Every other article I write at the moment seems to start with 'a lot has happened for Band X since I first met them...' I don't know whether that's because something genuinely exciting is happening, and all the bands I love really are starting to get noticed, or because of my limitations as a writer, but here we go again...
A lot has happened for Art Brut since I first met guitarist Chris Chinchilla at one of the excellent New Cross based Music Tourist Board get togethers and was handed a CDR labelled 'Brutlegs'. Since then, they've personified the ethos of Alternative Rock Idol, been reviewed by Will Self, signed by Rough Trade and received copious column inches in the NME as part of a new 'art wave' bursting forth from New Cross.
>FORMED A BAND,
THEY FORMED A BAND
so I thought I'd get in there first.
Anyway, in their own words, here's how it happened:
Chris: I was
waiting for a train on the Isle of Wight. They were going one way and
me and Mike were going the other way, but there’s not many ways
They came up with a name borrowed
from Eddie's favourite type of art
CC: It means art for people who aren’t artists, which nicely compared to us as well – music for people who aren’t really musicians, but just do it because they like it
>MODERN ART MAKES
THEM WANT TO ROCK OUT
We were banned from the Tate Modern
We want people to go to galleries and enjoy themselves. They just always
seem to be quiet and too conservative.
Ian: And you can’t even rent out the pictures, y’know, it’s not fucking right.
CC: I’ll tell you though, my Dad, even before us, I always used to go to exhibitions with him, there’d be this sort of art that supposedly was meant to be stuff you should interact with. And he’d always go and move stuff about, he’d turn it around & do all sorts of things. And so many times when I was with him, I’d get told off by curators and told to get my Dad out of there, I mean, this is art you’re even supposed to appreciate in a fun way, and the curators don’t want you too. I don’t get it.
IC: It’s like this place in Amsterdam, there’s a room full of
allsorts, and you’re meant to take them & eat them, so it’s
CC: I wouldn’t trust the liquorice in Amsterdam if I were you.
IC: Yeah, you’ll turn Bertie.
CC: I think that the institutions themselves need a bit of laxening.
IC: It’s part of the whole fucking elitism, isn’t it, where you have to be someone really special and surreal even to
able to appreciate art and modern art especially. To be honest with you,
I think it’s just a device for poor people to sell tat to rich people.
It’s like convincing someone that’s a moron, but has a lot of
money – fair play. It does make you wonder, you see some guy at an
auction going “Oh yes, I love this piece” and I’m thinking,
“Yeah, and I bet they love your wallet.”
I once saw an exhibition in the Tate, by someone which I can only describe as a prat – it was like a fish tank that was turned on its end, with speakers on the outside and lots of women crying – to be honest with you it was over my head.
CC: But did it make you want to rock out?
IC: No, it just made me walk out, actually.
Still, enough about art, what do they reckon on their inclusion, along with fellow ARI and Angular Records companions Bloc Party, in the NME's Art Wave movement?
EA: ‘Bad Weekend’, the b-side on our single, has a line it in that goes “haven’t read the NME in so long, don’t know which genre we belong”, and now we do – Art Wave! We can split up now, we were just curious. There’s all these bands dodging it “we’re not art wave”, but we are art wave, we love it.
IC: Perhaps it’s an omen, we could try with some new songs – “Haven’t watched MTV2 in so long, don’t know how we would look on it”
I don’t think we are an art band really though – I think we’re
just an interesting pop band. We didn’t go out of our way to be
He’s supposed to be right wing, arrogant, not a very nice person.
The baffling comparisons don't
stop there either
But we’re several shots of heroin from sounding like that.
Art Brut have played a huge part in New Cross' new position at the forefront of alternative music, so what do they reckon on the area's new found prestige?
not really in the best position to talk about it, because, even though
we have been a part of it, we’re not necessarily… we don’t
live in the area. So we’ve been talking to people who are part of
it, more so than even we
realised. When I used to come out here when I was younger, there was nothing,
and there’s a lot more happening now than there ever was then, so
there’s certainly something happening. Whether it’s a scene,
it’s to early to say I think.
EA: It’s my favourite place to play, it’s good fun.
CC: It’s always a good crowd. It’s not pretentious yet, it could quite easily become pretentious, but it’s not yet.
EA: The first time here was really cool, people actually liked us
CC: And all the other bands that we’ve played with here have been good bands and they’ve all been nice people who are interested in being part of something.
EA: I think Caffy St Luce (Rocklands, ARI and Music Tourist Board promoter and general all around creative genius) should be the next Prime Minister.
Sticking with the world politics theme, how's your campaign for world peace going?
ok, umm I don’t know.
We’re not political, but we want a nice world.
Indeed, for the very institution in which this interview takes place, home to Alternative Rock Idol and the original Angular Records events is currently under threat by the whim of one local dissenter. You can do your bit to help by going to www.petitiononline.com/paradise/petition and adding your signature.
Anyway, on with the interview, one of the things that really endeared the band to me the first time I saw Art Brut was Eddie's rant about how easy and fantastic a thing it is to form a band, and how he hoped people would
leave the gig and go out and form their own band and call it Art Brut 2.
CC: I think
it might have been a bit early.
Another little idiosyncrasy of the band is Eddie's devotion to Top of the Pops, which anyone who's seen them live will be fully aware of
EA: I watch
TOTP every week, I love it.
hint at the fact, like the NME said “we’ll have to get you
on Top of the Pops”, and we were like “ah, yeah”, but
he went “no, seriously” and then our record company said something
It would perhaps be one of the more surreal moments in British pop history, but you never know. And you can help it come true by going out and buying Art Brut's new single 'Formed a Band' on 29th March.