Towards the tail end of last year, The Crimea astounded us here at
Atomicduster by releasing what was undoubtedly one of the best albums
of 2005. No doubt it will eventually hit the charts belatedly, like
Arcade Fires Funeral before it, especially given that
the first single taken from it, Lottery Winners on Acid,
has already begun the onslaught by brightening up the lower reaches
of the top 40.
Frontman Davey McManus was quick to point out that his influences in
making the album stretch back much further than many of the current
ilk of great British hopes:
DM: I was listening mainly to sixties kind of stuff really, you
know, a lot of Leonard Cohen and Dusty Springfield, but we tried to
get an element of originality in there too so we sounded bang up to
date. And one of the biggest inspirations for me was not having to compete
in everyday life with normal people! We were in a different world in
AD: I noticed that a lot of your lyrics were quite bittersweet. Deeply
DM: I wouldnt say they were necessarily personal to ME. I
guess theyre personal to everybody! Im so vain Im
trying to speak for the whole world, you see! Bittersweet? Hmmm
say they were more bitter
AD: One particularly bitter track is the albums finale, Someones
DM: That song was just me questioning religion, saying Whos
in charge here?, because when you look at all the tragedy around
the world its practically all caused by religion and thats
just not on. Its the way we all feel when we suffer the loss of
a loved one and you start questioning your own values and beliefs.
AD: At the same time, a lot of intensity comes through in the music.
Was the recording process a particularly acrimonious one?
DM: It was more arduous than acrimonious it took a long time.
We must have recorded every track five to ten times, changing lyrics
here, tempos there and instrumental parts all over until we got it right.
I guess there was a BIT of acrimony while we were in the States with
a certain producer who looked like ET
up until that point Id
had full control but he took that away from me and I found that difficult
AD: Well, you obviously struck a happy medium in the end! Now, I
saw you several times in your incarnation as The Crocketts and you were
always value for money entertainment
DM: Ha! Comedy value I suppose
AD: Maybe, but you were always worth seeing. How did your experience
with that band shape the way you approach things now?
DM: Musically, not one single bit, as were a LOT different
now, but our knowledge was a lot more shabby about the industry back
then it was like serving an apprenticeship really, being in The
Crocketts, so Id say were only MENTALLY influenced by the
AD: Any career highlights?
DM: Too many to mention; I dont think I could possibly pick
just one. Being in the wilds of El Paso, touring with The Bravery, gigs
with Billy Corgan the list goes on. You have to remember that
over the whole of last year we played well over 100 shows and its
difficult to choose from!
AD: How surreal has your success seemed to you? You did, after all,
get some massive gigs just by handing out demos to lead singers of well
DM: It IS weird yeah, but it seemed more surreal with The Crocketts,
having this massive debt hanging over us after the record company pumped
thousands of pounds into us. I was only 18 back then and we werent
as successful as we or the record company had hoped. We
managed to wangle our way out of it last time though, so hopefully if
it all goes wrong again well be able to do the same thing, although
we went balls out for a major label release this time, so we can get
a proper push!
AD: What brought about the album title Tragedy Rocks?
DM: I came up with it a while back. Its just that whole darkness,
voyeurism, suicide, murder and destruction people that people find sexy
and attractive, and hopefully it will intrigue them.
AD: Some of the tracks on the album are so supremely moving that
they bring a tear to your eye. How exactly do you go about transferring
that depth of emotion from your head to music?
DM: Im not sure, but Zane Lowe came to one of our gigs recently
and he started crying, which was pretty funny to be honest!
Its probably because I take time to experiment and Ill sit
there and sit there until I find the right vocal. So many people arent
willing to do that anymore and I find that really frustrating.
AD: What would you regard as the ultimate success?
DM: We want to really take the band to Chinatown, no messing around.
We want to break the entire world
hell, we want to be the next
AD: One final question then: Describe your album in 4 words.
DM: Kylie Minogue shagging Tchaikovsky.
and in some deeply perverse way, I can see what
hes getting at
but then the mention of Kylies name
ALWAYS brings about a perverse way of thinking to me
Anyway, youve read the interview, youve heard the single
and you saw The Crocketts. What you need to bear in mind now is that
Tragedy Rocks is ten times better than all three! Off you
Interview: Tone E