Band on band: Cassels vs The St Pierre Snake Invasion

Art punk duo Cassels release their second album The Perfect Ending on Big Scary Monsters this week, and the band are marking its release by heading out on tour at the end of September with Bristol hardcore outfit The St Pierre Snake Invasion, whose second album Caprice Enchante came out earlier this year. We decided it might be fun – rather than doing a traditional interview we’d have Jim from Cassels and Damien from TSPSI interview each other.

Their chat is honest, frank and frequently very funny – as the tour-mates talk about each of their new albums, including why the St Pierre one took so long, their ambitions in music and what success really means for them, their song writing processes and how Damien’s enjoying a dream come true playing with his favourite band mclusky. But there’s also some more serious stuff, like whether you’d rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses, a shag, marry, murder with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins, and a yes or no question for ‘mushrooms’. But we kick off finding out what the bands have been up to recently.

JIM: We played with a band called Show Me the Body at our mate’s warehouse last night, that was pretty good. Just loads of trendy East London kids going nuts for them and looking a bit bemused when we played. We played a weird show at his place before, where there were lots of people waiting for this rapper to come on who was playing after us, and halfway through the last song this guy who was completely fucking wrecked went apeshit and fell straight into Loz’s drum kit, like through all his drums, and it was like ‘well I guess we’re done then!’

DAMIEN: All the glamour mate, that’s why we do it.

JIM: What about you Damien?

DAMIEN: We’ve not done that many shows this year, but we had a band called JOHN from London at our album launch, but we kind of fucked it up, because we booked No Violet, who are an up and coming Bristol band, and I asked JOHN if he’d be the main support, and the promoter asked No Violet if they’d be the main support instead. So John Newton travelled for 11 hours from Edinburgh under the premise that he’d be the main support, and then when he showed up I had to be like ‘oh yeah, sorry about that mate’. I felt awful… But then they were helping us do our merch, because we’re completely disorganised, and people were asking them to sign our new record, so they were writing ‘JOHN’ on it.

VH: And JOHN are supporting mclusky* at a couple of dates right, Damien how are you enjoying playing with mclusky*?

DAMIEN: It’s a bit boring – I’m totally over it now! No, it’s still mental, absolutely mental. So the Portals show – I’ve done 5 or 6 shows with them where Julia was playing bass and I was singing, and before Portals I had done one show in Newcastle where I was playing bass, and I was so nervous that I didn’t really enjoy it. But Portals was the first show where I was relaxed, where I knew what I was doing and I knew I could do it – and I had a little cry and stuff.

JIM: That was going to be one of my questions actually – which band do you have the most fun playing in out of St Pierre, mclusky* or Plainviews. It must be so weird playing with mclusky?

DAMIEN: Yeah, it is. So my favourite mclusky song is You Should Be Ashamed, Seamus, and it’s got a really long intro and starts with Falco playing the guitar, and when we were playing it at Portals I just had this really lucid moment where I was like ‘This is my favourite song, by my favourite band, and this fucking awesome bassline’s coming in in a minute, and there are 400 people and I’m on stage with mclusky* – what the fuck is going on?’

VH: That situation, playing on stage with your favourite band, must be so many people’s dream…

DAMIEN: Yeah. When Falco asked me to do it I was at work and I stood up and roared, and my colleagues came over and asked if I’d made a big sale – ‘I’ve not made a sale, sit down. I’m singing in my favourite band’, and they’re like ‘who?’ and I say ‘mclusky’ and they’re like ‘who?’. Urgh, they sound like the Beatles, okay? Anyway, so Jim, if you could play in any band who would it be?

JIM: Which bands do I like, that’s the question…

DAMIEN: That is a difficult question, I find that difficult…

JIM: Do I like any bands anymore? Am I that jaded – do I like music anymore? I mean there are bands that I like, but I don’t necessarily feel like I’d have a great time playing with them. Maybe like the Smiths, that could be cool, get to show off a little bit, play some cool guitar stuff…

DAMIEN: Without Morrissey though

JIM: Well yeah, I mean that’s tricky

VH: You could replace Morrissey though – a non-racist Morrissey…

JIM: I do occasionally fantasise when listening to certain songs about being a ‘frontman’ and that being quite fun, but in reality I don’t think I’ve got the presence to pull it off.

