LIKE APES: GHOST HUNTING, RIDER POLITICS, SPARKLY PANTS, HOXTON, VODKA
and HOW MARY MET JAMIE...
So weíre in Hoxton
square with another bottle of vodka that isnít quite as full as it was
quarter of an hour ago, we Organs and MayKay (Mary) sitting on the grass
in the square as Hoxton goes on all around us.
MayKay is the feisty
do-not-mess glitter pants wearing front-woman of Dublinís Fight Like Apes
and theyíve just come off stage after an extremely well received middle
of the bill slot and their first Hoxton experience. MayKay glowing and
controlling in the middle of it all Pockets (Jamie) off his crutches just
while he's on stage then back on them again after a recent ghost-hunting
accident, Tom and Adrian rhythm section throwing instruments and smiles
at each other.... four people and perfect pop chemistry...
Now FLApes are a
band weíve been shouting about lots for the last year or so around these
Organic parts, the original version of Jake Summers (released on
Cool For Cats) was the Organ single of the year last year, it graced our
radio show lots, as did many of their early tracks (and lots of grace those
tracks have....). Things have been building all Summer from the strident
Irish band - festivals, tours with We Are Scientists (they won lots of
new friends in the open air over at Somerset House here in London a few
weeks back), singles on the radio...
So weíve dragged
MayKay out of the bar to sit on the grass in the square and tell us what
sheís making of it all....
Mind the dog
no dog poo, this is Hoxton!
(Whispers...) wow man, there probably isn't, Hoxton is so fíkiní weird
Yes it is, even us people who live here
in London think so....
Well if you think so than imagine what this is like for us people from
Dublin coming here for the first time.. and to me even Dublin was weird,
Iím from a farm in Kildaire - out in the countryside, this is like "what
are they all doing?! Stop everyone! Calm down the lot of you please, calm
down, enjoy yourself, donít worry... Jezzzzus...." and I have to say, my
first gig in Hoxton and I have to be very honest, I fíkiní loved it! It
was... oh, I just love the idea of playing in a place Iíve never been before
anyway, but this is extra good, I just loved having all these people just
fíkiní... just looking at me up there, me! And I know that sounds so vain
but that is how it is...
virtually every gig you play and every gig you do a new place right now
Well in the UK yeah...
Word is really starting to spread now...
In the UK
totally yeah, at home weíve got some really great crowds and a healthy
following now, last weekend we played these two festivals in real country
towns and the reaction was amazing
Were the people there for you?
to tell, I wish we could do a survey, but really big crowds and brilliant
reactions and then we come back to the UK and it is exciting but in a way
we find it a real come down. Back home we have a crowd that knows us and
know what weíre about and know the songs and then we come over here and
people just stand and theyíve maybe heard one song a couple of times on
the radio and youíre suddenly playing to a crowd that isnít sure of you
and looks like they probably want to hate you which is what I felt a bit
tonight before we went on...
Oh no, that was good tonight, the crowd
were all watching, weíre all too cool in London, that was good, I was watching
them tonight, far more people singing along and knowing you tonight, far
more that Iíve seen in London before, that had a buzz in there tonight
Well Iím trusting you on that one, but thatís the thing though, in London
things are so strange, they donít tap their feet or shake their arms or
Oh we were a London audience having good
fun tonight, people were smiling and they were singing.. that was good...
Oh Iím just not used to all this OK, Iím just a farmerís daughter from
Ireland and Iím not used to people not expressing themselves. If I go see
a band straight off, even if Iíve never heard of them before, if I like
them then my body will just move - it isnít like a decision I make, it
will just move and if I already know their songs then Iíll sing them louder
than anyone, it isnít a case of thinking about it and it isn't, Jesus,
let me see, will I give them the time of day or not?
Weíre spoilt in London, we get good gigs
almost every night of the week...
I find it
all so so strange, I love London, and I donít want to sound like Iím bad
mouthing it, and I appreciate all thatís happening very very much and I
love that people made the effort and came out to see us tonight and this
is a pinnacle of so so much in terms of music... but.... it is fuckiní
hard... why do you all stand there with crossed arms guys!? Iím sure
you can do the superheroes dance like the rest of the world if you try.
