Legs To Die For – Halfrican interview

Halfrican 1

I know little or nothing about the Glasgow trio Halfrican (writes Andy Wood) other than they have released some fantastic songs including the amazingly cool ‘Hot! Hot! Hot!’ E.P. on El Rancho Records, a reverb soaked collection of short, sugarshit sharp songs, none of which stay around for any longer than two and a half minutes. Which is perfect really. The sound is raw, rough and ready and needs to be played at maximum volume for maximum joy.

On initial plays the sound is quite dense with the vocals often distorted in the mix but with a feral energy and fury, which they subscribe to the fact that ‘Most of the songs are anxious ramblings of love and hate’ which the listener has to discern the mood and subject matter from the tempo and feel of the songs. There’s a craziness to be sure but tempered with neat tunes and melodies which sneak into your head while the fuzz knocks you sideways, blindsiding you.

A second release, a split cassette with White Pages, continues the insanity but the sound, while equally intense and frenzied seems to have a little more space for the songs to breath in. ‘Cocksucker’ has a fiery, looping guitar riff that sears your senses with a punishing rhythm section and goes straight for the jugular in a savage manner that’s totally exhilarating. ‘I’m In L.U.V.’ kicks off with a nod to The Shangri Las ‘Give Him A Great Big Kiss’ with its brief spoken introduction before launching into a 70 second frenzy of craziness and lyrically it balances the darker tone of ‘Cocksucker’. The final song ‘Suicide Safari’ is possibly the most measured of the three songs, the pace is less frenetic and the lyrics veer between optimism and pessimism. If the first song is about hate, the second about love then ‘Suicide Safari’ seems to be somewhere in between but full of anxiety as well.

Having listened to the recordings for quite a while and being familiar with some of Halfrican’s other bands/projects – the now defunct Black Rat Death Squad and the excellent Los Tentakills – I’ve somehow managed to contrive never to seen them live before so I’m looking forward to seeing them play with their good friends and comrades in the joys of fuzz Deathcats.

Prior to the show Sancho kindly answered some questions for us before heading of to France to play the Nuit Sonores festival in Lyon.

Please introduce yourselves. Who are you and how did you come to become Halfrican?

“We are Halfrican. Choi Paul on bass, Jet Jackson Marlette on drums and vocals and Sancho Büna on guitar and vocals. We are from Glasgow and we play stop, drop & roll music.”

What inspired your choice of name?

“After a long dark winter in Glasgow I wanted a name that represented vivid colours and loud vast noises. I thought I invented the word but it’s been around for a while apparently.”

What are your influences, musical or otherwise?

“Collectively we like The Police, Brian Eno, Thee Oh Sees, Rod Stewart, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, Quo plus we all have personal likes and dislikes too. Jet Jackson and I love southern hip hop and trap. I love a lot of shit punk bands the other guys hate but Roy Orbison is my personal all time favourite and biggest inspiration for composition and lyrics.”

Why be in a band? Isn’t it just a heck of a lot of work only to reap a hell of a little reward?

“It’s fun and a release creatively and physically. Chicks dig this band, none of us have played in a band that chicks have digged and lose their shit to before.”

What has been the best moment of being in Halfrican so far?

“We’ve played with so many bands we love already! Ty Segal, Jacuzzi Boys, King Tuff, Kid Congo…. We’ve got to travel to some cool and bizarre places. We are playing with Black Lips, Kathleen Hannah’s band Julie Ruin and Man Or Astroman? in France next week. We are on after all these amazing bands on the main stage. Pretty psyched for that.”

How would you describe your music to someone who has yet to have the privilege of hearing Halfrican?

“Reverb drenched fuzz fun. With lots of swearing. And legs to die for.”

If you could put together your ideal gig (with time, money and mortality no objectives) who would you invite to be on the bill and where would you hold it?

“We’re pretty much playing it next week in France. Other than that it would be Halfrican opening for Rod Stewart at Hampden. Or he could go on before us since it’s my dream. Fuck you Rod!”

What do the coming months hold for you?

“Singles and an EP in August, some touring and fun shows to promote that shit then our debut album.”

Anything further that you’d like to add?

“Deathcats Rule!”

Halfrican play the Cool Cat Club at Beat Generator Live in Dundee with Deathcats, Yoko Pwono and Blood Indians on Saturday 7th June. [More info]

Here’s a taste of what to expect from Halfrican: