Yeah, OK, so I've already kinda reviewed this in Kowalskiy Belated Review #1, but when the opportunity to get a band's insight into their own music presents itself, I can't bring myself to say no. Especially when it's creepy pop sensations, and all round nice guys, Cancel The Astronauts. Having loved their debut I Am The President Of Your Fanclub (And Last Night I Followed You Home) EP, ("twenty of the most addictive indie pop you're likely to hear all year" to self-quote) I was understandably, eagerly awaiting the follow up, Funny For A Girl EP.
Like in my first K&A with this mob, I grilled frontman Matt Riley and guitarist Kieran McCaffrey about the EP. Here goes...
Kowalskiy: You've finally released Funny For A Girl, the follow-up to last years I Am The President... EP. As Baby Spice once said ... what took you so long?
Matt: We recorded most of it in a studio in a week before Fanclub was even released, but it turned out we were horribly ill-prepared so we re-did lots of guitars and synth and then remixed it. Inexplicably this process took a year and you can't even tell. Hilariously. We will be faster next time.
Kieran: The first EP took a bloody age as well though, and we had Serious Discussions about not letting the second one take so long – we thought going into a real studio to do it was the answer. It wasn’t. Now we’re having similar Serious Discussions about not letting our next release take so long. It’s possible we’re spending entirely too much time having Serious Discussions and not enough doing recording.
Kowalskiy: How does Funny For A Girl compare to I Am The President....?
Matt: It's the same? But better? A bit? Something like Standing Still is obviously quite different from all the super poppy stuff that came before it, but largely it's the same record. The two were written very closely together and could easily work together as an album.
Kieran: That said, we don’t recommend listening to them as an album, ‘cos the tracklisting wouldn’t work unless you monkeyed about with it, and they’ve been mastered differently, so it would be an ultimately unsatisfying experience. Also, I forgot to say in my last answer that another reason Funny For A Girl took so long was that we dropped a song entirely after we’d recorded most of it in the studio. It was called I Hate You All And I Wish You Were Dead, and Matty was keen for the EP to be called that too. Luckily(?) we dropped it in favour of ‘She Said…’
Kowalskiy: Is it true that the song Funny For A Girl was inspired by Rhona Cameron?
Matt: Ronnie Ancona actually.
Kowalskiy: On that note, French or Saunders?
Matt: Saunders mate. Easy.
Kowalskiy: Was She Said She Loves Somebody Else written about anyone's personal experiences?
Matt: Yes, but I couldn't possibly say who. That would be insensitive and distasteful. However, if you buy my autobiography (available in all good supermarkets for £5.99) a ghostwriter will tell you exactly who it's about.
Kieran: £5.99 is a bargain. Jimmy Page’s is four hundred and fifty quid more expensive than that, and he’s just a guitarist. Who could be interested in that?
Kowalskiy: One of your great reviews for FFAG has commented that Standing Still shows the band are quite adept at turning their hand to post-rock. Can we expect more of this in future? Are you trying to shake your creepy pop image?
Matt: We have a song called Lekking that's even more post-rock than that one. Loud noises are definitely something I want to explore further, but only ever with the singular aim of making our pop even creepier.
Kieran: If you were transcribing the intro to Lekking, you’d just have to write ‘nuclear winter’ across the score. Post-rock is my favourite.
Kowalskiy: The EP once again features amazing artwork by Ulla Saar. How did the collaboration come about?
Matt: I honestly can't remember. It was years ago though when we first started that we met via the internets. Ulla is a mad fan of Edinburgh bands, she's done artwork for Butcher Boy and she visits the city occasionally so she probably found us. We sent her a copy of our demo CD and she sent us a framed drawing. She's done some of the album artwork already and it's great.
Kieran: Yeah, we were doing everything short of carpet bombing to get our demo out into the world, and we sort of said we’d send one, free, anywhere in the world if people sent us a message asking for one. We sent one to Ulla in Estonia and she sent back some really great artwork, just to say thanks. Ulla rocks.
Kowalskiy: Can we expect a Cheryl Tweedy cover to slip onto the next EP/album? Would love to hear Cancel the Astronauts take on Fight For This Love.
Matt: We have a song called Promises of Strangers which is my attempt at writing a Girls Aloud song. That's as close as you'll get to a Cheryl cover. I don't like covers. Waste of a song.
Kieran: I thought polite society had agreed that ‘Fight For This Love’ was an abomination anyway. Cheryl should just have gone home after she did ‘Biology’. There’s no topping that. Of course, if she did go home, there’s always the chance that Matty would already be there, waiting for her, smiling. Maybe that’s what keeps her working.
Kowalskiy: What can we expect in the future from thee best unsigned band in the land?
Matt: Do you mean Babygod? You must mean Babygod, you can't be talking about us surely? Very nice if you are though... From us you can expect an album next year, hopefully preceded by some sort of EP/Single download. No firm plans as yet mind.
Kieran: Also, a music video! We’re working with another great artist, it’s all animated, and it’s got puppets, and falling over, and it’ll be done next month. We’re dead excited.
Kowalskiy: Lastly, is there anything you shouldn't you tell me, but you will because you have/want to?
Matt: Go and buy the revelatory new autobiography by Cancel the Astronauts' Matt Riley. It's called Standing, Still The Matt Riley Story and you can find out my deepest darkest secrets.
Kieran: You’ve thought too hard about that.
So, for all your creepy pop needs, head over to Cancel The Astronauts' bandcamp page and get your pennies out!