Gaffa Tape Sandy recently signed with Alcopop! Records for a brand new EP. Due later this summer, ‘Family Mammal’ has already been teased with new single ‘Headlights’, and now we have another cut - the addictive and venomous, ’So Dry’. FFO Weezer, OK Go et al., it's bucket loads of fun.
“Generally as a band we try to keep spitefulness and vehemence out of our songwriting, but sometimes it seeps through and ‘So Dry’ is a result of that leak,” the Bury St. Edmunds three-piece explain. “We don’t really like arguing as a whole, but expressing yourself is very important, so we like to think of this song as us raising our voices anonymously at the people who make us mad as hell.”
Kim Jarvis (lead vocal, guitar) and Robin Francis (drums, percussion) introduce their band.
How long have you guys been together then, and where did you all meet?
Robin: We’ve been together for nearly four years now, August marks the anniversary of this musical marriage. We all met each other at college about seven years ago while studying music/music technology.
Whose idea was it to form the band? Did any of you need convincing?
Kim: We had all been in a previous band together with a few other people, but Robin and I fancied doing something a bit more noisy and rough around the edges. So after ages talking about it, we finally put something together and roped Catherine [Lindley-Neilson, lead vocal, bass] into joining. After the first couple of practices, I don’t think any of us needed any more convincing.
Did you know what you wanted the band to sound like as soon as you started playing together?
Robin: I wanted us to be a boy band initially a bit like One Direction, but then Catherine came along and stuck her nose in - thanks, pal!
Kim: We knew that we wanted it to be glorious and noisy. Other than that, I think it was fairly directionless until we got the first few songs written. It was quite a natural way to start, as there was no agenda or manifesto to follow.
What did you listen to while you were growing up?
Robin: Lots of soul and disco or whatever my parents listened to until I discovered punk and guitar music at about thirteen. The Bee Gees, unfortunately, and my mum loves Kate Bush so a lot of her too.
Kim: I listened to pretty much whatever my sister was listening to. She’s older than me and started listening to music before me, so I’d hear her playing things like Green Day, Nirvana, Avril Lavigne, Linkin Park and those sort of Kerrang music channel type bands. Also, my mum would play a lot of Bowie, Killing Joke and Sex Pistols, so I had a pretty weird musical upbringing.
Have you always been creative?
Robin: I spent a lot of time putting all my toy cars in a neat colour co-ordinated line when I was a kid, does that count?
Kim: My earliest memory of being creative was painting Warhammer figures and arranging them into battle positions. Pretty soon after that, I started writing songs really. The first song I properly wrote and finished was about getting lost in the woods and ending up in a kingdom of beavers.
What would you most like to achieve with Gaffa Tape Sandy?
Robin: I’d like to earn no money and work minimum wage jobs. I think it’s safe to say all three of us have hit that target.
Kim: WORLD DOMINATION. NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.
So your new EP, ‘Family Mammal’ - what’s it about?
Kim: That’s a good question; 'Family Mammal' isn’t any sort of concept record. It’s simply a bunch of songs that we feel happy with and proud of, much like how we feel about our family mammals (our respective beloved dogs). We all have dogs in the band, Robin has a lab called Juno, Catherine has one called Naboo, and Kim has two little terriers called Billy and Pepper. We couldn’t use all of them on the front cover, so we found an old postcard of a random dog called Trusty and used that to represent our love for all dogs. But as far as the meanings behind the individual songs go, they’re about a variety of emotions and feelings that I think everyone goes through. You won’t find anything too obtuse or esoteric on the EP; we wanted the songs to appeal to everyone and not just people in a specific position. And please, by all means, interpret these songs how you will. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to interpreting music.
Was it fun to record? What’s your studio set up like?
Robin: It was very fun to record, for the last few tracks we were all snuggled up at Vada Studios in the middle of nowhere with handsome George Perks, our longtime producer/recording engineer. The studio was incredible; we’ve never recorded in such a fantastic environment before. There were lots of cute baby lambs surrounding us and the studio owner, Matt, was a true gentleman and dressed like a Jedi. What else could you ask for really?
Do any of the tracks feature near the top of your ‘best Gaffa Tape Sandy songs’ league table?
Kim: Oh yeah, definitely. We feel proud of all the songs on here and love every single one. But for me, 'Headlights' and 'My Desperate House' are the two standout tracks that I feel the proudest of. It’s great listening to those songs next to songs that we wrote early on and hearing how far we’ve changed and grown. We hope people like it, even half as much as we all do.
What else are you guys up to over the summer?
Kim: Well we’re just back from playing an open-air festival in Germany which was great, and now we have a few festival dates coming up. We’re super lucky to be back at Glastonbury this year, playing the Flying Bus stage for a good friend of ours. Then in July, we have both Leopallooza and Truck in one weekend, along with releasing our new EP into the wild.
Robin: I think we still have a few festivals to announce nearer the end of the year, and then between all of this we’ll be back working our minimum wage jobs. Catherine will be using her knowledge and skills to sell paint, I’ll be up to my eyes in cappuccinos and sandwiches, and Kim will be pushing around seating wagons & curling jack leads. You know, living the typical rock n roll lifestyle.
Gaffa Tape Sandy's new EP ‘Family Mammal’ EP is out 9th August. Catch them at Truck (26th-28th July) and more over the summer.