Aug 1, 2012

BLACK TIME "Smashin' Transistors Classic Interview"


Feral! That's a good one word description when trying to explain England's BLACK TIME. Hissing! Clawing itself free and scratching out eyes. Like getting whacked upside the head with a garbage can by a gang of rats the size of a surly bouncer at a dingy bar who's jukebox is stacked with nothing but Link Wray, the Fall, Swell Maps and those who follow them like a cult and all the partons chain smoke and wear dark glasses
-interview by Dale

Band history to start...Isn't there a Hot Wires and/or an Action Time connection to the Black Time?

Lemmy Caution: Yeah, the Action Time was my youthful attempt at mod-punk/girl group stylings – I was listening to a lot of motown and English punk rock in the ATV/Subway Sect/Pop Rivets vein.. I didn’t really have the know-how at the time to get the right sound for the vision and most of the records are watered-down versions of what it was supposed to be. The Hotwires was my last attempt at a band in the romantic sense of the word and totally fucking wasted about 3 years of my life as a result.

What do you recommend for getting blood stains off a carpet?

Janie Too Bad: Red carpets.
Mister Stix: What do you wanna take it off the carpet for?
LC: Scrape it off with over-priced bootleg of obscure euro-punk.

Speaking of "collector" records-Did ya wonder what the hell Peter P.Trash was talking about when he
said he'd have artwork silkscreened onto the vinyl itself?

LC: I didn't have a clue what the fuck he was on about!  I thought maybe something was getting lost in the german/english translation - "I'm going to silkscreen the vinyl!!"
    "You mean the labels?"
    "No, the vinyl!!!"
    "Er, yeah OK mate..."
    The only thing I could imagine it was going to be like was one of those Def Leppard type picture discs. I was really bowled over with the results when I finally got the records in the post - even MORE beautiful than a Def Leppard picture disc - though obviously we're gonna have to work on the songs and Stix might have to lose an arm.

What's your take on all that collector type stuff? Do you have a bunch of stuff like that (completist/comic
book geek type stuff) or do you just buy one copy to rock out too?

LC: Well personally I'm a vinyl junkie 'cos CDs suck but not at the expense of just owning the music - I'll happily have a vinyl repress of something if it sounds decent rather than shell out £££s for the original.  Ultimately I just wanna be able to listen to the track on my fave format - I don't collect records in a completist/investment way 'cos it's not really entering into the spirit.  Records are meant to be loaned out/not returned/taken round people's house for parties/get beer split on them/frayed edges/those sexy circles you get on the sleeve when you've played it a thousand times etc...they're ultimately ephemeral objects of fun to dance, drink, fuck to etc..
    I know a lot of people were bummed about the price of the p trash 12 it was really expensive but then it cost Peter a shitload to make it - I don't think he's making loads of money out of putting out Black Time and Manikins records y'know?  I like the idea of Black Flag and Minor Threat keeping their back cat in stock for ever at a cheap price but there's nowhere that level of demand for our stuff... the fact is if we do a few hundred copies of a record almost everyone that really wants it will be able to get a copy. I think Peter's planning on doing a 'normal' press of 'new vague themes' at some point for all the non-c.scum as well.

What's the saddest song in the world?

MS: True by Spandau Ballet
JTB: The saddest song in the world is "Friends of Mine" by The Zombies. Actually even sadder than that is I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up) by Joey Ramone. Now I feel awful, thanks a lot.
 LC: The theme tune to Sesame Street - they're singing about sunny days and happy days but with the kind of melancholy minor-key wistfulness that convinces you all the kids are the victims of horrible systematic abuse by their parents and teachers.

 
My 6 year old son, Nolan, makes me play the "Crawlin'" single at least once a day. He always says "This song is gonna freak out in a couple seconds." Is it okay to let him freak out when the part he is talking about starts? Can I hold you responsible for any subversion that may take place later?

MS: Blacktime accept no responsibility for kids freaking out and going retarded there's enough of us(why are we mutants?) in blacktime for starters.  I suggest for safety reasons you should get your kid into contemporary 80's jazz and teach him to gingerly tap his foot.

Do you blame that on society?

MS: Being Mutants? No I blame it on the blacktime gene pool.  Freaking out yea ADHD or whatever it is called is a crock of crap.
LC: Being English I blame it on the weather.

Bob Dylan-Genius or fool?

MS: Robert Zimmerman thats his name
JTB: Genius for pissing off hippie purists.
LC: Old people's music

What's your favorite song by the Fall.

MS: The cover of "Jerusalem" hands down for me
JTB: Totally Wired.  It's kind of an obvious choice but you can't deny how great this song is and it just makes you want to dance all over the place to show how totally wired you feel.  I'm usually more Totally Tired though, but that doesn't make such a great song.  Being from California I also relate sentimentally to anyone using the word totally repetitively. To-tal-ly.
LC: "Neighbourhood Of Infinity" - "Used to listen to Link Wray, used to play him every Saturday, god bless Saturday".  Fucking great.

Do you like the Brix era much? It's some of my favorite stuff by them but I've heard some call it their "sell out years".

