Interview w/ UK Based Cinematic Rock Duo Am I Dead Yet?
Give us your name and your roles in the band? Noko: My name’s Noko and I’m largely responsibly for the guitar-playing, soundscape and production of the Am I Dead Yet? operation.
Take us behind the formation of the group and how you all met? Mary and I have known each other for years and have shared many a rock’n’roll stage with Apollo 440 in particular. We first met through our mutual friend Kark Leiker, who was the bass player in my band Luxuria in the late ’80s. We first worked together when I produced Mary’s first post Gaye Bykers On Acid album, “Metaphasia” in 1992. On that album, there were a few slower, noir-tinged tracks that we particularly enjoyed doing - we promised ourselves we’d make a whole album like that one day. All those years later, here we are with the debut Am I Dead Yet? album. Wire-Sound WIRED#48.
Describe your early musical influences and how they have helped shape and inspire you to this day? Seeing Marc Bolan doing his flamboyant swagger thing with T-Rex on Top Of The Pops on TV changed my life forever - in an instant, I knew where my path had to lead. There was of course, the simple matter of learning to play an instrument and getting in a band...how hard could that be?
How would you describe your band's sound to those who aren't familiar with you? It’s not really my job to describe our sound...that’s what music’s for. But hey, it’s a kind of widescreen noir-tinged pop music, with one foot in the same hot-tub that film composers John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Lalo Shifrin, Jerry Goldsmith and the other boys in the band have lounged in, sprinkled with a lyric content that quietly despairs of how the technology of our post-modern age that was supposed to liberate and bring us together, is actually, in the words of Mr.Curtis, tearing us apart.
What is the energy and joy you get out of playing and recording music, how big of a rush do you feel? It’s the only life I’ve known for years - I don’t know how to do anything else. It’s exhilarating and eternally frustrating in almost equal measure...almost. It’s always a privilege to play your music to live audiences and that brings it’s own highs and lows.
Talk about the recording of your latest release, and what it was like to put it all together? We started the album when Mary was still living in Rio in Brazil, so there was a lot of remote file-swapping. He then moved back to the UK as Brazil descended into a morass of political chaos, corruption and general moral turpitude and we spent more time recording and mixing it in my studio here in London. Orchestral soundscapes are an important facet of our sound and I think we have fallen on a nice balance between the excellent virtual instruments available today and exhaustive layering of ‘real’ stuff like my viola and Hungarian cimbalom and a whole host of other stringed instruments from electric and acoustic guitars to mandolin and antique banjolin. The old Stylophone has also made it’s presence known on a few tracks, notably “Solid Gone” and “Joe Meek Shall Inherit The Earth”. I recorded, mixed and mastered the whole thing, so it was quite a journey to get to the end with our musical world still intact, with no particular input from anyone other than the pair of us.
Besides music, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m tempted to quote Monty Python here and say “Masturbating and reading Marcel Proust”....but I won’t.
What's coming up next for you, any future shows or new music you'd like to promote? We’ve just done a few gigs to launch the album, and we were hot-rodded by our new rhythm section of Clif ‘Sly Diva” Hewitt on electronic drums and Derek’Hoodlum Priest” Thompson on bass to wonderfully escalated effect. One of the packages in our album crowd-funding was that we’d come and play an intimate version of the Am I Dead Yet? sound in a room of our choice : living room, bathroom etc....we’ll a couple of people took us up on our of er, so we’re looking forward to doing that in places as far afield as St. Leonard's in UK and Hamburg in Germany soon. That’s gonna be an experience!
How can fans find out more info about you online? We’re pretty active on our Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/aidyband/ and our website : www.amideadyet.co.uk. You can buy our album Am I Dead Yet? (WIRED#49) through the Wire Sound label : www.wire-sound.com
Lastly, what is the one thing you enjoy the most about being in a band together? We do a lot less arguing than a lot of bands - that’s not to be sneezed at.