Illicit Ink Reading

Below is last night’s reading for Illicit Ink’s Toy Stories at the Bongo Club, Edinburgh. I really struggled to come up with something original to suit the theme, and the first thing I thought of was actually about an evil dildo… from the dildo’s perspective. Unfortunately, I decided I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face, so instead we have ‘The Unfortunate Tale of Cornelius Clunk’ (or ‘The Elf That Killed Christmas’).

I’ll actually be uploading the full thing on Kindle within the next couple of days, with some awesome artwork from me old mucker, @fudgecrumpet. Here’s a sneak peak of the cover:

Introduction

I’m a writer and I write all day. In my experience as an author, journalist and copywriter/editor, I’ve found that I’ve been able to write just about anything – any topic, any style, any mood – as long as I have either a) the information available or b) the idea. Amongst others, I write for online entertainment magazines Picktainment.comScreencrave.com, Tuppence Magazine, and The Flaneur, as well as getting my news stories published on websites/publications, such as Deadline News.

Comedian Richard Coughlan and the tale of #CreepingSharia.

From January 2010 I ran and edited a magazine-themed website called Feral Army which specialized in blogs, features, celebrity interviews and reviews, written by me and a team of people I liked to call ‘ferals’. Interviews include: Henry Rollins, Robots in Disguise, Matt Berry (The IT Crowd), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf), author Alan Bissett, AngryBritain.com, Echovirus, Brian Limond (Limmy’s Show) and Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf). Unfortunately, this could not continue without funding, and FA closed its doors in late 2011.

Here is some of the best of Feral Army:

Matt Berry interview

Angry Britain feature

Brent Spiner vs. Capt Feral Phoenix

Robots in Disguise interview

Interview with Robert Llewellyn

Brian Limond Twitter interview

Team Awesome DJs

I also work for kids’ English learning website BrainsterTools, by editing and coming up with written prompts for the site.

Matt Berry Interview

It was a grand day on the waters when comedian/actor/writer and musician Matt Berry proverbially stepped onto Capt. Feral Phoenix’s ship (it was actually via email) for an exclusive interview about music, acting, radio, scripts and skips.

Below he tells us what he’s been up to and where the feral land lies.

 

Capt: Hi Matt, how goes it? Before we get started, thanks for agreeing to the interview.

So, what are you up to at the moment? Any exciting projects you can tell us ferals about?  

Matt: Hi, I’m currently finishing my book and preparing the launch of Witchazel, my next album.

Capt: You’re pretty much the unofficial voice of Absolute Radio at the moment. What’s that like? Are you enjoying the experience?

Matt: I enjoy doing the podcasts and the few live shows I’ve done. Beats work!

Capt: You’ve been described as a writer, actor, comedian and musician but did you ever want to be a train driver or a spaceman? Or even a lorry driver? (red-lorry-yellow-lorry-red-lorry-yellow… sorry, that just came out – happens sometimes!)

Matt: I never thought much about what I wanted to be just knew what I didn’t want to be. I learned quickly that I was fucking useless at anything i wasn’t interested in. That could range from anything from Maths to Temp work.

Capt: I’m just finding out that you’re very multi-talented (a bit late, I know)! You have three albums. You also co-wrote AD/BC: A Rock Opera (which you also wrote the music for) with Richard Ayoade. What inspired you to write it, whose idea was it in the first place?   

Matt: I had the idea to do something based on Jesus Christ Superstar a while back and had the chance one Christmas. I’m quite pleased with it. Most of it works but I think I’d approach it differently if I did it now.

Capt: You’ve done compositions for quite a few shows, which was your favourite to do? Is there any you’ve worked on recently that we should look out for on telly/interweb?

Matt: Err, not recently as I spent a large part of last year recording Witchazel. I enjoy doing all music. I don’t mind what show it is mainly because I don’t really watch TV so I probably wouldn’t see it but, it’s always a pleasure to do.

Capt: If you had to recommend one of your three albums, or any album, for me to go out and buy TODAY, which would you recommend?

Matt:  ’Broken Bells’ in March, ‘Witchazel’ in late March and anything by the ‘Fleet Foxes’ if you don’t already have it.

Capt: What was it like being a part of the Mighty Boosh? They seem like a right fun lot to work with, but I could be wrong!

Matt: I expect so, I was only in an episode or two and it was years ago so it’s all a bit of a blur now.

Capt: Did you get to keep any Boosh souvenirs?

Matt: Fulcher.

Capt: Hahah! Do you have any plans to bring back Snuff Box? It was brilliant!

Matt: Thank you. Maybe, but not in this country.

Capt: You’ve done various voiceovers including Muller Corners and the Natural Confectionary Company (Bring on the Trumpets!). But do you actually like trumpets or even Muller Corners for that matter?   

Matt: Wikipedia is amazing isn’t it?

 

Capt: Yes… but that didn’t answer my question!

On the subject of trumpets, what musical instruments can you play? I can play the maracas.

Matt: I play keyboard instruments as well as guitars etc i’ll have a go at anything even if it fails.

Capt: Okay, an IT Crowd-related question now. Let’s get controversial!  - Mac or PC?

Matt: Mac because it the first computer I had so I know nothing else.

Capt: Is there going to be another series of IT Crowd? If so, when?

Matt: I think so, but I don’t have a clue when I’m afraid.

Capt: When you first appeared (at the start of the second series), did you find it daunting having to replace Chris Morris?

Matt: Everybody kept telling me that it was going to be daunting. I hadn’t really seen the show at that point so I had no idea what he was doing or what the show looked like so I just did my own thing.

Capt: Got a question from one of our ferals (don’t ask me where this came from)… what’s your favourite type of underwear?

Matt: Men or Women?

 

Capt: Men AND Woman! We’ve actually got some lovely underwear on display at our new shop: http://www.cafepress.co.uk/feralarmy

 

Matt: Obviously, the classic thong.

Capt: Nice! I’ll get you one on order! Your latest work, according to IMDB is ‘HUGE’. Can you tell us ferals what that’s all about? We’re intrigued. Go on, you can tell us…

Matt: It’s a film about two comics. Great script by Ben Miller and Jez Butterworth. I’m in it for two seconds playing an advertising man who is based on a director I worked with.

 

Capt: Sounds very cool, we’ll have to look out for it.

What’s the most feral thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Matt: Waited in a car park for a man who had crossed me, where I stripped the skin from his body and made a suit from it, before cooking his remains in a skip.

 

Capt: Fascinating! You see, I didn’t know that! I’m so glad we did this.

Will you support the ferals of Feral Army? (Don’t worry, our only weapons are words!)

Matt: If they behave themselves.

Capt: And lastly, do you have a message for the Feral Nation?

Matt: Try washing now and again.

Thanks Matt, the ferals love you. All for one and one feral!

Matt: I love you too x

Angry Britain

Britain is angry. No, really, it is. And according to Dom Bradbury from AngryBritain.com, there’s something we can do about it.

After all, anger can be a powerful weapon; more constructive than mere hate, it can provoke us to do something to change a situation for the better, if we take the right action.

AngryBritain.com is a website run solely by Dom. It currently makes no money, but is gradually growing in popularity and into something more user-friendly and interactive – that Dom has, perhaps jokingly, described as an ‘AngryTwitterSpaceBook’. We like the sound of that.

So, what’s it all about?

Speaking to Capt. Feral Phoenix, Dom said: “We’ve all been there, ranting, raving, moaning about someone or something that has upset us. Big or small, everyone has something to complain about with Britain today. Rude shop staff, bad driving, dishonest Government, the list is truly endless.

“But who really cares what us Brits think? Does anybody listen? Or is it that until now us Brits and Ferals haven’t had a genuine mouthpiece of the people that hasn’t been associated with some ludicrous politics or hidden agendas.”

Interesting…  he continued: “AngryBritain.com aims to change this, our only agenda is a better Britain for everyone, free of rudeness, scrounging, lying MPs and a million and one other daily annoyances.

“We’re obviously onto something as we’ve had quite extensive media interest; we are great friends with BBC Radio and TV and very recently represented the UK on Chinese State Radio. In the run-up to the general election we are looking to explode onto the scene, make a lot of noise and get noticed.”

We at Feral Army certainly wish them good luck with that. But how did this internet revolution begin?

Dom said: “’This country is rubbish isn’t it, but nobody listens’ said a colleague of mine one Friday afternoon about 2 years ago just after 3pm-Tea-O-Clock. And that was it -AngryBritain.com was born.”

If you have a look at their website: www.angrybritain.com, you’ll see that the site’s content is provided mainly by the British public. Their rants or ‘Beef’ are emailed or tweeted directly to Dom himself, and then published on the ‘Beef’ page. Visitors can send an email to angryman@angrybritain.com or tweet to @AngryBritain – and as far as we can tell, it’s really proving to be a hit.

Dom added: “The site has a strict set of rules for contributions. We won’t tolerate racism, incitement, libel or bad language.”

Other popular sections for us Angry Brits include the camera-phone or YouTube fans ‘YouRant’ section where you can send pics or YouTube posts in to share, not forgetting The PIT! – rather like Room 101 – where people and things that annoy Dom and his readers end up for all eternity. But, just like Nick Hancock, Dom has the final say.

Recently integrated into the site has been the well-followed blog, filled with general bits and pieces happening to Dom (Mr Angry Man) in his own life, with an aim to showing readers that the Angry Britain team are just the same as any of the readers and face the same problems.

Most notably, they’ve used the power of the interweb to take on Sky online – and won! Other victims have included Bob Crow, the RMT spokesman, and ParkingEye – the cowboy parking company.

Dom stresses that he is just a normal Brit, like the rest of us: “I am just like any of my readers, 35, work in IT, two kids, big mortgage, taxed to the hilt and worried if I’ll have a job tomorrow.

“I believe that by us Brits sticking together and making our voices heard via AngryBritain.com we really can turn the ship around. So, what I need from the ferals is their support, lots of new contributions, and any useful contacts they may have in the web design, the press, broadcast media or venture capital. And most important of all is for them to spread the AngryBritain.com message among their family, friends and colleagues.

“If we all shout loudly enough, eventually someone will listen.”

Cheers to that, Dom.

Brent Spiner versus Captain Feral Phoenix

Brent Spiner VS Capt. Feral Phoenix

Ding Ding!

