25th August 2004
Since June 2003, ctrlaltdelete have been gigging throughout the UK, picking up support from other bands, locally, nationally and internationally, as well as music fans and promoters. They've released their first EP "EP1" to critical acclaim from local and national music e-zines. Tough Guy's Music caught up with "three keys" backstage after their performance at Papfest, the all day festival in Kendal on 25th August 2004.
1. You've just finished your set at Papfest. How do you feel it went?
Chris: Not so good.
Laura: Yeah, well you heard the bad bits.
Ben: The bad bits were covered over fine. It's our special skill. (Laughs)
TGM: The special skill is covering everything that's bad, but everyone is saying "Hey that was fantastic".
Ben: In actual fact all our songs are continous rows of steaks covered up really well so they form, you know, cool songs.
2. Now what is it actually like to play in an all day festival like environment
Chris: It's alright.
Ben: It's good to be on early. Now we can just drink beer and enjoy some of the bands.
Chris: It's like a miniture version of stuff like Reading.
Ben: VERY very miniturised! Microscopic version!
(Saxophone playing from Mental Note)
TGM: Nice saxophone there!
3. Now you've just played third, so not a lot of bands have played. Are there
any particular bands you're looking forward to later today?
Ben: Tauntra and Snooky.
(More saxophone playing)
TGM: So the boys from the north.
Ben: Yeah, but we're up to listening to other stuff.
4. Now the first gig was played in June 2003, but you've been together quite
some time before then. So how did each of the three keys get together?
Ben: Laura and I met at college at A Level in Cambridge and then found Chris when we came to Carlisle for an art degree.
5. How did you get into music and how have you progressed from bands you have
been in to ctrlaltdelete?
Ben: Caused I moved houses, I had to meet new people so this is the final set up - I hope!
Chris: I used to get mixed tapes off my sister of Primal Scream gigs in Belfast and stuff like that. And then it sort of progressed from there, through the heavy metal stage.
Laura: I was a bit of a late starter. This is my first proper band as well. But my dad has got a massive record collection and I guess that's helped, you know it has Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Just loads.
6. How would you describe the sound of ctrlaltdelete and what influences it?
Ben: I suppose it's instrument post-rock, influenced by so many bands it would be a challenge to even mention one.
Laura: We've got really different tastes as well so it's like a mix of every little bit.
Ben: There's at least 50 bands that everyone else likes.
TGM: I think a lot of people I've been seaking to about ctrlaltdelete compare you to kind of like Mogwai type music.
Ben: Yeah you mentioned Mogwai, Explosion In The Sky, Mono...
Ben: Lots of bands (Laughs)
7. So where did the name ctrlaltdelete come from? Was it through your love of
Laura: NO! (Laughs) A joke, it was a joke and it stuck. That's it!
Ben: In retrospect, there is the idea that "ctrl,alt,delete" is the function to shut down a system. So it's nice in that way to shut down and restart something - shutting down Papfest and restarting it, but it's restarted broken.
8. What do each of the three keys bring into the band?
Ben: Guitar (Laughs)
Chris: Humour! (Laughs)
9. All of your songs have a significant absence of vocals. Is this something
that was discussed at the beginning and have you ever attempted to write vocals
for any of your songs?
Ben: There's a recording of "Content (In The Knowledge That I'll Never See You Again)" with one of Chris' friends who done vocals on it - sounds great.
Chris: Guy called Kel from Derby. He sort of turned into like... I don't know, he added like vocals on to it but he sounds a lot like Neil Young. So it was like Neil Young was singing over the top.
TGM: That would be interesting - Neil Young singing "Content In The Knowledge (That I'll Never See You Again)".
Ben: There's never been any intention to not have vocals or to have vocals it's just whatever comes up.
10. So how has performing live changed for ctrlaltdelete since playing your
first gig in June last year?
Ben: Well as you have just seen, nothing! We still make loads of mistakes. (Laughs)
Laura: Yeah, it's slightly more energetic to look at as well. Got stage presence.
Ben: Much better songs as well.
11. What feelings do you get when you perform live on stage?
Laura: (Laughs) Sweat!
Ben: Knuckle pain.
12. Do you do anything to prepare yourself before you go on stage to play?
Ben: Tune up!
Ben: Laura had a salad. I had a small bottle of Fosters.
Chris: A pint.
13. Laura, when ctrlaltdelete first played you used to play the bass whilst
sitting down. Now you play standing up. What was the decision to perform on
Laura: It was just a progression really. The bass is quite heavy and it takes quite a while to get used to it. And I hadn't played live really. So it was just... I'm getting used to it. And it's actually easier to play sitting down so you want the energy to stand up. So it's a progression thing really.
TGM: So nobody didn't steal the stool or anything?
Laura: No (Laughs).
