On Friday night noisy, percussive psych band, Flamingods played The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston supporting loud, chaotic, garage rock band, Boneyards. Fresh from releasing their debut album on Art is Hard, I caught up with them for a gin and a chat in the ‘smoking’ area round the side of the venue.
K: Hey guys, you good? Looking forward to tonight’s show?
F: Yep, we’re playing with Boneyards and it could be their last London show.
K: Oh, you say it’s Boneyards’ last London show?
F: Hopefully not but their bassist is leaving so it will at least be their last London show for a while.
K: Well they can get a new one right?
F: Yeah, I hope so. His girlfriend is Australian and having visa problems so I think he’s going to go back there for a year and hopefully they’ll be back again.
K: Your live show is something pretty special – describe it for someone who might not have seen it.
F: A naked drum orgy. Sweaty, really intense. Dancing girls. We’ve got dancers this time round which has been really cool.
K: Oh wow, dancers?
F: Yeah, two dancers but we haven’t got them with us tonight as there isn’t enough space unfortunately.
K: Do you think that it’s important to involve the audience in some way?
F: It’s good to get the energy going and shit but like yesterday we just had an audience watching sat down and that was nice as well. It was a really cool gig and it was nice for us to play without people going crazy. The energy flows back and forth between us at gigs and we like to bring our instruments into the crowd and give them out.
K: You’re very percussion heavy – why do you love it so much?
F: Three of us are drummers from a young age and we just love heavy, repetitive music. We’re all ex-metal heads who loved prog-rock too, except for Kamal.
Kamal: I bring the tropical feel!
K: What’s your favourite percussion instrument?
F: Drum kits.
K: That doesn’t count – you have to choose a more minimal percussion instrument!
F: The hang drum or the egg shaker. Or a darbuka.
K: What’s a darbuka like?
F: It’s an Arabic drum. We all grew up in Bahrain and that’s the traditional drum there. We like to incorporate that into our music. Yeahh, good old Tutti.
F: That’s its name. We’ve nicknamed all of the drums to make it easier for us you like “pass me Tutti.” I think overall our favourite might be the hang drum. We don’t have one as they are extremely rare.
K: Oh, is that the one Bjork uses?
F: Yeahhhh, she has three of them. We’re so jealous. They’re like £3000 each.
K: Are you thrilled to finally have an album out?
F: Yeah, I mean to be honest, we’re moving onto the next one now and even starting to think about a third one. We’ve got just too many songs. Our album did take a long time to come out so we’ve kind of got over it. It sounds old to us. We just need the money to back it and someone to back us.
K: Is Art Is Hard a good label to release on? How did you get to release your album through them?
F: We were talking a lot before that and then I emailed them and asked them if they’d like to do it. They liked the idea and were really into the album. It’s cool how is was their first full length album as well. They did do a great job too. We are really happy with it.
K: Your releases come with beautiful, psychedelic artwork – do you feel that it suits your sound?
F: Yeah, definitely. We had so many different options but I think we’re happy with the artwork we chose. Kamal is usually the master of artwork.
K: Well all of the artwork that was done for that record was all just on my travels round the world with my family and stuff; snippets of different places. I took a lot of good photos. A lot of the instruments that we have were also collected from a lot of the places featured in the artwork. I like the idea that the images of the places that we’ve been goes into the music.
K: Do you play outside of London much?
F: Not as much as we’d like to. We played in Manchester once, we’ve played Brighton quite a lot and we’ve played in Wales once. We’re also gonna play in Wales tomorrow. We also played three shows in Europe. We get asked to do all of these fun sounding tours in Italy, Spain and Portugal which is where we really want to play but we just don’t have the money and they didn’t have the money so it just can’t happen really.
K: What is your favourite song that you are all listening to a lot at the moment?
F: Our last favourite song as a collective was Tom Tom Club – ‘Genius of Love.’ We saw them live at ATP a few weeks ago and it blew our minds.
K: What are your future plans?
F: Some pretty heavy planning and scheming. We’ve got a lot of ideas. We want to get our record label up and running. We want to actually establish it as a label and put on some more events as well.
K: Oh wow, what is your record label called?
F: Thunderfoot Records. We’re just going to start putting on monthly events and hopefully getting amazing, strange, badass acts to headline and launch all of these awesome bands that we’re friends with and just try and promote them, rather than us. We also want to bring in all different food stalls like our friend Melissa has a food company, different clothes shops and things like that.
K: So basically run a bit of festival?
F: Yeah, I guess so. A monthly festival kind of thing with a community feel. A few of us are gonna try and live together in a flat and it will be our base of operation and we want to set up our own little recording and practice space. We basically just want to do other things other than tour all of the time. We also wanna plan for a new album I suppose. We’ve got a low-fi release coming out, like a tape series. We made the ‘Sun’ tape series and then redid it for the album. This one is coming out in America with a label called ‘Crash Symbols.’ It’s going to be called ‘Ancient Rhythms’ and it was made when I was away back in Bahrain and we’d be sending sounds back and forth. It was quite a nice way to do it actually; strangely, it worked really well. Then we’ll want to turn that into an album one day. We’ve got a lot to do.
Words: Katie Wilkinson
Flamingods’ album ‘Sun’ is out now on Art Is Hard.