 

Brent Spiner, you have been captured and taken into cyber-custody by the Feral Army. Anything you do say may be taken down in evidence, and used to educate feral-kind. Do you accept these terms? (He did)

Bronwen: Right. I’m going to start with my trademark question; I put this question to everybody. So Brent, what do you know? Tell me one thing.

Brent: I know how to tie a bow tie without looking in a mirror.

Bronwen: You’re hosting the “It Won’t Stay In Vegas” party and Android Lounge at CES (in Las Vegas) on January 8th. This is partly because – and I think this is fair to say – for a lot of people, when they think of the word ‘Android’, they think of Data. You’ve also been hailed on their website (www.itwontstayinvegas.com) as a “leader in the social media space”what do you think of that?

Brent: I’d rather not think about it. I don’t even know what a social media space is.

Bronwen: You know, this event sounds just perfect for Feral Army. We should really have a Feral representative going along, but unfortunately I can’t afford the expense and we don’t have enough US ferals yet. Will you represent the ferals?

Brent: Uh, no. I’ll be representing me. I don’t know if that will be believable but I’ll do the best I can.

Bronwen: Of course, you’ve also got over a million followers on Twitter. So, let’s talk about Twitter for a second. What I especially love about your Twitter page is your ‘favourites’ section, because you have all the meanest, funniest tweets directed at you on there. I’d like to say I think you’ve got the right idea – especially in light of the whole Stephen Fry story (blown out of proportion by the media) – about not taking it too seriously.

Brent: I do take it seriously. Whenever I read those “favorites”, it hurts me so deeply, I want to end my life. Or maybe just quit Twitter. Or maybe watch some television.

Bronwen: My question is, have you ever actually been offended by anything someone has said to you on Twitter?

Brent: Actually, I’m deeply offended by your question.

Bronwen: There’s also a lot of love for you on Twitter, don’t you think?

Brent: Yes, there is a lot of love on Twitter. It’s very nice. It really doesn’t compare to anything I’ve ever known. Except perhaps, the love of my Mother.

Bronwen: Do you like all the attention?

Brent: I don’t know whether I like it or don’t like it. Do I really have to decide? Can’t I just go on pretending it’s absolutely normal?

Bronwen: If you want to carry on kidding yourself, then that’s fine by me. What got you started on Twitter, and in retrospect, are you glad you joined?

Brent: Someone I know signed me up without my permission. In retrospect, I’ll let you know how I feel about it one day when I’m a little more retrospective.

Bronwen: You may or may not know, but every Friday is Feral Friday on Twitter. We’d be very grateful if you could tweet at least one #FeralFriday. Will you think about it?

Brent: Nah. I don’t really want to tweet anything about this feral business. I get in enough trouble on my own without having your enemies, too.

Bronwen: I’ve been looking at some past interviews (for research purposes) and some of the latest ones surprise me a bit, because the interviewers seem to be almost scared of mentioning some of your earlier work. They say things like ‘I won’t say it but it rhymes with car wreck’ and I’m wondering why they do this. Do they get warned by your agent before you get there not to mention anything to do with – well, in particular – Star Trek?

Brent: No. I don’t think so. I don’t mind talking about Star Trek. Why would I? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Is it?

Bronwen: No, not at all. I don’t see why they’d do that, because your acting was – and probably still is – a big part of your life and why not talk about it. Going back to the Android thing, I think in Star Trek: The Next Generation, watching it back, it’s hard to ignore the strength of your acting in the role of Data. Actually, I’d like to talk about Star Trek for a moment.

Brent: If you don’t mind, I’d rather not talk about Star Trek.

Bronwen: Tough. So, let’s talk your portrayal of Data. But I’m not going to talk about your favourite episode – I’m actually going to talk about one of my favourite episodes, ‘The Most Toys’. Brace yourself, because this one is quite specific.

Firstly, do you remember ‘The Most Toys’? Do you know which episode I’m on about? Data gets kidnapped by a collector of rare and expensive things and a series of events lead him to almost shoot his kidnapper (Vaggio, Fajo… something like that), killing him in a slow and painful way, with what I believe is a ‘Proto-type Varon-T Disruptor’. — Editor’s note: pronounced ‘Veyron-T’ – which I personally think would make a lovely brand name alternative to ‘Tetley’ (maybe for Bugatti Veyron fans?).

Okay, so the reason I love ‘The Most Toys’, is firstly because of your acting – it wouldn’t be quite as strong an episode without that – but also because of the way it develops Data’s character, by how he deals with the situations that arise.

The two parts that stick out for me the most is firstly – and this leads me to my first question – when Data appears to fire the weapon at the annoying brat man (the kidnapper), does he actually fire?

I’m not sure if you remember, but the transporter kicks in and they notice the weapon has been discharged, so they disarm it and Data hands it to Riker. And when questioned, he looks confused and explains to Riker by saying, “perhaps something occurred in transport”.

I like the way this is handled, because it raises a few questions. Since you’re the actor, what do you think, did Data lie? It’s not exactly a lie, is it? It’s a subtle lie, if anything. Is he protecting himself? Did he actually intend to kill the kidnapper?

Brent: I remember the episode, but not as well as you do. I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. Do you really want me to analyze the actions of a character I played in an episode  about 16 or 17 years ago?

Bronwen: Yes.

Brent: I’d have to watch it again. Actually, I never saw that one. I only watched the first twenty or so. I don’t remember why Data did anything he did. I think he did what he did and said what he said  because the writer’s said that’s what he should say or do.

Bronwen: Also, I love the ending, where he says he doesn’t take pleasure in the fact that all the kidnapper’s toys have been taken away, and says he’s ‘just an Android’ and walks out. I just like the way the whole episode was done. Do you remember much about the filming of that episode and if so, what do you remember?

Brent: What I do remember about that episode is that another actor was originally playing the role of the villain. We shot Thursday and Friday and over the weekend the actor killed himself. So we started over and my friend, Saul Rubinek came in and took over the role. He was fantastic in it as he is in everything he does.

Bronwen: You see, I didn’t know that!! I’m glad we did this. I heard that the costumes in the first series caused some of the male actors back problems, is that true? Did that affect you in any way?

Brent: Not really. I already had back problems before we began. I think the suits somewhat corrected my problems. Then, when we changed to a more comfortable suit, my back problems came back.

Bronwen: I also have a question from one of our ferals. What were your communicators made out of? Metal or plastic?

Brent: That’s not only a stupid question, it’s pointless. Who really cares, besides your comrade? Metal… plastic… paper mache… so interesting.

Bronwen: Okay, moving on from your role in Star Trek: you’ve been described as a ‘character actor’ before, is that how you’d describe yourself? And do you think that’s relevant?

Brent: Let’s be honest, there’s nothing really relevant about any of this. But, sure, I’d call myself a character actor.

Bronwen: Is that what you wanted to be known for mainly, ‘character-acting’? If not, then what? I mean, when you first started out, before the whole Star Trek thing; because you’ve also been quite involved (to a degree) in Broadway.

Brent: I never really thought about being known for anything. I just enjoy doing it. And it’s an extra added bonus if I get paid to do it or I get to work with interesting people.

Bronwen: Of course, you also sing, and I thoroughly enjoyed your latest CD, ‘Dreamland’ (there’s actually a review on my personal website/blog) which is available to order via your website www.therealbrentspiner.com. Do you plan on releasing anything else like that, another CD, perhaps?

Brent: I don’t know. I really enjoyed doing “Dreamland.” But, I don’t have any plans to do another. It’s possible, I guess. If my voice holds out for a few more years.

Bronwen: In terms of your voice/style of singing, who would you compare yourself to?

Brent: Well not just my voice, but really everything about me…Steve McQueen. Don’t you think?

Bronwen: Actually, no. I watched The Great Escape the other day, and I did not think of you once during that movie. Is there anyone out there (dead or alive) that you wish you could sound like?

Brent: There are a lot of great singers I wish I sounded as good as. Sinatra, obviously. Bing Crosby in his hey day. Roy Orbison. Elvis. Maude Maggart.

Bronwen: I hear you’re now rehearsing some kind of act, can you tell us a little bit about that? What kind of thing is it? When do you think it will be ready?

Brent: Yeah, I’m doing sort of a nightclub act. Or a concert. Or something. I’m not sure what it is really. Should be ready soon. Can’t tell you too much about it yet. But look for it in your local supermarket.

Bronwen: What else are you doing at the moment? Anything you can tell us ferals about?

Brent: I have a few things in the fire, but I don’t really want to share them with the feral’s . They frighten me. In fact, you frighten me.

Bronwen: Thanks a lot. Do you have a message for the Feral Nation?

Brent: Yes, leave me alone.

Bronwen: Thank you, Brent. It’s been a feral joy. All for one and one feral! You old sod…

Robots in Disguise

Robots in Disguise Dee Plume and Sue Denim are commonly described as ‘English electropunk’, and with hit singles including ‘The Sex Has Made Me Stupid’ and ‘The Tears’ – featuring Noel Fielding of Mighty Boosh fame (they also made a few appearances in the show) – the duo are definitely worth a listen. The pair have recently been promoting in Germany, and with a new album out come September (with a little help from PledgeMusic.com), it seems nothing can stop these bots!

Capt. Feral Phoenix caught up with the girls of RID for a good old fashioned chat, about blue lipstick, chocolate Afghans, and swimming naked.

Capt: Hello, Robots in Disguise! Firstly, thanks for agreeing to the interview. I’ll start by asking my trademark question: what do you know? Tell me one thing.

Sue: I know about Hagfish – they have 4 hearts, 2 brains and tie themselves in knots and exude SLIME! Ew!

Capt: Ewww! And Dee?

Dee: No thing.

Capt: Fair enough! Tell us about your new album. When is it out?

Dee: Pearls of Sonic Wisdom to be released come Judgement Day.

Sue: September! It’s going to be ACE!

Capt: I understand you’re taking part in pledge music to part fund it, how does that work and how can the Ferals get involved?

Sue: Yes! Pledge us MONEY! You can buy all sorts of things, ranging from just the download of the project to a bike ride with us both! Go to www.pledgemusic.com/project/260 PLEDGE PLEDGE PLEDGE!!!!!

Dee: If you want me I cost big.

Capt: How would you describe your music in cake form?

Dee: No confectionary can make my lips water like the RID mixing bowl. Jaffa cake.

Sue: It’s like a chocolate Afghan! It’s quite substantial but also chocolatey and gooey. And it has a walnut on top.

