The Whip on Their Trashy New Album
While you’re out there shaking your ass to The Whip’s new album X Marks Destination, they’ll be busy in the studio, making more Robocop-charged dance music. Destination has been out in the UK for almost a year, but American audiences got their first taste when the album was released yesterday. They’re keeping it moving with a North American tour that kicks off on March 20 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. I caught up with singer-guitarist Bruce Carter to discuss technology, nuances in dance music, the moon, and what it means to be Trash.
Hey Captain Bruce, how’s this week going so far? Hey, so sorry I missed you on Saturday! I was recovering from a DJ set on Friday in our hometown of Manchester. I hate to appear like some lame rock dude who doesn’t do an interview on time, so I’m sorry about that. The week is going good though, thanks. We’re working on new songs for our second album. We’ve got about 12 demos already and are going to start recording soon, so we’re getting as much recording done in my attic as we can.
Would you space-travel if you could? Of course, I would love to. I wanted to make the “Sister Siam” video to indulge in a childhood fantasy of space travel. I loved the effects in the 80s sci-fi movies; there was something real about the poor quality in old school special effects, and that’s been lost recently with CGI computer effects. Old effects had their own life force. Check out the movie Robocop; the jerky movements of the robot effects make things more frightening.
How likely do you think it is that we did not land on the moon? I think it’s easier to be cynical and doubt the feat than believe it. I love the romantic dream that we have been there, and that the human race has symbolically conquered the universe with a flag on the moon, but I guess we’ll never know. It’s hilarious that some folks concentrate all their efforts on trying to prove it a spectacular illusion. But illusion or fact, it’s a great feat. I hate it when people try to work out how a trick is performed … just sit back and enjoy the show!
In the lead song on X Marks Destination, can you describe what you mean by “trash”? “Trash” used to be a pop song with a standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure, and told the story of not having to meet other peoples’ standards; setting your own rules and being happy enough to live by them — by saying, I don’t care what you think, I want to be trash.
With The Whip’s music being a blend of electronic music and new wave-inspired rock, what are your thoughts about genre-terms like electro clash; what the hell is that? It’s always funny to hear people create names for genres. I try not to worry about scenes or genres, and am quite happy living between everything. It’s best to be open-minded and play, write or listen to what ever you feel like. It’s not healthy to be too generic. Music should be about moving forward all the time.
Great line in “Save my Soul”: “I hate phones.” With a refrain like that and the song title, is that a bit of a lament about modernity, how technology is beginning to take over everything that isn’t mechanized? Yeah, exactly. Technology moves so fast, it’s good to touch something real. I have a mobile phone, but I have an old Victorian phone in my house that you have to turn the wheel on. With things moving so fast these days, it’s the same with being in a band on the road. I like giving myself a reality check every once in a while; otherwise being in a different town every night would drive you crazy. I still have my old mates when I go home who tell me I look crap and keep me grounded.
I saw The Whip play last summer in Brooklyn at the JellyNYC Pool Parties. Are there many free summer events like that in Manchester? Hey, that was a fun day. I heard they found a dead body in a shed there a couple of weeks later. It was a good time but so hot. I couldn’t believe the heat. I got to meet Kim Deal too. I never get nervous meeting people, but Kim Deal was a bit of a hero. I used to play bass in my room along to the Pixies. We played a similar gig in Manchester called D’epercussion. It wasn’t as hot though.
How was your Williamsburg experience? It was a fun night … it had a little bit of everything. We love to visit New York … it’s a great city to come to as a band. Our press people are the best; they set up interviews in crazy places. We got on an old police boat on the Hudson and ate a shitload of donuts in another interview. I visited Brooklyn years ago, and it’s changed so much, I couldn’t believe it. Nice place. I still want to visit the remains of Coney Island though!
So, I’m a shit dancer, hang out in bars, and don’t get to the clubs, but I enjoy this type of music. Is it going to be tough for somebody like me to get out and enjoy seeing The Whip live? Is not dancing at a Whip concert a big faux pas? I’m a bad dancer myself, but it’s all good. We get all sorts of different people to Whip gigs. Sometimes there’s a hefty mosh pit at the front, followed by a lot of dancing, but it’s still okay for us to have a bunch of folks at the back. Anything is cool with us, make music stew and get a mixed bag of goodies in the crowd.
Would you tell us some of your favorite current artists? The Bloody Beetroots, Crookers, both those guys did some wicked remixes for us. Late of The Pier, who we play with a lot, Midnight Juggernauts, Soulwax, those guys still do some amazing remixes. Lo-fi Funk, Zodiac Cartel. The Supersoul Recording comp that came out on DFA is amazing.
What are your biggest nonmusical influences? I love football. I play when we are not on tour, and I love films. I studied film at uni. Robocop has a pretty strong hold on us—we have a poster of him above our studio, and he monitors all that we do.