Death In Vegas Glasgow: QMU, Sun 31 Oct.
’We’ve had our music in five adverts: Guinness, Budweiser, Miller. Labatts and erm . . . Drugs Awareness in Scotland.’ laughs Death In Vegas head honcho Richard Fearless. Perhaps it's an indication of the sheep- like tendencies of advertising agencies or a testament to the far reaching appeal of their music. but it’s been hard to avoid them of late. Before the ’selI-out corporate whore’ hate mail starts, Fearless points out his motivation is not money. ‘You can get shitloads of money for these. but the artist doesn’t actually end up with the money in his pockets. I ended up with about £1300 for one, because the rest all goes towards that massive debt you owe to your record company and publishers.’
Despite this flirting with ad execs. Death In Vegas’s music has about as much in common with inoffensive background noise as Steps do with 70s prog-metallers. The release of their second album, The Contino Sessions in September reaffirmed this. A sonic colossus which takes its musical reference points from as varied places as Can, The Stooges, Primal Scream and Underground Resistance, it’s an earthier, more live-sounding platter than its predecessor, 1997’s Dead Elvis. Fearless made a conscious effort to make the musicians more integral to
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Fearless ﬂying: Death In Vegas
the sound. ’lt’s a lot more organic. We didn't have a huge amount of equipment but tried to ensure we got the most out of everything, rather than having so much gear that you end up just skimming the surface.’
Collaborators on the album include Dot Allison, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Jim Reid of The Jesus And Mary Chain; plus, as a special guest star, the inimitable Iggy Pop. ’T he meeting with Iggy was quite daunting,’ reveals Fearless. 'We went to Jimi Hendrix’s old studio, Electric Ladyland studios. He completely put us at ease straight away and even asked us what we thought of his vocal delivery on some tracks. I was like ’Jesus Christ, you were in the Stooges. and you’re asking me this?“ ’
Don't be fooled into thinking this is some kind of ’hire a voice to give your tunes some cred’ stunt. The music stands up more than capany on its own. Shards of fuzz and feedback permeate throughout the album. but the weight of dub bass and distorted guitars is balanced with hip hop breaks and bubbling analogue electronics. Other points see more psychedelic and tranquil moments arise with more ambient uneasy listening.
The whole musical maelstrom is reproduced live utilising the talents of an impressive nine-piece line-up. The full complement as well as any available guests is promised when the band play at Glasgow University’s QMU. Definitely a sight and sound to behold.
Garage punk: Vince Watson
one of the few dance music producers not to use a computer.
Why does he do that? He’s been playing piano since he was seven and finds it easier to play and sequence live. ’When I’m recording I press the record button and I‘m jumping about frantically moving sliders and stuff like that,’ he says.
Who plays his tracks? Billy Nasty and Justin Robertson are both fans. Carl Cox is so into his music he's signed some of his material for his ln-Tec label, and Dave Angel has released Watson's work on his Rotation imprint. Watson's relationship with Angel goes back to 95, when they ran the
Every rtnight we fix our telescope upon stars of the future. This time: local Dlenoducer Vince Watson.
Who is this guy? He's a 24-year-old Scottish producer and DJ who has just released his debut album.
Not the most wackyle DJ names then? No, he's gone for his given name, but we've seen work from him before under the names Sphere,
Orange Project and Nico Awtsventin. He says one of his problems is using so many names that no-one knows it's him, so he’s now trying to put everything out under his real name. What kind of music does he make now? He describes his album for Alola (168's label) as 'driving, melodic music’. It's got an old school Detroit feel to it, but deeper and more tuneful. Where is he from? Originally he's from Glasgow, but now he's moved to a small village just outside Dunfermline and makes his music in his garage. He's
Rotation night in Glasgow’s Arena. Why did it stop? It did very well for a couple of years, with guests like Jeff Mills and Kenny Larkin, but there were disagreements with the venue over money. Watson ripped the structure off the mixer, turned the gains up and blew the system. He hasn't been Dling much since then, concentrating more on making music; but now the album’s out he's getting back into it.
I Vince Waman 0.15 at Yang, Fri 22 Oct. His album Biologique is out now on Alola.
This issue: Genre-juggling electro- folk innovator Conrad Lambert, aka Merz.
What was the last record you listened to?
Bob Dylan - Biography.
What was the last single you bought? lnnervisions Orchestra - Bug In A Bassbin.
Name a new band you'd trust with the future of music.
None that I am currently aware of. Name an album that's an unrecognised classic.
Belle and Sebastian — Tigermi/k; DJ Shadow - Endtroducing; hopefully the Merz Merz album!
Which artist or record first made you want to make music?
It was actually a Scottish pipe band when I was six years old.
Name a song you wish you'd written. Any song that Bob Dylan wrote.
Who was the first pop star you had a crush on?
Liz Fraser from the Cocteau Twins. What song makes you cry?
’The Garden' by PJ Harvey.
Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?
Van the Man, Dylan, Orbital, Smiths, Led Zeppelin, Massive Attack, Cocteaus, Specials, Hendrix, PJ Harvey. Name a gig that changed your life. The first ever Merz gig at the Water Rats in London. After a few years on the dole touting for a deal and being constantly shunned, after that gig the music industry pan-Atlantic came to me!
Name a band or artist who has influenced you.
Many, many, many.
Name a non-musical influence on your music.
The teachings of Baha’ullah and his son Abd’u'l-Baha.
What do you play when you're getting ready to go out?
Masters At Work.
What do you play as an aid to seduction?
The theme from Dr Who.
What do you sing in the shower? Kora music from West Africa, believe it or not.
I Merz supports Suede at Glasgow BarroW/and, Wed 3 Nov. His eponymous debut album comes out Mon 25 Oct.
21 Oct-4 Nov 1999 THE U81”