Excerpted from Tsuji 154
Between sing-along, dancefloor talk and post-punk spells, the London trio ACP unite on their first album Blush The immediacy of life and the rigor of electronics. An explosive mixture explained by Ella Harris and Josh Baxter, vocal trio.
On August 19, when Ella Harris, singer and guitarist ACP, playing on his railing in the summer heat at the Ballà Boum festival in Corsica, unites several images, emotions and references at the same time. An elegant finale epic to the concert, “Exhaust/Surroundings,” which appears on the last of them EP From the set, it starts out like a song by The Cure, swoops wildly on Soulwax before taking a standalone detour and ending in Kraftwerk-style artificial flights. All the while, the young singer, thumping her strings like she’s in Nirvana, is lulling as if Hope Sandoval, Mazy Star’s angelic frontwoman, grew up in decadent London in the third millennium. All of this can, for once, sum up the sonic thing created by Harris and his friends Josh Baxter and Louis Satchwell. But on his first album, Blush, out October 14th on Ninja Tune, the south London trio ditch their guitars to venture into more electronic spaces. “Transit” presents a somber and rainy in-journey vibe, and “Hero Man” combines layers of Balearic synth and percussion à la DFA And the brutal “Untethered,” composed of romance and sci-fi, is a cabaret anthem Peaches can’t deny. Drawing their youthful features on The Long Night, Harris and Baxter sit in front of their screens to talk about suburbia, machines and science fiction.
Where did you grow up?
she: firstly in Stoke Newington, where I live now, which is quite central. Then we moved to Finchley in the north. When you grow up in this kind of neighborhood out of the center, you tend to stay there a lot. Sometimes you go to explore London. Under 18s take the bus for free, so we played this game: We went to the center, then took the first bus we came across and saw where it took us. We used to meet each time in a different place.
Josh: We grew up in two rather suburban areas, quite alike even if geographically opposite. I, was in the south, in Croydon. Far from the skyscrapers of the city. Shopping centers, houses in rows of onions, schools, cinemas … and that’s it. You have to get close to the center to see the stereotype of London.
What did your parents listen to when you were little?
Josh: My dad loves Pink Floyd and my mom used to listen to it a lotOppa In the car. and George Michael.
she: My dad was over Beastie Boys and Busta Rhymes. Making tapes of her playing in the car. Heavy rap. My mom loves jazz. My name is Ella in honor of Ella Fitzgerald.
However, one cannot say that Ella Fitzgerald and Busta Rhymes are clear influences on your music.
she: I love both, but I think I rebelled a bit against my parents. As a teenager, I started listening to more guitar-centric music. The first time I heard The Smiths I must have been fifteen! I thought it was crazy. I had to catch up. Effect ACP Maybe over there. Then, I like the way we build the beats, which come from less guitar-oriented bands.
How did you meet each other?
shekisa: I remember we were at a party in the living room. I must have been drinking a can of Tyskie (cheap polish lager, NDR). Josh was in the corner by the window, looking shy and I felt so ashamed. There were a lot of people talking about themselves that I don’t know. Then I saw that charitable face, so I went to him. It must have been two in the morning and we talked all night. That was in 2017, I think.
Josh: Was that when I had blonde hair?
she: yes ! platinum blonde.
Joshkisa: It was the post-punk vampire period. I always wore an overcoat.
she: and eyeliner. And I had blue hair.
When ACP Born in 2019, what kind of groups have you been in?
she: I started working at Five Bells, a pub and music venue in South London, not far from where Josh and I live. It’s part of A Little Piece of London, which also includes Windmill, where there was a more guitar-oriented scene with country music. He got along with bands like the Fat White Family and the Country Teasers. In these rooms, all groups played the same time and were paid the same amount. Some play shoegaze, others punk, and some nice guitar music. But there were no electronic groups.
You yourself have been oscillating for a long time between post-punk and electronica. On stage this summer, like at the Ballà Boum festival, you’ve clearly chosen a dance path more than rock. You also entrusted your project to Loud & Quiet to find a way to make the drums sound more like a drum machine and your synths sound more like a guitar. How did this desire arise?
JoshBands like the Gila Band or Just Mustard (who wears his shirt, NDR) Try doing it backwards: their guitars often sound like synths. I find it interesting to use a machine for a different purpose than it was designed for. When you do the opposite of the expected, you often achieve something unexpected. Live music has a very direct side that you don’t always get with DJs and electronic music. Although you can get something different with a club vibe. One of our goals is to reconnect the immediacy of live music to the rigor of electronic execution. Then see how this meeting goes.
In 2020, I told Do it yourself This is for you EP toner It was an “honest reflection” of who you are. In what exactly?
she: This was the time when we introduced voices that weren’t necessarily the ones that people were interested in in the first place. We brought in a wide range of sounds. And that was a more honest reflection of ourselves, rather than doing “divine intervention” six times. Although “Untethered” has a similar format. Both songs start on a bass note.
Josh: looks the same to Blush today. We released more guitar-oriented stuff and wanted to explore a more electronic way. But this does not mean that we will not return to guitars in the future. Electronics have always been a part of our sound. The possibilities are limitless. We just wanted to create the sounds and moods that turn us on.
““Untethered” sounds a bit like a sci-fi nightmare. The narrator chases after little men of neon lights. You ask: what is the meaning of all this? When will you stop? They don’t answer and keep running. Does science fiction affect you?
Josh: yes. My father read a lot of them and passed these pictures on to me. Many songs have scenes attached to them. In the studio, when we were finishing “Untethered,” I had this picture of a futuristic city: giant buildings that came to life and chased people away. who escaped. Sounds very synth ” big. “ It goes together. It was mechanical and organic at the same time.
she: I really like Ursula K. Lejeune, science fiction with an anthropological approach. Song-wise, I love portraying this person in a kind of purgatory. She sees these people from a distance. It is small because it is far away. The person runs towards them. They run without knowing why. You go after them, you ask what they do and they don’t answer. Keep running. It sums up how one can feel with so many people around him.
“Bad Dad” is a scene from a horror movie. Why is this dad evil?
sheThis man had a new baby. her first child. He goes to the cradle at midnight. The newborn baby is crying. He tries to calm him down, but he won’t stop. So he’s going through an existential crisis that really has a horror movie side to it. “Will I be a good father? Am I judged to be a terrible father? Not bad. He thinks he’s destined to be because of masculinity patterns. He’s afraid to perpetuate them being a man raising a man. I’m sure raising a man is stressful. And being a man too.”
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