We shared some doughnuts and chai lattes with Adam from Himself as we looked forward to their set at StrangeForms...
*StrangeForms Festival takes place over the Easter Bank Holiday (19th & 20th April) at Wharf Chambers and features sixteen post-rock, post-metal and math rock acts.*
Bad Owl Presents: The Himself live show is one not to be missed and a genuine experience (we'd like to call it 'rock cabaret' but that kind of does it an offensive injustice) yet, at the beginning, can be slightly confusing for anyone who hasn't seen you before - do you get an almost perverse pleasure of playing to a new crowd in that respect?
Adam: Thanks Stewart and Kerry. It's very kind of you to say the live show is not to be missed. I've never missed even one, and they've all been totally confusing for me. I'm not offended by the term 'cabaret' at all. We like to muck about with what a gig feels like and some people find it fun to have their boundaries messed about with, in a playful way of course. It's so much fun to look at people's faces when they get the jokes or when you've really surprised them, especially if they're loving it. Good question by the way.
BOP: Your two E.P.s, Herself and Selfless (both available on Bandcamp), are self-recorded and sound, pretty much, faultless. How self-critical are you in the recording process and is there anything that you still wish that you'd done differently?
A: That's very kind but I'm sure both would benefit from a high powered 'radio ready' mix as they call it. Maybe from Art of Noise and Band-Aid 80's super-producer Trevor Horn, although I imagine his enormous glasses have dragged him to an early grave by now. We record live at home for practical reasons, and that affords us certain home comforts like lots of time to do another take, tea and cake, etc.. As a result the recording might be more like a hug than a punch, and lack the edgier energy of the live performance but I like that the recording and the live thing end up feeling different. Gives the punters more bang for their buck. Things I wish I'd done differently? Loads! On both records I accidentally left loads of me talking in the quiet bits. Bit of a shame that. Also wished I'd included all those collaboration contributions from Rihanna, and kept all the truck driver key changes in the songs too. Good question by the way.
BOP: Himself contains almost the full line-up of your previous band, Eiger - do you consider Himself to be a completely new band or more of a chrysalis of the previous band?
A: I can't help thinking anyone reading this is not going to know what we're talking about so it feels like a bit of an 'inside' conversation, but I'll ignore my inner dialogue and answer because I know some people really loved our little Eiger band. Himself might sound similar to Eiger sometimes but that's only because the same hands and voice boxes are making the noises, but the Himself music comes from a different place. I can feel some pride about the Eiger material now but it was a time in my life when I was a different person and much sadder than I am now. Himself feels like a braver proposition because it successfully challenges the way I think, rather than patting myself on the back about how I already see everything. Good question by the way.
BOP: Himself will be playing on the Saturday at StrangeForms - are you planning on sticking around for the day or weekend and, if so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
A: I have already got my Saturday evening booked out in the calendar. And, as all family men know, once it's in the calendar that means it's irreversible, so I will be enjoying as much of the line up as possible. I know I already like Envoys and MKBL. I know I'll find some new things I like too. Good question by the way.
BOP: Himself are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
A: This is a good question. I am certain there wouldn't be four bands all five of us in the band could agree on so I will answer selfishly just for myself, and given time travel and transportation is allowed I'm going to focus on that luxury rather than bands I could still see now. Santana from 1976 (Moonflower era), Black Sabbath from 1970 (like that brilliant Paris performance that's available online), Neil Young from 1991 (Arc Weld era) and then Crosby Stills and Nash from 1969 to send everyone home soothed afterwards. I would have really liked to have seen Lateralus-era Tool play, but I think that's in 5th place.
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, Himself's plans for the rest of 2014?
A: Excellent question! We don't have any other gigs booked at the moment, so we're available. Free. Free as a bird. Totally available. And we're working on some new songs, we always are. Did I mention we're available for gigs?
Himself are due to play StrangeForms at 4pm on Saturday 19th April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 from Jumbo, Crash, Wharf Chambers & BadOwl.BigCartel.com
Day tickets cost £9 from WeGotTickets.com