It’s been a long time since I spoke to a human. So, I decided to grow a pair of Jelly Balls and see what I could find. The first thing we found was a lovely young gentleman called Michael Gadsby, and we loved his balls. He told us that his band had just brought out a new video so we decided to bring him into the sea and have a discussion about it.
Hey Gadders. Its been a while since we last spoke, how are the Unknown Reporters?
We are getting along rather swimmingly actually. Individidual endeavours such as university and the burning grip of working life erodes into how much time you can devote to the band, but only if you let it. It’s like returning to our collective temple when we practice, and creativity still is very much present. Work is underway crafting material for outing three, – which we anticipate to be a full length album. Yet it’s onwards, upwards, and a little bit sideways as ever, demanding as well as thrilling a process. We’ve excavated the marble slabs and we’re armed with our toothpicks!
How is the EP doing?
We’ve shifted a fantastic amount of our physical copies. People seemed to be rather enamoured with that dark, funky 80s vibe and how it marries with the artwork on the cover, and we still have copies awaiting purchase in our horde.
We have managed to get it played on radio, both online and FM, and garnered a number of informative and frank reviews that we have enjoyed reading. All in all we have to be honest with ourselves and ask: “Did this fare better than our first EP?“ Yes, it did.
…Yet with all of the gestures and bravery that this music demanded from us were we to bring it to this capacity, I think it’s fair to ask what this EP has done to us.
If you haven’t seen the video for “Hole in the Ground”, check it out below.
What made you decide to use Hole in the Ground for the video?
Merely being the title track. It has that flamboyant, climbing, quasi-operatic bridge, speaks about the Medway towns as a formative place where you can first start to conjure who you wish to be. Other places and experiences may take you to the ‚next level‘ but „…we’ll remember to look back,“ on these years; the music, life, and friends that gave us so much.
The video seems very Bowie esque , what do you think are your main influences with regards to the style of the video?
I drew from my huge ‚stubborn bastard‘ reservoir and that was my main fuel I suppose. In terms of the various layers that you can see emerging at most given times, some that could be stand alone moments of surreality, they were added to the tapestry to compliment certain aspects of the song. Yet now that you mention it, it does hark to the splattered, lurid murk you see in Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes, anchored by a curiously arresting narrator.
Medway inspired me, from the crunchiest closeup of a burst pipe, or the majesty of the castle and cathedral eclipse as the train winds around to Chatham (I didn’t quite expect the sky to be that beautiful that day). I wanted all to combine into a distilled impression of Medway without going for the sentimental wide-angle landscape, all mystery would be lost then.
I just go wild for epic vistas and big skies that frame urban environments and their inhabitants like a great impassive curtain. Grit versus placid expanse, wide shot versus macro, optimistic versus cloistered in the knowing of how small you are. A great example of this is before the bridge… when those three lads on the hill start to perambulate to the right and in fades this closeup of the river Medway rippling away like boiling lead.
I love dewy and stylish 80s and 90s music videos where the colour wasn’t so true to life, reds seemed slightly orange and directors really seemed to have fun with creating an atmosphere, capturing a feel with truly expressive means. Innercity Life by Goldie (rest in peace Diane Charlemagne), and George Michael’s Spinning the Wheel are great examples of videos that forego colour for mood.
How long did the whole process take? Did you film everything yourself?
Every scrap of footage I either took or had complete jurisdiction over when I couldn’t be there to press that bloody red blister- making button. As a solo effort I couldn’t begin to tell you how long it took, especially with some unforseen digital setbacks, which… really tested my self control. I just know that I wanted to do this for my band, I had a style I wanted to engender whilst filming and editing, and that nothing was really going to stop me, I had a huge bee in my bonnet and I had to be very unflexing on this matter. Also I didn’t want to pay through the arse for something that doesn’t accentuate the music, attempt to understand us, or be this flat, unfeeling synch-fest.
What’s your favourite music video of all time?
Strewth…I can say from the onset that I don’t have one single favourite. End of, there. Though bands such as Tears for Fears (Mothers Talk, Sowing the Seeds of Love), Queen (don’t get me started on Freddie’s short skirt!), and the Pet Shop Boys (BEING BORING, West End Girls, Can You Forgive Her?) really went to great effort to compliment their music visually with character and laconic honesty.
Yet certain standouts such as when Genesis collaborated with Spitting Image on the Land of Confusion, Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer and the threadbare DIY bleakness of Visage’s Fade to Grey, I’d happily call perennials. But throw in the romance of the great American drive with Mister Misters’Broken Wings‘, a dripping Prince crawling out of a bathtub like a kitten on a mission, and who doesn‘t mind Cher straddling one of USS Missouri’s 16 inch cannons? As long as the spectacle actually says something and has the balls to do so.
By the way… 1975’s Love Me is sassy as anything!
But golly it varies according to my mood. Sometimes my favourite for the week may be someone’s concert footage because it has an interesting zoom on Rob Halford’s neck muscles as he hits an A4….you get the picture.
If you had to give one thing up what would it be, The Great British Bake Off or cross dressing?
As long as I have my Mary Berry outfit at the ready at all times, I think it might be Bakeoff! By a whisker! I do a lot of cooking regardless of how much Sue Perkins and melting mousses I watched of a Wednesday, yet I’ll retain both thanks very much! Sometimes a Fishnets Friday is just what we need.
God bless you, Gadsby.
Photo by Michaela Tuff Event Photography