Prize Pets are further evidence of the thriving bizarropunk scene in Nottingham that has thrown up recent curve balls Lovvers and Guilty Parents. Weird for a city normally associated with its textiles industry and medieval good/evil tussles. Maybe there’s something in the water. Prize Pets’ debut EP, New Weirdos, is the soundtrack to some k-hole carnival ride. The title track feels like being strapped into a scuzzy waltzer and spun around by ‘a demented Ian Curtis’ (an amusing press description of frontman George Haberis). I talked to them about it.
SICK OF THE RADIO: So, Prize Pets, I understand you have an EP coming out soon, gimme the details.
Joe: ‘New Weirdos’ is the title, ‘Sex is Disgusting’ is the label. It’s available to buy on the internet and in shops and at shows.
SICK OF THE RADIO: People seem to keep comparing your music to The Fall, but I’m not sure if this is fair. What do you think?
James: Yes , we use our hands to play instruments and George uses his mouth which is what the singer from The Fall also does.
Joe: I’m not too familiar with The Fall. It doesn’t really mean much to me for this reason, but I have heard the comparison plenty.
George: I can see some similarities; I guess it’s quite easy to compare aspects of my vocals to Mark E Smith. I’m a fan but he wasn’t a direct influence. The Fall thing got mentioned once on a description of us really early on and since then other people seem to have run with it whenever they need to describe us. The Fall do have about 30 albums or something so I’m sure somewhere in that back catalogue there’s a song or two that sound like us!
Dan: I’ve never really listened to The Fall a great deal so I can’t really cite them as an influence at all. But I’ve been listening to them lately trying to work out what it is that people find similar but can’t work it out. I guess, like George says, they’ve got tons of releases, so it makes sense that we (as well as some other current bands, surely?) have bits that sound like The Fall.
SICK OF THE RADIO: Who are your main influences?
Joe: As a band I think we have a broad mix of musical backgrounds, both in what we listen to and in the music we have formerly made. I’m going to set myself the limit of only being allowed to list one influence. So, for me it’s probably Stewart Copeland.
James: We have been listening to Pinkerton a lot in the car on our three day tour.
George: The Fall! Hah! No seriously, speaking for myself when the band got together I suppose I drew influence from whatever I was listening to, plenty of ’60s garage, ’70s punk/proto-punk and ’80s hardcore. Like I said that’s just me, I wouldn’t say any of those influences are obvious when you listen to the band as a whole, but they’re there.
Dan: I agree with George, I don’t think that anything that we listen to is that apparent in our music. I’ve not even really been listening to that much music lately but I’m generally into a lot of ’70s prog and krautrock. I’d love to make an album that sounded like Pinkerton does.
SICK OF THE RADIO: What are the challenges posed by today’s music industry for a Pet Shop Boys cover band?
Joe: Hah. I wouldn’t know. This is not what we are.
George: That they’ve reformed? Did they even split up?
SICK OF THE RADIO: Joe, according to Loud and Quiet, you once performed with Cliff Richard and the Shadows. What was it like working with Sir Cliff? You must be in your 60s but have beautifully perky chops. Which rejuvenating skin cream do you use? My mum wants some.
Joe: That’s right. Well, my time with The Shadows was at a particularly difficult period in my life as a musician, I was basically in it for the money, I didn’t care enough about the music to really give it my all. I think this shows through in many of the recordings, particularly our 1960 release ‘Me and my Shadows’. Cliff was great, but it just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Why thank you, I use my own brand of night-time facial moisturiser, I’ve been using it since the last time I played with Cliff, back in ’71.
SICK OF THE RADIO: My blogosphere tendrils tell me there is buzz growing around Prize Pets, can you feel it?
James: I’m always buzzin’.
Joe: I can’t really feel it but I know that James is always buzzin’. So that’s good
George: I get a buzz when I hear that James buzzin’
Dan: We all get pretty buzzy sometimes, but James is definitely always buzzin’.
New Weirdos is out now on Sex is Disgusting records.