INTERVIEW: Badger | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Simeon Soden and Christopher Maltby have both been fixtures of the North East circuit for a while – Soden with the IDM-informed Ako and the gothic dance of Mausoleums, Maltby with frantic math rockers Tiny Mind – yet their collaborative project Badger finds both of them tapping into a more playful side of their music and personalities. With one EP already released earlier in the year and new double A-side DEEPMINDED/Atom out this month, they shed some more light on how Badger came to be.

“Badger was born out of a collection of the best bits from four years’ worth of hungover jamming,” Soden begins. “Chris and I were housemates at the time in Heaton. I had a studio set up in the spare room and we began jamming pretty much whenever we were hungover or bored. I think as much as anything Badger began as a learning project, we both wanted to try new ideas and techniques that maybe didn’t fit into our existing projects at the time.  Badger itself was only ever intended as working title, but it just seemed to fit the vibe. Last year we realised we had ten or so decent demos. Around that time, Chris settled on the idea of spoken word for vocal delivery, so we whittled the list down to the first single and EP and we began recording the vocals.”

Badger began as a learning project, we both wanted to try new ideas and techniques that maybe didn’t fit into our existing projects

The Badger vibe is Soden stripping down his home studio to a much more bare-bones rig, embracing lo-fi sound palettes and whimsical melodies, while Maltby’s spoken word lyrics blur drunken philosophy and kitchen sink realism with a determined absurdist wit. Discussing how the musical identity for Badger evolved, Soden notes, “at the beginning, the influences I was bringing were things like Metronomy and Hot Chip, upbeat electronics with intelligently formed pop sensibilities which definitely stood in contrast to Ako and Mausoleums. I was coming from the minimal school of thought that is all about (for me anyway) repetition and refinement through process and reflection, and I apply that to the writing process too: we probably started maybe forty tracks over the initial four years which has been cut down to seven finished ones. Later on, we began to realise that we worked fast, ideas would form naturally and that would be evident straight away, or else it would be quickly apparent that the idea wouldn’t work, in which case we’d start a new jam.”

Formed of two tracks written directly after the release of their Seize Warfare EP, DEEPMINDED/Atom finds Badger becoming more confident and settled into their identity. Launching the release with a headline show at Little Buildings on Saturday 10th November, Soden describes a kinship between Badger and their supports, the humorous multi-media experimentation of Emergency Librarian and the brilliant ‘barely rap’ of Faithful Johannes. “I’ve been a big fan of Emergency Librarian for a couple of years after finding them during a 4am Soundcloud trawl. I decided immediately I’d love to put them on and booked them for a Kaneda night and Northern Electric Festival, and they seemed perfect accompaniment for Badger. It’s a similar story with Faithful Johannes, I really enjoyed his band [Outside Your House] and was bowled over by his solo stuff too, we felt he’d fit perfectly.”

Badger launch DEEPMINDED/Atom on Saturday 10th November at Little Buildings, Newcastle with support from Emergency Librarian and Faithful Johannes.




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