Your songs are very romantic. You even use the word “forever”.
Liz: “They’re typical teen love songs. When you are a teenager, you do think it’ll be forever, thing happen with such intensity at that age. It’s only when you’re older you start thinking sensibly.”
Do you think today’s teenagers are really still like that? If you look at the charts it’s obvious that pop is no longer drippily intense in that way. aren’t today’s teenagers horribly practical and sophisticated?
Pete: “The last time pop was like that was in the mid-Seventies, with bands like The Bay City Rollers copying the songwriting styles of the Sixties. I think the whole thing stems from the American entertainment industry idea of how children should be. It’s a pre-Elvis Presley thing!”
Chris: “For us, the girl groups of the Sixties represent the acme of pop music. Groups like the Shangri-Las had a real teen angst but it was expressed through camp and a sense of humour. The girl groups had nothing to do with authenticity, and likewise we challenge that whole apparatus. In that sense, we have little in common with the majority of the indie scene.”
How far do you subscribe to the DIY creed of incompetence?
Pete: “A lot of people are so keen to make pop they’ll make it before they’re competent.”
Chris: “I think that the music produced by incompetents is more likely to be at the forefront of music development.”
Amelia: “Because when you learn to play, you learn to play what someone else has already played. You are inserted into a discipline which limits you.”
Is part of the point of Talulah Gosh “wimpy men and strong women”?
Matthew: “I’m not a wimp.”
Pete: “The most you can do is have women in a band.”
Liz: “Unlike most bands with girls in, the two girls in Talulah Gosh write most of the songs. We rule with an iron fist!”
Chris: “Basically, Amelia is mum, Pete is dad, Matthew and I are the kids, and this is Aunty Liz!”
Liz: “Listen, wanker, why did you say in that review of us that we had iffy sexual politics? Most indie bands have male singers and they can swing themselves around the microphone and be really exhibitionist and sexual. Whereas we were standing still, dressed in the clothes we wear everyday and we get criticised!”
Pete: “I think Amelia and Liz’s image would only be iffy if we were signed to a major and they were trying to exploit it as a novelty.”
Liz: “I suppose the thing about the childishness is this ‘paedophiliac gaze’ problem, but how far do you go in worrying about these things? Sexual liberation should be about doing what you want to do.”
You have a very high media profile for a group that’s only now releasing a single.
Chris: “We’re recognised as extremists.”
Exactly. People seem to regard you as a kind of limit, as far as they want to go in that direction. What seems to happen is that people start to fall into self-flagellation over their “duty” to crossover. And some have taken your song “The Day She Lost Her Pastels’ Bag” as a symbol of indie introversion, a smug in-joke.
Chris: “But the little things really matter.”
Pete: “I personally wouldn’t be unhappy if our audience was limited to people who knew who The Pastels were. Or even to those who had Pastels badges!”
The indie scene seems marked by the lack of a manifesto, a refusal to make statements.
Chris: “Silence can be as radical as saying something.”
Pete: “All that old rhetoric about changing the charts is crap. The public are never going to be interested in noisy guitars.”
So what happens now? If people are retreating from making claims for their music anymore, is it possible to talk about pop?
Chris: “It’s a decadent state… but much more interesting than that idea of spurious authenticity. There’s a vast gulf between bands like us and The Mighty Lemon Drops.”