They came, they saw and conquered. Space Heroes of the People brought the house down at the White Swan in Aylesbury last night. Steven Belfrage had a few words with them before their set…
Despite recent murders and a new theatre, Aylesbury is still a somewhat sleepy Home Counties backwater, void of much significant culture and reasons to visit. In light of this, what can the town’s faceless drones expect when Space Heroes of the People walk on stage tonight?
Jo: Right, er, no pressure there then! You can expect looped beats, trance drops, dirty double bass, shouting through a vocoder, songs about architecture and motorway bridges, the opportunity to dance and the odd cock up. Hurrah!
You say your influences go beyond the scopes of sound with your love of medieval history and Soviet science fiction inspiring you. How do you incorporate this into your music and what other pleasures are floating your boat at this time?
Jo: The medieval history part is just a concession to me and my PhD I think!
Tim: Although we did do a song about Roger Bacon. In general I’m a big SF geek and it’s true that I have read a fair amount of the old Soviet stuff. It goes beyond that though – how can I put it – there seems to be a general feeling around that basically we’re fucked, that the Murdochs and the Camerons have control, that the rich will always get richer and the poor get poorer, and even if we don’t like it there isn’t really anything we can do. I don’t believe that. From 1945 through to the 70s there was this idea that we could build a genuinely better society, and in that time, by the efforts of largely unsung people, inequality actually fell, civil liberties increased, equal rights were put into law. In architecture at its best there was a genuine attempt to build a better environment, and this was symbolised by these very science fictional buildings like the Skylon, which Churchill had pulled down by the way because he thought it was three dimensional socialist propaganda. And since then there has been this sustained, I can only describe it as a propaganda campaign, that either this never happened, or it was a terrible failure, and that’s now the perception. So Space Heroes is also in some small way about articulating that old leftist, science fictional idea of building a better future together. As for other pleasures, I have pretty much perfected my slow roast pork shoulder. Though I say it myself it is amazing. (Yes, it is – Jo).
Where as bands like Led Zeppelin, the Who and er..Def Leppard have all struggled after loosing of their drummers, you appeared to have upped your game. Are these drummers simply old hat?
Jo: Not at all! We were gutted when Lizz left, on both a personal and musical level, and we would have loved it if another drummer had just come along and joined. But frankly, there’s one drummer to every four bands inOxford, and so finding the right one, who wasn’t already ridiculously busy, who was willing to play along to the laptop, and who wasn’t a complete dickhead was always going be a tall order. In the end we decided not to even bother looking and just go for it as a two-piece.
Tim: From the point of view of sheer laziness it had an impact on me as I had to start programming breaks and fills instead of just sticking on a four to the floor beat and letting Lizz do the rest. Although about half the time I just stick to four to the floor anyway.
Your last release ‘Dancing to Architecture’ received some very complimentary press reviews – in fact no one seemed to have a bad word to say about it! What has however been your worst ever write up?
Tim: Well, we have a song on the fantastic “We Do Not Have A Dinosaur” compilation and Oxford Music Blog said that they expected Wham! to start singing at any moment. I don’t think they meant it as a compliment but to be honest I’m pretty happy with that.
Jo: The most, how can I put this, astounding review we’ve had was way back in 2001, when Tim and I were in a band called eeebleee, and I was referred to in a live review as a ‘hypnotically erotic cable-tugger’.
Tim: That’s true though, Jo.
Finally when can we expect the next release from Space Heroes of the People?
Tim: We’ve got a bunch of stuff since then which we perform live. As mentioned above we have a song on the Dinosaur comp called “Kosmoceratops”, and we’re also doing a remix for 1877 which is almost done, so hopefully you’ll see that soon. Actually, I haven’t told them it’s almost finished yet, so you’ve heard that before they have.
Jo: We’ve got the songs in the pipeline for a new EP, but we need to decide how and when we release our next songs, and in what format. I’d love to do an album, personally. Please can someone give us some money for an album?
Tim: I can do a lot of it at home but Jo’s bass needs to be recorded properly.