Chemikal Underground really do know their stuff. In recent years they’ve released some pretty amazing albums from the likes of the Phantom Band, De Rosa, Zoey Van Goey and Aidan Moffat. In 2011, they’re continuing this rich vein of form and in March of this year they will release FOUND’s third album ‘factorycraft’, it is their first studio album and it’s an absolute belter.
They’re not ones to be pigeonholed, much like their stable mates The Phantom Band. For me personally they sound like a mish-mash of the Beach Boys and the Cure, with a wee bit of Hot Chip added in for good measure. I fully expect big things from the Edinburgh 3 piece in 2011, if you don’t believe me have a listen to the stream of their forthcoming single ‘Machine Age Dancing’ at the bottom of the page.
Would you care to introduce yourself?
I’m Tommy and I’m in a band called FOUND alongside Kev Sim and Ziggy Campbell. When we play live I’m on bass guitar and dodgy, shouty backing vocals, Kev plays sampler / electronics and shouts and Ziggy plays guitar and sings. Ziggy has come up with a name for mine and Kev’s backing vocal style: “bawlsetto”.
What inspires the music you make?
So many things. All three of us are avid music fans and voracious consumers of TV comedy. Recently I’ve been watching a lot of Kenny Powers and Eastbound & Down. It’s one of the best comedy series I’ve seen in years.
We all listen to such a wide variety of music that it’s very difficult to pluck out a few artists. I’d say that most eras and styles are reflected in our collections. I suppose technology and experimentation also inspire us. It’s a lot of fun building our own instruments and effects and generally messing around with anything that makes a noise in search of ‘the new sound’ . . .
What artists do you feel that you have an affinity with?
I’m just talking from my perspective here as Kev and Zig have different tastes, but I think musically we have a lot in common with The Phantom Band. In particular I really get Paul Savage’s production style. We mixed our album with Paul and I found him very easy to work with. I’m also a massive fan of the music of Dimlite (aka Dimitri Grimm from Switzerland). His songwriting and production is way out there, but at the same time underpinned by fantastic hooks and loads of soul. I believe him to be a genius. He disagrees. He’s such a humble fool.
Your set to release your new album through Chemikal Underground, how did you end up hooking up with them?
The simple answer is that we recorded the album at Chemikal’s studio, Chem19. Paul Savage passed it on to the others at the label, they liked what they heard and asked if we’d be interested in working with them. It was a pretty easy decision to make. Chemikal feels like a really logically progression from our time on Fence Records. When I told Johnny Lynch (Fence’s Pictish Trail) about the Chemikal deal he remarked: “Ahhh another graduate from the Fence Academy”. We’re very proud and honoured to be involved with Scotland’s two finest record labels. Both labels feel like real family affairs and the Chemikal lot have been extremely welcoming. I’m gushing. Oh dear. They’re actually shit. You should see the state of their office!
The album’s been finished for a while now, has it been tough having to sit on the album when you’re dying to get it out there to the world?
It’s not been too bad actually. This album came together relatively quickly – it was recorded and mixed over 10 days in the studio, so it didn’t feel too laboured. Since we finished it we’ve been really busy on other projects so I’ve not had much time to dwell on it. It also feels really nice to have a decent length of time to prepare for the release. I’ve been able to take my time designing the artwork which has been a lot of fun. Chemikal are releasing the album on vinyl and CD and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing the sleeve for the gatefold vinyl. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
For people out there that have never heard of you, why they should they check you out?
I like to think that we can craft a good tune and Kev’s got great hair. He’s actually a hair model. Seriously.
What do you enjoy more, playing live or being in the studio?
I love both although they are very separate pursuits. There’s times when I become a bit of a recluse, hide in my little studio and make weird noises (sometimes I even make music). Then there’s other times when it’s a great release to just play bloody loud on stage. I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to do both.
Are there any new up and coming artists that you would recommend I check out?
My younger brother Bobby is definitely one to watch for 2011. He produces electronic / hip hop / post dubstep music under the name S-Type. He’s just released a free EP on Glasgow blog label Phuturelabs and it’s caused quite a stir. Next year he’ll be releasing a longer EP / mini album on LuckyMe.
What can we expect to see and hear from you in 2011?
Hmmm. Wow, I’m just thinking about what we’ve got coming up next year and it’s quite a lot.
The new album drops in March so you’ll be seeing and hearing that obviously. We’ve commissioned our good friend Adam Proctor to make a series of taster films for the album and I’m very excited to see those. They will be aired on our site from January until the release. We’re doing two launch parties, one in Edinburgh on 10 March and one in Glasgow on 13 March. Full details will be announced on our site soon. We’re taking part in a few gallery exhibitions too. There’s a group sculpture show called Material Rites which is in London at the Royal British Society of Sculptors in January then moving down to Inspace Gallery, Edinburgh in February. And I can’t forget about our emotional robot Cybraphon. We’re taking him over to feature in the Celtronika night during Celtic Connects then in April down to the London Word Festival and on to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea on the south coast. Phew and breath . . . Uuuuhhhh . . . . . .
Okay . . .At the end of April I’m involved in putting on an exhibition in Edinburgh called It Was A Famous Night. It’s a group show featuring 15 international artists, designers and illustrators who are creating gig posters commemorating a fictitious gig of their choosing. I’ve also booked myself a solo exhibition in June but who knows if I’ll get time to do any new drawings for it! We’ve also been hatching a very ambitious plan for a major new artwork / sound installation / interactive story in collaboration with Aidan Moffat. At the moment I can’t say any more than that as and it is dependent on getting funding so keep your fingers crossed please. We should find out early January. If we get the cash we’ll be hard at work on it for a lot of 2011/12. Man that sounds like a lot doesn’t it? We’re also aiming to fit in a fair amount of touring. We’re definitely going over to play some shows in India and I believe we’ll be collaborating with a local act while there. We’ve been approached to do a 15 date tour in southern Brazil too but that’s not confirmed yet. Then there will be a string of dates in Germany and Northern Europe and perhaps even some across the UK. There is more going on but I’m beginning to scare myself seeing it all written down here so I will stop now.
FOUND’s third album, ‘factorycraft’ is due out on Chemikal Underground on the 14th of March, note that date in your diaries kids as it’s an amazing piece of work that you won’t want to miss.
More from Lloyd at Peenko
FOUND – You’re No Vincent Gallo (Toad Session)