PART 1 - THE REVIEW
'Midnight, Midnight' - any Velvet Underground fans out there? For this song is a superb slice of art rock induced modern indie, what more can we say? The song gradually builds up into a crescendo like chorus in which the brooding Lou Reed-esque vocals are most prominent. The emotions in the vocals are incredible throughout the song as well, as if the singer is pouring his heart out. Eventually, the song turns into a cacophony of yelling and shouting, while still keeping the melody going strong, as if the singer has finally let go to these emotions. An outstanding piece of musical genius. Ten out of ten. Meanwhile, the b-side, 'The Mad Ones', is a slightly more uplifting affair with an almost danceable beat, while it does not reach the same heights as 'Midnight, Midnight' it does capture the frustration which the band talk off below. In conclusion, based on this momentous debut single, Bel Esprit are definitely one to watch for the future and with more experience under their belts they'll only get bigger and better!
PART 2 - THE BAND ON THE SINGLE
Bill: "If the song were to be inspired by any singular piece of work, it’d be a poem by Sylvia Plath called Lady Lazarus. The song attempts to understand why Plath from such a young age constantly tried to commit suicide and does this by combining physical love and her tormented relationship with Ted Heath with her infatuation with death. Midnight represents not only death, but her lover also. Musically we were trying to get a sense of this mad energy so we were modelling it on what Velvet Underground did in Heroin."
Bill: "'The Mad Ones' first came about by wanting to get the energy and spirit of the Beat Generation into a song. ‘The Mad Ones’, though never used as a line in the actual song is a quote from Kerouac - “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”. This is the principal reason this song exists. Yet as I wrote the song, the lyrics were no longer just capturing this energy but became an outpour of frustration, that this crazy time in the fifties had passed and we had all missed it."
PART 3 - THE INTERVIEW
1 - Had you been involved with any other bands prior to Bel Esprit?
Bill: "Yeah, I was in a blues band with Sachin called The Rusty Blues."
George – "I'd been a lone wolf up until the band formed, playing my trade on the mean streets of Upper Shirley."
Sachin – "Bill and I had torn it up in The Rusty Blues and I sneaked away to rock with The Slates occasionally, who I also drum for."
Fahad – "I was in a band called Sonic Ambulance from when I was about 14 to 16. We played a fair few gigs and supported Delays once at an outdoor festival. In college I was in an experimental band called Arteks, which took a lot more inspiration from electronic music."
2 - How did Bel Esprit begin?
Fahad – "Bill and I jammed a couple of times at college, but we didn’t do anything. Then all four of us drunkenly decided to start the band up at Reading 2012. We didn’t pursue it but then Bill, Sachin and I went to a Palma Violets gig at the Joiners and after that night we decided to start the band. Nothing happened again, until Bill booked a gig at the Talking Heads in March this year and we all got our acts together and got a few songs down."
3 - Where did the name Bel Esprit come from?
Bill - "I was reading a Hemingway novel and he mentions this fund Ezra Pound made for T.S Eliot called Bel Esprit. Saw that and it just hung in my mind."
George - "Our first incarnation, the "Bhaji Boys" met with limited success and some racial hatred so we decided to go with something literary and pretentious that no one had heard because we're edgy like that."
Bill - "Indie Blues Garage Rock Poetry."
George - "A steaming casserole of indie blues with a side of order of hyperliteracy."
Sachin - "We sound like the last band in Andy Warhol's factory."
Fahad – "Pretty much all of that."
Bill - "I’d say Bob Dylan or Pete Doherty but not sure how that’d actually go down. So…. ah Christ it’d definitely be Bob Dylan who am I kidding."
George – "Josh Homme or the Cribs."
Sachin – "Patti Smith, crazy poetry going on."
Fahad – "I’d love to write something with Julian Casablancas or Thom Yorke at the moment."
Bill - "Got a couple of little trinkets under my sleeve. The lyrics have been nailed at least down in South East Asia."
George - "We've been on hiatus the past couple of months so I'd hope so."
Sachin - "New songs are in the build stage at the moment."
Fahad – "I’ve recorded a few arrangements and Bill sent me loads of lyrics so it should be happening soon."
"Not too long. We’ve got a few songs we want to get down on record so we’ll see to that once the band all get back to England and stop messing about around the world."
George - "Supporting Crowns at the Joiners (Britain's best small venue) on the 14th September. Be there and be square."
9 - Who would be in your dream supergroup (alive or dead)?
Bill - "Blind Lemon Jefferson, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder."
George - "Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Page, Bootsy Collins and Keith Moon."
Sachin - "Tom Verlaine, Flea, Keith Moon, Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith."
Fahad - "Lou Reed or Julian Casablancas, Guy Pratt, Bernard Butler, John Frusciante and Matt Tong (I didn’t include dead people)."
PART 4 - THE QUICKFIRE ROUND1 - Favourite Beatle?
Bill – "George."
George – "George."
Sachin – "Lennon."
Fahad – "Lennon."
George – "George."
Sachin – "Lennon."
Fahad – "Lennon."
Bill - "Uh...The Libertines."
George - "Queens of the Stone Age."
Sachin - "Pearl Jam."
Fahad – "The Beatles. Most of the time I have a different favourite band, but always come back to The Beatles."
3 - Favourite new band?
Bill - "Palma Violets."
George - "Palma Violets."
Sachin - "Savages."
Fahad - "The Orwells."
4 - Favourite song?
Bill - "Christ… Heroin I guess."
George - "Here's Looking at You, Kid" - The Gaslight Anthem."
Sachin - "Sparklehorse & PJ Harvey - Piano Fire."
Fahad - "I have a top ten for each decade in no order, this is too hard to pick."
5 - Favourite album?
Bill - "Highway 61 Revisited."
George - "Handwritten - The Gaslight Anthem."
Sachin - "Patti Smith - Horses."
Fahad - "Same as the last answer."
6 - Vinyl, CD or download?
Bill - "CD.''
George - "We do like vinyl but it was expensive."
Sachin - "Vinyl."
Fahad - "Vinyl sounds nicest, but I've only got a handful of records and my CD collection is pretty extensive so I'm torn between the two."
7 - Style icon?
Bill - "Dylan."
George - "Johnny Cash."
Sachin - "Lou Reed."
Fahad - "Serge Pizzorno, Noel Fielding and Pete Doherty."
8 - Favourite clothing brand?
Bill - "I don't do brands yo."
George - "I only dress in clothes I find in car boot sales or in skips because you don't want to, like, give power to the man, you know?"
Sachin - "Hell nope."
Fahad - "Apart from a few Fred Perry polos, I mostly dress like a tramp so none really."
9 - Favourite film?
Bill - "The Big Lebowski."
George - "In Bruges."
Sachin - "Akira."
Fahad - "Pulp Fiction / Good Will Hunting."
10 - Favourite TV show?
Bill - "Mad Men / Breaking Bad."
George - "Breaking Bad."
Sachin - "Breaking Bad."
Fahad - "Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. Starting to wonder why we don't all watch Breaking Bad together."
11 - Who would play you in a film of your life?
Bill - "Ryan Gosling."
George - "Paul Rudd."
Sachin - "Animal from the Muppets."
Fahad - "If Faris Badwan ever went into acting..."
12 - Favourite food?
Bill - "Curry."
George - "Banoffee pie."
Sachin - "Onion bhajis."
Fahad - "Curry."
13 - Football team?
Bill - "Southampton FC."
George - "Southampton FC."
Sachin - Chelsea."
Fahad - "Highfield Primary Under 11s, I was first substitute..."
Download "Midnight, Midnight" for free here - https://soundcloud.com/bel-esprit-uk
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