The Boyfriends Is She Really Going Out With Him?
The Boyfriends were one of the many pleasant surprises of 2004. A dose of real pop for now people at a time when everyone else seemed hell-bent on the latest compromise revival. “No Tomorrow” glared masterfully from the confines of Angular’s “Rip Off Yr Labels” comp - & threatened to put the windows through with its brazen charm.
Despite the threat of legal action from erstwhile Vibrator, Pat Collier (simply not true Legal Ed) The Boyfriends have continued to go from strength to strength. 2005 is theirs for the taking.
Knowing a good thing when he hears one Harrison Bored tracked down Martin Wallace, The Boyfriend’s singer, to ask him a few pertinent questions about what 2005 holds in store for his talented combo:
trakMARX - Tell us how the world gave birth to The Boyfriends.
Martin - From the moment I saw Brett Anderson doing unspeakable things to a microphone when Suede played “Metal Mickey” on Top Of The Pops at the age of thirteen all I ever really wanted to do was be in a group. It took me a while to find people I wanted to do it with and I’d already been friends with Richard, David and Paddy for a number of years before we formed the group. Richard and I had been writing songs together for a few years before we approached David and Paddy to join in. After that we spent a good while in a damp rehearsal room in Holloway eating chips and making a horrible noise and we played our first live show in the summer of 2003.
trakMARX - What were you all up to previously?
Martin - Richard, David and Paddy have all played in various groups before - but this is my first (OK, be evasive if you want to History Ed).
trakMARX - If you had an initial mission statement - what was it?
Martin - I’ve always wanted to make music that would truly matter to people and actually make a difference to their lives. I want to do for other people what so many wondrous slabs of circular black plastic have done for me. I really do believe that music can still change lives and I worry that not enough people realise that these days.
trakMARX - Yr sound is very appealing. Yr voice is reminiscent of a young Mozzer, Paddy reminds me of Stephen Morris (especially his hi-hat work), Richard’s guitars recall Johnny Marr at his most thrilling whilst David underpins it all with a meaty resonance. Is that an accurate summation of yr influences?
Martin - I’d say that’s partially accurate, although I think William Reid from The Jesus And Mary Chain is a bigger hero to Richard that Johnny Marr has ever been. I think one of our strengths as a group is that we’ve all got our own influences. Paddy is an obsessive Can fan and David can rattle off the catalogue numbers of every Sex Pistols record without pausing for breath. I’ve been a fan of The Smiths and Joy Division since I was a teenager but I also listen to The Slits, X-Ray Spex and PJ Harvey - women with something to say who say it in a very forthright way.
trakMARX - “No Tomorrow” was one of the sides of 04 - is “Once Upon A Time” set to follow in it’s footsteps in vinyl format & do the same to 05?
Martin - That’s very kind of you. I’m sure “Once Upon A Time” will make an appearance on vinyl at some point but at the moment we’re quite keen to put a song called “Brave Little Soldiers” out next.
trakMARX - “No Tomorrow” appeared on Filthy Little Angels & also cropped up on Angular’s “Rip Off Yr Labels” comp. Who’s won the battle to release yr next 45?
Martin - We’re currently talking to a few different small labels but we’re taking time and care to find people who are as enthusiastic as we are about what we do. We’re still open to offers.
trakMARX - The underground scene represented by Angular provided some of the most interesting & vibrant sounds of 04. How does the underground go overground without compromising itself? (i.e. - Franz Ferdinand have apparently won 5 something or other awards - does that impress?)
Martin - I think it can be done - and that groups like Franz Ferdiand and Bloc Party are good examples of how success can be achieved with dignity intact. Both are on independent labels and seem to have an impressive degree of control over what they do. Also, it’s taken both of them quite a while to get where they are now and, even though I’m sure it was very difficult at the time, I think that’s done them a service in the long run.
trakMARX - What do you make of the competition surrounding The Boyfriends right now?
Martin - Not an awful lot of modern music stirs much in me but I can be crashingly evangelical about the things that do. I think The Long Blondes are pretty special (so do we Nepotism Ed). They remind me of the adolescence I wish I’d had and I’ve often thought that they’re what the New York Dolls would have been like had three of them actually been girls.
trakMARX - Has “The Ballad Of The Libertines” proved once again that too much too soon is never a good thing (& should Peter just get on with it & do a Vicious)?
Martin - To be honest I’ve never been a huge fan - but he clearly means a great deal to a great many people so it would be sad if he did go the same way as Sid and let the myth kill the man. From what little I know of him it does appear that there might be a few Malcolm McLarens in the shadows with little interest in seeing things improve for him.
trakMARX - And finally, when can we expect a debut LP from The Boyfriends?
Martin - As soon as someone gives us the money to make one.
Harrison Bored tMx 18 01/05