VH: Maybe it would all come out though if you had loads of people behind you?

JIM: Maybe, I could rip off my shirt, stomping round the front of the stage…

DAMIEN: Like Freddie Mercury…

JIM: Oh yeah that’d be a good one, yeah I’d like to do Freddie Mercury in Queen, if you could make that happen?

DAMIEN: I’ll see what I can do, I’ll ask Falco

JIM: Yeah Falco’s pretty well connected isn’t he? Right, I have a question for you – why did your album take so long?

DAMIEN: Ha, yeah it took a long time – I mean it’s four years since we recorded the first album. We pretty much had half the album ready to go when we recorded the first album, then our bassist left, so Mark Fletcher left after the first album and we got Dave Larkin in, finished the writing and recorded it. But there were difficulties in the recording, so there lots of things that had to be redone at Sean’s studio in London, and I then blew my voice on the first day of vocals, like a dickhead, not warming up. And then Sean was commissioned to do Shame’s album, so he didn’t have time to mix, then soon after that he got commissioned to do Roger Daltrey’s album so he didn’t have time to mix, and then he was commissioned to do The Who’s fucking album… and the whole time he was like ‘I’ll have it done in May’ and we’re like ‘yeah, but which year?’ So then mixing it as well, we wanted it to be more of a hardcore album than the first album, we wanted it to have a little bit more of a sheen, and it was just getting that balance. Sam, our drummer, is massively into hardcore, and he really wanted it to sound more like polished, with like scooped mids, but Sean and I were like ‘fuck that’.

JIM: I really like the sound of it, it’s a great album by the way, fucking well good, but yeah I like that it still has that kind of trashiness to it, which I think really adds something. I think you would have lost something, they still would have been great songs but if you’d gone real fucking Limp Bizkit on it…

DAMIEN: Yeah I tried explaining that to Sam – people are going to refer to this as a hardcore album, but it’s not a hardcore album. For me, it’s like an alt-rock album with hardcore sensibilities. But yeah, that’s why it took ages. My friend works with a guy who writes for Massive Attack who says there’s a thing called the triangle of truth when it comes to recording: you can have it fast, cheap or good, and in the triangle of truth you can only have two of those things. You can have it fast and good but it won’t be cheap, you can have it cheap and fast but it won’t be good, or you can have it cheap and good but it won’t be fast.

JIM: Did you ever feel like giving up on it? Were you ever at the end of your tether with it?

DAMIEN: Yeah, there were points where I was just going to upload the monitor mixes.

JIM: Really, because you kind of just plopped Remystery online…

DAMIEN: Yeah, just because I did that video a year ago, a year and a half ago maybe, and I just said to the boys, ‘look we’re definitely putting the album out next year, shall I just do like a ‘we’re still here’ type thing?’

JIM: That’s probably one of my favourite ones on the album actually, and seeing it live as well, well good

DAMIEN: Thank you kindly. When’s yours out, soon isn’t it?

JIM: September. We finished recording it the week before Christmas last year, and it was a fairly fractious recording process and mixing process, which was quite stressful and then BSM originally wanted to have it out in May, and that just wasn’t going to happen, so it got pushed back. Which we’re kind of fine with – but I’ve listened to it so many times now that I’ve kind of just – it’s there, it’s done. I’ve kind of divorced myself from it so that I don’t get too bummed out when millions of people don’t like it! I mean people have reacted nicely to it, but you know… I don’t know about you Damien and how you feel about your ambitions for band stuff, but I still think that I’m not in as popular a band as I’d like to be in a lot of the time.

DAMIEN: I spoke to Sophie, my wife about this. The way she thinks about it, which I totally understand, is measuring it in terms of success and what success means, but I said that it’s a difficult thing to break down. I’m not arsed about selling lots of records, I just wanted to be fulfilled. So, when we first started we were like ‘if we could support this band, that would be it’ or ‘if we could play on this stage that would be it’, or ‘if we could play a show in France…’ And then when you do those things, it’s amazing and it feels like you’ve achieved something, but you’re never fulfilled. I think with every musician it’s always like ‘well, what’s next? What are we going to aim for now?’ And I don’t think that will ever go away.