Capt: You’ve also got a fan club! Is that like where people join up and get RID pencils, stencils and posters etc.? (at least, that’s what fan clubs used to be like, back in the day. I’m not telling you whose I joined, because it’s embarrassing!) So what do you get when you join the RID fan club?

Sue: Why don’t you join – then you’d find out!!! :D But yes, it’s along those lines!

Dee: It’s where we give back to the people who love us most in any legal way we can.

Capt: Do fans send you stuff, too? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever gotten from a fan?

Dee: A tiny box with a letter inside. Not so weird but very lovely. I have re-read that note many times savouring her words.

Sue: A picture of their arm with our faces tattooed on it!

Capt: Tell us about your affiliation with Barry M, I hear you’re writing a song for them to promote a new lipstick?

Sue: Yes we have been plotting away with Barry M for about a year now and the song is written, the video made, and we’re all very excited – it’s called Wake Up! and is all about women getting motivated and doing their own thing!

Dee: Indeed.

Capt: What kind of colour is “Robot Blue”? Always wanted blue lips. Very feral.

Dee: Goth-new romantic blue. Camden in the ‘80s. Transport yourself with application feral child.

Sue: It’s kind of a royal blue, a little shimmery. If you’ve always wanted blue lips, get yourself to the Barry M website and make a purchase – it’s only a few quid! Or you could just go outside in the snow with very little on – would probably have the same effect!

Capt: I think I’ll try option one, first! Although, always wanted to be naked in the snow… What’s been your best gig so far, and why?

Sue: London Astoria is still my favourite gig. A couple of years ago. But the gig we did in the Red Or Dead pop up shop just before Xmas was pretty special too!

Dee: Paris on tour with lesbians on ectasy. The energy in the room blew my mind left.

Capt: I love your video for “The Tears” was that fun to make?

Dee: Ja. Walking along the floor is the future.

Sue: YES.

Capt: Your website told me to buy the single, or you’ll “cuss me up”. I’m not familiar with that term. What do you mean?

Sue: It means we’ll slander your name all over the place!

Dee: It was replacing ‘f*** you up’ for the radio.

Capt: Ahhh right! Can sex really make you stupid? *nervous*

Dee: I believe so. I don’t indulge hence I can’t rightly comment.

Sue: Yes it can! All that oxytocin flooding the brain. One simply forgets oneself, doesn’t one? :D

Capt: One does. What’s the most feral thing you’ve ever done?

Sue: Gathering berries on Hampstead Heath. Rooting in bins for food. Climbing trees. Swimming naked in the sea at night.

Dee: Eating without cutlery.

Capt: I personally like to eat all my fruit with a knife. I think it’s because I like to cut things. And how did you two first meet?

Dee: I was a famous actress in Hollywood and Sue started to write me dozens of fan letters. Of course, I was flattered at first, then I had to get the authorities involved. Robots in Disguise is a care in the community project, set up to keep Sue out of mainstream society. Of course she’ll tell you otherwise but…

Capt: I love that story!

Sue: We met at Liverpool University. Dee was a medical student and I had volunteered to be experimented on, then we found we liked the same kind of music and vowed to started a band!

Capt: How would you say your music has evolved since your first started out?

Sue: It has matured, like us! It’s a bit darker, a bit rockier.

Dee: It’s got more dirt and grime stuck to it. It makes me dance now.

Capt: What’s your writing process like, how do you get inspiration for your songs?

Dee: Trauma.

Sue: Everywhere. And usually one of us will come to the studio with an idea for a song, a verse or a chorus and we go from there. Or sometimes we just play together and a song appears!

Capt: What’s your opinion of the charts at the moment, and are there any popular bands/artists you’re really into right now?

Sue: I don’t really know what’s in the charts at the moment, I’d have to Google it. I don’t really actively listen to much pop although I quite like a bit of Lady Gaga when I hear it. And I can enjoy a dance to Beyonce!

Dee: I like?

Capt: And lastly, do you have a message for the Feral Nation?

Dee: Will you crawl for me?

Capt: I don’t know about of us, but I would happily crawl for you, Dee (any old excuse!!). Thank you, Robots in Disguise! The ferals love you. 

Robert Llewellyn Interview

TV personality Robert Llewellyn (actor, presenter, writer and all-round interesting bloke!), has recently become a feral supporter, so it was a great joy and honour when he agreed to take part in a very feral interview with our very own Feral Captain and author, Bronwen Winter Phoenix.

 

Perhaps best-known for playing Kryten in Red Dwarf (not forgetting Scrapheap Challenge), Robert now presents a weekly show called Carpool, where he interviews some very interesting people – and this is the interesting bit – in a car! You can check it out here: http://www.llewtube.com

 

Below he talks about Carpool, Scrapheap Challenge, Red Dwarf, ‘groinal attachments’ and feral-related issues.

 

 

 

Capt: Hi Robert, supporter of ferals! First of all, thanks for agreeing to the interview.  How are you?

Robert: I’m a bit frazzled but really enjoying myself at the moment thanks.
Capt: So, I’ll start off by asking my trademark question. What do you know? Tell me one thing.

Robert: I know that stuff changes and anything you are used to and rely on at the moment will either not exist in a few years or will have changed so much you won’t recognise it. Don’t fret, go with it, stay true to yourself but be prepared for constant radical, disturbing change.

Capt: Is that like an extension on the scout’s motto: be prepared? The ferals are loving Carpool at the moment (available to watch on http://www.llewtube.com ) – pity I didn’t find out about it sooner! Your episode last Friday (#FeralFriday) with Sir Patrick Stewart was brilliant. My question is; who has been your favourite guest so far (can you say?)? And the funniest?

Robert: Truly couldn’t say who’s the best/funniest, seriously, how can you compare one human being with another, they are all very different, and so far everyone has been totally up for it, filling in the gaps when I run out of questions or I’m concentrating on not running anyone over or crashing.

Capt: How did you come up with the concept? It is certainly different, after all, filming yourself talking to various celebrities in a car! I mean, what if you get distracted and have a bit of a crash – or have you?

Robert: It’s a weird idea I’d had for a couple of years before I did it. Kind of started when comedian David Baddiel gave me a lift many years ago, I had a camera with me and we recorded our journey. The conversation was very amusing and quite filthy, never to be seen in public. But that was 10 years before I started Carpool. I’m quite slow really.
Capt: Just out of curiosity, is it your own car?

 

The original car I used was mine, but then some young fellow drove into me at 50 miles an hour and tore the car in half, so the lovely people at Toyota who have been really supportive gave me a new car, which is what I use now.

Capt: Must have been scary!

 

I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but we recently had an interview with Brent Spiner AKA Data from Star Trek: TNG. I was wondering if you’d ever consider doing a Carpool with him? I personally think that’d be great – you could both discuss playing fictional androids on the telly! What say you?

Robert: I would dearly love to get Brent in the car. I’m shooting eps in the US later this year, maybe you can suggest it to him?

Capt: Certainly will! I’ll let you know what he says!

 

Apart from Carpool, can you tell us else what you’re up to at the moment? Any other projects currently on the cards? What should we be looking out for?

Robert: Doing some stuff for Discovery and the BBC, but also developing new video podcast series called ‘Gearless’ which will be about electric cars and the challenges they will create for all of us. Where the power comes from as well as ‘how far they will go on one charge’ and ‘what happens when the batteries run out on the motorway.’

Capt: Sounds interesting. Also, you’ve got a lot of fans from Scrapheap Challenge. What was your favourite machine/challenge and why?

Robert: Again, hard to pick, but the flight special we did in 2002 stays in the memory, 3 teams had 2 days to build a flying machine, and they did, and one of them flew! That was an amazing sight.

Capt: Did anyone ever get hurt when testing out their contraptions? (I seem to like asking questions about things going wrong, don’t I?!)

Robert: We were incredibly lucky, some of the machines were truly dangerous, but apart from cut fingers, scratches and the odd bashed head (that was me) no one was ever seriously hurt.

Capt: With the show recording its 11th series, how do you feel about the new series and its new presenters/format?

Robert: I think the cast/crew did amazingly well with an incredibly small budget. I love Dick Strawbridge and think he did a great job but it wasn’t fair to compare it with the old Scrapheap, which had something like four times the budget.

Capt: About the American spin-off: do you think it’s any better than the American spin-off of Red Dwarf?

Robert: If you mean Junkyard Wars, the US spin off of Scrapheap, I think it was great, the American teams were brilliant, some truly talented engineers. I know a lot of people had reservations about the presentation style etc, but for me, the show has always been about the engineers.

Capt: As it should be, really. Now we’re on the subject of Red Dwarf, I used to love that show (still watch it from time-to-time on Dave)!  Will there ever be any more episodes? I know your profile on Twitter says ‘and every 11 years Kryten on Red Dwarf’ – does that mean we have to wait another 10 years or so?

Robert: All I can say at the moment is that Dave has commissioned Doug Naylor to write the scripts for six new episodes, which he is doing at the moment.

Capt: Excellent!

 

Now, the sets in the earlier series seemed small; as the program progressed, do you feel it lost some of its ‘cult’ following with the bigger budgets?

Robert: I don’t, but you should also watch the recently recorded CarPool with Rob Grant who exposes a lot of the myths about the ‘increasing budget’ in latter series of Red Dwarf. I’m not sure if it lost its cult following, but it certainly moved beyond a mere cult show to become fairly mainstream. It is still the most watched series that BBC 2 has ever made, and yes, that includes Top Gear.

Capt: What was it like wearing the Kryten costume – was it comfortable? I loved the fact that he had a vacuum attachment!

Robert: Very hot, very uncomfortable, but when we were working I was totally unaware of it. I did of course love having the groinal attachment fitted.

Capt: Who/what, in your opinion, was the scariest ‘baddie’?

Robert: Mmmm, scariest Baddie on Red Dwarf, the Inquisitoooooor,

Capt: What’s your funniest moment/memory from Red Dwarf (there must be many)?

Robert: There are very many, shrinking boxer shorts, those naughty little nanobots, Jake Bullet, Dwayne Dibley, Ace Rimmer, hat a guy, no, can’t really pick one out. We did have enormous fun making the series.

Capt: Was it fun linking back up with Danny John Jules in MI High?

Robert: It was great, although we do all see each other fairly regularly.

Capt: Yes, my next question was: are you all still good friends and do you meet up regularly?

