DiS talks time travel with C4RT's 'Rory Stark', who just might've enjoyed a former musical life as a member of punk-rockin' quartet Garrison. They, though, talked a lot more sense...
Time travel sounds like a laugh: in you hop, strap in, and itï¿½s back to ï¿½76. John Lydon was so pretty then, with his lopsided lips and an air of arrogance so thick a chainsaw couldnï¿½t cut it. Fast-forward to 2016 and examine a waistline expanded by a dozen ales a day. Hmm, actually, donï¿½t ï¿½ letï¿½s leave this to the experts instead.
The Campaign For Real-Time (C4(RT) henceforth) have, apparently, got time travel licked ï¿½ the Boston-based sextet fly to the future each and every weekend to plunder hit singles and bring them back to the present; whatï¿½s more, theyï¿½ve also ransacked the past, stealing from everyone from Fugazi to George Michael via John Lennon and Blondie. Theyï¿½ve covered them all at basement parties locally and further afield, in this era of pop music and across the next seventeen. Sounds far fetched, doesnï¿½t it? The results, though, can be heard in the here and now: the bandï¿½s debut album, Yesï¿½ I Mean No is out now through Big Scary Monsters.
And what an impressive album it is, too: Eighties synthesizers might still be so vogue since The Killers exploded all over FM radio, but C4(RT) blend even better licks than the Las Vegas ladsï¿½ best efforts with blistering basslines and boisterous vocals to produce music thatï¿½s as accessible as the very best pop but also possesses all the tumultuous aggression of a heavy-touring punk outfit. Perhaps that should come as no surprise: former Garrison guitarist and vocalist Ed McNamara is involved, while said bandï¿½s onetime bassist Ethan Dussault is on production duty. The nine songs that make up the 34-minute-long Yesï¿½ I Mean No couldnï¿½t be more different from those written by another group featuring a former Garrison man, Gay For Johnny Depp, if the lyrics were sung in Portuguese and recorded on a space station orbiting the eighth moon of Saturn ï¿½ where the brats of Gay Forï¿½ spit and spunk their discordant wares onto front rows with scant regard for compositional tautness or disciplined structures, C4(RT) are polished and precise. But donï¿½t go thinking these songs are cold ï¿½ McNamaraï¿½s voice is a wonderful instrument, more flexible than many a modern electronic keyboard, and the Moogs that run playfully and rampantly on every song are sure to have even hardened misery guts smiling at least a wee bit. That, or your assï¿½ll shake utterly uncontrollably and thatï¿½ll be thatï¿½
Itï¿½s McNamara, in his C4(RT) guise of Rory Stark (all will be explained, kinda, imminently), that answered the call for answers to DiSï¿½s following questionsï¿½
Your bandmate, Lee ï¿½Big Gameï¿½ Bronson to use his C4(RT) moniker, has previously referred to the group as ï¿½weekend warriorsï¿½. Would you care to explain what he means, exactly, by that? Also, what do you do when youï¿½re not playing at being ï¿½weekend warriorsï¿½?
I assume youï¿½re asking me what I do for a ï¿½day jobï¿½? Uh, yeah, I work for The Campaign For Real-Time. I work in temporal system analysis, accounts payable. Basically, I guess, you can think of it as an ï¿½office jobï¿½, and everyone works there at some point. We have a ï¿½jam roomï¿½ in the office, and a little four-foot quarter-pipe with steel coping. Lip tricks, dude!
Okayï¿½ each band member, or ï¿½agentï¿½ as I believe you call yourselves, has adopted a different name for this project. (The band is: Rory on guitar, vocals and programming; Lee ï¿½Big Gameï¿½ Bronson on vocals and Moog; Vinnie Krakatoa on drums; Falconer Model 7 on vocals, synthesizers, Moog and piano; Kittie Charlemagne ï¿½The Navigatixï¿½ on synths and Moog; and William Ocean on bass and programming.) Is this really important? Do you need to keep your ï¿½realï¿½ life and ï¿½agentï¿½ life separate? What did lead you to choose these names?
