh lord, what a hazy day. I sang the vocals for Catscan in the toilet. See if you can spot Steve playing a metal shelf in Of National Importance. He also plays some water pipes on the end of Wardens. We did plenty of crazy shit like that to be honest. None of us have a clue what to do when it comes to production so it's very important to us to be working with someone we really like and trust.
Who's 'Alan The African'? He doesn't sound like a nice chap!
It's ADAM The African. Ha ha. Alan The African. Brilliant. (Listen to 'Wardens' it was an easy mistake, honest. James) It's just a guy I know from Peterborough. He's a lovely chap.
Finally, where do you want to be by the end of 2007?
Rich. Filthy fucking rich. To be honest, I really don't know, every time I plan something it changes. We're aiming to release an album in April, an EP before the festivals and something after that. We want our music to be in different territories all over the world and play in those places. At this point that is feasible. If that happens and the music is still good, I'll be over the moon.
This Et Al are due to release 'Baby Machine on 9th April through FC Recordings / Cargo. For more information, check out: