Phil Ward of Lo-Fidelity Allstars/Technically Men breaks cover to answer a virtual torrent of quick questions
Music press cover stories, rave reviews, the Lo-Fis were genuinely the next big thing for a while, right?
“We really were the big hype for a few months. I remember meeting some other up-and-coming band at the time and they said they couldn’t stand us because we took all the front covers away from them.”
And then it all went tits up, care to sum that up for us?
“People just didn’t care about us anymore, pretty basic really. We also took five years to finish our second album, which probably didn’t help.”
You relocated to New York didn’t you. What’ve you been up to over there?
“I run my unsuccessful Deep Ellum record label [soundcloud.com/deepellumrecs] and I also work in a brewery in Brooklyn. I have a beard and a top knot, so I’ve finally become everything I hate.”
‘Technically Men’ is essentially a lost Lo-Fidelity Allstars album isn’t it?
“Yeah, pretty much. It was written by the same people and all the band played on it. I think after ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Love’ we just wanted to do something quick and easy with no pressure, no expectations. It took us about a month.”
Care to explain the cover Alexander O’Neal’s ‘Criticize’?
“We loved our 80s soul, the smoother the better. That song seemed right for the album, which is basically us criticising everything. All the songs are based on various situations and people we’d met. We were all pissed off with the whole music industry. We were pretty sick of Brighton by that point, a load of middle class hipsters everywhere.”
The swearing is very impressive. Do you have a favourite line?
“I love the line from ‘Don’t Send Me Away’: ‘The court of King Knobhead is now in session / The stupidest man in the world / Talking like a big man / But blubbing like a little girl’. It was one of Johnny’s best lines. We can all relate to being King Knobhead.”
Why so angry?
“I think we knew our time in the spotlight was coming to an end and this raging against the dying of the light was just me shouting a load of bile down a mic. I’m much mellower now.”
Did it help to get all that out?
“Oh yeah, it felt great. But it also just felt good to finish it and leave it behind. I don’t think any of us wanted to go back out there and start talking about an album again. Although now I’m very happy to talk about it, obviously.”
Always liked the Lo-Fi’s stage names, you had one for this didn’t you?
“Johnny christened me Jeff Bile, a disgruntled travelling salesman, which is why we all wore our crap wedding suits at the few shows we did play. We wanted to look like the worst pub band you’d ever seen.”
We lost Johnny “The Slammer” Machin to cancer last year. A cracking drummer and all-round top chap…
“Johnny was the funniest, most talented person I’ve ever met. Also a life-long Leicester City fan, so he got to experience their glorious year. He introduced us to so much great music and so many great books. Go try and find a song called ‘Nova’ by Rhonda Scott, it’s one of the most incredible things he played me. He’s missed by all of us. All the proceeds from this release will be going to Cancer Research UK in memory of him.”