business is business

….Courtesy of Brainiac Paul Hamilton:

1st of November 1979: BBC Radio 1, a Saturday afternoon magazine show called ‘Rock On’ (WOOO!), and Kevin Godley & Lol Creme are discussing their new LP ‘Freeze Frame’ with host Richard Skinner. Some excepts. What is most pertinent, is the emphasis of creative process, the non-quantifiable and the belief that the money trail, the eventual commodification will follow the idea and not the contrary.

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We join them as Kevin talks about the difference between recording their own songs and producing the Mickey Jupp album ‘Long Distance Romancer’…

KEVIN GODLEY: … You learn to approach whatever you’re doing in a slightly different way than you would your own material. Like, on the Mickey Jupp album, we played together with another bass player – we used Gary Tibbs from Roxy [Music] – which was a very rewarding experience because on our stuff there’s only the two of us and it’s difficult to get a good rhythm track down.

Kuspit:I remind you that Kandinsky, along with Malevich and Mondrian, were all spiritual artists by their own testimony. This has been forgotten. Nobody takes their writing seriously. A while back Hilton Kramer said, "Oh, it's all just about formal innovation, and impulse, and spontaneity." But it's more complicated. The issue is whether it is still possible to re-present, represent, spiritual impulse without the traditional iconography, that's what they were trying to address. Read More:

LOL CREME: Yeah, we work by overdubbing – you know, play the instruments and overdub one on top of the other. It works to a degree but it’s also nice to try it the other way – just sit with a bunch of other musicians and all play at once, which we did years ago with the Neil Sedaka productions we did; we all got in there and just played…

Every time you go into the studio it should be fun. You shouldn’t be there because you know you’ve got a deadline to meet with the record company or because Your Public Is Waiting. You’re doing it for yourself, really. It HAS to be self-indulgent, I think, making records.

KG: That is if you’re considering putting a reasonably creative product out on the market. If you’re just doing it for the bread, then…

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---Getting The Best Deal For My Client by Lol Creme. From 'The Fun Starts Here' (written 1978-1980, published 1981).---Paul Hamilton

RICHARD SKINNER: But, at the end of all the fun, isn’t sales of records what it’s all about?

LC: It is to the record company but it’s not to me and Kevin – because we have many other ways of occupying our time. For the past year we’ve been writing a book, so the record was four or five months taken out of what we’ve been spending on our book.

KG: It’s an illustrated book of very cynical cartoon drawings – our view of the rock business from the inside since we’ve been involved in it, basically.

LC: It’s from the pram, in fact.

KG: And it cuts no corners, it really does not try to soft-soap anybody. It really shows what it’s all about.

LC: I suppose the closest parallel would be the Gerald Scarfe, erm, attitude to draughtsmanship.

RS: Is there a track on this LP that almost mirrors it? I mean. you’re coming out of a book to make the album so -

KG: I think the track that most mirrors it is the last track on the last album -

---Kev: Hung up on technique? Yes I think that can be a handicap at times, certainly in the kind of music we make. It's a bit of a generalisation but the people that we've met who are experts at playing their own particular instruments who read music and so forth, have a limited idea of what you can and can't do. And they aren't prepared to push that little bit further because they've got a set idea in their minds of what the instrument is capable of. It's like when we used to take ideas for album sleeves to printers and they'd say: No, it can't be done. Just because they hadn't done it before and they know everything. I suppose we are inspired amateurs in a way, both of us.

LC: – ‘L’ -

KG: – which is ‘Business Is Business’.

RS: What inspired the writing for this LP? Is there any one thing? I notice there’s American influences – in the titles, at least.

LC: We’ve always been into Americana. We’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of years in America and, erm, actually the American influence has been more musically than lyrically – jazz/rock… But every single track, and it’s been the same since Day One when we wrote ‘Neanderthal Man’, every track is different in the way we approach the lyrics. As long as they’re stimulating. And they HAVE to be different. There’s no point in writing a song that’s just a follow-up in attitude or lyrics or content or in structure to the songs we’ve previously done before. So every one’s different. And ‘[I Pity] Inanimate Objects’ – that’s a very good example; it’s a song about inanimate objects and it’s not even SUNG. It might sound like us singing but there’s nobody actually singing on that track. We had a bit of prose about inanimate objects and we tried to make a computer or a device – an inanimate object – actually perform it.

[…] An interesting thing that we did try, especially with the lyrics, was taking the Dub idea; you know, the random mix. But we did it in the writing aspect of it; we wrote random things. I wrote some words and put it on the tape, and Kevin came in – I wasn’t there – and he didn’t know where I put the words or what the words were, and he just responded to the music and put some other words on there. And then I would come in and – I didn’t know where Kevin had put his bits – I’d put more bits on top. And then we played the whole thing back -

KG: And it sounded dreadful!

LC (laughing): It sounded terrible!

KG: But a new idea was formed from that -

RS: And that was a blueprint for – ?

KG: That’s right. There are parts you can take and use, parts you can work on. We fling away a lot of material. We use, like, 10% of the material we record, but a lot of it’s just sketches or roughs. It’s a way of getting to a track which is stimulating, and it’s never complacent because you never quite know what’s gonna happen….


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