INTERVIEW: Lovely Wife & Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska by Graeme Baty

Two of Newcastle’s improv behemoths, Lovely Wife and Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska, release a split EP on 10th September with local labels Panurus Productions and Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings.

Having been staples of the psych/doom/noise rock scene for several years, both bands have built a sizeable following thanks, in part, to live shows which are unexpected, exhilarating, and above all, loud as hellfire.

Given their obvious affinity for each other’s approach, we were interested to find out what drives them to create the music they do, and in typical style, the bands spoke to us as collectives rather than individuals. “Lonely Wife started as a way to go and see our friends in other parts of the country without actually having any songs,” is the opening epithet from Joe Garrick (bass) and James Watts (vocals). The band’s doom/noise rock sound was cemented in 2012, self-described as “Slabs of bass hurled at chunks of vocals and pushed through a drum mangler with the speed set to random. Problem noise rock for the some of the masses.”

Similar motifs and riffs carry over but no two sets ever transpire the same

The psych-driven space rock of SDBIA, otherwise known as Aaron Bertram (bass/vocals), Alex Johnston (drums/percussion), Chris Jude Watson (guitar pedals/mouth sounds), meanwhile is more abstract in its approach: “like being on-board an interdimensional space exploration vessel barrelling through a wormhole with an occasional break for some IRN BRU.”

Despite their differing feelings over salad materials (apparently a driving force when deciding to work with other bands on split releases), both bands cite a restless spirit and desire for constant creation as their raison d’etre when it comes to improvised music. “We don’t have to practice because every gig is a practice. We also get bored easily and improv keeps everything fresh and allows us to get loads of different people in to drum for us as well as giving us the option of adding extra elements as we see fit.” Lovely Wife explain. “It gives us freedom to create a bespoke set to play at each gig, without the added hassle of having to learn everything beforehand.”

For SDBIA, the infinite possibilities of the live performance is a driving factor, that and the desire for an easy life. “It’s easy. And we can’t remember songs. We don’t even know what the notes on the instrument are. And because we like to create a unique performance at every gig. Similar motifs and riffs carry over but no two sets ever transpire the same. It’ll never get old for us.”

Image: Lovely Wife by Graeme Baty

The live show is arguably where both acts shine brightest and they’re confident there’ll be a live release show in the offing soon, the bands attempt to crystalize their performance: “Raucous noise rock and/or doom and/or grind and/or punk and/or sludge.” Say Lovely Wife, on what audiences can expect. “A different drummer than last time. Possibly more drummers than last time, or less. Mic’d up exercise equipment and other such random instruments. Bad suits, big riffs and strange noises.”

As for SDBIA, it’s all about the personal touch: “A posh baker will try his best not to play Libertines drumbeats. A bald Cramlington radgie will play one note for 40 minutes and lose touch with his mind. And a weird hippy will throw a guitar round and make an idiot of himself.”

Lovely Wife and Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska release their split EP on 10th September via Panurus Productions and Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings.


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