Three minutes and counting…talking pop with The Perfect Pop Co-op

pp_RingMaster Review

Recently we featured The Perfect Pop Co-op on the site, an indie label reminding of days past with their DIY attitude and energy and excitement with the kind of sounds and releases already unveiled. Formed by members of outstanding, one of a kind UK band the Tuesday Club, The Perfect Pop Co-op is ready to stir up the music scene with pop bred revelry. We set about getting to the heart of the label with creators Andy, John, and Dave…  

Hello and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

The Perfect Pop Co-op has been around for a while now, tell us about its beginnings.

Andy: The Perfect Pop Co began as an idea around 2011. All of the members of the Tuesday Club were in different bands at the time and we were looking at a vehicle to release material through. Previous to the PPCO, we (John and Andy) were in a band called The Scratch and used to release our material through our own label Ponyland Records; PPCO was based on those lines, but basically the idea was a Rough Trade style collective or Factory Records, which was more accurate in the fact that both they and we had no budget or business acumen… (allegedly)…

So it is fair to say that the label was formed as much as anything because of The Tuesday Club but was also diverted from realising its initial intent because of the band’s success?

Andy: Well as we said we had already had the idea and done the vinyl renaissance thing too, our first 7″ (The Scratch) came out in 2002 when vinyl most defiantly wasn’t hip, but yes especially as at the time of starting the Tuesday Club we were an 8 piece so there was budget, desire, and more than a little material ready and waiting. Jordan had Recharged Radio, Andy, John and Terry had The Scratch, Dave was in We are White Worm, Minki had 50ft Woman, Lozz had been in loads of bands and since left to form Knock Off and Brian had been in lots of bands too and worked as a session player.

John: Yeah – as Andy said, we’d originally set up the label to release all the different bands we were in – but as the Tuesday Club was such fun the other bands went on the back burner and the TCs became our main focus.

Dave: The mistress became the muse if you like.  For me, it was like falling in love with being in a band again; limitless possibility and no baggage.  Remembering why I wanted to do this in the first place.

pp tc_RingMaster ReviewWhy form a label in the first place. I know The Tuesday Club is not exactly a band which is ever idle so it was not because of wanting to find something to do.

Andy: Basically we were overflowing with ideas and concepts and needed a way of archiving them coherently, but at the same time giving the world a chance to listen in. Since it’s conception The Bleeed, Andreas and The Wolf and two or three other off shots have happened, not least The D.O.D.O from 2011 and Reverse Family that has been in existence since 2006.

John: We’ve always been pretty prolific on the writing and recording front… not everything always fitted with what we were doing with the Tuesday Club, and with 8 of us in the band, getting the time to get us all together to write, rehearse and record material meant that there was always a surplus of tracks – so with The Bleeed, that was 4 out of the 8 of us recording some of those tracks in the gaps between working on the Tuesday Club.

I am assuming The Tuesday Club came first, a fair time before the start of the label? Give us some idea to the background of the band too; how you all got together etc.

Andy: Actually the label may have come slightly earlier; we started putting on nights at a local pub in St. Albans, The White Hart Tap. The Scratch generally headlined, 50ft Woman played and we had other bands come down as support. We had these loyalty cards that got stamped and we gave away free stuff to people who collected enough stamps. I think the Tuesday’s were only rehearsing at this time, I seem to think 2011 November, Electrowerkz in London being our debut.

What was the spark to Perfect Pop Co-op returning to its original idea and bringing other projects to ears?

Andy: There had been a lot of upheaval in the band, the tragic loss of Terry hit us all very hard; Lozz and Brian had already left, I guess we were unsure of the future and kind of thought we need something solid and positive to focus on

At the moment, the bands and releases on Perfect Pop Co-op are all linked in some way or another to members of the band?

Andy: Yes at the moment, each project features at least one or more past or present member of The Tuesday Club, but we do have dreams of samplers featuring other bands, we are basically trying to raise the profile of PPCO to see where it can take us

Can you give us some insight to the bands currently filling the label’s cast?

Andy: Each band has a different sound, though most in fact all have Andy singing on them; there are a lot of styles. We see The D.O.D.O for instance as a 60’s tinged – psych experiment. The Bleeed is our goth, Hammer Horror side, but we also have 2 or 3 experimental pop acts and an 80s synth duo! We never set out to write in a style, and tend to go with where it takes us. Our latest plans are for a PPCO invasion of Irish 4 piece Girl Band, who blew our minds when they played in St. Albans last year.