Robert: Oops, I’ve just answered that. Okay, I’ll try a different answer. We avoid each other like the plague…. Not true. We do all get on really well, it was great to get back together last year, felt like we’d never stopped.

Capt: Your website http://www.llew.co.uk <http://www.llew.co.uk/>  looks great! I started to read your online novel ‘Blue Helmet’ on there and so far I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t know you had written anything like that! Do you plan to write more?

Robert: The story that started life as Blue Helmet has kind of grown into another project that’s sort of in the works at the moment, actually it’s been in the works for years, hopefully one day it will come out of the works and be something.

Capt: How did you come up with the idea for ‘Blue Helmet’? 

Robert: A very long story, but I met a lot of soldiers who were sent to Bosnia during the conflict there, they were very inspiring and I am a great supporter of the idea of the UN, I think it’s a really important institution that needs our interest and support.

Capt: Tell us about your show ‘WomanWizard’ (DVD priced £15 on the website). I’m intrigued. I understand it’s a show you recorded over two nights in Brighton?

Robert: WomanWizard was a show based around a kind of mock software launch. I once saw an Apple Keynote with Steve Jobs so it was a kind of tribute to that, WomanWizard was a software package designed to help men understand woman more completely and so enhance their user experience. It also has some cheap knob gags.

Capt: Sounds like something I’ll be buying then! What’s the most feral thing you’ve ever done?

The summer of 1974 I lived fairly wild, only eating hedgerow fruits, wild mushrooms and animals I hunted with a bow and arrow. I lived in old trucks, derelict houses, Tee Pees and benders. I wish I was making this up, but I was a fairly feral teenager, I had dreadlocks with herbs woven into them to combat chronic head lice. I wore a red and green striped pixie hat with a bell on the end which used to mash me in the face when I turned my head quickly. I visited my parents but my mother wouldn’t let me into the house until I had washed with a bucket of warm water in the outhouse. She said I ‘smelled a bit goaty.’

Capt: You sounded charming! And lastly, do you have a message for the Feral Nation?

 

Robert: Don’t be cheap, keep your dignity and remember, to live outside the law, you must be honest.
Robert also has a rather nice website, which you can have a gander at here: http://www.llew.co.uk

Brian Limond Interview

Glasgow comedian and web developer Brian Limond agreed to give us ferals an insight into his personality. With a difference. It’s our first ever Twitter interview! Each answer in 140 characters or less.

 

And following his recent stint on BBC2 with the original sketch show ‘Limmy’s Show’, we were keen to find out what he was up to next. We didn’t get an answer.

 

However, when Capt. suggested we do the interview in person…

 

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix IN PERSON? F*** THAT.

 

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Hahahah! Okay, so Twitter it is. Thanks. That makes me feel a lot better. Phew. You know what? I’d actually be scared, anyway.

 

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Just a man.

 

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond I know what you’re like, though. I’ve seen you on justin.tv.

 

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix That’s not me, that’s a d***.

 

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Glad we got that cleared up. So, I’ll just start firing questions at you when they come to me. Describe your childhood.

 

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix ”Describe your childhood”, haha. I was a wee boy doing wee boy things then I grew up.

 

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Alright, thanks. So, trademark question: what do you know? Tell me one thing. Anything you like.

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix I know that I’m lying on my couch in my comfies, doing this interview.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Great visual there, now I don’t have to ask what you’re wearing! So what are you up to at the moment on a professional level?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix F*** all, bar a few things I want to keep secret for now.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Awww! Okay, tell us a secret, then. Any secret. Just one? Go on, you know you want to! For the ferals.

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix I stopped caring about wearing matching socks a few months ago.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond What started you off as a comedian, because I know you’re also a web developer – do you still do much of that?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix My website Limmy.com. And I kind of meandered into what I’m doing now from that. I still do the odd bit of web work.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond When did you first realise you were funny?

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix When people laughed at things I’d say. Haha.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Popcorn; salty or sweet?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Salty.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond What’s the most feral thing you’ve ever done? (hope I don’t lose track of your answers, should be fine) *firing, bang bang*

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix Just the usual, a s**** in a bush when I was young.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond I notice you’re on justin.tv a lot (as you know I sometimes pop in and SHOUT AT YOU). Are you getting addicted?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Aye, sorta. I’ve been wanting to jump on the webcam at every spare moment.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond What’s your worst guilty pleasure? (i.e cheesy pop music, watching Katie Price on telly) All the details please.

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix I couldn’t say. People who say they’ve admitted their worst guilty pleasure haven’t really.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond That’s actually very true. What advice would you give to young ferals out there hoping to follow in your footsteps?

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix What is a feral?

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Feral is what you make it. It basically means ‘wild’ or ‘untamed’. We’re the ferals, we’re not spoonfed by the media. Rawr.

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix I’d say to everyone to do what you want and try not to be so much of a c***. I’m talking to myself, really.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond That’s good advice. So, if you change anything about yourself to be less of a c***, what would it be?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Stop thinking so badly of people and stop seeing everything in black and white so much.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond So apart from web development and being funny, what other talents do you have, if any? Can you play a musical instrument?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix I’m very talented at arguing with people and coming across as a smart arse fanny. Very good at that.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond So, can you argue any side of an argument if you really wanted? If I ask you to argue for any particular cause could you do it?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Aye, probably, since everything is relative. You can see the good and bad in everything.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond What do you really think about the English?

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix Same as what I think about the Scottish, really.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond So we’re basically all the same? And what do you think about the Scottish?

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix Nothing. Just what I think about people. People are people, nice people and fannies in all countries.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Your home is on fire, everyone’s safe, you’ve got time to save three things. What would they be?

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix My computer, my external hard drive and my box of memories.

@BrianLimond If you were a biscuit, what kind of biscuit would you be?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Some kind of biscuit that you really like then get f****** sick of. Jammy Dodger.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Hahah! What’s your favourite song of all time?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Geronimo’s Cadillac by Modern Talking, the 8 minute version.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Do you have any role models? Who do you really look up to?

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix I don’t have any role models, I’m 35.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond You said somewhere you didn’t know if there’d be another series of Limmy’s show, but would you want to do another?

BrianLimond  @BronwenPhoenix Aye.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond Thanks for taking the time to do the interview. Do you have a message for the Feral Nation?


BrianLimond
 @BronwenPhoenix Nae bother. My message is GO FOR IT.

BronwenPhoenix @BrianLimond That’s it, I think. Can’t think of any more and we’re almost out of time. Thanks for doing this.

BrianLimond @BronwenPhoenix Nae bother, Brownwen. Hahahaha.

–Editor’s Note: He knows I hate being called ‘Brownwen’.

 

 

 

 

 

Team Awesome DJs

If you’re in London then you’ve probably heard of Team Awesome. If you haven’t then you’ve not lived. Seriously.
Lets start from the beginning. Two girls joined together by their love of music and having a good time decided to become a DJing duo and managed to secure a regular slot at The Good Ship in North London, a hop, skip and a jump away from Nottinghill and Camden. Not shy about actually telling people about their DJ nights the girls soon became the talk of the town (at least Camden Town anyway). Their blend of electro and dance floor classics was hard to resist and it wasn’t long before the team were filling support slots for bands and of course running their own successful DJ nights across London. 

Lets not forget to mention their appearances in The Mighty Boosh Series 3! If that wasn’t enough, the team supported the Boosh boys before some of their live band performances this year. Very cool indeed!

Now with two extra sidekicks Team Awesome are well on their way to becoming an institution in the London music scene. You have been warned.

 

Cat On The Wall: Welcome to Blind Date! What’s your name and where do you come from?

Team Awesome: Hello, we’re Team Awesome and we’re from London (except for the one from Brighton, and the one currently on a brief sabbatical up in Manchester)
COTW: Team Awesome have expanded! I blame the Krispy Kreme donuts. When and how did this happen?
TA: This was a natural progression brought about by the fact that when we were two there was way too much oestrogen knocking about, and when Christy went up to Manchester then we were rather stuck for the large number of gigs we had booked for the summer, and so our good friends James Hammersley from The London Fractures swiftly became JB Fracture, and Adam Claxton from Butterfly Bangs, Fitty Dam Bang. And we haven’t looked back since!
COTW: Do you have a slogan or some kind of quote or word you say to each other? Like in Team America they say ‘fuck yeah’ all the time or maybe you have a special Team Awesome hand signal?
TA: There is an awesome hand signal, we didn’t make it up though, we stole it from society! We don’t so much have anything we particularly say to each other… but we are all quite proficient in ridiculous dance moves. Especially Fitty, who is the King of 90s dance moves.


COTW:
 How easy (or difficult) is it Djing? I’m planning on Djing at my 25th birthday this year but I have no idea how to line up beats and all that malarkey although I have practised my DJ moves which is an essential part don’t you think?
TA: It’s a common misconception that the skill lies in beat matching, obviously that is important, but it’s not something that you can learn that specifically – it’s more about sensing your crowd and seeing what gets them moving, and what sounds right together, you could feasibly beat match anything, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to sound any good!

You can’t have tracks which jarr with one another – they have to flow, as it were. In addition, a lot of venues have CRAP decks, so you have to be able to think it through in your mind and not rely on the technology, we have “our” decks which are top of the range Technics SLDZ1200s, which makes beat matching super easy, but you can’t rely on that, because the set up in a venue rarely will match what you have in, and as such, you need to know in yourself what sounds good and how tracks fit together.

Have I mentioned that Laptop Djing is cheating? I might just be saying that cause its too modern and complicated for my tiny mind, but I still think it’s cheating. I think iPod Djing is cheating too.


COTW:
 You’re a very fashionable lot. You even have your own t-shirts. How cool is that?Are you very image conscious or do you see yourselves more as trend setters? What are you wearing at the moment (in a non pervy way)?
TA: It IS cool! But that’s thanks to Charles of London who very kindly took an interest in us and wanted to make our T Shirts for us. Couldn’t really ask for a cooler affiliation, we LOVE Charles of London! I wouldn’t say we are image concious – well, not in our Team Awesome get up anyway!

