Echoes Of The Future 02 – Fashoda Crisis
Next up in our new series that aims to shine a little light on some the lesser known acts that we love is Southend based agit-rockers Fashoda Crisis. We caught up with lead singer / guitarist Sim and popped a few questions.
1. How long has the band been together and how did you all meet?
We formed in early 2005, and played our first gig together in April of that year, originally as a four-piece (we released a few e.ps) before trimming down to the svelte power trio that we are today. Matt and Sim have known each other since their dim and and distant school days. Heinz (or Simon if you prefer), our drummer, is an albino Gorilla, that we rescued from a vivisection laboratory in Eastwood, Essex, after being inspired by the Matthew Broderick tour de force that is ‘Project X’. We taught him to play the drums as a way of communicating after sign language and the written word proved impossible. We also watched ‘War Games’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, and although we were entertained, those films did not influence our recruitment policy.
2. Where did you get your name from & what does it mean?
Fashoda Crisis (not The Fashoda Crisis, Fashoda Crises, Fishodour Crasses or any of the countless mispellings) was chosen in tribute to The Fashoda Incident. This was a diplomatic incident that occurred during the Scramble for Africa, culminating in the two mightiest forces on the planet, The British Empire and France almost going to war for the first time since the Napoleonic Wars. Being satirical little blighters we felt that this fairly ludicrous scenario was an apt moniker for our particular brand of rabble-rousing..
3. Describe your sound for us & who would you say were your biggest musical influences?
I have often described our sound as similar to the Sonic Death Machine employed by the Nazis in Biggles: The Movie, but sadly I think I am the only person to have ever hired this from the video man in the late 1980s, so the comparison rarely works. No-one has seen Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous either, which is a travesty. In the light of this I would argue that we are of a particularly noisy alt-rock, art-rock bent, abrasive, visceral but maintaining an emphasis on melody and lyrics. Although it’s not really up to us to say I suppose, others have written very lovely things (as well as some horrendous slander). Biggest musical influences would have to be the likes of Future of the Left and Mclusky, two wonderous bands of similar lineage. I would also have to say Urusei Yatsura, Sonic Youth, Pixies, Nirvana, Pavement and the Longpigs. Matt would second most of them but chuck in Terris, we would argue and both feel we had won the debate. Heinz has no concept of the existence of music that he isn’t creating himself.
4. And what about non-musical influences?
We are a band with many literary and comedic influences. Stewart Lee, Chris Morris, Bill Hicks and Steven Wells sit alongside the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Camus, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski as influence on me lyrically. I would also have to cite nearly every semi-literate cud-chewer who I have had the misfortune to work alongside in previous ‘careers’ as a fairly big influence on my furious rage, alongside the usual tabloid suspects.
Listen: 100 Years Of Cake
5. Music can be a fickle mistress, what is your biggest high & low as a band so far?
Highs aplenty: Sharing a stage with some wonderful bands (including Future of the Left on a couple of occasions); Touring Europe a number of times, visiting places like the Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, to name a few; Steve Lamacq playing us on primetime Radio One as absurd as that sounds; the satisfaction of DIY releasing our first album ‘Mischief of One Kind and Another’ and basking in the praise; so many fantastic gigs; many a jape; There are too many high points to remember.
We’ve had our fair share of lows as well, the occasional spat, the odd spectacular meltdown, broken instruments and damaged body parts. Our original singer being brutally mutilated by a bear whilst trying to take indecent photographs of tourists on Canvey Island (or leaving to join Baddies, whichever tale you are most comfortable with); Being shafted by promoters, and certain spineless hatted characters.
On the whole though the good has far outweighed the bad.
6. What one fact about the band do you most want to share with the world?
James In a bizarrely true twist of fate our debut album was released by Alien Hand Records in the Ukraine as a very limited special edition mini cd. Eat that fact.
7. The old model of record demo-do gigs-get signed-make millions is pretty broken these days, what’s your plan to deal with this?
We have cleverly circumvented this problem by deliberating not appealing to a wide range of people. This means that no record label with any sort of long term strategy would come anywhere near us leaving us in peace to revel in the DIY aesthetic that we crave. Uncompromising and downright confrontational bunch of sods that we are we wouldn’t get on with a label even if they were daft enough to chuck some money our way. Anyway our hair is rubbish and one of us is ginger, we’d never be on the cover of NME. We are releasing our second album through our own label Angry Jeebas Records, we screen print our own t-shirts and book our own tours. If we can get anywhere close to breaking even we are more than happy. If we don’t and we lose a few bob it is usually worth it.
Listen: The Berry-Brown Face Of Robert Kilroy Silk
8. We journalists like to use easy labels to describe bands, what’s the worst thing you’ve seen yourselves described as?
We were once put on the bill supporting The Rifles and Milburn, to a packed out Chinnerys in Southend. I don’t know how this happened, but the NME-clutching, scarf-wearing attendees were suitably appalled. It was a beautiful moment. We’ve had a few odd comments thrown our way over the years. One magazine described us as knowingly mainstream, which was suitably absurd; I suspect they may have got their CDs confused. There are also the odd reviewer who fail to spot the irony in some of our lyrics, therefore making themselves look quite ridiculous.
9. We’re loving what you do but who’s floating your boat right now?
I spend a lot of the time in an enraged confusion at the lack of passion and originality in music today, however there are some notable exceptions. Strange News From Another Star are a band we have had the pleasure of playing with a couple of times, and hopefully will do on many more occasions. They hail from Cardiff and feature both the legendary Mark Foley and Jimmy Watkins who has recently joined Future of the Left. They are unpredictable and charming, with a face-melting racket thrown in to boot. Their new e.p ‘Death by Ugg’ is available from Bandcamp.
It would also be remiss of me not to mention our frequent touring partners CAUTIONHORSES, from Brighton, whose post-punk noisery never gets tiring. As well as Casa Bonita, (featuring two of the Horses including Andy Phipps, the most talented musician alive ™ who also produced our new album ‘Him Make They Learn Read’).
Essex is represented by Deferred Success (they spell it incorrectly on purpose but I can never bring myself to replicate this) who blend punk and folk beautifully, and are infinitely better than that sounds.
10. What’s up next for you guys?
Our new album, ‘Him Make They Learn Read’ will be out very soon if it’s not already by the time you read this. We have recently released the single ‘Animals’ which is available as a free download from Bandcamp, and there is a video you can watch with your eyes if you prefer. Plans are afoot to head back to the Ukraine as soon as our diaries allow, as it is the most ludicrously wonderful place to play music that we have encountered. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we were to record an e.p before too long and release it as a split vinyl with someone very special…keep your eyes peeled. We are also about to force some lovely merch to accompany the album out into the universe.
In the meantime visit us at our website for regular updates on our tomfoolery.
*Warning from the Editor*: Apologies but this article contains links to MySpace. We’d rather not use them but some bands just won’t get with the program.
Tags: Casa Bonita, Cautionhorses, Echoes Of The Future, Fashoda Crisis, Future Of The Left, Strange News From Another Star