It seems like a lot of bands in the noughts had assumed names: The Wu-Tang Clan, The White Stripes, The Ramones, Franz Ferdinand, N*E*R*D, Steve and the 1700s, et cetera. So, Stu Walker is like Vinnie Krakatoa because heï¿½s always blowing up. Heï¿½s, like, drinking half a beer and heï¿½ll throw it at you. That, and heï¿½s causing some serious plate tectonics, you know what Iï¿½m saying? And then Buckingham (a.k.a. William Ocean) is like the Brick, ï¿½cause heï¿½s holding that shit together. That, and heï¿½s the unheard-of secret initiation weed Northern Lights level 24 vorpal sword shit (DiS doesnï¿½t even pretend to know what this means). Then Kittie Charlemagne: itï¿½s like weï¿½re playing Spy Hunter, and sheï¿½s driving the weapons van. Oil slick that shit up, kapow! Sheï¿½ll smokescreen ya, thatï¿½s why sheï¿½s the Navigatrix. And then the Falconer Model 7, heï¿½s just the emotion of the group. A lot of people think heï¿½s got no feelings, but have you ever seen an android cry? Iï¿½ve seen him dream of electric sheep. Lee Bronson? The Chiaroscurist? Heï¿½s into some light lights and dark darks. That, and heï¿½s hard to spell. Me? The OED. Look, I was fucking featured in Da Ali G Show: The Complete Second Season dude! You can look it up.
Your debut album is, weï¿½re reliably informed, a collection of future hits. If thatï¿½s the case, why include a cover of ï¿½Instant Karma!ï¿½? When you perform live, are there many other past hits you pull outta the bag?
Over time weï¿½ve done: ï¿½Waiting Roomï¿½, ï¿½Roadrunnerï¿½, ï¿½Overkillï¿½, ï¿½S Controlï¿½, ï¿½Heart Of Glassï¿½, ï¿½Freedom ï¿½90ï¿½, ï¿½Synchronicity IIIï¿½ï¿½ the list goes on. We always take a really well known song, a period piece; it doesnï¿½t have to be a Number One song, but it has to be ï¿½danceyï¿½. Oh, by the way, that song ï¿½Don Cheadleï¿½ (track six on the bandï¿½s album) is used by the man himself for his presidential run.
Youï¿½ll soon be in the UK, alongside Secondsmile. Now, Garrison toured here a good few times and were generally warmly received ï¿½ do you think those same fans will turn out again for the new project?
Gotta invoke the Carole King here: ï¿½Thereï¿½s no percentage in just remembering the past. Itï¿½s time you learned to live again at last. Come with me, leave yesterday behind and take a giant step outside your mind.ï¿½
How did the group get together in the first place? Were job ads placed for time-travelling agents with some sense of melody?
The story is pretty well known at this point. There was this MIT Time Traveller Convention in 2005, or 2007ï¿½ 2005, definitely. And itï¿½s like when youï¿½re in another country, and you see another English guy, you can point him out. Time travellers are like that. We can spot each other. The convention wasnï¿½t that cool ï¿½ there was no booze, and no designer drugs, which MIT is famous for. It was just full of physicists that hadnï¿½t done anything yet. We all kinda met at this place. We found some drugs at the disco floor at MIT ï¿½ if you donï¿½t know, nobodyï¿½s going to tell you ï¿½ and we just decided to jam. See this link, here.
And how did you come to hook up with Big Scary Monsters, a label based in the Britain of the present day?
They offered us the most money. That, and Kittie once got a cape, put it on, and flew.
I imagine, considering both band membersï¿½ pasts and the music you play today, that the band can slot onto many a different kind of bill, from metal to MOR. That the case?
Weï¿½d like to issue a challenge to every band out there: weï¿½ll play before you, or after you. Weï¿½ll play in-between your goddamn songs. Weï¿½ll play across the room from you. Stadium, whatever ï¿½ weï¿½ll play just using a goddamned triangle. What the hell do you want from us? At one point, Miles Davies played with The Grateful Dead. Think back to the great Skalocaust of the 90s: how many techno bands had to play with Toasters wannabes? Weï¿½ll fucking play with Meatloaf, is that clear?
Okay, Meatï¿½ but, seriously, if you can travel through time, any idea when I might next get a pay rise?
Giving you any information wouldnï¿½t be chromulant, chipper.
C4(RT) tour with Secondsmile from February 23, dates below:
23 Exeter Cavern
25 Hereford Kayï¿½s Pool Club
26 Southampton Joiners
28 London Borderline
1 Leeds Josephï¿½s Well
2 Manchester Phoenix
3 Lincoln Bivouac
4 Luton University
For more information, do click to the bandï¿½s website, here.