Not An Animal Talk
Anyone familiar with Bad Passion and their delightful parties will be happy to know that the pair behind them all are back under a brand new guise as Not An Animal. Chris Stoker and Andy Bainbridge have set up this new moniker as a way of both putting on cracking parties and as a label for them to release a selection of sounds that they love. The new venture launches officially on 10th October with a big ol' party at The Yard, Hackney so we thought we'd jump in just before everything kicks off and ask the pair a selection of questions;
Tell us about Not An Animal – why did you decide to set up the label and what is the driving force behind it?
Chris – After putting on the Bad Passion parties for the last 6 years and both of us having released music on other labels, setting up our own imprint is pretty much the natural evolution of that – both for our own music and that of our friends and collaborators. Originally it was going to be the Bad Passion label but we decided we would prefer to give it its own identity and get a clean slate.
How will you be going about sourcing artists for the label? Are you actively on the hunt or have people been flocking to you?
Chris – A lot of the original artists are part of a close knit community of friends who’ve known each other and have been DJing together for a number of years so the original plan was to bring all of that together on our own platform. Ourselves, Man Power, Last Waltz, Lizards etc all know each other from back home. Then the likes of Jamie Blanco & Charlie from Konkret Cutz we met from them coming to the Bad Passion parties. Then most of the people remixing are people we’ve met along the way.
You've already got Man Power on board, who else is set to join the Not An Animal crew in the near future?
Chris – The second release is from Ess O Ess with remixes from Suzanne Kraft and Chida. Then we have newcomers Lizards and Elizabeth Collective as well as Last Waltz, Machete Savane & Konkret Cutz. Remixing we have Backwoods, Chida, Suzanne Kraft, Max Essa, Tiago, DJ Buck, Jonny Nash and Jamie Blanco to name a few. Eric Duncan has just got on board too with a Daniel Baldelli remix so we're pretty sorted for the first year release-wise. We’re now at the point where word has got around and we're being approached by other artists to release stuff.
Will they all speak funny like you both and Man Power do?
Chris – For the most part, yes, and Mick from Last Waltz will speak without stopping for breath until the cows come home if you let him sometimes in our own mother tongue but most of the time it will be in Scottish riddles and limericks.
As well as the label, you're setting up a party under the same name – do you find it easier to work on releases or parties? Is there one that you have a particular preference for?
Andy – Definitely prefer working on releases, it's good to be mostly in control of the eventual output. The lead up to a party gets pretty stressful and I still can't totally relax until the whole things over, this has lead to some very interesting after parties though!
Chris – I’m sure that everyone reading this who puts parties on will agree they’re a pain the arse. A good vehicle for having a night out on your terms if you pull it off though.
How did you go about choosing the logo and artwork for the label?
Andy – We wanted it to have a connection to Bad Passion so used the same format and similar text layout but kept it more basic. A friend of ours called Jonny Rowe did the sleeve and Colin Davies (An honorary Geordie although from Stockport originally) has always done the party artwork.
Andy, you spend a long time up a crane. Has this been useful in A&Ring the label i.e. do you spend all day listening to demos?
Andy – I've bought two decent speakers to take up there and both times some parkour ninja twats climbed up and nicked them so I don't listen to that much music up there now. To be honest though I'm more into watching Homes Under The Hammer and the 'Allo 'Allo re-runs up there anyway.
Chris – I’ve gotta throw my hat into the ring here. In a word ‘NO’. Andy spends his day up the crane watching daytime TV. Even at home he doesn’t listen to demos as “he needs a special lead” to do it. Apparently this lead is rarer to come across than hen’s teeth as it still seems to elude him months down the line. The main thing that occupies Andy’s day though is the infamous “banksman”. What’s a banksman???? I’m fucked if I know… But apparently his main appointment on the building site is to “Gan his ends”. Something he never fails to do when ever I try to catch Andy on the phone to find out if he’s listened to the demos yet. To which of course the answer is always…."No I need to buy a lead… Anyway I’ve gotta gan, the banksman’s gannin his ends again”. The banksman has now been immortalized in the NAA story with an ode to his nuisance in the run out groove on the second release.
If you could sign one artist from throughout recorded musical history to the label, who would it be and why?
Andy – Probably someone like Grace Jones, her releases were so iconic and had the full package – working on releases with her, The Compass Point All stars and Jean-Paul Goude must've been unreal! Saying that, if we'd have signed her she’d probably be working as a lollipop lady or something nowadays.
