A number one single in the indie chart, a top five indie album, a national tour, and their gig broadcast live on Radio 1. Life has indeed been hectic for the Lancaster four piece who only a year ago were low down the bill in a Camden toilet.
It was at the November '99 Camdemonium string of gigs that I last talked to Angelica. A year on they look older, wiser, and more confident than the gang of slightly nervous teenage girls they resembled before.
Straight after soundcheck at the Wag Club in Soho we sit down. So, what's been the biggest event for them since we chatted last? Claire, "Playing Reading Festival definitely", Holly continues, "it was a milestone, although playing with Ash at the Astoria was my favourite gig". "The Astoria was a bit of turning point", comments Brigit, "things weren't clicking before then for me, but then I saw the huge crowd and I wondered what I had been whinging about!" Is Reading on the cards for next year? Brigit, "oh yes, last time people were crowding outside the tent to see us it was amazing, and we were up against Rage Against The Machine on the main stage!" Claire, "But the tour with Astrid was another highlight."
Four girls in their late teens go on national tour with their more seasoned label mates, it's unsurprising some rock n' roll behaviour ensued. Claire, "We thought we'd snap Astrid, they're a very jingly jangly band but they live so hardcore! Holly was sick every night!". Rachel, "I had to play nurse, holding Holly's hair out the toilet whilst she spewed green bile!" Bridget, "In Glasgow we got in at 4 in the morning but my alarm went off at 8. I'm up, I'm dressed, still drunk, but going for breakfast!", "'Cos it was free!", laughs Holly. Brigit continues, "so I had breakfast", Rachel, "so did I, I don't normally get up at that time but there I was with my fried eggs...then we went back to bed and Holly was immediately sick!". Claire, "Astrid are like super x rated hardcore, we're more like soft core or channel 5 or something."
With their success in the indie charts do Angelica see themselves heading to the mainstream? "Thing is, the top 40 is more to do with record labels and business than the music," states Brigit. Holly continues, "The main charts are about fashion. We always promised ourselves to make music that we're happy with, if people then like it then great! We won't compromise, which I know is a bit of a cliché, but some cliches are true", "like an urban legend," adds Claire, "no, not really," says Holly.
With the last single, 'Take Me I'm Your Disease', stripping down and losing the xylophones and recorders of previous releases is this a sign of things to come? Holly puts it down to the change in producer and they're desire to, "do something summery…in context." What about doing a Christmas single? Brigit sums it up with, "I think we'd have to cover this old reggae song my dad has, it goes 'rip off, rip off, rip off off off'!" Holly, "I think Tweenies will be number one, 'Merry Tweenie Christmas', or something like that," Rachel groans, Claire adds, "No, it'll be Craig Big Brother with his cash-in on his down syndrome friend, the record label will make loads which is kind of sick really".
December sees the launch of the official Angelica website, www.angelicahq.com, what role can they see it playing? Brigit, "It'll be a source of comedy! There's loads about us on the web already but we'd like to put stuff up ourselves which isn't speculation." "And we've got an Angelica dictionary so you can work out what all our on stage in jokes are about," says Rachel. "We could be doing ourselves a bit of an injury with that," Holly considers, "people might start coming to our gigs and shouting out things like 'Let's all go to Quinns'!" Brigit, "We'll have proper photos unlike other band websites as well, all doggered…", "…no make up, no sleep, and too much alcohol!", laughs Rachel.
The site is also going to have MP3 downloads of live tracks available, so what is the Angelica view on Napster and music file swapping? Holly, "I think it's good in that it's given the record industry a bit of a kick up the arse and they might just realise how much they're ripping people off at the moment." Brigit, "What's patronising is that bands like Metallica and Elton John are complaining the most and they're made for life anyway," what about the argument that their sales may effect the signing of new acts, "hmmm, good point," concedes Brigit. Claire, *"I don't think people will stop buying records, people like to go shopping and hunting for music." "As long as it doesn't affect record sales I think Napster is good as free advertising for bands, but maybe it should be restricted so you can listen on-line but not download," *summarises Holly.
We're sat in a club in Soho because Angelica are playing, "BlowUp", a club night for indie music. So why club nights and not normal gigs? Rachel, "we play wherever we're told to!" Holly, "but club nights are especially good because everyone is into your kind of music even if they haven't heard you before. I mean, in Bolton we played to a crowd half made up of drunk townies who just shouted stuff." With four girls aged between nineteen and twenty one it isn't hard to imagine what was shouted. What about the small following of middle aged men armed with compact cameras who seem to be at all their London shows? Claire, "they can go for it, it doesn't bother me in the slightest", "at least we've got our clothes on," says Brigit, "at least they've got their clothes on!" laughs Claire. Holly, "there are some dirty old men out there but there are some dirty young boys as well. Last night we had a heckler who was just a normal indie kid and he shouted the worst sexual things at us." Claire, "it's just a hazard of the job." Holly, "just as long as they buy the records". So what about posing individually on the cover of FHM like the girls from S Club 7 this month? Brigit, "I don't really want to be in men's magazines, I don't really want to be in magazines at all. But I guess if we had to then I'd want control over the pictures, what we wore, and how we looked", "and no pouting or leaning forward", adds Holly. Claire, "We'd have to be together though, and warts and all, no airbrushing!" slight pause, "I want to be in Woman's Weekly in the bakery tips section!"
So what's next for the band? "After tonight's gig, 2 hours of prime time Steve Irwin! Porn! Cock!", Claire enthuses. Holly, "recording the album in January," Brigit, "it's going to have a much richer sound than the last one." A garage remix perhaps? "Maybe not this year! But I like Craig David, he's got talent," says Claire, "yeah, talent for being a cock!", Holly exclaims. Claire, "if anyone wants to buy me the Destinys Child album for Christmas then please do!"
And a new single? Holly, "the next one is called 'Liberation'", "but we're still in talks about that," adds Brigit. Rachel, "but there will be another single as soon as possible." "If it all goes tits up with the label I'll set up my own, 'Captain Baps Recordings'", laughs Claire. "You know that the second single you released would have the serial number 'Baps002'", smirks Holly.
Brigit burps, Claire teases her for, "being old", turning 21 the next day, Holly shrieks, and Rachel tells them all off. They may be more developed as a band but Angelica are still the same gang everyone wants to be part of.
(also viewable @ quirkfanzine.com)