If you don't know Art Brut you soon will! Named after the infamous 60's outsider art movement Art Brut hail from South London and make music affectionately described as "brilliant but cleverly stupid Art-Punk."
Their latest album entitled It's a Bit Complicated was put together with Dan Swift famous for his work with Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads and Kasabian! This is their Canadian debut and pretty much your last chance to see them at a smaller venue before they go off like the "Lohan" let out for a weekend pass from rehab! So read the interview and then get to the show so you can say "Uh duh...I saw them ages ago before they were famous!"
Check out their Tour Dates.
So now check out this Nexopia exclusive interview with Art Brut!
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Art Brut has been nonstop touring and their success has turned Art Brut into an elusive bunch these days. But after finally tracking Britain's busiest band down in a Swedish Hotel, Nexopia's Chris Webster finally got a chance to talk to lead singer, Eddie Argos, about double neck guitars, getting mugged, and having the best name in rock and roll.
Chris: Hi, do I have Eddie from Art Brut on the line?
Eddie: Yep, you're alright.
Great. How's it going tonight? Can you hear me alright; I've got you on speaker phone.
Yeah, I can hear you.
Okay great. This is Chris from Nexopia and I just wanted to say thanks for making time for us tonight. I understand you're in Stockholm. What time is it there?
It is ten to one in the morning.
Ten to one? I'll bet you probably want to get some sleep don't you?
Actually I'm alright. I only got here about an hour ago.
That seems crazy, considering it was only two days ago that you were playing the Get Loaded in the Park Festival in London.
Yeah it's funny. I haven't been home since then. It's been all interviews today. I feel quite international actually. It's good. I had yesterday off but of course we were rehearsing.
I guess you have to hey, because as of tomorrow you're pretty much playing shows until Christmas.
Yeah, it's Stockholm tomorrow then the American tour, then the European tour then it's Australia, then it's Christmas.
That's huge. Is this the biggest tour you guys have done as a band?
I don't know. We've always sort of been on tour really. When we first started, we did it so that we could support ourselves. Last year and the year before I think we played a show everyday. We were away almost too much, you know what I mean? So this it's been a bit more quiet, even though it's still mad busy.
At these festivals, like the Loaded in the Park Festival, do you ever get a chance to see any of the other groups play? Or is it pretty much play and then get back on the road?
No no, we get to see the other bands play. I'm almost just in a band to watch other bands play. I saw The Rumble Strips at the Get Loaded festival, and The Wombats were really good.
It's a little like being on the guest list for every show.
Yeah, it's brilliant! I mean I love going to shows and watching bands anyway, so really I've got the perfect job.
Awesome. So just to bring our readers up to speed, Art Brut loosely translated means "outsider art." Do Art Brut still feel like outsiders even after the success of Bang Bang Rock and Roll and now It's a Bit Complicated?
Um, a little bit yeah. We're sort of by ourselves in what we do right now. I mean there are not really a lot of bands that do the same thing as us. I mean, I still can't sing (laughs). So I guess were the only band that says they can't sing. I think we're still "Art Brut" because a lot of outsider art is crude and brutally honest and we're definitely a crude and honest band. So in that sense I think the term still applies to us yeah.
Its funny you should say that because you've actually gone on record saying that it kind of irks you when people read your vocal delivery as being ironic. That in fact you're an avid pop fan and are actually reveling in pop's simplicity rather than criticizing it.
Yeah, definitely. I'm never being sarcastic.
You know, personally I find that a breath of fresh air because everything seems to be, like, getting in on the joke these days. It's good to know bands like Art Brut are still out there.
Straight ahead. No jokes.
I read a review once that said you shared more in common with Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) than Mark E. Smith (The Fall), a band you're often compared to. Would you agree with that?
Yeah that's very good. I like The Fall a little bit, but obviously I'm a massive Pulp fan. It's funny actually because Russell Senior from Pulp was doing some producing for us and he was telling us how Pulp used to get compared to The Fall all the time. I'd much rather be compared to Pulp I think. I mean I love Jarvis' lyrics. His and Hers, This is Hardcore and Different Class are probably three of my favorite albums of all time actually. To me they're brilliant.
Yeah no question. Different Class is definitely a Brit-pop classic. Actually forget Brit-pop, just a classic British record period.
Yeah but I'm not saying that like I was fifteen and now I'm an adult or something. I had good taste when I was fifteen. It wasn't like I was a teeny bopper, I genuinely like Pulp. It's not like they were just a Brit-pop band. They're really more like Roxy Music or The Smiths. They sort of last forever I think.
Exactly, I would agree. Do you think the term Brit-pop has become sort of a dirty word? Personally, I think those bands that we labeled as Brit-pop now were never teeny bopper bands or whatever. I think that they were just classic bands and unfortunately the media gave them this label in order to market them worldwide.
Yeah. Bands like Blur and Pulp and Oasis. That wasn't really Brit-pop. In England there were a lot of third rate bands, a lot of not very good groups. They can be Brit-pop if they like. Supergrass I loved as well. So yeah, I guess I would agree with you.
Is it hard for pop music to stay fresh the deeper you get into the business side of the industry? Is it hard not to get jaded?