It’s all pretty tongue in cheek to be honest, we just like to have fun and dress up, we don’t take it that seriously cause it should all just be a lot of fun. We were Djing at Rehab in Kent, and we had full on neon UV facepaints and when we were walking to the venue there was the slight worry that they wouldn’t quite “get” that it was supposed to be fun and ironic, and they might actually think we thought we were some kind of neon superheroes (which, actually, we clearly are) and murder us in the back streets of Maidstone.


COTW:
 It is rare these days to come across music promoters who actually care about the music rather than just the money they can make out of it. What made you decide to start putting on gigs for bands?
TA: Exactly that actually! With two members in bands and myself managing four bands, we are very sensitive to that whole set up, slap anything on the bill, doesn’t matter if it all doesn’t fit, make some money, don’t give any to the bands etc. etc. It’s all way too much pressure for something which should just be a lot of fun.

Going and seeing a band should be something anyone can do, just a good night out, laughing and dancing. Bands work BLOODY hard and the last thing they need is to feel like just another number on an endless conyeyor belt of pack ‘em in, churn ‘em out nights.


COTW:
 Any gigs/nights coming up?
TA: Always! Keep an eye on the myspace! We have a monthly residency at the Good Ship but the next big deal will be our Halloween Ball, we have Rev & Snell DJing (Towers of London / Prodigy / Team Disgusting) as well as a beautiful line up of Trash Money headlining with support from The London Fractures and Butterfly Bangs. Lots of dressing up and silly games till 4am, a massive dirty party! It’s gonna rock. Tickets are available online here… http://www.wegottickets.com/event/35635
COTW: I keep being told by my friends that you can lose yourself in London, get all isolated, but there seems to be quite a community spirit where you are. You’re all working together and supporting each other on different projects. Is that something to do with where you live or more about the kind of friends you have?
TA: It’s not really about where we live, as I said we are quite spread out, it’s more about the “scene” as it were, it’s a crazy small world, I keep making new acquaintances only to realise we already know about 6 of the same people and have generally been in the same place at the same time, lots. It’s bizarre really, but it’s good. More people should be more willing to form a little bond, a little army and help each other out, we try and do that with our little group – we put each other forward for stuff where possible, it’s nice, because as much as you are on top of your own promotion, you can’t be everywhere at once!


COTW:
 Do you have any projects going on at the moment?
TA: We always have projects going on, some crazy scheme one or other of us has come up with, we usually run with them! Lots of ideas, some fans have offered to do us a “behind the scenes” film, which I think could be fun. A lot more goes into putting on these nights than people realise, a lot of times I am in a venue for 12 hours, from start to finish. I think it could be good to see what we do, for other people who want to do something similar. I hope people do start putting on more nights of their own, it’s not inacheivable, it’s a lot of fun and really rewarding.


COTW:
 I hear there’s talk of a Team Awesome podcast? Tell me more!

TA: There is… nothing has happened yet though, we’ve all been a bit too immersed in our various individual projects to sit down and talk it through but JB Fracture has said he will do the technical bits and hopefully we will move on it soon. Maybe in the run up to the Halloween Ball. Keep your eyes peeled on the myspace and facebook groups for more info!


COTW:
 Ok, imagine you’re stepping into the DJ booth, the crowd is loud and energetic, and they’re ready to dance, dance, dance! What are the first 3 tunes you hit the decks with?

TA: Genesis – Justice / We Are Rockstars – Does It Offend You, Yeah? / Hot Ride – Prodigy
Three of the most awesomely crafted songs in the actual known universe. Don’t even THINK about arguing with us, we are resolute.


COTW:
 What are you plans for the near future?
TA: Well, all we want to do is keep having fun, and keep putting on nights which other people enjoy! If there is anything else we can do to bring a smile to people’s faces, then we’ll probably have a crack at that too! However, in the mean time, as I have mentioned already, we’re just gearing up for the Halloween Ball, then comes the Christmas Ball… it never stops in Team Awesome-land!

 

BQ – Betty Q (Lis)
JC – Johnny Christchild (Christy)
JBF – JB Fracture (Hammersley)
FDB – Fitty Dam Bang (Adam)

How old are you all?

BQ – Bloody ancient. 27.

JBF – Oldest and the wisest. 28.

JC – Barely Legal. 25.

FDB – What was the question again?

What made you each get into music, have you always been interested in it?

BQ – I mainly got into it as an acceptable way to touch up hot boys in bands. This isn’t as much of a lie as I would like to believe. No, ok. Really? Its because I got frustrated by continually seeing bands perform on crappy bills, with promoters more interested in making money than doing it for the music. Very few people these days want to help anyone for nothing… so I thought if I could use whatever limited talents I have to help bands out in whatever small way I can – then thats what I should do. Check me out, some kind of music saint. I am basically as good, if not better, than Jesus. If, of course, Jesus had worked in the music industry instead of messing about making stuff out of wood.

JC – All Hail Betty Q!

JBF – I mainly got into it an acceptable way to touch up hot girls outside of bands. Well, I’ve played in bands since I was 15 and moved to London a few years ago to get famous. I started off playing guitar and now play keyboards for indie outfit the London Fractures. The move to electronica and DJ’ing was the natural next step.

JC – I mainly got into it, as an acceptable way to go off and touch up Monkeys – the ones that dance in Fez hats at car boot sales. And now here I am, living the dream!

FDB – I mainly got into it as an acceptable way to touch up the other three, aswell as cop an eye full of Betty Q’s exquisite cajungas…No seriously, I love the way good music makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, which is a bigger thrill than ringing erotic chat lines…

How did you all meet each other?

BQ – Erotic chat lines.

JC – I was wet_nips and Betty was queen_of_quim and we teamed up to from an alliance against Pervy_Peter_Perineum, the on-site pedo.

JBF – I was the Managing Director of an erotic chat line company.

FDB – Oops! Busted!

Do you feel you bond well in Team Awesome because you are close to each other?

BQ – You know how the spice girls all pretend to be friends but in actual fact, they all fucking hate each other? Its kind of like that. But with better clothes and less impressive salaries.

JBF – I want a new Team Awesome t-shirt. Geek Spice.

FDB – I like it when we cuddle.

BQ – I feel bad for saying we hate each other. We don’t really, we love each other very much. More like the teletubbies, really, than the spice girls.

JC – Fracture has to be Tinky Winky so that next time he gets drunk early, he can be sick into his handbag!

BQ – Ah man, I was going to say that, but then decided it was too harsh! Haha. True though… gonna get some mileage out of your early bath, Fracture.

How did you come up with the name Team Awesome?

BQ – I thought of that one! It sort of started off as a joke, but then it stuck!

JC – There is a hand gesture that goes with it. It made us laugh until we did a wee.

BQ – We still do the hand gesture from time to time, its not died out. I also feel people should realise that Team Awesome should always be pronounced as if you were Eric Cartman. Factual.

JC – Crossed with the South Park Saddam Houssain character too.

When did JB Fracture and Fitty Dam Bang join, how was that brought about?

BQ – JB Fracture joined because Christy had to move up north on a research project for 4 months and he wanted me to teach him Djing so I thought if I was doing that, I might as well keep him for a bit. Fitty Dam Bang joined because there were certain dates JB couldn’t do, and because hes awesome and we have a laugh. Oh, and our fans appreciate a bit of eye candy!

JBF – What, I’m not good enough eye candy?!

BQ – Here we go again… “Who’s hotter?! Me or Fitty?” Its not a competition you know! Which is lucky for you, really! Ha! I am just relieved no one has questioned my “lets get a couple of hotties in” motives. Its purely for the fans I tells ya!

FDB – A dance off it is!

BQ – A dance off? A NAKED dance off? I’ll bring the popcorn!

JC – Body poppin’ boys and butterscotch popcorn – what a night! 

Do you all have the same interests and influences or do you each bring something to Team Awesome individually?

BQ – Christy and I have an amazing ability to create astoundingly brilliant cheesy dance moves. JB has techno-geek knowledge and can do clever things… not always successfully! You will have to wait and see what Fitty brings to the table when he does a gig with us!

JBF – I want to plug my keyboard in to channel 3 but they won’t let me.

BQ – He’s literally obsessed with the Aux Channel, if he could put his willy in it, he would. In fact – I bet he does. Sicko.

FDB – I bring a little one eyed Goldfish called Steve. he’s a drunk and likes Kajagoogoo.

JC – That’s a conincidence, I have a one eyed trouser-snake called Justin. He’s a crack addict and sexual predator.

BQ – I met him, its true, he knocked me up.

JC – He’s got his one-eye on Steve next…

BQ – You can break it down like this, I do all the boring bookings and managementy stuff, Christy is the glamorous one, JB likes to do the geek jobs, and Fitty can reach things from high places! Its symbiotic I tells ya.

What do you think of the mainstream music industry at the moment; what do you think of the music charts?

BQ – I am passing this question on to anyone else, I am so out of touch, I have literally NO idea of anything in the charts or so called mainstream. Christy is forever telling me about a good song shes heard or something and I have never heard of them… I suck.

JC – And when I am trying to sing them to her, I end up sounding like a retarded and deaf mule. There are a few good songs out there, but mainly its just noise. Oh god, how old are we?!

JBF – Isn’t the mainstream like the Hoosiers and The Feeling and that? Or am I just thinking of indie mainstream whatever that is? A little bit soft for my liking to put it lightly, it’s got to have some punch to it… there needs to be more dirty phat synths.

BQ – You can’t say “phat” – you are WAY too middle class.

FDB – I fucking hate The Hoosiers.. oh and Scouting for girls for that matter…a lot of mainstream sucks because its not that inspirational which is why there are so many artists doing it by themselves.. ha ha, you said PHAT!

JC – We like that Jack Sparrow guy…

BQ – Its SAM Sparro – for the fucking 800th time, you mong, he is not a Pirate Lord.

There are many aspiring DJs out there, what would be your advice for them?

BQ – I don’t think we want to give them any advice, they might listen to it and take our jobs off us!

JBF – Join Team Awesome.

BQ – I think we’re a bit full now – we’ve already expanded by 100%. We’re a bit like Abba now, lets leave it at that – we dont wanna become Blazin’ Squad.

FDB – Never get so drunk you have to be get carried up the stairs and put into a taxi before 1am! (*cough* Mr Fracture!)

JC – Do you not mean fall DOWN stairs, using your face as a sled?

Do you have any heavily requested songs-if so what are they?

BQ – We have a dedicated following of fans who call themselves the Dollybirds (or, as we call them, The Team Awesome Army) and we always play Cars by Gary Numan for them. They all stand in a line and do this dance… its genius. Cracks us up every time.