John: We often write and record tracks concentrated bursts with whoever is about – for example The DODO album was written and recorded in 3 weeks over Christmas a few years back with 3 out of the 5 of us in The Scratch – and so that became one project. Another, as yet unnamed project, which still needs mixing – was an albums worth of stuff recorded by 3 of us from The Tuesday Club last August – so that will become another project – so I guess these bands are all just different permutations of a wider pool of friends – so each one is different as we all bring different things to the party.

Are these all on-going projects too; bands we can expect more releases and new songs from in the future?PPart_RingMaster Review

Andy: Yes, we have plans to release something new for every month of this year; generally when a new mag (IN THE CLUB) is out. In the club 028 May 16 comes out so a new release will, not only older material, but we are intending to record a new track a month in our bunker, under the Perfect pop review.

What are the differences, if any, of releasing just one’s band’s material and having many projects to take care of?

Andy: There’s no difference really, other than the style of the artwork.

I read somewhere about the labels’ idea of the ‘perfect’ pop song. Can you elaborate on that and does it mean we are safe from hearing meandering ten minute epics from you? haha

Andy: Well everyone’s idea of perfect pop is slightly different, none of us are Queen fans, but Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t 2 minutes or O Superman by Laurie Anderson. Personally my favourite ever single is Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry, but I don’t think you could beat Ride a White Swan by T.Rex or Tainted Love by Soft Cell, they are more the area we are dabbling in I’d say.

John: I think we all have a love of the 7 inch single – fitting everything into a 3 minute blast of perfection is quite an art and growing up in the 70s and 80s we were spoilt with great examples – what I liked back then was that often really quite weird tracks could get onto top of the pops. Laurie Anderson is a good example – but things like the Flying Lizards – I Want Money… or Pump up the Volume by MARRS.

Dave: Speak for yourselves.  Queen is a bit of a guilty pleasure.  Great pop music is like that elusive thing where a song hits the spot, first time, and it lives with you forever.  It’s just…..right.  No thought required, no second listen, just perfect.

Perfect pop…

Is there a plan in motion with Perfect Pop Co-op in regard to expanding artists and where you hope to be in say two or five years?

Andy: Yes as we said earlier, first we need the world to know we’re here, from there who knows

Will the label remain an in house bed of creativity or are you looking at some point in releasing records from other bands?

Andy: The Creativity bit is key to us, but yes we’d love to one day have PPCO numbers all over people’s record collection.

The remit will always remain pop in its varied guises?

Andy: Yes, I think a catchy chorus is always they key

Tell us more about the online magazine from Perfect Pop Co-op.

Andy: The mag started as a vehicle for The Tuesday Club and everyone contributed daft columns, and we did a monthly podcast of tracks we liked by new and old bands. But as the band evolved/changed we got less TC and more PPCO, plus now we have more outside contributions. We like getting bands we like involved too, our In the Club section has already featured Richard Norris (Beyond the Wizards Sleeve), John Robb (Membranes), Will Crewdson (Adam and the Ants), Maggie Demonde (Scarlet Fantastic) and Pete Jones (Department S), plus loads of local St. Albans bands we like too. The idea is defiantly ‘fanzine’ in the style of the Old punk zine ‘Sniffing Glue‘, very DIY, rather than the old NME or Melody Maker – there’s no time for loads of editorial, but that’s not to say that we wouldn’t welcome an editor Pete 😉 – trouble is the pays crap… £0 per hour! Basically the mag is a free way to support and PR our musical community and hopefully tempt people into buy our wares!

ppart2_RingMaster ReviewWhat is in line for our ears and imagination rom the label in the coming weeks?

Andy: Next up we are going to put out an Andreas and The Wolf single track and with the June mag is Zerox, The Tuesday Club cover of the Adam and The Ants classic, we recently did a gig with Adam’s current guitarist Will Crewdson – top bloke and in more bands than our own Rogerio TC, so we thought what with Adam back on the road too why not get that baby out in circulation!

And from our favourites The Tuesday Club?

Andy: We’ve just been back in the studio with our producer the fab Steve Honest at Hackney Road and recorded 4 tracks towards a new album (3), which we hope to have out in the spring of 2017.

Will there be a live aspect to the label, i.e. shows with your bands together at any point?

Andy: That was something we spoke about which is where the PPCO review idea came from, it’s definitely a possibility

Once again big thanks for the chat and time shared. Anything you would like to add?

