logo header

nav begin spacer home news press releases lyrics gallery media forum links1 contact credits nav end spacer


By rights, we should be talking in a labratory dedicated to adventures in stereo, where boffins in Beatle wigs send random noise bursts squiggling out of ancient and modern technology. Or we should be whispering darkly at a tripped-out happening somewhere in California at the arse-end of the '60s, while kaleidoscopic images reel over the walls in slow motion.

These, perhaps, are the spiritual homes of Broadcast, a dazed, graceful and very new band from Birmingham. Instead, though, we're sat in a pub full of braying suits overlooking the Thames, and Roj Stevens (keyboardist), Trish Keenan(vocals) and James Cargill (bass) are coming to terms with being in a band people actually give a damn about.

"We went to open a bank account the other day," says Roj, "and they were saying we had to write out a business plan. That's alien to us, to forecast what we're going to be doing in the future. We just don't really know."

Fine. Anyway, Broadcast (add absent drummer Steve Perkins and guitarist Tim Felton to the aforementioned trio) formed around a year ago in Birmingham. They look something like beatnik cuties ("We all live near the same charity shops," says Roj) have played about a dozen gigs, and have released two frankly wonderful seven-inch singles thus far.

Reference points? Try a substantially more whacked-out Portishead, adding spacey experimentation to replace the trad coffee-table soul stylings. Imagine Stereolab without the Krautrock expanses, their looping langueurs condensed into sweeter, more accessible songs. Think - if you've hung around second-hand record shops long enough - of United States of America, who mixed late-'60s West Coast vibes with weebling, innovative electronica.

It's the latter who most inspired Broadcast. Ostensibly, the likes of current single "Living Room" on Stereolab's Duophonic label are psychadelic waltzes, updated for the '90s by the understated, organic use of samples. "Waltzes feel really natural to us," reckons Roj. "We tried writing a 4/4 song the other day and it was really difficult."

"But I think we could get away with doing a lot of things at the moment," interjects Trish. "We could get away with doing theme tune-type things, or a very jazzy thing. There's lots of possibilities."

Indeed there are. Like another EP for Duophonic, a bit of remixing for Saint Etienne, the off gig, even. And plenty of time for bumping into Ocean Colour Scene in Sainsbury's ("They're very braggy," claims Trish) and outing the Broadcast drummer as a former member of Simon Menswear's formative fraggie no-mark band Cooler Than Jesus. In the psychadelic space sound laboratory, there's still plenty of work to do.

NME June 1996
interviewed by John Mulvey