For the final part in this trilogy on scrappy three pieces I had the pleasure of talking to Brighton superheroes and Sex Is Disgusting creators Teen Sheikhs.
The band were playing a gig at the Chameleon for Nottingham promoters New Weird Nottingham, as part of a bill with The Dissolutes , Spin Spin the Dogs and not-so-secret headliners Mika Miko (who completely killed it by the way)
To be honest, it was quite a lot to ask to get three people to stand still and talk coherently after such an inebriated and messy gig, but somehow at 3am I got Andy (guitar/vocals), James (drums) and Will (bass) together outside the venue. Though my alcohol consumption level was nowhere near close to anyone else's and my eyelids were just lead weights at that point in the night it was great to just to let them talk at will (and length) about anything they wanted.
TLL: Alright shall we start with the basics? like how you guys got together?
Andy: Yeah, I'll answer that. Basically, me and James run a label together called Sex Is Disgusting and we decided we wanted to start a band. We were a two piece, it was him on drums, me on guitar and vocals. It didn't really sound... it sounded really crap, so then Will lives with James and he's one of our best friends...
Will: I started to say no at the start though.
Andy: Yeah, he wasn't into it at first, we were like 'please play bass he was like 'naaaaaarghhhhh''
Will: Basically James said like 'we were going to ask someone else, but you're the only guy that understands how SHIT we are, will you come play bass for us?'
Andy: We did that, we asked him (Will) and it was...
Will: No no no, (to Andy) you fucked it over once I finally agreed to it was all 'oh no no no. No. Not if you're that shit'. Then I finally agreed to join, me and Andy got wasted, and he was just like 'I'm just not happy for you to be in a band with me'
Andy: Oh god, forgot about that
Will: ...and then there's this guy (points to james) 'fuck yeah, big brother... someone's telling fibbs, 'you said you wouldn't show' - 'you said you're not into it' what the fuck, come.on.man'.
Andy: It was me, I was too drunk to remember, but I said to Will 'I think we're better as a two piece, don't come to practise' ermm, but he did eventually come to A practise and since then, that's been it.
TLL: And how long ago was that?
Will: couple of months?
Andy: 6 months ago?
James: Noooo, no no no.
Andy: (to James) You and me started practising about 5 or 6 months ago.
Will: What was it March?
James: We started practising just after Christmas and then had about four practises so that was like one a week... so three months, pretty much.
Andy: that doesn't make any sense...
James: Three months. round it up,
Will: Round it down
Andy: Anyway basically, we started January, he joined in March,
TLL: How much of those months are spent practising, is it just once a week?
James: Once a week,
Will: Once a week
Andy: Pretty much
Will: Once a week, Wednesday afternoon 3-6
James: No no, actually, no, the only time we haven't done it once a week is when we've been playing - we've actually done like ONCE a week
TLL: Which makes gigs a bit of practise
James: A bit of a chore
Will: 'Hello, fuck this shit, why are we playing shows I'd rather be practising'
TLL: Gettin it really tight...
Andy: Yeah no, we generally practise our shows...
Will: TIGHT!? Tight has never been and never will be our shtick.
James: I do like that idea of hiding yourself away for, you know, six months and emerging as a fully formed band.
Will: Bullshit! Like we'll try so hard and still come out as just a bunch of sloppy bastards... there's nothing that can change that.
James: Will's been playing instruments for errr... since he was young. I've only been playing the drums for as long as I've been playing the drums, which is three years.
Andy and Will: 'I'VE ONLY BEEN PLAYING THE DRUMS FOR AS LONG AS I'VE BEEN PLAYING THE DRUMS!?'
Will: James' other band, some hot shit.
Andy: I've only been playing guitar for about a year, but I don't know the names of any chords or strings.
Will: I don't know what the fuck I'm doing with this sloppy racket, I used to be a piano teacher, this inane knowledge of technical music's all up here's gone out.
At this point the tape stopped, and conveniently enough Henry from Lovvers stepped in and reminds me that I've been using his dictaphone - had genuinely always assumed it was mine.
-TLL: Can we talk about Sex is Disgusting?
Andy: We can talk about whatever you want.
TLL: Why did you form it?
Andy: What the label?
Andy: Erm, basically because they're not enough promoters in Brighton - who are putting on small punk shows, paying bands well, keeping things low, just generally without being sort of cliche, doing something fun and like being D.I.Y. We try to put records out by like bands that we really like. It's all the same things that ever other label says, but we were really exciting when we heard Human Hair and Graffiti Island and just thought like 'yeah maybe someone else will put them out, but lets just kinda go for it and ask them and do it'. I just wanna put records out that I wanna hear, and go to shows, put on shows rather, that I wanna to go to. And that's how this kind of happened.