Come on! Try it, you can dance, you can do the superheroes dance, you can
even do that old rocker dance, you can do any dance you want! All you ever
do is the oh-who-are-you-folded-arms-standing-still dance! But hey, I love
it here, isnít it the best place to play though? This is how you know how
youíre doing, if I want to gauge how weíre really doing.... I want to get
a reaction and fuckin well get it here in Hoxton
But can you gauge any of it right now?
I mean things are changing daily, that gig you did at Metro in Oxford Street
a couple of months ago, thatís when it really started to happen in London...
Well Iíll be really honest here, we had four Irish bands on that bill that
night and I reckon a lot of those people were maybe Irish and tonight it
felt different, tonight it wasnít our friends coming to see Mary or Jamie,
it was people who were ooohhh, Iíve heard Fight like Apes on the radio
or Iíve read something about them, Iíll go check them out and fold my arms
and judge the fuckiní shit out of them and not let them see me tapping
my feet - and it really is hard to work out! And tell me this, this is
fuckiní funny, Barack Obama - and what fuckiní genius thought he could
get away with this one - Barack Obama had just announced that heís worked
out he has Irish ancestry! I would love to have the nerve to pull that
one off! I would love to say ďhello Hoxton, Iíve got Hoxton ancestry, now
listen to my fuckiní band!Ē, but I donít OK. I have to go, ďhereís
what we are and hereís what I am and letís go play hereĒ and hey, it seemed
to go well and they did seem to like us and thatís wonderful, thatís all
I can ever take from a gig, every time is a little different, I can never
take a general well that tour went well, it really is about each gig and
that one went well enough tonight or I loved that one or...
But this is just London, people donít
fold there arms everywhere do they
fold their arms in.... now let me see... they donít fold their arms in
Darlington, but that was an underage gig and kids gigs are fuckiní class,
they just donít give a fuck
Oh but that happens in London as well
Oh man, book
us for some London underage gigs, theyíre so fuckiní cool, them jumping
down the front boys are so damn cool, I was like I wish I was sixteen again!
Let me think here, things have morphed in to one big gig this year... We
did a We Are Scientists support tour recently and their people were good
- really none-judgmental, they were like a dream. None-judgmental, young
and just wanting to hear good music and they were waiting for their main
band, the band that they clearly love but first they had us. But We Are
Scientists had prepared these people for us and then just let us loose
to play for them, how fuckin' mad is that! And it was just amazing and
wonderful and God! Hoxton! Hoxton fuckiní Bar and Grill and Iím sat here
looking around while weíre talking aní like look at these people! Where
are you Organ guys from if you donít mind me asking?
Hoxton born and bred, all my family are
Oh shit no! Now Iíve offended you! Drink more vodka! Sorry!
No, weíre not really, (pass the bottle) weíre not from here, we avoid this
place if we can help it...
Ah you bastard! Thank you, no I didnít think you could be, youíre like
the total opposite to Hoxton, the antisepsis of it all...
Thatís the nicest thing anyone has ever
said to us (hic..)
you really are, but at the same time for a band like us we canít reject
it and we donít want to, I love all this, this is like going to the fuckiní
zoo for us....
Oh we fully get that, we had to come to
London to do what we do, we came here with Organ and the record label,
and this city is wonderfully creative positive place, always so much going
on.... Now tell us, whatís this ghost hunting thing?
Oh wow! We need more drink for that! Hang on, Iíve got another bottle from
our rider here, it isnít mine and it isnít yours, just from the mysterious
thing called a rider, so drink! You know, I get really weird about riders.
Where do they come from? Who owns them? And I donít get this thing about
the big headline bands having to paying for them...
on earth told you that?
pays for them
band donít, donít let anyone tell you that one, that sounds like the kind
of thing I would tell a band back when I did the managing thing just to
keep them in line
Well thatís what I understood
No, the promoter has to provide what ever you demand or at least whatever
you agreed in the contract, and the bigger you are the more of a pain in
the arse you can be with it! Weíve had to spend fortunes on stupid rider
No? Who was the
worst? Tell me...