LC: A lot of the Brix era is really good, especially the first few albums and singles of that phase.  Even something like "Dead Beat Descendent" which is from near the end of the Brix era - killer riff.

So In The Red is doing a CD version of "Blackout". What type of demands did you make to give Mr Hardy the honor the re-releasing it?

MS: Demands were eating an English breakfast every morning for a month explaining the offside rule in football to us and reciting who’s who in the football league
LC: Yeah Larry’s had to shell out for a triple heart bypass ‘cos of all the greasy food.  He’s doing OK I hear but he’s still got to do his major in cockney rhyming slang before we’ll let him do another record.

What should people expect with your second album?

MS: Blacktime football songs
LC: Sensitive acoustic ballads

Silk or Satin?

JTB: Silk nighties are the way to a girl's heart. Satin will also work.
LC: 10 Silk Cut behind the bike sheds.
MS: Nights in white satin sheets with silky chicks.

Ya ever slid off of a bed with satin sheets?

MS: No but once rolled over and hit my head on the wall.

When's the last time you were spotted outside wearing something that wasn't black?

LC: What do you mean go outside??!!!
 MS A few days ago a navy blue i love French girls t-shirt in French.
 JTB: I had to wear purple eyeliner at our last gig because the black one disappeared, a formal apology to the good people of Nottingham.

Nottingham? Did you run into Robin Hood?

JTB: No Robin Hood per se, however there was a drunken whimsical Robin Hood-esque character dancing like crazy during our set as the rest of the crowd quietly moved towards the back of the venue, and exited out the back door. But we're happy to please just one misguided drunkard a night because it's far more fans than we had before.
MS: Blacktime ran into a lot of feedback whilst lost and disillusion driving down Maid Marian way...no Shit.
LC: Yeah we got pulled over by the cops for unsteady driving in our fully load mini metro.  We were all bouncing along to Screamin' Jay Hawkins like in 'Stranger Than Paradise' and it must of caused some swerving.

When was the last time you got in trouble?

JTB: I tried to sneak into a Adobe Illustrator course and not pay for it, because I thought it was 120 pounds. I got caught and the man in charge escorted me out the class and demaned I paid up. I tried to escape but then he told me it was only 30 pounds and I felt really stupid. So uhhh, I am a bit of a rebel for higher learning!
LC: When we were on tour in France and Janie couldn't eat anything 'cos of a stomach ulcer, and I sat opposite during a delicious meal the promoter had cooked us and accidentally blurted out "ohmygod, this is the best meal I've ever had in my life!".  If looks could kill...  You always get really great food when you play in mainland Europe - it's like being on holiday.  I think the UK is more like what I've heard playing in the US is like - you play your set and then the promoter clips you round the ear and tells you to fuck off out of his venue.
MS: Drinking got into trouble with my liver

So, Black Time are kindred spirits with the Real Losers I hear...Ya ever had a barbeque together?

MS: We've got drunk on a boat together and discussed the importance of booger in revenge of the nerds
JTB: We have a picture with The Hand and a huge bowl of mushrooms, that kind of looks as if we were about to do some kind of barbeque. But we just were posing with some huge bowl of mushrooms for some reason.
LC: No BBQ yet, but when I first met the Real Losers they showed me their party trick, which was C-Shake dropping his trousers (sorry, that's 'pants' to you guys) and Hot Dog shoving a beer bottle up his arse (sorry, ass).  I was all downhill from there... The Real Losers are basically the greatest rocknroll band in the world right now - they just get better and better. I'm just some schmuck (hey, I'm picking up the lingo now) who works in an office and messes around with my little punk rock project when I'm not getting wasted, but the Real Losers are THEE real deal.

I'm just starting to get into french films. Can you give me a quick crash course in what I should check out?

LC: Any early Godard is good (he gets a bit more heavily into experimentation and Marxism as the 60s go on, so the later films can be quite hard work) but yeah check out A BOUT DE SOUFFLE aka BREATHLESS, ALPHAVILLE (which Bladerunner ripped quite a bit off), MASCULIN FEMININ or UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME are all great and really watchable.  Haven't seen much Truffaut except SHOOT THE PIANIST and THE 400 BLOWS but they are both amazing.  I really like this guy Jean-Pierre Melville who isn't really part of the New Wave scene of 60s french film makers but he made loads of great moody existential crime movies like UN FLIC and La SAMOURAI - Tarantino was definitely taking notes.  There's some great films from the 40s and 50s as well like Jean Renoir's LA GRANDE ILLUSION (great dissection of war and the class divide) and 50s film noirs like LES DIABOLIQUES and RIFIFI.  I don't know that much about modern french cinema - a lot of it seems to be tastefully shot bourgeois melodrama which lives me a bit cold, but I like some of Claire Denis' stuff like BEAU TRAVAIL (anything with Denis Lavant is usually good actually) and the vampire film she did TROUBLE EVERY DAY.

Vincent Price or Christopher Lee?
LC: Christopher Lee for looking so suave and evil in 'Beat Girl'

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