JIM: Yeah totally, but saying that Loz, the drummer in Cassels, doesn’t seem to have that at all. He’s just fucking stoked to play, he’s already said he’d happily play tiny DIY shows to not that many people for the rest of time. But personally, you want to feel like it’s growing or progressing, or you’re breaking new ground – or I do anyway. I think in some ways, because I put so much of myself into all of it, it’s hard to not take it personally when it doesn’t go as well you hope. It’s basically like putting yourself out there, and not having loads of people like ‘oh you’re great!’ I found it hard not to take it as a personal like, why isn’t everyone loving this…

DAMIEN: I totally relate to that. I released the first album, which had a very small audience and very small reach, and I personally, as everyone does when they’re in bands, I felt that it deserved a bigger audience. And while that’s happening, and it’s taking forever to do the second album, my friends in IDLES are getting fucking huge doing all of these cool things, and I’m watching my best friends go and experience all these things that I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old, you do have that thing where you’re like, ‘fucking, I want that’. It’s totally natural, and I think it’s good as well. What I find with musicians and creative people, they’re always chasing down experience, so they’re always the people that I’m up with until 8 in the morning at lock ins talking about art and expression and music is because they try and squeeze the life out of all the experience they can get. And if you attribute that to a career, you always want experience – it’s not necessarily about getting big, or famous, or successful. I want to go and play to a room of 500 people in a city that I’ve never been to before, in front of people I’ve never met, not because I want their fucking money – I want that experience.

JIM: You think it’s purely about experience? Ego has to come into it. Part of it is I genuinely feel like what I’m doing deserves to be heard by more people, but you’re completely fooling yourself if there wasn’t some element of wanting validation. A mate of mine, Toby who used to play in a band called Meet Me In St Louis, he tweeted the other week about how musicians and artists in general your self-worth is so closely linked to your art, and I hadn’t heard it expressed that way but it’s so true, you, well I do anyway, I link it so closely. I think it’s a dangerous thing, but it all comes down to servicing your ego.

DAMIEN: Of course it is, it’s validation. Like you say, in essence you’ve put a lot of yourself into it, and you’ve almost certainly made sacrifices because of that, and when you make a sacrifice you want, or anticipate, or yearn for that to be rewarded in some sense, whether that’s with critical acclaim, acknowledgment, anything like that. When you’ve invested so much into something, when it’s your inner thoughts being put out into the world to be dissected, of course you want people to acknowledge that and tell you it’s good. If there are musicians out there who don’t feel like that they’re usually the ones who are really fucking bad.

JIM: There are bands who don’t necessarily put themselves so much into their music, you know if they’re like we want to make music for people to dance to, to have a good time to. I sometimes feel like being in a band like that would be a lot easier, because if things didn’t go great you don’t feel so much a sense of investment.

VH: Yeah but when it does go well for them, do they feel it as much? Even if they’re making money they wouldn’t get the same rewards that you would, because they haven’t put as much of themselves into it. It’s just like any other job then. And also, they might end up with loads of fans and loads of people listening, but do those people really care or is it just something to dance around to? Whereas you might be doing something where it might not be hitting millions, but the people that actually listen to it care about it more. It just feels like there are different types of fans, it’s not always about numbers, it’s about how dedicated they are, and they can be the ones that are more supportive in the end.

JIM: That’s the thought I try and comfort myself with! It’s true though, I’ve got a mate who’s done some quite big session work –he played Glastonbury and I was like ‘mate that’s fucking insane’ and he just wasn’t that excited.

VH: I always wonder about session musicians – what are they thinking, what are they feeling? Like are they feeling it, is it just turning what they love doing into a job, or does it mean that they still get to do what they love as a job, but maybe without the same kind of emotion behind it.

