Joey Mutant of
BLACK LIGHT MUTANTS
1. Joey Mutant - introduce us to yourself, tell us about your musical journey
Joey, 27 year olds, into punk, twee/indie pop, art, poetry, fashion, computers and retro gaming.Before listening to punk as a teen I was massively into Acid House / Trance / Chip / 8 bit music, mostly underground stuff and anything produced using computers, I used to love seeking out computer generated music that was made on the Commodore Amiga with soundtracker etc. from the early 90s and just playing that and recording it onto tape cassette, genres I still love and have a very punk ethos to them.I first got into listening to punk in about 2000-2002, I was really interested in the text files scene of the early internet and BBS Systems, especially the ones with poetry and creative writing in them, one that particularly stand out is ‘Their Ain't No Justice’ which struck a chord with me as a teen the things they were talking about as its what I felt anyway, I kept reading of bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Damned, so then I started listening to them, around the same time I used to stay behind at school and also skip lessons to do art, the art teacher introduced me to bands like Pink Floyd and The Velvet Underground which kind of made me come at punk as an art form to express myself.
I was very interested in the fashion at the time, and started making my own clothes with slogans on as I viewed it as a constant moving art exhibition I could wear and convey a message to the public.My first time singing in a band was when Casper (Now part of Buff I think) was a lodger at Una Baines (ex The Fall/Blue Orchids member) house, they were getting together a band and asked me do I want to sing with them, the band also featured Pete the guitarist from folk band The Procrastinators as well as a few other various friends, our first gig was on the biggest stage I've ever played still to this day at a festival in south Manchester. We were called "Her Majesty's Poetic Terrorists", an experimental and chaotic punk/folk sounding outfit, we did quite a few gigs for a year or 2 but always had problems keeping together a full line up, I also remember we got banned from a couple of places as well for various reasons! We also used to put on gigs with that band and distribute CD compilations of Manchester Punk bands under the name Low Profile (named after the Blue Orchids song) for a while too.Here's a video for a solo version of Punk Rock Prostitute a song I wrote with the band - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_YRmWC5E0QThe song Make Up from the first BLM CD was based on a song from Poetic Terrorists called Babycham Anorexic as well.
I had a few mess abouts after that with other bits of punk bands but nothing really excited me till the Mutants came along, as it all seemed a bit samey the bands I got together with people doing, and no one ever seemed really excited or dedicated to it.I'd known Johnny a little bit from punk gigs around Ashton and Manchester and think he had seen my art on facebook at the time, which I was doing these post apocalyptic landscapes with these mutant creatures in them (probably my state of mind at that moment). He was in the local talking to the bar guy Lee saying he was doing this new electronic project called "Eath Rod" with Sean and they were looking for someone to sing on it, Lee told them I was a bit of a singer. We then met up shortly after that and he asked me do I want to have a go at singing over some tracks creating something new, we joked that it would be what the mutants would listen to after the apocalypse with their mutated ears originally wanting to make something sounding completely horrible.We first sat down and had a listen to some of the tracks, I think we were going for some sort of early industrial music type sound to start with and trying to make something that was actually difficult to listen to, the basic idea was there are no rules on sound.
We decided to get Martyn (who I went to School with and now also live with) involved who could play bass, we did a couple of rehearsals to this old electronic drum machine, then Martyn said his mate Joe from work could play drums so we got him involved and after a couple of weeks we thought ‘wow’ we have something good here and within a couple of months we had done our first gig and released our first demo called "001" on tape cassette.We have been constantly creating music/art/etc. since then and it’s always been exciting playing with everyone, never a dull moment.
