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slow #4/autumn 2000

There was a time when me and Tom Cullinan were like that (no! not like "that", just friends). Th’Faith Healers would gig at the drop of a hat, and were to be found in Norwich more often that many local bands. Foolishly, he even let me stay at his house once (something he claims to have no recollection of) as long as I didn’t steal any plectrums. I hold him responsible for my inability to play the guitar. Then came Quickspace Supersport, riding a scuffed Germanic groove. Eventually they realised the world couldn’t be bothered to take the time to say the name properly, so he stands before you today as part of Quickspace. We were reunited for a pint shortly after the release of Precious Falling on their cute little Kitty Kitty Corporation label.

Is what you’re doing with Quickspace a realisation of what you were trying to achieve with Th’Faith Healers?
Tom: No. (off to a flying start here, then) Shall I elaborate? I haven’t done an interview for ages you know. You’ll run out of tape by the time I answer this question. No it’s not a realisation; it’s a different thing. Do you think it’s a different thing?
I think some of it was going that way, so I just wondered.
See – you know better than me.
I’m sorry.
It’s alright. We could go back to that one later I suppose, after some easy ones.

Why did you shave "Supersport" off the end of the name?
It wasn’t really supposed to be included all the time anyway. In my experience bands always have their names shortened, but obviously when you go overboard and do something like "Quickspace Supersport" everyone takes great care to do the whole thing, so we had to shave it off ourselves. Also it was a timely manoeuvre because half the band left, and we couldn’t think of another...thing (suffix!) to put on the end. I was thinking "Quickspace Direct Debit" would be quite good.

A couple of tracks on Precious Falling use tape manipulation – surely you can’t do that live.
You could play the tape, and play along with it, but yeah it’d be more or less like turning up to a gig and playing your record.

Have you considered the pretentious rock band route (turntables)?
No, never.
Are you going to now?
Maybe.

Can or Faust – who’s best?
I’m not really up on Faust, I only know that Sunshine Girl thing, so I’d have to say Can, but just because I don’t know Faust. Who knows Faust?
Nina: No, I don’t know Faust.
Sean: Well, I’ve heard most of Faust’s output but Can win hands down, I feel. There’s more records and more... it’s just a better group. They’re not that similar really.
T: They are – they’re both krautrock. Like us.
N: Yeah, just like us.
S: I think Faust, in a way, were a lot more experimental in their recorded output. I never saw them live but I’ve heard some quite wild reports of Faust shows, and I’ve read a bit of the history as well.

What’s the connection between Kitty Kitty and Domino?
T: Laurence Bell. We were considering being on Domino at one point, but not very seriously.
S: No, we always wanted to do our own thing but we’d come up against a bit of a brick wall, moneywise. We recorded the first album, but then speaking to our distribution company, who were fully supportive and bunged us a few quid to help us record the first album. At the same time we thought well we’ve got tours to do, we’ve got recording schedules to do, and we’ve still got a record label to look after as well. Laurence was a bit oblivious to start with that we weren’t going to sign to Domino – not that we’d led him down the garden path or anything – but we still wanted him involved. He’s very good and very keen, very excited about Quickspace, and he wanted to be involved. We wanted to keep him involved and the only way that he could be involved really was if he came in on Kitty Kitty. But we’ve kept it pretty separate – we have his input and stuff – but the label’s been pretty much run by ourselves. Laurence has helped us out with licensing and things like that, he’s better connected.
T: He’s Kitty Kitty International really, isn’t he? And we’re Kitty Kitty UK or something like that.
S: We’re licensing this record to Domino for Europe, excluding the UK, because we’ve gone through Vital’s international set up, we’ve been through Southern’s international set up...
For a label our size it’s a bit of a battle to get any attention and licensing has always been the end for our records abroad. We want someone taking care of it that knows the territory, so for the US, for Japan, for the rest of Europe, individual licensing deals are the way to go. And it’s fucking hard work, but I’m delighted that they’re going to be releasing this record.

