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 INDIE MUSIC Reviews & Interviews
by Todd E. Jones
aka The New Jeru Poet

PsappInterview: PSAPP
“The Only Thing Psapp Ever Wanted”

(August 2006)


An Interview With  PSAPP

Interview by Todd E. Jones
toddejones@yahoo.com

        As the heart beats, all living creatures move to a rhythm. The feline is an animal that is rhythmically unique. Cats jump, purr, walk, and breathe with their own inimitable rhythm. Fiercely independent, cats represent the epitome of eccentricity. While dogs instantly give humans their love and attention, human beings must earn a cats respect. The mystery of the feline has yet to be solved.

    Owners and lovers of cats, the musical band, Psapp creates slinky, elegant, feline-like pop music. Weird clinking noises and homemade instruments perpetuate the band’s distinctive creativity. Born and based in London, Psapp was created by Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant. As a band, they have more than just nine lives. After a string of EP’s and singles, they released their debut album, "Tiger, My Friend". Their signature sound, ethereal vocals, and odd rhythms earned them a loyal following. One of their songs, "Cosy in the Rocket" was used for the TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy”. Signed to Domino Records, Psapp released their sophomore album, “The Only Thing I Ever Wanted” in 2006. Although they maintain their playful melodies, their songwriting abilities have matured. Their love for cats has also grown. While recording the album, their cat would jump on the mixing board and move the levels. On the opening track, “Hi”, the album instantly catches the listener’s attention. The clanking drumbeats sound somewhat like a talented child banging on pots and pans. Galia’s astute vocals create an enchanting atmosphere over her confident attitude.  Another delightful song, “The Words” has a bouncy and amusing feel. The bizarre rhythms are accentuated by the soft, yet wacky keyboard melodies. Slinky, quirky, poignant, and charming, the music of Psapp is the aural equivalent of owning a pet feline. Let the music of Psapp purr. 
 
TODD E. JONES: "What goes on?"
 
CARIM: “We’ll have to move very soon, but I think I found a new place for the studio, yesterday, after looking for over a year. All good, fingers crossed. Also, playing live shows and secretly writing new songs.”

GALIA: “Not that secretly, as I keep telling everyone how excited I am.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “The new Psapp album, ‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’ was just released on Domino Records. Tell us about the LP.”

CARIM: “It was fun to make, which is the main thing and for us. It is a summary of everything that happened in the last year and a half.”

GALIA: “That’s the short story. Everything else you might want to know, you can hear by listening to the record though.”


TODD E. JONES: “What is the meaning behind the title, ‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’?”

CARIM: “The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’ is the thing you’ll never get because when you get it, something else will always demand your attention and will become the next only thing you ever wanted. Galia is especially good at it.”

GALIA: "I don’t know what you mean.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “How is ‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’ album different from the previous album you made and released? Why?”

CARIM: “‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’ is probably a bit less electronic than our first album, but as we are working on a song by song basis, we’re not really aware of stuff like this. We just work on a song until we’re happy with it and we don’t place it in context with other possible album tracks. Only when we put the album together, we became aware of it. But we’re happy with whatever got us excited and reflected our musical tastes of that period. To us, the new album also has got an inside sound to it. We recorded it with certain instruments at specific locations in the studio and all around the house. With ‘Tiger, My Friend’, we captured a lot of the outside sound ambience around Kings Cross. I really like it if a record has a real place and space you can hear. It gives it a specific location and there is no point of doing the same record twice.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Favorite song on the ‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’?”

CARIM: “I refuse to have a favourite song on our album. It would feel like treason.”


TODD E. JONES: “Which song took you the longest to do from conception to completion? Why?”

CARIM: “I think it was ‘The Words’. Although it only took an evening to write and record, it took a very long time to mix. I think there were about 30 mixes in the end.”

GALIA: “I think the cat helped with that by climbing on the mixing desk and moving the faders and buttons around. She’s very helpful like that.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Psapp’s sound has been described as ‘clanking toys’. Would you agree? Was this intentional?”

CARIM: “Sure. There is some clanking and toys, but I would rather describe it as an asthmatic snake gone wild in a junk shop.”

GALIA: “For us, it’s pretty simple. We use sounds that we like. Some of them happen to be toys. Others are carpets, gravel, tables, my dad, and some choice pieces of wood.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “How would you describe the music of Psapp?”

CARIM: “Hmmm, an asthmatic snake gone wild in a junk shop is probably not too far off. But that would not give enough credit to our cat, who had a certain influence on the sound of the record. She kept on walking over the mixing desk, pushing faders, stepping onto Mono and Phase buttons. But for us, it’s more writing songs and then, listening to what we’ve done. The music can take on all sorts of shapes, as far as we’re concerned, with a bit of clanking toys of course.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Where did you two meet? How did you eventually form the group?”