2. What are the main aims of the BLM crew and how much is art an influence?
When we first started the whole idea was to create something different outside of what people feel safe and comfortable with, we were all bored of other punk bands and projects we had been in before and wanted to do something different and felt that parts of the punk scene had become stagnant and there was this feeling of disillusion with certain elements. We set out with the idea that anyone in the band can do what they want, dress how they want or bring whatever sounds to the table that they wanted. Art plays a major role in the band, some of the ideas from the first CD came from pictures that I created. I think a lot of my lyric writing comes from spending a few hours on an idea in a visual sense thinking about a concept. I often get inspired to write after I have come up with some imagery. Art is also a part of our live shows, in the way we look, we try to convey a different message at each gig and question the norms and social rules that people are used to and sometimes go into a more performance art type stunts, we intend to do this a lot more and have been working on lots of backgrounds to hang around venues when we turn up as well as trying to create video projections and using different lighting and other things such as different clothes/make-up for effect.
3. Who are you favourite artists by the way and what makes them so inspiring?
Max Ernest - I love Max Ernest's work, particularly his alien landscape type pieces he does using the frottage technique where he smears paint down the page and then rearranges it in collage... it makes these extremely detailed alien looking landscapes. I like the idea of this and use it a lot in my work, creating interesting parts of pieces by creating areas in an abstract mess and chaos.
I sometimes like to create pieces you can look at over and over again and each time you see different details and parts within all the chaos. Vivienne Westwood / McLaren - I like the fashion and clothes they created as well as looking at them from a marketing point of view. They created a lot of clothes in the "situationist" style that make people think when they look at them, sometimes something very different than the first glance on the surface.Jamie Reed - I really like his punk collage style and I find a lot of my work especially from a couple of years ago was a lot about collage mixing many different images together in a cut and paste style.Tracey Emin - Emins work is an inspiration as she does some really dark and personal pieces as well as pieces to create reaction, in a really simple but clever way to get her message across, I particularly like her sketches she does and things like "Unmade Bed" and "Everyone I've Ever Slept With"Jenny Saville - Love Jenny Savilles work, I like how she paints the story of the human condition in all its ugliness emphasising the parts that people would generally consider disgusting or ugly, she paints images of the morbidly obese, anorexia, pre-op transsexuals, etc. A lot of my work focuses on thatManic Street Preachers - Their early look has always been a inspiration on my fashion and ideas wise, they used their glamorous look and sloganeering to show their political message and separate themselves from the small grim mining town where they lived.
4. Using a fish hook and inserting up your back passage, would you pull out several inches of bowel which you could then leave dangling from the said invaded orifice. If so then would you dip into assorted paints and draw a picture with the dangling intestine - if 'yes' what would you draw and what would be the title of the piece. As an added extra - would you also let a purple flamingo nibble the bowel bits after they have been cleansed of all artistic materials?
"Streamer of a Blood-soaked Bowel", yes!
5. How are you finding the so called 'punk scene' these days mate and what flaws and successes have you come across?
I do enjoy the punk scene although I feel it’s really fragmented, amongst it though you make some really great friends and it feels like a family at times. I love the fact you can turn up to any random city and there is usually always a familiar friendly face there where ever you are. There are some parts of the scene that I don’t like, a lot of people seem a little stuck in the past and have a lot of prejudices against people who are slightly different.
6. Punk has many strains (if it be punk at all), what is your favourite sub-generic mode and why? Also what bands are currently rocking thy rafters!
My favourite sub-genre of punk if you would like to call it that is Indiepop/Twee, it came out of the post punk scene. Like punk it’s all DIY and underground, tiny labels and independent artists producing music themselves without the mainstream. It has this uncool, non rock and roll style to it which I love, it’s got a feeling that anyone can get up and do it even more so than punk and was probably a big inspiration to do that myself, you don't need spiky hair and bondage trousers, you can be the effeminate awkward shy kid if you want. Early bands of the genre to check out from my favourites are people like Tallulah Gosh, The Pastels, The Field Mice, Blue Boy, Heavenly. Labels like Sarah Records, K Records etc. My favorite current bands I've been to see recently in the genre and ones I've been listening to: The Lovely Eggs, Allo Darlin', The Just Joans, Standard Fare, Soda Fountain Rag, The Smittens and loads more.I'm also into allsorts of other stuff some main things being anarcho punk, 50s/60s girl pop, antifolk, etc. etc.
