Search This Blog

Thursday, 26 August 2010

MidiMidis Interview [full article on its way]

Describe your sound through a wonderful image...
We've been described as sounding like Sonic the Hedgehog bumping into The Strokes by the BBC, like Speak and Spell with a broken heart. Ant and I were chatting about this last summer and if you could imagine two chaps from 1970's living in New York or Northampton imagining what the music of the future would sound like ... then actually trying to make that 'future sound' - that is MIDIMIDIS. It's like an alternative reality of what music would sound like if new romanticism hadn't come along in the 80s. If you can think of what people in the 1930s/40s and 50s imagined the future would be like, with jet powered cars and trains in the sky- that is kind of like what our sound is like visually. We use the most cold and basic electronic sounds- MIDI and 8bit, chip-tune tob sculpt modern-day songs which are layered with heartfelt conversational lyrics and warm but edgy sexual sounding guitar licks.

Catchy 8-bit pop with vocals from the past - what inspired you with the idea?
The idea is a natural progression from punk. It came about because I was (and still am) frustrated with the regurgitation of almost every style and form of song craft. Everything just sounds the same, everything has musically and I believe artistically been done. Most things in music are driven by imitation and copying others. In my opinion, one of the main shortfalls in the music industry is the sheer desperation to seize talent and rehash the already successful artists. I find this utterly boring and don't understand why most people aren't bothered about it. I find it insulting to our intelligence as music lovers and art/fashion lovers. The reason why music sells is not down to familiarity, although that is what most sales are based on- but on fashion which like many things is just a cycle. With the contrived confines of the 8-bit and MIDI sound that we restrict our song writing to, it just seemed like a perfect medium to illustrate the banal state of music today. We both love and have loved computer games, and the simplicity of the sounds in old video games and constraints that composers had back in the day meant that the melodies were fantastic. We wanted to use this limited palette to do the same. There is so much melody and texture missing from most music these days and as a post-modernist I thought that by using 8bit in the way we do- we could write whatever style of song we wanted but never lose our identity. Which is ironic, but fun! That and the fact no-one yet has done or moreover mastered what we do.

 When did you form as a band and what's it like working together as brothers?Well we're actually ex-brothers-in-law. So we knew that straight away there was an 'issue'. We like to jump in at the deep-end. Nothing can hurt us, we're so close to each other, we just click and finish eachother's sentences, so no matter what emotional or personal obstacles come our way- nothing can interfere or destroy our bond. We look out for each other, we've been through so much together in the 2 years since we formed that nothing can affect us at all. We both know each other more than anyone else and he puts up with me and I put up with him- we're too similar. I come across as the confident chatty one and him, the shy one but we're both the same really. One's a depressive and the other a manic-depressive. But again- we're a right barrel of laughs...!! Our relationship and emotional well-beings make no sense whatsoever, but I've learnt that some things in life 'just work'.
I see you were doing a live session up at the BBC Maida Vale Studios not too long ago, how was that?
We were hand-picked by BBC Introducing out of thousands of bands to record three tracks live at Maida Vale in February. The looks on people's faces as we brought in our Amstrad CPC 464 and PSP into Studio 5 (where the Kinks, The Beatles and Libertines recorded) was just priceless. It genuinely felt like we were becoming a part of history.
The engineer's and producers were just so unbelievably enthusiastic about what we did and one of them even brought his laptop in and linked it to my battered guitar and old vox amp to make the most insane digital distortion effects. We are a band that likes to involve our audiences and we have nothing to hide and love feeding off others so this was just such a wonderful experience. Seeing everyone's faces light up as we ran through the tracks. They knew we were doing something unique and different. You see we take what we do for granted but it's when you get people in the industry or even punters at gigs who just look amazed-that's when it hits home! We had about 4 hours but did the tracks live in 1 take.. It went pretty quickly. Everyone was surprised about how effortless the whole thing was. It just felt so natural and organic so we wrapped up in under 20 mins and spent the rest of the time hanging and chatting with the engineers and producers about stories of other past artists for 2 and a half hours! So much fun.

You’re also playing at Reading & Leeds festival in a few days – how are you preparing yourselves for that? Feeling pumped?
I've been waiting 6 years to play Reading Festival and now it's finally happened! We both have never been to a music festival before as we've always been so poor so I vowed that my first festival to go to has to be the one I that I first play at.. This kind of became more of a challenge as the years rolled by and my dream came true after Eddy Temple Morris invited us to play Tignesfest in The Alps with FrankMusik, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool and Losers. We've played around 10 festivals now over the past 18 months! Its insane, but its all apart of the bigger picture. Reading and Leeds for me is a big personal achievement and I'm so grateful for the powers that be at BBC Introducing to finally recognise our sound as being as innovative as it is, and giving us the opportunity to share that with bigger audiences. We haven't practiced for over a year. Usually what happens is that we 'practice' at shows and in peoples houses at house parties, but we have some new songs which we have practiced in our front room.

