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In time we will endeavour to add the full text of some of the more interesting interviews from over the years
Done with interviews! for more band member thoughts go to Frans vanity page perhaps one day soon the rest of us slackers will have one as well !


Q1. What is your earliest musical memory?
"Fox On The Run" - had some strange sexual connotations when I was small. A bit confusing and quite scary really! Previous to that, the theme tune to "Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men"
Q 2. Do you like the name james? It's alright. Jim's more working class and a touch cooler, but hardly anyone ever calls me Jim. How tall are you? 6' 1 and 1/2" Do you have any interesting ancestors? My Dad's uncle Ted Mitten is related to Jack Mitten, an aristocrat from 18th Century England, who set fire to himself to try and cure his hiccoughs ........ he died. Actually, Uncle Ted's fairly interesting in that he carries around old black and white photo's of animals in his wallet - "Here's your aunt with a cow", "Here's a sheep, here's a horse" etc etc. He's a farmer from Suffolk.
Q 3. What is the best Cannanes song? "Singing to Satellite's" is an all time favourite and I also like "Frightening Thing" and "Population of Two" and others off the new album.
Q 4. Do you think there are any similarities between Flywheel and the Cannanes?
Both of the names have two syllables. We like to share band members. Both exponents of Black Metal.
Q 5. Who do you admire on Tv or radio? Tonia Todman Who do you think we would be better off without. Alan Jones yeah fuck off, John Laws while wer'e at it, Stan Zemanek, David Koch smug little turd.
Q 6. What do you think of Kurt Cobain? Musically I think he was OK. Emotionally I'd say he was fucked-up, wouldn't you?
Q 7. What do you usually write songs about? Chocolate and Girls.
Q 8. Which of your songs are you most proud of?
"Mull Of Kintyre" -#1 for 25 consecutive weeks don't you know.
Q 9. Which Rolling Stone are you most like? I'd like to be like Charlie, cause he always looks so dapper and much cooler than those other fools. Is that a good enough reason? Do you think he enjoys himself? It's hard to tell.
Q 10. Which is the best place to eat in Melbourne? The best place to drink? At home, cause Miranda and I love to cook and it's cheaper. Apart from that Tiba's for Lebanese is good. You know I don't drink.
Q 11. What are the differences between Sydney and Melbourne? Number 1 it's cheaper to live here. It's colder, flatter and doesn't have a beach to speak of. Community radio is great in Melbourne and there's more of a live music scene here. Sydney has the best football team, unfortunately all the ones in Melbourne are crap!
EH. Trouble Seemed So Far Away was released in the US almost a year ago, but Australia got it six months late. Why the delay?
FJ. Oh just the usual boring stupid reasons that always seem to make putting out any recording take 10 times longer than you would think it possibly could. We changed a track or 2 and slightly changed the cover and as it was being put out on our new label Lamingtone wanted to make sure everything was done well and people actually got a chance to hear it. EH. Are you still planning on spending a lot of time abroad as a band?
FJ. Well- I don't know about a lot of time but it is one of the more entertaining aspects of being in a band that you get to travel to interesting places and meet (usually ) interesting people. Glorious as Australia is it does have a very small population and its hard to play in too many places.
EH. What inspired the electronic experimentation and directions on Trouble? Did it stem from working with producer Explosion Robinson, or was the idea there before you hooked up?