JC – We once DJd at a wedding and managed to upset the entire older generation by rudely not playing Dancing Queen by Abba. We didn’t have it, but apparently this made us as bad as Satan in their eyes, and they were really mean to us, and the worst bit is, it’s a fucking SHIT SONG!

Do you like to help promote friend’s bands when you play DJ sets? (like Robots in Disguise and Trash Money)

BQ – As much as we can! Not just bands, we also have friends who do remixes who are brilliant – The Billion Dollar Djs and CCK for example.

JC – Yes, we always try and support our friends bands as much as possible, not only in Djing but also we get them in to play on our nights – luckily for us, they are all great. In fact, I think we have only ever booked one band once that we didn’t like. And we don’t talk about that anymore…

BQ – Because it scarred us for life.

JC – We are really looking forward to the Summer Party when SevereZero are doing a very special cover of one of our favourite songs, they said we could pick any and we have picked a corker – you are going to love it.

Are you taking part in The Mighty Boosh festival in July?

BQ – We dont know yet… wait and see.

Your photoshoots looks like they were a lot of fun, where did they both take place?

BQ – For the one with JB Fracture, we got clearance from Westminster Council to do it in an underground carpark on Clipstone Street but the man in there was really mean to us and wouldn’t let us – by the time we were there with the photographer and all our gear the council was closed and so I had no one to call up to prove it to him. So, mainly to piss him off, we did it RIGHT OUTSIDE. We got soaked and nearly froze to death, but it’s the principal of the thing!

JBF – And everything smelt of tramp’s piss afterwards. I think next time public doorways are a no no…

BQ – Our initial one, the superheroes shoot – was behind a restaurant in Clapham Junction.

JC – The photographer Rick found it, he is the hero of finding genius dodgy alley based locations, ideal for pummelling electro boys.

Did you plan how you wanted the pictures to look (how you posed etc)?

BQ – We came up with the superheroes concept and borrowed the clothes from Red Mutha and Charles of London – we made all the props ourselves…

JC – I spent several days at my old work, actually cutting out cardboard boxes in the shapes and colouring them in with highlighters and felt tip pens – I think I deserve a blue Peter Badge…

BQ – The “baddies” in the shoot are friends of ours who we dressed up. Rick Pushinsky was excellent in posing us too – he really got what we were trying to achieve and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better to help us out! Hes a genius! As for the JB Fracture shoot – I had some ideas, but our photographer, Immy Ashby from iaPhotography has a really good eye for what works and what doesn’t and so we abandoned a lot of the more obscure ideas I had had, because they just didn’t work as well as I had hoped.

JBF – I spent days in front of the mirror practising my poses. All the wrestling positions and that.

BQ – It didn’t really pay off, did it…

JC – I was sad to miss out on this one – it looks like a lot of fun. JB looks frighteningly good in make up, damn him. Betty spent days plotting the most ridiculous outfits to make him look like a tard, yet he pulled it off. What a bastard.

How do you know the photographer from the first photoshoot, Richard Morris Pushinsky?

BQ – I met Rick through a mutual friend when he arrived at my 26th Birthday party dressed in shiny red devil horns. He is the most amazing photographer and has worked with some brilliant artists – if you havent checked out his website you should do www.pushinsky.com

JC – I only met Rick for the first time on the day of the shoot – and instantly adored him.

Lis and Christy, your stage outfits are brilliant, where do you go shopping to find such eccentric styles?

BQ – Well we get the basics from Primark in the main! But we always customise them ourselves or we have T Shirts made for us by Charles of London too.

JC – We go shopping in our minds! And then make it a reality with pritstick and glow in the dark gel.

Do you think fashion is important to music?

BQ – The correct answer here is no, obviously. Nothing should be as important to music as the music itself, but I guess image is kind of important. For us though its more about being recognisable as a brand. The logo (the crossed guitar and lightening bolt) is actually a copy of a Tattoo I have on the back of my neck. I had had the Tattoo for quite some time, but then Chris Tate from Trash Money offered to make us a logo and he thought a stylised version of my tattoo would work really well. He came up with the logo you see all over T Shirts, badges and Earrings etc – it’s a bit odd for me in a way though, seeing people wandering around plastered in copies of my tattoo!

JC – I think Betty’s tattoo is perfect for our logo cause it really epitomises Team Awesome, bright colours and strong images

What was the first record you each bought?

BQ – Return to Innocence – Enigma. The single, on cassette. RUBBISH! I didn’t even want that one, I went with my £2.20 to Woolworths in Horncastle, Lincolnshire to buy Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl but they had sold out, so I just got any old thing cause I was determined to get something!

JBF – The first album I bought was Labour of Love 2 by UB40, on cassette. I loved it and still get a giddy feeling whenever I hear anything from it. After that I bought my first CD which was Faith No More’s “Be Aggressive”. I can’t say either of them has had any influence over what I do now though!

FDB – Pj and Duncan, Lets get ready to rhumble. GET IN you know you still love it.

BQ – But do you know all the words? I do. I feel another challenge coming on… a PJ and Duncan off!

JC – Will this one be naked too? My turn to bring the popcorn! Next question…

BQ – Wait… you haven’t answered yet!!!

JC – Ok… *sigh* Whigfield – Saturday Night. Cassette single. From the bargain bin.

BQ – Get out of my sight.

What bands are you each currently into?

BQ – I like so much stuff, it entirely depends on my mood. I think my favourite bands at the moment to go see live would have to be Trash Money, The London Fractures, Kindle, The Budda Cakes, Butterfly Bangs… the list is TOO LONG!

JBF – I hate this question. I’m an indie kid at heart but like the electro dance vibe. I’ve been trawling my back catalogue of 80′s music at the moment…

JC – By “Electro Dance Vibe”, do you mean 2 Unlimited?!

BQ – I genuinely expected JBF to answer this question with “Did I ever tell you I won the 1000 best albums of all time?” He told me that so many times when I first knew him – and then his mate Jim told me that, although this is true, he hadnt actually even listened to more than about one yet. HA!

FDB – Girlsaloud, in my opinion they can do no wrong!

BQ – That’s not REALLY about their musical prowess though is it?!

JC – I find myself personally inspired by the rousing theme tune of Colin Fry’s “6ixth Sense” and other pan pipe classics. As well as Jack Sparrow, obviously.

BQ – SAM SPARRO! Its SAM Sparro! ARGH!

JC – Oh yeah. Well, him.

Do you think people should be finding out about more underground bands than purely listening to mainstream artists?

BQ – People should listen to whatever they like and no one should tell you what you have to like and not like, but I do think nowadays there is almost a set of rules of the sort of bands which are likely to have commercial success which is based more on a sense of pre-existing forecast of sales, which isn’t based on talent at all. If you don’t look beyond that, you wont discover anything else. There are some bands I had dealings with a few years ago who I actually dismissed as not being up to much who I have now seen advertised on the telly and have had a number one album… I was GOBSMACKED when I saw them as being quoted as this amazing new act. I wont name names. But there are FAR more deserving bands out there who don’t get these opportunities and that really frustrates me.

JBF – If it’s the band I think you’re talking about then I don’t agree. They’re brilliant. They use a Kaoss Pad! Personally I think there’s no excuse for not discovering new bands yourself. Myspace is swamped with them, and the live scene seems rampant the moment. Just trawl through the local listings, have a listen online and get yourself down to a gig.

BQ – You owe me a Kaoss Pad. And no, I dont think you are correct. This band does NOT use a Kaoss Pad they use floppy hair and do that “playing an instrument really passionately” face that, actually, JBF does – its hilarious. Hmm, I wonder who you thought I meant…

FDB – God yes! There are soo many bands about at the moment we are spoilt for choice, however I think its too easy for great underground music to spill out into the mainstream and get turned into a bullshit gimmick pop group… don’t get swayed by popularity.

JC – I everyone should check out hot new boy band, Bagamudi (pronounced Bagger Moo Die)

BQ – Oh my GOD yes, I cant believe I didn’t think to say that myself…

JC – I am going to set up a myspace for them…

BQ – Bagamudi is where its at!

When and where was your first ever Team Awesome DJ set and what was the experience like?

BQ – It was the Trash Money single launch for 747. It was a lot of fun, but we were so nervous we got too drunk and I actually at one point managed to switch the decks off in the middle of a song… just pressed something, and everything went off. I had no idea what I had done, and Christy was really cross with me and I didn’t know what to do… So I sat on the floor and hid. Always an excellent plan when faced with diversity.

JC – Yes, the alcohol… I tried to hide my drunkeness with winking in all the pictures.

JBF – Mine was at Bar Rumba not too long ago… We DJ’d and my band did a gig, a nice little combination… it rather fun having the Team Awesome fans dancing onstage with the Fractures!

BQ – The Team Awesome Army can be relied upon for all forms of stage invasion and or “making us look dead good and popular” – so thanks guys!

FDB – My first gig was at the Mighty Boosh secret show in Kings Cross, London. It was a gig with the Boosh Band, I was very excited, the venue was rammed to the walls as Betty and I approached the DJ box, the crowd and our Team Awesome army were waiting anxiously for me to play my first song.…and they loved it, Betty and I were on fire, we had won the crowd. The DJ before us was playing some obscure Reggae, so Noel had asked us to mess it up with some proper electro! The Mighty Boosh band played an awesome set, and we had a lot of fun. Betty and I ended up playing into the early hours with a packed club dancing their hearts out and loving every second of it! And I did too! Since then its been non stop! We also just DJ’d at Bar Rumba at my band, Butterfly Bangs, gig there, and loads more coming up over the next few months – so keep your eyes peeled on our myspace!

What was it like to be mentioned in The Times magazine?

BQ – Ridiculously unexpected and exciting! We got a message from Charles of London on our myspace saying we were in it, and I had to ring my dad and get him to check. We like to drop that into conversation as much as possible to annoy our friends. Well, I do anyway.

JC – I was slightly miffed that there was no picture of us. When we rang Betty’s Dad, he did actually think the picture they used of Kelly Osbourne, was her. She wasn’t very happy about that.

BQ – No. I wasn’t.

Lis & Christy, you appeared in The Mighty Boosh. What was your part, which series were you in and what was it like to be part of it?

