Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Free School - Tender Administration (2012)

Warning: Bumper blog & interview with an awesome band. Read the intro or skip to the interview. 

This post was rudely interrupted by my holiday – so it’s not quite as timely as I would have liked!!
Anyway, I recently went to the awesome Mostly Jazz Festival in my hometown of Moseley in Birmingham. It’s in Moseley Park – a smallish local park where I whiled away much of my youth. How ace is that?
So that makes it doubly amazing that it now plays host to a couple of great festivals – in addition to Mostly Jazz there’s also Moseley Folk Festival which is definitely worth checking out – it’s on in a couple of weeks!
It was pretty surreal standing watching Roots Manuva tear it up in the same place where I used to play football and goad swans.

Anyway. As well as some great big names like Roots Manuva, Ghostpoet, Gilles Peterson, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (yep!), there were some ace bands I hadn’t heard before. I loved Free School and their unique brand of chilled, animal-masked electronica. So I gave em a shout to see what they’re all aboot…

Free School is Steve Alcock and Andy Porteous. They enjoy skinning animals and making music out of their faces. Photo credit: Jack Spicer Adams
Why not click play here and then listen to their music while reading the interview below? Hmm? Why wouldn't you DO THAT?

Fucking Chill: So - who are Free School and how did you guys get going?

Steve: We were described recently as Birmingham’s finest romantic electric duo. Can I just state for the record that we’re not romantic together in the slightest and that anyone who says we are and that Andy often cooks for me is lying. We’ve been playing together in bands since 2004 but we decided to start a new thing 3 or so years ago and here we are.
Andy: Steve never cooks for me.

FC:  Mostly Jazz Festival was ace! D'ya have a nice time?!

Steve: It was swell as hell, thanks! Did you? George Clinton and Fred Wesley in our local park! I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. It was great to hook up with Gilles Peterson again and to finally see Troumaca who we’ve been meaning to catch for a while.
Andy: Loved it, Soweto Kinch and Roots Manuva tickled my fancy, and we met some nice people who dug our stuff, what’s not to like?

FC: I had a banger, thanks. Who was the dude tambourining through the crowd during your final song? That was a nice touch. Panaudio shit!

Steve: Ha! That would be SeƱor Greg Bird, our flamboyant and sensual singer. He likes to party.
Andy: Check out his Greg Bird & Flamingo Flame outfit, sexy Prince-style vocalising over classic, filthy house. It’s fantastic, his ‘Black Tableaux’ EP is coming out soon on Speech Fewapy.

FC: Filthy Prince? Hello. We like our singers flamboyant and sensual here at Fucking Chill. What else have you been up to recently?

Steve: We’ve just played the Garden Festival in Croatia which was spectacular. What a festival! We hooked up with Andrew Weatherall and Sean Gorham, Mr Weatherall in particular looking splendid on the beach in his Victorian attire. Prior to that we played a great show with Editors and PEACE at the HMV Institute here in Birmingham. And we just played the ‘Off The Cuff’ festival, also in Brum. We’ve just put out the 14th episode of our podcast, this episode being the second part of our interview with Mark E. 

Andy: We’re also organising our ‘TenderAdministration’ night at the Bulls Head, Moseley. The next one is falling nicely on Sunday Aug 26th bank holiday, meaning everyone can stay up and no excuses. We’ll be playing live and we’ve got some amazing headline DJ’s to perform, namely Adam Regan from Leftfoot and the legendary DJ Dick from Rockers Hi-Fi. There’s also been a bunch of production work we’ve been doing for some awesome local talent; Victories At Sea, Sam Redmore and Big Tent & The Gypsy Lantern. It’s been a busy studio chez Free School.

FC: Jesus it's all popping off - that's great! Now for a shit question: how would you describe your music?

Steve: Uplifting, elevating, melodic plus drum fills
Andy: I wouldn’t. I’d just say I’m in love with it.

FC: Nice. Who are your main influences?

Steve: I like what Luke Abbott said recently about influence in that you can’t control it. Therefore you can’t discuss influence with any certainty because your creativity channels your ideas from a place we can’t access. Also, bad music can influence you as much as good music in that it helps you to avoid making certain decisions in the studio etc. Buuuuut, our new stuff nods to The Field and Fuck Buttons. The main influence for the album was Lindstrom, Depeche Mode and a little bit of LCD Soundsystem.
Andy: Orbital.

FC: Hadn't heard that Luke Abbott bit before - that's cool and I'd agree. What have you released so far and what have you got coming up?

Andy: A couple of 12”s through Tirk, ‘Ranting & Raving’ and ‘Unravelling After The Lottery’, a couple of remixes, one through local House label ‘Out Of Bounds’ and another on Disco label ‘Nang’. But this week sees the release of our debut album ‘Tender Administration’, through Tirk, which we’re very excited about, we’re really proud of it. Coming up we’ve got a very exciting remix of someone already mentioned in this interview, but we can’t say just yet! Also there’ll be stuff out through London label ISM records. More to follow…

FC: Juicy. Although if you expect any more coverage on FC you better email me that mix gossip. Last one - any gigs soon we should know about? Time to plug now!

Steve: The aforementioned ‘Tender Administration’ night at the Bulls Head, keep an eye out for the glitter-covered posters! 

Listen to Free School's Tender Administration above and then buy it from Tirk Recordings!


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