January 30, 2010

It’s the bane of any journalist’s life: the transatlantic phoner. It will inevitably take place on the hottest day of the year when the object of your professional desires would rather do anything other than whore out their latest release to a wannabe Lester Bangs over a line so piss-poor the conversation stops and starts like Braxton Hicks. Certain sly boots will use this as a chance to head to the (Laguna) hills. But not Nic Offer, frontman of dance-punk pioneers !!! (the repeating thrice any monosyllabic sound). Here’s what he had to say when we spoke to him last week.

!!! have a spectacular reputation live. Did you make a concerted effort to bring your most recent studio release in line with that rep?

You try and put on the best live show you can and you try and make the best record in the studio. We do have that reputation that the album can’t match our live show but The Stooges and Sonic Youth were better live than they were on record. It’s not the worst cross to bear.

What did you make of Mr. Pop’s recent insurance ads?

That was kind of a disappointment. I was in England and I saw them and I was like “Is that Iggy”? That whole second part of your life, where you are just picking up lifetime achievement awards and putting out another shitty album that nobody cares about. It’s just to depressing for me. Iggy’s just in that phase. I saw them play live recently and they were good, but I wouldn’t be afraid to follow them

Do you prefer playing festivals or your own smaller venues?

I think, honestly, the best place to see us is in a club. But, me personally, I love playing those big festivals. It’s totally a rush. No one has to go to work the next day, everyone camping. They are taking their drugs and are just going for it. I love being the surprise at a festival. Where people come up and say, “I’ve never heard of you and you totally blew me away”; that’s a good position to be in. Of course now were past that. People have seen us and their expecting something awesome of of us.

What are you doing to up your ante?

Before we go out on a tour again I think I’m going to have to pick up a dance class or two. But in general I think we are better performers than anyone. All we can do is make the songs better and the better the songs are then the better well be

Do you still enjoy being on the road?

I like it, but that’s me. I mean its crazy. In the space of three weeks in July I think we’ll be taking nine flights and it’s getting to the stage where when we do quit playing that will be a part of the reasoning behind people’s decisions. When you haven’t seen other countries before it was all new, you could take all that “OK well we’re not going to sleep and we’re going to take that 24 hour flight and go straight and do the gig” thing. It was no big deal. But now it’s like, I can see that it does wear on people. I mean… it beats all the jobs I’ve had, I’d much rather do this.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I get up every morning and listen to Siren by Roxy Music. It continues to astound me. I love Roxy Music because they are one of those bands that I have been listening to for ages and somehow they have that intangible thing that you are always able to discover something new in the record

Are they a big influence?

Well, like them, we always tried to put these subtleties there so you can listen to the record a hundred times and you can always find something new in it.

Do you write while on the road or do you just get the music out of your system, soak up all the experiences, take time to let it sink in and then hit the books?

We generally don’t do much writing on the road, the only writing we do are maybe those half-written songs that come together live. The way we usually do it is write a couple of tunes and then do a tour so that they are continually changing and were talking about them. But as far as writing as we tour, that doesn’t really happen.

The funk bukkake that is !!! play Whelan’s on Wednesday 8th July


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