Following the first release on German Shepherd records from the new musical collective KP2 I took time to catch up with the collaborator on the project the “sound artist” Space Museum. We met in an abandoned ratchet fettling factory in darkest Patricroft and he took me through the genesis of the project.
HEM : So what can you tell me about KP2?
SM : KP2 is the brainchild of multi-functional performance artist Percy Pretty. He, in another guise, is currently the lead singer of a band called Kill Pretty, and as a member of that combo he was becoming artistically hampered by the traditional format of bass, drums and guitars and wanted to explore other avenues of musical endeavour. He is calling these explorations generically KP2 and they will involve live performance, radio appearances, spoken word and collaborations with a number of different artists. Mr Pretty has set up a specific record lable via Bandcamp to share this work with the wider world. He is essentially exercising and extending his oeuvre.
HEM : What has the project delivered to date?
SM : Apart from this first release on German Shepherd records there has been music with Nemo and PrjctXY both of which have been made available from streaming via Soundcoud. Further work is expected with both of these artists. There has also been a dance performance with improvising duo 2 Koi Karp and some radio appearances.
HEM: So what can you tell me about the Smack Head Band/Humble Bee Single?
SM : I was idling my time away in a bistro in Jakarta when I was introduced to Mr Pretty by the mysterious figure going by the name of Doyle. We struck up a lengthy conversation about music and various matters of that ilk and it was soon apparent that we had similar ideas about sound and such like. He promised me he would send some words through for consideration. He duly obliged a month or so back and I set to work to create some sounds to go with the lyrics. He did give me some broad musical parameters to work to – which I mostly ignored – Hank Williams was posited at one point. As I tend to work rather quickly I was able to send him some early sound sketches which he approved. He then suggested bringing the Simms-Luddingtons from Monkeys In Love as additional vocalists for the project. Having limited recording facilities at my studios – most of my work is lap-top based – we asked Steve and Laura if they could assist and we eventually ended up laying down the vocals at the Monkeys in Love rehearsal space in Stockport. After that is was a matter of fitting it all together, sorting out some art -work and getting it uploaded to Bandcamp.
HEM : What does it sound like?
SM : Well it’s probably best described as electronica with a strange amalgam of mutant rap and english eccentricity thrown in for good measure. The addition of Steve and Laura to the project definitely added something intangible and rather special to the whole thing. Underlying it all is Mr Pretty’s self described “bellow” which gives it its’ own specific identity.
HEM : So what are the songs about?
SM : Well you would need to ask Mr Pretty direct about that but from my observation “Smack Head Band” is a bit of a rant about “nostalgia circuit” bands and a swipe at the glorification of drugs in the industry; and “Humble Bee” deals with confinement/claustrophobia and the attendant issues that arise from that.
HEM : What musical influences were brought into this set of tunes?
SM : For “Smack Head Band” the intention was to create an early VU riff tension and take it from there. Basically keep it simple and see where it goes. I tend to rely on organic “on the fly” composition methods, I am not particularly fond of traditional tin pan alley song structures – you will very rarely find a middle 8 in my music – so it just grew from the riff and layers of synthesis were added. For “Humble Bee” the words suggested Don Van Vliet/Tom Waits so I went for an off kilter rhythm feel and again added various textures and layers on top. All of the music was written using Ableton Live.
HEM : So what’s next?
SM : We are waiting to see the reaction to this set of tunes and we will take it from there. Mr Pretty is intending to release most of his back catalogue from previous bands he has been involved with and to that end next week will see the release of the seminal (and I use that word advisedly) album from Sicknurse from 2008 called “Nightwatch”, after that there will be a new album from Eccles based synthesist Passage of Time. Talks are underway with a number of legendary industry figures to put together some new musical collaborations.
HEM : How do people get hold of the new single?
SM : Just follow the link below. German Shepherd are asking for a payment of £1 which will help them fund future projects.