Friday, 17 June 2011

Corey Duffel

Know for jumping off things high enough to make a normal person shudder, Walnut Creek's Corey Duffel is also a huge music aficionado and an avid record collector. We caught up with the now-beardless Duffman - in between him finishing his section for the next Foundation video, playing with his dogs and collectiong speeding tickets on his new motorbike - to see what he's listening to. More than just the Ramones, it seems... 

What are you up to?
Well hello there Neil, I'm on my couch watching The Simpsons, wishing I wasn’t doing this right now, so I could pay more attention to the show. 

What came first, music or skateboarding?
I've been listening to music since I can remember. My parents were really hip and always had great music playing while my brothers and I were growing up. So we were always listening to great music from their generation. I got into skateboarding on my tenth birthday. By that time, I was already listening to the oldies station to fall asleep and buying tapes.

What was the first record you bought with your own money?
The first vinyl I bought was The Ramones self titled original pressing from eBay. That’s the first memorable one. I think I bought a Kiss one from second hand shop as a kid even though my record player was broken.

What was the first skate video where you really noticed the music?
I liked it when Matt Hensley skated to The Jam (in Plan B's Questionable). It seems to me that I've always noticed good music in skateboarding videos. Since I first started I always liked certain tracks. I loved it when Ronnie Creager skated to the Stones (in World Industries' Rodney vs. Daewon). That was killer. Black Label always had a good music selection, so did Tum Yeto videos. It helps when you have guys producing the videos like Tod Swank and John Lucero. They grew up with great music so their videos always had good songs.

How do you go about getting hold of music just now? Do you have a favourite record shop in the world? Do you buy much on tour?
I think eBay is the best place to buy rare records. All the best stuff is in the UK. The UK produced all the best bands. So it's no wonder why all the stuff I buy is easier to find out there. It just costs a packet. My favourite shop is Amoeba Records here in the Bay Area. If I'm lazy and have extra coin I buy stuff on eBay. The last three years I haven’t really bought many new records, I've been listening to tons of stuff that I've had for years and forgotten about. I have so much music, sometimes it's good to just listen to what you have compared to finding some obscure jams. I forget about the classics that I grew up on. I used to love buying records on the road, but they never come home in good shape.

Are there any records you're trying to get hold of just now?

I'd like all the Real People and Inspiral carpets albums and singles.

Where's your favourite place to skate in the world, outwith your home?
My favourite place to travel is the UK. Even though it's only been two times that I've been there. But for skating I really like Oz.

If you lived in Britian in the sixties, would you be a Mod or a Rocker?
I'm guessing a Rocker. I don’t think I could afford to shop at Carnaby St. Actually, I'd be a Mocker! I love the 60s Mod movement and music but I'd want to ride faster. So I'd trade in my Lammy in for a Bonneville. But truthfully I'd rather have been in the USA in the sixties. We had free airwaves and could actually listen to the radio. Plus at the time all the great British acts were over here too.

Do you play in a band?

Nope. I'm a talentless stunt devil.

Quadrophenia or The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle?
That’s a no brainer mate! Quadrophenia has the greatest soundtrack! Pete Townshend is a genius! I love that movie. I like the animation in the Swindle but I'm not much of a Pistols fan. My two favourite songs are the ones in the movie. Where Paul Cook sings his song with the video and Steve Jones sings 'Lonely Boy'. But I do love Quadrophenia. That movie and album touched me growing up and still does every time.

I'm not sure anybody in the UK knows much about Death Beat- tell us a bit about that.
DIY at its finest, haha! Death Beat is a silk screening project I took up. I wanted to print shirts for my fans. Death Beat stands for two strong passions of mine- eeriness and music. I combined the two and came up with Death Beat. for more info. If you ever wanted something from me personally, this is how.

Is it fair to say you prefer British music to American stuff?

It's fair to say the UK has the best music scenes to ever happen. The Americans invented Rock'n'Roll but the Brits did it better! The 60s, 70s, the 1977 punk rock movement, 80s darkwave and gothic rock, the Madchester scene, the 90s, Britpop... I'd say 90 percent of my music is from the UK.

So what's your favourite year for music?
1977-1982, the whole uprising of the punk rock, powerpop, Mod revival- and later the darkwave scene. Those five years produced so much good music!

Have you ever bought a record based on the artwork, and it turned out to be amazing?
That I haven’t, I have been let down many times. I think a name and album art looks good and it turns out to be an utterly horrid noise.

What record have you played the most?

Teenage Fanclub's 'Bandwagonesque' gets a lot of play. The most played record I have is... Wow... I really don’t know. 'The Queen Is Dead' has always been a constantly played one. That record doesn’t get old.

Is there any current music you're digging? What was the last album you bought?
The Biters. They are some good friends of mine from Atlanta. They're amazing. One of the best bands I've heard in years. Powerpop at its best. They play an amazing set too. If you're into early glam rock and powerpop, you're going to love these guys. Check 'em out. The Biters. The song 'Melody For Lovers' is my favourite track.

Are there songs you play in your head when you're standing on top of something big to get yourself psyched?
For ten years now I've been singing the same verse- Motorhead, 'Ironfist'... "You know me, evil eye, you know me, prepare to die!"

Do you have a favourite Foundation video?

I really like Art Bars (2001).

