Extradition Order are coming I tell you and they are bringing their bag of raw sounds with them. With their debut album here, I caught up with three of the four members via the magic medium of email and asked them to reveal all to me. The photos shall remain in my secret draw but you can read their words of wisdom...
Soundsxp: You once said "Hello, we're Extradition Order" but who are Extradition Order and why are they here? Are you outsiders trying to conform to 'normal' society?
Alastair: No. We're very much insiders. In fact, we pretty much run the country in an oblique masonic way. Just last night I hosted a dinner for cabinet minister and high court judges. From the heart of the British government to the boardrooms of international banks, our names are known and influence acknowledged. It's a good job we're so benevolent. But the whole economic meltdown was a warning shot we thought we'd fire off.
Nick: We are Order. Have been since we all fell for the same girl when we were 12, and simultaneously let her carry us off with her every whim. She died in a canoeing accident in Wales, and that was the end of that. Since then we've forged a brotherhood that hides our grief, and has brought us all together.
Mark: Let's get one thing straight here. The so called accident was actually an act of sheer desperation from one of our members. Let's just say that two in a canoe doesn't go. Unfortunately the girl did. That member will not be named.
Soundsxp: How would you describe your music to me?
Alastair: It used to be crude garage rock, which people thought was because we were crude rocky types but really it was just incompetence. I think it now sounds like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but most people still think it's crude garage rock with added twinkly keyboards.
Nick: We've always played with enthusiasm in our music, but I think since we got a 4th wheel we've come on from our garage rock days. Now we're making more sounds and less noise. I think our influences come out at different times: blues, new wave, punk, classical - but our sound is still quite raw.
Soundsxp: Tell me about the forthcoming debut album and the thinking behind it. You must all be excited and anxious about its release.
Alastair: It's produced by Ian Button who I insist should be known to the world as up there with the great. He's sort of non-crazy Martin Hannet for our times since he's grown a scene around who he records. People like Paul Hawkins and David Cronenberg's Wife. The three of us sound nothing alike and he is able to not leave a stamp of his own sound on their records - he just enhances what the bands do themselves.
It was really important we made something that flowed together. An album you put on and sit and listen to, not just a bunch of songs. And the artwork is just as important. We got Clifford Harper to do the cover who is an amazing woodcut style artist who does a lot of old history book covers and things like that. Stuff for E.H. Gombrich and A.L. Morton.I wanted something done in his style and was looking around for someone who could emulate him but in the end discovered, after writing him a letter, he was up for doing it himself.
Nick: The ideas have mainly come from Al for a lot of the songs, but we've all been involved in creating the music, and ultimately this collection of songs that we think works as a whole. A lot of help has indeed come from the amazing Ian Button, who has simply been brilliant throughout. He makes my bass playing sound like I didn't even know I wanted it to until I'd heard it. It's the first release for us, so of course it's a challenge and there's so much we don't know but every step is exciting.
Soundsxp: You say that you are about myths and legends. What do you mean by this?
Alastair: Ambiguity. So I probably shouldn't say or it's all ruined. Now Nick will go on too much and ruin it.
Nick: We talk about all sorts of things in our songs. Some are myths, and others legends. Mark usually has a fine tale of one or the other.
Mark: Not now Nick.
Soundsxp: You are sophisticated, intelligent, driven souls are you not?
Nick: I lack sophistication. I'm off the rack.
Soundsxp: Tell me about mountain scavenger hunts, Chipsticks and rouge lipstick. Is it the way forward for promoting new albums?
Nick: Ask Alastair, although the keyboardist is partial to rouge lipstick, and who doesn't like chipsticks?
Alastair: It's about absolute desperation to try and get people vaguely interested in us as the world's bands scream against each other in every corner of the internet.
Mark: You would be amazed at the people you meet during mountain scavenger hunts. Chuck them an Order CD and everyone's a winner.
Soundsxp: Warrington versus London . Who wins and why?
Alastair: Luckily all of Warrington moved to London in the last five years. I am one of those great defenders of their place of upbringing who has absolutely no interest in living there again. Warrington was a great centre of the Enlightenment. Benjamin Franklin based his college on the Warrington Academy - the first secular university in the world. Then the industrial revolution ruined it and it just became a place inbetween Manchester and Liverpool. Generally though, the North generally reveres its writer, artists, radicals and musicians. London worships its criminals. They can keep their Kray fetish.
Nick: Warrington. You can't get decent fish, chips and gravy here. Bloody disgrace it is.
Alastair: Actually, that's blind patriotism from Nick. Warrington hasn't got any decent fish and chip shops these days. You have to go to Yorkshire.
Mark: Come on now. The Neptune Bar (now called Panny's I think) in Stockton Heath does grand fish and chips. In terms of the great debate itself, Warrington is a lovely place to go back to, if only for a short while. People are even friendly at times and often say please and thankyou.
Soundsxp: Tell me about Extradition Order live.. Is it an experience to behold?
Nick: Aforementioned enthusiasm means we try to put on a pretty good show. I think live we're a whole new beast since we got a keyboard that lights up last year, and someone to finger it. Plus we're not very fussy on what we use. Bones and selotape have been integral to past shows.
Alastair: The bones didn't work well. I thought we had a brilliant new approach to the drum stick and couldn't believe no one had done it before. Then they ripped every skin on the kit by halfway through the first song.
Soundsxp: If you could play one music festival this year where would it be and why?
Alastair: We love the End of the Road festival and the smaller more thoughful places like that. I personally hate the needs to camp in a field, shuddering as louts consume too much lager and talk about their awesome hippy lives and how awesome some Gallagher is before returning to work in the Carphone Warehouse. But End of the Road is more interesting in both its setting and its music choices.
Nick: I'd say End of the Road too, for the atmosphere and setting. It was good seeing some of our friends there last year like Congregation, and I like the idea of it much more than other festivals. The organisers are lovely too.
Soundsxp: If you could extradite one person from your country who would it be and why?
Nick: I'd extradite myself to somewhere fun. Maybe Japan. I hope they've forgiven me for last time. I really didn't mean anything by it.
Mark: I'd also extradite Nick somewhere.
Soundsxp: I overhear you listening to tunes as I step through the streets of Clerkenwell. What or who can I hear coming out of your music machine? Who should be on everybody’s ipod/mp3 player/casette player/compact disc player/square wheel producing music mechanism machine?
Nick: I got a Leonard Cohen cd for £3 yesterday, so he's been singing to me a lot recently.
Mark: I found a band called Therion on Spotify the other week who I've enjoyed listening to. I don't think the rest of the band will agree with this.
Soundsxp: What’s so good about summer?
Nick: Gosh.. I've no idea what to say.
Alastair: We spend most our time indoors.
Soundsxp: What is next for Extradition Order?
Alastair: Or the endless pursuit of glory with each succesful climb to the top of the mountain of ambition only revealling the next, larger, obstacle, never feeling satsified with the progress made, only the endless journey still to go, until eventually the only logical thing is to fling oneself in front of the subterranean tube train. Or contentment, maybe.
Mark: World domination.
Soundsxp: And finally a great philosopher asks you to sum up in one paragraph the evolution of music from the early days of banging two sticks together to the download age that we find ourselves in. What say you to him?
Alastair: Get a real job.
Nick: That's what my dad told me. But I discovered that great philosophers don't ask questions but just get on and write great works in bullet points in wood cabins. Kind of like how Bon Iver writes albums. So I'd tell him he wasn't all that great bothering us for answers.
Mark: I say what on earth is wrong with just banging two sticks you ignorant bum?
Quite. Check the lads' myspace for gig and release news.