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Bearded Interview: Slushy Guts

July 5, 2010

I recently interviewed independent artist and print maker Slushy Guts for Bearded magazine. After making him paranoid about his acute sense of self, I felt I should spread the love further over here at PUB.lication:

To briefly set the scene, Slushy Guts is answering these questions at 11:00 on Sun 20th June 2010, from his parents’ house in southwest London. It’s Father’s Day and he is a little bit drunk because they just went out for dinner in celebration of what he refers to as an important/made up day.

Tell us who you are and what you do – your art, the blog, the nights you’ve put on, the music etc…?
Hi, my name is Steve and I am 29 years old. I make music under the name Slushy Guts and I make art under the name Chaos Vs Cosmos. I don’t differentiate between these things; they are one and the same, just different modes of expression. They are both just what I do, my approach to both is exactly the same. I don’t really think about it any more then that, it’s what I’ve always done and all I’ve ever really cared about doing. I just about scrape a living from art.

I used to play in a band called Collapse and then in a band called Bromancer. In some ways the sound of these bands was very different to Slushy Guts, but to me it’s all a continuation.

A few years ago I promoted shows in London for about 3 or 4 years, but not anymore. At one point I felt there was a need, and then I didn’t feel this anymore so I stopped. It could be said there is a need again now.

As for the blog, I can’t afford a proper website. I always feel the need to write words on it just so it doesn’t get boring for people.

And recently, I have really gotten into cooking. My specialties so far are pumpkin curry and spaghetti bolognese!

What came first: music or art?
Literally since I was able to pick up a pen I have been drawing and I’ve never stopped. I’ve always been around some kind of music but an actual interest in this came later, when I was 11 and I first heard AC/DC, Rush and Queen. I’ve been doing both constantly since that time.

Why did you choose the name ‘Slushy Guts’?
I chose the name Slushy Guts because I felt like it worked on different levels and could be read emotionally in different ways. Both words alone evoke different things but together take on a different meaning, which even then is open to interpretation. So in this way it was appropriate to me.

Just as much as this, it seemed like a totally inappropriate name to present what I’m doing, which made it even more appealing. I either didn’t want to call it something obvious at all, or wanted to call it something so obvious that it hurt and I guess this fulfilled both.

What made you want to make music in the first place?
Well, two or three years after first getting into music, almost by complete chance, I found myself to some degree a part of a d.i.y punk scene revolving around a record shop in Croydon called Shake Some Action records.

I just stumbled upon it one day and just started hanging around there every weekend. They would have bands play every Saturday afternoon, some touring bands and some that were made up of people I knew from the shop, so it was made apparent to me right then that this was something anyone could do.

Also, I guess I have always been a do-er so I wasn’t really interested in learning how to play anyone else’s songs; I just wanted to write my own. I learnt to play on a piece of wood with strings and frets drawn on it, which my friend Luke made for me. I wrote tons of good songs on that which no one will ever hear, because it had no strings and it was just a piece of wood.

From some of your blog posts and your choice of name, you seem to be quite cynically self aware, what effect does this have on your music or do you disagree?
Well, I’m totally self aware now that you’ve mentioned that! I try to stay positive but having done it for almost 15 years I am far more cynical and self aware then I’d like to be, but that can’t be helped I guess.

Like with anything in life there is lots of good but also a lot of bullshit to put up with too, which is just tiring. I do have quite a cynical sense of humor that people don’t always seem to get though. A lot of things I write and draw and sometimes say are to me hilarious or at least tongue-in-cheek but people often miss that. Sometimes I wish I couldn’t play any instruments at all and just approach it all anew.

You describe your recordings as ‘as lo-fi as can be’ – tell us about the process.
Well that’s just something I wrote on the ‘press release’ to give frightened people an anchor – I’m not including you in this, Francesca. I don’t walk around using phrases like ‘lo-fi’ though. (That’s quite a cynically self-aware thing to say isn’t it? Sorry!)

I recorded the two Slushy Guts releases on a Philips tape recorder because at the time I didn’t have access to a four/eight track or a studio and I didn’t really see sound quality as being so important that I had to wait. I just used what was around. I did over dubs on a couple of the tracks on the first CD by ‘cranking’ a track I’d just recorded through my housemates PA and recording that back into the tape recorder whilst playing along.

I’ve recorded some tracks since those recordings on an 8 track, so comparatively hi-fi! They are not out yet though, but they will be if anyone offers. One of them is on MySpace.

Your latest release is a live recording, why did you decide to tape this particular performance?
Well, honestly I was planning to do it for a while but this was the first time I remembered to bring the tape recorder. There have been better shows and worse shows, this just the happened to be the one that I taped. Not to sound like I don’t care about it, I do, just that I’m fine with, in fact I like the idea of an flawed performance being what one is presented with, it’s real. I try to play well but there is no such thing as a perfect performance and I think anyone striving for such a thing is not coming from the same place I am. It’s good though, if I’d played a really awful show then I wouldn’t have released it!

In terms of your own output and that of other artists, what do you think a live recording adds to your music?
I think it used to be much more of a prevalent thing that people would release live albums, like James Brown and The Grateful Dead, there is a history to it. But most people who would do this were well known so for me to do it just seemed like quite a ridiculous and audacious thing to do, which I like.

A couple of the songs on that CD I will at some point record ‘properly’ with a band and most of them will probably be played live with a band at some point, so this was a way to have a documented version of these songs played solo.

What is your favourite live album of all time?
Gosh I’m not sure, I should have thought about this before I released a live album. I’m thinking about what live albums I own – James Brown, The Mummies, I have a Judas Priest live album but that’s not very good, Bauhaus, The Birthday Party, The Fall. I heard a really brilliant Funkadelic live album in my friend’s car a couple of years ago but I can’t remember what it was called. My friend Brett made this recording of a Trans Am show years ago and that’s awesome.
Big Black’s Pigpile? Oh maybe Butthole Surfers’ PCPEPP? I don’t know. I’m probably missing tons of really obvious ones. Out of all of these it either the Mummies or the Butthole Surfers.

What is your earliest musical memory?
Irish folk music and Jive Bunny, haha.

If all your wildest dreams came true, where would you be in a years’ time?
I’d be right where I am right now but doing better then scraping by – or else doing really, really, really well. Either’s fine. So that’s like saying that I’m almost living the dream but not quite, but the dream isn’t actually that good anyway. Or maybe there is no dream. I don’t even know what I’m talking about now, I’m just typing.

http://soundcloud.com/pub-lication/[soundcloud%20url=%22http://soundcloud.com/pub-lication/freakish-others%22]

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