BQ – Yes, we did, it was series 3 and one or both of us were in all of the episodes except the last one. We didn’t have parts as such, we were just dicking around in the background. It was a lot of fun, as you would imagine really!

JC – A lot of good times, ups and down, ie, injuries on the bouncy castle, and all the wasps, all the wasps in the world came down to watch the boosh being filmed.

BQ – We had most of our fun waiting to be called for scenes, actually – larking around in this old disused MoD Facility.

JC – Making tiny towns…

BQ – …out of street detritus.

Do you have a lot of Mighty Boosh fans attending your DJ sets?

BQ – Well, we have a lot of Team Awesome fans who come to our shows, whether they are Boosh fans or not is immaterial!

JC – But there are very few people left in the world who arent Mighty Boosh fans now, arent there. Everyone loves the Boosh.

What do you have planned for the future of Team Awesome?

BQ – I want us to do a pod-cast. I really think we should do that – it would be a hell of a lot of fun. Could get all our pals involved and it could be a great promo tool for them too.

JBF – The recording studio is being set up at my place at the moment… and Betty thinks I’m joking? I think some kind of online radio station has to be the way forward… podcasts all the way.

BQ – Your house isnt rock and roll enough though! We would have to get either some kind of mobile recordy thing to take to bands – or get them to yours – this isnt making for a very interesting interview… we can talk about this later! But yes, Podcast – which apparently JBF will sort out. So there.

FDB – Global domination, and the radio show sounds pretty good too!

JC – Betty told me that there is too much embroidery and sculptures at JB’s house.

BQ – Its not an unfair comment. Anyway – I think now that we have our very own bass player and keyboardist, it would be rude not to do some kind of comedic performance, Christy and I have been going on about doing this for AGES.

JC – Hell Yeah! The musical cogs are turning.

BQ – We thought of some fucking brilliant names… anyway that’s another project all together…

Are your Team Awesome t-shirts available to buy online?

BQ – They certainly are! You can get them from www.charlesoflondon.com they come in White in the sizes listed on the site, but if you cant get the size you want, or you want mens sizes, or black T Shirts, you can drop them a line and ask them! They are wonderful people and will be all too happy to help you – get a T Shirt and join the Team Awesome Army!

Angel Ceballos

Angel Ceballos (@robotangel) is a Seattle based photographer, creative virtuoso, and fashion plate. Her work seamlessly blends the concept of band portraiture with the imagination of the most conceptual of instillation artist, and a flare for fashion and colour that wouldn’t look out of place nestled within the glossy pages of the uber ‘style bible’ Vogue. 

 

Angel’s impressive list of clients features the kings and queens of the current alternative music scene, such as Har Mar Superstar, Peaches, The Slits and Nina Persson, reflecting her quirky unique style, and DIY approach.

 

A self proclaimed wearer of many hats, a Renaissance ant she has recently made the transition into layout design, her work having appeared in the latest offerings of bands such as Cock and Swan, The Polyamorous Affair and Perfume Genius.

 

Her most recent project saw her blending photography with video, when she teamed up with electronic goddesses Robots in Disguise to work on their successful Pledge.

 

Who are you? Angel Ceballos – http://robotangel.com

 

What are you wearing?

 

·         A black cardigan that is Victorian cut with 3/4 cuffed sleeves and a large silk ruffle down one side that is dark green with white polka dots. Clipped to the cardigan is a small hair clip, actually for babies, that is a a tight square bow, red with black polka dot.(I tend to put red somewhere in the outfit if I’m wearing dark green-I’m weird.)

·         A fitted tee with all over oversized hounds tooth print. An above knee length black chiffon skirt with vertical black chiffon strips sewn all round it (I’m pretty sure the strip effect is gleaned from Yves Saint Laurent’s design.)

·         Bright orange tights
·         Black leather motorcycle boots
·         Accessories: stainless steel laser cut earrings, a Tatty Devine Robots in Disguise blue lipstick necklace, a 2 finger knuckle duster, black leather purse with a blue fox tail pinned to it by a Tatty Devine oversized safety pin that has pink and purple guitar picks hanging from it.

 

What do you do?

For my Day Job (read: how I make cash), I’m a project manager in the software industry for processes that  scope across ~ 5000 people.

But what I really do is outside that realm. I’m an indie rock photographer, amateur film documentarian for bands, fashion television correspondent for a Chinese TV show, amateur writer for Ectomo.com. I’ve also started doing a little band promotion for a couple bands.

 

How did u get started?

Pretty much everything I do in life from professional to art is something that I have never learned how to do. And the fact that I don’t know how to do it, is what makes it attractive to me.

 

For my artistic endeavors, I used to illustrate and paint when I was younger. My grandfather passed and left me his old Mamiya 35mm, and I just started using it unaware of the impact it would have on my life. Taking photographs came so natural to me and I immediately became obsessed. I started by taking sneaky street photography. Strangers around me who didn’t know I was photographing them.  I was modeling at the time in indie alternative photography circles, and the thought of taking photographs of people actually posing was really unappealing to me (to a degree it still is). I spent some years taking what can best be described as photo journalistic photos (to get an idea of what I mean, you can look at the Where we Tread and Wild galleries in my portfolio.)

 

I didn’t start shooting people who were aware my camera was pointed at them until I started shooting bands many years ago. When that happened, I felt if I was going to shoot a person, then I needed to create a story of some sort, probably so I didn’t get bored (^_^) – taking a picture of someone just standing there is so boring unless you are capturing a candid moment. Luckily the bands I was shooting were hella lax and were totally open to me shooting a scenario. My favourite shoot with a band to this day was one of my first with Cock and Swan, where I shot them on a hot summer afternoon in their trailer park as ‘trailer trash’. I styled them, did their makeup, set up the scene with props etc. There was tall boy drinking, cigarette smoking, arm wrestling and engine work. I shot this during the golden hour and cross processed the film. The outcome was really fab.  I wasn’t a ‘rock photographer’ I was just friends with loads of people in bands, so I didn’t outwardly seek these shoots but the story telling aspect quickly became my favourite thing. I started coming up with a surfeit of scenarios, but there weren’t enough bands, and the story really has to fit the band so that’s when I started shooting models (I know!) I did a complete 180, and used them as my little dolls to play all my little parts I’d dream up. I would do the styling, makeup, hair and shooting.

 

I kept this up for some time purely as an outlet for my overflowing head of ideas. Then one day I felt empty, sure I was creating pictures and art but what for? Really just for me. It was a lot of effort and energy just to take photos that only a few people would see and enjoy.

 

Music has been a huge part of my life, my whole life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was putting on Motown records by myself at age 3. Picking the ones that I knew I liked, and playing them. My mother was way into music, and it was a common theme for me to be asked to perform a song for her friends as entertainment. I remember her favourite songs for me to sing to her friends were Crystal Gayle’s “Angel of the Morning” and Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuckie’s in Love”. I guess it’s funny to see a 4 year old to sing grown up songs in completion? I don’t know…  Back in those days it was before MTV and we had music shows like the ever amazing Solid Gold, and then there was American Band Stand. In fact, the one major scar I have is on my eyebrow from when I was two and dancing to Sha Na Na  that was on the TV in my living room, I hit my head on the coffee table. (Bowser was my favourite). When MTV premiered it was a MAJOR event in my house. There was a countdown for the months and days till it aired. After that it was all over for me, I was able to see in person so many of the bands that were on the records at home that I would play. And it was on ALL DAY. Music ALL DAY. Then around the time I hit age 12 we would get constant free records and tapes, boxes of them, because my mother was a hairdresser and did weaves for a radio DJ (it was a classic Joey Elliot do). This allowed me to discover my own music and not be influenced by what was ‘cool’ or ‘in’ because I was able to find obscure and alternative music quite easily at my fingertips and listen to loads of variety. I remember when I was 14 this indie record shop managed to somehow track me down by asking people about me (I kind of stood out a bit-hick town) and ended up calling me at my house. They asked me to work at their store based on the collection of vinyl I had bought on a trip there. I wasn’t at legal working age but I did end up working there after school  and sometimes at lunch during the school day anyway. I would sell records and make flyers for shows in the punk scene that was really the only thing that ever happened in my town.  (I grew up in the middle of an extremely un-developed vast desert in Eastern Washington.)

 

Anyway as you can see, I dig music (^_^) – so when I was coming up at a crossroads as to what the hell I was doing with my photography, the choice of music slotted in so easily, made perfect sense. So I turned my focus purely to bands and have been collaborating with Alexander Laurence (http://portable-infinite.blogspot.com/ ) who acts as my primary agent to line up shoots for me. Since I work with indie bands that usually don’t have promo budget, I  take the photos for free (I actually end up spending money on the shoots), to promote the bands and for them to promote themselves. It makes me feel good to create art and actually enable other artists to promote themselves. That’s not to say I don’t take paying gigs but they aren’t the norm. Once I started focusing on bands things really just snowballed. I’m a bit of a workaholic and have shot more bands in the last year than most music photographers do in 10  years. The biggest challenge has been coming up with ideas that work in a backstage green room since I shoot touring bands there is usually no time to do a proper shoot, and  I get a budget of about 20 minutes to shoot them.

 

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Everything. Music, fashion, film, art of all kinds, funny people, sex, good food, other creative people, smells, textures, laughing (I honestly get ridiculous and clever ideas after a good laugh, it’s almost like it opens up some place in my head), most things vintage – ranging across the board from like crazy antique medical practices to liquor ad campaigns in 70’s issues of Playboy-it’s all over the shop.  I’ll stop here before I give another long winded response.

 

Upcoming projects?

I’m shooting Fuck Buttons, Maps and Atlases and maybe Freelance Whales and Frightened Rabbit this weekend. Then later this month Toro y Moi and First Aid Kit.  Although to be honest all shoots are usually pending until they happen. Touring bands can hit snags during travel and sometimes there isn’t time for a shoot and at the last minute things get cancelled. Aside from that I am interviewing a designer on my trip to London at the end of June for this Chinese Fashion TV show, and shooting as many bands as I can manage.

 

Your involvement with RID’s Pledge Project?

I had been wanting to have a photo shoot with the Robots for ages. I had been in contact with them for a year on it. Things never fell into place due to much traveling etc on their side. Then I thought of profiling them for the TV show since they are such unique fashion icons and was able to catch them at the same time since they were recording Album 4 in London. We did some filming mostly following them around for the day to a couple of their favourite haunts, and checking out their studio.

