Kill The Captains

Fun Anxiety – A condition known to afflict members of rock combination group Kill The Captains, born from a sense that everyone is having fun without them. Symptoms include leaving conversations hanging because your neighbour’s conversation sounds more interesting, a pathological refusal to go to bed despite the fact that everyone else went to bed days ago, a phobia of clowns.
Related forms: Funmnesia

Today we welcome Armellodie’s southernmost batallion Kill The Captains to the Elba Sessions. Having just released their debut long player, Fun Anxiety, we caught up with front man and axe-wielder Leon for a few words.

Firstly, would you care to introduce the band?

Of course- I go by the name of Captain Carter, I am co-axe wielder and chief warbler. My fellow axe grinder and gnasher of teeth is Dr Pickavance. Captain Scarlett pounds the traps like his life depends on it, Bifidus Digestivum does the sub-sonic pulses and throbs recently filling in the clown sized shoes of his forbear Yoz Hughes.

Awful question, but, who are your main influences. Having seen you live, I’m guessing it’s varied throughout the band!?

We are a ramshackled pile up of the best of Kraut rock, post rock, Brighton rock, roll and rock. Love Slint, love My Bloody Valentine, love Kyuss, love Can, love Le Savy Fav, love seventies folkie stuff, love it love it love it.

You seem to be quite a busy band what with having your own studio and putting on monthly ‘Mutiny’ nights. Do you think more bands should get involved with taking a wider approach to their band i.e. putting on gigs for themselves etc…

If you can handle the extra stress and strain of putting on an event it can be massively rewarding. We started Mutiny quite simply because we felt there weren’t enough nights like it in Sheffield. When we go out for a night of live music we want to see something fresh, non-generic and exciting, and we knew there were lots of people in our city similarly like of mind and taste. So it was a no brainer really. One of the obvious key benefits is that you get to put yourself on the bill with bands that genuinely excite you, rather than being at the mercy of a promoter who might not share your taste in music or sense. And then there’s the general principle of the evening where we aim to make the nights as good experience as possible for the bands we put on- we’ll promote the ass off it, whip up a great atmosphere and, importantly, all profits are shared. It is criminal that too many top bands play without being paid their dues.

Has doing this helped you as a band?

Greatly- we’ve played with some incredible bands as a result and reached their audiences where potentially we might not have. As a result we’ve shared the bill with the the likes of Bilge Pump, Acoustic Ladyland, Fists, Wooderson, Corleone, Johnny Foreigner, and our amazing label mates Cuddly Shark and Le Reno Amps.

How did signing to Armellodie come about being that you are based in Sheffield and them in Glasgow?

It was a strange meeting of minds that came about in 2007. My old school friend was passing through Sheffield with his band Actress Hands co-touring with Le Reno Amps. We all hit it off, sank booze, chewed the metaphysical fat, exchanged musical tips. Al Nero of the Amps got in touch a few weeks later expressing an interest in putting out some records on his fledgeling Armellodie label. The rest they say is history. We couldn’t be happier. To be on the roster of bands that Al has put together is an absolute dream. I genuinely believe we’re on one of the best labels in the UK. Cuddly Shark, Super Adventure Club and the Amps all deserve to be massive.

The new album ‘Fun Anxiety’ was released on May 5th. Has it been a long time in the pipeline?

As we went for the DIY approach, recording it in our studio ourselves, it probably took us a bit longer to piece together than it should. But it was our aim to try and do something a bit different- an album lover’s album. Hopefully something that you want to listen to from the first track through to the last, in one sitting. We consciously avoided simply recording the live renditions of the tunes, instead looking at different ways of interpreting songs that we had got used to playing a certain way. Hence stuff like Lebanese has been transformed from its live thrashy origins into something more ethereal and stoner for the record.

It struck me when listening to the album that it was very different and very cleverly put together, do you have a different approach to songwriting than your average band would?

Each song is different. Some stuff is the result of jams that have been recorded, replicated, structured, recorded and restructured. Other times I’ll come to the band with a song that’s ¾ finished, we’ll hammer it out and see what direction we can pull it in. As a general rule, we try to avoid the conventional verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus route. But there is always something to be said about convention from time to time.

Does having your own studio help with developing the songs and how they eventually end up sounding on the record?

Absolutely. Our studio is a modest set up, but has served us fantastically well over the years as a recording and songwriting tool. For the most part, it’s instant feedback. If you’re working something out and unsure where to take it, recording and listening back is great for stimulating creativity, and making you look at the song more objectively. It’s also useful for documenting and logging jams, ensuring they’re not lost to the moment. Some of our best moments as a band have been born from recorded jams.

It is standard at Elba that we try to get some ‘local’ knowledge out of all the bands we speak to. Is there any bands that we should be looking out for either from Sheffield or that you’ve come across on your travels?

Loads – Wooderson are great band from Sheffield which we played with just the other night, Bilge Pump are awesome, hilarious and technically absurd, Bad Guys rock some serious ass and obviously our aforementioned label mates. Super Adventure Club have to be seen to be believed.

What does the rest of the year hold for KTC?

Well we’ve had a chocker year so far but after a gig with Clinic at the Harley in Sheffield in June, followed by the Peace in the Park festival we’ll take a short break from the gigs to return to the studio to record a new EP.

‘Fun Anxiety’ is out now on Armellodie Records and you can get your grubby paws on a copy here.

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  1. Pingback: Elba Sessions » Barmellodie May 2011

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