Saul Adamczewski: a (reluctant) genius

Translated and adapted by Valentina Ajello

Ph credits: Lou Smith

“Where is Saul?” This slogan has become famous among the most loyal fans of “Fat White Family” and of Saul himself.

In fact, where is Saul? But, above all, who is he really?

Surely this article won’t reveal, once and for all, the complex and many-sided personality of a character for whom paradox and desecration are a way of “not being”. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to reveal it. Maybe not even himself.

But the real news is that not only I was able to find him, but also to interview him. Therefore, perhaps, he does exist. 

“He will never give you an interview. He wouldn’t even give it to “Pitchfork” (the very powerful and influential American webzine), let alone you, who no-one knows.” This is what, in essence, many people have told me before I succeeded, regardless of everybody and everything, in contacting him. 



Saul founded, still under age, an indie/punk band called “The Metros”, quite successful among critics and audience, but they split in 2009.

In 2011 an earthquake shook the sleepy musical scene of the time: Saul founded together with brothers  Lias and Nathan Saoudi, “Fat White Family”, who later in 2013 made their debut with an album that turned the tables: “Champagne Holocaust”. 

From then on  Fat White Family has started an incessant nihilist operation of desecration/destruction of the politically correct “transgressive respectability”, which is still spreading in the British underground musical scene and beyond.

And Saul himself has immediately stood out as the most uncompromising, mysterious, iconoclastic, destructive (and self-destructive) element of the band. 

In the meantime Saul has started to be less present during gigs and has been replaced by other musicians.

The same happens when the band is interviewed: at some point he stopped giving interviews, leaving it to Lias (the lead singer).

In 2018 he surprised everyone by creating a band with a sound completely different from “FWF”.

In my opinion the choice of the name is genius: “Insicure Man”.  The album probably reflects, at least partly, Saul’s most fragile poetical and delicate side. And poetical and fragile are the pieces in the album by the same name,  which are, more or less, ethereal and dreamy ballads with grotesque, surreal, provocative and  harrowing lyrics.

Now Saul has his first solo record ready. A wonderful gem I was so lucky to get a sneak peek of and that, I really wish, will soon be released. It is an album with, sometimes, a ghostly sound and, sometimes, of almost disarming sweetness and bluntness. A true masterpiece.

About the interview that everyone thought impossible, not only Saul has agreed, but he has turned out to be a surprisingly kind and humble human being.

After having received and read the answers to my questions, I can surely say what I have always thought about him: we have a true genius.

What shall we do with him? Do we deserve him? But, first and foremost, does he really want to be one? Probably not.

But being genius is a (marvellous) damnation that, I am sure, will haunt him until he keeps playing music.

I beg you: love him. 

And if apparently he seems to despise you, remember what Oscar Wilde said “Each man kills the thing he loves.”



1)What’s the sense of life? But, above all, does living really have a meaning?

I guess I believe you can attach meaning to life. But it’s all an act… in reality we are born, we grow up and then we die and it’s all for nothing!

2) ‘Patheticism’ should be the title of your first solo album. Can you tell us why you have chosen it and can you explain who, in your opinion, is a pathetic person or what type of situation can be pathetic?

It’s not the title of my album. It’s actually a manifesto written by a few people including myself and Lias as well as our friend Lev Parker from “Morbid Books” and the writer Rob Doyle. We are pathetic people I suppose. The idea is to make a virtue out of the weaknesses we have. It really came from us spending our formative years hanging out with all kinds of freaks, losers and deranged psychos and seeing that even in these dark corners there was light to be found. It’s also an anti Woke Art manifesto. We hope to release it this year. 



3) In 2019 I was at the “Insicure Men” live show at the Lexington, London. At the end of the gig, you shocked the audience by saying that you would have never played live again. Then I stumbled into you in the crowd at the end of the gig and asked you whether it was true. You gave me a sardonic grin and remained vague. Therefore can we expect a new album by Insecure Man in the future or do you consider it a closed chapter?

