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Psapp - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

The Only Thing Psapp Ever Wanted

September 2006

MVRemix: What inspired 'New Rubbers'? Tell us about that track.

Carim: The main inspirational ingredients were a broken espresso machine, a cuckoo clock, a footpath along the Thames in Twickenham, and Galia splitting up with her boyfriend.

MVRemix: Who is the feline in the album?

Carim: This time 'The cat with no name', a local of Kings Cross, who moved in with us early 2005 is featured. On our previous album, a different feline lady called, Splodge was featured, but she has retired from her musical career.

MVRemix: What is it about cats that you love?

Carim: They are so unpredictable. Sometimes, they seem to be so clever, like they know exactly what is going on. A minute later, they do something really stupid and run off mistaking a piece of toast for an evil predator.

Galia: Can I just interject? It was actually our flat-mate, Masa, who screamed and ran out of the room after seeing a scary bit of toast. But, cats can be very stupid too. I am living with one at the moment called, Badger, who keeps bringing in dried leaves and proudly eating them on the bed.

MVRemix: Do you do many overdubs while recording?

Carim: Not too much. We always try to keep as much as possible of the original first recording. Sometimes, for some songs, a more processed and edited approach works better though.

MVRemix: How are the fans responding to 'The Only Thing I Ever Wanted' LP?

Carim: I hope they are a bit surprised by it not sounding like the last one.

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the name Psapp?

Carim: That goes back a long time, to the early days of Psapp. We always enjoyed building our own instruments. Not exclusively, homegrown toys are used, as we also use pianos and guitars. We do regular little excursions around the manor. About 5 years ago, we found some nice bits of wood, a clip-on car boot, a giant metal string, which was more like a thick wire, and also a musical unicorn set from our local off-license. Arriving back at the studio, all excited over the excellent finds, we decided to build one instrument out of all components. After a lot of drilling and hammering, we had the car boot hanging off the ceiling in the upstairs room by the wire. It sounded like the lowest note of a piano with the extra feature of setting off a whiny toy unicorn, gaffa taped to the car boot, by hitting it on the head. So, we recorded it all straight onto DAT, but the weight of the new instrument was too much for the 150 year old ceiling. It all came down with a lot of plaster. That hole was never properly fixed. You can still see the living room while sitting on the toilet. Unfortunately, the DAT player messed up the tape and the only audio we could retrieve was us, setting it all up and our neighbor shouting in the background something that sounded like, 'Psapp'.

MVRemix: When creating a track, do you have a set theme or idea first or the music first?

Carim: We don't have any rules about how to start a new song, apart from writing together in the studio. Sometimes, it starts with a violin melody, some guitar chords, or a lyric. Songs always seem to grow out a minuscule grain into a large monster, like a chain reaction. Sometimes, it feels out of our hands. Galia and I have a near telepathic understanding of each other's musical ideas. We hardly ever argue with each other or question the other's idea, which makes it quite a special experience.

MVRemix: What was the recording process like for the new album? How was it different from other times?

Carim: There is no real difference in the recording process between the albums, but rather between the songs. We would record playing a guitar in an aquarium in diving suits if it fits the song.

MVRemix: Musically, what else have you been working on?

Carim: I'm still occasionally working as a sound engineer on other people's records, mainly for some of my regulars like Pedro or Shawn Lee.

MVRemix: What are some of your favorite instruments?

Carim: I love anything that makes a noise. Recently, we've been very fond of our piano which we got about a year ago and also a homemade marimba out of our favourite pieces of wood.

Galia: I really love our thumb piano collection, which has grown out of all proportion. Also, our new toy, the Suzuki Omni chord, which is like an autoharp with a very 80's design and a satisfying sound.

MVRemix: Around what time in your career did you start financially surviving from music?

Galia: About 9 months ago.

Carim: As a sound engineer/producer, about 15 years. As a songwriter, only recently.

MVRemix: Do you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?

Galia: It depends what you mean by success really. There's plenty of amazing bands who have managed to spend their life writing music and living from it whilst being credible.

MVRemix: What song are you most proud of?

Galia: Almost always, the one we are working on, at the time. We've got a new one, with the rhythm section made out of bricks rubbing together and a really distorted old Bontempi, which I found in a car boot sale for about 5. I am proud of the lyrics too, though they are sad and desperate in a way.

MVRemix: Who are some artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Galia: Robert Wyatt, Ivor Cutler, difficult though as he's dead. Also, David Shrigley, Sufjan Stevens, and John Shuttleworth. Probably a lot more people too, most of whom died a few hundred years ago. I'm perverse like that.

MVRemix: How did you get the deal with Domino Records?

Galia: I think my mum bribed them to sign us. Hello mum.

MVRemix: What have you been listening to in the last couple of days?

Galia: At the moment, I am listening to a mixture on my dear old computer. The last 5 songs were Wesley Willis 'Suck My Dog's Dick', Weekend's 'Midnight Slows', the singer from young marble giants. It's brilliant. The theme tune from, 'The Wombles' by Mike Batt. 'Whip It' by Devo.

MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?

Galia: When I make cat noises along with Gwen's violin solo.

MVRemix: How has your live show evolved?

Galia: It's louder, more hysterical, and confident than it was at the start. We fuss less over the detail and more about the overall experience.

>> continued...

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"There's plenty of amazing bands who have managed to spend their life writing music and living from it whilst being credible."