GALIA: “We were introduced by a mutual friend, Tim Whelan, who was originally the third member in Psapp, until he got irritated by our use of animal organs.”

CARIM: “I had lot of different people coming over at the time for various different studio projects, but Galia and I stuck together, although it wasn’t really happening at first.”


TODD E. JONES: “What do you argue about the most?”

CARIM: “Artwork. In the end, we’re always happy with the result but, it takes a lot of time and arguing.”

GALIA: “Yes, it wouldn’t be the same without some sulking and sullen faces from both of us.”


TODD E. JONES: “What inspired ‘New Rubbers’? Tell us about that track.”

CARIM: “The main inspirational ingredients were a broken espresso machine, a cuckoo clock, a footpath along the Thames in Twickenham, and Galia splitting up with her boyfriend.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Who is the feline in the album?”

CARIM: “This time ‘The cat with no name’, a local of Kings Cross, who moved in with us early 2005 is featured. On our previous album, a different feline lady called, Splodge was featured, but she has retired from her musical career.”


TODD E. JONES: “What is it about cats that you love?”

CARIM: “They are so unpredictable. Sometimes, they seem to be so clever, like they know exactly what is going on. A minute later, they do something really stupid and run off mistaking a piece of toast for an evil predator.”

GALIA: “Can I just interject? It was actually our flat-mate, Masa, who screamed and ran out of the room after seeing a scary bit of toast. But, cats can be very stupid too. I am living with one at the moment called, Badger, who keeps bringing in dried leaves and proudly eating them on the bed.”


TODD E. JONES: “Do you do many overdubs while recording?”

CARIM: “Not too much. We always try to keep as much as possible of the original first recording. Sometimes, for some songs, a more processed and edited approach works better though.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “How are the fans responding to ‘The Only Thing I Ever Wanted’ LP?”

CARIM: “I hope they are a bit surprised by it not sounding like the last one.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What is the meaning behind the name Psapp?”

CARIM: “That goes back a long time, to the early days of Psapp. We always enjoyed building our own instruments. Not exclusively, homegrown toys are used, as we also use pianos and guitars. We do regular little excursions around the manor. About 5 years ago, we found some nice bits of wood, a clip-on car boot, a giant metal string, which was more like a thick wire, and also a musical unicorn set from our local off-license. Arriving back at the studio, all excited over the excellent finds, we decided to build one instrument out of all components. After a lot of drilling and hammering, we had the car boot hanging off the ceiling in the upstairs room by the wire. It sounded like the lowest note of a piano with the extra feature of setting off a whiny toy unicorn, gaffa taped to the car boot, by hitting it on the head. So, we recorded it all straight onto DAT, but the weight of the new instrument was too much for the 150 year old ceiling. It all came down with a lot of plaster. That hole was never properly fixed. You can still see the living room while sitting on the toilet. Unfortunately, the DAT player messed up the tape and the only audio we could retrieve was us, setting it all up and our neighbor shouting in the background something that sounded like, ‘Psapp’.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “When creating a track, do you have a set theme or idea first or the music first?”

CARIM: “We don’t have any rules about how to start a new song, apart from writing together in the studio. Sometimes, it starts with a violin melody, some guitar chords, or a lyric. Songs always seem to grow out a minuscule grain into a large monster, like a chain reaction. Sometimes, it feels out of our hands. Galia and I have a near telepathic understanding of each other’s musical ideas. We hardly ever argue with each other or question the other’s idea, which makes it quite a special experience.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What was the recording process like for the new album? How was it different from other times?”

CARIM: “There is no real difference in the recording process between the albums, but rather between the songs. We would record playing a guitar in an aquarium in diving suits if it fits the song.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Musically, what else have you been working on?”

CARIM: “I’m still occasionally working as a sound engineer on other people’s records, mainly for some of my regulars like Pedro or Shawn Lee.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What are some of your favorite instruments?”

CARIM: “I love anything that makes a noise. Recently, we’ve been very fond of our piano which we got about a year ago and also a homemade marimba out of our favourite pieces of wood.”

GALIA: “I really love our thumb piano collection, which has grown out of all proportion. Also, our new toy, the Suzuki Omni chord, which is like an autoharp with a very 80’s design and a satisfying sound.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Around what time in your career did you start financially surviving from music?”

GALIA: “About 9 months ago.”

CARIM: “As a sound engineer/producer, about 15 years. As a songwriter, only recently.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Do you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?”

GALIA: “It depends what you mean by success really. There’s plenty of amazing bands who have managed to spend their life writing music and living from it whilst being credible.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What song are you most proud of?”