14. You three keys have supported and have been supported by many bands throughout
the UK. Which local and non-local bands have you enjoyed playing with the most?
(At this point, Mag from Snooky appears in between Ben and Chris)
Ben: Well every time we play with Snooky it's awful, but they do make us look great!
Chris: It's hard to say cause they're with us backstage so we have to say this stuff.
Laura: Probably the best gig which were local and non-local - Second To Last, Monkey Boy and Midasuno, that was fantastic. And also when we played with Ketamine as well. And Mono are fantastic.
Ben: Mono are great, but there are too many shit bands.
Chris: There was that band from New York.
Ben: New York? Er.. My...
Laura: Nah nah, it was the... Reunion Show.
Ben: Reunion Show.
Laura: That was an earlier one.
15. So what kind of feedback have you received from other bands, and those who
come to see you, as well as the promoters?
(Mag still in between Chris and Ben)
Ben: You can answer Mag.
Mag: Well musically I think it's really good. It's a bit of a sheer comment, but I think all the chords and tunes and quite genius. We just sit there going "Man that's good". Awesome bass licks as well, and some ragh drumming. Makes a big medley and sounds great and shit and it's really good, and I like it. Sorry, I can't say more. My vocabulary is very limited.
TGM: That's OK Mag, that's OK.
16. You've played live in so many different cities and towns. What reactions
do you get in towns that you've never played in before like Glasgow and even
Kendal for example?
Ben: Well usually when we play in a new town we're very lucky and people react straight away really well so even the first song will be getting "Whoops and Hollering", but in the one time it didn't work out was Blackpool where we were glad to be booed off stage.
17. And what has been the best gig for ctrlaltdelete?
Chris: The EP Launch.
Ben: Yeah, the EP Launch was pretty special. The line up wasn't my favourite.
Laura: Actually Midasuno was like a general night for me because I was very drunk, and had a very good time. So it was just a general atomsphere.
Ben: An easy one to be packed - well beyond capacity.
18. And what was the worst?
Chris: Blackpool (Laughs)
Ben: Chris' last place of residence before Carlisle.
Chris: Yeah, we played this club where everyone goes and takes smack, and drop shitless pills, so everyone in the crowd was pilled to the eye balls. And go in there for all these drink promotions, and then we started playing and everyone just you know, dropped out and left...
Laura: Apart from one person that was dancing in the middle of the floor.
Chris: This girl there who knows one of my ex-girlfriends, she was obviously shagging the DJ and she just heckled us off stage and it was really bad.
Ben: But on the upside, the promoters really liked us. And they invited us back you know.
19. What kind of strange experiences have you encountered when you are on the
Laura: On the way home from... Where were we? Was it Annan? Yeah, Annan. And we hurt his (Mag's) finger and he was going "CTRLALTDELETE FUCKING KILLED ME!" It was good.
Chris: Annan, when I fell down a hole in the back of the stage. Fall down in all of these band's equipment and everything went wrong.
Laura: It's always Annan.
Ben: I suppose mine was actually being recognised while in Lancaster before we played. That was weird.
20. You've got an EP out at the moment "EP1", and you recorded it
at Chem 19 with Andy Miller. So how did you end up getting to record "EP1"
at Chem 19 with Andy Miller?
Ben: We just booked and paid. It's an open studio - nothing special. BUT we are now very good friends with Andy Miller.
21. What was it like to record in a recording studio like Chem 19, and comparing
it to when you recorded your "Demo"?
Laura: (Laughs) Professional.
Ben: Recording the demo was just very...
Chris: One very stoned guy and a computer and two microphones. The recording studio was 50 microphones, 50 amps...
Ben: And an experienced professional.
22. How are you able to give titles to your songs?
Ben: Well half of them don't have titles.
Laura: They've got just random tags so we play them and they do eventually get names but it takes a little time.
23. I see that your recent gigs have not included any of the tracks from "EP1".
How did this come about?
Ben: Moving on! Moving on!
Laura: Just because when you start doing new stuff you produce so much that the old stuff doesn't become as relevant basically.
Ben: Because we are such a young band, the earlier stuff is just a huge void between what we were playing at the beginning and what we are playing now. So it doesn't really fit in with what we are now.
24. Which of the new songs have you been getting good feedback from people?
Ben: Every single one.
Laura: "Pay 30 Tonight", always gets a good response.
Ben: And "Middle Aged Ones". What else? The last song...
Laura: "No One". Normally gets a good response. It's reandom names that don't mean anything.
25. Finally, what does the future hold for ctrlaltdelete, and when will we be
expecting a possible "EP2"?
Chris: We are writing...
Ben: At the moment. That's it! Shhhh! Shhhh!
TGM: Keeping hush hush.
Ben: Very exciting.