7. Sebastian Coe vs the corpse of Andy Warhol in a todger tug of war battle - each contestant has his buttock filled with concrete before the start - who would win and why? Also if you could tie a piece of rope to something and pull really hard what would that something be?
I don't know much about Sebastian Coe so Andy Warhol... I'm not sure what I would tie a rope around ha ha.
8. The best CD's you have heard, books you have read and things in life you have seen and, the worst?
Some CDs - Hard question here are a few random favourites -Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible, all the Manics albums are a big inspiration especially the early ones with the more punk sound. This is probably one of my favorite albums, it gets really dark and into the human spirit and makes you question a lot of things both personally and politically.Allo Darlin' (Self Titled) - I have loved this album for the last 2 years and it hasn't been off my player since I got it. They focus on lots of personal issues and stories about life. With questioning about punk, relationships and a love song about cooking. Elizabeth Morris's vocals are just beautiful too!Crass - Penis Envy / Yes Sir I Will / Christ - my favorite Crass albums, the more experimental arty of the lot, I liked the use of make shift instruments and electronic sounds inspired by John Cage, all planned in layers that many would just dismiss as random noise.Atari Teenage Riot - Delete Yourself - Love these, probably quite a big inspiration the mix of high energy politically charged punk with the electronics and also the art elements of their videos.Tallulah Gosh (Self Titled) - Probably one of the first indie pop bands I got into, fell in love right away, it had the speed and energy of punk and a lofi almost amateurish sound that seemed to fall over itself, then with the female vocal harmonies over it I thought it was brilliant!
Books -Somewhere between the famous five and George Orwell with a music history, art, marketing, politics and local history books thrown in.
Random best things seen - I used to climb around old buildings and such a lot doing a bit of urban exploration, love seeing all the urban decay, and places just left as if everyone had upped and downed tools a few hours ago, some of my most favorite memories are going to these places, just admiring the beauty of something that not many people would see, like the world could have stopped outside these places and we wouldn't know. It inspires a lot of artwork and a lot of ideas around songs at times, like the song Fairy Lights.Random worst thing seen -When I was about 20 I was working as a software engineer over in Morocco for a few months for a clothes manufacturer, the poverty divide in the country really shocked me, on my way to work I would pass palaces but then as you reached the edge of the city you would see people living in the slums, makeshift houses on the edge of rubbish tips, going over them for bits of metal to sell. Not too good to see how these people lived there.
9. Where do you expect to be in 5 years time and how do you see the sound of the BLM mob progressing?
Still doing our own thing if people like it or not! I think Black Light Mutants has always been an organic progression of sounds, when we started out we had no idea what it would sound like, it all came together using a variety of different sounds, we always tried to experiment with no rules on certain sounds and are continuing to do that, its all about what sounds good and interesting to us. We have just recorded our 2nd CD and are currently mixing it, there are lots of new sounds coming through in lots of different directions, both using our electronics and effects as well as trying out different guitar styles and vocal styles.
10. Fallopian McPox once tried to seduce a duck using nothing more than retro pictures of sticklebacks and growing a rare form of duckweed on his testicles. It didn't work! The lights are dimmed, you have a Mallard coming to dinner, the chances are that romance is in the air - how do you go about luring this quacker into a night of passion?
Dress fabulously glam in my feather boa, brightly coloured feather plumage and glitter!
11. Describe your fellow band members in 5 words each - one must relate to an Indian dish?
John - Arch Noise Druid ov the Marshall Stack
Sean - Evil Plastic Space Synth Midget
Martyn - Drainage Loving Mime Artist Extraordinaire
Alistair - Manic Balti Pan Banging Loony
12. Finally push thy cause, your bowel still dangles, another pot of paint needs to be used, - scrawl thy publicity message across the scabbed arse of the scene - make us pay homage to the Mutants!
Send us your dirty socks!