made a welcome return to the music industry recently with the virtually
flawless Un album. Always beautifully satirical in their
angst-ridden lyrics about a Western world so concerned with its own
well being that David Brent would cringe, the band created one of the
standout records of the year. Alice Nutter was more than happy to chat
AD: First of all, allow me to say what a great album Un
is we actually saw fit to give it a glowing 10/10 review on our
AN: Thank you.
AD: Anyway, it seems to have a very Latin American flavour
to it. What were you doing that inspired you to take that direction?
we went to Latin America.
AD: Oh. Um. Well, ask a silly question
AN: Well ok it wasnt JUST Latin America that influenced us.
We went to Cuba and Mexico, but we also had a Russian style choir arrangement
on the album. Then we tried all sorts of weird and wonderful instruments
from all over the world as well, like a Polish polka fiddle and the
Chinese Ehru. Basically we just opened our ears to artists like Celia
Cruz and it all just happened from there really.
AD: One of my favourite tracks is On ebay. Now, what
have you got against ebay?
AN: Nothing. Thats not what its about at all, because
thats just something that serves a function to people. Its
more about how everything is reduced and everyone seems to be in for
a sale these days. It was written after a museum in Iraq was looted,
which the United States had vowed to protect. The thinking behind it
was that we can probably expect half the things deeply personal
possessions and defining historical items - that were taken from the
museum to eventually end up on ebay for £1.50.
AD: Thats what I like about Chumbawamba youre
always making some very good points, and putting it across in an entertaining
a bit like Michael Moore in his documentaries I suppose. I
think thats quite a good example actually, because youve
both struggled to get things released in the past
AN: I was really surprised that Disney even considered putting his
documentary out in the first place after all Disney is such a
warped right wing country
did I just say country? Well, actually
YES it IS a country really, and I just thought it illustrated how much
the powers that be really dont want the general public to know
what went on.
AD: Of course, many people would argue that Moore stirs things up
and distorts the truth somewhat
AN: But you HAVE to stir things up otherwise people dont take
any notice, and everyones going to put their own point of view
across most people will try to distort the facts so that the
bias is towards their own way of thinking. I mean, were at fucking
war for Christs sake, and due to the actions taken by Tony Blair
and his cronies, there is a really good chance of a huge bomb blast
going off in London killing hundreds of innocent people. If I had to
distort the truth slightly to make people see things how they really
are, I would!
AD: Id imagine thered be very few people in this country
whod disagree with you. Talking about another favourite track
on the album, I love the one about the guy who knocked the head of the
status of Thatcher to try to protect his son from growing up believing
she was a great woman (I Did It For Alfie), but one of my
friends believes she WAS a great woman
AN: I cant understand how anyone can think that. I remember
on the news a while back, I had the television turned down and I saw
all these images of Baroness Thatcher coming up on the screen.
My immediate thought was Great! Shes dead! and I was
ready to throw a street party, so I was really disappointed when I found
out all it was what that shed been forced to give up public speaking.
Hey, if your mate likes Thatcher so much, remind him that she modelled
herself on General Pinochet around the time of the Falklands conflict
and throughout the miners strike. Tell him if hes a fan
of Thatcher, he must be a fan of Pinochet too. Or maybe he just has
a thing for old wrinkly matrons.
AD: Thats probably more likely! Anyway, going back to the music,
youve turned down LOADS of films that have asked to use your music,
Wild Things being quite a high profile one. Why?
AN: Well I think a lot of film companies think were very odd,
because we actually ask to see a preview of the script before we agree.
If we think its offensive we turn it down. We didnt know
much about the one you mentioned to be honest, but what we we DID know
was that it was partly about a woman who cries wolf and says shes
been raped, so we turned it down.
AD: I quite enjoyed it actually
AN: Ive not seen it, but it may well be really good. We just
didnt really fancy being associated with it. And of course we
always turn down Disney. Then obviously if somethings just pure
crap we refuse as well. On the other hand, if its about a mouse
being chased up a tree by a turkey, were your band!
AD: Do you judge people on the films they watch, or the music they
listen to? I find it hard not to sometimes
AN: No, not at all. You have to remember that different people get
different things out of music. Some people just have it on as background
noise; some listen because they want to be moved emotionally by a love
song or something, and some people want to listen to other peoples
views about the state of the world. It doesnt make any of them
any less intelligent. What I DO judge people on is how well they treat
our road crew though if they treat us really nice and are complete
wankers to our road crew, thats when I know theyre complete
AD: Do you think its fair to say that Chumbawamba have always
controversy in their lyrics and publicity stunts?
AN: No. Well, maybe the stunts we pulled off we did, but not lyrically.
Its just that I happen to think that ANY citizen living in the
UK today is more equipped to talk about the state of the world today
than the cretins we have running it.
AD: Finally, I said in my recent review of your album that Chumbawamba
never fail to surprise me. I was half expecting them to come out with
an album full of Chinese ringtones, but instead theyve released
their most commercial (and best) album yet, so what IS next for
AN: Actually you werent fr wrong with your guess, because
that Chinese Ehru that I talked about earlier well, that has
much the same effect as a mobile phone ringtone! Whats next for
the band? I dont know; well just take it as it comes. As
long as we dont start sounding like Ronan Keating or Atomic Mutton
Ill still be happy.
You and me both Alice! And with Chumbawamba seemingly in such fine
fettle, you can bet your life that, even if they release an album that
utilises the background noise of a horse manure flinging competition,
itll still be wonderful!
and transcript; Tone E