Interview with Baby Godzilla: Powerboat Disaster
“I get really bad stage-fright and nerves just before [we go onstage] because, I don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if you’re going to break something of yours, if something’s going to stop working, if you’re going to break a limb, if you’re going to hurt somebody…” Matt “Butch” Reynolds, guitarist
The above is uttered approximately an hour before Baby Godzilla, one of the most incendiary, exciting, raucous and frankly downright dangerous bands the UK currently has to offer, take the “stage” (stage being an immaterial word in this band’s case) at the Battersea Barge, for the annual Crossfire Halloween Massacre. Roughly an hour and ten minutes later, the barge is a complete wreck. Broken glass is strewn across the floor, tables are up-ended, fancy dress detritus is scattered liberally about the place. A trampled blonde wig here, a Freddy Kruger mask there, spilled beer and spirits everywhere.
The house lights are on and the band have been pulled, a mere ten minutes and just three and a half songs into their set. The reason? The lighting rig has been completely wiped out, probably (in fact, almost certainly) due to fans and band using it as some sort of monkey bars adventure playground swing set. All this occurs in an extremely cramped space, with barely breathing room for 150 people. The owners of said barge may be displeased (to say the least), but the faces of the punters in the room tell a different story. To them, that was clearly ten of the most exciting minutes they have ever experienced.
In my interview with Matt and bassist Paul, they did show signs of concern before the show, a typical exchange being…
Paul: This is one of the thinnest venues I believe we’ve played.
Matt: It’s very narrow isn’t it.
Paul: When they said a barge, I did think surely it’ll be bigger than a barge. It isn’t. It’s a barge!
Matt: It’s classy as well, that’s what’s worrying me, it’s bloody posh.
When asked of the origins of their frankly maniacal live show, Matt reveals “It just comes from having 4 people together who have a bit too much enthusiasm for their own good. You can be as hung over as hell or feeling really ill and go onstage and think ‘Right, I’m gonna have a quiet one tonight’ but then you play the first note and you’ll be off at the back of the room, up-side down on top of some people. There is never a quiet one. Because it’s just what we do, I don’t think any of us know any other way of doing it.”
The sheer insanity of the live show is reflected in their videos, the new one for single “Don’t Touch that Dial” being possibly one of the craziest most sadistic “pop promos” this writer has ever seen. “We’re not really content with just doing whatever everyone else has done, where’s the fun in that?” explains Matt “Why just make the same song and the same video that everyone’s already made countless times (before) because people just aren’t going to be interested. So, we have these sessions where we sit round a table, and one of us will say something really stupid without even thinking about it”
“It’s a sort of band mentality,” Paul offers. “If something gets said and everyone else says ‘Ahh, that’s a great idea!’ then you’ve got to follow through with it.”
Thus far Baby Godzilla have released three EPs, (2010s Npag, 2012s Oche and this year’s Knockout Machine.) Two of the three can be downloaded for free, the band believing that music should essentially be free. Where possible, the music has been recorded in the studio live, to reproduce as far as possible the feel of a live Baby Godzilla experience…but of course, you don’t get the sense of sheer chaos and fear-for-your-life intensity that you would, sitting at home tapping your foot.
“There’s no way of conveying that live show on record, that’s why you want people to come and see you live”, says Matt. “I suppose if you can make music, get it out to people and they think its good enough, then they will come and see you live. For me, that is the function of recorded music, to get people in a room experiencing something.”
The eventual aim of all these live shows is, perhaps surprisingly, not just to leave a path of wanton destruction across the country, but to record an album.
‘’Something that me and Paul have always wanted to do is record an album, it’s all about having that long play that you can invest yourself in, something that tells a story from beginning to end. And we will get to doing that eventually. But we want all of the tracks that end up on that album to have had a chance to have actually been played live because I hate the idea of having to record an album that you’ve never played to anyone before because songs change as you play them live.”
Paul interjects, “There have been some tracks we’ve played a few times before recording them and it’s not a mistake, but in hindsight, you wish you’d spent a little more time with them.”
When I offer the tired journalistic cliché “Ahh, but art is never finished, it’s just abandoned” their response is typical of the band; droll, self-mocking and a smidgen unsavoury.
“If you can call what we do art” deadpans Matt. “It’s more like someone shitting in the middle of a piece of paper, then rubbing it…and if there’s any left, chucking it in the fan and seeing where it goes.”
Baby Godzilla tour the UK at the end of November starting at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford on the 23rd.
Click HERE to find out about tour dates and ticket links.Tagged in: Baby Godzilla, emily dacy, music, Powerboat Disaster
Recent Posts on Arts
- Pulled Apart By Horses' European tour diary
- Friday Book Design Blog: Fitzcarraldo Editions
- Children’s books for October: Meg and Mog, The Demon Dentist and The Whispering Skull
- Friday Book Design Blog: Slightly Foxed and Notting Hill Editions
- Good Indian sales at Sotheby’s London but contemporaries’ slump worsens
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter