Debut Album Why Choose Is Out October 2nd Via FatCat Records.
What images does the word shopping conjure for you? For me it reminds me of Thursdays after school in Quinnsworth (those Irish people of a certain age will remember) wandering after my mother as she did the weekly shop. My gran would be there too, haranguing the Quinnsworth workers to get her items from the high shelves. I’d get a few pounds from my great-aunt and buy some Lego or Football comics (I assure you, this was only twenty years ago). Good times. Now, it calls to mind a YouTube video of consumers ripping through each other to get to TVs on Black Friday in an Asda somewhere in the UK. Not so good times.
Happily it now also springs the image of London post-punks SHOPPING, who this week release their second album Why Choose. We spoke to guitarist/vocalist Rachel Aggs about working with FatCat Records, touring with Ought, and how they write songs about things other than consumerism.
Overblown: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Overblown! Your new album Why Choose is out on 2nd October. Was your approach to writing and recording the new album different from your approach to your debut album?
Rachel Aggs: Not a lot! We just want to record songs that people can dance to and to have fun doing it. I think it came out a bit darker and tougher than the last album though.
O: On tracks like ‘Why Wait?’ your music seems to be quite concerned with consumerism and the expectation of instant gratification in modern culture. Why are these important issues to you guys as a band?
RA: It was never a conscious decision whilst writing the songs but it’s come up a bit whilst talking about them and doing interviews. It’s not like we picked out a theme in a pre meditated sense, we just all have these concerns/ frustrations as people (doesn’t everyone?) so they filter through to our music – we picked the name Shopping cus we liked the sound of it then it seemed to follow to write some songs about consumerism, it’s all quite tongue in cheek though. We generally sing about money, queer relationships, sex, rejection, lack of time, lack of patience- all the fun themes! We don’t take ourselves too seriously, mostly we just want people to dance – that space in your day can be empowering – to dance out all your frustrations with modern life, shout about it and break free for half hour or whatever.
O: The album artwork for the new album kind of looks like a huge game of rock, paper, scissors! What was the inspiration for the cover, and who designed it?
RA: It was designed by Dave Thomas who works with our label FatCat on a lot of their releases. Its inspired by the album title WHY CHOOSE and also by some great 80s album covers that we love by bands like Essential Logic. I also think it has a game show vibe which feels appropriate.
O: It will be your first release through Brighton’s FatCat Records. Are you excited about working with such a legendary label? How did you come to sign with them?
RA: YEAH so excited! We released our first record on Milk Records which Andrew and Billy run themselves so it was basically self-released. Its really cool to work with a label that have a lot more resources to get our music out into the world. FatCat have released loads of great records by bands like Vashti Bunyan, Animal Collective and No Age who I love so yeah I was really happy to be asked to work with them.
O: You played a few shows with Canadian post-punks Ought in the UK recently. We love them here at Overblown. How did you come to be playing with them? Do you enjoy seeing them live?
RA: Apparently they came across our music somehow and shared something on Twitter? (I don’t know I’m not on Twitter) So they asked us to play, I really like their record so it was very exciting to see them live.
O: You recently completed tours with Merchandise and Golden Teacher. What were those experiences like?
RA: I really love Golden Teacher, they have so much energy when they play live it totally transports you! It’s always great playing with them because people come to their shows fully prepared to dance! Merchandise play quite different music to ours so we were worried it would be a weird match but we all got on really well, hope we see them again some day!
O: This question is for Rachel. Over the last few years, artists such as Alanna McCardle (formerly of Joanna Gruesome) and Lauren Mayberry (of CHVRCHES) have spoken about the misogyny they have experienced both within the music industry and from the public. Have you ever had similar negative experiences from either group?
RA: As a female musician, I get asked this question way too much. I feel proud and powerful on stage and could care less what anyone says about me. Smash the patriarchy!
O: What do consider ‘success’ as in terms of SHOPPING. Selling records? Getting acclaim? Being satisfied with your records?
RA: I want to make people dance! If someone is at our shows and really getting into it I feel like it’s a huge success every time. I hope people put on our records at home and dance too but I guess I’ll never know!
O: What are your plans for the future?
RA: Make loads more records! Smash the patriarchy! Also we are going on tour in the US in October !!!!
O: What bands have you guys been listening to recently?
RA: Good Throb, Joey FOURR, Bamboo, Primetime, Seconds, Preists, Vexx…
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