An Interview with !!! (Chk Chk Chk) frontman Nic Offerby City Moments Thursday 28 August 2014
Thursday Nights Still Got It:
An Interview with !!! (Chk Chk Chk) frontman Nic Offer
By Brian Offenther
If you're the right age and from the right place, it was all about Thursday night at the Atlantic. $5 US cover, free beer from 9:30 to 10:30 pm, and skinny kids in tight jeans.
Oh, the jeans were tight. Not for me – I had integrity. But believe me, I was watching very hard, and I could tell.
From around the year 2000 to 2005-ish, every big city and hip university town worth its cobblestone had a Thursday night at The Atlantic: it was indie rock dance party. The place was packed sticky hot with lithe bodies, and they writhed to the stinging guitars and screaming vocals of Modest Mouse, The Rapture, and the band that's playing Shanghai this Thursday: !!! (Chk Chk Chk).
That zeitgeist might have dimmed, but that stuff is only a convenience anyway. Nostalgia is stupid and mostly worthless, and the good stuff lives on regardless. !!! (Chk Chk Chk) continues to this today, hitting the festival circuit hard and releasing music of quality. Surely, many fans who come to their show will come because of their latest release, 2003's Thri!!!er.
For others, like me (note: I'm also DJing the show, but don't worry, the pay sucks), ten years on, it will be making sure my Thursday nights still got it.
I e-mailed frontman Nic Offer some questions, and this is what he had to say about Miles Davis, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and the place with the best dancers.
1)I'm considering bringing my 60 year Chinese apartment-mate to your Shanghai show. She's never heard of you guys. How can I describe the music and concert experience of a !!! (Chk Chk Chk) show to her?
Just tell her i wear shorts. Ladies love the shorts.
2)How has the current make-up of !!! effected how you approach making new material? Does it change the approach for playing old material on stage?
Each new member that has come into the band has changed the sound a bit, I think that's one of the reasons we've managed to stay fresh for so long. I suppose it has changed the old material a bit, but we don't really play so many old songs, so i've never really noticed.
3)In 2001 when you put out the debut !!! album, did you have in your mind that dance music would take over pop culture as much as it does today?
In a way, yes, i did. Dance music was fresh to me, and rock n' roll felt old and tired. I couldn't understand why rock n' roll was even still around. In another way, no I didn't, because in 2001 I didn't look more than a month ahead of time. Now i'm older, and i try to plan at least 2 months ahead of time.
4)Setlist.fm lists you guys as covering “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in Melbourne, Australia on February 10, 2011. What happened?
We played Frankie's hometown of Liverpool on Halloween, and we thought it would be fun to dress up as Frankie, and play “Relax.” Incidentally, a couple of us took a Beatles tour the next day, and the tour guide was Holly Johnson from FGTH's brother. He sent Holly a Youtube clip of us playing it, and Holly wrote us to say "What's up." Holly's a top geezer.
5)What place that you guys have played has the best dancers? What in particular gives them that distinction?
Spain. Nobody goes as hard as Spain. They get crazy.
6)I think my favorite tweet from your Twitter account is: “i'm miles davis and i'm here to say, i like fruity pebbles in a silent way (sp).” Do you have any more Miles Davis album title puns/children's cereal references you can share with our readers?
Wow, you really had to go far back to find that one. I'm impressed... i've given it a bit of thought, and that is the only Miles pun i have. Welllll, i did think of some stupid ones, but I'll leave those be. Miles is a pretty easy name to make up stupid puns to. I will say that the opening to his album On The Corner is one of my favorite beginnings to any album ever.
7)Tex Axile, who was in a band that I bet you dig, X-Ray Spex, recently moved to Shanghai. Do you have a question for him that I'll ask, and then write his response in this article?
What the hell are "plastic popper beads (note: from the X-Ray Spex song “I Can't Do Anything”).
A teenage girly necklace thing that was all the rage.
8)You guys call this tour a “punk dog tour.” Can you explain to readers what you mean by that.
Oh, it's just a silly expression we started a long time ago, that none of us can remember why we started saying it. Honestly, if i could remember what it came from i would tell you. You seem like a cool guy.
9)Also, this: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/21-pictures-of-totally-punk-dogs
Nice one. I think my cats are pretty punk. They're always trying to dumpster dive.
10)Please choose a punk dog, and explain why. Here are some options: “Pet Cemetery” by The Ramones, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges, “C30, C60, C90, Go” By Bow Wow Wow, “Dog Eat Dog” by Adam & The Ants, The Cramps “Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?.”
I choose the Sonic Youth version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." that one gets me every time. So killer. I also like Camper Van Beethoven "The Day That Lassie Went To The Moon," and Dead Milkmen "Watching Scotty Die."
11)I read in an interview with you saying: “We play better if the audience is giving us something. I don't know what it is. It's kind of a two-way thing. It's somehow reciprocal.” Besides dancing like crazy, is there anything else an audience can do to make for a good show?
Wear their dancing shoes and take off their underwear.
12)I couldn't find the interesting story about working with (Seirra Leone musician) Daddy Rhymes written in any detail on the Internet. It's hinted at here. Can you tell our readers about finding him, and what it was like to record with him?
I had bought a bunch of MP3s on a SIM card from this guy in the market, and he was playing me the songs and telling me what they were about and who and what the artists were like. I asked him what studios were like there, and he said his friend ran one of the biggest studios in Sierra Leone, and he could take me there. We went the next day, and it was a very small studio, with headphones that barely worked. I just hung out for awhile while Daddy Rhymes worked on a track, and i just started singing ideas and he liked them, so we finished the song together.
12)What makes for a good dance song?
The beat, duh. Come on, what was that? Some sort of trick question?
13)I'm DJing the show. Any requests?
Just don't play any dance rock. Play “2 On” by Tinashe.
14)”Do you believe in love?”
I have my doubts sometimes, but yes.
15)Doing a Thursday night gig in Shanghai means competing against some lady's nights, where girls get free drinks. Do you have a message to those ladies debating whether to go to their usual stomping?
Ummmmm, we have a new song called “Stomp,” and i think we're gonna play it. True story. But other than that, we're not an ordinary boring rock band, they won't get another chance to see a band like this for awhile. and it's certainly going to be a drag if there's only guys at the show.
Check out they event tonight @Mao Live House, all information is available here.
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