Those obnoxious northerners Petrol Bastard turned up unannounced and drunk at the party a year or two ago. They probably tried to get off with your sister and took a dump in the cupboard under the stairs. They also bought the tunes, big shouty tunes with bleeps and beats and stuff. They gave you most of them for free, so you need to say thank you very nicely. John E Smoke also needs to say thank you as Petrol Bastard agreed to have a bit of a chat over tea and biscuits.
JES – Alright lads, ta muchly for agreeing to chat to Rivetheads/Midlands Metalheads. We’re big fans you know. Would you like to introduce yourselves?
Jon – I prefer Jon and Ben
JES – So, are you going to sue The Prodigy for ripping off your sound?
Ben – Jon’s ringtone is “that sound” from back to the future so I’m hoping the phone has a 1986 app to allow us to go back and become more original. I don’t remember much about how time travel works but I vaguely recall something about everyone putting their fingers in a ring and shouting. I’m trying to put that off for as long as possible.
JES – You’ve recently signed to the excellent Armalyte Industries. How did you manage that then? Was it the ‘tesco value’ tag that did it?
Jon – We’re huge fans of Armalyte, and the owner Giles is a good mate of ours. We’re proud to be associated with such a label of misfits and laptop-warriors. I can’t remember how it happened though – we were drunk.
JES – Tell us about your next release for Armalyte? What can we expect from it?
Jon – Well, we’re looking to release a bit of a ‘best of’ with some new tracks thrown in, but to be honest none of our tracks were worthy of their original release due to half-hearted shiteness, never mind a ‘best of’. For this reason it may be a while before you see anything.
JES – Your song “Circuit Board Rammed Up My Arse” strikes me as a rather deep piece that works on several levels. Can you confirm whether it is based on personal experiences?
Jon – It’s about the complicated relationship between humans and technology. It’s about the journey of man and machine. 1.The robots steal our jobs in manufacturing plants and factories. 2. Man learns to accept the benefits that technology can bring, such as 3D films, faster cars, and vast data storage on tiny devices. 3.The 2 decide to fuse and become one. Like Robocop.
Ben – It’s not though. It’s just about getting a circuit board and putting it up your bottom though isn’t it?
Jon – Yep
Jon – We had a great time filming Shoot The Dog, and it was all done on a budget of zero – we’re lucky enough to have good mates to call on who could help us with the cameras, lighting, venue, etc… We had people travelling from across the country just to be in the video. Amazing support. The dance moves were all conceived by us, and practiced in Ben’s basement. We’ve got a few ideas for new videos that will coincide with our next album release. More low-budget idiocy, largely involving meat products, speed boats, a f**king TANK, and bottles of Buckfast.
JES – You play gigs anywhere and everywhere, and seem to injure yourselves at pretty much every one. I’m blind so I’ve got an excuse for cutting my head open on a microphone, what’s your excuse?
Ben – Ben: As an only child with two siblings I crave attention. Some people seem to think breaking microphones is directly ripping off GG Allin (it probably is), but people were smashing up microphones with their foreheads a long time before he was. He is one of my heroes though so I guess it is a little nod to him! Most of the injuries are genuine drunk accidents.
Jon – My only lasting injury was a broken finger. Wonky4lyf. Apart from that it’s mainly superficial damage like cuts and bruises.
JES – Ben, I’ve seen your arse you know. Is it your best feature?
Ben – I would like to believe my comedy Victorian sideburns are what the ladies go for , but apparently I have been inadvertently sending out the wrong message to the troops.
JES – Have you thought about getting a 90’s sports coupe as your gig ride?
Ben – Funny you should say that.
Jon – We don’t have much money, so 90’s cars are all I can afford. Any newer and it’s too expensive, any older and it’s a classic. The Vauxhall Calibra V6 is the 90’s sports coupe of choice. Especially for chavs and posers.
JES – Do you really think the 90s were shit? Why did you shit in a game boy? Is it because you are Sega fans?
Ben: I was born in late ’88 and never really played computer games so I feel underprepared to answer this. The 90s looked amazing from my prepubescent point of view, pogs, great wallpaper and Alice Deejay.
