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Sophia - Interview

  by Sarah Maybank

published: 20 / 10 / 2009

Sophia - Interview


Sarah Maybank finds Jon Spencer to be in aggressive mood when she speaks to him about Heavy Trash's new album, 'Midnight Soul Mood', and how he divides his time between it and his other band, the Blues Explosion

Hmm, we had no idea Jon Spencer was such a big fan of Kevin The Teenager. When we asked for a few words with the Blues Explosion/Heavy Trash front-meister, we didn't mean a few words, LITERALLY. We actually meant a conversation. An interaction. Not the kind of sulky-boy speak you'd expect from Harry Enfield's flame-haired, acne-riddled suburban menace. Still, when you've been demonically cool since 1985 (when Spencer formed noise-punk outfit Pussy Galore). And have duetted with Nancy Sinatra (on 'Ain't No Other Way' on her 2004 self-titled album). And have maintained exhaustion-inducing levels of touring/recording in between - and since - maybe the right is yours to get a bit terse from time to time. Plus we're completely under the spell of Heavy Trash's addictive current album, nouveau rockabilly opus 'Midnight Soul Serenade' so we'll cut him a bit of slack. Ready for Jon Spencer on his life, work and everything else, then? Really, don't blink - you'll miss it. PB: 'Midnight Soul Serenade' seems to bleed with good vibes. What’s going so well to inspire such a good-humoured album? JS: Middle age! Ha! PB: What are you like in the studio? One of these megalomanic Phil Spector types or do you just go with the flow? JS: One minute I'm up, tearing at the console like a wild animal, the next I'm slumped over the drum kit. PB: How far do you go for authenticity of sound? Do you use cranky old vintage equipment or is it just more about getting into the vibe of that era? JS: We go pretty far. Matt (Verta-Ray, Specner's band mate in Heavy Trash-Ed) and I love the sound of old records and cool vintage gear is nice. But we are not Luddites. We will use whatever works, including modern technology. PB: From listening to your stuff it sounds like you haven’t listened to anything made after about 1970. Do you listen to contemporary music? Which artists do you admire? JS: Portishead, Cobra Killer, Joe Gideon and the Shark, Lil' Mama, etc. PB: Who are your musical heroes and who would you like to work with – and why? JS: I have always admired Tony Joe White. It would be great to do something with him. PB: You’re on a world tour – what adventures/high points/mishaps have you had so far? JS: Sam the drummer got sick off some pork or fish in the soup last night. PB: What do you do on your days off – do you get a chance to see more than a hotel room of the places you go to? JS: No days off. Just work. PB: How do you sustain the enthusiasm after continually playing the same set? Or do you try to mix it up? JS: It's not the same set. Even the songs within themselves can change. PB: How do you deal with feelings of unfaithfulness to the Blues Explosion when you’re working with Heavy Trash? JS: I don't know what you are talking about. It does not exist these feelings. PB: Do you need a split personality or do you have to develop different personas to deal with both bands? If so how do these ‘personalities’ differ from each other? JS: No such thing(s). PB: What are your plans after you’ve finished promoting the album? JS: Do it some more! PB: Finally, your top MySpace friend is a cat called Frankie. Aren’t you supposed to have high profile music industry mates in that position in order to look cool? JS: Go fuck yourself, you lousy dog lover.

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Sophia - Interview

Sophia - Interview

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The frontman with Sophia,Robin Proper-Sheppard, talks to John Clarkson about his decision to sign to the City Slang label after years of putting out his records on his own Flower Shop label, and his diverse new record, 'People are Like Seasons'

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Bush Hall, London, 18/11/2003
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As a prelude to a European tour and their new album 'People are Like Seasons', both of which are due early next year, Sophia recently played a low-key gig at the London Bush Hall. From uncertain beginnings Jon Rogers finds them on fine form


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Understated and slow-growing, but ultimately rewarding fifth album from Sophia, which depicts in powerful detail the agony of a relationship having gone sour
People Are Like Seasons (2003)
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