Death probably, they wanted 72 cans of strong lager (had to be strong!)
just for the soundcheck and that was before we got talking about the gig,
they were obsessed with their 72 cans of beer and their hot towel before
theyíd even start the soundcheck, they were not very hardocre or punk rock
about it, they worst type of prima donna Spinal Tap heavy metal band
No way! Youíre really telling me all this, did you really put Napalm Death
on? Even more massive respect to you
Oh weíve put
them on several times - that was the last time though - and we released
their nice gentle folk- rock side project
Get to fuck! Youíre messing with my head now, they did not release a Napalm
Death folk rock record.... But hang on right, this makes my life much better,
you see weíd read literature about this, one of those how the music business
Oh those books are always full of crap, throw them all away...
Oh but we
had to read them, you get to a point where you get an idea that something
maybe is starting to happen and you think, hang on I better start to figure
it out a little here and protect myself just a fuckiní little you know!
That sounds like a really bitchy thing to say but you do need to protect
yourself and it was like me and Jamie working it out with this book. Jamie
is my best friend and heís in the band and it was like right, how do we
do all this? It was like the first time we got booked in to a serious Dublin
venue and someone said donít forget about your rider and Iím like OK, whatís
a rider? And weíve worked it out now, it really is the simple needs of
life - booze, a towel or two and sandwiches...
Oh yes and
But not the blue ones?
Shut up! But
what is it with riders, I mean how far can it go, how much do they have
to piss you off with not giving you what you demand before you think hang
on, ďI may have to pull the gigĒ and they say ďwho cares, pull the fuckiní
gig yer bitchĒ and we have to say ďOK, forget we said that, pull it back,
weíll play, just give us bread and water, weíre not going to pull the gig!Ē
- Oh this whole thing thatís happening to us now is so strange, rider politics
is so strange and playing great gigs at big Irish festivals and then coming
over here and playing to ten people and I love it all and Iím so up for
the challenge that it shocks me how much Iím up for it all! Imagine playing
to a few thousand people who are singing back to you and loving it and
then come over here and working it from the start again and trying to win
a handful of people over....
So you must be one of the biggest bands in Ireland right now...?
yes! Iím trying to be modest and politically correct and everything here,
but I canít and yes we are! I have to be honest with you, I canít be modest,
Iíve read Organ so much I canít put an act with you here and be all
and clever and political and modest, yes we are getting near that and isnít
it fuckiní brilliant! Weíve been like this unsigned band doing it all ourselves,
a punk band if you will, and you donít really get that many punk bands
doing it themselves all the way and putting out records themselves and
things in Ireland that much these days... Weíve just signed a record deal
now but weíve done all this so far by ourselves and last weekend we got
to headline a show at a festival and that was like one of my best moments
in this band ever, it was brilliant. Youíve got all these people, you got
the front bit of maybe a thousand who know you so well and know the words
and such, singing it back and then youíve got the back bit of maybe another
thousand and theyíre there thinking who the fuck is she and what the bloody
hell is she doing, and you can slowly see them being won over and that
is just the most exciting thing to see from up there on stage...
Ah you could hear that at Somerset House
when you supported We Are Scientists, people weíre just talking and
saying ďsheís coolĒ, theyíre coolĒ ďwho are theyĒ, ďwhat are they calledĒ
it started off with not much reaction and you could feel it growing from
all around the audience, it was exciting to be in the middle of it and
That makes me feel good to hear that from you here tonight in Hoxton. This
place could do my head in I tell you Ė and another thing, everyone is dressed
so well! Look at us, we look like shit, weíre dressed like shit, we look
like tramps, I saw someone with better sparkly pants and I wanted to rip
them off her because they were better than mine!
are these ones you have on now the lucky lost ones returned?