JIM: I think he enjoyed it for what it was, like he enjoyed playing and he enjoyed touring generally, but it wasn’t scratching that itch for him, if he ever had that kind of itch, it wasn’t fulfilling him in the same way.

VH: All right, we’ve gone quite deep, shall we lighten it up a bit? Damien do you have a question for Jim?

DAMIEN: I’ve gone for the shag marry murder question – so shag, marry or murder Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins?

JIM: Murder Pearl Jam.

DAMIEN: Correct.

JIM: Pearl Jam fucking suck, I don’t understand why people like Pearl Jam. [Does a hilarious Pearl Jam impression] – that’s every single Pearl Jam song, I don’t get it at all.

VH: I’m really pleased that there are right answers to this.

JIM: Completely objective question, yeah! Who are the other two?

DAMIEN: Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins

JIM: Well you have to think… I like Nirvana more, so marry Nirvana and then Smashing Pumpkins, eh, Billy Corgan’s a bit of a prick isn’t he?

DAMIEN: Exactly the same, exactly the same.

JIM: I’ve got a good ‘would you rather’, you might have had it before – would you rather fight a hundred duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?

DAMIEN: Hmm… I’d go for the one duck. Because if you can see a target you can hit a target, but if there’s a hundred of them you’ve got no chance.

JIM: You can see them, they’re fucking everywhere.

DAMIEN: In my head, if there’s a hundred of them, I’m being flanked….

JIM: It’s interesting, my thinking on this one – like you obviously still think you have a chance…

DAMIEN: [Laughing] I do!

JIM: Yeah, you’re like ‘yeah I can get a solid hit on this duck’! I mean my thinking is that – let’s be honest, you’re fucked either way, you’re going to die – so I’d take the one duck, so that I have a quicker death.

DAMIEN: I like to think I’d hit the horse-sized duck so hard, that he sees sense, and we would be friends. And then I would ride it around, just get on its back and ride it around like Rod Hull.

JIM: So all it would take is one well-placed punch and the duck would be like ‘you know what this guy is all right, get on’?

DAMIEN: I reckon he’d be like ‘woah hang on, I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here…’

JIM: And then he’d bow in subservience, and be like ‘you’re my master now’ – very optimistic!

DAMIEN: I think the reality is I would die.

JIM: We’d both die. I’d probably go insane very quickly, you know I’d be like ‘what the fuck is going on?’, shit myself, piss myself, die. Can we end the interview with ‘shit myself, piss myself, die?’

VH: There’s no way we’re not ending it with that…

DAMIEN: I’ve got a similar question, I’m proud of this one, my dad couldn’t answer: would you rather have hands made of nettles, or a cock like a cactus?

JIM: Hands made of nettles, I would just piss people off, and I could still have sex. That’s fucking easy.

DAMIEN: But then you can’t use your hands to…

JIM: Oh I see, it’s about self… ah yeah…

DAMIEN: Or for other people, you know, you could never give a massage…

JIM: Yeah true, but there are, you know, gloves! I feel like the cock would be more embarrassing. The hands – at least they’re there out in the open, and you’re like ‘funny story, I’ve got nettles for hands’. You don’t want to have the conversation where the date’s gone well, and you’re like ‘when do I tell them?’

DAMIEN: Yeah it’s almost an icebreaker isn’t it, where you’re like ‘I don’t want to freak you out…’

JIM: To be fair, nettles for hands would come in handy with my question with the ducks and the horses, your punch would be way better if you had nettles for hands.

DAMIEN: And depending on the size of the cactus it could come in quite handy as well! Here’s another one: you’re offered £100 billion to travel back in time to set fire to the field of wheat through which a young Theresa May is playfully frolicking, what do you spend the money on?

JIM: Oh right, so presuming I’ll take the offer then? £100 billion? I’d buy the NHS and just sort of sort that out. Can you do that, can you just be like I’ll take that off your hands?

DAMIEN: It’s your money, you can do whatever you want.

VH: But then you’d be a private healthcare company…

JIM: Yeah, but I’d be better than the government. I’d hopefully just become a benevolent dictator, but of the healthcare sector. Yeah immediately, obviously, that’s what everyone would do with £100 billion. What would you do with £100 billion? Actually, hang on, the premise for the question wasn’t necessary was it?