 

For Pledge, we took the opportunity to film a few fun segments to promote their pledge effort. I also urged the girls to use Facebook to their advantage and to promote the heck out of pledge there. Before I came to see the girls, I asked the band Chk Chk Chk to hold a banner asking to support the Robots in Disguise pledge effort for Album 4 and took their photograph. The girls really liked that so Sue asked Eddie Argos while I was in town and he did it,  then  when I got back to Seattle I asked Peaches and Har Mar Superstar to do it and they did as well. It was so cool and wonderful for the other artists to support it like that. Then I created little vignettes to promote pledge from the video we took. There is a full on interview and other footage fans haven’t seen yet. I will get working on that soon –things have been pretty busy for me.

 

Career highlight to date?

This is tough, probably getting to spend the day with and shoot The Slits. Although shooting Jello Biafra and Daniel Johnston bears a close 2nd.

 

Ambition for the future?

I really enjoy doing album covers, I’d like to do more of them. I’ve done 3 this year so far and even did the layout as well for one. What I’m absolutely busting to do though is documentary work for bands. Video and film photography. I want to tour with them and snatch all that life all up in my camera and hold it and pet it and love it and call it ‘George’. (For those too young to know, that’s a reference to a looney tunes yeti character.)

 

Advice to the creative?

Take risks. All the time. And do crazy things. Not all the time just when it counts. Choose wisely J

 

If you weren’t you, who would you be?

Probably Optimus Prime or Mazinger Z.

 

On Fri, May 14, 2010 at 6:33 PM, robot angel <robotangel@gmail.com> wrote:

Sorry, typos were in it, so I’m pasting a new version:

 

Who are you? Angel Ceballos – http://robotangel.com

 

What are you wearing?

 

·         A black cardigan that is Victorian cut with 3/4 cuffed sleeves and a large silk ruffle down one side that is dark green with white polka dots. Clipped to the cardigan is a small hair clip, actually for babies, that is a a tight square bow, red with black polka dot.(I tend to put red somewhere in the outfit if I’m wearing dark green-I’m weird.)

·         A fitted tee with all over oversized hounds tooth print. An above knee length black chiffon skirt with vertical black chiffon strips sewn all round it (I’m pretty sure the strip effect is gleaned from Yves Saint Laurent’s design.)

·         Bright orange tights
·         Black leather motorcycle boots
·         Accessories: stainless steel laser cut earrings, a Tatty Devine Robots in Disguise blue lipstick necklace, a 2 finger knuckle duster, black leather purse with a blue fox tail pinned to it by a Tatty Devine oversized safety pin that has pink and purple guitar picks hanging from it.

 

What do you do?

For my Day Job (read: how I make cash), I’m a project manager in the software industry for processes that  scope across ~ 5000 people.

But what I really do is outside that realm. I’m an indie rock photographer, amateur film documentarian for bands, fashion television correspondent for a Chinese TV show, amateur writer for Ectomo.com.

 

How did u get started?

Pretty much everything I do in life from professional to art is something that I have never learned how to do. And the fact that I don’t know how to do it, is what makes it attractive to me.

 

For my artistic endeavors, I used to illustrate and paint when I was younger. My grandfather passed and left me his old Mamiya 35mm, and I just started using it unaware of the impact it would have on my life. Taking photographs came so natural to me and I immediately became obsessed. I started by taking sneaky street photography. Strangers around me who didn’t know I was photographing them.  I was modeling at the time in indie alternative photography circles, and the thought of taking photographs of people actually posing was really unappealing to me (to a degree it still is). I spent some years taking what can best be described as photo journalistic photos (to get an idea of what I mean, you can look at the Where we Tread and Wild galleries in my portfolio.)

 

I didn’t start shooting people who were aware my camera was pointed at them until I started shooting bands many years ago. When that happened, I felt if I was going to shoot a person, then I needed to create a story of some sort, probably so I didn’t get bored (^_^) – taking a picture of someone just standing there is so boring unless you are capturing a candid moment. Luckily the bands I was shooting were hella lax and were totally open to me shooting a scenario. My favourite shoot with a band to this day was one of my first with Cock and Swan, where I shot them on a hot summer afternoon in their trailer park as ‘trailer trash’. I styled them, did their makeup, set up the scene with props etc. There was tall boy drinking, cigarette smoking, arm wrestling and engine work. I shot this during the golden hour and cross processed the film. The outcome was really fab.  I wasn’t a ‘rock photographer’ I was just friends with loads of people in bands, so I didn’t outwardly seek these shoots but the story telling aspect quickly became my favourite thing. I started coming up with a surfeit of scenarios, but there weren’t enough bands, and the story really has to fit the band so that’s when I started shooting models (I know!) I did a complete 180, and used them as my little dolls to play all my little parts I’d dream up. I would do the styling, makeup, hair and shooting.

 

I kept this up for some time purely as an outlet for my overflowing head of ideas. Then one day I felt empty, sure I was creating pictures and art but what for? Really just for me. It was a lot of effort and energy just to take photos that only a few people would see and enjoy.

 

Music has been a huge part of my life, my whole life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was putting on Motown records by myself at age 3. Picking the ones that I knew I liked, and playing them. My mother was way into music, and it was a common theme for me to be asked to perform a song for her friends as entertainment. I remember her favourite songs for me to sing to her friends were Crystal Gayle’s “Angel of the Morning” and Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuckie’s in Love”. I guess it’s funny to see a 4 year old to sing grown up songs in completion? I don’t know…  Back in those days it was before MTV and we had music shows like the ever amazing Solid Gold, and then there was American Band Stand. In fact, the one major scar I have is on my eyebrow from when I was two and dancing to Sha Na Na  that was on the TV in my living room, I hit my head on the coffee table. (Bowser was my favourite). When MTV premiered it was a MAJOR event in my house. There was a countdown for the months and days till it aired. After that it was all over for me, I was able to see in person so many of the bands that were on the records at home that I would play. And it was on ALL DAY. Music ALL DAY. Then around the time I hit age 12 we would get constant free records and tapes, boxes of them, because my mother was a hairdresser and did weaves for a radio DJ (it was a classic Joey Elliot do). This allowed me to discover my own music and not be influenced by what was ‘cool’ or ‘in’ because I was able to find obscure and alternative music quite easily at my fingertips and listen to loads of variety. I remember when I was 14 this indie record shop managed to somehow track me down by asking people about me (I kind of stood out a bit-hick town) and ended up calling me at my house. They asked me to work at their store based on the collection of vinyl I had bought on a trip there. I wasn’t at legal working age but I did end up working there after school  and sometimes at lunch during the school day anyway. I would sell records and make flyers for shows in the punk scene that was really the only thing that ever happened in my town.  (I grew up in the middle of an extremely un-developed vast desert in Eastern Washington.)

 

Anyway as you can see, I dig music (^_^) – so when I was coming up at a crossroads as to what the hell I was doing with my photography, the choice of music slotted in so easily, made perfect sense. So I turned my focus purely to bands and have been collaborating with Alexander Laurence (http://portable-infinite.blogspot.com/ ) who acts as my primary agent to line up shoots for me. Since I work with indie bands that usually don’t have promo budget, I  take the photos for free (I actually end up spending money on the shoots), to promote the bands and for them to promote themselves. It makes me feel good to create art and actually enable other artists to promote themselves. That’s not to say I don’t take paying gigs but they aren’t the norm. Once I started focusing on bands things really just snowballed. I’m a bit of a workaholic and have shot more bands in the last year than most music photographers do in 10  years. The biggest challenge has been coming up with ideas that work in a backstage green room since I shoot touring bands there is usually no time to do a proper shoot, and  I get a budget of about 20 minutes to shoot them.

 

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Everything. Music, fashion, film, art of all kinds, funny people, sex, good food, other creative people, smells, textures, laughing (I honestly get ridiculous and clever ideas after a good laugh, it’s almost like it opens up some place in my head), most things vintage – ranging across the board from like crazy antique medical practices to liquor ad campaigns in 70’s issues of Playboy-it’s all over the shop.  I’ll stop here before I give another long winded response.

 

Upcoming projects?

I’m shooting Fuck Buttons, Maps and Atlases and maybe Freelance Whales and Frightened Rabbit this weekend. Then later this month Toro y Moi and First Aid Kit.  Although to be honest all shoots are usually pending until they happen. Touring bands can hit snags during travel and sometimes there isn’t time for a shoot and at the last minute things get cancelled. Aside from that I am interviewing a designer on my trip to London at the end of June for this Chinese Fashion TV show, and shooting as many bands as I can manage.

 

Your involvement with RID’s Pledge Project?

I had been wanting to have a photo shoot with the Robots for ages. I had been in contact with them for a year on it. Things never fell into place due to much traveling etc on their side. Then I thought of profiling them for the TV show since they are such unique fashion icons and was able to catch them at the same time since they were recording Album 4 in London. We did some filming mostly following them around for the day to a couple of their favourite haunts, and checking out their studio.

 

For Pledge, we took the opportunity to film a few fun segments to promote their pledge effort. I also urged the girls to use Facebook to their advantage and to promote the heck out of pledge there. Before I came to see the girls, I asked the band Chk Chk Chk to hold a banner asking to support the Robots in Disguise pledge effort for Album 4 and took their photograph. The girls really liked that so Sue asked Eddie Argos while I was in town and he did it,  then  when I got back to Seattle I asked Peaches and Har Mar Superstar to do it and they did as well. It was so cool and wonderful for the other artists to support it like that. Then I created little vignettes to promote pledge from the video we took. There is a full on interview and other footage fans haven’t seen yet. I will get working on that soon –things have been pretty busy for me.

 

Career highlight to date?

This is tough, probably getting to spend the day with and shoot The Slits. Although shooting Jello Biafra and Daniel Johnston bears a close 2nd.

 

Ambition for the future?

I really enjoy doing album covers, I’d like to do more of them. I’ve done 3 this year so far and even did the layout as well for one. What I’m absolutely busting to do though is documentary work for bands. Video and film photography. I want to tour with them and snatch all that life all up in my camera and hold it and pet it and love it and call it ‘George’. (For those too young to know, that’s a reference to a looney tunes yeti character.)

 

Advice to the creative?

Take risks. All the time. And do crazy things. Not all the time just when it counts. Choose wisely J

 

If you weren’t you, who would you be?

Probably Optimus Prime or Mazinger Z.