Dimbleby & Capper: gaffer tape and other stories

Don’t forget to read the introduction to Dimbleby & Capper week as well as part 1 of the interview, if you haven’t already. If you have–well–enjoy part 2!

TIH: Let’s talk about your stage show a bit. What is it with the masks?

D&C: The masks. That whole thing. I was doing Dimbleby & Capper before I finished my degree (I did my degree at Goldsmiths, the same one Lisbee was on) and in your final year, what you have to do is put on a show or whatever you want to call it—basically, do a set. It sounds piss, but it’s got to be you kind of figuring out what your music’s about—there’s got to be all this kind of conceptual thought behind it and reasons for doing stuff and not just getting up there and playing what you usually play on a Friday night down at the pub. There has to be a reason for what you’re doing. And so, the mask really—for me—it puts up something between myself and the audience. Because sometimes I really don’t enjoy performing; I find it really hard. And other times, I really enjoy it. It was more for me. The whole costume-y kind of thing is like a barrier between me being able to dip into something else before I go over to them if you like. Whereas I experimented,when I was doing the EP (because I recorded and produced it from home) I was basically holed away doing that for ages in between gigs and that, I stripped the costumes out of it and the guys and the masks and things. I was just like I’ll do it naked—well, not naked naked, obviously—and it was exposing. So, when we took it to the gigs, it was just completely different. It showed that the music stands up by itself. That was nice. And the band, they stand up. But something was just not quite—I just didn’t feel comfortable with it—it just puts a whole new level of you, personally, being out there. I don’t know how I can explain it. It’s difficult when you’ve been working on it at home and it’s been all you and then you’re performing them and, like you say, it’s just you and how you look at home and if you don’t get a good reaction…it’s just all too much for me. Instead, it’s like I’m some character saying I don’t give a shit if you like it or not! I used to wear proper gaffer tape clothes.

TIH: Yeah, I’ve seen pictures.

D&C: I might bring them back. That’s why I had gaffer tape shoes on last night, because that was kind of my whole thing. When I was doing my solo stuff, I got—a lot of the sound engineers I encounter are male and you turn up and you’re a girl and it’s something like: What’s your setup? I’ve just got a loop station and a vocal. Right, so you’ve got no instruments? No. So what do you need? And I’ll just plug all my stuff in and think ‘fuck you, man! I know what I’m doing and it sounds good, thank you’. And a lot of them see it and start asking, So, what’s that? Well, this is my vocal splitter. I’ll need two outputs for this and I’ll send one to your main desk. And they’re all like Oh, you kinda know what you’re doing and I’m like ‘Fuck you’. So my tape was kind of that thing of two fingers up to them, wearing the industry’s essential thing—because they’re all like I don’t know how I’d ever get through a live gig without any gaffer tape—and then wearing it in a seductive way on your person. There was something in that for me, anyway. Like, this is me and my machine, but in a slightly seductive way. That’s my weird, strange relationship with my equipment.

TIH: Would you ever think of going the next step and making it full-fledged conceptual show—not give it a plot, necessarily—but a full theatrical production almost?

D&C: I would love to. That was the great thing about doing the degree, you have all this spare time and you have money or a loan coming in and you can meet up with your band and you can spend three days in a row rehearsing without having to worry about going to work—perfect! We used to do all these synchronised movements to all these different songs and it was genius, but we haven’t been doing that recently because we haven’t had time to rehearse it. You know, when you’ve got a gig every week, in between we haven’t been meeting up. We just do the gigs, and, when the gigs have quietened down a bit, then we will go back and rehearse and do some different stuff. But, yeah, totally. We’d love to. We’re thinking about doing a video soon. We’ve got a guy involved who would like to do a video and I’m totally about scratching each other’s backs, you know? We’ve got a lot friends who do fashion and other people that do the more visual side of it, choreography—next door to Goldsmiths, we’ve got the Laban Centre, that contemporary dance place—and people that do costume design and all this. You know, I think there should be a real sense—and that’s what I love about down in New Cross. You know the people and you just need to come together and help each other out because they can use it for their portfolios, you can use it for press, and you all just muck in and get some stuff done.

TIH: Do you think it benefits the overall quality of the music when you have to be really conscious of how much you’re spending and doing the best you can with limited funds?

D&C: Yeah. Well, with what I do, it’s all about getting out of that whole working with other producers thing and doing things by yourself. Because you don’t have the time and everyone else is really busy. I’d say, if you’re an unsigned artist, it’s not necessarily the producers that won’t give you time. It’s their managers who say ‘Well, you’re not getting paid for it, so we’ll just bump that one out of the way’, which is fair enough. But that was so beneficial for me, because otherwise, there never would have been an EP. There would just be a few more pop-esque demos that weren’t wholeheartedly myself floating around and that would be it, really. So that was completely beneficial for me, just having the time and saying to myself no one’s funding this for you so you’ve got to do it by yourself in your bedroom. You’ve got the musicians around you. Yeah, and I really like it. You get a real sense of who’s wholeheartedly in it and, hopefully, it will pay off for all of us. And when it comes to the live thing with the guys, I know I couldn’t do it without them. I mean, I still do solo shows sometimes, if it’s small enough, intimate venues, I still do the solo thing and I love doing them. But when it comes to the band and stuff, they’re great, because we get a minimal fee. We cover our backs—we don’t lose money—but we certainly don’t make any money when it comes to the live thing…at the moment. But it’s nice. We’ve built up a real team of people around us that are really into the project, no matter if it makes money or it doesn’t, and that’s cool.


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