MUDKISS FANZINE

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WETDOG INTERVIEW BY JEAN ENCOULE

During the past couple of years, champion skronkers and general all-girl-post-post-punkers-about-town, Wetdog, have been busy studiously carving their own particular niche in the mahogany surround that is the alternative UK independent scene c2008. Retaining leader Rivka Gillieron from their most excellent of previous incarnations, Reverend Pike, Wetdog have recently deposited their debut long player (Enterprise Reversal’ – Angular – reviewed elsewhere in mudKISS) directly into the ears of the waiting great British public.

 

Because I know how important these kind of things are to you, my favorite track is ‘Steal A Car’. My favorite colour is claret, by the way, and when I grow up I want to be a social worker. Not sure if the latter two points are as pertinent, but I know the kind of journalistic standards you mudKISS readers demand these days, and I’m buggered if I’m going to skimp on intellect!  

 

Anyway, I digress; this is what we had to say about Reverend Pike in trakMARX 6 back in 2002:

 

If you like your favourite music to be made by people who aren’t too fussed about making LP’s & would rather concentrate on amassing a collection of 7” & 10” EPs with fantastically realised home made sleeves, then Reverend Pike could well be the combo for you. They love what they do, they enjoy it to death, & their infectious enthusiasm is apparent enough to impress even the most hardened cynic. If you like your favourite music to be made by people who are acquainted with greatness, then Reverend Pike are definitely the outfit for you. They have taste & conviction, an understated dedication to deliver what they set out to achieve, on their own terms. You don’t come across bands like Reverend Pike that often these days.

 

Ignore the fact that the act of actually issuing Enterprise Reversal’ blatantly contradicts the paragraph above, and relax instead, as Encoule playfully quizzes Billy Easter, Rivka Gillieron and Sarah Datblygu in the name of Wetdog accuracy:

 

mudKISS: It's been a long journey since we first raved about REVEREND PIKE in the cyber-pages of trakMARX all those centuries ago . . . how did you get from there to here?

Rivka: Ah, traxMARX days . . . good times! By the end of Reverend Pike I was increasingly embarrassed with screeching my head off on a regular basis. Wetdog was a natural change, intended to be more playful, and with multiple female vox. I'd just met Sophie, as we both played in The Ghosts at the time, and my friend Chiara was up for trying some drumming, so we met up in the conservatory I lived in at the time (not very sound proof), and practiced until we could play together . . . just! When Chiara returned to Venice, Sarah jumped in immediately, and when Sophie left to concentrate on The Country Teasers/The Rebel, Billy was ready and waiting. Thass'all! It’s a simple tale for simple folk. 

Sarah: I can remember going to see Wetdog at Catch to kind of check them out. I'd just heard this ancient fuzzy old cassette ‘demo’ which I absolutely loved and listened to every day. I was instantly up for joining, basically!

 

Billy: I also first saw Wetdog at Catch, it was Sarah's first gig as their drummer . . . I loved it. It was a total no-brainer when they asked me to join playing bass.

 

mudKISS: Does it get at all tedious reading lazy arsed comparisons to the SLITS and the RAINCOATS all the freaking time?

 

R: YESSSSSSSSS. In rev pike we were getting the same crap before we'd even heard of the Raincoats and the Slits. When people measure you unfavorably against them, you just want to scream in their faces: 'WE'RE NOT TRYING TO BE EITHER'. Which is the plain truth. 

 

S: I don't actually mind people comparing us to other bands because I pretty much see this as inevitable, and I love the Slits and the Raincoats! Perhaps if we were compared to the Pussycat Dolls, I might feel differently! Though I don't see how we sound like the Slits even remotely . . . or the Raincoats, really! 

 

B: I agree with Sarah . . . we usually only get compared to good bands which is ace, but I think it is a bit lazy! I often wonder if people actually listen to our music before using such comparisons as Raincoats/slits etc

 

mudKISS: Can WETDOG help said pro-journos out for future reference with a few pertinent points of reference in terms of influence?

 

R: Yes! Kate Bush/Papyrus Pirates/Doo Rag/Larry Pickleman/Captain Blood Blood and the Sea Dogs/The Eurythmics/Robert Crumb/The Fall/The Country Teasers/Yummy Fur/The Kinks/Gorky's Zygotic Mynci/Deerhoof/Kleenex/Kim Deal in any form/The Boycott Cocoa Cola Experience/Matthew Sawyer and The Ghosts/Vic Goddard and The Subway Sect/PIL/Male Nurse.

 

S: Datblygu, Morrissey, Jimmy Saville.

 

B: Velvet underground, Bauhaus, Allison Moyet (loving Moyet currently, trying to push for us to do a Moyet cover), early Adam & the Ants, Electricity in our Homes, Suicide, The Vasalines, Siouxsie and the Banshees, etc.

 

 

mudKISS: WETDOG remind me of GIRLS AT OUR BEST a tad . . . is that relevant, or am I typing out of my arse?

 

R: Ooh la la, Encoule! My musical knowledge doesn't cover this, off to look it up .

 

S: Were they from up north somewhere? Were they 80's?

 

B: I am equally clueless.

mudKISS - Angular are a damn fine label with excellent taste . . . how did WETDOG end up on their impressive roster?

 

R: The very marvelous London 'face' of Angular, Joe Daniel, spotted us busking in New Cross, then we forced him into it! 

