Spy Versus Spy Interview


1) Give us a brief history of Spy Versus Spy

It all started at an outdoor festival in Stoke, I bumped into Doog, we were both bored and Doog lives above a rehearsal studio (no sleep) so we had a jam, it was nothing like the stuff we do now but it was enough to make us pursue it, and recruit Mark who was a vagrant but had a little bass experience. And Ben, whom we found picking fag ends out of bins in the sopping centre. We did a few shows to good reception. And we did the CDEP on Subjugation, which was a good experience because Ian and Helene are really cool people. And since then everything has been going nuts. Loads of gigs and touring, till my poor blue van died.

2) Who plays what in Spy Versus Spy as it's not immediately obvious from your CD?

Mark is the rivets, Doog is the structure, I am the shine, and Ben is the garnish. Clear enough now?

3) What do you all do outside the band?

I can't really speak for the other boys because it wouldn't be fair but I enjoy biking, which is why I just broke my hand two weeks ago. Erm, reading, especially travel writing. Saving up to travel Europe, which is where my work comes in, I currently deliver machinery in a big red van for a woodworking shop. It's only temporary, I'm taking a year out of Uni at the moment to get rid of some of those debts. Apart from that just the usual 20 year old boy stuff, you know getting hurt by a girl and moping around with a face like a wet weekend.

4) Do any of you play in any other bands?

Not anymore.

5) Why didn't you include the lyrics with your CD? Are your lyrics unimportant?

Yes the lyrics are vital to us. They mean a hell of a lot to me. It's what makes the difference between playing the songs and feeling them. The lyrics were included, some CDs didn't have sheets because Ian couldn't get them in time. Yours obviously didn't, enclosed is a copy. Sorry.

6) What is Emo music?

I really cannot be bothered to try to work that one out anymore. I can tell you this it's a form of music with a definite stigma attached to it, in a bad way, lots of stereotyping, yuk. In a way that is largely undeserved too. There are certain "Emo" bands who I don't feel show any soul or intent but just seem to be churning out mundane indie rock. Yet bands like, say Fugazi, have so much intent and are so focused and involved in their music, that's real emo. But not in the half cocked, shunned sense that many people think of it. Everyone says Imbalance are simply a hardcore band but Andy means his lyrics just as much as we do. He feels them just as much. Emo is simply a lame tag, like power violence? I mean what the hell?

7) Did the interview and voted best UK band in Fracture help you in any way?

I'm not sure. It certainly exposed us to a lot of attention from very cynical people who like to slag us off but that's to be expected. We were flattered by the poll results and I'm not sure how we got voted best band because we were a relatively new band at the time and maybe didn't deserve it? Just that knowing how fickle people in this scene can be, well it just doesn't pay to let stuff like that get to you. I'm fully prepared to us in the most overrated band category next year. People don't even let you live up to hype. And I don't know whether we do or not, I know I like the music that we make and that's about all that matters.

8) What sort of stuff have you been listening to at the moment?

Again I can only speak for myself (makes it sound like we don't know each other, ha) but mainly Sea And The Cake, Gastr Del Sol, Sam Prekop, Fugazi, Led Zep, and Black Love by the Afghan Whigs. Also the new Rainer Maria LP and the Firebird Suite 7".

9) What has been your best live show?

I really enjoyed the last Wigan all dayer or the headliner we played at the Garage in London with Sunfactor. Just really great atmospheres.

10) There has been a lot of talk about the apocalypse recently. Are you scared?

To tell you the truth recently I've not been too bothered about much. Either good or bad. Just other things on my mind.

11) Do any of you hold any particular political views?

Well, we're vegan so I guess that tells you something. It's not the kind of thing that we like to shove in people's faces. But it is extremely important to us. Animal rights as a political concern seems like a kind of constant or prerequisite of people in hardcore nowadays which is great. Basically it was like I woke up one morning and just thought about life. About how all you ever really own is you own is your perception, your right to exist and coexist as you choose. Material possessions don't really mean anything at the end of it all. Then I apply that thought to all cognitive lifeforms. None of us are vegan for image reasons, because it's not something we brag about. It's just common sense to us. You know? When something just seems so normal. I suppose that's the way that carnivores think about the meat industry, that it's normal. And as for dairy, well that's bizarre too. Why do consume the eggs or milk of another species? Milk that is produced for a calf? Not for humans. I don't know, the last thing I want to come over as is preachy, so I'll shut up.

12) What is your view on GM food?

Ha, another obstacle to be aware of. I tell you it's not easy being on tour. Going in to a service station and having no alternatives but crisps and certain brands of flapjack. It's even harder to avoid GM food. That's why being vegan can be such a problem at places like garages and services. I mean it's fine at say a restaurant because you can usually find something vegan that is nutritional and satisfying. And there is always a health food store in an any town. As long as you get there before closing. But when you're in the van for days at a time it's really easy to become poorly from not eating well. That's why it's so great when you crash at someone's pad and they cook you a proper hot meal with REAL KNIVES AND FORKS! It means so much. And when we get back home...oh man...real ace pasta as soon as I'm through that door, then a shower, your own shower, YOU OWN BED. Absolutely mint. Sorry if I strayed a little from the question. GM food, yeah, very wary. Mark read this book on it and he was telling me all this stuff, it's very worrying. I'm going to read it next.

13) What are your future plans?

At the moment we're getting a lot of new songs together for an LP. If all goes well it should be out before the year is out. The new stuff is easily the best stuff we've written. Lots more mature I'd say, but in a good way.

14) Anything else to add?

Look out for a couple of Stoke bands, Inside Right and Orca. Erm thanks for the interview Ewan, thanks for reading this anyone who is. Sorry about the terrible - I'm in a rush and this typewriter thingy is a new toy. Now as Robert Plant said once "Valhala I am coming". Oh sod! Yeh, anyone who didn't get a lyric sheet with their CD just write to the address on the inlay card and we'll send you one. It's double sided with a photo and everything.




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