Yes we are recording a new album this spring. Hopefully it will be out by the end of the year.. As for gigs I’m sure if there’s any offers we will take them. 

4) In 2006, when you were still very young, with a few schoolmates, you founded “The Metros”, which you broke up in 2009. In 2013 the extraordinary debut album “Champagne Holocaust” by “Fat White Family” was released. Personally it changed my life. What happened in the years previous to the release of this masterpiece? Can you tell us how you met the other members of the band and how the iconoclastic and irreverent ideas underlying all your work came up?

I don’t like to analyse it too much. I guess the ideas came from our degenerate young minds. There was much more of a sense of hope back then and we really didn’t care if people liked us or our music. It wasn’t until we had accepted our total failure as artists and people that we managed to turn “Fat White Family” into anything vaguely resembling success. The years before the band were mostly spent in the job centre and the pub. Not sure if this answers the question but it’ll have to do. 

5) You seem to have a detached attitude towards the music you compose and play. But I know that during rehearsals you are very precise with the arrangements of the albums and the quality of the live performances. Is it true?

I feel detached because I don’t think we have ever done anything that good. The next thing is what interests me. I’ve tried in my own way to keep us from turning into a shit house indie rock band and to be honest I’d say that I have failed.  



6) There is great anticipation for Fat White Family’s next album. Those who have listened to the demos say it is sensational. Can you tell us something more on what we should expect and on when the album is due to be released?

 I’m not involved with that project at the moment. They might be making a record I really don’t know. 

7) About “Patheticism”, can you tell us how it differs from your previous works? Who are the musicians involved? When is it due to be released?

God willing it will be out this year. I’ve had some trouble with the label and things have been postponed a few times. The record itself is far more personal than anything I’ve done before. Songs of misery and regret. The main people involved in the album were Lias and Alex White as well as the producer, my old friend Raf Rundell. 



8) Besides doing politics in a provocative manner, a bit like in the punk era, but also in your totally personal and recognizable way, often during your gigs and not only, you hail Satan thanking your audience between songs. Is this, too, something purely provocative and irreverent or is there more to it?

Are politics and religion subjects that occupy an important role in your universe or is it just a nihilist and iconoclastic attitude? 

Politics and religion occupy an important role in my universe but all that hailing of Satan really came from Lev Parker. He supported Insecure Men on tour reading poetry and spread his demonic seeds. By the end of the tour every other sentence that came out of my mouth was “Hail Satan”. I’m easily influenced I guess. 

https://morbidbooks.net/feed/2019-11-19-king-baby-syndrome/

9) I’ve often flown from Italy to London to see “Fat White Family” and “Insecure Men” live, but also your solo shows or those with Alex White on the sax. Your audience adore you, but I’ve also heard, that they fear you. Rumour has it that you are a difficult character and also a bit antisocial. Having had the pleasure to talk to you a few times I was delighted to discover that you are kind, down to earth and also very humble. Is there a bias in how you are seen and perceived by those who follow you artistically but don’t know you personally? 

It’s hard for me to have any clear idea of how I’m perceived by people I don’t know. I’m not too interested either… perhaps people confuse my shyness with arrogance. The less I think about things like this the better. 

10) You are an excellent draughtsman/illustrator. Have you ever thought of publishing your works?

 I have not considered it. But if someone is willing to publish them I’d be happy to. 

11) About literature: observing you and listening to you, names such as Luis-Ferdinand Céline, Emil Cioran, De Sade, Arthur Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jean Genet, Guy Debord come to my mind. Are there among these any writers you admire?

Or could you tell us which books have influenced your personal and artistic life and how? 

Yeah I think it’s fair to say that a few of those writers have had a big influence on us as a band and on Lias’ lyrics in particular.. especially Emil Cioran, Luis-Ferdinand Céline and Jean Genet. I’m constantly being influenced by the books I read and everything else… just today I read a passage in a book called “Low life” by Jeffrey Bernard that made me get up and do a little dance in honour of alcoholics all over the world. But for me the best music we have made has been anti intellectual and anti art… 

12) What are you listening to now and which are the artists and bands that have most influenced you?

