Seb Rochford interview, conducted by Roy Marmelstein and Rob Miles for Platforms Magazine

Seb Rochford is busy. He's working on a new album with his band, the Mercury Prize nominated Polar Bear. He's the drummer of Acoustic Ladyland, whose new album Skinny Grin is out now and he's also involved with two other bands.

Platforms Magazine talked to Seb Rochford at Suburb in Neal's Yard. Interview by Roy Marmelstein and Rob Miles.

Rob: So we hear you're recording a new album as Polar Bear, would you tell us a bit about that, what's it going to be?

Seb: Erm...I'm not sure yet until we record it. I've got some ideas... I might do the whole thing as one bit of music, producing it, doing a lot of freeplay..

Roy: Have you done any scoring or improvising for it?

Seb: We've got a lot of tunes, we're gonna do the wee bits between tunes...and I've done quite a bit of remixing, so my idea is to record lots of things, to have the tune, but to have the whole thing...

Rob: Will it be with the same people you did the last album with, the band and Leafcutter John?

Seb: Yea, John's on all of it now

Roy: He wasn't on the first album was he?

Seb: No, that was before I met him.

Roy: Apparently he has a solo album.

Seb: Hm?

Roy: He has a solo album.

Seb: Yeah, he's got four albums...

Roy: Oh.

Seb: They're brilliant actually, they're amazing...

Roy: Well I'll...I'll have a listen...

Rob: Do you know what you want to call the new album?

Seb: No idea, actually.

Rob: When you're making a new album, or recording music, how do you decide what to put on the cover, or the names of the the tunes? Where do you get that from?

Seb: The first album cover took me ages, I have no idea what... I just normally have an idea of colours... then the second album was alot easier 'cos I saw this artist, and I was like, yea I really want that to be on it, and he did a painting, that one in the middle, especially for it.

Roy: As a magazine we try and cover all the arts in the same way and we're really interested in the links between visual art and music and poetry, do you find that other art forms influence what you do, and in what way?

Seb: Erm...sometimes, yea. I get really...I like that guy erm...I can't remember, the guy who did the guy in the modern tate, the big red thing...

Rob: The one in the main hall, like a big ear tube?

Seb: He's got an indian name

Rob: Yeah, I know the one you mean, but I don't know...

Seb: I can't believe I've forgotten his name. But I love his art.

[Anish Kapoor?]

Roy: Have you been on the slides?

Seb: No, I havn't yet, I want to go on them...

Rob: We're going to do that today.

Roy: Well, that's our plan.

Rob: So. Are you influenced by any books or poetry in particular?

Seb: I don't really read that many books, when I do, I try to read them about religion.

Roy: Are you religious?

Seb: I was brought up a Catholic, but then I don't really believe in that way any more, I guess that means I'm always looking...

Roy: Who's your favourite poet?

Seb: Poet? My dad's a poet.

Roy: What's his name?

Seb: Gerard Rochford.

Rob: If you were a superhero, which would you be?

Seb: Erm... Spiderman.

Rob: Yes. He is the best... Right. If you hadn't started playing the drums and making music, what do you think you'd be doing? When you were younger, what did you want to be when you were older.

Seb: At one point I wanted to be... well actually I had a few things . I wanted to be a priest...and then I wanted to be a monk...and then I wanted to be in the foreign office. My uncle's in the foreign office and he gets to travel alot.

Roy: Do you speak any foreign languages?

Seb: A little bit of French, a little bit of German. A few words in Russian, a few words in Mandarin.

Rob: What words in Russian?

Seb : 'Khorosho' which means good and 'Kak dela' which means

Roy: Thankyou? no...

Seb: No it's er.. How you doing?

Roy: Yes.

Seb: 'Spasiba' is thankyou.

Rob: I've got a Russian phrase books that tells me... I can't remember any of it so it's no use, but It tells you things like 'I've got an octopus attached to my leg' in Russian, or 'where can I find the nearest pitchfork'... The most useless phrases. It'd be quite good to learn. If you were a DJ and had to have a proper DJ name like 'DJ Amazing' what would you be called?

Seb: My girlfriend always calls me DJ Aubergine, because I always sit at the computer and play her loads of music and I've got a pair of purple trousers.

Rob: DJ Aubergine. That would work.

Roy: What do you think of the new blonde James Bond?