Andy: Our thanks is to you Pete for your continued support. All we’d say to the world is get over to our bandcamp and get involved 🙂 The Perfect Pop Co-Op

Read out feature on The Perfect Pop Co-Op @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/introducing-the-perfect-pop-co-op/

Keep an eye and ear out for what comes next at, musically https://theperfectpopco-op.bandcamp.com  and in word and vision @ https://issuu.com/perfectpopco-op/docs/in_the_club_028_may_16/1

https://www.facebook.com/The-Perfect-Pop-Co-Op-205518542879875/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 02/06/2016

The New Southern Electrikk – Brown Eyes

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Listening to the trio of songs making up The New Southern Electrikk debut single, is like being immersed in a kaleidoscope of sound, each song offering a different light and colourful adventure to another. The release is an unpredictable proposition and a bewitching one, revealing why a vibrant buzz around the UK band from fans and media alike but equally suggesting we have barely scratched the surface of their depths and creative imagination. It would be wrong to say the single blew our fuses but once romanced and seduced by Brown Eyes and company, it is impossible not to have a healthy intrigue and appetite towards The New Southern Electrikk sound.

With the likes of Goldblade’s John Robb, the single released on his Louder Than War Records, The Lemonhead’s Evan Dando, and Suede’s Bernard Butler amongst fans caught by the band’s melodic spell, The New Southern Electrikk have ears and imagination engaged almost from the first melody stroking ears from within Brown Eyes. It is single guitar bred flirtation with just a percussive whisper alongside but a coaxing soon broadening into a sixties melodic melodrama of emotion and smouldering elegance. The song was inspired by a dark moment in the life of keyboardist Rikki Turner fourteen years ago when a woman he loved left his life as The Shirelles’ Baby It’s You was playing in the background. The former Paris Angel musician wrote the song’sPicture 110 lyric and melody soon after and there is no escaping a sixties girl group like charm in the music of the track or the soulful angst of that moment in time in the captivating delivery of vocalist Monica Ward. The melancholic basslines of Steven Tajti only add to the shadows, their melancholy courting the lean but potent melodic colours cast by guitarist Zack Davies. Evocative within a sultry climate, the gentle but imposing croon of the song with its Shangri-las like finale gets right under the skin, not necessarily setting a fire but working away over time as hooks and vocal moments persistently return in thought and memory.

The following landscape of The Theme to the New Southern Electrikk immediately ventures into new realms, keys weaving a psychedelic ambience around Krautrock scenery. It is only part of the soundscape though as a post punk seeded bassline swings its morose invention around crisp and uncluttered rhythms from drummer Jim Correy. Similarly a Morricone-esque tang simmers within the melodic wine of the again slightly sixties pop coloured instrumental too, it all aligning for a tantalising and compelling flight for ears and imagination to bask in and explore time and time again.

Completed by a mesmeric version of The Gun Club’s Mother of Earth, The New Southern Electrikk’s first single is rich magnetism. There is something for everyone within its spicy creativity and the minimalistic textures which offer new shapes and persuasions with each song on offer. Expect to hear a lot more of this fascinating band in future.

Brown Eyes is available now via Louder Than War Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/brown-eyes-single/id960367750

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Southern-Electrikk/1566182530283214

RingMaster 16/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

Snarling with varied weaponry: an interview with John Robb of Goldblade

Goldblade 1

Punk has been treated to some exceptional albums so far this year and none any better than the new album from UK giants Goldblade. Their sixth album, The Terror Of Modern Life, is a masterful, openly diverse, and ferocious strike of irresistible and inciting riots of invention and enterprise. One of the most thrilling releases to unleash its triumph upon 2013 so far, the thirteen track brawl snarls and provokes thoughts and senses with pure imaginative craft. Seizing the opportunity to talk with band founder and vocalist, John Robb, we charged up our questions to ask one of the genre’s biggest creators about the album, punk itself, and his own history.

Hi John and welcome to the site, thank you for sharing time to chat with us.

Album six, The Terror Of Modern Life, has just unleashed its confrontation on the world; does the feel, thrill, and anticipation change from release to release?

Of course…and it gets to be a bigger thrill.  It’s a mixture of thank fuck we are still doing this and surviving in the collapsing music business and still have enough inspiration to still want to make music!

With this album we felt really excited. We knew we were onto something good with this record a long time ago. We got the sound we wanted from the start and we worked hard to get the songs right. We wanted a variation of styles- from fast kinda hardcore rushes to anthemic punk to dark tribal stuff to droning post black metal apocalyptic pieces. It’s like a collection of all the various strands of punk and its off shoots – we wanted something people could dance to at gigs, something full of hooks but also fuck with things a bit as well. We wanted to make a record that reflected the underlying darkness and unease of these times, times where the word ‘terror’ is the key word like the word ‘clash’ was the key word in the punk times and caused the classic band to name themselves.