You heard about that?! I lost my lucky sparkly gig pants! These are a different
pair (whispers)... And today in Hoxton it was oh my god look at everyone,
and you can write this because Iím not bad mouthing them - I love it, it
really is nice to see, and everyone is so trendy here and I love it and
I just wish I has thirty percent of the clothes they have but... on the
other hand the fact that our keyboardist who has sprained is ankle and
is walking in in a pair of navy blue flip flops and one sock on and a pair
of crutches and Iím walking in like twat behind him with my sparkly shorts
Ė and thatís the only bit of style I know, sparkly shorts....
But now if you come back next week everyone will be wearing sparkly shorts
like yours, I want some now...
Get ta fuck, you in sparkly shorts and big boots and a black top! Thatís
all I know to wear, and someone said, ďmake an effort, the NME are comingĒ
and Iím like ďI donít give a fuck, this is me, it doesnít make the slightest
difference what I wear really!Ē In a way I wish I cared about dressing
for the NME but I only care about dressing for me. I would love to be,
right, a big magazine is coming letís impress them, but I canít do that,
I canít be anyone but me, if I wasnít being me then I wouldnít be able
to sleep tonight...
But that is it, and I get this picture
of you all living in a flat in Dublin together and arguing about whoís
putting which video on and whoís going to the chip shop... do you all live
together like The Monkeys?
Get the fuck out of here again! Oh dear, what can I say... that is what
it is really like! Oh so weíve just signed to this independent label in
Dublin and theyíre like, ďso, the videoĒ and weíre like, weíve got ideas,
hereís what we want to do for the new Jake Summers, we want to recreate
b-movie scenes and be like The Monkeys and we were telling the label these
things and they were like ďwe donít know what the fuck youíre talking about,
but you know what, just go ahead and do itĒ
but you have to make b-movie videos.... youíve avoided the ghost hunting
question though, weíll get back to who gets the chips and goodness me,
and get some grace and such in a minute...
Oh, alright, the ghost hunting, how embarrassing (more vodka). We were
playing this festival called Castlepalooze in Ireland, at Charleville Castle
in gorgous Tullamore, and of course the castle is said to be haunted...
Are you sure about this?
Wait, Iíll tell
you, the castle is reserved for band members and the whole thing is just
so beautiful - no matter who you are and how used to big things you are,
it really is beautiful. Wonderful old furniture, big open fires Ė and Jamie,
our keyboard player, has always had this thing about wanting to go ghost
hunting, and I was being a pussy about it and I was like "no Jamie weíre
going to stick in the backstage area and behave man! Behave ourselves just
for once - weíll stay here, be cool", smoooze you know - and the long and
short of it is that he got his way again and we went ghost hunting in this
castle, we walked out and he fell down almost straight away and now he
has a broken ankle and it was not my fault!
But how do you ghost hunt first off?
the way you ghost hunt is you just look around a haunted area and then
head for the darkest most haunted bit of that area... obviously!
was it? The basement?
No, it was
actually the forest bit in the grounds - youíre at this big festival in
the grounds of a castle and police and security are everywhere and the
one place where the police arenít is obviously going to be where to go
ghost hunting, I mean they know the score right? Man it was so stupid,
it wasnít even fun, it was really ridiculous and this is what I have to
put up with in this band all the time, and it was like so fíkin dark and
Iím shouting ďJamie this is horrible, I canít even see youĒ and heís shouting
back ďI canít see you either, arrghhhh.... help!Ē and Iím saying "stop
messing around" and heís like ďno, Iíve broken my fuckiní legĒ and Iím
yelling ďno you havenít yer pussyĒ and weíre yelling at each other and
in the end he admits he might be bring just a tiny bit of a pussy but it
is definitely sprained
was the ghost to blame?
Well I canít actually blame a ghost, Iíve no proof of ghosts existing or
not existing and Iím not going to dismiss the possibility, all I know is
that it wasnít me who did it to Jamie, thatís it, it wasnít me, it was
a ghost who tripped him up in the dark, thatís my story... now thatís a
scoop of sorts, I didnít do it! Now you give me scoops, give me dirt on
bands, drink more rider and give me the names of good bands....
now, arrghhh, thereís loads of good bands
you listen to today, give me the hot new thing?
Nine, no Wild Dogs in Winter was the best demo today, I like that Sweet
Jane band from Dublin, they sound like theyíve been listening to the Dandy
Warhols a little though...