GALIA: “Almost always, the one we are working on, at the time. We’ve got a new one, with the rhythm section made out of bricks rubbing together and a really distorted old Bontempi, which I found in a car boot sale for about £5. I am proud of the lyrics too, though they are sad and desperate in a way.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Who are some artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?”

GALIA: “Robert Wyatt, Ivor Cutler, difficult though as he’s dead. Also, David Shrigley, Sufjan Stevens, and John Shuttleworth. Probably a lot more people too, most of whom died a few hundred years ago. I’m perverse like that.”

 

TODD E. JONES: “How did you get the deal with Domino Records?”

GALIA: “I think my mum bribed them to sign us. Hello mum.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What have you been listening to in the last couple of days?”

GALIA: “At the moment, I am listening to a mixture on my dear old computer. The last 5 songs were Wesley Willis ‘Suck My Dog’s Dick’, Weekend’s ‘Midnight Slows’, the singer from young marble giants. It’s brilliant. The theme tune from, ‘The Wombles’ by Mike Batt. ‘Whip It’ by Devo.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “What is your favorite part of your live show?”

GALIA: “When I make cat noises along with Gwen’s violin solo.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “How has your live show evolved?”

GALIA: “It’s louder, more hysterical, and confident than it was at the start. We fuss less over the detail and more about the overall experience.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Abortion. Pro-choice or pro-life?”

GALIA: “Pro-choice.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Euthanasia. For or against?”

GALIA: “Overall for. But, I do worry about evil people injecting their mother in laws with cyanide though and then saying, ‘It’s what she wanted’. But, I would hate to slowly decay in a hospital bed feeling powerless to do anything about a slow and painful decline.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “What is your opinion on MySpace?”

GALIA: “It’s great. When I first heard about it, I didn’t know what the big deal was. Now, I have about 5 different MySpaces.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Word association. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said, ‘The Beatles’, you may say ‘Revolution’ or ‘John Lennon’. Okay?”

GALIA: “Bring it on.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Television Personalities.”

GALIA: “Mass murderers. We met the man from Television Personalities, Dan Treacy, at a show once. We wrote a musical about a well-known mass murderer from the UK called. ‘Harold Shipman’.”

CARIM: “Bart.”


TODD E. JONES: “Morrissey.”

GALIA: “Everyone else’s adolescence, but not mine.”

CARIM: “Johnny Marr.”


TODD E. JONES: “Happy Mondays.”

GALIA: “Maraccas.”

CARIM: “Boomtown Rats.”

 

TODD E. JONES: “Kool Keith.”

GALIA: “Ciabatta.”

CARIM: “A tiny guitar amp and Jim Whelan.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Felt.”

GALIA: “Denim.”

CARIM: “My bedding.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Momus.”

GALIA: “I only heard Momus the other day. It was an amazing song about a penis with about 4,000 lines. Apparently, if you give him a couple of grand, he’ll write a song with your name in it.”

CARIM: “Stealing time.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Eminem.”

GALIA: “Dido, pretending to be pregnant.”

CARIM: “Was into, got bored.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Close Lobsters.”

GALIA: “Scotland, mayonnaise.”

CARIM: “B-52s.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “The Beautiful South.”

GALIA: “Dress sizes.”

CARIM: “Cheap honey from Tesco.”

 

TODD E. JONES: “Radiohead.”

GALIA: “Pyramids.”

CARIM: “France, compressors, and Dorothee.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “The Brian Jonestown Massacre.”

GALIA: “Other people’s record collections.”

CARIM: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “De La Soul.”

GALIA: “Steely Dan.”

CARIM: “I don’t like band names with the word ‘soul’ in it.”

GALIA: “So, the plan of renaming of the band to ‘psappbootysoulcrazyvibe’ will sadly now not be going ahead.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Jimi Hendrix.”

GALIA: “Electric Ladyland.”

CARIM: “Electric Ladyland studios are very nice, outboard porn.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Spank Rock.”

GALIA: “Trendy people looking annoyed.”

CARIM: “Whatever.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Curtis Mayfield.”

GALIA: “Wheelchairs. Didn’t he have a horrible accident?”

CARIM: “Playing in expensive bars.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Billie Holiday.”

GALIA: “The bollocks, magical.”

CARIM: “Got put off by an unpleasant person who was a fan.”

GALIA: “Yes, me.”


TODD E. JONES: “The Dandy Warhols.”

GALIA: “I have nothing to say about them.”

CARIM: “Bad name, prefer Andy Warhol.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “The Fall.”