The three bands that had the biggest influence on us at the beginning were “The Fall”, “The Make up” and “Country Teasers”… Our sound was really a composite of those 3 things… with a touch of the “Manson Family” thrown in for good measure… These days I’m listening to lots of different things. Mostly instrumental music and much slower stuff. Too many to list here. 

13) “Where’s Saul?” has become a catchphrase invented by our common genius friend Lou Smith. Then it has become a T-shirt and a print designed by you. In fact often you’re not there: you give very few interviews, and sometimes you are not in the line-up of Fat White Family gigs, you are very seldom on social media. Personally, leaving aside the reasons that make you “not be there”, I find it fascinating especially in a period like this, imbued with selfishness and the pathetic quest for 24h visibility. Can you tell us more about your not being there for the media?

It’s just easier for me to do what I do without other people’s voices in my head constantly. I do use social media but I rarely post anything and have no interest in expressing my opinions through it… It seems like a mine field really. I’m better off keeping my head down and trying to make music. 



14) What song would you use to torture someone?

Breaking into Aldi by “Fat White Family” or something by “Pregoblin”. 

15) Which is the most hilarious feature of pop culture?

Mental health awareness.

16) Who is your least favourite member of Fat White Family past or present?

It used to be Dan Lyons our first drummer but he’s changed his ways. Now days I’d have to say Lias. Since he made loads of money doing car adverts he’s become a real diva. 

17) What do your family think of your music?

They tolerate it lovingly. 

18) I’m going to finish on a pathetic note. Perhaps you’ll appreciate. We don’t know each other, but I feel we have many things in common. I love you as if you were my best friend and I love your uniqueness. Moreover, thanks to your music, my life has taken an unforeseen and imaginative path. Thank you for the interview. I will cherish this experience as one of the most meaningful in my life. Do you think I have been pathetic enough?

You have. I love you too comrade! Fight the good fight. Hail Satan.

Jessica Winter, Pregoblin and other wonderful odd things

If you were to start a band, what name would you give it? Certainly, not Pregoblin, unless you wanted it to be a Black Metal band. Nonetheless this weird choice, turned out to be winning: when, years ago, I read this name among some emerging British bands, this was the only one that stuck  in my mind. The Pregoblin mystery became greater due to their minimal Facebook page, where you could see a little girl’s faded and ruined picture, which seemed coming from a countryside tombstone at the mercy of the elements. No further information other than a puzzling collage of pictures apparently devoid of a logical meaning. Then, suddenly, in 2019, their debut with the most beautiful and catchy single of the year applauded by the specialised critics: “Combustion”.

I found out that there were two members in the band: charming Alex Sebley,  a true Baudelairian dandy of the Suburbia, completely immersed in opium smoke and his creativity and Jessica Winter, wonderful in her vintage glasses and her look (luckily) so distant from the trivial and mundane beauty standards of the underground music scene. Previously they have both worked with famous artists such as Fat White Family, Gorillaz and The Horrors. After their debut with “Combustion”,  Pregoblin have released a handful of pieces. Four, to be more specific, four gems, all very different, but at the same time impeccable due to  their clear-crystal  pop auteur lyrics. The latest is the magnificent and dreamy “Snakes and oranges” a small masterpiece that enters your mind and stays there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30ZSwMg26KM

Alogside Pregoblin,  Jessica Winter has her solo career. Her angel voice immediately stands out out in her 2019 debut piece “Sleep Forever”.

This piece is followed by more singles all contained in a five piece EP “Sad Music”. The sound is still pop, but, compared to Pregoblin, the arrangements are more sophisticated and the atmospheres more theatrical.

Jessica’s latest single “Psycho”, a song with an epic and mysterious rhythm, comes with a particularly eccentric and disquieting video.

