The genuine idea of guitars and rock bands
Fluffy is my kind of All-Girl-Band. Not (only) for the obvious reasons, though. Because Fluffy kick ass - musically speaking. They are a damned fine rockband. Period. However, they seemed to have had their share of the more "obvious" encounters, because they seemed to be a little bit too defensive, constantly opposing questions I hadn't asked. The first time I saw them was on German "Heute-Journal" late night edition. Which is not your usual way to meet your favourite rock band.
BRIDGET: Oh that must have been our first gig. We just played three songs at Tower Records in London. When our first single was coming out. That was "Hypersonic".
So what was before that. What's the band's history?
AMANDA: We all kind of lived together and one day we met in this gay bar in Soho and we thought how much we wanted to have a band and we started to do that. We got Bridget to play guitar and met Helen through friends. It took off from there. We got interest from record labels. We hit off and played our first show in New York in CBGBs. We've been together for two and a half years now. The first year we were rehearsing in our living room. We signed to the Enclave, which is an American record label. We wanted to sign in America, because we're into the scene in America. We're not really interested in that B**tpop scene.
Yeah, one noticed that. Everything which comes from Britain these days is tagged B**tpop first, however.
AMANDA: Yeah we really get slagged by the British press, because they can't pigeonhole us. We don't fit in neatly with their kind of B**tpop thing. The NME can't understand the genuine idea of guitars and rock bands. We all live in London now, though.
So where do they see their origins? After all, their record got this overall Sex Pistols feeling. (The Sex Pistols were not B**tpop exactly, right?)
AMANDA: We all started learning when we started the band. So the really raw punk rock sound came out of that. It's just simple and heavy and loud.
The record has a rough live sound approach. Was it recorded live in the studio?
AMANDA: Yeah. We did use Bill Price who did "Never Mind The Bollocks" (!) and "London Calling" and we wanted to capture how we sound live. He didn't rearrange anything, just recorded us live while we were playing. We did things like putting different guitar tracks on top and stuff like that. I did vocals at different times. But we really wanted to get a live sound.
One thing that stands out is the drum sound. It sounds a little bit distorted (-> live). How did they get that?
ANGELA: There wasn't really a lot of fiddling about with. The drums were modelled after a Ringo Star reissue model. And the wood that they are made of and the way that they are are really basic drums. And the sound they make comes out a bit distorted anyway. They sound a bit way off. It was just that and the room. It was a stone room. It was real natural. It's not the drum set I play now, which is smaller, because the other one was too big for me.
Angela is the smallest of the band. But on stage she is an inexorable, inexhaustable rhythm machine. Another thing one notices is, that the vocals are clearly audible and easy to understand - which isn't all that usual with loud rock bands.
AMANDA: Yeah, we got feedback from Bill. There was input from him. I really like my lyrics to be very clear. But also Bill would hassle me. I mean he worked with Johnny Rotten, so he knows what it's like. He would go: "I can't hear what you're singing. What your words are." And I really want to be proud about my lyrics. So people should be able to hear them.
That's interesting, because the topics of Amanda's lyrics are a little bit controversial.
AMANDA: What do you mean - controversial?
Well, the songs deal with the darker sides of human relationships and sex. Nothing you will likely hear on the radio, for instance.
AMANDA: I think a lot of bands do that - even Alanis Morissette's got those kinds of lyrics.
It's getting there, slowly. But usually there are other art-forms where those topics are dealt with more frequently - not music, usually.
AMANDA: You know, we're not really worried about getting played on the radio. Apart from the lyrics our sound is wrong. It's too heavy for a lot of people. We're more concerned with America and whether or not we're gonna be played on the radio in England is irrelevant. In America they will tend to play our music because they are used to listening to rock. I don't think that my lyrics are particularly controversial. I think that my lyrics deal with stuff that young people can relate to. Stuff like getting drunk, relationships - you know. I think all bands got that. Every band I can think of has got some of that. Songs can be about anything. There's no use in having songs about "Oh, I love him". There's so many fucking crap songs like that out there. Most of my stuff comes from personal experience. I listen to what the others say and take stuff from that as well.
BRIDGET: I don't think we do songs like that with the intention of getting played on the radio. We just do what we like best and if it does it does and if it doesn't it doesn't. It wouldn't really be coming from our hearts if we did that. Like a business plan.
So what made them play music in the first place?
AMANDA: We all love music and were just going nowhere fast. The band was like a reason to kind of have some sort of life. We were getting trashed all the time. It was like a positive thing out of a negative situation.
BRIDGET: And it's just the whole thing about playing live which the most important thing to us.
On the "Thank You" credits of the record sleeve Ben Golomstock of Miranda Sex Garden is mentioned.
BRIDGET: He is a friend of us. He did our video.
AMANDA: He's done two actually. He's kind of fun to be with. He's kind of trashy and he knows us really well. He made us look kind of glamorous and luscious. He understands where we are coming from and he understands us. He's really kind of sick. He made us wear wedding gowns and he built this kind of cake. It was full of rubbish and he made us rip it apart. We got covered in trash. There's stuff in the video where we look really beautiful, but it looks very sick.
So what's in the future? What will the next record be like?
AMANDA: Probably the same in that kind of rock-area. Because we learn all the time, we develop. We learn about dynamics on stage and how songs work. Some of our new songs work very well on stage and I think your music changes through that.
BRIDGET: It's just a natural progression.
AMANDA: I started to fuck with effects on my voice and I liked that.
BRIDGET: I like to try out more different sounds. I played with different guitars on this one but it doesn't really come out. I like the Gibson sound, but I like to use pedals and stuff.
And then there's the band's name: There was this episode of the Black Adder, where Rowan Atkinson said: "You can never trust the Germans because they don't have a word for 'Fluffy'".
AMANDA: Yeah, I know. Bridget comes from Austria and we noticed when we tried to explain our name to her family. I mean there's this word "flauschig" like in "fluffy clouds", but it's not the same. I don't think this is going to be a problem here.
Actually it isn't. More so the combination of Fluffy as a support act to Marilyn Manson. Whose idea was that?
AMANDA: Oh, we love him. We're huge fans and so it was us actually.
Which didn't turn out to be such a good idea after all, because the die-hard Marilyn Manson Goth-moth-fans absolutely hated Fluffy. Not that that mattered...
Interview: -Ullrich Maurer-
Fotos: -Ullrich Maurer-
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