Who Are the Five Oclock Heroes?
Oclock Heroes lead singer Antony Ellis is a fine chap. Not
only is he a superb songwriter and thoroughly likeable chap, he also
hails, originally, from the same area as me Northamptonshire
which made me like him even more, quite frankly
AD: Weve been very impressed so far that your B-sides,
for wont of a better word, are equally as good as your lead tracks
AE: Thats very important to us because we try hard to create
a catchy tune, but we also try to make sure it has that certain classic
feel about it, and hopefully end up with something very memorable. I
love the fact that weve been compared to Elvis Costello more than
anyone else, because Im a big fan. Not only that, but its
better than being compared to The Strokes or another of the moment
band, because once thats happened its easy to get lost in
AD: Thats hardly likely for yourselves, given the strength
of both White Girls and Skin Deep (current release)
AE: Its funny we dont play Skin Deep
very often, but it could well have been an album track. We did toy with
the idea of putting out White Girls with a really shit b-side
for a while to make it stand out but then we realised
that it was a provocative and memorable enough tune in its own right
so we decided to give it an equally strong track to follow it. You know
what though, about a year ago I didnt really want to play live
because of a slight Hall and Oates comparison that we got
and that worried me. I have no problem with that band but if we start
getting labelled like that were finished before weve started.
Im much fonder of things like Steely Dans Haitian
Divorce and 10cc, and I was talking to a writer from Rolling Stone
who loved them too, and that always helps!
AD: Youve lived in the Big Apple for the last 5 years. Has
that shaped the way you write your songs, do you think?
AE: Only insomuch as I spent a lot of my youth stuck in my bedroom
and, as clichéd as it sounds, my record player was my best friend.
I spent a HELL of a lot of time in there, listening to Yello, The Stones,
Costello and so on. It made me really take in music, especially things
like The Who By Numbers
AD: Which, in my humble opinion, is their best album, despite what
music magazine polls tell you
AE: I agree! It makes me laugh when people talk about Slip
Kid as being one of their gentler tunes, because its just
one of the most angry songs Ive ever heard! So anyway, a lot of
that stuff shaped the way I write. Obviously The Beatles were an influence
too, but you know, they can ruin a songwriter because they were just
so GOOD at it, so I dont try and emulate anything theyve
done. We try and convey that kind of energy across in our live shows
instead, and weve had plenty of time to hone that, seeing as weve
played 120 shows in the UK since January!
AD: So what made you want to form a band in the first place?
AE: Apart from those bands I mentioned, the thrill of playing with
people you already do everything with and want to BE with. I mean, I
can be an awkward so and so at times, but theyre all used to it.
Thats especially true when were in the studio I hate
to waste time when were there; if its taken two hours to
do the drum track or something I get really impatient, because I dont
think theres ANYTHING that needs to take that long when youre
AD: How did that go down with Eli Janney (Fugazi, Garbage etc) then?
AE: Oh, Eli was great. With everything, you have to remember it
goes back to the whole thing of working with the right people. Take
politicians for example
.actually, no dont, thats a
but what I mean is that it took a while to come to
grips with him, but I felt like he had a deeper understanding and he
quickly learnt that I like to work fast. Thats my advice folks
Be creative as quick as you can, and rehearse hard too. The recording
process should be short and sweet mid you it had to be for us,
because we had no money! and if youre going to argue, argue
AD: Given your lengthy tours, how do you keep yourselves sane on
AE: Good question, and its NOT easy. Between January and March
we did a tour with no roadies, just US in a transit van and in one room
all together. We were eating nothing but shit food and were hung over
for the last 2 months. On top of all that we never really knew what
day it was or what town we were in. But you know, I wouldnt change
a thing. We learnt early that we dont argue, we reason with
each other and that helps a lot. You know, youve got to
believe youre as good as anyone else, and we DO believe that.
Confidence comes from that kind of thinking and all these little goals
start getting achieved first we made it to the NME, then to Radio
One, and I like it that way because you appreciate it more as it builds.
Were having a great time and as long as we understand the boundaries
and take it to the edge, I think well be around for a while yet!
Lets hope so anyway, as so far Five Oclock Heroes have
an unblemished record and surely must be on the Mainline to success
(with lots of picnic stops along the way of course!)
Interview: Tone E