DAMIEN: No it was a poor attempt at humour. The joke is that it’s not a case of would you go back and set fire to the field…

JIM: Oh right yeah. You’d obviously worked on that, sorry, I didn’t fully take it in…

DAMIEN: No it’s good, a friend of mine once asked if I’d ever considered doing stand-up, and now I know not to even try. Because after he asked, I was like maybe…

JIM: You know what, when we’re on tour I’m going to casually suggest one day that ‘oh there’s a good bar around the corner’ and what I’ll have done is, and you’ll have forgotten this by then, but I’ll have signed you up for a stand-up set. I’ll be like ‘go for it man, I’m sorry for I didn’t laugh at your joke about the field of wheat, maybe don’t do that one, but I’m sure you’ve got some corkers, get up there!’ And actually, maybe after you’ve done it you’ll be like ‘fuck this band shit, this is my calling’.

DAMIEN: Yeah sorry lads, I’m going on tour with Paddy McGuinness.

VH: Well you’re already on stage, you’ve already got an audience – you could do it between songs, get some practice in.

DAMIEN: Well this is the thing I told my comedian friend when asked me – when I say something in between a song and it goes flat, I can just start a song and get out of that moment pretty quick. But if you’re a stand-up comedian and it goes dead you’re just stuck there, in this chasm of agony.

JIM: I’ve got another would you rather: would you rather always be able to tell when people are lying to you, or always be able to lie and people always believe you.

DAMIEN: Oh… I don’t know. Knowing when people are lying would just take the fun out of everything…

JIM: Yeah I feel like people are lying to you for good reasons a lot of the time, you know, ‘I love you’ that kind of stuff…

DAMIEN: ‘Good album’

JIM: Ha, ‘great set man!’

DAMIEN: ‘No offence but I’ve never heard of you’ – they’ve definitely heard of us but they think we’re shit. And then the other one, there’s no way you couldn’t get corrupted by that, and I like to think that I don’t bullshit that much – I’m pretty straight down the line with people, but… I’d go with people lying to me, I think.

JIM: Really? That’d be horrible, what a way to live though…

DAMIEN: Poker, all day. I’d just make my fortune in poker.

JIM: Or even, if people knew that was a legitimate ability you had you could have a big career in interrogation. Capture any criminals, you know ‘Bullshit’.

DAMIEN: See I went straight to personal gain, same as with what you’d spend £100 billion on, see you’re clearly a better person than I am because you went straight to altruism, and I’m like ‘fucking make some money!’. Okay so I’ve written a few questions in the style of Line of Duty, so you have to give one-word answers, either yes or no. So answering only yes or no, mushrooms?

JIM: Yes

DAMIEN: Really?

JIM: Yeah, in all forms, yes. I never used to like them, I don’t think any child likes mushrooms, but there comes a day where you’re like ‘these are all right now’. It’s the same with Jazz, once you like Jazz you’re like nearly an adult. Once I’ve done olives, I’m all the way there.

DAMIEN: Yeah that happened with olives, but mushrooms – not yet

JIM: Really? I always thought it went mushrooms, jazz, olives. Then death.

DAMIEN: Answering only yes or no, mustard?

JIM: Yeah. If this is all food-based I’ll eat pretty much anything, apart from meat.

DAMIEN: Well luckily enough I’ve also got, answering only yes or no, feet – in the arena of sex?

JIM: No. You should see my girlfriend’s feet, fucking hell, they’re like cloven hooves. I’ve told her the rest of you is top notch, love it, this one, less of that, put them away.

DAMIEN: Our first guitarist had a proper foot fetish. It was fucking disgusting. It was disgraceful. And he would talk to us about it, like ‘don’t you ever see a big toe and just want to [makes a horrible sound]. Next one, will we discover life outside of our planet in our lifetimes? You’ve got a few more years than me…

JIM: I mean how long are we going to be about? I think we should probably focus on other things, like preserving life on this planet – big theme on our album, plug! If we do, I was watching this Brian Cox documentary called the Planets, and he reckons that it’ll happen within his lifetime, and also that there will be a colony set up on Mars within his lifetime.

