Edinburgh five-piece MAGICDRIVE had one song and a manifesto eighteen months ago. Today they are on the way to changing the course of pop music. ‘i‘vomfs: Jonathan Trew
lN 'l‘Hli BEGINNING there was the band. The band was called Magicdrive and it had a manifesto. 'l‘lie manifesto was founded on a sitnple premise: thou shalt have no ego trips.
From the loins of this first commandment sprang forth all the other subsidiary pillars of Magicdrive law: songs shall be no longer than necessary. two and a half minutes is all that’s needed for the perfect pop punk son”; thou shall not indulge in guitar solos and there shall be no repetition.
It‘s a simple mantra but one which has seen the l’idinburgh five—piece secure a management deal after six gigs and
get signed to Mercury after twenty — none of
the gigs were in the traditional talent-spotting lair of London. Along the way they managed to put out a single. ‘lt Had To Be You‘. on the glacially cool liierce Panda. lt sold out its l5()() limited run in days.
Their new single. and their debut release for Mercury. ‘()n The Soft‘. was the first
single of the week on the new Xl5M alternative music station in London. Good going for a hand who had their first gig at year and a half ago. when they only had one song
and took just one week to write the rest of
Magicdrive are 'Wee‘ David Robertson on guitar and vocals. ‘Big‘ David Jack on bass. ‘lN'o Prefix‘ Jeff l-lallam on drumming duties and Kate Grieve and Jane Bordwell on shared backing vocals and the oboe and keyboards respectively. Unlike most young. guitar-based bands. Magicdrive have no truck with the indie-scltmindie ethos of ‘we jttst do what we like and if anyone else likes it then that's a bonus’. Instead. there burns a bright light of unerring self-confidence or as Jack would have it: ‘We do what we like and if other
'We do what we like and if other people don't like it then they are wrong.’ David lack
people don‘t like it then they are wrong.’
What Magicdrive like are short. fast and furious songs that zing along happily and scream ‘lilFN' in the faces of listeners. ‘lt‘s the pop aesthetic and intensity that defines us.‘ explains Robertson. ‘As long as it‘s pop it doesn‘t matter.‘
‘As long as it‘s good pop.‘ adds Jack.
Magicdrive start work on their debut album
From left to right: David Jack. Kate Grieve. David Robertson.
Jeff Hallam and
in a month’s time and, all being well, it should be released early next summer. ‘lt’s going to sound like the last 30 years of pop music.’ says Robertson.
‘And the next ten years.’ smiles Jack. ‘lt‘ll be totally rock. More so than people expect of us at this juncture. More Motorhead than The (‘ardigansf
l'ntil then Magicdrive have to deal with all the shenanigans that go with being a band on the tip. A recent video shoot necessitated a long stint with the make-up artist covering the band in huge amounts of slap to compensate for their distinctly untanned Scottish pallor. It also means having to do faxed interviews with Japanese fan/.ines which ask questions like: ‘What has made you most angry recentry (sic)‘.”.
Magicdrive feel a certain empathy with all things Japanese. Like all good bands they have their own language: something good earns the epithet ‘ninja‘. Robertson, in particular. has his own reasons for the fascination.
‘Like a lot ofJapanese. l‘m small and slight and there is also a similar artistic aesthetic in that they try to cram as much as possible into as little space as possible.‘ he says. ‘Likc our songs.‘
12—25 Sept 1997 THE LIST?
'On The Soft' is out on Mercury on Mon 15 Sep.