My Inspiration: Ben Bazin And The Catwalk Models – Every Dogma Has Its Day | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The newest addition to the Ben Bazin and the Catwalk Models discography, Every Dogma Has Its Day, departs from the driving energy of the band’s previous releases, instead creating an atmosphere of slow and rising tension, ready to explode at any minute. Here Ben Bazin tells us the inspiration behind the latest release.

The drum-kit was disassembled, providing resident percussionist, Frank Withers, the opportunity to take to the vibraphone, tubular bells and gong with a menacing conviction that took the entire band by surprise. In the corners of Victorian public houses and the most crooked cobblestone streets, Oscar Arnell traded and bartered for the black-market’s finest double bass. Some say it cost him his soul. I also heard from the grapevine that Ashley Grace’s banshee-like vocal cry could be heard from the South to the North the day she laid the final takes upon ‘Every Dogma’. The final stage was up to Bazin himself and, driven by the will bestowed upon him by the reverberation of the vibraphone, he wrote. Part dream, part nightmare, part total sobering reality, the embryo became a child. The song has been debuted live, and is a regular in the set-list.  The live version only adds to the legacy of ‘Every Dogma has its Day’; Miles Simpson’s signature saxophone licks and James Moss’s eerie baroque keyboard will stick in the mind of the listener for years to come. 

The inspiration for this song came from many places. I won’t linger on the more obvious influences, such as Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, as I’m sure most listeners will pick up these traces that have been left on Bazin’s style, as he is a clear fanboy of so-called ‘sad bastard’ music. The album Queen of Siam, by Lydia Lunch, was perhaps a less obvious musical influence, although if the reader cares to listen to the album by Lunch, and reaches the track ‘Lady Scarface’, I’m sure they will be able to hear some similarities. Lydia Lunch has a legacy that will surely go down in history; it will be taught to school children in 2300, as she is a key figure of the ‘No Wave’ scene in the 1970s. I know that Bazin has seen Lunch twice in the last few years, once in Hackney’s infamous Moth Club, and once in Newcastle’s beloved Cluny. At the Cluny, Lunch performed a rendition of the songs of Alan Vega, which I hear was truly magnificent. 

Another musical influence on Every Dogma Has Its Day, were Swans. Swans’ newest album Leaving Meaning is a triumph, but this is no surprise from the veterans. While writing Every Dogma has Its Day, Bazin had Swans’ album The Seer on repeat. At times, the album summons images of medieval séances and is truly one of the most atmospheric albums made in the 21st century. Through Swans (and through the excellent recommendation of keyboardist James Moss), Anna Von Hausswolff also influenced Bazin’s change of direction. Her newest album Dead Magic is also a truly atmospheric and spiritual journey. Listen to the single The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra and you will be drawn in. One could not conclude a discussion of Ben Bazin and the Catwalk Model’s musical influences here without the mention of Einstürzende Neubauten, who have put out a new single very recently called Ten Grand Goldie. As expected, it is fabulous, and not to be missed. 

Books and films also lend themselves to the band’s creative output, and I can name but a few here. Bazin is obsessed with Basil Bunting and Barry MacSweeney, as both poets hail from the Northeast. MacSweeney, in particular, is a name that should be better known than it is. Although it may never be the case that Bazin could claim to write anything in the same realm as Bunting or MacSweeney, their influence is still a big one. Roger Corman’s cinematic versions of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories, starring the one and only Vincent Price, are also favourites. Corman’s version of The Masque of The Red Death is especially good, although, it must be said, it is nothing like Poe’s short masterpiece. It seems witch-craft has become somewhat of a minor theme here, as another cinematic influence is VIY, the 1967 Russian horror classic, telling the story of a young philosopher-come-priest in training, set to survive a three day battle against a witch in a village monastery. The film is noticeable for its special effects, done by technical genius, Aleksandr Ptushko, who makes the chaos of the film’s climax even more memorable. Apart from cult horror classics, filmmakers such as Andrey Tarkovsky and Dovzhenko consider atmosphere in cinema in a truly unique and mesmerizing way, which brought atmosphere to Bazin’s attention when thinking about the texture of his music. 

It seems atmosphere is the central theme here, especially with regards to the latest single Every Dogma Has Its Day, in comparison to prior releases. From the macabre atmosphere created in Corman’s Poe cycle, and the endlessly entrancing motifs of Swans and Anna Von Hausswolff, to Andrey Tarkovsky, the king of cinematic atmosphere, it is clear that Bazin was trying to tap into something running between the seams of the masterpieces discussed above. It must be said that Bobby Sanderson, as a close friend of the band, introduced the idea of atmosphere to Bazin for close inspection. He is a painter, filmmaker, and wizard of atmosphere. 

‘Every Dogma Has its Day’ is out on all major platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, etc) from the 5th of May.

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