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The Peacocks

April 15th, 2004 · post by Edd · Make a comment



The Peacocks make me smile whenever I listen to them. Loosely they play psychobilly, but like every other decent psychobilly band they mix it up with everything else to produce something nothing short of magical! I interviewed after they’d completely upstaged The Horrorpops, and had their van clamped so Hasu – who I actually interviewed – was a little pre-occupied!

RN: So are you happy with how the new album’s turned out?

V: Yes. Totally, totally.

RN: Is this the most distribution you’ve had on any of your records?

V: Yeah… yeah we have like five different record labels now. We have Household Names in England, we have one in Japan, we have Asian Man in the US, another one in Germany and then the home base in Switzerland. I hope… maybe it’s going to be a nightmare but I hope that it’s a good thing because it should get the record to more people than other ones have done.

RN: Have you found it difficult to get out of Switzerland to tour and stuff?

V: Yeah because there aren’t many bands from Switzerland, so there are just no Swiss bands so if we go to Germany and say we’re a Swiss band they kind of look at us and go, ‘Oh a Swiss band!’ So yeah sometimes it’s a little hard.

RN: Does Switzerland kind of get treated in the same way as Austria does by Germany?

V: Probably yes. We’re both small countries stuck in the Alps, where not much happens. So yeah probably yes.

RN: Is there any kind of punk scene in Switzerland?

V: Actually yes. Switzerland had one of the first punk scenes in Europe outside of England.

[interlude for phone ringing - 'Hey Ola…']

RN: … I hear ska in your music…

V: Maybe on the older records, yes. We had some ska stuff going on in those, but I the newer stuff, no, we’ve moved away from that. It’s gone for like three years I think.

RN: Was that conscious?

V: No I don’t think we really were trying to avoid ska it was just a natural thing. It was a progressive… do you know what I mean?

RN: Progression?

V: Yeah a natural progression, like the music… the punk, and rock side of our music it got better, but the ska things that we were writing were still the same, so we just thought… well at the beginning it was a good mixture, but now if we play a ska song it’s just the worst song that we play, and it kind of unbalances what we’re playing.

RN: How did you get set up in the band, double bass rockabilly/ psychobilly isn’t the most common music in the world?

V: We just always loved that double bass sound, like, we… when we formed no one cared about anything like rockabilly or psychobilly or whatever, so we said ,’OK, we don’t care, we just want to play that, we want to try that and maybe give new blood or something.’

RN: Did you get much of a reaction in Switzerland about it?

V: Yeah, a little bit. Not when we started, but after a few years of playing and putting out records people actually began to take us serious.

RN: Do you have reasonable sized shows when you go home then?

V: Yeah, whatever that may mean. I mean when we play at home we can play to a couple of hundred people. We also sometimes play festivals with other bands where we play to a few thousand, but normally it’s about three hundred. But we play like every small town that is possible, so kids don’t have to travel. If we only played the bigger cities in Switzerland then we’d probably get some more people because people then have to travel, and will travel. But we prefer to play lots of smaller dates so people don’t have to travel.

RN: Do you have the problem that American bands, or foreign bands who show up instantly have bigger crowds?

V: Yeah, we have that, but now it’s not actually that bad anymore. I mean we… it doesn’t really matter to us, because when we play we’re cheaper than an American band because we don’t have to fly there (laughs) We also have luck sometimes too.

RN: OK well if someone listens to your record what do you hope they take out of it. Is it to have fun, dance and whatever?

V: Of course, that’s a really big part of it. We want people to have a good time but not like too good a time. We don’t want it to be some dumb, stupid frat party or whatever. But a good time is obviously something that’s important…

RN: [back door opens] Do you wanna go in and try and find Lil and Kafren about the van?

V: Yeah that sounds like a good idea! (laughs)

RN: …well how did you end up on Household Name Records over here then?

V: [pause] Well we played with Household Name bands, and because of that the Household Name people saw us, and then our friend and manager – kinda – he sort of asked… oh and plus our booking agent is Hidden Talent Booking…

RN: Oh Ian Armstrong?

V: Yeah, Ian, he really kinda liked us, and he wanted us to tour England, and play more shows in England, but with no records out it’s kind of like… it’s impossible, almost. I think we were also helped by being on Asian Man in the States, and Household Name like Asian Man, and the other way, so I think they heard about us from all of those things.

RN: This is the second album out in the States isn’t it?

V: Yeah it’s the second one that we’ve released on Asian Man.

RN: Have your toured the US then?

V: Yeah, twice, it was totally a DIY thing the first time that we went, and so of course some nights were terrible, but some nights were amazing, and worked really well. Then the second time another Asian Man band who we’re friends with – MU330 – invited us to come over and tour with them, so… that was cool.

RN: Do you think, and with bands like the Horrorpops, that rockabilly, or whatever you wanna call it, is gonna get bigger again?

V: I don’t know. Yeah maybe. I mean everyone is saying it is, everyone seems to think it’s getting so maybe it is. Everything has waves where it’s big and small, and psychobilly was kind of big back in the mid-eighties so maybe it’s coming back. I don’t know, everything comes back.

RN: What bands made you wanna form a band then?

V: Maybe the Clash, The Straycats and old hardcore stuff like the Angry Samoans, and then just lots of other punk stuff, like Screeching Weasel is one of my all time favourite punk bands.

RN: What about the lyrics, are they written after the music? Are they as important as the music?

V: They’re important for me, because it’s me who’s singing them, and I don’t want to just sing bullshit, so they’re important to me. I mean I’m always happy if somebody says they like the lyrics, that makes me happy. But if someone says they don’t like the lyrics, or that they don’t care about them, then that doesn’t bother me, it’s not important, I’m OK with that. But yeah the lyrics are important for me!

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