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Interview: Non Stop Erotic Cabaret
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
DD: My parents were both musicians, so I grew up surrounded by music and musical instruments, and I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a hugely important part of my life.
TF: I grew up listening to soul and Blues. My parents were regulars at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. During the late 70’s and 80’s I discovered punk, 2 tone and new wave, and then lost a few years in the 90’s after attending the Hacienda.
DD: Didn’t we all?! I can’t imagine what I’d be doing if I wasn’t doing music.
TF: Sitting on the dock of the bay, selling donuts from a van.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music, and how does that influence your creativity?
DD: I am in the final year of my PhD, so when I am not doing that, I am doing this, and vice versa. The lyrics for Connected were inspired by my research into the power of technology to do not just good, but also harm. If you use it the wrong way, and don’t apply critical thinking skills to the information you are presented with through your screens, you can get yourself into all sorts of trouble.
TF: I make cardboard synthesizers. It clears my mind.
DD: A lot of our songs and videos are technology-related, as those are the kinds of things which float our coracle.
How long has your band been around?
DD: Since The dawn of time itself.
TF: Or the start of lockdown in the UK.
DD: Take your pick.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
DD: We are based up in the Yorkshire Pennines, surrounded by trees, sheep, the howling wind, and driving rain.
TF: There’s not much to do, particularly in the winter months when we often get snowed in, so you either go crazy or get creative. Or both.
DD: That’s why the Bronte sisters wrote all those books. To stave off the madness. Or feed it. Or both.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
DD: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell is the only album we both own, and both really love, so after a few false starts, that’s what we went with. I really liked Tacky Tigers (From This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us by Sparks), but Timmy was having none of it.
TF: Tacky Tigers wasn’t the worst one he came up with, but it was pretty close.
DD: Calling ourselves Non Stop Erotic Cabaret had the added bonus of making us practically un-Googleable, which was really funny right up until the point where it wasn’t.
TF: That’s why we had to start using #nSECmUSIC on everything we do, so everyone, including us, could actually find us and our music online. Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
DD: The best show had to be when we played Beat-Herder, which has always been our favourite festival.
TF: Some festivals are too big, some festivals are too small, but Beat-Herder is just right. They treated us like royalty, and we stormed it.
DD: Then we danced ourselves dizzy to disco ‘til dawn, ending up covered in mud, glitter and glory.
TF: As for the worst show… we played at a graduation party for music students as a favour for a friend.
DD: Everyone in the audience was better at playing their instruments than we could ever hope to be,
and had the diplomas to prove it.
TF: If it could go wrong, it did go wrong, and it was a disaster from start to finish.
DD: Never again.
Tell me about your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven’t already?
TF: We’ve love to play The Leadmill in Sheffield, Rock City in Nottingham, Barrowlands in Glasgow, Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, Traders in Hebden Bridge, and on the top level of the multi-story car park in Keighley.
DD: We do like dingy grot holes with peeling plaster, exposed pipes and dodgy wiring, as they remind us of the sleazy clubs we used to play back in the day. The multi-story car park in Keighley sounds about right.
If you could play any show with any line-up who would be on the ticket?
DD: Oh wow. That’s a tough one. Soft Cell, of course. Along with Erasure. And Depeche Mode. Oh, and with Kraftwerk topping the bill. This line-up is looking pretty expensive. And we would need to be in a stadium. Well, they would. Maybe we could play the after-show party?!
TF: Disaster Area . . . so we could use their PA.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
DD: At the risk of violating Nike’s copyright… Just Do It.
TF: We have both been in bands all our lives, and some of the best times of our lives have been up on stage giving it our all.
DD: And some of the worst.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
TF: Quit the day job, and focus on the music.
DD: Life’s too short to be stuck in a dead end job doing something you hate, whilst inside your soul slowly shrivels and dies.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
DD: Connected is our first single, so that is hugely important to us, for obvious reasons
TF: But our next single, Mr. Moogie, was the track that got us signed to The Animal Farm label, so that has a special place in our hearts too.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
TF: I think the answer to both would have to be I Don’t Care About You, as it’s a real crowd pleaser, and everybody sings along.
DD: It’s also based on something that happened to me in real life. It’s never fun bumping into an ex, and you always think of what you should have said afterwards. That song says what I should have said at the time, but didn’t.
TF: You have now.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
DD: We work completely separately in our own studios, and send things back and forth over the internet.
TF: It all starts with an instrumental, which I create on my iPad using GarageBand.
DD: Timmy sends the tune to me, I send it back with some vocals, and if it gets the thumbs up, he sends me all the parts, and I re-record the vocals, and add… drama.
TF: We are inspired by the world around us. It might be something we have seen, something we have heard, or something we have experienced.
DD: All of our songs are based on truth, or at least our version of it. They’re not always quite the same thing.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
TF: Positivity and creativity are the keys to a happier life.
DD: Everybody deserves a chance to shine.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
DD: We rarely disagree about anything, but when we do, it’s awfully British, and super polite. “I love the chorus” means “the verse needs a little more work”.
TF: “Not sure about that lead synth sound” means “try something else instead”.
DD: We are always trying to please one another, and more often than not we succeed.
TF: We stopped trying to please the rest of the world a long time ago and, ironically, we have never
been more successful.
DD: There’s probably a life lesson in there for all of us.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that’s coming up?
TF: We’ll think about the future in the future - right now, we are fully focussed on the present.
DD: Meticulous planning is not really our thing. Stuff always happens that gets in the way.
TF: Better to take each day as it comes.
DD: And ride the wave to whichever shore it takes us to.