|original draft design for the cover
of Angry Aeroplanes/Skyscraper
However, this was before 9/11 and in the light of that event it seemed inappropriate. We didn't want it to look like we were cashing in on the misery of it, or, perhaps worse, that we were just trying to be controversial...which would have been a bit boring...so we scrapped it. Then things just kind of fizzled out before we even started. I guess that's the opposite of serendipity, whatever that might be.
Sorry to keep referring you to the website, but again it's more fully explained by an entry reproduced there from the Industrial Machinery Digest.
That's possibly a task best left to others, as our version of what we think the sound is might not tally with the reality of it. We do seem to confound expectations in that people have a hard time trying to pin us down... we've had the full gamut of comparisons, from rock to art rock and prog through to alternative, indie and noise pop.
Who knows, perhaps all of those labels are appropriate, but I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. What I can say is that, despite not having an easily identifiable sound, we don't intend to dumb down to a more uniform style throughout the next album just to make it easier to categorise The Millipede Engine. We have more faith in the listener as it's clear that people can handle a range of different flavours on one album quite easily.
Which artist(s) have inspired you along the way?
It's probably apparent listening to the album and all the comparisons we've had so far are certainly things we've enjoyed over the years. I pride myself on my good taste, which may come across as arrogant, but it's true. Much of the music I've liked from the off does seem to be made by bands with a certain longevity. In the song Killing Time, there's a line that goes: "We like our music with some razzmatazz, art-punk, noise-pop and all that jazz"... which I suppose is a bit of a clue.
Can you list your top ten albums and singles to give us a bit more of a clue?
Honey Lane: Albums
1. The Beatles – The White Album
2. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
3. David Bowie – Hunky Dory
4. Blur – Thirteen
5. Iggy Pop – The Idiot
6. Wire – 154
7. Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions
8. Bob Dylan – Desire
9. The Clash - London Calling
10. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets
Honey Lane: Singles
1. The Beatles – Hey Jude
2. The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
3. Flying Lizards - Hands 2 Take
4. David Bowie - Life On Mars
5. Rod Stewart - Maggie May
6. David Bowie - Heroes
7. The Clash - London Calling
8. T-Rex - Get It On
9. Jimi Hendrix - Cross Town Traffic
10. David Bowie - Fame
Brill Nudie: Albums
1. David Bowie - Low
2. Iggy Pop - The Idiot
3. Blur - Think Tank
4. Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
5. Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets
6. The Divine Comedy - Promenade
7. The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet
8. The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come
9. Pixies - Doolittle
10. Wire - 154
Brill Nudie: Singles
1. Roxy Music - Pyjamarama
2. The Sex Pistols - Anarchy In The UK
3. The Flying Lizards - Hands 2 Take
4. The Sexual Objects - Here Come The Rubber Cops
5. John Lennon - #9 Dream
6. The Fire Engines - Candy Skin
7. Swell Maps - Let's Build A Car
8. Sparks - When Do I Get To Sing "My Way"
9. Suede - Trash
10. Ten Benson - The Claw
It's early days regarding press feedback as we've only just sent the thing out, but so far we've been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. Though we're obviously proud of the album, it's almost impossible to gauge how good it is until we start getting honest opinions from people who don't actually know us.
What's the weirdest\oddest instrument in your armoury that you have used on a recording?
Hmmm... In terms of traditional instruments we have things like a zither, a euphonium and a harmonium in there and I think a nose flute made it to the finished mix too. But I'm no Harry Partch or even Thomas Truax come to that. Life's hard enough. Having said that, I wouldn't mind having a bash on Truax's Mother Superior!
Do you stick to your own roles in the band or do you mix it up and experiment?
Simplified, I'm the singer and Honey is the guitarist. I pretty much stick to vocals but I like to contribute the occasional easy-to-play part on an easy-to-play instrument... I'm no musician. Honey contributes more to the overall soundscape and always manages to create some very interesting sounds with guitars and general wizardry... not to mention some wonderful chord changes for me to write my vocal melodies over.
Do you ever write songs with other artists in mind?
Not as of yet, but whenever we hit that first creative block, that may be a good device to move things along... thanks for the tip!
Who would do a great ME cover version?
Erm...I could spend a few hours answering this one. Robert Smith would most likely make a good fist of Angry Aeroplanes, if not only because The Cure are one of the more frequent comparisons we receive... alongside Bowie, Brian Eno's early albums. Blur and even Pink Floyd. All highly flattering comparisons, which we're obviously not worthy of.
