Saturday, March 08, 2003

Tender Trap

To finish our small series of Odd/Even shows, we wanted to mix it up a tad. We wanted something bizarre, so we got in Maria Syrtisz, we wanted something funky, so we got Loki, and we also wanted a band who mean something. Not only in terms of the modern ‘indie scene’, but whose have a distinct place in the history of British off-kilter pop and with Tender Trap, you get both. They house former members of Talulah Gosh (one of the more resonant shining lights in the C86 twee-pop movement, along with the Pastels and the Wedding Present) as well as Sarah Records luminaries Heavenly, yet they eschew their past to continue creating modern day pop-nuggets of the highest quality. We contacted Amelia Fletcher to see what makes her tick, even if she’s clearly lying about her second best achievement in music.

>Please introduce yourself and your band mates and what qualities you each bring to the band, musically and otherwise.

Amelia Fletcher. Can sing, can play guitar, can play Melodica. Friend of strange bleeps and multi layered backing vocals.

Rob Pursey. Can play guitar and can drive a car. Can spend a long time happily working on a bass drum sound. Can write songs with Amelia (above).

DJ Downfall. Can understand software. Knows how to create a lively rhythm track. Can play bass.

CD player. Can play rhythm tracks.

>You've been in many bands with a lot of the same personnel over time. Do name changes represent a slate wiped clean, a chance to start afresh?
Yes. But they particularly signal a time when all the old songs have been thrown away and a new lot have been made. They also represent a recognition that the earlier impulse to stop being in a band has been cancelled out by the renewed desire to start one all over again.

>How do you believe Tender Trap differ to your previous incarnations?
A lot less gigs, fewer arguments, more time spent staring at a computer screen. Less geared toward live performance, really. We'll probably try to make the live thing more exciting in the future cos we're slightly conscious that we're not very entertaining to watch unless you really like the songs. Even then, the only pleasure may be to hear us messing those songs up. There was a good version of 'Badge of Love' a few gigs ago when the CD player unilaterally decided to start the next song before we'd finished the old one and DJ fell off the stool he was perched on, dropping the melodica in the process. On the positive side, the records are getting closer to what we intend. We were never good at getting what we wanted in studios.

>What do you consider your best achievements? Is there anything else you'd really like to achieve with your music?
Best achievements: learning how to record it all ourselves at last; playing in Portsmouth. To achieve: an album of consistent beauty.

>What motivates you to continue to record and gig, and is it any different from when you started out in music?
Starting out, gigs was just what you did if you were in a band, and we never thought we'd ever record any of it anyway. We also thought, foolishly, that playing lots of gigs might make you very famous. Or, maybe, just got excited that people are prepared to look at and listen to you for 40 minutes. Now gigs are still fun, but seem motivated by a vague wanderlust and the desire to see that there still are other people in the world who aren't just buying Radiohead LPs off Amazon and thinking that that's it.

>What inspires you lyrically and musically?
Lyrically, people we know. Musically, the Magnetic Fields, in particular their willingness to do different things and not worry if it sounds odd.

>What is your future plan for records/gigs?
We have just finished recording a single that will probably come out on Elefant later in the year. We wrote it after our last trip to Spain where we really liked all the indie electropop bands. Our song is a duet half in English, half in Spanish and the Spanish stuff is sung by our friend Lupe out of Pipas. It's more poppy that anything on the LP. We've also got the bare bones of enough songs for another LP, but we haven't written many lyrics yet so may have to spend a lot more time with people we know eavesdropping on their conversations. Strangely, all these other songs seem to be less poppy so far. Quite often we set out to do something more 'serious', get bored with it and decide it's better to write pop tunes instead.

>What do you think of the current 'indie scene', and in what ways is it different from say the mid 1980's?
It seems a lot quieter! There are less boys with pudding bowl haircuts.

>If you weren't in a band just what would you do with your evenings?
Play Scrabble. Go to more gigs. Eat more food. We're thinking about starting an indie club in Brixton, so maybe that as well.

>Tender Traps's Desert Island Discs
Beat Happening - Indian Summer
Blondie - Union City Blue
Cameo - Word Up
Kenickie - I Would Fix You
Broadcast - The Noise Made By People
The Toys - A Lover's Concerto

>Tender Trap's Desert Island Books
The Beckett Trilogy
Alan Carr's easy way to give up smoking
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

>Tender Traps's Desert Island Luxury Item
A house.

Tender Trap website

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