If you had to describe your music in a sentence, what would you say?
Jamie Whelligan: A menagerie of melodies and musical soundscapes – or glibly gliding gobbledygook, if you may.
Phil Channell: Psychedelic melodic electronic/guitar pop that echoes our favourite moments from 70s and 80s alternative bands.
How did you get into music?
PC: There were a lot of successful musicians that lived on my street where I grew up in the 1980s. Alan Gill, the guitarist from The Teardrop Explodes, had a studio a few doors down from my house. Being a piano player and hearing what sounds could be made with synthesizers and samplers, I really wanted one and it was an obvious route to follow. The only problem I had was that they were massively expensive, I was still at school and my parents certainly couldn’t afford it. Alan, being the kind neighbour we all knew, offered to let me to use his Ensoniq Mirage keyboard. Like a kid in a sweet shop I dived right in and with the help of Alan letting me use his studio, within a year I’d started producing and recording my own music.
JW: Though I’ve always been a bit of a lazy sod where learning the intricacies have been concerned, I’ve always loved listening, talking and, in a crude way, mimicking music that I heard. Being the youngest of 10 music-loving kids, there were always loads of different records, from Zappa to The Beatles to The Dead Kennedys, being played in the family house – often at the same time. In that environment, it was almost impossible not to get into music.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
JW: The gig that first inspired me to go back home and write a song was probably seeing my mates The Blakeys playing at The Alex in Birkenhead… a great little combo.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
JW: I think most of my favourite songwriters are good observers of the mundane minutiae of society – like Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit, Paul Heaton and, in his better days, Morrissey – but as I can’t compete with them, I probably have to rely on half-baked emotions filled with a collection of major seventh chords and layered with lashings of lyrical nonsense. Which Phil then masterly bakes at 200°C.
PC: It’s got to be film as my biggest influence: whenever I produce I always have a movie/video of the song flying around my head.
Why is music important to you?
JW: I can’t escape music, and it’s pretty much tied up with most things I do both pleasure-wise and earning a crust – I also ply my trade as a busker on the London Underground. So, it’s pretty important that I make it pleasurable and entertaining, at the very least for myself.