DAMIEN: That’s a lot of work man. But I don’t understand it, because with Mars, they have massive sandstorms, and for people to live there they’re going to have to build these biodomes, but if those biodomes are in any way damaged by these sandstorms then everyone dies.

JIM: Exactly, it would be so shit, I don’t know why you’d want to do it. You’d get there, probably be there a week and then you’d be like I’ve made a huge mistake, it’s going to take 5 years to get home and it’s going to be really embarrassing showing my face again after you’ve been like ‘fuck you I’m going to mars’ and then you come crawling back.

DAMIEN: Presumably they’re not sending couples, because it would be hard enough finding one person mad enough to do it.

JIM: Yeah but Brian Cox reckons if we do find life, it’ll be microbes, and I can’t get excited about microbes.

DAMIEN: Yeah it’s the same as with that picture of the black hole, people were getting really excited, like look at this – the first picture of a black hole ever, and I looked it and I thought ‘that’s exactly like what I thought a black hole would look like’.

JIM: I’ve got a more serious question for you – I always find it quite interesting finding out about song writing processes. I’ve never really played in other bands – basically every band I’ve been in has been me and Loz maybe with some other people, and it’s always worked the same way: I bring a song, try and get him to play something I want him to play and then he obstinately does something different, just because I’ve asked him – so I have to try and make him think that he’s had the idea to play what I want him to. How does it work with you guys, do you write songs in a room together?

DAMIEN: There’s a few songs on the new album that were written together. The first album I pretty much wrote everything – and I showed Sam how I wanted the beats to go, and then had to ask him to play them how a drummer would play them, instead of someone who has very little natural rhythm.

JIM: That’s what I have to do with Loz, because I can kind of play drums, but I’ll have a really specific idea and then I have to be like ‘Loz I’m not going to be able to play it, can you please show me how to play it?’ And then I’m like ‘Oh you’re nailing it, carry on!’ and it’s like, yeah, you fell for it.

DAMIEN: Yeah he’ll be like ‘I’m thinking this way’, and I’ll be like ‘Yeah… I like that, but maybe when we bring that bit back later, maybe we can use that beat, but for now if you just do it this way first, and then we can try and use it again’ and we never do.

JIM: That’s a good one, I’m going to nick that. I really like that drum fill that you insist on doing, but maybe let’s put it in a different song that we haven’t written yet.

DAMIEN: I’ll write something around that – keep that one, and I’ll write something around that. For my ear, that fill is too good just to be a fill, and not the feature of an entire song. Maybe we can get round to that when we’re doing album four or five, when we’re experimenting.

JIM: Dangle that carrot.

DAMIEN: That’s it. You know, the guys do write… going back full circle – Zack and Paddy, the two guys in my band who play guitar, both love Pearl Jam, and it fucks me right off. So whenever Zack tries to write it’s proper dad rock. Paddy’s more kind of, like he’s recently got into Every Time I Die, and when he got into them he went on this fucking binge, so every rehearsal I’d go in and he’s playing Every Time I Die riffs, and he’ll be like ‘I’ve written this thing’ and it’s just Every Time I Die. And I have to be like ‘you can’t just bring in riffs from other people’s songs! When I do it it’s artistic, because you don’t know the albums that I’m taking them from, but when you’re taking them from albums that I’ve shown you you can’t do it!’

JIM: So did any of their dad rock riffs mutate and make it onto the album?

DAMIEN: No…

JIM: Haha, not really! Not so much!

DAMIEN: No, so on ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’ I took in the last riff, which was meant to be the main riff, we’d kind of done like a Deftones-type groove, but Sam didn’t like it, so he did a beat that’s in the middle part of it and I wrote riffs over that. And then with Pierre Brassau we wrote that in a room together, which is the only one we wrote like that. And Paddy wrote the jangly, country-esque pre-chorus, and I kind of directed from there. So that one’s in drop A, and initially the chorus had a low A playing with the bass, and I was like ‘we do a lot of that, so let’s have a chorus here that’s just the high parts’. It was the last song that we wrote for the album as well, and I hope that that’s how we continue, like we throw ideas around and I’m more of a director, as opposed to a dictator.

