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By: Richard Collins
Photo by: Jose Ramon Caamaño
Casual Nun played their first gig back in October 2014 supporting Bong and they’ve been on an incredible journey since. Drawn together from the ashes of Dethscalator and Throne, they’ve toured the country with Årabrot and played dozens of killer shows with the likes of Endless Boogie, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Luminous Bodies, Blown Out and smashed Supernormal Festival! They’ve got their first album coming out very soon on a new label called Hominid Sounds so Rich Collins had a quick chat with axe man Matt Ridout to find out what the fuck is happening on planet casual.
(((o))): Hi Casual Nun, how the hell are you?
Matt: Doing great thanks Rich, despite the mad dystopian reality that is London in 2016, we are managing ok.
(((o))): Tell us about the new album Super Fancy Skeleton? How did you write it? Where did you record it?
Matt: Well, the record collects all of the material that we had written since August of last year, after Julia (Owen – drums) joined us to complete the lineup of the band. About half of it was put together just before the 2015 Smash It Out all dayer, as that was when we first started playing with her. We recorded in December at Bear Bites Horse studios with Wayne Adams (Shitwife, Death Pedals) after being tipped off to his amazing engineering skills by the Luminous Bodies guys. Working with him was really amazing, we went in with about 45 minutes of material and came out with two hours worth from one day of tracking, he’s a really encouraging and easy person to work with.
(((o))): The four songs on the album are very different, almost sounds like 4 different bands. Was this intentional or just the way it came out?
Matt: Pretty unintentional. Vasili (Sakkho – vocals) has so many different facets to his voice I guess it makes it possible to have quite a variety of sounds within what we do? I don’t know, to me if sounds pretty homogeneous, but I am probably a bit too close to it to have a decent perspective.
(((o))): You have another new record coming out on Box Record early next year I believe? Did you record the two albums in one sitting?
Matt: Yeah, as I was saying, we went into the studio with Wayne and ended up with 2 hours worth of material. So we decided to make two albums from it. The Box LP should be coming out in January 2017 and has a working title of “Psychometric testing by…” but I am not sure if that is going to stick, haha. That LP is completely improvised but sounds like a cohesive body of work to me. I’m really looking forward to that coming out too.
(((o))): The label releasing Super Fancy Skeleton is a new one called Hominid Sounds, which you setup yourself with other people from around the London scene. How did this come about?
Matt: I am really excited about Hominid Sounds. Basically it was the product of loads of late night, drunken conversations between myself, Gordon Watson (Terminal Cheesecake, Luminous Bodies, Melting Hand), Wayne, and Graham Dyer, who is a devoted gig-goer that most will know if they’ve been to a show in London in the last couple of years. We wanted to start something that helped support the scene of bands that we enjoy so much, and with all of us having our own respective talents and a studio where we can send the bands it seemed like a really great opportunity. I guess I’ve always wanted to be able to release records so it’s nice to be able to join up with a group of nice people and enjoy the process together. So far we have done releases for We Wild Blood, Mark Dicker, Casual Nun, Melting Hand, and soon we will have the new Death Pedals LP available. Following that we are doing the new record by Cattle, a new Lush Worker cassette and are working on a bunch of fun releases next year including a series of split 12”s planned for Bruxa Maria, Casual Nun, Luminous Bodies, and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, and who knows what after that.
(((o))): What do you think about the landscape of British DIY labels? Is there enough? What role are you hoping Hominid Sounds will play in the scene?
Matt: I think it’s really healthy at the moment to be honest. You have labels like Box, Riot Season, God Unknown, and Evil Hoodoo all putting out amazing releases. I don’t think we are filling a specific need caused by a lack of labels, but I definitely think it helps to have more people who are willing to put their money behind getting physical releases out into the world.
(((o))): You’ve had a busy year of gigging including festival appearances, which performances stand out?
Matt: Supernormal was an absolute blast. It has been an annual event for me and we got to play in a great slot on the Saturday this year to a lot of people, so that was really wonderful. There’s been a lot of highlights to be honest, playing with Endless Boogie at the Lexington, Leeds and Glasgow with Årabrot, the Smash it Out all dayer with Terminal Cheesecake are a few that definitely stand out.
(((o))): You describe Casual Nun as a collective and your lineup frequently changes. Does this have an affect on the sound?
Matt: Well to be honest it doesn’t change that much from the core of me, Vasili, Hercules, Julia and Phil. We’ve had to do a couple of gigs with one of the drummers missing and we did one without Herc, but all in all it has stayed pretty consistent for most of the past year. We’ve had some fun people collaborate with us though, like Tracy Bellaries and Gordon from Luminous Bodies joining us for Butthole Surfers covers at the Windmill, and Sam Cooper from Limb was a great stand in for Hercules when he was away.
(((o))): What’s the best band Casual Nun have shared the stage with?
Matt: My chance to offend every band we have played with who I do not mention, haha. I’ve loved every gig we’ve played with Luminous Bodies, and everyone knows how great Pigsx7 are. We did a gig with Bruxa Maria back a while ago at the Shacklewell Arms in London and that really blew me away, and started the ball rolling for the split 12” we will be doing with them early next year. I can’t really think of a band we have played a gig with who I haven’t really enjoyed to be honest, cop out.
(((o))): Name 3 bands that Casual Nun think fucking rock!
Matt: This question would get a very different answer if asked to the other guys, haha. I’m going to go with Ash Ra Tempel, Up-Tight, and Les Rallizes Denudes. But that’s just me, I’m the pretentious member of the band.
(((o))): If Casual Nun were an animal what would it be?
Matt: A blond horse.
(((o))): What’s next for Casual Nun?
Matt: Well Super Fancy Skeleton is released on September 16th and we are doing a gig that night at New River Studios in London to celebrate it (see here for info). Then we are planning to head out to other parts of Europe to play, hopefully doing a few shows in Greece as well. The LP on Box will be out early in the new year of course, and we will also be recording in October for the split record that we are doing with Bruxa Maria and possibly for another recording that will appear later in 2017. Plenty of stuff in the pipeline really.