14 September 2009

Fashoda Crisis - Mischief Of One Kind And Another

Mischief Of One Kind And Another (monkey) Mischief Of One Kind And Another (madman) Mischief Of One Kind And Another (TV) Mischief Of One Kind And Another (back)

“Mischief Of One Kind And Another” of Southend, Essex band Fashoda Crisis is one of the very few albums that touched me so deeply and arose so many different or even opposite feelings in me. These seven candid, chaotic, angry and anxious songs could have become some psychedelic movie soundtrack, that leaves you with indefinite senses. “Mischief” is a hysteria of insomniac, a cry of desperation of the incurable, ravings of a madman, all the fears and phobias in the world, - in short, a product of morbid imagination of the person with guitar and sideburns. From the first to the last second it charms and keeps you in suspence forcing your fantasy to paint unpredictable images. Songs of Fashoda Crisis are saturated with enigmatic, as if it was keeping a secret, personal lyricism with hard-to-catch sense, but brilliantly sharp and daring slogans, exposing and pouring ridicule on the absurd “war on terrorism” of British authorities and the rising ignorance and paranoia in society, uncover the political and social implication. Another notable things are very rich bass and diverse, from whisper to scream, vocal, perfectly matching the lyrics and the atmosphere of the album, that make the sound of Fashoda Crisis unique and recognizable. So put out the light, turn on your imagination and enjoy every minute of this mystery.

Fashoda Crisis

Hey, Sim! Thank you for the interview. Fashoda Crisis is already 4 years old. What have you been doing all that time? Is “Mischief Of One Kind And Another” your first release?

4 years old indeed. “Mischief” is our first official release (as in widely available for download and in CD form in exchange for money). In the past we did record and make available 3 EPs. All the previous EPs were written and recorded during our time as a four piece (we are very much not looking for any new members and more productive and an awful lot better now that there are only three of us) so I don't really publicise them very much (they were all given away free at gigs and sent off for reviews etc and can probably be tracked down somewhere but I wouldn't recommend them).

About half of the set we play live at the moment consist of new songs written after the recording of “Mischief'”, because we have self released the album and all have other boring financial commitments. We took quite a long time in between becoming a three piece and recording our first album, as such there is at least another album's worth of tracks that we wrote, played live extensively and had gone before we came to record “Mischief”. We write prolifically and as such our live set changes very rapidly. On our recent tour we played a lot of our newer songs (which if all goes to plan will be recorded and released as soon as we can afford it) such as '8 Inch Pie', '100 Years of Cake', 'The Berry Brown Face of Robert Kilroy-Silk' and 'Machiiine' and there are always a couple of others floating around waiting to be completed in the practice room.

When we became a three piece we made a concerted effort to write a completely new set and not rely on any of the older songs that had been partially written (and sung in the most part) by our departed member, basically we started again from scratch and wrote by far the best material that we ever had, and continue to do so.

Tell about how an album was released, please. Did you have any support of labels or distros? How many copies were made?

Sim Ralph (guitar, vocals)
Sim Ralph (guitar, vocals)
We self released the album, all entirely done by ourselves with no label or distribution. Obviously this means getting it heard is a massive struggle and very hard work, and we've got nowhere near the amount of exposure that we could have got had we a label etc behind us. But it does mean that everything we do is on our own terms (which means lyrically I can be as honest and abrasive as I like), no-one is looking over our shoulder wanting things changed and telling us what songs to record and release, and we can't be dropped because we haven't sold a million units. It also means that any success we get (such as the nationwide radio airplay on Radio 1, XFM, and BBC6 Music) is more of an achievement for us because we are swimming against the tide. It also means there is no time limit on the album, we can let it sit out there and gradually people will discover it, be that immediately or in five years time, it'll still be on iTunes and if someone wants a copy in 2026 then I'll get my paints out and design a cover. As far as the print run goes, we got an initial small run printed up to keep costs down with the idea that when they all sell out we can then print more. Obviously it is also available on iTunes and Amazon Mp3 for download as well.

Who painted all those arts for “Mischief”? Is each copy unique?

All the artwork is designed by one of the band members (with the odd one done by my partner because she has the skills), they are all unique (another reason for a small print run, because making the covers takes a lot of time, but artistically it is very fulfilling).

I am also currently making Fashoda Crisis artwork on canvas (various sizes) which should be available for purchase quite soon (some of which are reproductions of my favourite cover designs).

