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Added 20th June 2007 by Robin


Inspiral Carpets

Press article about the Inspiral Carpets from M62 magazine, issue no.2, July/Aug 1988.
Full text reads: [page 1] Clint built a cow. That's typical of Clint. If you are aware of Inspiral Carpets then you'll be aware of Clint, producer of thick, enveloping keyboards (Well, it's an you remember organs?) and a strange practical sense of humour. He likes building things. At the moment a cow but next time it may be....
"A plane crash, I might build a plane crash. I've already got a few seats." I've been seduced by the music of Inspiral Carpets of late. It seems to leap out above and aloof from all the rest. A huge sound. A sixties organ wrestling with the dark hardness of a Sonic Youth or Fall. Someone said they sounded like The Stranglers, someone else said The Doors, but I don't know. Make up your own mind. Catch them alive and kicking on their soon to be released E.P. on Play time Records. Five songs, four originals and a cover (96 Tears). A great, distinctive little record.
So I go to meet them. I go to Ashton. To the Mill. (Clint's recording studio-cum rehearsal rooms). We sit in the control room and in the background there are whale noises. Apparently this is the sound they use as a backing tape on their live gigs.
"It doesn't really sound like whales when we play, infact it sounds like the organ".
Inspiral Carpets gather round. I'm not going to bore you with their names and respective tasks, partly because it makes ever so dull reading and partly because I can't be bothered to ask. There doesn't seem to be any point. So they sit about and joke. They look scruffy, in a clean sort of way. They could be any band. I ask them if they see themselves as a band who are crafting one distinctive overiding 'sound' rather than a collection of songs?
"No not at all", they state as one, "we are more of a songs band really. All the songs we do are very different."
Well thats blown it. The theme of the entire interview is instantly quashed. Never mind, when faced with disaster, go for the obvious. Undoubtedly, Inspiral Carpets use an overwhelming sixties base to their sound. How do they justify this and more importantly, how do they deflect the charge of revivalism?
"We're not revivalists at all. Half of us don't even like sixties music, we much prefer the music of the eighties it's far livelier, more sussed. Every band, every single band has influences..
[page 2] Oh let's not get on to that one. But Inspiral Carpets, their name their music, their artwork are more than a few casual nods back to any bygone era.. and I think they do it in a very healthy way.
"We've been asked to submit a track to a German based compilation album that is very sixties based."
"But what do you do if someone asks you to go on a sixties style album... you pretend to have a sixties style."
Fair enough.
Do you, because of your name, get asked to play dippy little clubs with a psychedelic disc jockey and an Afghan clad crowd, do you get any of that?
"No that's not happened yet. We play a little club in Sheffield where the lad who organises it is very into all that acid thing... but then again he's only fifteen. His mum read one of his letters and he had to shave all his hair off. Other than that... Nathan, the manager of The Bodines let us support them in London once with the condition that we had the strobe light on all through the set. That was murder."
And illegal I think.
"Well, there were no police there. Listen, what do you think we sound like? Who do we remind you of? The Stranglers?"
Yeah, a bit... and perhaps a little bit like Sonic Youth... which is a compliment.
"Yeah, Chris Goodwin said that we sounded like Sonic Youth with an organ. That's a good description." Alright then, Inspiral Carpets, band of the eighties...
"hang on, we don't want to be the sound of the eighties, the eighties are nearly over aren't they?"
Oh yeah, that's a point, band of the nineties then. Do you think this is a good time to be in Manchester? A positive era? "Yeah definately, it's a very healthy time in Manchester. There's so much great music being produced from here.... a lot of crap bands but an awful lot of good ones too."
But isn't it a little sad that more local music struggles to find an audience whereas, at the Hacienda, they swarm to celebrate music from other places?
"It is sad about the Hacienda. I'm glad it's doing well now but they should do more for Manchester music. We'd love to play there. It's the one remaining club in Manchester which we haven't appeared at, and we'd love to play it."
Alright, forget all that. What about this cow then? It's a bit Pink Floyd isn’t it?
"We never thought of that. The idea came from our slide show and, because people like The Shamen have a really expensive hi-tech slide show and we couldn't compete with that, I wanted something three dimentional. It's something to identify with us. People remember the cow."
"We'll build a real one when we have more money."
What, I ask, is their most satisfying acheivement to date?
"Er... we don't know.... do we? Getting this record out on Playtime. Then again, we were pretty excited about the Debris flexi, Garage Full Of Flowers."
Did that do you a lot of good?
"It was nice but it didn't really do anything for us."
Did it harm you? Attach a stigma? (Sorry Debris, had to ask.)
"No it didn't do us any harm. It was the only Debris flexi track that John Peel didn't play."
And yet it was probably the most listenable.
"Well we thought so."
So why have you gone to Playtime?
Well, we did speak to Playhard which is a more aggressive label in a way but the Playtime thing seemed more solid. We're really pleased although we never thought we'd be sharing a label with Mirrors over Kiev.... but thats good because we are so different to them, there's no competition."
[page 3] The little labels are finally providing quality music in Manchester, perhaps this was inevitable after years of being ignored by the majors. This bunch, for a change are realistic about their future.
'We don't plan anything. You can't anyway. You can't say that you are going to get a major deal next year because you just don't know. Before that you have to find an audience and build your own reputation anyway. It may take ten years. I think that the longer you keep going, if you are positive about it, the stronger you get. We have no time limits.
It comes as some surprise for me to discover that, in one form or another, Inspiral Carpets have been using that name since 1981. All being well, there may be an album out before the close of the year. I think they would make a strong album. More exciting though, would be the prospect of Inspiral Carpets, and Clint in particular, being granted a large amount of money to build something awesome, something legendary, something truly over the top.
Flying pigs at Battersea would seem futile by comparison.
Mick Middles

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