The Bridge Gang
Bill Cummings 21/03/2006
London based three-piece The Bridge Gang were one of our finds of 2005. Picking up a glowing demo review that described them as “at last, something different and fresh, with songs to put some prominent artists to shame.”
They went on to claim a GIITTV zine single of the week award for their split download single on DogBox before topping the year off with a GIITTV zine demo of the year award voted for by the public. Indeed their brand of tuneful punk music has been causing such waves in the industry that they now have a 7” single freshly released on Brille Records on the 20th of March featuring the tracks “Pangs of Guilt” and “Neutrino”. I caught up with their front man José (right of picture) on the eve of its release for a chat about his band, their music, and well Grizzly Bears:
GIITTV: How did you meet?
José: Well Lucy and Bret are cousins or something and I'd known Lucy for ages. One day I came up with the idea of forming a band that would be tight and raw pop music, with perfect style. I sold the idea to Lucy and she brought in Bret. I made them make a pact, you know, so there wouldn't be any unpleasantness.
GIITTV: Where are you from?
José: Lucy was born in Suffolk, but she grew up in the sticks before she moved to London and Bret is from Manchester, Oldham to be precise.
GIITTV: How long have you been together?
José: We formed on August 27th 2004.
GIITTV: What are your personal musical influences?
José: I like a lot of Motown girl groups from the 60s, we don't sound anything like that, but I like their DIY style, it was beautifully done. I like stuff that's charming and organic. Nothing cynical or jaded. And I like some early nineties guitar music. I dunno, there's something I like from every year since about 1920! Obviously I like guitar orientated stuff.
GIITTV: Alot of people mention the Pixies when they talk about you?
José: I really like them, but I can't see that myself. But I don't look at music like that, if I did though, I think I would feel that they were a far more accomplished band than we are.
GIITTV: I guess you have the ability to grab the audience by the throat with your vocals, which is also something you could say about the Pixies.
GIITTV: How would you describe your sound to someone who's never heard your band?
José: I'd probably call it "Hard pop."
GIITTV: Why are so many of your songs about murder and equally sinister stuff?
José: I'm not sure you can take a lot of the lyrics literally. Stories mainly seem like metaphors to me, that's how I always look at stuff. So you could write a song that had lyrics about 'teeth so sharp they cut me like knives', but really the song could be about an urge or feeling someone gave you.
GIITTV: So kind of metaphorical then?
José: Yeah they are more about thoughts and feelings than actual events. Most of them anyway.
GIITTV: So how do you come up with the songs?
José: Well I kind of warble the melody over the top of the guitar and then I cull the lyrics from short stories that I write.
GIITTV: What were the first things that you came up with as a band?
José: Umm, probably 'Neutrino' which is on the bside to our new single and a song called 'Fallen Arches'.
GIITTV: How would you describe the Bridge Gang live experience?
José: I can't really do that 'cause obviously I've never seen us live. Safe to say you'll leave with a crush on at least one of us though, we're very seductive.
GIITTV: What have been your favourite live experiences?
José: Probably our single launch a few weeks ago. That was a really cool night, we couldn't believe the turnout, it was great. Other good shows were the Elbow Rooms gig, which was actually arranged by a 16 year old mastermind and the Good Shoes debut single launch which was just nuts. The roof caved in, it was crazy.
GIITTV: You seem to've played Duckie Music nights a lot?
José: We've played a few of their nights. They're great at what they do. I think promoters like them, who actually enjoy what they're doing seem to put on much better nights to your standard cookie cutter band night.
GIITTV: I really like your artwork who does that?
José: I do it. I love doing it. I think it's important to make everything as personable as possible. Especially nowadays, when everything's so easily disposable. Every band looks and sounds and acts the same, it's boring to me. So if we try to customize everything with our own hands, even if people don't like us, at least it's all our own thing.
GIITTV: How did the download single last year with Dogbox come about?
José: Well we sent them a demo and they loved it and said they'd like to release two songs from it.
GIITTV: Did it help that it was a split single release?
José: I don't think it helped or hindered. But yeah the other download from Mitten was really great, one of my favourite singles from last year. The Dogbox guys are really good. I could see them having a pretty eclectic roster, that would be cool 'cause most London labels are too generic to really hold any proper chance of longevity.
GIITTV: You're releasing a 7" on Brille Records tell us about that?
José: Well its a cool version of 'Pangs of Guilt' with 'Neutrino' on the bside. It comes out on Brille 7's, Brille's single label. It's a one off single, we're not actually signed to Brille, or anyone.
GIITTV: Would you rather fight a Guerrilla or a Grizzly bear?
José: I'd fight the bear. And I'd kill it on a hill top with it's own jawbone.
GIITTV: Which Jeremy do you prefer, Paxman or Clarkson?
José: Neither. I prefer Jeremy Kyle, he's like a real life Brasseye presenter. He tells people to get jobs and stuff. He's the new Jeremy on the block.
GIITTV: Are you constantly working on new songs?
José: Yeah man, we're constantly coming up with new tunes, I think some of the ones we're working on now are some of our best songs.
GIITTV: Is your ultimate aim to release an album then?
José: Yeah, we want a decent album deal, from the right label. We want to make that great debut record.