We immersed ourselves in the album and pushed ourselves to the brink. We then made the sound the way we wanted, in a way we never got close to before. We wanted something darker and heavier- we wanted the bass to sound right- I had reformed my old band The Membranes for a few gigs and played bass again and it reminded me of the fundamental power of that instrument if you stick it though a rat pedal and play it with a direct venom- this cross pollinated into Goldblade and infected the album and it really places us back into the place we wanted to be- that twisted end of punk occupied by Killing Joke, Dead Kennedys, Stranglers, Black Flag, whilst continuing the great quest of the Clash but updated to a 21st century feel because we have never stopped listening to new music.

The year has already seen the outstanding new UK Subs album XXIV provoke and impress and now your scintillating encounter, it feels like the ‘old brigade’ is still driving and leading UK punk, does it feel like that for you?

There are great younger bands around- Dirt Box Disco album is stuffed full of great songs- I think it’s a case of older bands not giving up in their dotage- with discipline and concentration you can make the best and most urgent history of your history. Punk, by its nature, doesn’t have leaders- we just operate in our own space! The UK Subs album is great and Charlie is an inspiration to anyone, there have also been great albums from Killing Joke, the Stranglers and other bands from that generation- it’s like those bands have found their teeth again- maybe they also feel the urgency of these times…

The Terror Of Modern Life is as with your previous albums a collection of songs which steer through, challenge, and stand eye to Goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life-296x300eye with injustices and social wrongs, but your most potent and venomous yet?

I think things are getting a bit helter skelter out there and it’s hard not to reflect this, the last ten years has seen things get very unsteady in the world and that’s bound to get into the music- we have no interest in lecturing people, we just reflect what’s happening- people can make their own minds up or just dance to the music- it does not concern us what people think of the words, the world seems to be in a fast forward towards several different conclusions and out album reflects this tension.

Do you feel the impact of politically fuelled songs whether on the personal, social, or world level is still as strong as it used to be within not only punk but music as a whole? Do people and especially the latest generation of young people listen to songs and music the same way as those before them?

To be honest the impact has lessened in some ways and yet in others it’s got stronger- music, the music discourse is no longer driven by the counter culture and there are many strands of thought out there, but that’s inevitable because people don’t have the time and the impact of being a political song is less than when it first came about in modern culture. I don’t think young people are less political than they were years ago- that’s a bit of a myth. Not all of punk was political and it didn’t have to be- punk was many things- it could be comic book like the Ramones or political like Crass and both were genius for me. I think people sometimes feel overawed by the world these days and feel detached from the political process and that’s creating dangerous vacuums. We don’t claim to have all the answers but we have definitely have all the questions.

You obviously grew up with and were inspired by the birth of punk and the bands sculpting its first mighty wave; do you still see and feel the same essences politically and musically in today’s punk bands outside of yourselves and the still provocative bands from back then?

First wave was important for me but I don’t wallow in there for ever- those records always sound magical and powerful but I love lots of new music as well even it affects me in a different kind of way. Modern punk bands are as varied musically and politically as any bands were back then, it has changed in many ways as well- even if it was a business then as well it seemed to be a bit more haphazard and suicidal- now it’s a long term operation and band’s gigs are very different. In some ways punk has become a tradition like jazz or blues and a way of making music or dressing- and that’s understandable – the music and the style are very attractive and create a cool- the only danger is getting trapped which is a contradiction of the punk spirit!

For those unaware of your intensive history within music could you give us the history of John Robb between say ’77 and the emergence of Goldblade?

Wow, that’s long and complex!

Born in Blackpool, formed The Membranes in the punk period and also started a fanzine called Rox. The Membranes became a big underground band with noisy records inspired by the dark zone in the middle of punk and post punk- we toured the world and were critic and John Peel faves. At the same time I started writing for Zig Zag and then Sounds and covered all the fallout of the punk generation from the goth to grunge scene to Madchester to baggy to punk itself- being the first person to interview Nirvana and also coining the phrase Britpop, formed Goldblade in the mid-nineties to fly the flag for rock n roll in the middle of the non-rock n roll decade! Wrote books on punk and the Stone Roses and the eighties underground scene as well as doing TV and radio stuff…and that all continues now with Goldblade playing all over the world etc…

As you mentioned your writing, something you are renowned, has that experience and aspect of your life impacted or brought a view upon your music lyrically and in regard to creating sounds which brings something different to Goldblade, something other bands might lack?

Of course, even for the simple reason that I hear lots of music and it also keeps me fully engaged in the culture and keeps me interested and investigating everything. I’m a compulsively creative person who keeps making, creating and writing stuff. Apart from hearing so much stuff I think the impact on Goldblade is more minimal as that is a very instinctive thing, we make the music that entertains us and the songs are kicked about in the rehearsal room till they sound and feel right to us and not to fit in with anybody, anywhere!