Jessica and Pregoblin are an adorable anomaly, made with ingredients that are often deliberately (and not only apparently) chaotic and unlikely, but always traversed by a true poetic vein filled with marvellous melancholy, which proudly stands out against the glamorous and artificial current musical landscape. This is why I recommend that you check out their music and fall in love it: you won’t regret it.

Here is my interview with Jessica Winter where she reveals how Pregoblin got together and why they chose such a weird name, she also tells us about her health problems, which have never stopped her and other odd things..


Ph: NAN MOORE

Hi Jessica, thank you for this interview for the readers of MANINTOWN! Can you tell us how you met Alex Sebley and how you got the idea of forming Pregoblin and why did you choose that name for the band?

Me and Alex met on facebook – he was promoting a Harry Merry show and I’m a big fan of Harry.  Alex being Alex had set up the show but no ticket link.  I messaged him about buying a ticket and from there we got chatting. It’s weird though because we later found out we were both from Hayling Island; an island next to Portsmouth. We chose the name PREGOBLIN because we were booked to play a show but had no name so it started as a bit of a joke but then it stuck. The drug pregablin helps people get off heroin but also treats people with chronic pain.  So we have that drug in common.

You call your music “weird pop”. In fact it defies any classification. It’s catchy, but at the same time,  it doesn’t want to be main stream. Would you like to say something about this?

People like to be challenged



I have always admired you for the natural way you’ve never made a mystery of your physical condition due to hip dysplasia. Can you tell how you relate to this condition and if it has influenced your artistic career.

I’ve had many a lock down through my life in hospital. Have spent 6 weeks at a time lying on my back not being able to move from the waist down which has probably influenced my work ethic; I’m very grateful to be able to do music as a career and I work very hard whilst I’m healthy enough too. I don’t let things stress me out too much and I’m grateful for pedestrian activities such as being able to walk, being outside and just generally being alive.  Life is such a privilege and I always have a feeling that it can quickly be taken away at any time.

I have seen you many times live and each time I have thought you were fantastic. I have always been very intrigued by how you appear on stage: how you move defies all the stereotypes about a frontwoman. What do you think about this statement and do you like to perform?

Thank you ! I haven’t given it too much thought to be honest.  I perform how feels comfortable to me.   I love to dance, I always have… when I’m on stage I lose the pain… it must be the adrenaline… I pay for it the next day but in those moments it’s worth it. I love to entertain and bring a bit of joy to anyone watching.  I think with anything it’s important to not take yourself too seriously!!

Recently your beautiful single “Psycho” was released with a very intriguing and quite unsettling video. Can you tell us how it was made?

This song came about in a very sterile setting.  I was being courted by Warp Publishing and they had offered to put me in a one week ‘writing camp.’ Each day would be with a new stranger; some were producers, some were artists, some were writers and by the end of each day you would deliver a new song.  I thought the whole thing sounded so revolting that I just HAD to do it.  By the third or fourth day I was coming to terms with the anxiety of meeting new people and I was put with Bobby aka S Type and an artist called LYAM.  These two people happened to be amazing; we spent the day writing a song which I remember was quite good but then LYAM had to leave early.  Bobby and I had two hours left so we just started jamming… 2 hours later PSYCHO was born. It all happened so quick that I never even registered that it could be a good song.  It was only until a year later that we both revisited and were like ’this is good’ so I did a proper vocal take and drafted in Gam from SWEAT to lay some strings down and it was done.  There’s something to be said that when you create something so flippantly, without thinking about it too much, or caring too much you probably have less chance of ruining it.

When is your solo album due?

I’m still deciding.  Right now I’m just writing writing writing.  I love EPs though a small collection of songs… not too little… not too much.

How do you relate to the legendary South London Scene? Are there artists or groups you feel more attuned to?

The ’South London Scene’ – there are so many scenes within South London but I think the one you are referring to is the one surrounding The Windmill?  I feel Tim Perry is responsible for bringing this community together.  He is always booking diverse acts and genres.  He’s supported me in both solo and PREGOBLIN and is always coming up with new ways of bringing people together.  I bumped into him on the street about a month ago and even though live music has been axed this year, he was talking to me about doing some kind of space opera and bringing in different musicians from different bands to make this night happen.  Love him! 

