Flares n Seagulls new boy Tangled Web was delighted to have met up with Stacey Chavis (vocals), Martin Metcalfe (guitar), Fin Wilson (bass) and Derek Kelly (drums) from the lavishly named Isa and the Filthy Tongues a week before they were due to return to play The Tunnels in Aberdeen.
This I need to know, how did the name come about? I mean, just who is Isa? Is she somebody we need to meet?
Martin: Isa is a bit of a Frankenstein… part Isobel Gowdie. The most famous Scottish witch executed during the witch craze in the 17th century…confessed to ‘knowing’ the Devils ‘long cold member’. Part Jesus… The Muslim for Jesus is Isa (pronounced ‘eesa’) part my auntie Isa ((pronounced eye-sa)). Stacey loves my auntie Isa …she’s a very nice nut.
So I guess it’s what mood you meet Isa in that would decide whether you’d like to meet her…
The Filthy Tongues part comes from a biblical passage in Isaiah ‘Good Deeds are like Filthy Rags’…look up the old testament meaning for Filthy Rags then use your imagination!!!
Since you’ve all been in music for a fair while now, what sort of fan base do IATFT have, any idea?
Derek: As far as the people who turn up to gigs go? Left of center as far as their taste in music goes. They do tend to be a bit older in Scotland… say mid 30’s but they seem to be real music fans.
Of the younger and older generation, which do you think can be most useful to a band when it comes to them spending their hard earned?
Fin: Depends what defines generation?? I suppose young fans don’t want to pay for music but they still help by buying T-shirts from us or paying for gig tickets. There’s a cash crisis in the recording industry right now (in case you hadn’t noticed) . Let’s face it we need everybody!!!
You’ve released, or should I say, re-released (after the initial limited edition first batch of 200) your album Dark Passenger in march, what sort of feedback have you been getting?
Stacey: The feedback has been fantastic! Most of our reviews are 4 or 5 star for this LP and even the lesser reviews are saying it’s good.
Why did you go for the limited release anyway?
Derek: To help us pay for the manufacturing of the LP. We needed the money up front to manufacture it. Like we said there’s a cash crisis out there.
Martin: AND we REALLY wanted to get the thing out there.. we’d been sitting on it for 10 months by the time we could press it. Our fans were getting really hacked off waiting.
You’ve re-released Addiction last year as well (with extra tracks) have you not?
Martin: Yes we did. We reissued it with 3 extra tracks and a horrible blue cover.
“Nae Tongues” is an instrumental. A term that, for me, doesn’t quite give it justice. Had you ever tried to put lyrics to it, or was no vocals the idea right from the beginning?
Derek: We Never did try putting words to it. It just sounded right as it was.
“Big Star” is one of those songs that, after hearing it, it stays with you. I had it going round it my head for a long time after the first listen. What do think is key to a song that creates that effect and has that happened to any of you guys recently?
Stacey: A strong chorus and plenty passion!! I BELIEVE in that song – it’s a much deeper song than people think. Recently ‘Isis’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s mysterious and mystical!!
On that topic, who’s stayed on your turntable (or mp3 players) and stood the test of time, and any current artists blowing your bedsocks off?
Martin: Anarchy in the UK – Sex Pistols is eternal for me. And stuff like Transmission by Joy Division loads of others I can’t think of right now.
Stacey: Today… The Kills are great & Mumford and Sons.
Fin: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are greater!!.
What was the last gig you attended as paying punters?
The Kills (& we got on the guest list for PJ Harvey & John Parish-does that count?!!)
Do you have a favourite Aberdeen venue?
Derek: At the moment all we know is The Tunnels which is great. In the past we loved to play the Lemon Tree..don’t know what that’s like now though.
Do you prefer the spontaneity of a gig or the controlled sound of a studio recording?
Stacey: We’re all different about it. Martin Loves the studio I love the stage and rest of the guys don’t care as long as there’s plenty beer!!
Has anything happened at a gig, funny or a mishap, that has left the band momentarily speechless?