GALIA: “Mark E Smith’s drunken rambling eulogy to John Peel, which was televised live. They had to cut it, as it was too insane and scary.”

CARIM: “Just a bought a BBC John Peel sessions CD box set. Nice!”

 
TODD E. JONES: “Denim.”

GALIA: “Felt?”

CARIM: “Bedding?”
 

TODD E. JONES: “My Bloody Valentine.”

GALIA: “‘Tiger In My Tank’, that was the first thing I ever heard from them.”

CARIM: “Getting old.”


TODD E. JONES: “Trisomie 21.”

GALIA: “Who?”

CARIM: “Marquis de Sade, getting 200 years old and opening a delicatessen in Salo.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Gil-Scott Heron.”

GALIA: “I think of how all the revolutions, at the moment, are televised.”

CARIM: “Timeless, but not bothered.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “George Bush.”

GALIA: “Bad grammar.”

CARIM: “Not real, pinching yourself, rubbing your eyes.”


TODD E. JONES: “Who are your biggest influences?”

GALIA: “Bands that I adore are The Cure, Tom Waits, Fela Kuti, Erik Satie, Talking Heads, Ivor Cutler, Flying Lizards, Young Marble Giants, Jim O Rourke, and The Slits.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What was the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?”

GALIA: “Do something wrong.”

 
TODD E. JONES: “What are some of your favorite films?”

GALIA: “‘Chuck and Buck’, ‘My Beautiful Launderette’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘BomBon El Perro’, ‘The Princess Bride’, ‘The Aristocats’, ‘Clerks’, ‘Belleville Rendezvous’, ‘Harvey’, ‘Watership Down’, and ‘Happiness’.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What is a typical day like for you?”

GALIA: “Playing with the cats, drawing, emailing, working on a song, more emailing, going for a walk into town, interviews, spending ages on some truly pointless project, and eating cheese.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What are some major misconceptions do you think people have of Psapp?”

GALIA: “No one can truly believe how much we like cheese.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Are you in a romantic relationship these days? How have touring, recording, and the artistic lifestyle affected relationships?”

GALIA: “Yes, I have a lovely boyfriend. It’s hard being away. When you’re away from your person for any length of time, there is always a lot of rebuilding to be done. But, we’re getting used to it.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What do you look for in a lover?”

GALIA: “Someone who is different from me, with nice hands.”


TODD E. JONES: “Did you get along with your parents? What do they think about your music?”

GALIA: “I always got on very well with my parents and still do. My dad was featured on several Psapp songs and he loves to get involved. My Mum likes the songs without the ‘funny noises’ more. She watched a show that we were on, the other day, about prostitutes. She said that she was simultaneously proud and sickened.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “When you pass away, would you like to be buried or cremated?”

GALIA: “I think I’d like to be left to science. I like the thought of being useful. Either that, or I’d like to be stuffed. Then, carefully positioned on Carim’s sofa to scare him. I would like my mouth to be fashioned into an evil distorted grimace.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “How do you want written on your epitaph?”

GALIA: “I’d quite like to rip Spike Milligan off, who has the best ever epitaph. It simply reads, ‘I told you I was ill’.”


TODD E. JONES: “Are there any collaborations that fans should look out for?”

GALIA: “Nothing current, but who knows what we’ll be up to by the end of the day.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “What’s next?”

GALIA: “Another cup of coffee and a bath.”

CARIM: “Having a bath now.”
 

TODD E. JONES: “Any final words?”

GALIA: “Here are some of my favourite words at the moment - Sibilant, creak, postmark, healthy, velvety, vote, and tongue.”

CARIM: “Yes! I want to have the last word!”

  Thank you PSAPP! ! !

-interview written by Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet
(toddejones@yahoo.com)

NOTICE:
This interview is property of Todd E. Jones and cannot be duplicated or posted without written permission. 

Other versions of this interview:
PSAPP (interview - Musicremedy version) 
or
(UNDERSOUND version) - Interview with PSAPP
or
(MVRemix version) - Interview with PSAPP
/ Part 2 / Part 3  / Part 4 

OFFICIAL WEBSITES:
Official Psapp Website: http://psapp.net/
Official Psapp MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/psapp
Domino Recording Company: http://www.dominorecordco.com

It's a CATastrophe - play the new Psapp game!


VIDEO:
Tricycle” (video) - Psapp
Tricycle” (video) - Psapp


AUDIO:

"Hi" - Psapp
"New Rubbers" - Psapp
"The Words" - Psapp

    For more interviews by Todd E. Jones, go to....
INDIE MUSIC Reviews & Interviews by Todd E. Jones

HIP-HOP Interviews & Reviews by Todd E. Jones

Todd E. Jones page on MYSPACE

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