Saturday, 28 August 2010

K&A with Punch & the Apostles

Punch & the Apostles - Meat In Summerland Punch & the Apostles - Hymn To Death

How does that old cliché go? You wait ages for a bus and then three albums come along in the space of six months? Something like that anyway..

Well, as the title of the post and that warbled intro suggest, Punch & the Apostles are back next week with two more amazing albums, the 35-minute continuous piece Hymn To Death, and the slightly more conventional Meat In Summerland, from which they were kind enough to donate Wintertime Blues to the first Kowalskiy EP.

Wintertime Blues (from Meat in Summerland) by Punch & the Apostles

I've featured them a few times already, so it's a bit time I got around to doing a K&A session with them. Here's what they had to say for themselves....

Kowalskiy: Who are Punch & the Apostles?
P&tA: Punch & the Apostles are 5 elements of the creation of an imperfect god, the Demiurge, who - created by his mother, a partial aspect of the Divine 'Fullness' as an act of defiance, and in her shame, and in an attempt to hide him from the 'Fullness', concealed him in a cloud within which he was unaware of anything but himself - created this imperfect world in reflection of his imperfection.

Kowalskiy: Okaaaayyyy... How did you all get together, and what's the story behind the name?
P&tA: We all met at an amateur astronomy night which we saw advertised in the back of the Herald. It was around the time of the Perseids in 2007. The rate of the shower was quite low so we were chatting whilst keeping an eye on the sky. The Perseids has been visible for the last 2000 years or so, so we were talking about the New Testament and the various possible stars that could have been the Star of Bethlehem. It's interesting because of course in the Gospels there are various historical pointers that raise questions of the exact date of Jesus' birth given what was seen in the sky. There are various hypotheses, some more convincing than others, though various other problems are posed by the time of the reign of Herod (who was meant to have been ruling when Jesus was born), and the execution of boys aged two and under that he ordered before his death shortly after a lunar eclipse (usually thought to have been the eclipse of March 13th, 4BC (though no record of a census during that time exists, perhaps just a mistake on Luke's part)). Anyway, we were watching the Perseids and talking, and for whatever reason had a job lot of 'Weinachts-Punch' from Lidl, really cheap, warming, like mulled-wine, and someone, we can't remember who, though we all have claims to it, said, "ahh, Punch & the Apostles", and we all thought that sounded like a good band name, and in the course of the evening we decided to form the band.

Kowalskiy: You're a difficult band to pigeonhole into a genre. How would you describe your sound?
P&tA: Usually a series of unconnected words, pauses, gurning and gesticulation, then resignation.
Kowalskiy: I always though 'Carnival-atmosphere Screamo Indie-Jazz' wasn't far off after seeing you support Get Well Soon at Sleazy's all them years ago.
P&tA: Certainly one way of describing it.
Kowalskiy: Was also quite surprised how your sax player managed not to do himself an injury or burst a blood vessel.
P&tA: We always had the same fear, though he seemed to survive the experience remarkably well.

Kowalskiy: You released your debut album a while back. What was the general reaction to it?
P&tA: The people who heard it were very positive.

Kowalskiy: You are releasing two new albums on Monday. What's the story behind them?
P&tA: Both were conceived and realised more than a year ago. At the time, during the winter, three of us were living in a cottage without heating in the Ayrshire countryside. It was both a difficult and productive time. The pieces themselves tell the story.

Kowalskiy: Before the release of your first album, the band relocated to Berlin. What was the reason for that?
P&tA: We all, for various reasons, wanted to leave Scotland. Berlin is a city with a fascinating history and an environment which currently makes being an artist feasible in a way that would not be possible in any other European capital city.
Kowalskiy: Are there similarities between the music 'scenes' over there and in Glasgow?
P&tA: 'Scenes' were one of the things we hoped to avoid in moving. Berlin has a lot of punks, and of course, is famous for techno, though outside of that, so far, we've found people are pretty open to most things. But sure, no doubt people will always group together to create environments within which they can thrive.

Kowalskiy: Having witnessed one of your live shows, it's definitely one of the liveliest and best gig experiences I've seen.
P&tA: Thank you.
Kowalskiy: You're welcome! When can we expect more Scottish gigs?
P&tA: We're currently figuring out a return from the end of October until some point in November. This should include some premieres and potentially some collaboration with certain bands that we would like to work with. Since details aren't yet clear to us we can't really elaborate further, but we'll certainly let you know when we can.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
P&tA: Perhaps an event in the Paris Opera House, us curating, with, in no particular order or era: Ivo Papasov and his Wedding Band; Astor Piazzolla; Cardiacs; The Lounge Lizards; The Minutemen; Cannibal Corpse; Woody Guthrie; The Blue Sky Boys; The Mothers of Invention; Raymond Scott; Charles Mingus playing The Saint and the Black Sinner Lady; Rachmaninov; Scriabin; Liszt; Bartok; Harry Partch; Conlon Nancarrow; The Shaggs; Tom Waits; The Cramps; Secret Chiefs 3; Shostakovich; The Boss; Can; Naked City; Boredoms; Roy Orbison; Gene Pitney; Angelo Badalamenti; Tôru Takemitsu; The Blue Comets; Esther Rancid & the Dickheads; Zombie Morrison; Cher(only playing 'Do You Believe in Life After Love'); Parliament; Art Ensemble of Chicago; and so on and so on...
Kowalskiy: I'd say that's do-able...
P&tA: Roadies: W.C. Fields; Buster Keaton; Charlie Chaplin; Daffy Duck; Porky Pig; Yosemite Sam; Foghorn Leghorn; Elmer Fudd; Ren & Stimpy.
Kowalskiy: And the entourage?
P&tA: The '87 Detroit Redwings.

Kowalskiy: I tipped you as one of my bands to watch in 2010. So far, with 3 albums you're not disappointing. What bands would you recommend we look out for in the rest of the year?
P&tA: Esther Rancid & the Dickheads, Zombie Morrison and Champagne & the 2B Pencils are all ones to watch.

Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from Punch & the Apostles this year?
P&tA: Hopefully at least one more album, perhaps two; a TenTracks bundle of older songs and rarities; bread-baking tips; any number of other things yet to be decided.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, any interesting, exciting, or just plain embarrassing facts about the a fellow bandmember you'd like to share?
P&tA: Is nothing sacred?

Both albums are released on Monday. Until then you can have a listen over on their SoundCloud page. The press release says Hymn to Death "merely hints at what is yet to come". If that's the case, it can't come soon enough!

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