Middleman: SXSW 2010

Middleman is quite the hard working band, but they know how to play just as hard. The Leeds, United Kingdom four-piece put on several fundraisers in an attempt to help them make their trip to Austin for SXSW. While they put efforts into fundraising they never forgot to continue making their own brand of energetic and dynamic rock. With a sound as expansive as the state of Texas, the band gets ready to play a notable five times in Austin this year, including at least two showcases. Spinner caught up with the busy band prior to hopping the pond.

Describe your sound in your own words.

We harness a multitude of influences and mold them into something uniquely our own: driving guitar riffs, heavy beats and bass-lines, poetry-slammed vocals, contagious choruses and carefully crafted vocals.

How did your band form?

We were a bunch of musicians and mates who wanted to do something different, interesting and exciting. We couldn’t sleep for the first week we got the band together. We just wrote and played and drank coffee and whiskey.

What are your musical influences?

We all have different musical influences, from Sparklehorse to Aphex Twin to Rage Against the Machine, but we draw inspiration just as much from the piles of bills we can’t afford to pay and the rush we feel creating something new.

How did you come up with your band name?

Andy’s brother came up with it.

What made you choose the instruments you play and own?

Krish: My dad used to have loads of old HendrixSantana and blues records and I loved how you could make a guitar sound so dirty one minute and so clean and sparkly the next. I thought if I got good at guitar then girls would like me. My G & L Classic Asat guitar was around £800, which is the most money I’ve ever spent on anything musical. It’s a really in-your-face guitar and it looks like it would steal your girlfriend if you left it alone for any amount of time, so I love it but don’t trust it. Amp-wise, I use an old ’90s Fender Super 112, which I bought off a mate for £250. It’s not let me down yet, touch wood, and is an awesome stage and studio amp. I use toadworks pedals because they have a quality about them that really interacts with your guitar and amp to enhance the sound rather than make it plastic-y.

Lee: I play a Tokai Hardpuncher bass and I bought it for £200 about three years ago. I bought it because the name made it sound hard as nails. Actually it turned out to be an amazing bass!

Slurpy: I play a Ludwig Zep Set from the classic series, cause I always loved the sound of John Bonham‘s kit.

Andy: I’ve just got my voice. I didn’t choose it, but I’m very loyal to it, although sometimes I like to put on an accent. Maybe I could practice speaking like Bobcat [Goldthwait], or Christopher Walken.

Do you have any brand loyalty when it comes to your instruments/equipment?

Krish: I’m pretty loyal to anything Leo Fender related.

Lee: I don’t have any brand loyalty but if Fender or Ampeg are reading this and want to endorse me then I would definitely be extremely loyal.

Andy: I like Onken biopots, and I’m quite keen on Sailor Jerry’s rum.

Do you usually play shows with a set list in mind or do you just throw caution to the wind and go?

Both really. We have a couple of sets that work for different situations but we kind of use it as a guide and change to suit the mood of the crowd.

What’s your favorite thing to read while on tour?

Lee: I like to read ‘Tape Op Magazine’! Failing that I’d go for comedy toilet reading like “interesting deaths” or “most famous last words.”

Andy: I read a lot. Mainly novels but also, occasionally, a bit of poetry and philosophy, so I just take whatever I’m currently reading. The last few things I read were ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ by Milan Kundera, and ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts. I very rarely read anything twice because there’s too much amazing stuff I’ve still never read once.

Krish: The Argos Catalogue.


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