Flash Bang Band are something of a visceral and muscular band, their pop-psych merger and bounding energy flooding and flickering through everything they do. Having amassed quite a fan base in their home town of Brighton they are off on tour this month, taking their boundless energy and bustling rhythms around Europe. The fun and frantic nature of the band is pretty evident from their video Thinking Above My Station, filmed in a squat flat.
I had a little chat with Andy, singer and guitarist in the band. It was fun.
Who are you? And why are you?
Basically, Rod met Andy online whilst living in South Africa and then moved to Brighton to start the band based off of the early Flash Bang Band demos Andy sent him. Rob used to be the reckless silly one in the band and now is definitely the most sensible one. We all really want to go round playing in a band and having good times with similarly minded folks. We share an attitude towards getting the best from any situation in life which means the band is our source of joy and release in the crazy big bad world. We all tend to like the wonky, noisy, fucked up sorts of musics as well as pretty ones. Lots of people mention the 90s when they talk about us and that’s sort of unavoidable being who we are – we’re not offended by that or anything. Tis but a thing 🙂
You’ve been playing together for a little while now. In that time has your sound changed or evolved at all?
Our sound changed a lot when we went through the formation process of members dropping out, from being a bit more family friendly to joining the dark side and basically letting it hang out a bit more. I kinda don’t wanna go on and on about the background and beginnings cos to be honest, save for a few neat tidy coincidences and fateful kindliness, the band we are today ain’t the band we started life as. Although the things we have been through, in their own way I guess, contributed to the substance of what we are today. Ha – I kinda went on about it didn’t I?
What influences the music you make?
Chaos, absurdity, serendipity, nostalgia, grooves, noise, friends, nature, other people’s music, nothing to do with music, reading, crowd response, money, trying to be good at it, wanting to communicate in this alternative form to speech and everyday flawed communication methods which (maybe) stem from a sort stifled frustration of youth or something.
You are pretty creative in how you spread the word about your music… Like the bus! (The band played a sold out gig on a Brighton & Hove bus). Do you think music or being in a a band has to be about more than the music?
THANKS 🙂 I guess most bands we like are about more than just the music. There are always a plethora of other creative ideas going on around a band who pricks our ears, whether it be aesthetic or as a method of getting the ideas across. For us it just seems like it’s not that difficult to include other artistic ventures in what you do, especially as it’s such a stupid media easy make world these days… everybody is multidisciplinary. I don’t think you can do much with just music. Even if your creativity comes through your approach to social media, marketing, whatever… it’s all extra stuff which goes with the territory. Plus, it’s fun.
Brighton has a vibrant and creative scene – the bands, the music, the media, the vibe…how has this had an affect on you? Is there a Brighton sound, and does that help or hinder?
Its funny but to be honest, we have always felt a little disconnected from the ‘scene’ in Brighton, not to say it hasn’t help us hone our craft being down here, but a lot of the bands here feel like this – it stifles you a little being where there are so many bands. It also serves what you do and you always feel under scrutiny by the people around you, if you involve yourself with them. If you constantly emerge yourself in something then when will you find the time to just do your thing and create something new? For us, we are interested in finding something new… to explore and push things rather than stagnate and just go along with whatever is cool / the ‘kids’ are into or whatever. That’s the sort of stuff that inspires us, so we basically just choose to try and inspire others the way we have been inspired. The best thing about Brighton is the people, the sea, Dark Star, Northern Lights and it’s accessible liberal lifestyle options…
Talking of, who are your pals in Brighton music?
Actual friends, I would say OTTI ALBIETZ, P for Persia, The Beautiful Word, Nordic Giants, 900 Spaces, The Bright Ones, Parker and The Flowing Wow, AKDK, Fragile Creatures, Clowns, Electric Soft Parade, Written In Waters… there’s loads more… I’m forgetting loads…
Your music is a bit wonky, trippy, exploratory…who are your influences?
Nirvana, Zun Zun Egui and Girls Aloud.
What is music to you or what does it do for you? Is it for fun, is writing cathartic, is it a way to explore new ideas, or something else?
It’s a vehicle to travel with, meet people and relate to the world, plus it’s a release for that which can not be adequately channelled elsewhere. Emotions and such… it makes it easier to meet people in parts of society that you can’t access simply by buying a plane ticket or staying in a grubby hostel.
What is success for you as a band?
Living off our band.
Do lyrics matter? Should people listen to them and read into them?
Yes. The lyrics are pretty considered and I (Andy) as a songwriter am very much into lyrics. All our songs are about something and have a message hidden in them albeit somewhat abstract, but I like lyrics like that so I guess it’s natural. Themes appear in the lyrics of bands that we like, and so I guess they must appear in ours. But that’s for you to interpret as people usually have different favourites and stuff with our band, and our songs can be all quite different in form and about a lot of different things. The lyrics are under scrutiny by the whole of the band at all stages of the songwriting process and indeed contributed to by everyone. We’re very critical of one another artistically actually, so we hope that means that ‘filler’ doesn’t really slip through the net. Well… I guess it’s up to you if you think that’s true or not ha but we sure spend a lot of time decision making at every step of the way. It’s never really ‘easy’. We’re a muscle memory, instinctually motivated band, and indeed, people. So as a result, it is the process by which we create… over thinking then over thinking some more… reflecting on our second guessing… that kind of thing 🙂 Sounds boring but when you match that up with the sort of spontaneity that we demonstrate in the most of the rest of our lives, it sort of makes for a good combination and a worthwhile filter for what comes out as music.
What’s next for The Flash Bang Band?
We are heading off on tour all around Europe from the 1st of November to the 1st of December. Our album came out in August and we’re actively promoting that. We have a few music videos on the boil as ever and a few other bits n pieces going on. Having been working on the album release for a year we’re all spewing ideas for a new one too, writing new ideas and scratching them into slate constantly. Just playing, meeting like minded individuals and trying to add value to our lives.
And of those around them.
Make sure you check them out on their ‘terribly optimistic European tour’ – the information on which is here.