The Noisettes are a three piece band, vocalist/bassist Shingai Shoniwa, guitarist Dan Smith and drummer Jamie Morrison, from London.
Platforms Magazine talked to Shingai and Dan at Bestival 06 in the Guardian Tent. Interview by Roy Marmelstein and Rob Miles.
Rob: You came yesterday, what's your favourite thing so far?
Shingai: Rolling down the hill at break neck speed.
Dan: She rolled down the hill. A Pike roll, like on her side, all the way down it so fast, I could not believe it.
Shingai: What else did we do? We went in the sea, we paddled in the sea today.
Rob: In the sea?
Dan: We got a hotel there.
Shingai: We would have gone fishing, like last time we played near the sea it was in Ibiza Rocks, a couple of gigs got cancelled 'cos we were supposed to be playing with Babyshambles, so we decided to go fishing instead
Dan: Which we've never done before
Shingai: It's my first time, it was me and Dan's first time. We're from like, you know, not like ghetto, but like, you know, er quite sort of dense south London, so like fishing, yeah...
Roy: did you catch any fish?
Dan: We didn't catch any fish
Shingai: We caught bare jokes though
Dan: We caught a lot of fun, it was nice.
Roy: You said you come from London, yesterday we bumped into Adele
Shingai: Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Roy: And we wanted to know how you see your involvment in the whole London scene and where do you see it all going?
Shingai: I think often when it comes to like, sort of music and the arts and whatever, I think it's sort of more of a reciprocal thing than people think, you know, you're not, like, the audience, you're actually participating. Like, if people don't go to gigs or like, listen to what their next door neighbour's playing through the walls and what records they're listening to, that's how like, me and Adele met, we're next door neighbours, literally, and I heard her playing this shreiky saxophone. That's how we met, and we just had mutual friends in common, and like, me and Dan have sort of had this ethos where it's like we just know wherever the music takes us. It's sort of like, I don't think we belong to any specific scene, but if there was such a thing, it couldn't be like, in one place, you know what I mean
Dan: Most of the time we just run into people, like we ran into that guy from Nizlopi, before like they did that JCB song, we were in Brighton, me and Shing, busking and...
Dan: In Brighton
Roy: Where in Brighton?
Shingai: Outside the station...
Dan: We were just out on the station road and this dude comes up and he's like, he had this little guitar in his backpack and he said, 'Do you lot play?' and we were like, 'I guess so, yeah' and he's like...
Shingai: He goes, 'Play me a tune and I'll give you a beer, a Red Stripe each.'
Dan: 'Play us a tune now', and this café that he used to play in a lot, so we went in and played him a song, and we said, 'You should play us a song' So we swapped songs, and he got us a beer.
Roy: Cool. What's next for the Noisettes?
Shingai: We got a gig in a minute.
Roy: Yeah, more long term...
Dan: We just finished recording an album that's going to come out in February, so that's going to be released and we're going to start touring and stuff.
Rob: Does it have a name yet?
Dan: The album's called, 'What's the Time Mr Wolf?'
Rob: Well good.
Roy: Who is your favourite beatle?
Shingai: The dung beetle.
Dan: Erm, George Harrison.
Dan: He's great. I think he's dead good. I mean..
Shingai: Oh shit. That's really... ha ha ha
Roy: Ha ha ha
Shingai: WAAA Ha ha ha... oh Dan, he's smacked it...
Dan: No, he's brilliant, some of his songs, he's tread the fine line between, like Paul Mc Cartney he's very sentimental and very sort of very musically ambitious...
Dan: And John Lennon's was always a bit like, very irreverent to music, I think. I like George Harrison 'cos he was like, quietly sort of spiritual in his own way and like, some of his songs are really nice, I think they're really nice.
Shingai: What about Ringo Starr, man?
Shangai: Who gives a toss about Ringo man?
Roy: He's got his own band hasn't he?
Dan: Yeah, yeah
Roy: They do country stuff now...
Rob: English Mustard or French Mustard?
Dan: French mustard.
Shangai: Oh... What was the question?
Rob: English Mustard or French Mustard?
Shangai: Hmmmm...yea, I like the wholegrain. French mustard.
