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Artefacts For Space Travel

Article written by Neil W - Jun 29, 2009

I bump into Joe from Artefacts For Space Travel en route to the moon. The band are signed to super cool label Stolen Recordings, a label that has SoundsXP favs Pete and the Pirates, Screaming Tea Party and My Sad Captains amongst their roster. I pose a few intergalactic questions to him.

SoundsXP: The band name comes from a William S Burroughs quote that states "Man is an artefact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.” What are your thoughts on the statement? Are you longing to become that metaphorical frog? or are you happy remaining a tadpole?

Joe: Definitely want to be the frog. I’m very impatient about progress and I have a tremendous sense of urgency about everything. I just don’t have enough scientific knowledge to provide any answers, I can bluff a good argument though. For me the name represents an endless frustration, I believe the only things worth knowing can not be understood by the human brain. I found the quote one night when I was researching stuff, I thought it'd be a cool band name. I’m not actually a Borroughs fan and have only read a few of his books. I basically only read Philip K Dick at the moment.

SoundsXP: You're sent into space to start a colony on Mars, what 5 albums are you going to take with you?

Joe: Well I would definitely take 5 'best ofs' because everyone knows that a 'best of' is always a band's best album because it has their best songs on it. Anyone who says otherwise is a complete liar. I would also take in to consideration: if I end up meeting an Alien race while I’m on Mars who have never heard music before, what will I play to them to help them understand human music? I guess it'd be something like this:
Best of Beethoven
Best of Michael Jackson
Best of The Kinks
Best of Bob Dylan
Best of The Beach Boys

Not really sure why I left out the Beatles and the Stones, I think Martians prefer the Kinks.

SoundsXP: Two of your members share the same surname as me, are we related?

Joe: Yes, Sam and I (Joe) are brothers, we have another brother called Luke who plays the drums, we're going to start a family band, we'll be like an uglier version of Hanson. Oh . . . Are we related to you? I don’t know, do you have any money you can lend us? If you do then you can be in our family. But unfortunately there was only three brothers in Hanson so you’ll have to be the manager.

SoundsXP: You site West Coast American bands like Melvins, Nirvana and Pavement as influences ... what particularly interests you about those bands?

Joe: I was raised on Guns and Roses and Nirvana. Brit pop bored the shit out of me. I liked metal in my early teens, then I started get into weird Rough Trade indie type stuff. Now I just listen to everything. We're not JUST into 90's American stuff, though Sam and I went to see Melvins and Dinosaur Jr concerts recently, I’m a massive Mark E Smith fan, and I like a lot of 60's stuff. I guess bands like Pavement have that laid back, slacker appeal which we relate too, we're really easy going people. We want to make 'stoner indie rock'.

SoundsXP: Has anyone written anything wildly inaccurate about the band so far? how do you feel about terms like "toxic punk sludge" being used to describe your music?

Joe: It's really dumb. We find it both funny and depressing. Our favourite live review came from Manchester News and said we were 'either really good or really bad', at least make a fucking decision! Jesus. But yeah it's depressing because we want journalists to listen to us and not just say, 'oooh, loud guitars, they must be influenced by the Pixies'. We like noisy, heavy music, it's not because we're trying to
bring back grunge.

SoundsXP: If Artefacts for Space Travel ever found themselves in a tricky situation, who would have instigated it?

Joe: We've had a lot of punch ups after gigs, it's actually normally us standing up for a friend who has come to watch us and ended up getting into a fight. Some of our friends are a bit rowdy. We once had to fight our way out of Southampton University, luckily students are pussys and we beat them all up with ease. Sam also causes a lot of problems, we thought he'd been kidnapped by Mexican coke dealers in Texas, he tends to wander off and find new friends when he's wasted. Alex's car is always getting stolen too, or towed away by gangsters.Everything is always a challenge with our band. If it can go wrong it will. But it’s normally all just down to too much beer. So I guess the answer is beer would've instigated it.

SoundsXP: Are there any new bands that you're particularly fond of?

Joe: Don’t know if they're new but I’m listening to a lot of Blank Dogs, it's right up my street. We saw lots of cool bands out in SXSW mainly at a bar called Miss Beas. I want to go see a new band called A Grave With No Name, I like the tracks on their myspace. I'm going to see Ariel Pink on Sunday which I’m looking forward to, he's a sexy fellow.

SoundsXP: How did the EP 'Power of The Brain' come to fruition? Any reference to popular brain based game shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire? or

Joe: Power of the brain is the name of one of our songs, it's all about telepathy
and transhumanism. I watch Egg heads a lot though, I get really angry at the show. I hate that old lady who knows everything, they're such smug arseholes.

SoundsXP: Any plans for a follow up?

Joe: We're ready to release more, just waiting for the all clear, we have loads of new songs that we like playing, so ASAP for another EP on Stolen Recordings.

Artefacts For Space Travel headline The Macbeth in Hoxton, 7th July.


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