Ah, yes I do like them, but that might be the case, I donít know, but thatís
the thing about us, we all have such different tastes and backgrounds and
I canít even work out where we come from musically, Iíve tried...
What got you in to music first?
Jamie Fox, (Pockets) our keyboardist, I met him in Spain on a holiday,
I was fifteen I think, very impressionable, and I was hanging out with
my sister and she was like my idol, she's older than me and she was like
- hey, thereís that guy from the big school near us and Iím like "oh whatís
his name" and sheís like ďJamie FoxĒ and I said, ďwhat, like the actor?Ē
and she was like ďWho?Ē and I said ďnever mindĒ and then the next night
she introduced me and said ďMary, this is Jamie FoxĒ and I tried my joke
again and said ďwhat, like the actor?Ē and she said ďthatís not funnyĒ
and he said ďwell it is kind of funnyĒ. And from that night on me and him
found this inexplicable really stupid sense of humour that Iíve only ever
found I;ve had in common with him. Weíve all been in that situation where
we met someone male or female or animal, possibly a dog, or a leaf or a
flower or something and youíve found someone whoís made you feel a little
more like yourself and when I met him it was really weird and I had a fake
tan and a silly pink dress on and I was such a little twat...
he Sven Gailíd you...
Yes, he guruíd
man in the bandages and the flip-flops, heís your guru?
My god, what
am I saying! Heíll read this wonít he? Now Iíve spilt the bottle, drink
more before we spill it again... what a confession that was...
So before you met him your record collection
consisted of what?
shite pop music, oh this is real confession time now, Iíve never talked
like this in an interview...
should we really hear all this?
Oh yes, trust
me here, this is good to get out and I trust you guys and let me make up
a story, I ran away to be a rock chick when... oh no, I canít lie and make
up cool stories, I was a twat in a pink dress who liked bad pop music...
bad pop music were you in to?
Oh the cheesiest
of mainstream pop music, Iíve always had this horrible affliction towards
But thatís good, good pop music is really
Oh Iím not ashamed of it, I like pop music... I think
thatís what you have in your band - good pop music, I read somewhere on
some annoying web site the other day, that you were just a fight rock band
and nothing but an act and Iím thinking, one, what the hell is fight rock?
And two, canít these people hear the songs and see how real it is! You
canít act this kind of chemistry Ė this is real and this is good Ė and
the four of you have such chemisty and youíve got pop in you!
Thatís a good thing to hear and thatís why I love Future Of The Left so
much, Andy Falco from Mclusky, heís saying there that you can have this
pop sensibility and such trickling through everything you do but if you
put it all through distortion peddles - and you can put distortion peddles
on us and try and change everything but that doesnít change the fact that
Iím a poppy hooky bitch at the end of it. One of the very first UK reviews
we ever got was from you at Organ and you got the pop without licking anyoneís
ass about it, and it was really complimentary and really good to have someone
I didnít know and had never met saying these things and understanding what
weíre doing, weíre a pop band man! A vulgar stark one maybe but pop all
the same, and thatís it and now youíll never play us on your radio show
again now I;ve said we're a pop band - yer fucker...!
course we will - we sent one of our bands out on tour supporting
PJ and Duncan once Ė that was pure pop chaos and screaming kids not yet
teenagers! We just play good music, this is all about good music...
for that, we get so paranoid when weíre in London, we just want to be us
and make music and such.. People are coming up to me tonight and saying
ďdo you know whoís here?Ē and Iím like ďwell yes, I do, thereís lads and
girls here, look at them, look at her in her better sparkly pants than
mine!Ē and theyíre saying ďno, the NME are hereĒ as if theyíre the English
royal family or something and Iím thinking well I couldnít possibly care
any less! The thing that excites me is all these people are here for us
to play to, they might not have been here to actually see us, I donít know,
but it seemed like a lot of them were. I do need the NME to like us, we
know that but....
of this NME stuff, what was your first ever gig like?
What with Fight Like Apes? It was in Dublin, it was like oh no...
the first ever gig you ever did in any band?
