Here's an interview done with Soeza around April '98
Band members names/instruments
Dan 'Cornet' Cornfield - French Horn/Part-time shouting
Rory Cooper - Drums/Facial Work
Andi Wells - Drums/Crust Athletic
Ben Shillabeer - Guitar/Polite Vocals/King Charles I
Ben Owen - Loudmouth/Guitar/Contortions
Barn Stradling - Nether Regions/Hopeful Knobber Twiddling
When did Soeza form?
We arrived at this line-up, eventually, in early 1997.
Have any of you been in other bands? If so give a brief description of them (or long if you like!)
A couple of us have been and are in other bands, but nothing much like Soeza, or anything you would have heard of.
French Horn, 2 Drummers, guitar, bass and vocals isn't the most conventional line-ip. Why did you choose to have this line-up?
We had no desire to play 'conventional' music, and this works for us, but we didn't really make decisions about it. It just occurred.
Has your line-up ever changed?
Five of us started writing and jamming the first Soeza stuff in '96, then Ben Shillabeer joined in '97 and that was us
Does having such a big band cause problems when playing live?
We like it. Ben Owen says, "It can feel a little clumsy, but warmer and more dense, like an ambitious sandwich that pays off. Feels good, so close!" But sometimes sound engineers go a funny colour when we turn up!
Have you released anything before 'Ground Tricks' - demos, singles, compilations?
We did a tape, 'Seven Demonstrations' as the 5 piece, which was OK but Ben O thinks it's "A bit frightened sounding". Kind of thin, and recorded/mixed in a big hurry.
Any new releases planned?
There's quite a bit of stuff recorded, and more that we're in the middle of so we'll release it when we can afford to or when someone with some money wants to get involved. We also have a previously unreleased track coming out on a compilation album from Cardiff.
You own a small studio don't you? Does this help a lot with recording your songs? Was 'Ground Tricks recorded there?
I bought the recording equipment last year and it's been absolutely excellent. Me and my mate, Dave Caton, recorded 'Ground Tricks' and some other stuff in a friend's stable, and then mixed it at home, at our leisure. It takes loads of pressure off, knowing that all we need to pay for is tape. And it's a very enjoyable learning process, getting to grips with recording techniques. I think the next lot of stuff will be getting close to ow we want to sound.
Were there any other labels interested in you apart from Cowpat? Is Cowpat your own record label?
No, no. Cowpat is a chap called Ben Shrimpton, who wanted to release a single and he did, which was very good.
What bands have you played with?
Polaris, Imbiss, Bilge Pump, The Fall, Kepone, Gertrude + some lucky others.
Have you/are you planning to play any gigs abroad?
We haven't yet, but we fully intend to ASAP. Maybe with one or more of the aforementioned groovy Leeds bands.
Boring question I know but what are some of your influences?
Beefheart, Joe Jackson, Ian Dury, obvious stuff like Nomeansno, Fugazi, Shellac, Drive Like Jehu, Circus Lupus, Nation Of Ulysses etc
What are your favourite bands at the moment and of all time?
Most of the above are all time faves and just now we're listening to stuff like Karate, Blonde Redhead, The Grifters, and our hot dance tip is Wall Of Sound's 'Rhythm Digitale' album
What are your favourite albums at the moment and of all time?
All of the above + 'Weekend' by Kreidler, the new Tortoise one, Fugazi's End Hits, new Make Up and I still like Stereolab's 'Dots and Loops'
How has 'Ground Tricks' been received and how well is it selling?
'Job to say really..' no-one seems to be slagging us off, and good ol' John Peel played it once or twice.
What are your plans for the future with Soeza?
Ben O says "To continue the struggle, and do stuff and 'nuff" Cryptic as ever. We're enjoying ourselves a lot, without making any money, and we don't exactly have an efficient publicity machine so we'll probably just carry on till we get bored or outrageously rich or something….
Does it annoy you that if a punk band uses horns they're usually classed as ska whether or not the music sounds anything like ska?
If that happened to us it could be annoying but I think we're fairly blatantly not a ska band. Also, the French Horn, on it's own (without other horns) is quite subtle and somehow English … I think … maybe
Do you think Scotland will get past the first round in the World Cup ?
We have no opinion on that one, although I'm sure it would be great if it happened.
Everyone seems to have been assessing Labour's first year in power recently - any opinions on the subject?
It's been a good year for us but the change of government has been, on the whole, unnoticable. Maybe Mark Thomas wouldn't have got away with his latest telly series under the Tories, but who knows?
Yes please/not really, but life can be tough y'know?
Favourite joke at the moment ?
That one I just made up to answer the last question. Perhaps humour isn't my strongest point.
Final comments etc
"Wealth contains the virility of men" says Ben O. I say "Oh really?"
Contact Soeza at 65 Curtis St, Swindon, Wilts, SN1 5LR
01793 523 735 or
229a North St, Bedminster, Bristol
01179 637 239
They also have a website so go check it out or email them.
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