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Interview With 'Evil Blizzard'

"The Worst Show On Earth" caught me completely by surprise when I was sent it by their PR guy. It's heavy and melodic with the Evil Blizzard guys ignoring standard conventions and doing whatever the hell they want to in whatever manner they wish. That means four bass players whilst mixing their take on Post Punk with a healthy dose of psychedelia.

We were lucky enough to nab a quick email chat to singing drummer Slide and Filthydirty, the band's second bass player.

So this is the band's third album now. Do you there is something different about this one that sets it apart from the previous two?

Side: Apart from people liking this one?!? This album seems to have a more consistent feel to it. It’s good as for us there is no song better than the other. They all feel like favourites and on listening back there seems to be no filler. The sound of the band with the introduction of more synths and tribal drumming give the album more of a groove. Sort of a mixture of Punk, Prog and Goth. As we like to say file under Uneasy Listening.

Filthydirty: But it's definitely hit a note with people; some of the reviews are astonishingly positive. We've set up our own label and we broke even on all the pressing costs within 90 seconds of it being released! I know people who had written us off who've come back to us apologising after hearing the album. Without sounding arrogant, we know it's a cracker.

How did the four bass players and no guitar originally come into play? Was it a conscious decision or did it just come together as a happy accident?

Side: Originally it was just one bass but after talking to Filthy Dirty after an early gig we all decided it would be good to add another bass to play under the solos and so he was drafted in. Kav joined to help when Prowler couldn’t make a gig and we liked the sound of three basses. Kav has an array of amazing sounds so it brought a lot to the sound. Stomper joined because he is a big Fall fan - when we supported The Fall he joined us for the song 'Whalebomb' and we have not been able to get rid of him since. It took a couple of years to get to this point but why stop at four!

How do you guys work together in the studio? Do you have ideas before you go in or is everything done more off the cuff?

Side: We have only ever rehearsed about five times as a band and for the last album we only had a couple of songs in a finished state. This album was much the same, a few basic ideas and then finished in the studio. We have a riff, or a rough idea, and we just go with the flow. Filthy barks instructions and gesticulates a lot in the control booth and we just see how it turns out, and I put the vocals on after. The album took two days to record and that is how we like it. Richard McNamara does like to push us but I think he knows our attention span is pretty much a short lived affair.

"Pull God From The Sky" is my favourite song on the new album. It's a haunting track that really get's under your skin. What were your thought's behind it as it was coming together?

Filthydirty: We love this one especially and it’s great to see it’s one of the stand out tracks in all the reviews so far. This was actually three different ideas we’d tried out that weren’t quite ‘working’ on their own, so we chucked all three together and it became one big happy accident. First take, then we tidied it up a little in the mix and chucked various overdubs on like cello. As you do. As mentioned Richard did a sterling job in keeping a cap on the chaos. It’s a lot more ambitious than any other track we’ve recorded so far. We listened back to this and the title tracks and looked around at each other with a hint of nerves. 'Will people 'get' this?' I asked. Prowler replied: 'Fuck em'. Job done!

You've got some live dates later this year. What do your live shows mean to you and what can people expect from the gigs?

Side: We love to play live and this is where we feel the band comes into its own. The songs take on their own persona and we are not restricted to album lengths. If we want to extend a song we will . The crowd is our 6th man or woman and they bring a lot to the show. Many in their own costumes and making signs to slag us off. We encourage it and take it as a huge compliment that people boo us. Like the good old Victorian Pantomime. Evil Blizzard with this new album seem to be attracting more fans and as they will be new to the show they probably will take at least 3 songs to get into the swing of the mayhem.

The title of the new album " The Worst Show On Earth" was from someone’s negative review of a gig.

What do Evil Blizzard take from gigging and how much do you think it is important for a band today?

Filthydirty: Our first two albums were very much us attempting to capture the live show on record, but for this album we tried to push what we could do in the studio a little more. We thrive on the instant reaction of a crowd. We used to see what we referred to as ‘the face’ at gigs – that slack jawed look of ‘what the hell is this?’ on people’s faces. Now people know what to expect we have to keep trying new ways of appalling people. But bands need to play if only to make money – there’s no money in record sales and so we financially continue to exist as a band with the money we make on merchandise.

You pay particular attention to the image of the band. Was this an organic thing or did you want a way to originally separate you from your peers? Is the visual aspect just as important to you as any other aspect of the band?

Filthydirty: Right from the off – I mean the first time I played with the band – the image was discussed more than the music. Coming from a small city like Preston we wanted to create something visually that people would immediately respond to so we would stand out from our peers. And the image has just developed, rotted and mutated over the years.

There's an definite line that can be drawn from the likes of PiL and Killing Joke to yourselves. Are there any other bands that have been an influence on you? Any surprising ones?

Side: This band has a very mixed bag of favourite artists ranging from Abba, Genesis, Glam Rock giants, Techno, Industrial acts, The Ramones, Classical music and Hawkwind spring to mind.

Mark E Smith helped with your first album and he sadly passed away earlier this year. Do you have any particular memories you'd like to share about him? Mark E Smith was a one off for certain.

Side: He saw us play a small venue in Manchester and through a mutual friend got in touch to offer us a tour support. He said we were the future of music! He was always a character on and off stage. One moment stands out when I saw him stood alone so I went to thank him for the supports and he just turned round and said “Fuck off I'm doing an interview” when he was quite clearly just smoking a fag. Not one for small talk!

If you had to put together BlizzardFest and you could choose any artists you wanted who would be on the bill?

Side: If we could have any bands dead or alive then it would be Black Sabbath, Ramones, Bad Guys, Underworld, The Clash, Funkadelic, Abba, Rudimentary Peni, The Wombles, The Common Cold ( who actually are playing with us at Christmas) and The Stooges. So pretty much no chance of many but what a line up!

Thanks to Slide and Filthydirty for taking them time to answer my questions as well as James at Division PR for setting the interview up. "The Worst Show On Earth" is out now on Cracked Ankles.

Check out our review here.

Interview - Scott Hamilton

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