The Souls hail from the deep south of England. Formed a mere 18 months ago they mix up DNA from The Clash, The Jam, The Specials & a whole host of ‘new wave’ influences to create an edgy vision of urban decay: tales of debt, loneliness & limited opportunity.
As their latest demos illustrate, The Souls are a truly powerful force to be reckoned with. They skank were others merely amble. They make you aware of the problems surrounding us all in this shitty new millennium without verging on being ‘preachy’. They see their reflections in the puddles of rainy London streets & they beam those images out through their music. The Souls are the best thing out of London Town since the last best thing out of London Town only better: more real, surreal & prepared to deal.
The Souls made their vinyl debut in June 2004 on Fierce Panda’s “On The Buzzes” various artists EP with “Gangster Gangsta”. Next up they appeared on Velocity Recordings “Abuse Your Friends Vol 4” compilation with “Bleeding Gums”. August 2004 saw the release their debut Velocity Recordings 45 - a double A side: “Wasteland”/”Listen”.
Harrison Bored rated it as one of his favourite 45s of last year - so he sent them one of our annoying Q&As to find out more:
trakMARX - Word has it that The Souls line up boasts an England U16 footballer, a Buddhist & an estate agent. How did you all end up in a rock n roll group together?
The Souls - The word is in no way absurd, mon lemon curd, & to illustrate how The Souls ended up in a rock and roll band together - here’s a mixture of reasoning and seasoning: we’re like a pint of Calder’s Cream Ale. You see, when you’ve been an U16 England Footballer, a Buddhist and an Estate Agent and there’s a bass player, a guitarist and a drummer in you - you form The Souls. Much like the guy in the Calder’s advert. You see, he’d been a Dublin Bricklayer, a Yorkshire Coalminer and a Bombay Curry Taster but because there was a Stout drinker, a Bitter drinker and a Lager drinker in Him - he found Calder’s Cream Ale and could exclaim: “Where have you been all me lives!!”
trakMARX - Yr ‘day jobs’ suggest a group who are spiritually at one with the universe, extremely fit & not averse to making tons of dosh. Is that the case?
The Souls - “Oooohhhh Yes!!!” (Said Churchill the dog). These are essential qualities vital for the creation of any truly great band.
trakMARX - London is allegedly burning with the spirit of street scene rock’n’roll once again. Is that true from where The Souls are standing?
The Souls Well, there’s plenty of bands around, plenty of punters and plenty of run down rip off venues. So, yeah - burning with the usual bollocks. Everyone’s in the same boat. Been like that for the last 30 years - hasn’t it?
trakMARX - The use of ‘the skank’ in yr musical palate suggests a love of ska & reggae. Is this an integral part of yr ‘sound’?
The Souls Yeah, it’s definitely a backbone to a lot of the writing - but we like to draw influences from all over: the darkness and realism of the blues, the great arranging of legends such as The Beatles and the dirt and energy of The Clash and Neil Young. We never like to get stuck in one place, our sound has already changed in the last year.
trakMARX - We were informed of the brilliance of The Souls by Mr Rat Scabies, the keeper of The Grail. How did you hook up with him?
The Souls - Rumour has it that Dave met Rat down a pub, they got pissed together, Rat heard a CD, came to watch us, liked it - and that was that. The truth is The Souls found Rat whilst on an expedition of the New York sewers looking after the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Spliter - aka Rat Scabies - is now our spiritual leader.
trakMARX - Has the success (or otherwise) of The Libertines turned out to be a burden or a boost for London based groups?
The Souls - Well it’s harder to score now these days, I guess, but when your from the country, like ourselves, you tend to be quite sheltered from all that. We all had our first pint last week.
trakMARX - Any other London groups you feel an affinity with?
The Souls - Yeah some top bands we’ve gigged with to look out for are: The Rifles, The Shots, The 100 Handed, Rebus, Off The Radar, Yumiyumi.
trakMARX - Who do the individual Souls like to listen to when off duty?
The Souls - Hmmmmm....The Clash, The Police, early dub, Reggae, Squeeze, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, The Doors, Muddy Waters, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Specials, Booker T & The MG’s, Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, Art Blakey and the Jazz messengers.
trakMARX - Where next for The Souls?
The Souls - New Single in April or May - gigging around - new web site on the way - and record our first album!!
Harrison Bored tMx 18 02/05