JIM: That’s interesting, because I do that quite a lot as well. Like I’m very aware when we’ve started to do something. There’s a fine line between having things which you do and you enjoy, like musical devices you use, and just doing the same shit over and over and falling back on the same little tricks. I’m always very aware – especially if I’ve written a really heavy song, the next one inevitably is going to be tuneful and mellow, just because I’m always trying to contradict myself, or feel like I’m not repeating myself. But it all goes in cycles, and I end up repeating myself eventually.

DAMIEN: Sure, the amount of times we’ve done it where I’ve been like ‘fuck that just either something we’ve already done or just someone else’s song.’ If you can catch it early it’s not so bad, but it’s when you’re like ‘this is fucking well good’, you bring it in and you have like half an hour and everyone’s in the pocket, and you’re like ‘this is really good… ah fuck! It’s a fucking At the Drive-In song!’

JIM: Have you ever head it where you’ve worked on a song for quite a long time and you’re like ‘this is fucking brilliant’ and you take it to the band and they’re like ‘that’s shit, don’t like that’

DAMIEN: Yeah but to be fair I’m pretty good at not getting overtly invested in something until it’s completed. I’m usually the first one, when that happens, to go ‘lads, this is shit isn’t it?’ and they’re like ‘yeah it’s shit’. You can say if it’s not working. And to be fair we’ve never really argued about that kind of stuff, we’re all pretty much on the same page when it comes to being excited about something.

JIM: Quite a lot of the time our writing process feels like I’m literally just trying to make something that Loz likes. Which is kind of fine, because once he’s bought into it I feel like ‘cool, that can be a song now’. Sometimes I’ll spend quite a while and get really excited about something, and I’ll play it to him and he’s like ‘meh’ – he’s not even objecting, he’s just like ‘meh’, or he starts playing it half-heartedly, and I’m like ‘YOU DON’T LIKE IT DO YOU! YOU DON’T LIKE IT!’

DAMIEN: That’s the worst though, Falco was saying that Matt Harding did that when they were recording with Steve Albini for the third album, he was saying that he likes to go in with 7 or 8 songs, but he also likes to leave a little bit of time to write, and he’d be showing Matt stuff and Matt would be like ‘what like this?’ [Damien pulls a face of no expression and just totally unenthusiastically strumming an invisible guitar] and it was just the most infuriating thing ever.

JIM: Yeah I think I read something he wrote about that, his third album that cost 10 grand and never came to anything.

DAMIEN: He told me that story on the way back from a show, and I felt like crying. Because he’s like ‘and then the record label rang, and they were like ‘Andy how’s it going?’ I had to say ‘I haven’t got an album’, and they we’re like ‘what do you mean?’ – ‘I haven’t got an album.’’ Imagine…

JIM: Brutal.

VH: Shall we wrap it up there?

DAMIEN: So Flat Earther tattoos yeah?

JIM: Yeah that’s in the diary, brilliant.

DAMIEN: So remember, pissing, shitting, dying – what was it we said we’d end it on?

JIM: Shit myself, piss myself, die. You can have that for the next album title.

DAMIEN: Yeah, or at least a song.

Cassels new album The Perfect Ending comes out on Big Scary Monsters this week, and is available for pre-order from Big Scary Monsters or their Bandcamp. The St Pierre Snake Invasion’s (great) second album Caprice Enchante is out now and available on their Bandcamp.

You can catch the bands on tour together at the following dates:

28th Sept – Exchange, Bristol
29th Sept – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
30th Sept – The Lexington, London
1st Oct – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
2nd Oct – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
3rd Oct – The Bullingdon, Oxford
4th Oct – The Chameleon, Nottingham

And Damien is playing with mclusky* at the following dates:

7th Sept – The Workman’s Club, Dublin
12th Sept – The Bullingdon, Oxford
13th Sept – Concorde 2, Brighton
22nd Nov – Dingwalls, London
6th Dec – Dingwalls, London

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