What is your musical background and what do you listen mostly to in this moment?

I was about 2 years old with a back brace holding my legs in the splits… the keys would keep me entertained for hours!  My Nan paid for piano lessons from when I was about 4 and from that point on I was learning classical. 

I’ve been listening to Amara ctk100, 100 Gecs, Jazmin Bean, Salvia, ShyGirl, A G Cook, Sorry, Grace Lightman, Deep Tan, SWEAT, Comanavago, Lauren Auder, Eartheater, Daniel Johnston, Cottontail, Slayyter, Lynks, Diane Chorely, Lucy Loone, Zheani, Sundara Karma, Squid, Tïna, ZAND and moreee

About Pregoblin, after your debut with the pop masterpiece “Combustion”, you released a series of very different singles: “Anna”, “Love Letters”,  “Gangsters”, and my favourite, the wonderful “Snakes & Oranges”. When is the release of your first much awaited album due and what should we expect?

We are hoping to start the album early next year.  We already have been writing lots of new demos…… <3

Favourite film and book?

Adams Family & “Perfume” (by Süskind)

Is becoming a rockstar something you look forward to or you don’t particularly care?

LOL


Translated and adapted by Valentina Ajello

The Windmill playlist

A playlist with a selection of some of the best artists from the rich and eclectic music scene born or raised at the “Windmill”, glorious venue in Brixton (London):

Fat White Family, Warmduscher, Meatraffle, Pregoblin, PVA, Insecure Men, Jack Medley’s Secure Men, Madonnatron, Black Midi, Goat Girl, Shame, Tiña, Misty Miller, Lazarus Kane, Squid, Muck Spreader, Deadletter, Lynks, Pink Eye Club, Peeping Drexels,  Deep Tan, Black Country New Road, Sonic Eyes.


Photo Credits: Lou Smith


The Importance Of Being Lou Smith

Translated and adapted by Valentina Ajello

About a decade ago the rock music scene seemed quite dead. I couldn’t find anything particularly interesting among the records released in that period. I clearly remember that one day, by chance, I stumbled upon a video on YouTube of a live exhibition by a group called Fat White Family. I was totally flabbergasted. I had a closer look and my first feeling was confirmed: finally after so many years I was before a musically unclassifiable band, endowed with a deadly mix of desecrating anti conformism.



I eagerly looked up everything I could find about them on video. I noticed that almost all their videos were by a Lou Smith. I made some research and found out that Lou Smith had made the live recordings of other interesting groups and that, almost always, these recordings came from a venue in London, more specifically in Brixton, called the Windmill. I was surprised by the freshness and the quality of these bands. Besides Fat White Family, I was impressed by many others such as  “Meatraffle”, “Warmduscher”, “Pregoblin”, “Goat Girl”, “Madonnatron”. I also found that those bands were not only all from London, but from the southern part of the city: a music scene so rich of styles and genres that had developed just in a few neighbouring districts.


Years later, while I was still eagerly following Lou Smith’s new recordings,  I went to London and entered the Windmill in Brixton for the first time. I remember I was really thrilled. The same thrill you feel when you know that one of your dreams is about to be fulfilled. I entered and was immediately taken aback by the kindness of the staff and by the fact that the place was anything but glittering and fashionable: a cozy local pub with a stage at the end bar with a colourful curtain and the logo placed in foreground. I thought it was amazing and beautiful that all those bands had been on that small and plain stage. But that night something else that had a strong impact on me happened; I caught a glimpse of someone who looked familiar. I walked near and realized I was before the person thanks to whom I was there in that moment: Lou Smith! I introduced myself and greeted him. We became good friends and met-up each time I was in London for a gig. Always at the Windmill obviously.



Due to Coronavirus the Windmill is at risk of closure. It would be something sad and terrible. Here is the link for those who want to take part in the crowdfunding and save this historic venue.

