chickfactor: where did you get the image of the guy with the gun? what made you give it up on space age bachelor pad?
tim: “cliff” (as well call him) was taken from a swiss political comic from 1969. he’s a figure of the establishment who is eventually shot by the forces of the revolution (peng!). the recent mini LP was based on a hi-fi stereo sound effect record of the early/mid-60s. the record doesn’t sound like that but I just like that kinda cool image shit. all of the next records will be based on the sleeves of hi-fi/stereo effect records. it’s a juvenile thing. I like themes running through the records, things that connect them together so that we can have our own “blue” period and “op art phase.”
cf: what is stereolab’s political agenda? is it different from mccarthy’s?
laetitia: stereolab’s political agenda is in the same line as mccarthy’s; to create a disturbance is the best way we thought of to make people and ourselves think.
cf: have you ever done videos? for what song(s)?
laetitia: yes. “superelectric,” “low-fi,” and recently “we’re not adult orientated.”
cf: how long have you known each other? how did you meet? have you done other band type stuff (apart from mccarthy)?
tim: me and laetitia met in 1988. we began stereolab in ’90/early ’91. before that I was in a power electronics band playing atonal electronic noise music. we made some records and loads of cassettes, all of which I’ve since lost.
cf: what’s the meanest thing you’ve ever done?
laetitia: threw lit cigarette butts at pigeons, which was more fun than mean.
cf: if murder were legal, who would you shoot?
laetitia: some days 80% of the population. average days, all presidents, bureaucrats, etc.
cf: why did you end up doing a slumberland single in the midst of so much other label interest? were your expectations met? did you pick the colors for that single? all the other singles are so tripindicular, why the tone-down?
martin: mike had wanted to do something for ages and at the time there wasn’t a great deal happening in the u.s. for the band so we thought it would help get the band noticed. all expectations were met but we originally wanted a different sleeve color but it couldn’t be done. we would’ve repressed the colored vinyl as it doesn’t sound particularly good but that’s coloured vinyl for you!
cf: any plans to sign with, er, um, elektra or some other major label in the u.s.?
tim: do you know something we don’t/do?
cf: where do you live and what do you do for fun there?
laetitia: we live in london. I go swimming for fun, play records.
cf: what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
laetitia: sing live with the band and live on the radio.
cf: what do you love about america?
laetitia: its madness.
cf: what do you hate about america?
laetitia: its madness.
cf: if you could have any director film your life story, who would it be?
laetitia: jean vigo or possibly truffaut.
cf: how do you get on with the british press?
tim: we get on (each other’s nerves) — they’re just so corny.
cf: do you think drugs are a big influence on today’s pop?
laetitia: beer and television certainly are.
cf: if you could legalize one drug, which one would it be?
laetitia: legalize em all.
cf: have you ever been to a “rave”?
laetitia: no, but I love techno.
cf: what are your ugliest vices?
cf: what irritates you most about england?
laetitia: talking about sex without it echoing in an awkward way. too much cynicism and double meaning for straightforward action. the whole country with its people is falling down.
cf: laetitia, were you born glamorous? do you have any advice for chicks who want to be glamorous transcontinental pop stars?
laetitia: I was born a baby. glamour comes from within, I’m not sure I’ve got it yet so I can’t even begin to give advice to anyone. but good luck to them.
cf: does stereolab have a rider and if so, what’s in it?
tim: we get what we’re given. we’re too polite to demand anything although we always ask for cider (which I think is hard to get in the u.s.)
cf: are the stickers in the harmonium/farfisa 7″ waterproof? can we put them on our cars?
laetitia: no, but the next one is going to be cider-proof.
cf: have any of you ever been arrested?
tim: stereolab couldn’t get arrested if they tried.
cf: when we hear stereolab we know it — it doesn’t sound derivative enough of anything to be mistaken for it. who do you consider your influences?
tim: we’re pretty derivative actually it’s just that the groups we rip off are too obscure (see list of fave groups). we just like certain sounds which we couldn’t get around if we tried. we’re trapped by pop music pretensions. I like the name farfisa.
cf: was being in mccarthy fun or was it a drag? how did it end?
tim: mccarthy was mostly funny and fun. we didn’t dress up in women’s clothes that often. it ended very softly.
martin: it all ended after an excellent tour supporting the chills.
cf: what are your favorite movies?
tim: probably lindsay anderson’s film a lucky man and apocalypse now.
laetitia: jacques tati’s monsieur hulot’s holiday.
cf: what is on your turntable right now?
tim: the 1st single by the band of susans (“hope against hope”).
cf: do you like, or did you ever play, classical music?
tim: I don’t like classical music generally but I hate classic rock even more.
cf: how’s it going in the studio? what do we have to look forward to?
laetitia: it’s going well.
tim: we’re going to make this a double LP, cause that’s what’s in right now. more of the same except a bit noisier.
cf: what do you think of herzfeld?
laetitia: it’s a great surprise to hear malcolm’s new output, it’s of good taste.
martin: malcolm’s new songs for a forthcoming 10″ LP are really quite wonderful. CF
records stereolab cannot live without
silver apples (first LP) and contact (2nd LP)
suicide (1st LP)
velvets (1st and 2nd)
neu (1st and 2nd)
faust (all LPs)
can (early LPs)
pavement (LP & 7″s & 10″s)
modern lovers (1st LP & early bootlegs)
half japanese million LPs
pere ubu (early)
nag, na g, nag
electric eels (agitated 7″)
most importantly, ’60s and early ’70s beach boys