FIAT LUX - THE POSITIVE TOUCH (04/83) by TPT
|This interview took
place on March 8th 1983 at the 'Elephant & Castle' in Wakefield
between 'The Positive Touch' and all three members of Wakefield
based band 'Fiat Lux' Ian Nelson, 'Sebastian' and David Crickmore,
a couple of days before they signed a £60,000 recording contract
with the Polydor label.
TPT - Obviously success has leapt rather than
crept upon the band. Do you feel that such a quick rise to fame
could turn a band into one hit wonders?
DAVE - It could if they only had one hit!!!
TPT - Really?
SEB - We're not that successful yet, we've
hardly had a hit apart from the 'indie' charts but the momentum's
gradually building up.
DAVE - I do think though that we've got the
initial material right to back it up. Like, we haven't thrown away
our only 'potential hit', 'Feels Like Winter Again'. 'Winter's'
hopefully the first step up the ladder, we know we've got a few
things up our sleeves already but the working relationship of the
band is just beginning to gel.
IAN - It's growing all the time but this stage
now is about the first time we've had to concertedly work at stuff
we're going to be producing in the future. Up to now it's been
haphazard with everybody contributing but not really working
SEB - Just because you have one hit doesn't
rule you out for the rest of the stuff that you do. We've stressed
to all the people that we've come into contact with that we are
going to demand time to develop.
|DAVE - So many
bands have enough material for one
album and then after that it's just throwaway stuff, so I think we
just need to take it easy. It would be nice to have hit singles
but it's a hyperthetical situation because we haven't actually had
anything anywhere near that..all 'Winter' was, was a showcase.
SEB - It really drew attention to the rest of
TPT - The gallop system has supposedly stamped
out the chart hyping...
DAVE - Rubbish!! The trouble is the Gallop chart is that when we
were in contact with the record companies when everyone was
showing interest in us it was at the same time as the Gallop
charts were being instituted and they were all patting themselves
on the back and saying that they knew some of the chart return
shops and CBS knew some of them and they were all clubbing
together. Also they're actually reduced the number of shops that
they take the poll from, which certainly makes it easier for the 'hypesters'.
TPT - You're all honest lads, so do you think
that all these other bands being hyped into the charts will hinder
SEB - I don't care if other bands do it , it
won't alter out music.
IAN - A lot of the time it's not up to the
bands of course.
DAVE - Those sort of things generally go on
behind the scenes and they're not really the kind of things
musicians involve themselves with. It would be naive to think that
behind the scenes Polydor might not be prepared to make those kind
of efforts on our behalf but I certainly wouldn't approve of it if
I knew it was going on. It's just a question of how far you can
exercise control over the mechanisms.
TPT - How much control do you have over record
DAVE - We're trying to engineer the deal with
Polydor so that we have as much control as possible.
TPT - But does every band not do that
SEB - It depends on what advice they get.
IAN - We've been very fortunate to have some
people working for us that know the business inside out and are
therefore insisting on these kind of clauses in the contract that
any decision is done in consultation with us.
DAVE - You do find that a lot of bands that do
sign up with a major label then that's it, for example Tears For
Fears. It's not blowing any trade secrets because they've made it
clear publicly that they were appalled at the release of their
last single by Phonogram which was done entirely without their
consent. It just depends, if bands are uninformed and desperate
about getting a contract then they're liable to let these thoughts
TPT - Where does the inspiration for the songs
come from? Do you just sit down and try to write a song?
DAVE - No! It's not fair to do that because
that's contriving something which is another throwaway thing and a
lot of bands fall into the idea of constructing songs for the sake
of it. If we dried up then we dried up. There's no point in being
dishonest about it.
IAN - One nice thing about it is having a three
way song writing partnership. There are 3 different influences all
of which can be used within the overall context of the sound.
Therefore, it's fairly unlikely that everyone would have a dry
spot at the same time.
