Toy Story – Partyshank Interviewed

They’ve only been together since Christmas last year but Howard and Christian, aka Partyshank, are already making trails around the country with their bizarre blend of electro-tech and noises made from broken toy instruments.

RogueMag caught up with these dynamic ‘toystep’ pioneers before their headline appearance at Club 85’s Rave’s Not Dead night in Hitchin.

You’re not going to like this, but we have to ask – is it nu-rave?
Howard: No we don’t like that. INTERVIEW OVER!
Christian: Nu-rave was just a fashion thing – a media construct really wasn’t it?
Howard: I haven’t actually heard the term nu-rave being used in quite a while.
Christian: It’s funny that people even call us nu-rave. It’s probably down to the fact our MySpace photo is such a cliché – both dressed up in colourful clothing, but we make dance music at the end of the day.
Howard: I even heard people calling Hot Chip ‘nu-rave’. They’re not fucking nu-rave.
Christian: It was the Klaxons who came up with that term.
Howard: And they just make indie music. They write pop tracks.

But you like your music to be called toystep?
C: That was kind of taking the piss out of the whole nu-rave thing. We thought fine, if the Klaxons are nu-rave, we can be toystep. It’s kind of a joke, but it would be quite amusing if it caught on and other bands started using it. Once your genre gets listed on MySpace then I guess you’ve made it.

Howard wears a hotdog costume on stage…

H: You want an explanation for that? Well before we started playing together, I was called Party Sausage, and Christian was called I Will Shank You For A Penny, so that’s where our name came from.

How many hotdog suits do you actually own?
H: Just the one!

That must cost a fortune in dry cleaning bills.
H: I should really pay a bit more, but when it does get cleaned it turns the water black.

Partyshank

Partyshank (l-r Christian, Howard)

 

So tell us a bit about circuit-bending, which is how you get a lot of your sounds.
H: I’ve been mucking about with electronic toys for about four years or so, just before I went to uni. You just take them apart and have a go at them. I don’t have an electronics qualification or anything; it’s not really that difficult. You just need some basic knowledge of what you’re doing and a soldering iron. You’ve also got to be ready to break a lot of toys in the process.

Have you ever blown anything up or wrecked it?
H: I’ve broken so many toys, you wouldn’t believe it.
C: Your bedroom’s like a toy graveyard.
H: It’s just something you get used to. It’s worth breaking a few just to get the right sound in the end.

What’s your favourite toy for making music?
C: We really like this one called Super Concert. We used it on ‘Burp No I Don’t Think So’. It’s got all the animal noises, programmable drum patterns. The makers have thought of everything.

Worst gig you ever played?
C: Every gig we’ve ever played has been shit! Heh, no I can’t really name any particular venues or we won’t get invited back by the promoters, but a couple of times we’ve played out and there have been sound limiters that cut out the music every twenty seconds all the way through our set.
H: That was no fun at all. Standing on stage with no sound – so embarassing.

What sort of music are you listening to at the moment? We noticed you’ve got a logo on your t-shirts done in the style of Darkthrone. Are you secret black metal fans?
C: You’re probably only about the second person to notice that. We’re secret Goths, we love Darkthrone!
H: Our mate Jack who’s a tatooist did that one for us. But we listen to all kinds of different things. I’ve been getting back into breakcore. The early Beastie Boys punk stuff they did – Pollywog Stew and that. C: Howard reckons everything I listen to sounds like the Akira soundtrack…
H: ‘Waaaaauuuaaaah!’
C: You leave Panda Bear alone!

Panda Bear from Animal Collective? What do you think of ‘Strawberry Jam’?
C: ‘Strawberry Jam’ is amazing!
H: Yeah go ahead you two, bond!
C: We listen to everything really, there’s so much stuff out there. I like everything, apart from really cheesy metal like Trivium. What’s that other band with the chords that go “dan-dalan-dan-da-dan-dalan-dan-da”?
H: In Flames!
C: For the record I fucking hate In Flames. They’re the worst band ever. But the best act I’ve seen live is definitely Dan Deacon.
H: Yeh Dan Deacon. Easily the best thing I’ve seen live. He’s just this totally mental geezer, some chubby guy with glasses but seeing him is ecstatic.
C: He knows how to be at one with the crowd. He plays in the middle of the crowd instead of onstage. Look him up.

What are you obsessed with right now?
H: What am I obsessed with?
C: (Makes lewd gestures with his hands)
H: You know those little flash adverts on the internet? Where you have to click loads of times and you can win a Playstation? I have to do those, even though I know it’s going to unleash a whole mess of pop-ups onto my computer. I haven’t won anything yet, but I just love hitting that monkey with a hammer.
C: I’m obsessed with ‘Chocolate Rain’. It’s this really crap YouTube video with this little eleven-year-old kid singing…
H: He’s not eleven man, he’s a grad student – about 25!
C: What?! Don’t… The kid looks about twelve!
H: I think he’s got vocal modulation so he sings really low pitched.
C: He would have to. His voice is ridiculously low.

Cats or dogs?
H: Cats because they smell less. And I didn’t get attacked by a cat when I was six.

If you were to go back in time, when would you go back to?
H: I know what I’d say because I always talk about this. I reckon it would have been cool to have been 16 in about 1988. You had just the last bits of hardcore punk, and then you had the beginning of rave – you’d have a bit of everything.
C: What about being 16 in the late sixties? I want to be listening to the 13th Floor Elevators while I protest student rights in France. I have too many answers to this question – late seventies, early eighties would have been cool.

You mean, any time but now?
C: Oh, I’m very happy with right now. You speak to people and they say “This has already been done, that’s been done before” but new stuff’s got its own edge, and I wasn’t even born in the early eighties so let me have my own little bit. Anyway, half the time the new bands are better than the originals they’re supposedly ripping off.

And if you could turn back time, what band would you go and see?
H: I know this is a bit of a cop-out but I’d love to see an early Prodigy gig. I’d also like to see Danzig-era Misfits or Minor Threat.
C: Yeah I’d love to have seen Minor Threat.

What are your vices?
H: Tapping. Drumming on the table. We’re both ridiculous tappers.
C: But we’ve got our own styles you know. I’m more of a hand-tapper and he’s got little finger rhythms going on… Triplets and accents and stuff.
H: I’m more about speed, he’s more about swing. I had a maths teacher screaming in my face at school once for tapping on the tables.

Have you seen Transformers yet?
C: The two-hour ebay advert? Yeah, it was okay but not my cup of tea. I did see ‘Taxidermia’ recently though – that’s one to check out.

Favourite dessert?
H: Tiramisu I reckon. A steady eighties favourite. The ultimate menu is a prawn cocktail starter, steak for mains…
C: I don’t really eat puddings. What the fuck’s dessert? Yoghurt and stuff? I remember liking profiteroles as a kid but I don’t go for them anymore.

The ‘Gary EP’ is out now on So Sweet Records. ‘Penis Vs Vagina’ b/w ‘Belton’ is also available on 7” vinyl through Marquis Cha Cha.

Check out Partyshank at www.myspace.com/partyshank

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5 Comments

  1. wicked interview senior frame! and its great to know that Howard loves the odd tiramisu… my life is now complete!

  2. Good job done mate, its not often im happy with any interview.
    Keep it going

  3. i love love love these guys. funny.

  4. loved the interview.
    how old are these lads though? they seem pretty young!
    please reply: ohhmyfckk@aim.com

  5. I know Christian. Miss him being around. Funny geez!


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