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Monday, 3 December 2012

Surf 'n' turf: An interview with Lizzie and the Yes Men

You can probably guess how Lizzie and the Yes Men responded to my asking for answers to a few of my questions!  So, we can thank Lizzie (Holdforth) for her answers and (by default) her Yes Men (Brendan Bailey, Keir Greenaway, Andy Goodman) for this insight into an awesome East London-based fourpiece whose sound is shaped by bands such as The Beach Boys and The Ronettes and somewhat enticingly is self-described as Tarantino-pop-surf music.  

AS:  Is bedtime more half nine with a half read paper or more half four with fully red eyes?
LH:  Half four but not with red eyes. I'm a creature of the night, always have been. I work at night so my natural routine has always been get up late, go to bed late. It's two in the morning now, that’s when I’m most alert, wide awake. 10am on the other hand, that’s a different story!

AS:  Do you enjoy playing live or are you more at home in a studio?
LH:  We’re a live band for sure. Four part harmonies relentlessly rehearsed. We work hard on our vocal arrangements and I’m very lucky to have such great male vocalists in my band. Plating live also gives us a chance to show our heavier side. We’re more punk when we play live than we are on record and there's always a bit of Siouxsie Sioux in my live performance.

AS:  Who would be your dream collaborator?
LH:  Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear. I'm a big fan of the band, but an even bigger fan of his production work. I'd love to work with him.

AS:  What’s the last gig/concert you went to?
LH:  I saw Savages at The Shaklewell Arms. Just before they were so well known. It was a special gig and there was a real sense that we were all witnessing something very special. Great band.

AS:  Any message for underachieving or odds-facing musicians out there?
LH:  Read a book called ‘Kill Your Friends’ and then decide if you’re really cut out for all of this. The book is the best insight into what it's really like to be a musician, ‘cause I can assure you that it’s never just about making music.

AS:  Who’s the most gifted person alive today?
LH:  Nick Cave. I’m looking forward to his movie ‘Lawless’. 

AS:  Are you unlucky in love and if so, why?
LH:  Ha! If our song lyrics are anything to go by then I’m very unlucky in love. Why? I'm very busy, I work all the time, either to earn money or make music, sometimes both (if I’m lucky). I like being alone when I can, so that just doesn't leave much time for love. Also, like most girls, I have very bad taste in men!

AS:  Where do you go when it all gets too much?
LH:  I go for a long walk with my dog in the Hackney Marshes. It's a very special place that goes on for miles and even though it’s part of inner city London, when you're there it feels like your miles away from the bustling city. There are cows, horses, a river, the canal and the houseboats and I can be back in my flat ten minutes later. It’s the best way to unwind, switch off the phone and get a bit of peace and quiet.

AS:  If you could protect and save one thing in the world, what would it be?
LH:  The world. What's the point in saving one thing when the planet is going to explode anyway (or freeze or implode or whatever the scientists believe)? So I’d save all of it if I could. But maybe not the humans, we aren't as deserving!  It’s probably about time we got wiped out and let a better, kinder species evolve.

AS:  Have you got any famous relatives and if so, who are they?
My Great aunt's grandfather was Charlie Chaplin's brother. He grew up in Kennington, south London where all my family are from. But my Great Aunt is not a blood relative (she married my Grandfather's brother), but that's a pretty close link with Charlie Chaplin I'd say. Does that make him my relative? I'm not sure.

AS:  Thanks for that Lizzie!
After a successful 2012 tour of Europe, Lizzie and the Yes Men are all set for two more London dates (Tue Dec 4 at the Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch & Wed Dec 12 at Hysteria’s the Bopp Club in Dalston), so don’t miss out on seeing a brilliant band before they break big and get ‘discovered’ by the masses.  Here's an appetite-whetting video to 'Deserts' that gives you a real sense of the band's yesteryear-influenced style and sound. 

You can get more info from their facebook page & their website at