Please give us a little intro about your band. How are things at the Slender Pins camp?
ASH: We are four, Ash, Alex, Ed and Rob. Things are tragicomic at best but that is nothing new. We have taken the opportunity given by the plague to record a few tracks with a view to releasing an EP in 2021 - provided we survive.
ALEX: Ash and I met at uni and bonded over our shared antagonism towards Simon Cowell. At some point we decided to turn this into something constructive and settled on a band. After accruing some songs we gradually set about roping people in - my brother Rob joined us on bass and finally the Sarlacc grabbed Ed’s foot and dragged him into quagmire after he made the mistake of putting us and our drum machine Than (short for Jonathan) on at the Fiddler’s Elbow.
'Slender Pins' as a a band name – can you please elaborate on that one?
ASH: Come closer and I'll whisper it to you.ALEX: If you Google the phrase it will produce a load of articles from the Daily Mail about female celebrities - it’s a sort of go-to thoughtless phrase for legs.
How would you describe your style to people who aren't familiar with you? What can we expect from a live show?
ASH: Zesty, unchained, and surprisingly assured. We try to make our live appearances as frenetic as possible, but these days...these days...
ALEX: Everyone seems to hear something different from it, which is a credit to the legions of artists we have ripped off.
What’s your creative process? / Do you have any hobbies that you turn to to rejuvenate your creativity?
ASH: Alex and I write the songs and then as a band we work out the arrangements. We can be inspired by anything - a tear in a toddler's eye, an unfinished bag of crisps. But our main inspiration is the collapsing scenery that is called modern life.
ALEX: We’ve written songs in all kinds of ways. When it’s conscious we usually begin with the effect we’re trying to have on an audience and go from there: “in this song we want to weaponise the brown note”, etc. Other times there’s no process and the song just sort of forces its way over the threshold of your brain like a charismatic Jehovah’s Witness.
What's a subject you always wanted to write a song/sing about? What's an important cause or issue you support?
ASH: We have written a song about a housewife advertising for sex on porn sites who is not finding any success in her chosen line of work. A catchy pop song is the perfect medium to raise awareness of such plights. We are also committed to the expunging of Toryism from every corner of the earth.
ALEX: The most obvious targets are actually the hardest to say anything about. People said Trump would ring in a golden age for satire but despite the awfulness of Trump it’s a struggle to think of a single satirist or comedian who’s had an interesting take on it. Covid is another obvious target, but have you heard a good song about it? Has anyone actually articulated the weird combination of mundanity and isolation that we are living under?
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
ASH: Computers infest the hotels, cops can't catch criminals. The digitalisation of music was a technical advance but a cultural dead end.
ALEX: I'd like to see some A&R interest in some of my cover band ideas, particularly the Dachshund Five and Idiot Wind Band. Aside from this, it would be nice if people in positions of influence admitted that the model for new artists is fundamentally broken: no-one can make a career out of streaming.
Give us one fact each that no one knows about you.
ASH: We were actually born as conjoined quadruplets but our father is a genius when it comes to DIY.
ALEX: I was Kenneth Burrow’s Secret Santa at the 2017 work Christmas do. You’re welcome, Kenneth.
The dreaded subject of Corona – how're you coping with all the madness of lockdown and restrictions to your daily life?? What have you been up to??
ASH: We were never sane to begin with.
ALEX: I would probably have to challenge the premise of the question – that any of us are staying, or ever were in fact, sane.
What’s the best/worst advice you ever received?
ED: We bumped into Alan McGee once at an artist showcase for his label at The SOCIAL in London last year. It was very dark and not recognising him with a beard, I stupidly asked this guy if he knew whether Alan McGee was there that night. He replied: ‘I am Alan McGee, I own the label! Chuck us your CD, then.’ Haha, that was 18 months ago and, still, here we are. That doesn't really constitute advice does it?
What's next? What are your plans for 2021?
ED: I think it’s about time we put an EP out - in fact we’re recording it at the moment. We hope it will be good and enjoyed, at least, by our families.