INTERVIEWS ~ PAST / PRESENT & FUTURE : A NEWISH PAGE [NB. MOST RECENT AT BOTTOM OF PAGE]
| INTERVIEW WITH JAMES DUTTON
~ 4 May 2003
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
Q 5. Who do
you admire on Tv or radio? Tonia
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!
FRANCES GIBSON WITH EDEN HOWARD FOR ~
RAVE MAGAZINE ~ BRISBANE
~ May 2003
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
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
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
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. (http://www.richieunterberger.com/)
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
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
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
555 Records head Stewart Anderson
and Jen Turrell live......most of
this will probably happen !
INTERVIEW: FRANCES GIBSON WITH NICK COPPACK FOR ~ TIME OFF ~ BRISBANE ~ May 2003
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
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 it..art) 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
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
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: https://soundcloud.com/greentea-berlin/the-cannanes
ALL WE'VE HAD TIME TO ADD ~ MORE SOON