You don’t seem to play live very much.
T: We’ve been recording recently, stuck up on a farm, recording. The drummer left and we weren’t really in a hurry to find a new one. Our old drummer had done the album and then he’d gone, so we just didn’t play for a while until we found a new drummer (who’s playing pool over there).
So you’re set to become the full-on touring beast?
Not full-on touring, no. it’s not the way. We’re not a three weeks of England, two months of Germany touring type band. You can’t really do that and keep putting your own records out.
S: And also recording other bands on the label as well, because a lot of time is spent in the studio doing other things.
T: You soon realise that endless touring is not a lifestyle – well, it is a lifestyle – but it’s not really one that you should want and be healthy of mind. I think a few gigs are enough, and we travel around. What happens when you travel around is that you don’t get an awful lot of people coming to the shows, but I suppose that if we toured more then more people would come out. Oh god, this is going round and round and round.
S: We haven’t really been able to do that, because the push is coming from us, and though we believe whole-heartedly in what we’re doing, in a business environment it’s difficult to push in the right way when you’re talking about stuff you’re involved in 100%.
T: We’ve been accused a lot of being lo-fi and just kind of bunging out our own records, and this is Sean saying no, that’s not the case, we’re not just bunging out records – we’re trying to do it properly. You might even see an ad in the NME or something, you know?
I’d have to start reading the NME first.
S: Nah, you could just look at the ads and throw it away.

You once gave me a Velvet Underground record because you said I should get into them, and I’m still not. What went wrong?
T: I don’t know what’s gone wrong. You just don’t like ‘em I suppose. Can I have it back? I must’ve had two, because I’ve still got one.
You gave me some Animals singles as well.
Were they scratched? No? Good lord, I must’ve really liked you once.

Would you care to categorise your music for our reader?
File under pop, file under Stereolab. Shh! We’re post rock, aren’t we? Or no? That’s good, we’ve escaped that one. Post rock is Ganger and Fridge, Trans Am?
They’re a bit more rock than post rock.
I don’t understand really. Tortoise? I file that under jazz myself.
S: File under ‘queer folk’.
T: You can’t get away from that one can you? You’ve got a one track mind. Sean wanted to call the album Queer Folk.

The new material with the tapes and stuff sounds like a departure from the first records, rather than a progression. Discuss.
The original idea was to separate the two and have a side thing called Quasi-Pfaff (also a track on the first album), which was gonna deal with tape loops and samples and all that. It’s kind of merged into one I suppose due to lack of material. That don’t made sense does it, it’s a double album.
Isn’t it a financial nightmare doing a double album?
Yeah, it’s an absolute financial nightmare that the vinyl’s going to cost the same as the CD. It’s ridiculous – it should be more.
I think you’ll probably find it will be more.
S: Well it should be the same, they’re both being sold at the same dealer price to shops.
T: So we’ve gone to all this trouble on the vinyl because we really like vinyl and all that, but really we’d ask everyone to buy CDs to make our money back, thank you very much.
S: It’s a sign of the times. People are still going to be buying more CDs than vinyl, but we’ll still keep chucking it out.

Nearly finished. Anyone got any jokes?
S: That one about the bloke in the bar playing piano?
T: It’s a bit long though, isn’t it? But you could do that one.
S: Well – A bloke walks into a bar, gets himself a drink, and then sees a piano in the corner of the room. He goes to the barman "Do you mind if I have a go at playing the piano?" and the barman says "Alright then, but just make it the one." So he goes up there and he plays this brilliant tune. As soon as he starts playing all the people in the bar are amazed. He’s doing all the stuff and showing off, brilliant chords, all these arpeggio’s and everything. And he stops and goes to the barman "thankyou" and starts to leave. The barman says "No no, carry on, that’s a really good song – did you write it yourself?" He said "Yeah, I write all my own songs. That one’s called ‘Slap my tits and eat my pussy’" and the barman goes "Oh right, do another, but if I was you I wouldn’t announce them."
So he plays even better and everyone’s just going berserk, and the barman goes over again "What was that one?" "‘I’m gonna fuck you up the arse, bitch!’" he replied. This happens throughout the night, the barman goes up and hears all these disgusting song titles. Near the end of the night the bar’s rammed, and the guy has to have a break, so he has a quick drink and goes for a quick piss. He comes out of the toilet and this woman comes up to him and says "Excuse me, do you know your cock’s hanging out and you’re pissing all over your leg?" and he goes – "Know it? I wrote it!"

 

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