Seb: I don't know. I don't know, I havn't actually seen him in action, so I don't know. I found the last one a bit serious.

Roy: The last one? I thought it was going a bit off the wall silly...

Seb: Oh is it?

Roy: I think so.

Rob: What new music excites you?

Seb: Quite alot of slayer at the moment, their new album.

Rob: What's that called?

Seb: It's called er... ''. Sorry, I had a really late night last night.

Rob: That's alright.

Seb: But it's amazing.

Roy: What did you do last night?

Seb: I just had some gigs, then when I got back I was on YouTube for ages. You get videos of 'deerhoof'

Roy: Of what?

Seb: Deerhoof.

Rob: Who?

Seb: Deerhoof. Have you never heard of them? They're amazing.

Roy: What are they?

Seb: I think they're from the West Coast, and they're totally unbelievable.

Roy: YouTube is just consuming more and more of my time.

Seb: It's amazing

Rob: I didn't really like it at first, I thought it was just for people to film themselves singing along to crap pop songs, but then I realised you could get all these videos of like, artists in action back in the eighties, and Bob Dylan footage I would never have otherwise seen, which is cool. What is it about the Christmas season that you're looking forward to most?

Seb: Normally around Christmas I've got a bit of time off, I don't have that much to do.

Roy: Are you involved in the London Jazz Festival?

Seb: Yea, that's the gig I played last night, and we've got two or three next week.

Roy: What's happening with the F-IRE collective at the moment?

Seb: I'm not really sure at the moment, I think they're making a new compilation. Nick Ramm is starting up a Big Band.

Rob: Could you draw us a self portrait?


Rob: How often do you cut your hair?

Seb: Every few months.

Rob: Does it not get hot or heavy when you're playing?

Seb: Not really no.

Roy: I used to have big hair, not that big...

Rob: When his hair got too long it flopped down over his shoulders and looked a bit...

Roy: It got a bit annoying, random people saying can please I touch your hair...

Seb: Yeah, I get that quite alot. People really in your...

Roy: I don't understand it.

Rob: What's you're favourite part of London, If you have a favourite part?

Seb: I like Brixton. I used to live there, till last year... and I like Clapton, where I'm living now...

Roy: Complete the following sentence: "David Cameron is..."

Seb: is... er...I need to think about this...

Rob [to Roy]: What would you say?

Roy: 'David not superman'

Rob: Ok. That's good.

Seb: David Cameron is [scarily?] going to be the next Prime Minister.

Rob: Is he?

Seb: Think so yea.

Roy: Looks like it, wouldn't be surprised... I don't really know what he stands for.

Seb: I don't know if he stands for anything. He just seems really...I shouldn't talk about it.

Rob: I've no idea. He seems to be doing more interesting stuff, but then almost just for the sake of people getting to notice him.

Roy: Yeah.

Seb: Yea, he seems to be completely go one way then another, one minute he's saying black music is promoting devil culture and they shouldn't play it on the radio, the next music he's saying he loves grime.

Rob: If you had unlimited funds to pursue a realistic project, what would you do?

Seb: I think I'd probably do another Polar Bear album.

Rob: That's good. You also do Fulborn Teversham and...

Roy: Room of Katinas?

Seb: That's just, Room of Katinas is just me in my bedroom...

Rob: Is there anything you would like to ask us?

Seb: What's your next plan?

Rob: We're trying to organise a live event, on the 6th Jan at the Luminaire in Kilburn, if we can publicise it and organise it properly. Should be good.
Do you know a girl called 'Emmy the Great'?

Seb: Who?

Rob: Emmy the Great, she's a young musician we're interviewing this afternoon, even though you don't know her do you have a question you'd like to ask her?

Seb: Er...ask her: What does she look for when she wants another member of her band... I'm not asking to be in her band...what qualities does she look for?

Rob: What kind of qualities do you look for when looking for members of a band? ...I'm asking you.

Seb: Oh, me... People who erm, have a good groove and play every tune with them and see what they want to express.

Roy: How do you warm up for a gig? When I saw you play with Acoustic Ladyland it was very energetic.

Seb: I don't normally warm up. I probably should.

Rob: Do you have a time set for when you want to get the new album finished by?

Seb: I'm trying to aim to get it finished by January. Then see if someone will release it. I think I'll just record it and see....The Fulborn Teversham album comes out in January on Pickled Egg label.