Like any cross fertilisation however, there always
has to be a few Frankenstein’s monsters amongst
the successful models. For example, something went horribly
wrong in the translation of the (initially) smart and
witty US sitcom, FRIENDS to our English screens. FRIENDS
transmuted into the crotch twistingly awful comedy (and
I use that in the widest sense of the word) ”
Babes In The Wood ”- seemingly a forum
for Denise Van Outen at the height of her self consciously
saucy “ mockney” phase.
However, when Britain gets it right, what is produced
is the right mix of homage and originality, when we
get it wrong, we are shamed into believing our greatest
cultural contribution to the world has been the deep
fried Mars bar. London's SILVER SPRINGS found an equidistant
point between these two cultural bases. They informed
us it was only their fourth gig, and if their songs
comprised solely of instrumentals it would be clear
their musicality belied their inexperience. They managed
to produce soundscapes that were both menacing and touching.
Along the way giving an atmospheric nod to post rock
and ANGELO BADLEMENTI . Breaking the spell was the vocals.
As the set proceeded it became harder to reconcile the
angelic music with the singer's nasal, occasionally
Oddly however this was the one characteristic of the
band that made them recognisably English. James Hindles
take on the melancholy beauty previously modelled by
THE SILVER JEWS and PALACE was spot on. The band clung
onto these influences but occasionally stretched out
of these constraints on the Eastern twinged "Cornish
Breezes"” and the toe tapping solo of "With
And Without You"”.
They played a perhaps overlong set but one which made
me think of a summery evening out in a field with Will
Oldham, a bottle of whisky and his inbred gypsy sister/lover.
So what do we want to know about these guys? From
London, SILVER SPRINGS (Rob,Amos and John) are three
lads from London, currently creating their own sonic
revolution in their bedrooms. Having played only four
gigs in their brief career their first release is to
be "Toledo" a track on the forthcoming Dreamy Records
compliation. Taking a page out of free jazz,many of
their songs begin as improvisations and they are not
afraid to carry this ethos to the stage, As a a result,
gigs like this one have proven both catastrophic and
Drawing influences as diverse as label mates Arco,slow-core
legends GALAXIE 500 and 60's producer supremo, JOE MEEK,
they are a band who's slow burn development will be
beautiful to watch. But for now, well why not talk?
Crud met the band and found them inspiring and wise
beyond their years.
Crud: How did you get together?
Amos: We'd all been in other bands together before.
Rob: I knew Amos through his brother and sister,
and knew that he was a drummer, so asked him to join
that band. Then that band split up, but since that time
Amos had started playing with John. They asked me down
to one of their rehearsals and that was it!
Amos: In the band I was in with John I was stuck
on drums and he was stuck singing. Compared to that
(Silver Springs) is very free form When we formed (Silver
Springs) we discarded that regimented way of playing
Amos: I mean I found it strange because everything
(about the previous band) was just set, there was no
room for experimentation.
Rob: We'd just end up playing the same songs
in the same way over and over again. Which I got sick
of. John: But we got really good at playing the songs!
Amos: When we got together we wanted to try different
things out, try anything out. It became very hit and
Rob: Which is what we're like on stage! But we're
working on that.
Crud: Where did the name "Silver Springs" come
about? Musically the link seems to be to an obscure
Fleetwood Mac b-side.
Amos: Well, on a trip to America I was on the
West Coast on a trip between Baltimore and Washington,
DC and we kept on passing "Silver Springs" and I liked
the way the words sounded together. There is a Fleetwood
Mac song called that, but it's not a reference to that.
I was attracted to the way the words "Silver Springs"
looked written down on a roadside in America. Also taken
out of context (of America) we thought was a good concept.
Crud: When you played at the Dreamy Records showcase,
I picked up on a big American post rock influence-was
this a fair judgement to make?
Amos: A lot of the people at the gig were saying
(our music) was really poppy, but in our heads we a
mix of influences. I mean I remember listening to a
lot of 60's stuff like The Byrds, but there was a point
where I got really bored with that stuff. At the same
time I went to see Telstar Pony and that's when I realised
there was this whole other side to music, (the side
of) obscure 7inches.A lot of it about just interesting
sounds, as opposed to songs.
Collectively we're into the whole Galaxie 500 stuff.
They were a band who experimented with feedback but
(at the same time) had nice melodies. I think that mix
is what we are aiming for.
Crud: Does your writing come out of improvisation?
John: It very varied, sometimes one of us brings
in a chord change or a lyric idea and we work from that.
But sometimes it can go in another direction completely.
For example we have gone in to record a particular song
and then come out (of the studio) with ten new songs
that we can't play yet.
Amos: We've got lots of ideas that we know in
the future will become songs, but we don't know just
yet how they'll be used.
John: The track we've got on the Dreamy compilation
("Toledo") is something we literally came up with that
Amos: When you experiment you can go on forever,
but I think it's a challenging idea to try channel our
avant- noise into a three minute pop framework. There
is a whole conventional side to us as well as our experimental
side. We want to meet it somewhere in the middle.
Crud: You're working on a soundtrack album (from
the forthcoming film "Without A Chainsaw" by Paul Kemble)
tell us about that?
Rob: It's one of my friends that I've known my
whole life. He (Kemble) went to Cambridge to do English
and he wrote a screenplay, and made the film. It's about
five friends remeniscing, and each time they talk about
the past it triggers a flashback, but everyone remembers
different things. So it's about how the group of friends
don't know each other as well as they thought they did.
Amos: There is a soundtrack side to us, where
we enjoy the idea of making music to fit someone else's
images. It's also about throwing ourselves into something
we've never done before. I mean, it's pretty scary because
it's not just a short it's a feature film!
Crud: Will it force you to be structured?
Rob: It gives us some sort of direction to go
in. The director told us that more than a "soundtrack"
he wanted the music in the film to add to the atmosphere,
for it to illustrate, for example, the relationships
between the characters.
Crud: The whole idea of pacifying your experimental
side with the commercial side; does it extend to your
thoughts on production?
Amos: We'd like to do something akin to what
Phil Spector did by going from producing all those girl
groups in the sixties to the Ramones in the seventies.
That synthesis and progression is something that we'd
like to do. John's got a digital hard disc recorder
and I've got an analogue four track so we can pacify
both sides of our music.
John: If we were to work with a producer (the
band are currently self produced)We want to work with
someone who has their own distinct sound, who can bring
something to our sound. Someone like Timberland.
Amos: We'd love to have an extra set of hands
that could suggest things, bring new sounds to the table.
Well boys, our table is waiting for service as we speak.
Brign it on.
Interview and Review by Priya Elangasinghe