Das Wanderlust have recently released their long awaited debut album which is full of chaotic charm. I caught up with singer/keyboardist Laura and guitarist Andy and posed them a few questions:
SoundsXP: I'm enjoying your new album 'Horses for Courses´, it was definitely worth the wait. What took you so long to release it?
ANDY: Fannying around trying to get a ‘proper’ label to release it. In retrospect it was a massive waste of time that could have been better spent writing more songs. You live and learn though, eh? We’re really pleased with the way the album itself came out, though.
SoundsXP: I was surprised not to see your big hit singles ‘The Orange Shop’ and ‘Sunday School’ on the album but pleased to find that the album stands up without them. Why did you decide not include them on the record?
ANDY: We wanted to not try and cover too much old ground with the album. We decided that we’d only include tracks on the album that we hadn’t previously released versions of that we felt did the songs justice. There are two re-recorded versions of tracks off our original demo EP from 2005 on there, ‘…Robot’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes…’ ‘The Orange Shop’ was on that EP too, although much slower, badly played, and called ‘Lenor’. Also, we got sick to death of playing that song live, so the last thing we wanted was to continue feeling obligated to play it. Imagine what it must be like having an actual hit!
SoundsXP: The album track 'Celebrate Ourselves' covers social networking sites, paranoia and jealousy. Are you opposed to sites like Facebook? Do you think these kinds of sites are turning a generation into self obsessed idiots?
LAURA: I recently deleted my Facebook, because who gives a good God damn that I ‘just ate some toast’. Nobody should care, I’m not interesting, I’m totally boring and so is everyone else. MySpace and Facebook are used by loads of people to make their normal lives look totally amazing and like a film, which makes other people feel bad about themselves and sad that they don’t have a film life, and in turn makes them jealous of the film life people. So then everyone just becomes really false and they take loads of stupid posed photographs of themselves and it becomes one sick battle of who’s the coolest, ‘and I’m a photographer’, and ‘I’m in a band’, and ‘I’m a blah blah blah.’ When really nobody is anything other then just a person who does the same stupid stuff that everyone else does; going down the shops; watching telly; and reading magazines. I don’t spend any time on the internet anymore, it makes my head feel funny.
SoundsXP: The lyrical content on the album is pretty bleak at times, like in 'Pyramintro': "my lucky stars, they do not exist" and 'We're All Doomed': "sometimes I forget that I'm doomed" - are these all personal or character based?
LAURA: They are all personal. If I don’t keep myself busy I start to think a lot about things and then I get sad, which is what ‘We’re All Doomed’ is about. I’m really just a depressed sixth former goth at heart.
SoundsXP: I like the way Laura's voice morphs into a robot on the last track 'I Wish I Was A Robot', no question here, just sayin'
ANDY: I like that way that rain makes all the snails come out.
SoundsXP: Any current plans for a follow up to `Horses...´ or will there be another agonising wait?
ANDY: We’ve already abandoned our first attempt at recording the follow-up! The songs are all finished, we just didn’t play it as well as we could. We’re going to start again in the next few weeks, but in the meantime we’ve written a Christmas song which we need to record as there’s an obvious deadline for that. The second album’s going to be a lot more varied than the first, and with less reliance on the old slow/fast, quiet/loud business. And its going to be longer. The songwriting’s become a little more sophisticated, and we can’t really get away with playing crap any more. Being a crap lo-fi band gets pretty tired pretty quickly!
SoundsXP: You've been through more drummers than I've had hot dinners. What's your ideal hot dinner?
ANDY: Vegetable dhansak, chana massala, onion pilau, peshwari naan.
LAURA: I like sausage and mash with onion gravy and peas. Yeah!
SoundsXP: Red sauce or brown sauce?
ANDY: Red sauce is good with almost everything. Brown is an acquired taste, and really for far more specific applications (such as cheese on toast). HP is the undisputed king of brown sauce, but for an interesting and exciting alternative to Heinz tomato ketchup I recommend you check out Tiptree.
LAURA: I’m allergic to brown sauce, which is why I only sing ‘red sauce’ in that song. I love red sauce. Chips without red sauce are a waste of my time.
SoundsXP: The composer Robert Schumann used a finger stretching device in a vain effort to better his wife Clara in the piano playing department. This plan failed dismally and destroyed his fingers rendering him unable to play piano at all; to add insult to injury, his wife ran off with Johannes Brahms. Have you ever cheated at anything and got your comeuppance?
ANDY: I went through a long phase of being really quite naughty in secondary school, and as a result letters started being sent home to my parents. I hid them all underneath the bottom drawer in my room, thinking that was a brilliant and original hiding place. The longer this went on, the more ridiculous the situation got as more and more letters got sent home, until one day my carefully constructed web of deceit came crashing down around me when my Dad phoned the school to ask why he hadn’t received any letters for such a long time. I came home from the scouts that night to find him in my room surrounded by the letters, and more angry than you’ve ever seen anyone in your life. In hindsight I should have burnt the fuckers. What an idiot.
SoundsXP: You win the lottery and experience a strong impulse to travel, or wanderlust if you will. Where are you going?
ANDY: Scandinavia, Japan and Canada are top of my list.
SoundsXP: Which five albums are you taking on this trip?
ANDY: You’d need some decent driving music, so ZZ Top, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Quo, and Meatloaf.
SoundsXP: Are there any new bands that tickle your fancy?
ANDY: An Austrian multi-instrumentalist called Mayr sent us her CD the other day for a pilot radio show we’re putting together – she’s very good.
Das Wanderlust headline The Macbeth, 70 Hoxton Street on 1st September.