Producing this sort of DIY punk-psychedelia from a corner of England is Three Dimensional Tanx. The particular music is infused with this sort of Stooges / MC5 attitude and adrenelin, and the particular corner of the country is Lancaster.
They’ve recently released a self-titled album on Sunstone Records, that manages to date itself sometime in the last 40 years or so. Organs swirl, guitars spin drums crash and bass thuds through all ten tracks on the record, the highlight being the seven minute wig out of Caterpillar.
We spoke to the band to find out a little more…..
We are: Three Dimensional Tanx
We are from: Lancaster/Manchester
We met: Old friends, previous bands…Pete & Richard replaced David Blackwell in 2010.
We make music that sounds like: People think we sound like lots of different things. That’s often more down to each listener. Reviews have mentioned everyone from Can to the Jam! We’ve had the Stranglers, early Inspiral Carpets, the Doors (all probably due to the 60’s organ sound we use), plus things like the Stooges, Buzzcocks, 5.30, the Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, early Who, the Sonics, Television Personalities, Neu, Amon Duul, Hawkwind…
When people ask us who or what we sound like, we say: We hope to sound like ourselves. There are loads of different influences in our music, with each of us. There are certain things that we all agree on, like the MC5! But we know we’re not, so we do our own thing. We collectively gravitate to things with a lot of energy. We also love psychedelia, but we like ours to have an edge. We like to mix things up – we’ll typically start a gig with short sharp song that’s over in 2 minutes, then do something longer, more free-form, followed by something else.
We bonded over: Spacey (singer/keys) Loz (drums) and Sean (bass) had all been in bands together previously, Richard and Pete (guitars) were already friends and had been bandmates…it was just a bunch of friends with similar tastes.
Our name comes from: Originally 3D Tanx – a Spectrum computer game.
The bands that have influenced us most are: Each band member may say something different. Spacey is mostly into Nuggets-style garage-punk and krautrock. Richard has phases of liking different things (folk, electronica etc), but always returns to the 60’s from Byrds to the Velvet Underground. Loz likes some punk and heavy rock drumming, but is also a big fan of early New Order. Sean likes MC5, some Madchester stuff (maybe from when he was at Salford Uni) and plenty of rock. Peter alone likes everything from Hendrix to the Handsome Family, Bon Ivor to Black Sabbath…he likes metal, punk, alt country, all kinds of stuff.
We got together, and our first rehearsal was: No one remembers. It would have undoubtedly been at Lancaster Musician’s Co-op.
Our first gig was: The new 5-piece line-up’s first gig was in 2010 at Smart Art Gallery in Sheffield. It was a fundraiser and exhibition for Natty Brooker (RIP) who was the cover artist and occasional member of Spacemen 3. Will Carruthers asked us to play, and DJ’d. It was a small space, and most of the audience had to watch us from outside, so it was pretty surreal. Great fun.
Our new record is: We have a new self-titled album out. It’s 10 tracks and around 45 minutes. It’s got a fast short song, fast longer songs and a few slower groove things, an instrumental or two.
We also have a new 7” single out on Sunstone Records. It’s the 1st and 3rd songs off the album – ‘I Am Go’ and ‘Loose Id Syd’. The former started out about space travel, Kennedy called space ‘the new ocean’, so the song begins with ‘I need another way to see the sun/I want to sail on the new ocean’. Then it became about wanting to blast off from more earthly situations.
We recorded it: We recorded it with Mick Armistead. Previously, all other Tanx stuff had been recorded by former member David Blackwell, so it took a bit of adjusting, but we got into the swing of it. Mick did a great job, and has recorded us live too. We’re also about to start a new album with him this summer.
The writing process for us is: Sometimes things come out of jamming, then we work on them. Other times one of us brings a riff in, or a chord sequence, and then we all join in. It’s really very easy!
We tried to make it sound like: We didn’t model the album on anyone else’s. We let the engineer Mick do his thing, in terms of the sound, which is pretty clean and bright. Some people say it’s not like we are live, but that’s because it’s an album. The album features a much wider palette of sounds, whereas the live sound is a more traditional band set-up.
You could say our live show is: High energy. Very loud and in your face. Very watchable. We tend to get an audience dancing, which feeds back into our performance.
You can catch us: We have a psych festival called ‘Soar Angelic’ at Telfords Warehouse in Chester, 24th May, support Mugstar 1st June at the Roadhouse in Manchester. Various others, check our website for details.
Look out for: One of our favourite bands around these days is Galoshins from Glasgow. They did 2 Eps last year which are great. They’re amazing live. There’s a band in Lancaster called Sun Giant – they’re bloody good and they’re only 18/19. Definitely ones to watch.
This year, we are going to try to: Sell most of the CDs, 7” singles and T-Shirts?! We’re putting out some live material – some free downloads, some not so free. And we’re also going to get most of the next album recorded, as we’ve got tons of songs ready to lay down.
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