Jon – I grew up in the 90’s and for me it was the best decade. We had Technotronic, Global Hypercolour, The Sweater Shop, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And Vanilla Ice.
JES – What has been the highlight of the Petrol Bastard story so far? And the lowlight?
Ben: I think every gig has its story. Even when we’ve ended up playing to 3 people in the past we have always given it absolutely everything, so there are too many fucked up things to fully remember. Things that stand out in particular however are playing in Berlin but being absolutely smashed by the time we got on the plane (thanks to the 4 hour delay and handy Wetherspoons in Liverpool airport), both gigs at Retro Bar in Manchester, the recording session where we spent the whole day drinking pints and pints of sherry as fast as possible and then woke up with a totally shit finished album and cuts all over our bodies, too much fun stuff to list fully really. I particularly enjoy our diversions on the way home due to our excellent driver and his van, Aero. We end up in some awesome places at 4am totally drunk. The only low point is having to go home at the end.
Jon – Every time we jump in the van and head off to another gig, it feels to me like a new highlight, especially if I’ve got a bag full of Kestrel Super. Every single gig is another adventure, and we never really know where that night is gunna end. We’ve ended up running around under the Humber Bridge at midnight, wrestling with strangers at house parties, wound up in a psy-trance club in Brixton… Not many memorable lowlights. One, I suppose, was getting too drunk to play at a punk gig in Wakefield and falling asleep in the corner like a fat idiot.
JES – Are you looking forward to offending the masses at Alt-Fest later this year? Have you got anything special in store for that gig?
Jon – Can’t wait. I’m a massive fan of Gary Numan, so to be playing the same festival as him is insane. By the time Alt Fest hits we’ll have another album of material to choose from, and the plan is to take along our fastest, hardest, nastiest, sweariest material. We’re hoping to bring all of our idiot dancers along, including a very special hoers and a pigg.
Ben- More swearing and better pantaloons.
JES – Something I ask all of our interview victims, what was the first piece of music you remember buying, and the most recent? Tell us a little about them.
Ben – The first thing I bought was a Ska compilation CD from Asda at age 8. I really was a shit. The last thing I bought was “Music For Dieter Rams” by Cafe Kaput. The whole album is made from the sampled and mashed up sounds of the famous Braun AB-30 Alarm clock. Needless but brilliant.
Jon – The first music I ever owned was Michael Jackson’s Bad album, and I still f**king love that album today. The most recent was Avicii’s album True and I quite like it. I’ve taken a lot of abuse for that.
JES – How about your music set up, what hardware and software do you use for programming your tracks?
Ben – I use Ableton Live, Sylenth, Fm8, The Fabfilter stuff and that’s more or less it. I’m a great believer in the less is more principal when it comes to equipment, to a point. I used to have a few hardware synths but I’m really suspicious of people who keep buying more and more gear instead of actually just getting on with it and writing some music. People seem to think that they can’t possibly get started until they have this mythical perfect setup. That’s not a dig at anyone in particular it just seems to be a very common thing in both the audio and visual realm. I like to write Petrol Bastard tunes on a fast, basic setup in my pants drunk off my tits using my laptop speakers as monitors despite having a studio downstairs with a lovely pair of Adam A7s. Most of our music gets written in that way and then just checked quickly on some speakers to make sure it isn’t WAY off. We do our recording either drunk in my cellar or drunk in old mills and warehouses. This approach wouldn’t work for everyone but since our sound relies on genuine drunk honesty and being rough round the edges it suits us perfectly.
Jon: Laptop recording means we can record anywhere. For the new album we’re doing vocal takes in interesting places, including in a car parked in a field, in the bogs at Huddersfield McDonalds, and underneath a bridge somewhere.
JES – What do your parents think of Petrol Bastard? Have they been to one of your gigs? I remember my folks coming to one of our gigs, they wanted to seem keen so sat next to the PA at the front. My mom permanently damaged her hearing bless her….
Ben – Mine know more or less everything bad that happens. My Dad squatted in London in the 60s and was a left wing activist so it takes a lot to phase him.
Jon – Mine know almost nothing, and they aren’t interested anyway. Suits me fine, mother**ker.
JES – Well lads, thank you for caring and thank you for sharing. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
PB – Live dry, die soaking.