Listening to The Terror Of Modern Life alone, one has the sense inspirations are far wider than just the early days and sounds of punk. What does give you food for thought musically?

You got it- some people think we operate only within punk but we have a far wider listening base than that- even punk was originally about dub and other musics- it’s good to mess with things but keep the focus and the energy- sometimes it’s great to switch to fast and furious punk rushes just to get that adrenalin fix, sometimes it’s good to find a different rhythm or atmosphere- it could be from black metal or from dub reggae but it must always be put through the Goldblade mangle and made to sound like us.

Goldblade 5Did you approach the new album any differently to your previous releases?

We wanted something a bit more extreme, more heavier, and rawer; we felt the last album had been too tame and too much click track and production- we wanted the record to sound live and if the songs speeded up towards the end then great! Because they speeded up with excitement- ‘rock n roll should speed up’ as Guy Stevens told the Clash during London Calling recordings…we had to record the album twice because of a fallout with the label but the second time we recorded it in two days flat and mixed it in 2 days- the urgency was vital to the album, it gives it an edge and we are addicted to the edge…

The songs on the album strike hard lyrically and deliver them with some of the most deviously addictive hooks and grooves, which comes first in your songs as a generalisation?

It can be either- we can have songs and bash them out in the rehearsal room and work out a vocal melody or it can be a phrase or some lyrics that come with a tune and we build the song around it- it’s a very varying process.

Is there any particular moment on The Terror Of Modern Life which gives you the strongest satisfaction?

I think the playing by the band is amazing, brother Pete’s guitar is fantastic- every time I listen I hear something new, even on the songs I mainly wrote! And getting the bass sound the way I wanted it to be- as heavy and raw as it should be- that made a big difference- when we finished the album we were really happy with it, I listened to it over and over- normally you feel a bit down when it’s finished but this time I could actually listen to this as an album and felt really excited by the sound and the reaction we have got so far with all the great reviews has proved this.

And anything you would have changed or like to have evolved further in hindsight?

That’s for the next album!

I would change the way people consume music- I think it’s getting almost impossible for people to record and release music now unless they are rich- the download thing has killed it for small underground labels and studios and everyone is really struggling out there- this is our first release where most of the people listening will have not bought the record but downloaded it from the internet and from the pirates- it doesn’t make me angry as technology is part of music- but it may mean that making another album may be almost impossible for us and lots of other bands. We will have to think of other ways of making and releasing music in the future.

The late seventies and punk gave freedom and realisation to bands and people that they could make music as they wanted, on their own terms. Do you think that freedom or realisation is still as potent, has the internet and the digital world given back that belief?

In some ways yes- you can get heard more now and the consumer has the power which we love- cult bands can be heard now and don’t have to grovel to the mainstream media for attention- that’s been very important to the underground and made a real difference- this is coupled with the real problems that many studios, labels and shops are having because of the pirate thing- we felt that if you want to give your music away for free that’s up to you and not someone else but we realise that there is nothing we can do about it- the internet is young and its effect on culture cannot be measured yet- at the moment its chaos out there and like the wild west- and as punks we love that aspect of it but we are not so servile that we want people we don’t know to make money out of us!

There has always been a unity and kinship between punk bands, certainly in its origins, do you still think it exists, can you feel that Gold Blade Smallunity now?

Yes we all know each other, some bands are more friendly than others but there is a unity- I think we all face the same problems!

You have just come off a tour with the Misfits, and a band we love and feature constantly on our podcasts The Bone Orchard and The Ringmaster Review, Dirt Box Disco who you mentioned earlier. How was the tour and did you have to put those punk n roll freaks from DBD in their place 😉

DBD are good people and a great band and there songs are killer- I think they will be one of the biggest bands on the scene by the end of the year and we can then go and support them. It was great to tour with them and I had to chuckle when we played with them at the Manchester Ritz when their stomach problems were quite loud back stage. 🙂

You have toured all over the world it seems, any particular places other than the usual countries which you enjoyed and surprised you with their knowledge of your sounds?

Algeria was amazing- we were the first band to play there for 20 years and yet people knew our songs – that’s the power of YouTube for you- the songs that were on YouTube they were singing along- we have played all over- we have played Russia a few times and there is talk of going to China…

Once more a big thanks John for talking with us, anything you would like to add?

Join our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/goldbladeband

Review the review of The Terror Of Modern Life @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/goldblade-the-terror-of-modern-life/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 30/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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