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

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He might already be known to many as one half of the post-punk band and DIY promotional machine that is Massa Confusa, but Ally Morton’s not one to rest on his heels for long. With Massa Confusa having released a new album at the end of last year and a third multi-artist compilation back in February, he’s now turning his attention to the release of Fire, the debut album from his collaborative project Five Pence Game.

Discussing the genesis of the project, Morton informs me, “It began with me wanting to explore my interest in sample based/electronic music more. I then became more interested in generating original samples rather than lifting samples from elsewhere. Furthermore, I wanted Five Pence Game to sound completely different from Massa Confusa, rather than it being Massa Confusa without Matt [O’Brien]. So I thought that if I generated samples from other people then I would have to work around what is given, produced or written with me, as opposed to directly from my idea, and my usual way of working. There are exceptions, however, in which I record my own ideas too of course. I therefore made a list of people I wanted to collaborate with, and the project grew from there!”

The ‘true’ collaborations are created from scratch in the room so nothing is set in stone

As Morton puts it, the decision-making process is far from over once the collaborator for a song has been identified. “I always ask each collaborator which instrument they would like to try in the track or if they would just like to use their voice. I also tell them to bring nothing or just a loose idea, maybe a bank of lyrics or a riff, but never a full composition. The process then differs from person to person. Some of them had heard a few FPG tracks before so knew a little bit of what to expect. Some collaborators like Jack Fallows from Skull Puppies purposefully said they didn’t want to hear the project and instead just wanted to see what would be created. The ‘true’ collaborations are created from scratch in the room so nothing is set in stone. I’ve actually been putting posts written by each member on the Facebook page about their experience of working on the project – I’ll be continuing to do this up to and after the release of the album.”

Although Morton has played a handful of Five Pence Game shows before with a small band of collaborators, for the launch show at Think Tank Underground? on Saturday 17th June he’s assembled an impressive array of talent to bring the album to life. “The core band for the night is Ian Cowie (Spacehawke) on drums and vocals, Fintan Dawson (Slurs, Retriver, Cult Image) on guitar, and myself on bass, vocals and electronics. If all goes to plan, we will be alternating members between the set with Jenny Gilberg on steel pan and flute, Jackie Purver (Retriever) on vocals, Kate Edwards on vocals, Bea García Cisneros (Twist Helix) on vocals, Aran Glover (We Are Knuckle Dragger) on vocals, Andrew Paget (Tighten Grip) on bass, Tim Head (Outside Your House) on vocals, and Rachael Whittle (Ilser) on guitar and vocals. The majority of the electronics will be played with live instruments instead of backing tracks and samples.”

Five Pence Game play Think Tank Underground? with Twist Helix and Outside Your House on Saturday 17th June. Fire is released on Clarty Cat Records the same day.

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