Here is my interview with Lou in which he will tell us about his life, his relationship with the Windmill and the Fat White Family and how and why this incredible music scene started specifically in the South of London.


Can you tell us something about yourself and your many projects?  

I was born in Leeds, the son of a geologist father and a creative, artistic mother. We moved to Uxbridge, a west-London suburb when I was 14. It was 1976 the long, hot summer when punk hit the streets of  London and the airwaves. I got my first camera during this period, but never took it to any of those early gigs which were perilous affairs with warring factions such as Teds, Rockers, Punx, Skinz etc. I would not have felt safe carrying my camera on the tube back then. I mostly took landscapes, some people and animal shots and documented some of my early travel experiences. I became interested in the alternative music that was played on John Peel’s 10-12pm slot every night listening to the likes of the Clash, The Fall, The Cure, The Ruts, Undertones and countless others including Ska and Reggae artists, setting me apart from the mainstream tastes of my school which were generally heavy rock and later heavy metal. Live, among others, I saw Joy division, The Jam, The Clash, The Cure, The Smiths and even Kate Bush. 

After finishing school and being invalided out of my Biochemistry degree at Imperial College, I found a squat in Brixton in 1983 at the age of 21. I have lived and worked in South London ever since then, moving to Camberwell and later East Dulwich where I still live. I have worked as a video engineer, as a set builder/designer/Assistant Art Director/ Art director on countless music promo videos including Prodigy’s Firestarter and Breathe and Nick Cave/ Kylie Minogue’s where the wild Roses Grow and as a freelance photographer, videographer, director and editor of music videos. I have taught myself photography, metalwork including welding and silversmithing, carpentry and more recently screen-printing which has earned me a living in recent years, throwing screen-printing parties for children and making band merchandise for the South London music scene artists. 



When and why did you start filming and keeping track of what was happening at the Windmill and other venues in South London?

I first started filming some of the regular musicians playing at Hank Dog’s Easycome Acoustic night then hosted by The Old Nun’s Head pub in Nunhead. It became a regular Wednesday night social event for me during the early years of my daughter Iris’s life, a vital safety valve and artistic endeavour away from the domesticity of family life. I uploaded footage to my YouTube channel of artists such as Lewis Floyd Henry, Boycott Coca-Cola Experience (now Flameproof Moth) Andy (Hank Dogs) Allen himself, Ben Folke Thomas and sister & brother Misty and Rufus (Popskull) Miller. 

Onto this relatively tranquil but musically and socially excellent scene burst the then named Champagne Holocaust who first appeared there on the 9th February 2011 where they played a cover of The Monk’s I hate You and handful of their own songs including Borderline and Wild American Prairie. The lineup was the Brothers Saoudi, Saul Adamczewski and backing singers Anna Mcdowell and Georgia Keeling. There was a drummer too that could’ve been Chris OC. Lias (Saoudi) was on guitar and Saul on vocals and tambourine. I did record this show, but somehow managed to lose the original files except for the I Hate You song that I had uploaded to my channel. 

They played several more acoustic gigs at Easycome during February and March. From here, I followed the band to their first full line-up gig at The Windmill around the 11th April 2011.

Joining Saul, Lias and Nathan were Dan Lyons on drums and Jak Payne (Metros) on Bass. I had a camera and by using some crack software called Magic Lantern I was able to record at least decent sound as well which made the documenting of live music events from a single source in high quality HD possible for really the first time. 

When did you first set foot in the Windmill? Which was the most the most unforgettable night?

That’d be the 11th April 2011 as outlined above, though I do have some distant memory of being dragged there years previously as I had been living in Brixton since the eighties. There were so many great nights there, but the truly transcendental nights for me were always those including FWF or Warmduscher in the line-up. Jack Medley’s big send-off and fundraiser was a spiritually intense affair; the love was so thick you could spread it, and it featured both Warmduscher and Fat White Family. I loved the anarchic feel of the early Fat White gigs and the intense feelings of belonging to a family, of something bigger than the sum of its parts. I’ve had some great time there on Meatraffle nights too and their sister band Scud Fm as well as Shame, Sleaze, Amyl and the Sniffers and Goat Girl. 

