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The Talk of Creatures

Part two?  There’s a part two, I hear you groan?!  Well, yes.  Pin back your weary eyelids and read on…

In this life, there are two kinds of people.  There are people like me, who would rather eat dirt than make smalltalk at bus stops; and people like the acquaintance who came to the gig with me – who never seem to run out of stuff to say.  Let me expand on this dichotomy!  There are people like me who get stuck after the preliminary ‘Er’ and ‘Um’ when it comes to conversing with well-known musicians.  And then there are people like my companion, who HAVE NO SHAME.  Well, I’m rather glad that not everyone is as polite and backward-in-coming-forward as I am – I would have missed out on a most interesting conversation otherwise!

After the music was over (it was far too short really!), my companion was exceedingly eager to talk to the band.  As mentioned, I am usually far too diffident to do things like that, but he insisted I come too.  I assumed they would trade a few pleasantries, he would get Daniel O’Sullivan to sign some CDs, and that would be that.  Hehe.  Oh no.  I cannot restate emphatically enough that this acquaintance of mine is… talkative.  Effortless chat is not something I am very skilled at – especially when it comes to (eek!  Ack!) Respected Musicians.  But my garrulous friend acted as a sort of… icebreaker, I suppose.  He was so utterly unconcerned and so absolutely full of things to say that I managed to surf on into the conversation in his wake.  We learned some interesting things: ‘Black Oni’ is such Old News that O’Sullivan is a bit bored of playing it.  It has become… automatic.  Re. the boneshaking frequencies unleashed from his keyboards, he’s a bit bored of that, too: “I don’t really want to make music that hurts.”

“Ah, you want to make music that heals!” I offered.  He seemed satisfied with that notion.

There is new Guapo material in the offing, apparently, and it has “an African vibe.  A touch of Fela Kuti.”  Most Intriguing!  (Earlier, my friend had inevitably invoked the name of Magma, which Mr O’Sullivan batted away skilfully: “I don’t know why, but that’s the band people mention most often…”  I have to admit that ‘Five Suns’ always makes me think of Magma; ‘Black Oni’ far less so (only in spirit, perhaps); ‘Elixirs’ not at all.  The idea of an African influence immediately makes me think of Magma again, but that is probably a result of Vanderian Mesmerism… sooner or later, anything and everything makes you think of Magma… it is An Affliction.)

Apparently Daniel is mostly listening to the Beatles lately; “Inspiration for Mothlite?” I conjectured.  (He calls Mothlite ‘pop music’.)

My friend is very interested in ‘Rock in Opposition’, so various other iconic bands were dragged into conversational range.  Indeed, Daniel told us that Roger Trigaux once offered him the position of keyboard player in the reformed Present, but he declined: partly because it did not seem to be a very profitable venture and partly at the thought of the intensity involved in playing music of such intricacy and rigour.  (Present’s music is like convoluted clockwork – repetitive and fiddly.  In a good way, naturally…)

He also said that, seeing how flat-and-unprofitable much of Belgium is – an endless desolation, almost like a desert – and thinking what it must have been like to live there in the 1970s, it was not hard to imagine how Univers Zero et al managed to churn out such acrid, mischievously-anguished, complex music.  (I suppose nature does, after all, abhor a vacuum – if your world seems empty it is only natural to fill it up with something; and dark music is a popular choice in those circumstances!)

It was a long talk, which rather interrupted the putting-away of gear, and I was worried that we were getting in the way, but Daniel was extremely accommodating and endured the onslaught gamely.  Eventually my friend went to speak to the bass player, James Sedwards.  Unfortunately I couldn’t really hear any of that because the RAWWWWKKK was blasting away again out of the PA system.  (Following the live music there was supposed to be some sort of metal-oriented club night thing; I have no idea whether this was intended to induce dancing or other forms of energetic enjoyment, but the roomful of regulars merely sat about looking depressed.  No comment!!)

Finally we migrated towards David Smith (who looked absolutely exhausted) and the guitar player, Kavus Torabi.  We spoke with him for some while (he was celebrating his 37th birthday, it turned out) and again, I failed to hear quite a lot of that owing to excessively loud RAWWWWKKK.  It also turned out that he and his wife are OBSESSED with Magma, so I managed the odd comment there.  He enthused over the Genius Bass Guitar Skillz of Philippe Bussonnet; I concurred.  One Shot and Weidorje were hailed as Excellent Magma Offshoots.  Various versions of ‘Theusz Hamtaahk’ were compared.  And of course, Christian Vander, Visionary Drummer (Shame About The Hair), received due praise.  This was a delightful detour for me; it’s not often I get to have a face-to-face conversation that traverses the far-off reaches of Weidorje!  (I had to refresh my memory when I got home as to Mr Torabi’s career history, but I soon realised that he is also in the Cardiacs, which was presumably why Haxan offered Tim Smith – whose health is apparently not so good – a dedication earlier.)  Kavus kindly gave us each a badge – thus emblazoned, we bade him farewell and Many Happy Returns.

After that it was really time to go… no, come on… haven’t we said enough now…?!  My companion managed to prolong the conversation even further; I ended up making some final smalltalk with Daniel O’Sullivan, complete with handshaking and polite pecks goodbye.  Of course I passed on greetings from yesihavecookies (indeed, I felt for a moment rather like a diplomatic emissary!  Oh, Daniel says ‘hi’ back…).  I managed at last to say a few words of thanks to David Smith – who seems, when not punishing a drumkit, very unassuming indeed.

Coda: Oh dear, I’m afraid we ran into them again outside, and this provoked further remarks from my friend.  He really is a garrulous soul; I wish I had that ability!!  This time, the conversation turning whimsically to matters sartorial, I got the chance to compliment the excellent sparkly lycra tops.  “Ah, but we must have our bling,” said Daniel.

