INTERVIEW: No Teeth | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by David Hall

I spoke to Sam and Owen from No Teeth in the confines of St. Theresa’s Catholic Club on a lively Friday night. It’s not quite a William Hogarth painting, but there’s still an exciting whiff of intemperance in the air. It’s an appropriate setting to tuck into the flesh and bones of No Teeth’s brilliant new record Decadence In Breeding. Sam is gregarious and bursting with enthusiasm for the record, the perfect foil to the thoughtful and docile figure Owen cuts.

It’s all about hedonism and debauchery; all of the stories we tell are about a more perverse side of life. It’s all based in caricature, there’s nothing autobiographical about it. You almost feel guilty for relating to the characters in it!” Owen summarises the group’s modus operandi in a more succinct and deadpan way: “We have a fascination with…everything terrible.”

Decadence In Breeding is a hyper-melodic garage rock behemoth, doffing its cap to iconic oddballs like Cardiacs and The Country Teasers, while very much having its own strong sense of identity. Terse tales of greed, fear and humiliation rattle through the record’s thirteen songs. The pantomime villains that pepper the group’s stories are in full flow on songs like Stealing For My Own Gain and A Horse Named Panty Raid. I Am Not An Officer is a clattering howl of an emasculated fool, and it’s not the only occasion in which lumpen, damaged masculinity rears its head.

it’s important to address that the idea of masculinity is usually a bit of a farce, which gives us something to poke fun at.

Sam muses: “We’re quite fixated on the idea of manhood and its connotations. I think it’s important to address that the idea of masculinity is usually a bit of a farce, which gives us something to poke fun at.”

No Teeth have been delighting and baffling audiences on the local scene for more than half a decade, and Sam and Owen describe the record as being something of a “hodge-podge” musically, but it’s the group’s gradual emergence into lives with more responsibility that have refined their craft and their approach to things.

The newer tunes are a bit sharper and a bit on the nose – it’s more calculated and deliberate – before there was just a natural chaos. We’ve made something a bit more thoughtful. I think a lot of it emerged from the frustration of being six people, trying to organise ourselves and doing that the best we can. We used to have a lot of free time, and now we don’t.”

The group’s industrious attitude has extended to setting up a record label, Post Post Music, to distribute Decadence In Breeding. “There aren’t a lot of labels around and we want to help other people sell records as well, not just our own. There’s a load of really good stuff out there that doesn’t get the push it should.” The band also voice a desire to continue exploring the themes they have covered on this record, and Sam winds up our chat with a slightly cryptic send-off: “If you look at the cover of the album there are six symbols around the sun, and I think these are a sign of what’s to come next.”

No Teeth release Decadence In Breeding on 21st June.


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