 

S: The bidding war between Sony, Universal and Polydor got too intense, so we decided to go with Joe to keep things simple.  

B: Don't forget Virgin.

mudKISS: Which other Angular artistes do WETDOG feel an affinity with?

 

R: All of them. The angular eyes are all-seeing.

 

S: Erm . . . TNP. I can't think of any others! The Violets!

 

B: Navvy.

 

mudKISS - You've just dropped yr debut long player for Angular, are WETDOG pleased with the finished product?

 

R: The vinyl is ARTIC MOSS! We are VERY pleased with it! 

 

S: Yes, though I do wince when I look at the misspelt 'Napoleon's Plan' on the track listing (yup, that totally ruined it all for us, too! - Encoule)!

 

B: We did that on purpose, remember! Yes, very pleased . . . on to the next one, asap.

 

mudKISS - What's the story behind the LP's title, 'Enterprise Reversal'?

 

R: We argued over the artwork, the tracks, the takes, the colour, whether to change our name . . . everything. There was a hotpotch of possible titles we argued over also. Oh yeah - some of it was recorded at Enterprise Studios, where we practice RELIGIOUSLY-ish. 

 

S: I don't know the story! 

 

B: All I know is that it's not called ‘Westwood Survival’, thank fu*k!

 

mudKISS - The LP has been criticized in certain quarters for being 'poorly produced' . . . it's tearing my ears off right now as I type . . . loud and fucking clear . . . so, what kind of music do you imagine the kind of people leveling such accusations actually listen too . . . and why do WETDOG think they bother writing about proper music if all they want is aural dog shit on a shiny spinny thing?

 

R: Because they want to find something to dislike to feel superior? Sneering is a good look – it hides their c**t faces? It would be like me requesting to review a Coldplay record. People have a press release when they are handed something. They chose this to slag it off - I don't blame them, a good bitch is fun when you're convinced of your own opinions. Anyhow, the production on this record is GENIUS, thanks Ben and Sophie. 

 

S: I love poor production, so these comments please me intensely. As do comments unfavorably comparing us to Ali Campbell from UB40. 

 

B: I think it's good to get a scattering of bad reviews amongst all the amazing ones we have also received. It will probably encourage people to listen and decide for themselves.

 

mudKISS - At 22-tracks in length (only 20 listed on the sleeve, he hastily notes) in only 46 minutes and 46 seconds, 'Enterprise Reversal' crams a lot in, yet some are saying: 'it's too much'! How would WETDOG answer such a charge?

 

R: Have they never encountered the word 'BARGAIN'? Anyway, we wanted to get in all down before Sophie left - and like i said, as we were arguing so much over artwork it just kept growing... 

 

S: GUILTY!

 

B: Get over it, your honor!

 

mudKISS: WETDOG have been putting some damn hard work in on the gigging route front, have you not? How's the live show angle working out these days, and how many jigs have you got under yr belts now?

 

R: Hmmmm . . . I don't know . . . hundreds? We love it. Can never get enough. Really wanna play some European dates soon, though. 

 

S: 527 gigs in total. Only joking, I have no idea!

 

B: Many, we like it.

 

mudKISS - Who have WETDOG shared a stage with that WETDOG have fallen in love with on the spot?

 

R: Richard of Papyrus Pirates.   

 

S: Hmmm! New Bloods, Graffiti Island, The Rayographs, Le Tetsuo, Betty & the Werewolves, Let's Wrestle, Hello Cuca - and many more, I'm sure!

 

B: Electricity in Our Homes!!!

 

mudKISS - On a scale of one to ten, how do WETDOG rate their audience right now?

 

R: Depends how they rate us: Eeeee!! GOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Half a clap . . . and you're in! 

 

S: 4.5

 

B: It's all about the fans.

 

mudKISS - What spectacular events have WETDOG got planned for the rest of 2008 in support of 'Enterprise Reversal'?

 

R: We are playing the Donald Trump and The Planets DIY festival in Leeds, organised by my friend Laurie. We have a new booking agent we will ask to get us slots with Bob Log III, I hope - how can we persuade Deerhoof to take us on tour? NYC, Austria, Berlin and Kingston Upon Thames loom on the horizon. 

 

S: Water-skiing across Germany, and we're also doing a sponsored 'how many copies of the LP can we fit inside our v+aginas' press event at HMV Oxford St in the new-year (I’ve managed 7-copies up my not inconsiderable Celtic arse, so the bar has been set! - Encoule!)

 

B: I'm currently in training for said event.

 

mudKISS - And finally, the spectrum illustrated by the extremes polarized in recent reviews for 'Enterprise Reversal' in artROCKER and Q Magazine respectively seem to encapsulate the predicament facing anyone making proper music in these fickle times . . . how do you view this conundrum from where WETDOG are slouching?

 

R: It's a fkking joke! You get the lovely people at Pix Magaxine, Plan B and artrocker giving you all the breaks, and then some fkwit at Drowned in Sound knocks you to your knees . . . only kidding, who reads Q anymore, anyway? The problem is that all the truly inventive musicians who just beaver away in their bedrooms don't get a look in, how do you find out about these people? It always seems to happen by chance.  

 

S: Some people think that Phil Collins 'But Seriously' is the best record ever made. Actually, they're probably right.

 

B: As above with regards to good/bad reviews.

 

http://www.myspace.com/wetdogthebest

 

Jean Encoule – Sept 2008 – wastebin@trakMARX.com