DAVE - I saw someone last week who said that
they were equally fed up with bands who write sings which are
trendy e.g. unemployment, CND, etc, which is just as bad as
writing songs like 'I'm in love with sausage rolls'!!!
SEB - Why are elephants big, grey and wrinkled?
Duuno? Because if they were white, small and round they'd be an
asprin!! (Who is this guy? - Ed).
TPT - Do you think it's important for a band to
keep their grassroots?
SEB - Yeah, but it's a bit difficult for us
because although we're Wakefield based, he's from Grimsby, he's
from Wakefield and I'm from Chester so collectively we're from
Twickenham!! No, it's important e.g. if you hear that a band's
from Liverpool you immediately expect something.
At this stage the landlady enters into the
conversation and refuses us permission to have the tape recorder
on the table and says we can use the room upstairs for £1.50 an
hour. We thank her and protest. She goes away and we carry on for
TPT - The time is obviously right for a musical
resurgence on a local scale. The Positive Touch is trying to
inspire this but money, or lack of it, makes frequent release
impractical. Do you think money should be pumped in somewhere by
someone (Wakefield Metropolitan District Council perhaps?). Not to
the fanzine in particular but to promoting local gigs?
IAN - It would be nice to see something
happening in this particular town but having repeatedly tried to
get something going in that direction.. There is a great wall of
apathy in this town which you have to fight against, i.e. the
bloke at the Unity Hall.
At this point the conversation becomes depressingly
IAN - You find a lot of people that promote
concerts are capitalists but the way to overcome this in this
respect is to make the performances successful and to show them
that there is money in it for them. But unfortunately people in
Wakefield very rarely get behind this sort of venture. That's the
problem, you can offer all sorts of wonderful things to people but
if they're not prepared to come and experience these wonderful
goodies then there's not a lot you can do really. I mean, you can
try a couple of times and see if that inspires interest but really
it's up to you, the reader of 'The Positive Touch' to come and
support your local music scene.
TPT - How do you find people like Peter Powell?
DAVE - Ooooh he's gorgeous(?), he's about this
high(?) that's why he always leans over. The thing about Peter
Powell, like all DJs, is that he sounds very, very sincere when he
says things but you get the feeling that he means it and he
actually does care a lot about what he does.
IAN - When I've phoned him up and he's asked
what we're doing and you tell him then he gives positive advice
like be careful, don't go for the money, go for the deal. Then you
think ah well, that's all he wants to know and then I get home one
day and there's a message left on the pad saying 'Peter Powell
phoned and he wants to know whats happening. He really takes an
interest, which is nice and if you're talking to him then he
smiles back and it's ok, mates and all that but you know it's
going in somewhere and he's going to use it. The reason he sounds
so patronising towards new bands e.g. when he says 'oh, I went to
see these 2 years ago or whatever but he can say this because he
did (unlike some). His programme on Radio 1 is that it's about the
only one that has any real commitment behind it. Peel goes that
way as well.
TPT - Any plans for an album?
DAVE - Yes, the deal is geared towards an album
TPT - How do you get about?
SEB - In the back of an Escort van.
Just before the interview slipped into oblivion and
the batteries failed. Dave gave a quick summing up - we've got
certain material and we like to play it for people and thereby
we've been taken up on the strength of that by a major company.
We're not going to write any songs about nothing because people
who write songs about nothing are very stupid people and are only
interested in the dance beat and the money they can get for it. So
as long as we remain true to ourselves and the material we're
producing and playing, then people can't slag us off (mind you,
they probably slag us off more than if we pandered to taste but
there you go).
TPT - Did you know the motto of Liverpool
University was 'Fiat Lux'?
SEB - The sinister devils!!
TPT - The Liverpool University bandwagon?
FIAT LUX - Absolutely!!
The conversation then turned into a joke telling
session (most of them clean?) and Sebastian proceeded to give an
indepth account of how he got a scar at Liverpool University from
an encounter with a glass swing door which happened to contain
less than it's fair share of glass!! He then started telling a
very involved 'joke' which we're still waiting for the punchline
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