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

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Together with its phenomenal travelling roster of UK and international performers, TUSK Festival has a distinguished record of showcasing the finest leftfield sounds emanating from the North East itself. This tradition dates back to 2011 when fiendish noisemakers Foot Hair opened the inaugural event at the original Star & Shadow Cinema – and it’s a group spawned from their ranks who make for one of this year’s most eye-catching bookings.

“TUSK covers the whole gambit of what’s considered experimental music – from extreme noise to Iranian classical,” notes Lucy Adlington, who together with Gareth Abrahams and Sam Booth completes Durham’s Mondo Sadists – specialists in what they’ve facetiously coined ‘Satanic lounge jazz.’ “We’ve been asked to play with such a wide variety of acts over the years, so it’s something we’re looking forward to being part of. It’ll be interesting to see how loud we can get at the Sage!”

Despite coming together three years ago, the band have kept a deliberately low profile, and are only now applying finishing touches to a debut EP – out in time for TUSK via Abrahams’ Lugubrious Audio label.

“Gareth and I met at a tape event at Empty Shop in Durham,” says Lucy, recalling the group’s origins. “He’d heard my Nuclear Holocaust tape and said he was putting a band together, then asked whether I’d be interested in joining. I’d actually met Sam briefly before that – it was on Halloween at the Old Police House and I think I was dressed as a nun. I had to go home because I had a fucking migraine, so it was a weird introduction!”

We’re not a band who take ourselves too seriously, and if you’re not having fun then what’s the point?

Nevertheless the trio’s initial jam sessions revealed searing synergy; a “grotesque carnival of sound” born from an infernal amalgamation of influences. “It felt like a very interesting culmination of the three of us together in the room,” Lucy recounts. “We all come from weird noise backgrounds, so we like pretty similar things. I think the biggest things we share are bands like The Birthday Party and the Butthole Surfers. There’s also quite a strong Lynchian vibe along with directors such as Dario Argento and Jean Rollin, and Sam and I like a lot of old school jazz: Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, etc.” Having spent countless hours experimenting under her solo guise Stealing Kittens, it wasn’t long before Lucy’s mangled guitar sound came to the fore: “There were a few pedals that I wanted to try out from an old project. They make a really ghastly, gnarly sound which I love – almost like two animals scrapping! It creates a huge texture on top of Sam’s primal drumming and Gareth’s queasy slide bass.”

At close quarters it’s a clamour that’s as difficult to forget as it is to evade, yet little of this frightful din translates to the online arena, with the trio instead preferring to spread their wares via word of mouth. “We’re not big online people – we’re quite lazy in that respect,” Lucy acknowledges. “There’s a really strong underground network of bands across the country who still function beyond that world. It makes me happy and I like having to seek interesting things out, because not everybody is comfortable having to constantly self-promote. We’re not a band who take ourselves too seriously, and if you’re not having fun then what’s the point?”

Mondo Sadists play TUSK Festival at Sage Gateshead on Sunday 13th October. The band’s eponymous debut EP is out this month


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