Recently, I had the opportunity to interview The Svengalis, an upcoming new-wave band from North London. They seem like a really fun group of guys, just like their music would suggest. The interview speaks for itself, so I’ll let it do just that.
SC: As kids, what genres of music did you mainly listen to? What were a few of your favorite artists?
Mart: My parents raised me on a diet of 60’s pop – Beatles, Beach Boys, Donovan etc but my favourite bands when I was discovering music myself were bands like Pulp and Suede.
Saul: I like fidget house and bloc party and metronomy
Jim: Whatever my parents listened to – Led Zep, 10cc, Creedence Clearwater Revival… And The Beatles. I didn’t realise one of them was dead until I was 11. I was gutted.
Jonah: BEACH BOYS BEACH BOYS BEACH BOYS
SC: Do you think any of those artists in particular influenced your music?
Mart: I still love all that kinda thing and its all there in our music – they are 3 minute harmony laden gems – it’s those songs mixed with the punkier new wave stuff like Modern Lovers and Elvis Costello.
Jonah: The beach boys have in our vocal harmonies, and general cheesiness
Saul: I tried to get Jim to do a bloc party beat once but it didn’t seem to work
Jim: Yes. I got a whole lotta love for them. See what I did there?
SC: If you had to, what band’s sound do you think your music most closely resembles?
Jim: The Svengalis
Mart: The Buzzcocks playing Motowns greatest hits
Saul: It’s called chirodharah or something. It cost 200 rupees and it’s a massage
technique where they drip oil on your forehead
SC: What are some of the best aspects of being a successful band?
Jim: The begging letters
Saul: The money
Jonah: I signed an autograph once, which is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, but then it turned out to be Saul’s sister’s friend so I guess that doesn’t really count.
Mart: Playing the gigs – when you get the crowd going mental and the band is playing well then it’s just the best feeling – it’s fantastic to see everyone having a good time.
SC: The worst?
Jim: The begging letters
Mart: Trying to carry a heavy amp home along Holloway road whilst drunk in the small hours of the morning.
Jonah: People recognising me everywhere – sometimes I just need to breathe
Saul: The paparazzi
SC: The most surprising?
Jonah: How little money we get
Saul: Some people aren’t as impressed as you want them to be because they like to
listen to David Gray as background music whilst mainly focusing on the steak
and the general banter . like my friends mum . Vicky . I think that’s shit.
But I do like Vicky and she makes nice steak
Jim: The begging letters
SC: If you had to choose between being a huge, very well-known, massively successful band that’s not necessarily well respected, or a smaller, well-respected band, with a small but dedicated fanbase, which would you choose? Why?
Mart: I would love to mean as much people as the bands I grew up listening too did to me. Putting on a record and having that escape and singing along to every lyric thinking they were written especially about your life.
Jim: Can I choose a small dedicated fanbase which turns into a very well known band? Or a small fanbase with just enough people in it at any one time to mean that I don’t have to have a day job too…
Jonah: Definitely big and not respected – I would love it – the more fans the better
I’d probably become morally vacuous in every way – but I’d be famous!
Saul: Respected band because it definitely sounds cooler if you say that especially if you have aviators and drive a motorbike and say fuck you mum im not going to school
today .you bitch and then drive off into the sunset with a hot chick
(preferably Uffie) on your back
SC: What are your plans for a full-length LP?
Jim: Do we need to do LP’s? We don’t really do album fillers, only singles… we’re just going to keep releasing singles forever one after the other.
Mart: We’ve got the songs pretty much ready to go – just need to sort out a deal and we’re off
Jonah: This summer
SC: As a band, what do you worry about the most?
Jonah: Jim’s stage presence when were performing, we tried putting more cymbals on his kit in front of him – but we just cant hide him!
Mart: I worry about Saul and Jonah – they have a unique ability to lose everything they have, instruments included. I think one day they’ll go for a walk and never come back because they’ll just forget where they are.
Saul: Jims got piles
Jim: Hair loss. Punches to the face. The usual.
SC: When the band first started up, did you plan to become as successful as you’ve become, or did you expect to stay relatively small?
Saul: We planned to be successful
Mart: I loved what we we’re doing and hoped others would too. Its all going well so far.
Jim: We wouldn’t be in a band if we didn’t think we were the best band in the world would we? Is anyone? Things have happened a lot faster than we thought though!
SC: What do you think has contributed the most to your popularity? The internet, word of mouth, etc.?
Jonah: the radio and word of mouth – people couldn’t stop talking about the time I smashed my keyboard when climbing on an amp in bury
Mart: I think the Radio1 session helped but we’ve also played quite a few gigs with a lot of upcoming bands and it helps to spread the word.
Saul: Steve Lamacq. Myspace looks
You can check out the Svengalis music at their myspace.
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