Interview by Jamie Homer
Hoxton Square Bar & Restaurant, London – 8 February 2007
The People’s Revolutionary Choir are:
Lal Townsend – vocals
Jim Townsend – guitar
Sweet Willy – guitar
John Brandam – drums
Roshan Moliko – bass
Kris Feldman – keys
I sat around a crowded table, all six members of the PRC were around me at different times, all answering me periodically. The atmosphere was fun; these are some nice guys, more than eager to chat. The following represents a collective question and answer period over a few beers and an hour.
How did you all get together?
Lal and Jim are brothers, so I guess it all started with them. There were a few of us around, and basically through some random events, a couple of ex-girlfriends put us in contact with other members and we got here.
What is the significance of the band name?
JIM TOWNSEND: Nothing really that is ground breaking. A friend of mine had introduced me to a book that explained how you could make a hit single for £3000 in 3 weeks. The name gradually evolved from an idea I had from this book and a few other random events.
How would you all describe your sound to an outsider looking in?
We are very much routed in 3 chord beats. It is atmospheric, drony music, and we have taken some sounds from the essence of all bands that come from the psychedelic era. We are uplifting and epic. We come in peaks and waves. I think there is some strong Stones and Dylan influences as well.
Speaking of Dylan, have you heard the new album? It is quite good isn’t it?
Yah, we dig the sound, it sounds very polished, with lots of gravitas and has real presence.
Is there any obvious influences for you guys?
Collectively, we all like, Walkman, Big Star, Velvet Underground, and Spaceman 3. Also, Dylan and the Stones.
JIM TOWNSEND: I really like a French guy called Juan Tripp, who just brought out a new album that sounds amazing.
SWEET WILLY: I love all that is Detroit rock and roll, and oh yah, some hip-hop also.
Listening to your recorded sound, without having heard you play live yet, I hear a lot of God Speed you Black Emperor, and a bit of Mogwai as well?
ROSHAN MOLIKO, JIM TOWNSEND & LAL TOWNSEND: Well, we are all flattered that you liken us to God Speed. We do really like their sound, a bit more when they first came out. The influence with Mogwai is not conscious, but we like them also.
Are there any plans for a full-length album?
Yep. We have been a bit lazy this year, but a few songs are recorded.
LAL TOWNSEND: Actually, most of the songs are done, but we still need a few more. We think we’ll spend the summer recording and hope to have something done by the autumn.
Is there a difference between your live sound and studio sound?
Well yah, we are a live band; so to record that sound was tough. What we decided to do was to all play together when recording, and then Lal would add in the vocals. This is how we recorded our new single THE BREEZE THAT BLOW’S and its b-side, LOST IN SPACE.
How do you prepare to play live?
Drink a few beers, do the sound check and hang out really.
What would you all like to be doing in 5 years?
Hopefully still together, and laughing about it all.
LAL TOWNSEND: I want to be on the main stage at 9pm on Friday night at Glastonbury. That is what I want. But to be real honest, I just hope we are still together.
How is your music written?
Well, Jim tends to write it, and we then all chip in when needed.
So it’s a collaborative effort?
Well yah, to a point I guess.
Was there one show is particular that encapsulates the sound of PRC?
ROSHAN MOLIKO: Yes, in France. We were the support act for the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the response from the crowd was amazing. They even asked for an encore, and to a support band that was quite tremendous. The crowd was great, jumping up and down, waving their arms. It was great to see that. I think that outside of the UK the crowd is different. In Europe, and in France particularly, the kids really know and understand their music, and don’t just get excited about what they hear on the radio. We’ve played in France, Spain and are about to do a festival in Denmark. First we have to do a screening, and it they like our sound, then we’ll play the main festival. That would be great for us.
What can we expect from your gig tonight?
ROSHAN MOLIKO & JIM TOWNSEND: Energy, intensity and electricity. Also attitude, but not too much.