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SNEAKER PIMPS
 
Irony
Sneaker Pimps
Den Ausdruck "Trip-Hop" mögen Kelley (Gesang), Liam (Keyboards) und Chris (Gitarre) gar nicht, wenn es darum geht, die Musik der Sneaker Pimps zu beschreiben, aber sie klingen nunmal sehr danach. Es geht also um seltsame Drum'n'Bass-Effekte, ein wenig Gitarre und eine weibliche Stimme mit sehr viel Sex. Letztes Jahr ist das Debutalbum "Becoming X" erschienen, und wir hatten die Gelegenheit, mit Chris am 16.06.97 im Kölner Luxor ein kurzes Interview zu führen - kurz deshalb, weil eine schweizer TV-Crew bereits auf die Band wartete...
Sneaker Pimps
The song "6 Underground" has just been featured on the soundtrack for the movie "The Saint" - how important is it for you to be on that soundtrack?!?

Well, I think the soundtrack is very good, the problem with the film is...it's bad! It's one of these weird things where the soundtrack is actually culturally a lot more important than the film, so, we're proud to be on that soundtrack, but in terms of the film, we don't really think about that. We were to see it over in L.A., where we did a show at the premiere, but that was a bit of a weird night. Bad film, good soundtrack!

So, would you be interested in doing a complete soundtrack for a movie?

Yeah, we're absolutely interested in straight forward soundtracks, we've always been into people as odd as John Carpenter, and that's sort of reflected in some of our music, it's quite sort of filmic and atmospheric. There's quite a few projects in the pipeline, we've just done some work with Marilyn Manson in New York for a film called "Sporn", it's based on this comic, there's an alien-sort-of-thing going on. There's lots of collaborations, people like Goldie collaborating with Metallica, Orbital with some heavy metal band - so, it's heavy metal meets dance. Also, we've been approached to do some music for the next Star Wars films, which is quite exciting. So, we're definitely into that thing - the more, the better!

What would the perfect movie for you then - is there one already or does it have to be filmed in the future?

The whole band is into a film called "The Wickerman"(?), it's an sort of obscure 70s English film, and the last track on our album, "How Do", is a cover-version of a track from that film, which is originally a traditional folk tune. So, that music- and filmwise is everybody's sort of favorite film, and I think I would have liked to have written for that. In the future - well, I can't speak for everyone else here, but something along those lines; Kelley would like to write for a vampire film, she's really into all that rubbish.

So, when it comes to songwriting, how does it work within the Sneaker Pimps?

Sneaker Pimps
Usually, with most of the tracks we'd made a conserted effort to make them work on the most basic level, so that you could sit - as we've done in the past - on the toilet or something like that and strumm along and sing this little tune. So, we did try to make it work like that, we had this regime where if it didn't work like that, then it wasn't good enough to go any further. So, we would start with that, you know, basic chord structures and a melody, sort of dummy lyrics, and then Liam and I would really get indulgend with the production, 'cause we love both sides, the songwriting and the fiddling with knobs...

The album "Becoming X" came out last year - have you written new songs already, or is it a rather slow process?

Well, it's difficult when you're touring, 'cause we've been touring on and off for basically a year now, and touring does a funny thing to you - it tends to suck any creativity out of you, so it's really hard to write songs when you're on the road.

Well, a lot of bands like writing when they're on the road, you know, all the different cities and images and stuff...

Yeah, I think if you're there for more than a day, which is we're not, you know, we're there for that night and we're off straight after that, so we don't get to see much of that. Because of the sort of people we are, and the way that we work, it's very difficult for us to just sit down with a guitar in that sort of environment. It's alright when we're surrounded by a studio. We're gonna take a block of time possibly at the end of this year and start writing again for the next album.

Tell us about the influences that get into your music...

Well, it's so diverse within the band, but we all like each other's taste. Liam's into Kraftwerk, Can, you know, all that Krautrock stuff, I sort of spread from New Wave, bands like Japan, early 80s stuff, Cabaret Voltaire, and then I still love that sort of folky side, like Nick Drake. Kelley's more the punk-type, she's into Pixies, Sonic Youth. When we're on the road, we've got two other members, a live drummer and a live bassist, and Dave, the drummer, is more of a jazz-man, Miles Davis and stuff like that, and Joe is a big hip-hop fan, so it's all over the place.

When looking at the lyrics, I noticed a lot of sexual things and creepiness going on - was that intentional?

In a way it was intentional, 'cause there were certain things going on at that time with us, we just had to write about, and there's a lot of desastrous relationship-things going on, and again there's a track called "Roll On", which is relating very desastrous to sex, so, yeah, there is that reference. The whole album was written before Kelley came along, there was Liam and I, we wrote all the tunes and sort of ideas and dummy lyrics, and there's this other guy called Ian Pickering, who sort of acted as 'lyrical editor'.

So, what's it like to hear your lyrics sung by Kelley?

Sneaker Pimps
It's good - I think it sort of really worked. For some reason, there's a lot of irony, critisizing things, and on the track "Post-Modern Sleaze", which is about this Thelma & Louise complex, which America had at that time, so when that film came out, there was this big search of women in America, who left their husbands and went driving and all that sort of romantic idea, that they're gonna find themselves or whatever. There's a lot of irony in it, and in a way a female singing that, there's something cynical about it that she sings it as well. She's aware of that, and she wouldn't sing it if she wasn't.

Liam recently complained in an interview about all this "conservative guitar band shite" coming out of England at the moment - would you consider the Sneaker Pimps a modern band then?

There's a few things going on with us, but we're not saying that we're like the cutting edge and pushing boundaries, 'cause that would be silly, 'cause there are things which have been done before. I think we're just accepting that we like what we like, and that we're trying to integrate all these different musical genres, and it is painfully ecclectic at times, but there are things like the lyrics, which take it away from being just standard trip-hop or whatever you wanna call it. And our attitudes towards things like touring and being more sort of rock'n'roll or whatever, you know, we don't sit in bedrooms and are dead serious, we are childish at times, so in a way we're slightly more of a pop-band. When we sit around in the production studio, I think in that sense we'd like to think we're sort of cutting edge, but then again there's this fundamental thing where we do sit down with a guitar and write songs, so there's nothing new in that. But that's a good thing, that's not a bad thing in a way. You can't get round the fact that a good song or tune just works...

Dem kann man nur zustimmen, und die Sneaker Pimps schaffen es einfach spielerisch, diese beiden Welten miteinander zu verbinden, und was dabei herauskommt, kann man auf dem tollen Album namens "Becoming X" hören. Der anschließende Gig war anfangs etwas enttäuschend, da meiner Meinung nach doch ein wenig mehr Effekte nicht geschadet hätten, aber so ab der Mitte des Konzerts wurden die Songs doch noch teilweise besser als auf Platte. Und Kelley ist echt klein...

[Erstveröffentlichung im Baby Talk-Fanzine #11, August 1997]

Interview: -David Bluhm-
Fotos: -Ullrich Maurer / David Bluhm-

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