Five Questions: 1990s
Fri, 06 Jul 2007 14:33:45
Rising out of the rubble of demised band Yummy Fur (whose remaining ex-bandmates went on to form a little old band called Franz Ferdinand), 1990s have ditched the angular, esoteric axe work and decided to make Cookies, a debut album that is as sweet as it sounds. Abandoning the pretentious side of post-punk, the band dove head-first into good times rock'n'roll.
ARTISTdirect caught up with lead singer/guitarist John "Jackie" McKeown in between their numerous summer festival appearances to give us some insight on how the band came to be.
1. Name a musician who has influenced your sound but that people may not expect.
Maybe Lee "Scratch" Perry. Reggae is a massive influence on our group without us actually resorting to playing it. White guys CAN play it, but it's YOUR choice and YOUR funeral. I think the humour and take-it-easy vibe comes as much from The Black Ark [infamous Lee Perry recording studio] as it does Street Hassle [Lou Reed's 1978 album]. When it comes to guitars, I owe as much to Richard Thompson as I do to Tom Verlaine or Robert Quine.
2. Who or what inspires you to make music?
The boys in the band. We bounce off each other's ideas much more so than other folks' records. I get better ideas from films than I do music. Sometimes you're watchin' Fassbinder [German filmmaker] and you go running straight to the guitar. It's more abstract, and helps you avoid the inevitable tragic endings in his films.
3. Was their a driving concept behind your new album?
Positivity and FUN. We wanted to make something that you might actually enjoy listening to; a record that'd be a good friend and back you up any time of the day. It doesn't seem like a very novel concept, but you'd be surprised. It's certainly not complaint rock.
4. What's the most exciting part of the music-making process for you?
Taking a bare bones idea 'round to Michael and Jamie's flat and knocking it around. We've got drums and amps set up in their living room and the sun shines through the big bay windows on the top floor. The big fight is trying to recapture that in a studio. I think we caught some of this on Cookies.
5. If you could pick a dream band to open for, past or present, who would it be?
ABBA. In all seriousness. We LOVE the Swedes.
1990s debut album Cookies is out July 31 on Rough Trade US and will be available at the ARTISTdirect Store.