Stacey: Aberdeen in December 2009 was THE funniest gig. There were some SUPER drunk fatties at the front of the stage swinging each other around in a head lock and pulling the monitors off stage! Hilarious.. they got kicked out which was a shame (for us – not the rest of the crowd they weren’t enjoying the scary behaviour)…Oh yeah and the fatties all had their arms around each other and fell backwards like a garden fence falling down BANG!! On the ground they went!! Hilarious!
Stacey, I think I read somewhere that you moved to Scotland “to escape George Bush’s America”, do you see yourself ever moving back there now Obama is in charge or is Scotland home now?
Stacey: Scotland is home for the time being. I think I’ll go home to live when my Dad needs me to. He’s 75 now.
On your Christmas Present freebie EP, you cover the Stooges Cock In My Pocket. Who is the Iggy fan?
Martin: I’m the biggest one in the band but we all appreciate the Iguana!
Any of you going to see the Stooges Raw Power gigs?
Martin: No we’re not traveling to London. All the best Iggy Gigs are in my head now anyway but if he came to Scotland I’d probably go.
How did getting your tracks on the “New Town Killers” soundtrack come about?
Fin: We met a friend called Willie Richardson on Myspace, he was a multimedia guy and happened to be filming the Skids at T in the Park a few years ago. He let Richard Hear our cd and it all moved along from there.
Has being featured on the soundtrack and the Radio 1 coverage given you access to a wider audience? With other benefits, obvious or otherwise?
Martin: These days it’s very hard to get a foothold as the web disperses everybody’s attention over hundreds or even thousands of different sources to hear new music BUT- saying that it’s definitely got quite a few more people listening to us. So of course it’s a great thing for the band.
I believe you’re working with Richard Jobson on some other films, how has that been going? Do you treat writing for a soundtrack differently to your “normal”, for want of a better word, writing?
Martin: Richard is a super busy guy who gets up to all sorts in the film industry. He’s completed a documentary with Emma Thomson on human trafficking recently which we didn’t really fit the bill for. But we’re still in communication with him. He’s up for doing more ‘rants’ like he did on our new LP (a track called Bus Shelter on the double CD version of Dark Passenger). He sent us one on Afghanistan last week which we’re putting to music. We always used movies to ‘write to’ to about. It’s natural for us to think about songs visually.
You seem to be embracing Social Media these days with Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and so on… are you doing that because it’s something you guys believe in or do you do it because it’s expected of you?
Derek: Both Marty and myself have worked with the web a lot professionally in the last 10 years so again it’s something that we do naturally.
Is it down to one of you to keep everything updated or do you all play a part?
Derek: It is up to all of us but only me and Metzer (Martin) do it cos we’re the only ones who care enough!!
Stacey: (punches Derek) That’s a fuckin’ lie Derek!!! I tell my friends on Facebook about our gigs!!!
Martin: Now children—let’s be friends!!!
Hopefully website come blogsites such as this one can also play an important part in a bands promotion, is that something you’ve noticed too?
What do you think of our Flares ‘n’ Seagulls ‘site anyway?
All: WE LOVE YOUR TASTE IN MUSIC.
Anything else you’d like to add for our readers?
Fin: Yup.. sign up for our mailing list for free stuff & cheap gig tickets (sometimes).
Nearly finished now, your five desert island tracks?
My Way – Frank Sinatra
The Baked Potato Song – Reeves & Mortimer
Helter Skelter – Siouxsie & the Banshees
Monkey 23 – The Kills
This Monkeys gone to heaven – The Pixies
Oh and… Too Much Monkey business – Bo Diddley
And finally, your favourite flavour of crisps?
Spring Onion… Golden Wonder of course!!
Many thanks for your time guys and gal and we’ll see you next weekend! Tangled Web.
Isa and the Filthy Tongues play The Tunnels, Aberdeen on Saturday April the 24th at 7.30pm, admission is £4 and support comes from Two Minute Noodles and Min Diesel.
Isa and the Filthy Tongues official website
Isa and the Filthy Tongues MySpace
Pics on this page are by Michelle Methven.