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Cop on the Edge

Article written by Mary B - Oct 4, 2008

In the crazy world of 'Cop on the Edge' cats wear leather, people dress up as polar bears and they get chased by police for declining plastic bags in shops. Oh, and smetimes they make thoroughly glorious music too...

SoundsXP: Why your name?

Anna: You could ask Steve this, but you'll be there for a long time...
Steve: Well there was a definite glut of "The Somethings" type names floating about so we didn't want any of that. I'd always been aware that Television (not the band) probably had a bigger effect on me than anything else growing up. So I wanted something cinematic or televisual, a recognisable pop culture motif and that was the first one that suggested itself really.

SoundsXP: I'm going to need to take down your particulars please. State your name, your place in the band, your age and address...for any stalkers reading this (obviously don't state your address).

James: I'm James E A Higgott and my place at the band, both figuratively and literally, is at the very back: I drum.
Steve: Stephen J Holbrook Guitar, Bass and occasional screeching.
Jim: Jim, 30, singer, Taurus.
Anna: Anna, electronics and supercussion and being the youngest.
Rob: I'm Rob Moore, 29 years, bassist 2nd class, hummer and consumer of thick beverages. As far as the band goes, I would like to quote Ronnie Corbett - I know my place.

SoundsXP: How did Cop on the Edge form?

Steve: From a combination of boredom and mischief.
James: I got in because the rest of the band only knew two drummers and had already exhausted the first option.
Anna: Jim was sleeping on Steve's sofa, then one night Jim and Steve ended up sleeping on my sofa, then we found two more members from another band down the back of the sofa. And Cop On The Edge were born.
Jim: Advert in the paper, leaf through the CVs, aptitude test, first interview, second interview, Thunderdome, two men enter, one man leave - you have your drummer. Repeat till full.
Rob: There are two competing theories, hotly contested of course. One is based on the theory that since the band members have an ever growing repulsion from each other, that once upon a time we must have all been madly in love, and then there was a gig bang... The other theory states that we never really started and just happened to be playing music and in the same gravitational pull of London 's dodgiest pubs and venues.

SoundsXP: Have any of you ever been arrested? Like you'd tell me!

Steve: Nah, I’m a good boy I am.
James: My natural politeness and well-spoken manner have allowed me to talk my way out of nearly every brush I've had with The Man, including parking wardens and ticket inspectors. They're not used to people being apologetic and deferential. I was also once chased out of M&S by a security guard when running for a bus, but since I had paid for the items I didn't let him catch me (I had declined a plastic bag which is why he thought I was a shoplifter).
Jim: Not quite, although on the climate change march last year, I was dressed as a polar bear, and after we got to the American embassy I was feeling rather faint between my furry disguise and the night before. So I broke off from the crowd and found a quiet side street where I could have a moment. As I'm sat there, this policeman comes up to me and says "Hello Mr Bear, what are you doing here?" and proceeds to question me about what me and my subversive eco-pals are up to. I'd like to think he'd have maintained the sarcastic tone of voice if I had been a danger - "Well well Mr Bear, planning a little bombing of a symbol of western imperialism were we?"
Anna: I was given a stern talking to by a police officer after breaking into a posh school's swimming pool after my GCSE's. That's as cool as I get.
Rob: My only brush with the law was when I was 14, and did "work experience" in Thompson, Clarke & Thompson partners. I slept most afternoons, and in the mornings honed my musical skills playing songs on elastic bands - all COMPLETELY true (apart from the law firm's name - changed to protect the innocent).

SoundsXP: Some of the lyrics are just amazing on your songs especially in 'I want don't get'. Where do all the ideas come from? I'd eat at an 'It's all Gravy' restaurant. Where did that idea spring from?!

Rob: Jim, although I am his muse. I put on roller-skates and sing Xanadu.
Steve: Well 'I want don't get' was a particular mantra of my mothers, for use when any of us whippersnappers got too demanding. As for "its all gravy", it's a piece of youth speak that I'm sure we heard Charlotte Church drop clunkily into some interview or other. I think that was it, but I could be wrong.
Jim: Steve and I used to live near a restaurant called The Laughing Gravy and it lodged in my head, only re-emerging when I heard Charlotte Church being interviewed one day. Most of the nonsense lyrics come from that sort of path - taking the scenic route to make connections. The rest are discarded Gordon Brown speeches.

SoundsXP: You're New Cross based. I think that New Cross has been enjoying a musical renaissance of late. What do you think? How would you sell New Cross to the folk who live the other side of the water?

Steve: Those on the north bank will never understand I fear. But I went to university there so it will always have a slightly skanky, occasionally violent place in my heart. I've been drunk in New Cross, been in love in New Cross. I've even been run over in New Cross. So it's a place that leaves its mark on you....sometimes physically.
Jim: I think it’s a brilliant place to give you a bit of space to play and mutate - you'll find something different going on in pubs and studios and bedrooms all over. Creeping gentrification is happening though. A few good places like the Goldsmiths Tavern have shut down or become alcohol leisure experiences. So yeah, New Cross – catch it before it’s full of cunts.
Rob: New Cross - you're more likely to die there than at home in Finchley, but you're also more likely to die happy.
James: I did my time in South East London, but I moved out before the musical renaissance. Coincidence? I think not.
Anna:You say potato, we say give us your fucking wallet or you'll get slices.

SoundsXP: Who, musically or otherwise, captures the attention of Cop on the Edge?