FINAL, final farewells: and then we tottered off into the cold night, in search of an elusively-parked car.

I must say, they were all exceedingly charming and approachable: although perhaps this was only because we were neither of us wearing a Saxon t-shirt

Anyway… my day having started off Blah, seeped towards Woe and slumped into Exhaustion, it ended on a delightful note of Good Cheer.  I had not expected to exchange two words with members of one of my recent newly-encountered favourite bands, let alone be tolerated at length and make Actual Conversation!  I shall repeat that I’m most grateful to have been forced to forget my nerves; I would have missed out otherwise.

And… that’s all.


( 13 confidences — Confide in me... )
Dec. 7th, 2008 04:52 am (UTC)
I wish I was better at socializing, but it's hard for me to make small talk. I'm more of a down-to-business, I-got-the-stuff-if-you-got-the-money kind of conversationalist. I was never a fan of the mundane pleasantries. Throw in a famous musician or two, and I freeze up faster than a jewel thief's bank account.
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
Ooh, yes, the insincere sort of meaningless chat is not something I find very easy. I'm better at it than I used to be, though, and unfortunately it's rather necessary in Today's Society. ;-P

As for talking to *famous musicians*... these particular ones turned out to be really approachable! :-) I was pleasantly surprised there. You hear so many anecdotes of musicians being downright rude and stand-offish, which is another thing that might normally put me off trying to make post-concert chit-chat. ;-P
Dec. 8th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
Oh, I met Colbie Caillat at the state fair last year. I couldn't stay and talk because there was a line and she was just signing autographs while surrounded by mean-looking security guards who were tapping their nightsticks in their hands and giving me the evil eye. She's actually kind of quiet and shy in person. She signed my copy of her CD and the front cover too though, so that's neat. I could probably ebay that for $200. =P~
Dec. 8th, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
Hm, that sounds pretty intimidating! XD Book signings can be a bit like that - long queues, 30 seconds to get something signed without much chat and then please move along... authors are not usually guarded by heavies, though! ;-P
Dec. 10th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well... she's a musician, not an author. I've never met an author (that I was old enough to remember). I somehow doubt they'd be as heavily protected as a musician. For what reason, I don't know. They're both popular media sources, aren't they? That is kind of strange now that I think about it.
Dec. 8th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
Fantastic description! When you said "hi," did he know I was the guy from the Needle Drop who interviewed him a few months back? :-p

I agree that Black Oni doesn't remind me a lot of Magma that much. If Guapo reminds me of anything, it's strange, dissonant film music. More movies reminds me of Guapo than records.

It's also interesting that he finds playing black Oni tiring, but he is in several other projects.

Mothlite pop? I can't see that. I mean, the songs really break the pop song structure, but I do have to say it's one of his most accessible projects. They don't fool around with noise/dissonance like many of his other projects do.
Dec. 8th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yes! I referred to your show when I mentioned you. He remembered the interview and went on to say something like, "I only recently realised what 'the needle drop' means, I thought it just meant the needle hitting the vinyl when you put a record on. But it also refers to royalties when your music gets used on soundtracks and such. I just got some myself - I'm in receipt of needle drop royalties!" :-)

Yes, I have been learning media-related fun facts with avant-prog composers!! XD

Interesting what you say re. film music. 'Elixirs' definitely feels like a soundtrack to me. (I commented to that effect but he just looked bemused...) I think in at least one of his projects he lists Goblin as an influence (maybe Morricone as well? I'm not sure...); and Mothlite was inspired by a film, apparently.

Re. Mothlite being pop, that seems to be O'Sullivan's tagline for the project. There was an interview I read somewhere where he said that, and he said so again on Friday! I have a feeling it may refer to whatever is in the works for the next album, though... It is an odd thing to say, really - maybe you're right in that it could be 'pop' compared to some of that other, much weirder stuff...!
Dec. 8th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
Hah! I didn't know the Needle Drop also meant that! :-p
Dec. 8th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Hehe. We Live And Learn! ;-P
Apr. 7th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing; i enjoyed your writing so much that i just had to comment. I'm glad to see that the band was so cordial and that they didn't mind speaking about their WIP. (an African influence sounds more than excellent to me)

I had a nice lol reading your Christian Vander comment. (i'm loosing my hair too, and i'm only 24 *sobs*)


(hopefully this isn't a double, it seems that my last post didn't register)
Apr. 8th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Dominic! Thank you! :-) (Hmm, not sure what LJ is up to - I had to 'unscreen' this to make it visible... sorry about that!)

Yes, this whole experience was very cool and rather surreal! I'm looking forward to hearing their new album - the thought of that African influence is most intriguing.

Ah, I wonder if that Vander/hair remark is just too disrespectful of me... :-( In the immortal words of Frank Zappa, "Who cares if hair is long or short or sprayed or partly grayed... We know that hair ain't where it's at!" ;-P

Thank you for reading and thanks for the comment too! ^_^
Apr. 11th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
"Ah, I wonder if that Vander/hair remark is just too disrespectful of me... :-("

:D, i highly doubt that he'd be the type of dude to find such a remark as offensive.

On a related O'Sullivan note, have you heard the new samples Mothlite on their Myspace? It seems that him and Antti certainly are creating a pop album; i gotta say that it reminds me of a few artists that he's posted album covers of on the Guapo blog. (even similar to stuff from Outkast's Andre 3000 solo album)
Apr. 21st, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
New Mothlite... yep, I had a listen to those samples... v. different to the previous stuff. And yes, it really does sound 'pop'! 'Twill be interesting to hear it in full. :-)

Ugh, sorry this response is so tardy... I've been busy and ignoring LJ recently! :-(
( 13 confidences — Confide in me... )

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