You stated Fashoda Crisis as “a violent reaction to the haircut bands and scenesters cluttering up what would otherwise be a thriving music scene”. Is everything that bad in Essex?

Essex is where we were all born and raised, and personally I can't stand the place most of the time. Obviously it has its good points, but if it wasn't for the band I would move away tomorrow. There is a very high percentage of morons. The music scene has produced some very good bands over the years, but predominantly there seems to be a habit of latching on to whatever is popular and copying it, and too many bands exist for reasons that are far removed from artistic principles. Which I can't abide.

Matt (bass)
Matt (bass)
What sort of bands do you usually play with?

The bands we often end up playing with are generally quite an ill fit. Because we use distortion pedals we often get lumped in with metal and screamo bands, which is a long way away from what we are. On the whole promoters in England are very lazy, and expect the bands to do all the work, put together unsuitable bills and wonder why their night has not been a roaring success. Obviously there are exceptions and we've had the fortune to work with some lovely people (such as Essex Rocks who started up a management company in order to help us out). We've also played with some fantastic bands such as Future Of The Left, Engerica (Now long split up), Thomas Tantrum and some other reasonably big names in Britain. We recently toured Europe with the fantastic Brighton band CautionHorses, and plan to work with them a lot more as it was a great success.

Does the name of Fashoda Crisis have any implication? What that incident has to do with your message?

The Fashoda Crisis (or Incident as it is sometimes known) was a fairly obscure historical entanglement between Britain and France, that almost led the two most powerful countries in the world to war for the first time since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Over something fairly ridiclous. We took the name because the situation was absurd, and absurdity both personal and political is one of the common themes that we rebel against.

How did your recent tour go? Tell about it, please. What countries did you go to? What interesting bands did you play with?

The tour was an amazing experience (although very tiring indeed). We had a couple of gigs in the Czech Republic, Prague and Hradec Kralove, a gig in an avant garde conceptual art gallery in Berlin, Germany, a couple of gigs booked for Croatia (although we had to cancel one as the van broke down in the middle of the Hungarian countryside leaving us stranded for about 6 hours) but we made it to the gig in Osijek, Subotica in Serbia and Antwerp in Belgium.

It was quite a punishing itinerary. The final day involved us getting up at 4am in a campsite in the Austrian Alps and driving across the whole of Germany getting to Antwerp for 20:30 and having to leave straight after the gig to catch our ferry home from Calais, 36 hours of driving in total with no sleep.

The reception we got, in Eastern Europe especially, was amazing, the Czech crowds went absolutely crazy for us, which was wonderful after all the hard work we'd put in putting the tour together, and the Serbian gig was a real highlight. We made some good friends in Croatia (although sadly the soundman was 6 days in to a drinking binge and could barely stand let alone man a mixing desk) and on the whole the experience was second to none. Plans are afoot to get back out to Serbia and Croatia and the Czech Republic as soon as we can (and hopefully out to Kiev too), probably around about Easter time. We are going to try and fly out next time on some budget airline though because the van was just too much.

Most of the gigs were just Fashoda Crisis and CautionHorses, with our driver and good friend Doozer (from Deferred Success) doing a set in the changeovers. CautionHorses were superb every night and there were a few collaborations taking place which was good (my voice went completely by the time we got to Hradec Kralove so I grabbed a couple of the Horses guys to accompany me on vocals to help me out). In Prague a young band called Awberah opened the show, and they were fantastic, reminiscent of Mogwai and very interesting. Meander Valley in Croatia also get a shout, because they worked so hard to make the nights a success and were truly lovely people.

Do you have any funny story to tell in conclusion?

Simon Smith (drums, vocals)
Simon "Heinz" Smith (drums, vocals)
Our drummer is an idiot. To give you an idea of exactly how much of a moron he can be, as we were travelling through customs into Croatia and outside the EU for the first time, we were stopped at border control (bearing in mind we had already been stopped by the police about five times by this point, so we all knew the drill, keep quiet and do as you are told), there were a load of signs up stating prohibited food stuffs that could not be brought into Croatia, such as cheese and meat (I don't know why). Border guys did a cursory check of our passports and asked all the usual questions before waving us through. As we drove through the barriers at 5km (with all the windows open full due to the intense heat), Heinz let's out a cry in his loudest stupidest voice "I've got 60 kilos of Cheese in the boot". The mong. Quite how we avoided being pulled over again and strip searched I don't know.

Thank you for the interview very much. Good luck and I hope to see you on tour as soon as possible.


Author: russian handshake
Interview in Russian

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