|t h e b i g q u e s t i o n||October 00|
innovators NOUGHT on life, jazz and porridge
The line-up seems to have been in a state of flux, whatís happened with Heini and Al, the original bassist and drummer? Who are the new guys? At the moment the line-up is: Jonny Mitchell on the drum kit - he has been in the band off and on for a while but we really started working in earnest this year. Santiago Horro on the bass - Jonny and I were getting to the end of our tether having auditioned nearly 50 bass players. Santiago didnít come to audition but came to our studio by mistake looking for his hardcore band who hadnít turned up. The next day he left them and joined us. We have also been working with Suzie OíNeill who plays keyboards and theramin. She has been in various electro and cabaret acts in Birmingham and Manchester. We met her when we saw her Djing in a club.
Explain the concept of Nought. Itís not about concepts.
You donít seem to fit into any comfortable little pigeonhole, where do you see the band fitting into the great scheme of things? We donít fit in really. Certainly not in the British music scene anyway. We do have links that can tenuously tie us in with various styles but at the end of the day we donít sit well with any of them. Anyway, pigeonholes are for pigeons, not for bands and if people didnít make them people wouldnít try and fit in them and there might be more interesting music about.
John Peel once said of you that you were the first person heíd ever been jealous of who wasnít a footballer. What did you make of that? It was incredibly flattering considering the musicians and people he has met over the years.
Do you see your playing style as unique or is it a question of attitude and idealism? Every musician has something unique to offer and if you mean idealism and imaginative treatment, then both.
Peel has been a big supporter of Nought since the beginning, tell us about your various involvements with him. Is it important to you for someone as influential as him to be such a fan? Itís not important to have influential fans but we always hoped that John Peel would respect our music. Our involvement with him started with us recording a session for his show. After that he came to my house to do filming for Sounds Of The Suburbs and we got on well so he invited us to play at the Meltdown Festival. I also did a solo guitar performance at a seminar he was giving in Newcastle. We have just recorded another session for him.
Who has been the single biggest influence on what Nought do? Itís more a case of what rather than who, really. In reverse order: lentil soup with garlic sauce; wholemeal bread with houmous and peanuts; organic porridge and bananas; baked potatoes with cabbage, carrots and tuna; boiled water (two mugs at a time).
Some people say that guitar music is dying, that it canít progress any further. How would you react to that? Some bands are killing guitar music by regurgitating tired old riffs that werenít any good in the first place. Music can progress but it wonít until people in bands start looking at it from a point of view of using the guitar as its medium rather than Ďguitar musicí as a style in itself.
What do you think when you hear the guitar bands of today? Mainly the guitar bands of yesterday. Donít get me wrong, there are some great bands at the moment but even some of the most Ďexcitingí bands are being sold on the premise that they sound like bands who have gone before them.
Rock or jazz, which is the most innovative music today? Both seem to have a few people pushing forward and a lot of people staying still but I think rock just pips it to the post at the moment.
Would you consider making an album devoid of guitars? Yes.
Much of the material on the new album is actually quite old. What is the new material youíve been playing like? How has the band progressed in the last four years, and in particular the last year? Over the last four years I have been learning writing, recording and performance techniques and a lot about the people involved in music in general. In the last year the band has started writing new material with its new members. Couple that to the inevitable development in style and you get music that can only be described as a bit of a departure.
Which film would you most like to have written the score for and why? Most of the films I like have good soundtracks already and I wouldnít want to change them. However, I do think that the music in recent James Bond films doesnít have any of the exciting atmosphere of the ones from the 60s and 70s. We have already done the soundtrack to a film called The Sunworshippers.
Your ideal collaborator and why? I donít have an ideal collaborator but Iím open to offers.
Steve Vai or Steve Albini and why? Youíve missed the point here. There should be a band with Steve Vai and Steve Albini. With Stevie Wonder on vocals.
Do you think Nought are extreme or would they be perfect for dinner parties? Depends whatís on the menu.
What next? If we start recording our second album now we might be able to get it out by early next year!
What do you think of the Oxford music scene? The biggest problem with the Oxford music scene is that a lot of bands treat it as the be all and end all and get trapped. They need to get out a bit more. The Truck Festival is clearly one of the biggest plus points and I hope the organisers can take it from strength to strength.
If the band finished tomorrow, what, outside of music, would you like to do? Paint pictures. Oils on canvas.
Your three desert island discs. ďConfusion is SexĒ. Three copies in case the other copies got lost or scratched.
How would you like to be remembered? As a licentious, likerish libertine who liked lifelong libation, lignocaine, limburger, limbo, limericks and lex talionis.
Noughtís eponymous debut album is released on October 23rd on Shifty Disco.
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