Anna:Well, me and Steve bonded over a mutual love of the Smiths. I think he thought I was a bit odd 'cos he described seeing Morrissey live and I started crying. We'd only met about twice.
James: The new Fleet Foxes album is great and I liked Tapes and Tapes' debut a lot. I'm listening to MC5 and Kraftwerk while writing this though.
Steve: All sorts, but I'm particularly enjoying Late Of The Pier and Chrome Hoof at the moment.
Jim: Someone lent me the new GZA album, which is grand. Metronomy, Let's Wrestle and Super Tennis have made me grin with glee recently. That said, an awful lot of my time recently seems to be spent following US election blogs and developing an intense interest in poll demographics.
Rob: Walking Toasters.

SoundsXP: Who would you arrest for crimes against music and why?

James: Why arrest when you can name and shame? Chris Martin runs battery farms in rural Warwickshire and 50 Cent's real name is Lesley.
Steve: Prison overcrowding is too bad for such harsh measures, but there'd be a couple of people I'd let off with a caution.
Jim: No-one really. Except graverobbers.
Anna: I have a very live and let live attitude to music, which isn't always shared by the rest of the band. My feeling is that most tunes have something interesting in them somewhere, and the really shit stuff you just avoid and respect the fact that some people love it.
Rob: It's a toughie - I really do think there is a place for all types of music, and every creative excretion is of some merit. But if you're asking for names, then I'd pass Snow Patrol onto the real rozzers for being uber-bland and quite uppity to boot.

SoundsXP: Are you really 'Music for superheroes to lose their virginity to'? What superhero would you have liked to have lost your virginity to?

Jim: Absolutely. I like to think that when the Batcave was just a Batbedsit, we were soundtracking that special moment (which, judging by The Dark Knight, would have involved a few minutes of very tense, dark, self-hating sex that was interrupted when Batman was forced to strangle some puppies against his will). For me? Emma Frost – though I'd want to know what she was thinking afterwards.
James: Ragged Robin. There's something about time-travelling telepaths which really turns me on.
Steve: We are, but I reckon it'd be too stressful myself. Imagine a young girl crying on the edge of a bed, her lover leans over and whispers "Sorry love but my spidey-sense just ain’t tingling" You'd be crushed!
Rob: Wow - one of the less whiny ones, I guess. I can't stand someone who has a great gift and treats it like a burden. Take me for instance...
Anna: I hate this line. I don't even know what it means. But Wolverine, obviously.

SoundsXP: Do you enjoy playing live? Why should people see you live?

James: I get quite nervous before going on stage but I channel this into wide-eyed enthusiasm. We've known one another for a very long time (18 years in one instance) and four of us play together in another band, so we have a pretty good rapport going on. Unless we screw up though, in which case the insults and the condemnations start flying.
Steve: I LOVE Playing live, sometimes you get so caught up with the high energy output you don't know what to do with yourself. People should come and see us because we really really go for it. The amount of sweat generated is worth the price of admission alone.
Anna: I love it now, I used to find it completely terrifying. I don't move much and if I start to feel nervous I just pretend to adjust something under my keyboard and hide down there for a bit.
Rob: I love to play live. It's when we come alive as a band and quite literally explode in peoples faces (not literally).

SoundsXP: Jim, will you be doing any more choir performances what with christmas around the corner apparently..I refer of course to your 'Elbow' experience. That was exciting right?

Rob: And to think when I heard Jim had got the elbow...
Jim: That was three of the best days I've ever had, spending the whole weekend rehearsing and learning about the way the harmonies fitted together and playing with the band and then the performance itself which still gives me a pleasurable shiver to think about. And I got to watch Fleet Foxes from the side of the stage beforehand! I drop it into conversation with monotonous regularity. Someone once wrote that the way the current crop of TV talent contestants are often praised for sounding 'sincere' missed the point – that sincerity should be a natural by-product of a strongly held emotion and not an end in itself. That's what people responded to with Elbow and Fleet Foxes that night and hopefully we're grasping towards that.

SoundsXP: I couldn't help but notice that you have a penchant for Giorgio Moroder. I would like a cover of 'Electric Dreams' for my birthday if possible? Is this possible?

Steve: Well, never say never, but we do play a wicked cover of Stevie V's Dirty Cash.
Jim: When's your birthday? If we have time we'll throw in 'Take My Breath Away' as a bonus.
James: Nothing is impossible. Unless the drums are particularly tricky.
Rob: Of course. With Cop on the Edge, there are only four songs that we find impossible to play, and fortunately six songs we find impossible not to play. All the rest is, as CC puts it, gravy.

SoundsXP: What next for 'Cop on the edge'?

Rob: Cop over the edge.
James: A cover of Electric Dreams I think.
Steve: Onwards, upwards, sideways, slantways and any which way you can think of.
Anna: Cop on the Edge II: Assignment: Miami Beach

SoundsXP: And finally if you could create a new law what would it be and why?

James: I'd nationalise public transport and the utilities, because making a profit and answering to shareholders just aren't compatible with providing a decent service in these areas. Ask a sensible question, get a sensible answer...
Anna: A complete amnesty on my jack to jack leads which have been distributed liberally and unwittingly across London . Oh and we're still on the case to find the c**t who stole my keyboard from the Dublin Castle . It was rubbish, and I had the power lead in my other bag, scum!
Steve: I would ban people from not being fans of ours for purely selfish and monetary reasons obviously.
Rob: Ability-earned instruments. People should not have good instruments and play them badly. Nothing is worse. Nothing. Except being exquisitely talented (me) and having to learn the rubber band.
Jim: I'd improve the pay and conditions of teachers to attract more to the service as the current system doesn't value them highly enough. Something more rock'n'roll? All cats must wear leather.

My birthday is the 5th November, Jim...*waits with anticipation*
P.S if the person who stole Anna's keyboard from the Dublin Castle is reading this you're a dirty keyboard thief so return it or we'll make you listen to 'Snow Patrol' on a loop...


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