Friday, 4 May 2012

AAH! Reel Monsters: Neil Debnam (Fighting Kites/Broken Shoulder)


On the eve (more or less) of the release of the debut Fighting Kites LP, we called on our favourite instrumental antihero to talk us through his Top 5 favourite Audio Antihero 'jams'. I told him he could choose his own material, so he isn't completely to blame for doing so.

Neil is invaulable and a massive angelman. His work as Broken Shoulder and with Fighting Kites (not to mention the short-lived Benjamin Shaw Band) were invaluable and brought a new dimension to Audio Antihero's output and he's been the source of plenty of proud moments for me. He moved to Japan a couple of days ago and I'll miss him.


He recently wrote an article for This Is Fake DIY. Grudgingly I'll admit that they're more legit of a publication, so read that too - http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/articles/blogs/fighting-kites-five-reasons-you-dont-need-or-want-a-singer


Sitting in my new place with my record player and music collection in a shipping container somewhere on its way to Japan might not be the best time to write comments on my favourite AAH songs, I guess. So, please don't take this as my list of the 5 highest quality AAH recordings, although it could well be. Equally, the inclusion of some of my own stuff might bring a little twinge of irritation towards me, so don't hold that against me either please. Like I said, there are mitigating circumstances. Maybe I should say this is the top 5 AAH songs that I am able to write something about. Not quite as catchy though.

1. Benjamin Shaw - The Birds Chirp And The Sun Shines
Too many of his songs to choose from really, but have decided to go for this one. Benjamin Shaw, former colleague in two jobs, one warehouse and one hospital, future musical collaborator in our new noisy project that I can't remember the new name of, and most of all singer-songwriter extraordinaire. Although I realise the term singer-songwriter comes with some unpleasant baggage that he dispenses with. Live and recorded, two very different packages but both equally appealing. I don't need to tell you how good this song is, as you will almost certainly already know. So, let's move on to the next one. As long as you promise to buy his album if you haven't already done so. 


2. Wartgore Hellsnicker - Ten To Two 
My other warehouse colleague in fine form. Should also mention that Wartgore put on a cracking show in Watford that Fighting Kites played at. The pub landlord even made chilli. Sadly I am a veggie, but I still gorged myself on tortilla chips, and chips. One of the other bands said we were 'sick' that day. I am not sure what sense of the word they meant. Of course, the song is named after the time every day that we would discuss our future domination of the AAH roster and what will in the future be described as the AAH supergroup Tapegun. Unfortunately as no-one else from the warehouse has released on AAH yet, I will have to be more imaginative now.


3. Jack Hayter - I Stole The Cutty Sark
Jack Hayter is a lovely feller, and I have sneaky connections with this song. It was played at the start of the show when I did my first Resonance session. I was a bit worried they were going to find out how much I was winging it, but them playing this song gave me something to talk about in the interview. AAH takeover! Also, I couldn't help humming this as I set fire to the ship 'for a laugh' a few years ago. Check the dates, I might be lying about this. I do like the bit where he goes 'to Lee, to Lee, to Lee…'. but in the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I have never been to Lee.


4. Fighting Kites - Wojtek The Bear
This whole split EP was unexpectedly delightful. We had been working on some new stuff and they all just seemed to fit together. The title is down to our friend Wojtek, who told me the story of the cigarette smoking bear that was adopted by a Polish army regiment. I presume that he didn't smoke till he met them, so that says something for the health benefits of joining the army. At least he didn't hang around provincial town centres on a Saturday night looking to beat up people though. At my recent Broken Shoulder gig in Canterbury I was delighted to have someone sing the opening bit of this song at me. Shows they were interested in the music, rather than just booking Broken Shoulder for the massive crowd I bring. I also like the fact that this song has been used on a few youtube videos by various people for strange things. High praise!


5. Broken Shoulder - Chocolate One Room Disco
Once again, please indulge me. Feel like this was the song that came together first on the debut album and I really like how the structure just sort of evolved. The title is a particular favourite of mine too, and one that is spectacularly inappropriate given the song. I am a bit scared of playing this live, as if I mess up the first long loop it will all fall apart. Have done it twice though, and just about managed it. Have had to return my delay pedal to its rightful owner now though, so will need to buy a new one before I can play this again. One of the perils of emigration, I guess.



Thanks BroSho!

As I said, Neil's band Fighting Kites have a LP out on Variant Records on Monday which you should listen to and buy:


He also recently released a Broken Shoulder cassette with my friends at TapeYourMouth records...whch is really good too:



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