James: student loans coming up kinda helped.
Will: at the start of each term 'Ooo! A 7 inch'!
James: Yeah you can tell the release schedule is based around student loan payments
TLL: Are all three of you students then?
Andy: James does illustration at Brighton, but I do media and cultural studies at Sussex
Will: ...Fisher Price Degree
Andy: That's not a fisher price degree!
Will: I did do music and visual art at Brighton, now I work for a fucking Nathan Barley Advertising company... it sucks. Everyday at work 'oh you brought your pig in, oh you bought your N64,
TLL: What have you got coming up with SID, is there anything in the pipeline at all - have you been asking any bands
Andy: Yeah, like erm, we put out the Human Hair 7" and we were going to put out the Graffiti Island 7" next but erm, they've just kinda of been tinkering around, experimenting and kina being really slow coming up with stuff. Every time that they think that they're like 'yeah yeah, like it's almost ready' - they kinda just change their mind again. Conan's one of my friends, so I just said to him, could we maybe... wait a bit?
So instead, we'll do Mazes next, a band from Manchester sort of musically rock influenced
TLL: It's just one guy isn't it?
James: It was one guy
Andy: The guy who wrote the songs was one guy, Jack wrote the songs. They're a full band now, like a constant line up
Andy: Then after that the Graffitti Island 7", then Thee Fair Ohs from London, they're like a garage band if they played like 10 times faster and liked I dunno.. Swing Kids. They're super fast
James: And Eddies' obsessed with Ornette Cole and John Coltrane, and Matt just really wants to play 60's garage and...
Andy: The drummer just wants to be in a hardcore band
James: He's just playing blast beats
Andy: It all coalesced into a really insanely fast garage band
James: Then after that I don't know. we don't have an order for set list
Andy: No we do! We've got... those are the first four, we set those, and the next two after that are
Andy: The Bitters, a Band called The Bitter from Canada. who are the first band we've signed from outside the UK. We're generally gonna focus on UK bands, but we really like them and they're nice people. It's like Ben (guitarist/vocalist) that plays in Fucked Up and used to be in a Hardcore band called No Warning.
Andy: After that, the Pens and Mazes split
Andy: Everything else is up for grabs
James: We'll do something with Trash Kit, we'll do something with La La Vasquez, probably release something on our own blah blah blah. I dunno, there's just too much good UK stuff at the moment
Andy: SID are gonna like, just stop doing shows over the summer and just concentrate on records until like Septemeber/October - our last show till then is Finally Punk (link for the event). We're just gonna take a break to concentrate on putting records out, cause we've got a bit of a back log and it needs being done basically.
TLL; With the whole Lo fi/UK thing it always seems like all these bands seem to know each other, all really incestuous- do you feel connected to a scene - playing the same kinda music and putting out records...
James: it's wierd like, cause we knew all those people long before their 'current bands' existed. like i've known John from Male Bonding long before Male Bonding or PRE existed. Similarly we've known plenty of other bands like Conan from Graffiti Island and now it seems to be all these...
Will: It's this really amazing happy accident, like oh shit, all these guys I know are making music that I thinks fucking great
James: Some of them have been in really bad bands, we've been in bad bands that they don't like and they've been in bands that I don't like. but suddenly, you're in a band that I like, we're in a band that you like and we're... there's some kind... there is some kind of common thread but i don't think you can sum it up in some certain terms
Andy: I think you put it perfectly by saying 'happy accident'
Will and James: Yeah
Andy: Everyone's friends and knows each other
Will: It's not like a 'Lo-fi' scene, its just like a four tracks a quick way to get music out
Andy: We're all broke and young
James: 'ohhh we need to record really fucking shitty'
Will: That's obviously no one's point of view, but lets start a band
James: It was almost like, it was almost a matter of time, it was a ticking time bomb, people were playing in bands that weren't getting anything released and like, yeah it was just a matter of time. They took it into their own hands, labels like Paradise Vendors start up and House Anxiety - it was only a matter of time before they were like 'lets put these fucking bands out, someone's got to do it, we'll do it ourselves'.
Talking to Teen Sheikhs really was a refreshing a experience and revisiting the tapes over the next few days really highlighted how much energy and positivity the three of them are carrying about and giving to the UK. Mind blowing stuff.
P.S oh yeah, one of the promoters of the show and bassist/drummer of Human Hair James Smith, was going to take photos of the band but was too busy on the night - take a look a james' flickr though - it's very good.