Oh my god,
it was, oh I was a backing singer in this really indie indie proper indie
an indie version of that film the Commitments?
Oh god, I
guess so, and I had two little solo slots in ten songs and the first was
seven songs in and I was like no! And thinking about it for the whole time
as it got closer and oh no, theyíre not going to want to hear me, get me
off this stage now please! Please run out of time bofore we get to my bit
- but it turned out alright in the end and everyone politely clapped. But
the first proper this is me and my big voice you hear now in this band
gig was in Dublin at a place called Whelans supporting a band called Pedestrian
did you blow them off the stage?
Well no! We actually didnít....
when did you actually think, hang on a minute thereís lots of people here,
this is starting to happen? Was there a sudden moment?
Well the first
gig was the 3rd of October, no, November 2006, what a twat I am for remembering
Oh, OK, thatís
alright then, but I do remember it being a really cool day and I remember
thinking, alright I might not make it anywhere in this band but I like
what Iím doing here and I love my life right now, so yes that was a great
it still feel like that?
youíre having a great time?
such a great time, Iím having as great a time now as I did when I first
realised hey, Iím playing in a band that has seven different distortion
peddles! The same feeling as when you first go out with a guy or
you join an art workshop or the first day of your first job and you feel
yes, this is actually who you are... it still feels like that - my head,
legs, boobs, shoulders, arms, knees, my gooch... every bit of me feels
like I really want to do this and that may sound so pretentious but I just
pretentious about saying you want to get up and put your heart (and all
your other bits) in to singing and playing pop music?
I know! But it wasnít me, some other bitch decided it was pretentious,
drink more vodka and ask me more, weíre starting to get on a roll now,
no let me ask you more about Hoxton and what this place is all about -
look at him over there...I mean look, at me, not the singer in a band,
just look a me, a country girl called Mary, coming to London and singling
in a trendy as fuck venue in London and all these trendy people paying
attention, me on a stage in a pair of those bastard scruffy boots and a
pair of sparkly pants, and having people I have never ever seen before
in my life singing my words and I may never meet those people again but
tonight that made me very happy and Iím not an emotional person but that
may just make me cry right here and now...
it, if you never do another thing, you just had fifty strangers singling
along and singing your words
misinterpret this, but let me say, if I never play another gig again, if
I just decided to walk off in to the distance right now, then wasnít that
the best thing tonight! Iíd be happy with that! That wasnít the best thing
that will ever happen in my life but for now it was fuckiní near it - and
it was massive fun - and wasnít it such fun they through we were great.
Wow! A few people are really getting this here in England now and I could
see you and I could see her over there and you and this other guy and I
never expect everyone to get it, and thatís what I like about being in
my band, not everyone will get it - but some people will and that gets
me so orgasmically excited about it all Ė excited about connecting with
different people and coming over here and meeting people and I know Iím
sounding like a twat now but I love all this...
of it is because all four of you seem like real genuine people, youíre
not acting or anything, you really are loving all this aren't you....
Oh fuck, thatís
a really cool thing to say, and I really donít want to offend anyone but
look at some of these people here, and I know we need these people but
look how fake some of it is...
the people you need are the people who will see you at that festival next
Saturday in Leicester or the people you connected with on that last tour
or the people in the towns reading this and checking you out...
Oh thank fuck
for that, hang on weíre almost out of drink and....
the bottle please, did you really grow up on a farm?
A cows and
pigs type farm
you know how to milk a cow?
a rock star but you also know how to milk a cow
no hang on, Iím not a rock star am I? Get ta fuck! Was that a trick question
there? Letís go find more rider, turn that recorder off, let's go have
fun in Hoxton
And thatís it, Fight
Like Apes Ė fun! Just four really honest, really real people singing distorted
pop songs about life and feeding geese and junk television and second hand
boots that are white not pink and all those important bungy-breaking things,
and having a great time doing it.
Theyíve been one
of the best bands of 2008, their debut album FIGHT LIKE APES AND THE MYSTERY
OF THE GOLDEN MEDALLION is out in Ireland now, out in the UK in January....
we love Fight Like Apes!!