How important was the Windmill to the “creation” of the South London scene? Can you tell us something about your relation with that fantastic venue?

I don’t think it is hyperbole to suggest that the SLS as we know it would not have been what it is without the Windmill. It’s hard to put your finger exactly on why this is, but the single biggest reason would be Tim Perry the venue’s booker, who’s mixture of great musical taste, avuncular championing of the talented underdog (and over dog) and also his well-honed bullshit detector which inherently weeded out wankers and pseuds. The venue has always attracted the best of sound engineers and the sound quality has always been a key component of the greatness of the whole experience. 

Bands are truly supportive of each other here with none of the cool, aloof rivalry I have experienced in many of the North London venues. Once The Windmill’s output and reputation reached a critical mass it of course formed its own gravity which meant a convergence of talent to its doors in order to get some of the magic to rub off. I am proud to have contributed to this process in a small way by the growing archive of my YouTube channel which has helped share some of the amazing roster of talent on display with a growing global audience.  



Were you the first to document the Fat White Family’s gigs? Did you understand their potential immediately? Can you tell us what you think of the band?

I can confidently state that I was the first and the most dedicated of their documenters. I did feel from the outset that they were capturing the zeitgeist of the growing feelings of nihilism, of the disgust and utter contempt for the treatment meted out to the commoners by the tide of gentrifiers and of cynical neo lib politicians and global financiers. It reminded me of the spirit of ’76 and reignited the passion I felt for those pioneering punk bands. The word around them grew organically in ripples and the family grew, not yet in a hyped way, but in what felt like an authentic extension of the excitement of their live shows. Something about the seedy and abusive interrelations between the core members, notably Saul and Lias, and the readiness if not glee with which they tackled taboo and degenerate subject matter with a sort of humour and even sickness bordering on certifiable and definitely questionable and unsavoury made them compelling to watch. The tribal, totemic lyrics that nobody thought to question set to sexy, dirty, lo-fi country psyche grooves made for an intoxicating whole, with Lias honing his Gollomesque  shrieking and unpredictable falsetto persona whipping up audiences into a frenzy whilst Saul, like some demonic angel stoking the sonic encouragement with his gap toothed grimace and genius guitar licks.  The rest of the members were by necessity required to be degenerate / genius by degree.

In your opinion, how is it possible that so many interesting bands come from that part of London?  

My take on this was that the insidious wave of gentrification, which to my eyes started when the heart was ripped out of Covent Garden in the late seventies. Then great swathes of first the north and by degrees the west and then south west of London fell to ruthless and homogenous ranks of ‘yuppies. Brixton, with its strong cultural identity and mixture of hippy squatters and large, no-nonsense Afro-Carribean population resisted, at least temporarily. Rents were still affordable, studios and crusty techno culture squats proliferated and the output of Camberwell and Goldsmiths colleges found community and expression in its streets.

Musicians congregated in the few places they could still subsist, explore and thrive, which were the handful of venues in these locales of which the Windmill is definitely the lynchpin, but including the Grosvenor, The Amersham, The new Cross Inn, The Queen’s Head, The Montague Arms, The Five Bells …

Which are your favourite bands in the recent years?  

I rarely rave about bands outside of the ones I get to witness first-hand as to me live music is where it is at and where I find what I’m looking for. Without that influence I may well be still mostly listening to the bands I used to love back in the day, reliving past glory as is the case with most men of my age. I have been so fortunate to live just down the road from the Windmill and to have forged a relationship with its keepers and musicians. 

Could you say something about the most interesting and promising young bands?

It is refreshing to see that the cycle of upcoming bands is still turning strongly and Corona Virus notwithstanding they continue to come and delight. In no particular order I have much fondness for the following: Paddywak, STV, Deadletter, PVA, Muckspreader, Misty Miller.


Here is Lou’s website, his YouTube channel and his LBRY one.

Photo Credits: Lou Smith

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