FJ. To tell you the truth we didn't do any electronic experimentation really - we just did what we usually do - i.e. write guitar bits and sing and write words - it's just that this time we happened to be doing it in Manhattan and left it with Explosion who then added his magic touches..
EH. The band is approaching twenty years. Are you comfortable with being referred to as indie pop legends? How do you look at what the band has achieved?
FJ. Yes go ahead... you may call me a legend...though I am not sure how close to the truth it is - We once were in a book by a bloke called Richie Unterberger called Unknown Legends of Rock where we rated about a sentence. ( I guess that is ROCK though not indie pop - the term indie pop is pretty creepy in itself - I'd rather be an unknown legend of rock than a real legend of indie pop. From the very beginning the band has achieved more than any of us could ever have dreamt of really - I mean I never would have thought that I would be answering a question about whether I was comfortable in being referred to as a legend!! 5 or 6 overseas tours, friends all over the world and some pretty bloody good songs along the way ( not to mention the occasional atrocious ones ...but then you have to laugh ).
EH. Do you think there is still a definable Sydney pop sound? FJ. Probably but I can't define it - considering 80% of the people I know in music from Sydney have now moved to Melbourne it is probably most evident in bands from down south these days.
EH. What did you think when you first saw yourselves mentioned in the Kurt Cobain journals?
FJ. I was told there was a mention in the book and went and sat in a bookshop in Melbourne looking through every page till I found it as it was rather an expensive item to buy on the off chance.. I was quite impressed but then I am always easily impressed by celebrity. It's a good journal though - reading it made me like Kurt even more than I had previously....
EH. How many other projects are members of the band involved in at the moment? Oh lots apart from me as I only do the Cannanes. Bon is recording his solo project and playing with El Mopa and A Gold Star Secret, Penny is in a band called the Hoo Hahs and plays trumpet with Stephen in El Duende and a reggae band, Stephen is also having high level talks about a one off Lighthouse Keepers reunion, I don't think Jim is doing anything else right now...
EH. Do you look at the current line up of the act as the ultimate for what you're trying to achieve musically, or are things still fairly fluid from gig to gig?
FJ. The current lineup is made up of musically talented people who are a very positive lot and this is a delightful situation - With help from James Dutton and Greg Wadley from Melbourne I think this is about as good as it gets but judging from previous experiences something will happen to ruin it....
EH. How difficult is it to fit the band around everyone's work schedules and other commitments at present?
FJ. As I say the band are a very positive lot who actually seem to enjoy it and go out of their way to put the band as a priority so its been fine actually...
EH. What else is coming up for the band?
FJ. Triple J live to air in next few weeks, new videos, Japanese tour in September, new EP in next 2 months, new CD by Christmas, another new CD by may 2004 and now that I see that Aussie dollar is going up I have been making a few tentative inquiries about another world tour next year with a big 20th anniversary celebration in a volcano in Arizona that is being turned into an artwork ( where 555 Records head Stewart Anderson and Jen Turrell live......most of this will probably happen !

