Doing interviews via e mail is tricky. You’re never quite sure the sorts of replies you’re going to get. You’ve got the really eager people who send the questions to every band member but end up taking 3 months to answer you. Then there’s the simple answer types who can barely manage a sentence. We could go on.
The Housewives (well, Nick.. although the answers were given the all clear by the rest of the band) have done us proud with a superb and well thought out email interview! See, it is possible!
We hope you enjoy the interview. If you’d like to find out more about the band and have a listen to their lovely tunes visit:
Cat On The Wall: Ok, so let’s get down to the basics. Who are The Housewives and how did you meet?
Nick:The Housewive’s very own non-robotic Voltron are:
Laurie (guitar, vocals, Earfuck 3000)
Nick (bass, vocals, toy instruments)
Chris (drums and percussion)
John (keys and percussion)
Lizzy (vocals and percussion)
Chris and I are brothers, so we’ve known each other a couple of years, but the ‘wives “majoritively” met in Nottingham: Laurie and I met as feckless arts students, then Chris met Laurie when he embarked on his own appallingly attended voyage to academic excellence a couple of years later. I became friends with Lizzy when we were working on a dizzyingly boring, but very well-meaning, art festival (we were the office monkeys, and I started smoking so we could both go and skive off together).
Subsequently, our own special brand of east Midlands inter-breeding led to the Lizzy meeting the eyes of Chris and Laurie across a crowded room, which led, as these things do, to frolicking in poppy fields to the sound of soft jazz and playing together in various bands. Then, in 2005, the three boys decamped to London…
…Where I worked with John for a bit. We’d started The Housewives a couple of months before we met him, partly as an escape from our other imploding bands and partly so we could play fun, dancey music with no trace of jingle jangle or post-punk nag nag nag. To pull off our future-sound, we decided we needed a keyboard player to produce early-90’s techno melodies. John seemed like an excellent choice: he has a love of all things techynological and a fine ability to look commanding while concentrating to the point where he stops moving. One trip to ebay later and we’d got him a crap Casio to make funny noises on.
Just under a year after our first gig as a four-piece, Lizzy moved south, joined the band and started bruising her thigh with a tambourine. And that’s how it all began…
COTW: What’s the story behind the band name?
It’s a thrilling tale. When I was 20, I was going out with a girl who had prententions to being Karen O, and she suggested we start a band called The Housewives. We broke up before we ever wrote a song (musical differences, mutual loathing) but I liked the name so when I started playing in a band with music daft enough to warrant it, I put it forward. Unlike our relationship, it stuck.
COTW: How do you write songs as a band? Do you have a set creative process you follow?
We don’t really have a creative process: we just muck about in a practice room until something hooky rears its head. When it does, we leap on it like ravening wolves and try to batter it into a song. It usually ends up being nothing like the original idea, but it’s much more fun to write in a democratic, anything goes sort of way. There’s no one set songwriter, so we get in a lot of different sounds and influences, which is good.
COTW: Your second single ‘Cream’ is coming out in August having already released ‘Getaway’. What reactions did you get from your first single, what are you hoping for with ‘Cream’? How do you feel when you read reviews about your music?
Our first single did really well for us. Artrocker compared us to Jeff Buckley salsa dancing at a drum ‘n’ bass night while Young Knives look on, and Clash magazine picked us as ones to watch in 2008. Better than that, we had loads of emails from people who’d bought it not really knowing who we were and who loved it! One chap said he listened to it while playing darts with his son. Brilliant.
We’re hoping everyone loves ‘Cream’. There’s not much more you can ask for! We’re not too fussed about reviews. Obviously, good ones are great to read, but the bad ones are usually just funny. Someone slated our last single, saying Art School Project (a ska-y indie-pop song which I sing) sounded like a cut-price Streets. Apparently, my rapping is smug and unpracticed. Rapping!?! It made me feel like East London’s Nasir Jones… In the end, they don’t really matter as long as people dance when we play live. And buy the records, plug plug…
COTW: Do you enjoy playing live? Any memorable experiences?
We love it! It’s the best thing about being in a band. Memorable experiences… Hmm… Well, we once played at a squat party where all these anarchists were dancing while their dogs on strings barked perfectly over the off beat. And when we supported Bloc Party when they DJed at Jamm in Brixton, a drunk guy got on stage and shouted at everyone to dance, which they then did. That was ace, especially because two rude-girls started bogling right at the front. To continue name dropping, Lizzy taught House of Lord from Young Knives how to do a Top Gun high five when we played with them in Notts.
COTW: What are you listening to at the moment?
We’ve got really varied tastes, which is why our music’s got that slight wonk to it. I’m mostly listening to Beirut, Devotchka, the last Four Tet EP, Los Campesinos! and Various. I know that’s true because I just checked my iTunes ‘most played’ list. Loz and John have prog tendancies, although both like their odd-pop and electro as well, Chris is in to drum and bass, techno and any other dance music you can do a drunken cycle dance to. Lizzy likes challenging music played by earnest chaps (y’know, stuff like Jackie O Motherfucker or Boris).
COTW: Is London the place to be as a musician? I ask this only as I am a musician myself and I feel drawn towards moving to London although many of my gig experiences there as a punter haven’t been particularly satisfying (so far).
I think it’s amazing. It can be difficult because there’s a lot of competition to get heard, but there are so many amazing promoters, venues, bands and producers down here. London audiences seem to be more up for a night of loud music and poncing about than in a lot of other cities, so I hope find a good atmosphere the next time you’re down! You’ll have to give us a shout so we can show you the best bits…
COTW: When can we expect an album?
Who knows? Planning that sort of thing would take us ages. But hopefully before the 2012 Olympics, as by that time the extortionate council tax bills will have forced us to all live rough in Bethnal Green.
COTW: Favourite dessert?
I’m partial to a nice banoffie pie. With vanilla ice cream. I only let the others eat when they have played a flawless gig, much like the Godfather of Soul, who used to taunt his starving band with pork chops if one of them fluffed a note.
COTW: What are your plans for the near future?
Well, the single comes out on Filthy Little Angels in August, and we’re playing a fair few gigs outside London to support it. We’re in the process of putting together a remix EP with some lovely people, and we’re planning to release ‘2.4’ as a download single sometime later in the year. Then hopefully another 7″, more touring, more gigs and much more carousing…
Oh, and we’re also creating an online photo gallery to house shots of all the fried breakfasts we have while touring the UK. So far, the best has been in Leeds, but there’s everything to play for!
The Housewives were interviewed by Jo Whitby on behalf of Cat On The Wall.