You’d say that Big Yoga Muffin took the biscuit when it came to daft names, but saying that sort of thing only leads to further unnecessary confectionery puns. The duo, who did a neat line in melodic curveball electropop, also had daft names. More about them in a moment. First, that band name.
“We wrote a track called ‘The Big Yoga Muffin’, which is basically about having sex,” they told me during an interview in some Shepherd’s Bush boozer in late 1999. “We sent the demo to a publisher who said he had to listen to it because of the title. We got a deal from that.”
Their one and only album was eventually called ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’, but, they explained, in contention was ‘If You’re Looking For Sympathy You Can Find It In The Dictionary Between Shit and Syphilis’, ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’ and ‘Picnic At Hanging Brain’… which is another sex reference. Think about it, but not for too long.
At the time, not that I gave it much thought back then, pretty much everyone in the music world – musicians, designers, photographers, managers, PRs, record label staff, agents – was the same age as you. It struck me that Big Yoga Muffin seemed older and clearly knew the game. They’d done this before.
Sounds daft now, but with “new” artists you were often the first person to write about them, so information was scant at best. The internet wasn’t exactly the all-seeing eye it is today so if an artist wanted to swerve questions, dirt was hard won.
Singer Ange Dolittle told a great story about being a private investigator dealing with corporate fraud, money laundering and corruption, which isn’t something you hear every day. His partner in crime Pim Jones said he was a session musician. I pushed about their musical pasts but neither elaborated.
Long after I wrote the piece I discovered Pim was in Hipsway, one of the coolest bands of the 80s. Ange? He was in late 80s alt-rockers Eat, signed to Fiction Records, home to The Cure. Talk about a rookie mistake.
Big Yoga Muffin was over as quickly as it started. It was ‘845183’ from the first EP that caught the attention. All eight minutes and 14 seconds, accompanied as it was by an unusual time-lapse video in which a model cat grows a fluffy coat while singing the song. I haul the album out on a regular basis. I love Ange’s smoky vocal and the songs themselves are hewn from prime leftfield with a pop hammer. Opener ‘Is That How You Get Off?’ is a beach-ball bouncy sing-along joy, the lounge-funk of ‘Boredom Is A Luxury’, the spooky sway-along ballad ‘The Beauty Of Power’… it’s all killer no filler. With the sort of experience they had under their belts, no wonder.