Ever found yourself looking through your music collection and giving up with a frustrated sigh, longing for something that is simply raw, honest and above all, designed to be played at full volume?
Well, look no further than Tim Hampton and Dan Potter to blast away the cobwebs. Anyone who has downloaded their album teaser ‘Gonna Let You Melt’ from Bromhead’s website will be well aware that the duo’s muscular, garage-rock is of the kind which hits you with all the subtlety of a brick to the face… Or any other body part for that matter.
So, we thought we’d bundle them in The Leadmill’s loft. Not in a captive sense of course, but in order to record a session surrounded by decades-worth of discarded musical relics, in a setting boasting the kind of organised chaos which suits their sound down to the ground.
Exposed: Your new album, Choro, is out in April [the 15th] – what can we expect?
Tim: We went about it differently to the last few. We recorded it in seven days; we wanted something spontaneous and unpolished. You can hear it as well – it’s a lot rawer than anything we’ve done for a while.
Was the idea to purposely depart from the way the last album was recorded? [2010’s The Lamp Sessions was compiled from singles released each month over the course of the year]
Tim: We actually recorded an album about 18 months ago, but the release kept getting pushed back. Those songs were written at a time when music was our only income, so we were under pressure to get on the radio and get loads of people to like us. By the time we were finally able to release it we both had other businesses and we’d just recorded the Holding the Gun EP in this quick, raw way… it just led us to decide that we didn’t want to release that album. So it wasn’t so much us wanting to record it in just 7 days, we also didn’t have much of a choice!
Dan: It was a risk, but at least if after 7 days it was sh*t we did have a back-up! Luckily, we made something better. There are mistakes, but they give a record character in my opinion.
Tim: Choro was probably more enjoyable to make as well with less pressure – we could just blast it out and have fun. I like to compare it to Black Sabbath – Paranoid was just written to quickly fill the last 3-minutes of the record but it became a classic.
You mentioned having to aim for popularity a bit with the ‘lost’ album: as a band, do you pay much attention to what is and isn’t ‘in’ and feel the need to adapt?
Tim: No, none at all. When we changed to a two-piece we didn’t have a label, and this gave us the chance to rethink how we did things. Now we know what we like to do musically and enjoy the freedom to just keep doing what we want, regardless of whether it’s bassline or bloody Hip-hop that’s in fashion.
So it doesn’t matter too much that guitar bands are getting a bit more attention once again?
Tim: It is good for bands that I have people ringing up my studio asking if I’ve recorded anything decent recently, because there has always been good stuff happening in Sheffield. They never want to talk about my band (!)… These young bands have to be wary though – a lot of people just want to capitalise on that ‘big-bang’ and then drop them when the next thing comes along.
You’ll have experience of this kind of thing of course from being swept up in the whole ‘New Yorkshire’ media-hype years ago…
Tim: *Laughing* I can’t believe you remember that! We tried to avoid having any part in it because Dan was away – but our record label was basically told that if we didn’t do it we’d never get any press again.
That’s ruthless! So retrospectively, the whole scene explosion was a bad thing…?
Tim: Well, on the one hand it did get people excited about seeing bands again, but at the same time the mainstream totally killed it because suddenly all the labels descended on Sheffield and signed anything.
It diluted the meaning of ‘talent’, then?
Tim: Yeah. It was better before they poked their noses in. It’ll never happen again to that extent because there’ll never be another Arctic Monkeys but if it ever looked that way, I think people will be more wary because, once the corporate dudes get involved they just spoil it. And once they put a label on it… God help us!