Chris – Jimmy Nail. In keeping with the North East theme. Last Waltz remix of Crocodile Shoes. With Jonny Nash’s Monkey Whispering Blissapella on the other side.
What are your thoughts on the current state of independent record labels? Do you believe that there are enough opportunities available for people to be successful?
Andy – We're the 2 most useless people in the world at sorting out this kind of stuff and we're learning the ropes as we go along, so if we can do it then I reckon anyone can. I see it as really good thing to do if you're releasing your own music as you have complete control over how you go about presenting yourself, especially with sites like Bandcamp out there now but if you're starting something up I'd say go into it for the love not the money because there's not a lot to be had.
In the age of the 3 second attention span, do you still listen to albums? Do you think that they're still a commercially viable outlet?
Sorry, what were we talking about?
How do you think you stand out from the crowd given the current wealth of independent labels operating?
Andy – I think it's exceptionally hard to stand out in the crowd these days due to the fact that there are so many labels popping up. I've no idea if we will stand out but I'm hoping that what we've put in place for the next year will give us a good platform to evolve in the future and set us up for the long haul.
Chris – This is where my trousers and dancing come in. The rest, in theory, should be history.
When did you first fall in love with music? Has your love ever wavered?
Chris – 1989, Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction
Andy – My dad had an amazing record collection and I remember the first time I heard him play Maniac Mechanic by ZZ Top. I was only 4 or so and remember being equally terrified and mesmerized by the vocal that sounded like the devil so I'd keep asking him to play it over and over. He played guitar in a rock band called 'Evil Past' so he'd always be banging it out round the house either on his guitar or playing records. I loved it and have done ever since!!!
When did you both fall in love with each other?
Andy – We met at a Shindig after party at the Baltic, Chris was djing upstairs and I was doing the downstairs. He kept trying to rub my bald head and took loads of photos of me to stick on his bedroom wall. I moved to London to get away from him but he saved up his money and followed me down! I'm still trying to get rid of him!!
When did you last fight each other and who won?
Chris – Last week…. Me… Always me.
Andy – See what I have to work with!! You should stick a big crazy manic laugh on the end of that sentence!!
Chris – Don’t get me started on what I have to work with.
We know that you're not an animal BUT what animal do you most resemble and why?
Andy – There was a TV show in the '80s called Manimal about a guy who fought crime with is ability to turn into different animals. My wife seems to think I resemble every stupid looking animal she sees be it a bear, goat, owl, monkey, worm, anything so I could be a bit like Manimal only a really gormless version. Instead of turning into a tiger I'd turn into a llama or something, running round spitting at robbers.
Chris – A rat… A nice clean well mannered rat.
Andy – One of Chris’ nicknames is Splinter so that says a lot!
What else are you not?
Andy – Ever gonna try and jump between two buildings, three storeys up, extremely drunk ever again!!!
Chris – Ever gonna go back to Sunderland again.
What's the largest animal you think you could beat in a fight? No weapons allowed, obviously.
Andy – I was in a right panic being chased round a beer garden by a wasp just the other week so if we're going off that, I'm pretty screwed!!'
Is Bad Passion dead?
Andy – Bad Passion as a party has passed on but that was only one aspect of Bad Passion Project, Not An Animal is another aspect of the project, we'll always DJ together as Bad Passion and will make music under it too.
Chris – Bad Passion will live on when the light of every full moon catches the glint of Andy’s glistening smooth head come the witching hour.
What can we expect to hear in the first year of Not An Animal?
Andy – The infamous story of where the name came from 1 million times!!
Chris – I’m actually surprised you didn’t ask that knowing the story, although relieved. I’m not quite ready to commit it to the written word just yet. Although the catchphrase does seems to be popular on a tee shirt at the minute.
Anything you'd like to add?
The official launch party is on the 10th October at the Yard at Hackney with Manuel POWA himself and DJ Kent aka The Backwoods– Tickets available here.
We have a new podcast launching under the Not An Animal banner the 1st one of which is by one of Saturdays guests The Backwoods which you can subscribe to via this website.
Never underestimate the healing properties of a good time…. Holes don’t burn themselves in dance floors etc etc etc… See you on the tylz bruva!
This time next year Rodders… Love Chris & Andy
The Not An Animal launch party takes place on 10th October at The Yard at Hackney, grab your tickets here.