Roy: I'm a fan of the English mustard, it's like a forehead attack...
Shangai: See I don't even bother with like, what's the point in having, no, you don't need your hotdog you know, just get two baps and fill it with lots and lots of mustard..
It's like Wasabi...you get it in like sausage...sandwich...in a caff....so what are you guys about man, talk to us.
Rob: What are we about?
Shangai: Yeah, like what are you excited about at the moment? Bands, and obviously you must have been to a enough like, backdoor entires to festivals and gigs this year with what you're doing
Rob: We like Adele...I'm well into Devendra Banhart who's playing...
Shangai: We're going to see...yeah, yeah
Random girl: Could you sign my shirt for me please?
Shangai: Yeah, sure. No problem.
Roy: What book are you reading right now?
Shangai: What book? Erm....
Rob: Or favourite book...
Shangai: I'm actually reading...oh no I don't want to... I'm reading 'The Teen Guide to Birth Control'
Shangai: It's really good. Really 1986.
Dan: I've just finished reading 'Saturday' by Ian McEwan...
Shangai: Oh right, ok...Sane one speaks, you know, ha ha ha...ok
Dan: What was yours again? Birth Control?
Shangai: The Teen Guide...
Roy: Do you find the visual arts, or other arts the music as you write it? Is there a symbiotic relationship with the other arts?
Dan: There's not really a symbiotic relationship at the moment, but it's definitely an influence, very strongly... some of the songs Shing writes, she uses, kind of, visual metaphors...Things like bees and wolves are also symbols. As well as drawing a picture of he bee with the words, it's also like, the sting and the honey, the give and the take...the wolf, it comes to the door...you're testing me aren't you? You're going tick tick tick...
Shingai; no, no...
Dan: cross, cross, cross....
Shingai: No, I'm just in awe man. I really am...
Rob: Tea or Coffee?
Shingai: What is this, like it's Burt Lancaster or Burt Backarack next? You know what I mean... what's the other ones you can do?
Rob: Bert Jansch.
Dan: Bert Jansch!
Rob: Or Bert and Ernie...
Shingai: Mork or Mindy?
Rob: Do you have any advice for...
Shingai: Lindy Hop or Lynden David Hall?
Dan: One's dead and one's dying.
Shingai: Ah shit...
Rob: Do you have any advice for new young musicians?
Shingai: Advice... Dan's really good, we've got like, an agony aunt thing on our page, we're going to have up, Jamie the drummer's going to do an agony aunt page on our website.
Dan: er,.. rather than trying hard to be original, try and be yourself, 'cos like, that's the same thing, the most original thing's always what you do. Some things are a tribute to things that have gone by, or a simple kind of like badge. There's nothing really more vital than an honest testimony... we write about bees and wolves...
Roy: How do you feel about Myspace, do you think it's a good influence on music?
Shingai: I just hope like, it doesn't end up doing that thing in the dictionary where like, 'gay' turned from in the fifties, in pre-war English, gay then meant happy. So I hope the whole idea of space and the relation we have with it doesn't get, you know how a sometimes a word gets overused and gets integrated into colloquial terminological slang. 'My space' is actually quite a literal thing but it's a concept that it's making everybody say my space. It is virtual but you have to be careful that all your passions and your lust aren't get taken up with something that's virtual, you know.
Roy: Keep it real...What bands are you listening to right now that you like?
Dan: I like the Goodshoes a lot. I'm really quite into them. In first saw them when we played together at a gig a while ago, the first time I wasn't into it...
Shingai: I like this band [pointing to a local Isle of Wight group on the nearby bandstand] The last band I listened to was Bad Brains, and Gogol Bordello a punk band from America, late 70's..,and a lot of soundtracks you know... like the sound track to like...
Shingai: No, no, not Aladdin... you know...'Chim chimminy, chim chimminy, chim chim cheroo...'
Roy: Mary Poppins
Shingai: Yea, that's Mary Poppins... I like The Hat, the band...
[at this point the tape cuts out... and I can't remember if anymore was said, we were distracted talking to a member of 'The Hat' who had joined us, and soon after, Dan and Shingai joined Jamie on very small stage to play a very impressive acoustic set]