I think in a funny sort of way we're really quite lucky. A lot of bands get signed for loads of money, and get given a big advance. We never really got that, we just kind of got rolled along really. Been able to do what we wanted to do. I mean even playing in different clubs and such doesn't feel that different from when we first started except that more people are listening. Plus I'm not the sort of person that gets jaded either.
Most people don't know this about you, but Art Brut has a franchise following. How did this come about? So you've got bands out there who have taken on the Art Brut name and play your songs at shows or what? I heard We Are Scientists are members.
Yeah, We are Scientists are Art Brut 47. I was just in a pub with Chris, our old guitarist, after band practice and I said "you know I feel quite guilty because Art Brut's got such a good name for a band. You know, we should share this name with other people. Maybe franchise it." Of course I was only joking but that's when we were making the first web site so he put on there, 'Be in a franchise band,' and then, you know, I think it was just word of mouth. It just kind of took off, and then I had all these kids giving me CDs saying "I'm Art Brut 4" or like "I'm Art Brut 7." I quite like it. Sometimes it's sad though because some kids don't register on the web site so I'll often meet someone who says "I'm Art Brut 100" and I'll have to say "Oh I'm sorry but you can't be. I met her and she lives in Liverpool." I'm very proud of the franchise, it's like they've left home. Otherwise I take no responsibility for any of the trouble they've caused.
You should organize an Art Brut franchise festival in your home town of Bournemouth. What do you think?
You know, they organized one themselves in London, when we weren't there; an Art Brut Battle of the Bands. Art Brut 3 won it.
Were you invited? You should have at least been the judges.
No, we were in Germany and Mike heard it on the radio. Nobody told us. Funny.
Can my band become a member of the Art Brut franchise?
Of course. What number do you want?
007, if it's possible.
Oh 007, that's a good one. From now on you're AB007, I christen you that.
You don't live in Bournemouth anymore though do you?
No, I live in London. I sort of realized I had no friends in Bournemouth so I had to move to London to start a band.
What do you think about the recent survey that found Bournemouth to be the "happiest place in Britain?"
Oh god, really? What, was that taken on like 3 o'clock on a Friday morning or what? I don't really like Bournemouth. Nobody lives there, it's like students and holiday makers and old people. Its funny because I live in Camden and I've never been beaten up or mugged or anything, but twice I've gone back to Bournemouth and it's happened to me. So I think people in Camden might be happier than the people in Bournemouth really.
Let's talk a bit about the album shall we. It certainly feels more polished than the first album, especially on songs like "Late Sunday Evening," where you've got these awesome Phil Specter backup vocals and horns and stuff going on. What inspired this move away from the more post punk sound of Bang Bang Rock and Roll? Or was it an unspoken organic decision?
Well I think the post punk sound was just an accident really. I think it was all we could do at the time, because of learning our trade. We all like pop music and of course Chris left and Jasper joined...
He was from your first band, Art Goblins right?
Yeah we were in Art Goblins when we were young. But I think we all wanted just wanted to make a popular album. It's just what we're into at the moment I think. God knows what the next one's going to sound like. But I was listening to lots of Phil Specter and Motown and stuff but it's all about what were into at the time. It all just kind of comes out.
The guitar work seems particularly accomplished, in fact the single, "Direct Hit," has all these classic pop changes that seem to give your vocals the illusion of a more classic approach to singing. I was just curious if there was ever an intentional attempt to produce a palatable radio hit without compromising the signature Art Brut sound?
(Laughs) Maybe, I mean I really like the music on "Direct Hit." It could have been the producer's secret plan. We weren't in on it. As long as you can hear what I'm saying I don't mind my vocals being lower in the mix. Ian bought a double neck guitar and so loads of the album's got twin neck guitar on it, "Direct Hit" especially he's playing the double neck guitar all the way through it. That might be why the music is louder.
It sounds very saturated; very "wall of sound."
Yeah, it's all tricks. Like, Ian will have the bottom guitar on but he'll only play the top half. Lots of weird stuff that I didn't really understand.
Okay so just a couple more questions Eddie, and I'll let you go alright? But I warn you, these are the hard ones, the probing questions if you will.
Oh gosh. Alright then, go on.
What's the smallest show you've ever played?
The smallest show? We played an offshoot of some gay pride parade like 3 years ago and we thought we'd be playing like in a club, and we turned up and it was an abandoned funeral parlor and we played downstairs in the embalming pit. You could only fit like ten or twelve people in there and it was already squeezed up. It was terrifying really.
Yikes. Okay, well what the biggest show you've ever played?
I think, probably The Pitchfork Festival last year. It's the most people I've ever seen I think. Loads of people.
Alright here's the big one. What was the last film you went to see in the cinema?
Oh, Hot Fuzz... or The Simpsons film. It was either Hot Fuzz or The Simpsons. I'm sure I saw them in the same week.
I loved Hot Fuzz, I thought it was hilarious. But anyway, thanks again for your time Eddie.
E: Aces, thanks a lot fella. Listen, come say hello at the show Art Brut 007.
I will, see you then.
Interview by: Chris Webster, Nexopia
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Here are the show dates and info...check'm out.
-- Sept. 3rd, Vancouver, BC - Richards on Richards check www.richardsonrichards.com for tickets and info.
Here are a couple of videos for ya...
Off the new album "Direct Hit":
And our personal favorite "Good Weekend" off the last album entitled Bang Bang Rock & Roll.