The Man Who Gave Everything would benefit greatly from the Arcade Fire's magical touch. I bet MGMT could do something special to Planet Tasters and I would love to hear Bowie tackle Fifteen Forty Three. Killing Time by Johnny Cash would have been cool, if only to hear him say Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes!
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song and why?
Lady Gaga, simply because we would generate enough sales with the association to pay for the next album! Artistically, too many to list here, but because of the weirdness of the crash Honey and I had, probably Wire. Still a great band, but for me they were The Velvet Underground of the 70s in that they were so influential but didn't sell so many records.
Is it possible to recreate the ME experience live?
Right now it's not a priority as it would be good to get the second album finished and have a stronger repertoire before people start noticing us. We have a notion to do one-off events as opposed to trawling the usual venues, etc... partly down to my mild agoraphobia. If that becomes an issue though, particularly as Honey is keen to play live, I might have to do a Brian Wilson and send somebody in my place.
What does a Millipede Engine run on?!
RP-1, Rocket Grade Kerosene... actually it's simply a desire to create something special and hope we can persuade a few people along the way that that's what we've done. One of the factors that has stopped me personally doing anything much over the years is my feeling that I can't possibly compete with the music I love and that we can't add any new colours to the palette. But when you look at the bigger picture you realise that everything is insignificant anyway, so we may as well throw a couple of little pebbles into the ocean along with everything else and if it's a nice calm day we may even create a momentary ripple or two.
You talk about Honey being a lady in your promotional blurb. But the photographic evidence doesn't really bear that out does it?!
She's not a woman in terms of her physicality... but to me she is female. I'm not even suggesting she's a woman trapped in a man's body, but you know how it is when a person's general outlook belies there actual gender. Honey is like that. I guess I see most people as either male or female and it often has no bearing on their birth sex.
You and Honey live some distance from each other, but you grew up in the same area. Has that distance changed the way you work?
You would think so, but not really. We do still get together now and again and we've had the kind of simpatico that often comes with long-term relationships since we were kids. The geography and my agoraphobic tendencies don't help matters, but obviously the internet has made things much easier generally.
On the occasions that we do see each other, Honey will usually travel to me, we'll plug in a couple of guitars and without even speaking we'll 'jam', for want of a better word, for hours at a time. Even though much of that stuff never makes it to tape, it can be magical. As I say, I'm no musician, but Honey is about the only person I can feel comfortable enough with to pretend I am one. She is very generous in that respect and seems to enjoy those moments as much as I do.
You are curating the ME Festival. Pick 10 artists (past or present) that you'd want to perform.
I've gone for the old cop out of bands doing whole albums... Again, this list could be endless so I've not included bands who I've seen since they reformed but missed when they were originally together, such as The Sex Pistols and The Velvet Underground... And obviously the reformed Pixies are keeping their flame alive with plenty of live work... Morrissey almost fills the gap left by The Smiths... so this list is made up of sets you're not likely to see anytime soon... in no particular line-up order as that would be an impossible task...
- The Fall - their yet-to-be-released double album compilation of singles.
- Grandaddy - the first three albums...with an encore of the best from the rest.
- The Clash - the whole of the first album and highlights from the rest...up to and including Sandinista.
- The Associates - The Fourth Drawer Down and Sulk.
- Adam & the Antz - Dirk Wears White Socks and pre-Dirk stuff... original band but with Marco supplying all the feedback.
- Wire - Chairs Missing and 154... (already saw them do Pink Flag at The Barbican).
- David Bowie doing whatever he wants as it's been so long since he did anything live...but with Ronno guesting on Moonage Daydream and Hendrix opening the show with a ten minute intro to Station To Station before Bowie even strolls on.
- Iggy Pop - The Idiot and Lust For Life with the line-up combined from both those original tours. Iggy would have to get his hair cut though!
- Brian Eno - All the songs... no instrumentals. Don't get me wrong, I love the ambient stuff, but after the teaser of a couple of songs from Before And After Science at Brighton last year it would be great to see him back up front... perhaps Roxy could join him for an encore of the entire For Your Pleasure album.
Anyway, I'm a bigger fan of Britain's Got Talent and why James Boyd isn't a household name after consuming four Ferrero Rocher in a minute, I'll never understand.