How do you come across the music you have in your sections? Ice and the Iced aren't exactly a household name.

From record collecting. Listening to a song over and over and getting stoked on it. Sometimes I hear the meoldy and I'm like "I need to skate to this song!"

In the UK, Iggy Pop sells car insurance.
Trip out! I'm not sure how selling insurance keeps him that buff though.

Do you have a favourite label?
Stiff Records has always had great bands. I think there are some great compilations out there. Killed By Death, Bloodstains, etc.

What's next with Foundation?
'WTF', the new Foundation video. Coming out soon! Its going to be awesome!

What question do you wish people would stop asking you?
"Why do you have a beard?"

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Having not long returned from a tour of the states with Mogwai, Glasgow's Errors are about to pack up their electronic post-rock pop, take it to Brazil and let it out all over some festivals. We managed to speak to Steev Livingstone, who I'm pretty sure is the tallest in the band, so therefore is probably in charge.

You're just back from a month-long tour of the US with Mogwai. How did that go? Did you go record shopping much?
It was great. We did a lot of record shopping. To the point that we had to buy extra suitcases to carry them home in. We visited a couple of excellent record shops in Seattle in Capital Hill. Sonic Boom, and one round the corner from that were especially good. I found a basket of neglected Italo Disco records under one of the racks. I stayed for over an hour listening through them. Got some absolute gems. We went to Amoeba Records in Hollywood as well. Could really have stayed there all day. Greg got a limited edition Can VHS and CD box-set.

Why isn't there any singing on your songs? Are you all too shy?
There's a lot of singing- you just need to look for it. The new record has quite a lot of 'vocals' on it so far too. We aren't really that shy any more.

What do you find easiest?
a) Playing in a band
b) Working in a busy pub
c) Doing remixes
d) DJing
They're all easy. Except DJing. I still get sweaty with stress whenever I do that. I'm not much fun to be around at that point.

Should people feel obliged to dance to Errors?
People should do whatever they want. I don't move at all when I go and see bands. If you feel self-conscious at a show it's probably the band's responsibility to fix that. Sadly being so tall and awkward, the band would have to be extremely talented to fix me.

Your first EP- and subsequent two LPs- are all very much Errors, but still very different. Do you consciously set out to change the sound each time you make a record?
We don't ever talk about that. Our tastes and the music we listen to changes all the time. We'll talk about what we've been listening to and what blogs we've been on and stuff and because we all DJ together we get an idea of what each other are digging at that moment. There are a lot of cross-overs but also a lot of surprises. I would be disappointed if all our albums sounded a-like, I guess we're quite lucky that we've been able to create a sound that is our own without too much repetition.

 What were you all listening to when you decided to start making music together? Have your influences changed since then?
We were pretty young. I guess we all liked Pavement collectively. I liked mainly 80s pop music, Greg was really into guitar music from the 90s and Simon like most left-field stuff. I arrived late to electronic music. I played in many guitar bands when I was young before I realised there we're actually other instruments out there.

What's been the most amusing description of your music that you've heard?
"It's not something but it is like whatever."

Will your next album title be a pun on a TV show? What about doing an easy listening selection called 'The Only Way Is David Essex'? Or a Detroit techno album called 'America's Next Top Model 500'? 'Celebrity Stars In Their I-Pods'?
I think it's time we moved away from all that. Funny as it is.

Were you worried about handing out your second album to people to remix?
Not at all. My only worry was that someone might remix it so well it was better than the original. Like when Fat Boy Slim remixed 'Brimful of Asha' and he basically re-wrote the song turning them into one-hit-wonders and it wasn't even really their song anymore.

Who would you like to remix? Is there anything out there you think could benefit from a quick once-over?
Can't really think of anyone. I'm open to suggestions though.

What's your favourite video game music?
I was brought up on the Megadrive so I guess Sonic 2, California Games, Road Rash... All that stuff. I recently downloaded a band's DJ mix and they opened the mix with Emerald Hill Zone 1 from Sonic 2 and it reminded me how excellent and imaginative that music was. I'd love to do that as a job, that or making music for children's TV shows. I reckon I could do that pretty well.

Do you follow people like Andre Michelle, and what they're doing?
I don't think I've come across him before so I guess that's a no.

Do you get much money from your music being on Spotify? Have their recent changes made a difference?
We get a little bit. We probably get more money from being played in gyms though. It seems like people like to work out and get sweaty to Errors.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Bear in mind you'll need to be practical.
Pepperoni Pizza. What do you mean practical? It's a pretty impractical situation. I'd probably not survive long if I ate exclusively one type of food regardless of what it was.

Mogwai have had a couple of tracks on adverts- are there any products you'd like to endorse? Or would refuse to?
As long as it wasn't a company that made landmines or the BNP or anything I'd be happy if the money was good. 

What are you listening to yourselves just now? Anything you'd like to recommend?
I've been listening to Tropic of Cancer who I really like. They use some old gear and it's all kind of two-chord Spectrum stuff. We're all into the Peaking Lights album. I'd also highly recommend Midnight Star's seminal 1985 album 'Headlines'. That's pretty much all we listened to in the van on the US tour.

What's coming next from Errors then?
An album later this year. Maybe. with an exstensive UK tour to follow. Probably.

Errors are signed to Mogwai's Rock Action Records.