Thrash Hits verdict: One of the best ways we’ve found to discover new music is to pay attention to what our favourite bands are listening to. Now whole everyone thinks that they’ve got a good handle on what good music is, we’ve found that the people who’s very existence is rooted in making tunes are by far the best source of recommendations – which is why when Turbowolf guitarist, Andy Ghosh, started talking about Big Naturals…well, we pricked up our ears. And then promptly filled them with their wall-of-sound approach to blending odd samples, post-rock song structures, and flat-out grubby guitar noises. Jesse Webb, the drumming/electronics half of the duo, was on hand to answer out questions.
Describe your sound in three words.
Bass and Drums.
How did you meet?
What made you want to start a band?
To attempt to preserve sanity and attack boredom.
Watch the video to ‘Hear The Night Roar’ by Big Naturals:
Could you explain to our more…er…innocent readers as to where your band’s name comes from?
There is another Bristol based band called the Naturals who are younger and skinnier than us and with smaller amps…..Other than that we would suggest to younger readers that they Google it! (REALLY NSFW)
Where did you grow up? How do you think it’s affected your music?
I grew up in Kidderminster, which is a pretty dry and fairly uninspiring place, particularly for a young person, so I suppose music was an escape, definitely. When there isn’t much to do or anywhere to go and you’re without coinage you have to make your own fun. Gareth [Turner, bass/electronics] grew up in a village on the out skirts of Bristol during the eighties and was goaded by other youths for having long hair and liking punk and metal. Apparently these same youths were listening to Boy George and Depeche Mode ! and regularly referred to him as a “jitter”, which means that you’re scruffy or something. The nineties on the other hand were apparently a complete turnaround…
What are your non-musical influences?
Good films and books, Bukowski, Noam Chomsky, Alfredo Bonano, B Traven. Driving trucks.
Why did it take so long for the debut LP to come out?
The album took a while because we were trying to find our sound and didn’t want to wear our influences to closely on our sleeves. We wanted to get some gigs under our belts so that we could develop our material a bit and gel together as players, that can take a while. I joined on drums late summer 2009 and from there we tried to do those things and we started recording around Feb last year. We didn’t go into a studio and recorded at our practise space. About half way through we took a break and played some gigs and when we came back to what we’d recorded with fresh ears we kind of overhauled the whole thing. So in the end it was almost as if we’d recorded two albums…The first stab through the start of the year and the second go towards the end of the year. Then we had to finish all of the overdubs and mix the bloody thing!
So far, what has been the best thing about being in a band?
Writing music and sharing ideas is very rewarding, it can be challenging at times but that really just feeds in to the sense of achievement when you’ve come up with a new piece. Playing music together is a release from the monotony of day to day life and gives you something to focus on that isn’t just to do with the usual hum drum stuff.
Also the intensity of what we play and the way we play the stuff live always gives us a real buzz, it can be a real high when we get that energy going in a room full of people. We often play on the floor with the audience stood in a circle around us which also enhances the immediacy of the moment, like getting a fix of adrenaline.
What would you say is the biggest challenge when it comes to performing live as a two-piece?
Playing as a two piece live means that you’re quite naked, there’s no safety net and you have to really go for it to make the material come alive, so if there’s any challenges it would be that. It’s all or nothing.
With which band would your dream support slot/tour be?
That’s a difficult question…Boredoms would be great, but probably not very likely…The Heads would be the ultimate as they are good friends of ours, anyone we could hang out with and have a laugh with, regardless of musical style or genre.
What bands do you consider as part of your scene or as your peers?
Anthroprophh, The Heads. We have played with and jammed with a few bands such as The Hysterical Injury and Matt Loveridge aka MXLX. Other than that I wouldn’t say that we’re part of any scene as such, not really at all. It’s a desert out there man!
What marks you out as different to other bands around at the moment?
I think that it would be fair to say that we have quite a unique sound which we’ve been gradually developing, part sub consciously, part intentionally. We’re a two piece of bass and drums and use lots of effects and electronics – that in itself makes us stand out to a certain extent. Of course there are other bands such as Om and Lightning Bolt who share or have shared the same line up, but I would say that they are lazy comparisons and also they hail from the states, I wouldn’t say that we sound like either of those bands particularly even within the context of having that similar line up. Loosely our sound is comprised of a mixture of rock, punk and psychedelic influences.
We try to invest as much energy and passion into each gig as we can. I suppose that most bands would say that, but I think that there is something unique about our live set, we try to make it an experience and the music is pretty much continuous until we reach the end of the set rather than just a run through of songs or whatever , so perhaps that is something that makes us stand out.
What’s the best – and the funniest – shows you’ve played?
I don’t think any of our shows have been funny really. We did wait for about six hours to play at a venue in Newport once. We waited all night and set up all these oil lights around us, we played for about five minutes and the police turned up and shut the gig down because it was apparently past curfew and you could hear us down the street. Oddly we still got paid a couple of hundred quid for the gig which works out to like £40.00 a minute, which is easily the best rate of pay either of us has ever been in receipt of for doing anything. If only we could have done the hour and a half jazz odyssey set, we’d have been raking it in…not sure really how funny that is though. Occasionally if we think we’ve played quite badly just after a gig, people who’ve watched always seem to think it was really good and when we feel we’ve played well people always seem to say that they think they’ve seen us play better, which we have noticed and laughed about.
What have you got planned for the future?
More record releases for our Greasy Trucker label and hopefully some gigs abroad.
Tell us a joke.
What’s the definition of indefinitely?
When your balls touch arse…… you’re in definitely.
Big Naturals self-titled debut album is available now through the band’s own label, Greasy Trucker, and you can check the entire thing out before you buy thanks to the band’s official Bandcamp page. If you live near Manchester, the duo are hooking up with Paul Allen from The Heads to play at Un-Peeled, a tribute show to the late John Peel, on October 27 at Gullivers – check out this piece over on The Quietus for more details. For folks more local to their hometown of Bristol, Big Naturals will be playing The Croft on November 10 as part of the Fear of Fiction Festival – click here for more details and to buy tickets.