By Jon Milton
For a band that have released 4 excellent singles over the last 18 months and turned a few heads in the process, you’d expect to see a few interviews with Perspex in the music press flying around on the internet, but for the life of me I couldn’t find even one. A few features, but no interviews. Odd, given how good their music sounds, but then again press coverage does seem to depend on who you know rather than how good you are.
For those that are unfamiliar with the band, Perspex have just released their latest single A Horse Named Useless and had cracking three singles out last year, Jesus on the Valium, Coffeeshop Rock and Chainsaws. Click on the links to listen to the tunes.
The band come from York and were formed on the basis that they ‘would be a band with free reign to do pretty much anything we wanted to do under the format of a guitar band’. Jacque Patterson does the honours on guitar, Lewis Livingstone on drums, Oliver Howland on Bass and Michael Cable on Guitar & Vocals. Originally a three piece, they needed an extra vessel so recruited Jacques from fellow York natives and 'seminal cult heroes' Eugene Gorgeous.
I caught up with lead singer / guitarist Michael recently to find out more about the band, their music and the burgeoning York music scene. I also asked why the band have the number 3000 appended to their name - 'the number of albums we hope to release over the course of the decade’ was the wry response. Given the lack of material to work on from other interviews, I thought I’d start with the obvious by asking how the band came to be:
My aim was to create a band with a world around it - in the artwork, lyrics, etc - Pop Art has informed a lot of this - Taking things from all around, the fishing method may work for Noel Gallagher - we’d rather go straight to robbing the fishmonger.
What's a Horse Named Useless about?
It started off as a poem about being really, really drunk in the day when you really shouldn’t be and the inevitable detachment that comes along with it. It then developed into being more about the characters you end up being surrounded by in the pubs themselves, Olympic drinkers on their own staring into space for hours- stuff like that.
It (A Horse Named Useless) seems like a bit of departure for the band, almost into Neil Young territory. Having had more upbeat tracks out before, Chainsaws and Coffeeshop Rock etc was it a conscious decision to change the tone?
It is a change of tone, but I don’t think it’s a departure, it’s more that there’s another side of us that’s now visible to the public. Although it wasn’t a conscious move in the writing process, releasing it as a single was, as it supports our idea of Perspex being a platform for anything we want to do rather than being another post punk band.
Which artists do you think have influenced your song-writing the most?
For this song i was going for a cryptic burst of words that were coming fast but draped in lethargy - somewhere in between William Burroughs and Arthur Rimbaud with a dash of John Cooper Clarke to keep it listenable. I wanted the music to sound like Lee Hazlewood at his most washed out, the album ‘Love & Other Crimes’ definitely seeped in there.
York seems to be developing a bit of a scene with the likes of yourselves and Workfriends impressing, would you recommend any others?
York has a great scene. Due to venues like The Crescent and The Fulford Arms, bands can get really tight and expose their sonic ideas really easily in an environment that is hungry for it but is also very forgiving.
There’s all sorts of things going on at the moment but a binding factor for a lot of bands and artists on the scene is song-writing, and I believe that’s what sets it apart from other cities at the moment, especially within the guitar band format.
Work friends are actually based in Sheffield but have strong ties to York, they definitely have something special going on there, really really good band. Some of our favourite jorvik spacemen are The Black Lagoons, Bull, Cowgirl & Soma Crew.
What can we expect next from the band?
Singles. Then maybe an EP eventually but for now we’ve got a few singles to release over the rest of the summer. Hopefully live music isn’t too far away. The Perspex will be playing huge shows around the world as soon as the safety is in place.
A Horse Named Useless is out now