What generally happens in the music making process, and what crazy things run through your head during that?
The music making process is very organic and natural. We spent a whole summer in 2007 in our rooms and in the garden recording individual notes on game-boys and Spectrums, also taking the chips out of the BBC console and programming our own notes on the Amstrad CPC 464 so that when you tap individual keys it will generate notes. We then spent ages coming up with songs purely in MIDI and 8-bit. Ant would make about 40 demos and I'd sit through them all and say what sounded cool and what sounded shit. Sometimes there'd be good bits, hooks in some songs and cool bits in others. We'd pop them together- I kind of arranged them and then Ant would come up with some art-rock or velvet underground/Television inspired guitar parts. The things we focused on were purely melody and texture. The 'sound' was already there- in 8bit but our 'identity' would come through the style of our songs and through the song writing. I have far too much running through my head at once and write down so many thoughts, rhymes and ideas on post-it notes (hence why the cover of our demo is a burnt post-it note) and I'd write so many pages of different lyrics and versions. I woyuld often not end up using any.. The reason being is that im inspired by the likes of Q-Tip and MC's of. I love the conversational poets like Lou Reed and David Sylvian I am fascinated by syllable placement and melody rather than cheesy repetitive pop lyrics and throw-away 'oh-oh-ohs' multi-tracked with vocoda and auto-tune. The 8bit music is always reeeeally fast- 285bpm, and the melodies really happy, but the lyrics are mostly depressing and conversational to balance the overall feel and texture of the songs. I like to think our music is like watching Ben Stiller's 'Dodge-Ball'. Multilayered and re-listenable, you can pick up so much on many listens.

What do you do to get your mind off things?
I like painting and kissing girls. We both like watching Star Trek, and going for walks along the canal with a couple of beers and chatting to ducks and swans. We also like watching live videos of old-school bands like Def Leppard, Human League and George Michael at Live Aid... Things like that really. Oh and obviously playing Resident Evil! You will never be able to contact us if we have a Resident Evil session. It lasts days and hours, we even have our own Resident Evil drinking game whereby you have to take a swig of beer every time you walk through a door. Let me tell you, that is the reason we never completed Resident Evil 2 because we came up with the game in the last few levels and there's like a million doors...! We were much more sensible for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Breaking down in public possibly, but then that must have been more embarrassing for others who care(d) about me rather than me. Im not really sure. I used to get embarrassed at school, especially with girls I liked. Once our PSP - no- it was an iPhone... We ran a gig through an iPhone once as our PSP had broken. We got through 2 songs and just as we were about to hit the chorus of 'nemesis' it died. It completely died.
It was at Proud galleries over a year ago in front of a few labels and a huge crowd and EddyTM jumped on-stage and said 'oh bugger- where's your back-up?' to which we replied 'this IS our back-up!!'. We since returned and played with David E Sugar infront of a packed room and now have 3 back-ups! Hehe that was embarrassing... I also had the worse hangover in my lfe the next day, and had to play another show in front of 2000 people. I wasn't embarrassed then though. Just fucked. Good show though! There's YouTube footage up there somewhere.

What’s your opinion of The XX winning the Mercury Music prize? It was obvious they were favourites to win and support for them was huge in comparison to the other bands on this year’s shortlist.
I didn't' even know they won, it doesn't surprise me to be honest. There's only ever been 3 worthy winners anyway, Dizzee Rascal, Gomez and Elbow. The awards are not something I or Ant care about to be honest, I thought all the entries were pretty dull. I like the simplicity of the XX, I like them, I like the breathy girl/boy vox and melodies, even if they only have about 2 melodies. After 2 songs it just bores me a lot im afraid. They deserved to win though for sure, they've achieved so much and sound a little different. Worthy of the hype though? No. Not at all.

Finally what artist / band are you definitely keeping your eyes on for 2011 and any tips for bands just starting out?
Looking forward to the new Strokes album, the new Cribs album, Killaflaw's album is looking to be a corker as is Run Toto Run's album. Losers album comes out in September (eddyTM and Tom Bellamy ex- Cooper Temple Clause) so I'm looking forward to the touring that will ensue and their future material. The Horrors are working on a new album too so that's going to be interesting, they are a wonderfully fascinating band. I just like seeing new interesting artists who don't wear their influences on their sleeves too obviously but make you smile when they play because you can identify them. Im looking forward to seeing more new live acts in the next few months. It's a very very exciting time for music at the moment and it's only going to get better the more DIY and innovative and creative future artists become. My advice to new artists would be don't bother re-hashing contemporary music - it's already been done. If your lucky, you'll be picked up by a label- made to develop and water down your style even more so, in order to make you shift units like the last watered down incarnation of a previous artist. This is not why you started in the first place. Remember why you started, and remember what you wanted to do- if its just fame you seek then fine, just re-hash everything that sells, but in 15 years time no-one will care and in 3 years time you'll be dropped. So my advice is stick to your guns- don't be afraid on trying different things or ideas, don't worry too much.

No comments:

Post a Comment