First came across London band Tangerines at an RIP Records shin dig just over two years ago. At the time we were quite taken, not only by guitarists braces, but more importantly their slightly riotous, but very infectious live set. Fast forward to today, and the band are all set to launch their first single, ‘You Look Like Something I Killed’. So we took the opportunity to catch up with them to get the background on the band and the latest release…
BM: Alright, who does what ?
T: Gareth (vox, guitar), Miles (lead guitar), Ricky (bass), Isaac (drums)
BM: I know Gareth used to be in Black Manilla, what about the rest of you – have you been in other bands?
T: We’ve all been in previous bands and projects in the past; right throughout school and after, either in London or (Miles) in Sicily.
BM: I was just going to ask where you were all from …
T: South London, Canvey Island and Sicily, but our studio is based in Peckham, which is what we call home
BM: …and where did you all meet ?
T: Gareth and Isaac went to school together and started rehearsing in Gareth’s shed a couple of years ago. Soon after that they met Ricky in a rehearsal space in Stoke Newington and recruited him on bass. Gareth met Miles in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, at 4 in the morning one Friday night. He asked him if he played guitar and that was it.
BM: I saw you play one of your very first gigs. Looked like there was a fair bit of chemistry going on between you all …
T: It was an alchemical reaction. We were turning the lead into gold from the very start.
BM: How come you chose Tangerines as a band name ?
T: Our name comes from somewhere in between the Northern and the Southern poles: a hot sweaty Land of 1000 Dances. Gareth came up with it. It’s catchy, like a leek. It’s Good Golly Miss Molly or Sh-Boom. And when you read the word on a party poster, you know there’s dancing and sweating involved.
BM: What about influences?
T: We collectively like ALOT of music, bands, figures, writers, artists, weirdos, good guys and bad guys.
BM: Might just be, but I pick up a late 60’s early 70’s vibe from it and I don’t know about anyone else, but Gareth’s vocal style reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan. Would you say that’s fair?
T: When people ask us what we sound like, we grumble. You might say that’s pretentious, but we just can’t be bothered and we have a genuine aversion – even embarrassment – towards labelling. Our music is pretty bare-boned and instinctive. It’s rowdy and jazzy at the same time. We’ve all been lucky enough to come from musical households. We’ve been fed Rock & Roll from our folks. When you are fed that stuff from an early age, it’s like learning a second language. The beauty in Tangerines is that we all speak the same language, that’s our chemistry. If you wanna get specific or nerdy about it, Lester Bangs and Dave Marsh know better than we do and they wrote books.
BM: You’re just about to release your debut single…
T: “You Look Like Something I Killed”, our first single, coming out on RIP Records on 18th of March. It’s a pretty mental song, lyrically. It’s set a long long time ago in a dragged up, dusty, dirt-ridden hell hole town, at least that’s the image that eventually came out from it. We’re all swinging on this ‘you look like something i killed’ announcement throughout, in a pretty deadpan, monotone way. There’s a lot of torture and violence belted within the lyrics, but hey, we are living in London. This is what the mind conjures up when you haven’t got a job and you have way too much time on your hands.
BM: It’s a great feel to the song, despite the dark undertones of the lyrics, how did it come about ?
T: We started up with a bunch of really cool songs from Gareth’s repertoire – the actual single is one of them – which was a great way for us to get to know each other. Soon after, we started writing together. In a way it was a painful process. We sort of had to disintegrate our egos completely, but in the end we coined our own collective style. Gareth is still writing the lyrics. Occasionally we all might chuck in some vocal licks and ideas here and there, and lately we worked together to harmonize them.
We recorded it RIP Studios in Chalk Farm with Syd Kemp, a very talented young producer. We actually went in with the intention of doing a live take of one track, for a single. Deciding that we might be able to do a lot more than just a single, we went in for two days and came out with an entire records worth of material. It was a nice accident.
BM: Were you aiming for any particular style or sound ?
T: We didn’t really try too hard to do anything other than lay down what we figured we were alright at. We had lots of great records from the 70s in mind, like Mink Deville’s Cabretta, Television’s second album and Warren Zevon’s Excitable Boy, but we also wanted to give it some new kind of kick. We wanted it to be more of a slap in the face and we wanted to capture the real sound of the band as well as the intensity and jazziness of our live sets.
BM: It’s quite an ‘arty’ cover you’ve gone with the single. Is the artwork associated with your work important to you ?
T: Very. But at the same time, along as it’s fairly visually captivating, even for a split second, we’re good with it. But we do like a physical form (vinyl) looking like it’s ready for the dinner table so everyone can have a good whiff and poke it.
Artwork will either come to us by the form of Gareth coming up with images and art himself, or collaborating with others.
BM: What aspect of been a band do you like the most ? Been in the studio and getting stuff recorded, or been out gigging playing live?
T: I guess we are a live band. Even in the studio, we record live and do those funny moves as we do it. This might change in the future. Live is surely the best thing about this band. Most of the times we can even get the grimiest London crowd dancing. One of the more interesting shows was probably Moth Club, last Christmas. From that we were offered a slot at Field Day. The worst was probably our first. A basement in East London, we played all that we had at the time, then some of us got into a fight with a pair with northern guys at the end of night.
BM: Is there one song that you enjoy playing live the most ?
T: All of our songs stick together pretty nicely. To be honest it’s more about the climax we try to create throughout the set that makes a performance special, rather than the specific song. They are all like sections of an entire script.
BM: You’ve got some live dates coming up soon…
T: Our single launch, which is also our first headline show in London, Thursday the 17th of March at Servant Jazz Quarters. We have a string of regional shows leading up to that. After that, all we’ve got penciled in for the time being is Field Day Festival.(*since speaking to the band, they have been confirmed for more dates – see below)
BM: Any bands you’ve either played with or hang out with that you think we should be looking out for ?
T: Pink Teens; good guys we hit the road with.
Mellah; we share our studio and our love with.
Big Girls; great bunch of oldies that know how to write something with easy access and edible.
Dead Arm; friends of ours creating those raw interesting primitive British punk sounds.
Bat-Bike; it’s trashy, but mashy.
BM: What about yourselves? Any plans for the rest of the year ?
T: We’re looking to do that little tour of lower UK and we’ll undoubtedly be touring more in the future. From then onwards we’ll be creating some more music behind the scenes whilst probably popping out another single and so on. To be honest, we never know, we’re just sort of letting it all happen and going with the route that sucks us in most.
BM: Any parting shot ? A message for the people out there?
T: To preach the word of the Louvin Brothers; – I think that wraps it up for now, ladies and gentleman, thank you very much.
TANGERINES debut single ‘You Look Like Something I Killed’ is released on 7″ vinyl and download on the 18th March, you can order your own, limited edition, copy of ‘You Look Like Something I Killed’ HERE
Catch TANGERINES live:
10th March – Start The Bus, Bristol
11th March – Frog & Parrot, Sheffield
12th March – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
17th March – Servant Jazz Quarters, London
12th June – Field Day, London
More by me -stAn
Follow me on Twitter – stAn