Cover Story

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Retro
Tags: , , , ,

In early 1999 I had one of life’s more bizarre experiences when visiting Nightbreed Records in Nottingham. I was having a general chat with label owner Trev Bamford and checking out their new recording studio. The tour got round top their retail stock room where Trev pointed to a magazine on the wall and said something along the lines of “I wander who that bloke is!” I did a bit of a double take, the second time around realising that it was a stock photo of me. I’d only had a few front covers, but I kept my surprise and jubilation to myself, saving my little money for beer instead of buying a copy – normally big press pieces would be passed on to me, but somehow this had slipped below the radar. I was also rather embarrassed that I didn’t know about it, which is quite sweet in retrospect.

The magazine was Sideline, a European music magazine, still very popular in it’s online iteration nowadays. I was signed to Earache Records and every few months Sarah (their fantastic press officer at the time) would hand me a few sheets of questions to answer for smaller UK publications and European media that I almost invariably hadn’t heard of.

The alternative to the written question format was phone interviews which I’d always struggled with. The language gap was a main problem – my first attempt had been in 1993 when calling a German number on a bad line – it turned out that the interviewer wasn’t the journalist, he was just reading out preset questions, of the ilk (and I’ve remember this one like it was yesterday) “which is your bigger idea of hell – hardcore techno or the prison of a Gameboy!” When I tried to veer from the format he repeatedly told me “but I do not like industrial techno – I only like grindcore and death!” and the knockout blow “I am doing this interview for my friend because he does not speak your English!”

But I’d never fared well with UK phoners either – the year before Dan from the label had brilliantly set me up with a half page in Loaded magazine, but the interview had not gone well and I felt I had misrepresented myself, and the journalist gave an accurate transcript of my making little sense. I dreaded sitting on the phone making a fool of myself and managed to avoid the situation almost completely after that. Conversely, in person to person interviews journalists normally “got” me –  I had a wacky and self-deprecating sense of humour but I was serious about my music and could emote about it quite well when prodded.

But my favourite interview format was – and still is – the written Q&A format as it allowed me to give proper thought to anything raised and come up with an informative and/or entertaining response. That’s exactly how I prepare my music – alone and in my own time. The Sideline interview is a very accurate insight into how I saw my music at the time – the images are hi res so click on the pages to give them a read. A couple of times it’s a little unclear that I’m being ironic, and one comment is pretty offensive, as I haven’t added a proper context – please ask in the comments box if you spot it and are interested.

Thanks to Sideline magazine and Earache Records for this brilliant little memory – I’m far from being a nostalgic person, but my albums, a select few gigs and a few other bits and pieces make me very happy to look back on. Having finally tracked down a copy of on eBay after 13 years, Sideline #25 is one of those things.

  1. Jon meehan says:

    My first vinyl release was on Nightbreed Records 🙂 a bad called Momento Mori UK (still in them, though not very busy, doing the Dark Waters festival, first gig since last September)

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