NC. Depending on who you talk to The Cannanes are either one of the country's / world's finest pop bands or a band whose name suggests they're a bunch of dog lovers with questionable spelling. Does it bother you there's not much in between? There's a lot of people who aren't familiar with your work.
FJ. Well...I think you've very cleverly nailed the issue actually in that a) there are people who are familiar with our work and think we're pretty good and b) there are people who haven't a clue about us and have no valid opinions. It is not a bad position to be in really, as with a bit of general education we can only assume that the masses would be won over. There is of course the odd individual who knows what we are up to and can't stand it but hey...variety is the spice of life.
NC. So how do you guys feel towards the Australian music industry? How's it treated you?
FJ. The music industry and the Cannanes have in the past operated in what can only be described as different time and space continuums which seems to have worked out pretty well for us and pretty well for them but lately ....I don't know-I guess getting airplay on Triple J and the video played a lot on Rage had a bit of an impact. We've never had a manager, or an agent, or signed a recording contract or any other contract. Pleased as I am about this it does confuse industry people. A lot of what we have done has been overseas too so even though they say it is a global market - in many ways it is not at all. Most well known bands in Australia are completely unknown overseas just as well known bands in New York can be completely unknown here... Most of our recordings have been released in the USA. Anyway I've got no particular beef with the music industry - it's a profit making business like many others. The Cannanes were never going to be part of that industry. I think where people get upset is making the mistake that it has anything to do with good music or (dare I say which of course it hasn't.
NC. I notice Kurt Cobain's diary mentions you guys in it as one of his favourite bands. Did you know about that before the book was published? What was your reaction?
FJ. Stephens reaction was "Well why didn't he get us to play with Nirvana when they came out then" I was sort of very impressed but trying to pretend I wasn't and most people we know didn't and still don't believe it. One person claimed we wrote that into our copy of the book!!. We didn't know about it before the book was published. On reflection I like Kurt Cobain's music and I am pleased he liked ours and I would have liked to have a drink with him... I am not at all sure he would have wanted those diaries published which makes the whole thing a little bit creepy.
NC. It's been a while since you've been to Brisbane. What kind of memories of the place do you have from past visits?
FJ. Well I went to boarding school in Southport but was so rarely allowed out I don't remember much. I remember it was hot. Mostly I remember the Surfers Paradise Beer Garden which is where we would escape to on the 2 or 3 occasions we made a run for it. I realise however this is not Brisbane. The Cannanes have only been to Brisbane once and it was a glorious time from my memory and I can't think why it has taken so long to get back - I think it is partly 'cause we've always had really bad cars that take days to get that far. I would actually quite like to move to Brisbane - it seems to have everything going for it but others do not agree.
NC. The band goes through a fair few band members. How settled does the current lineup feel?
FJ. You better ask them - I would like it if they all stayed around for ever but as we know only too well life has its ways of making sure this doesn't happen. People have babies, move overseas, get jobs that keep them too busy etc so really if you are around as a band for any length of time unless there are huge amounts of money and it is your living it is likely there will be changes. And even rich bands break up all the time too. Touring too much can make you hate people temporarily. There are some aspects to this lineup that may make it last for a while as I think all of them see music as something they do - not just a phase they are going through so you never know....
NC. Trouble Seemed So Far Away - what do you like best about this record?
FJ. It just sounds good - the production is superb. It was produced by a bloke called Explosion Robinson who has a studio in Manhattan. Explosion put in lots of weird noises which work really well - he made everything sound really fabulous - even my voice sounds ok - its odd how much he understood what we like, even though I guess in some ways his musical interests are in very different genres from the kind of music we are generally linked too. I don't think he is a fan of the indie pop wimpy world. Like when our first EP many years ago was played to LL Cool J and he allegedly just looked disgusted and said "Weak!" and walked away. I sort of know what he meant but I think we are different now.
NC. Are you always on the look out for new sounds and new ways to record? What direction will you head in next?
FJ. No I don't think we are - stuff just happens and people just turn up and make the music sound different. Collaborating with other people obviously is a great source of new ideas so we hope to do more work with Greg Wadley and Explosion and Stewart Anderson from 555 records and James Dutton from Melbourne. Hopefully everyone in the band will write songs too - we do like to operate as a collective rather than a dictatorship like most bands. Dictatorships are probably effective in getting things done but as in governments I suspect they don't produce the best quality output.
NC. What should fans expect from your live shows this time around?
FJ. Fans should expect 6 consummately experienced and trained professionals and semi-professionals happily going about their musical business with humour and humility or something like that - Ex Brisbanite Greg Wadley will be playing keyboards with us which will be a treat. If we are lucky no one will be too drunk.
NC. Hopes/ambitions in 2003?
FJ. to get Stephen Hairy O'Neils computer to work more for more than a week at a time so we can finish the new EP and CD, tentatively entitled "Nobody Loves An Albatross", to get a new pair of speakers as we blew the last lot up last weekend, to go and play in Osaka and Nagoya as well as Tokyo in September, and to write lots more really good songs.

INTERVIEW: FRANCES & STEPHEN WITH KRISTA KRULL FOR ~ GREEN TEA BERLIN ~ BERLIN ~ 23rd September 2015 [Broadcast on Alex Radio and 88vier 18th November '15]

8 minute interview now Streaming on SoundCloud here:



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