WHEN music becomes an education as well as sounds to make your body move, it’s time to take notice. Public Service Broadcasting ironically use the internet to obtain archives from several decades ago sourcing film and audio to sample in their guitar-orientated music. Despite their revelation that neither of the duo can sing, the band have cultivated a large number of fans over the last few months and are setting themselves up to release their debut album and play a coveted slot at Wickerman Festival in July.
“Apparently our gig at Nice N Sleazy’s in Glasgow was the loudest ever- people came up to us afterwards and say they seen us play and that it was really, really loud. I think the venue had just had a new PA system installed and they used our gig to run it through its paces!
“We just had the monitors on stage, we didn’t have any idea. I think people stood with their fingers in their ears! But they said they liked it.”
For a band with no vocals, Public Service Broadcasting prefer to discover their style as they go. Tenement TV are looking forward to their appearance at Wickerman Festival, recording acoustic sessions backstage. How do PSB feel about an unplugged set? “Everest could work acoustically. It’s something we would have to talk about as a band. We haven’t been to Wickerman before, it sounds great.
“We bit their hand off when they asked us to play”
“We can’t sing- samples help. We have horrendous voices – In tune but with a horrible tone. We haven’t ruled anything out, even adding vocals at some stage could happen. The last track on the album for example- I hate saxophones but when I worked on it I felt it needed a saxophone.
“I thought it was strange that I felt that way. I think the 80’s ruined that instrument! Every song has a cheesy saxophone on it! It needs to just happen with us.
“Normally there’s a small germ of a musical idea that I have come up with and I will have something in my mind of what I want to do. I had known for ages that I wanted to do a song about colour TV for example.”
Track Spitfire launched PSB onto the radar. People were amused, intrigued and interested as it swarmed around the musical universe: “I am continually surprised by the reaction we get to any of the songs, any reaction that isn’t automatically turning the radio off surprises me.
“I had listened to Spitfire so much that I kind of hit a bit of a wall with it. I had worked so much on the chorus, the verse, the underlying guitar, but no melody was coming to me and it was doing my head in.
“Then one day that guitar riff came to me and it kind of all came together from there. You get so close to songs sometimes that you lose all perscpective of things and you know, I would listen to it and think – that song is alright. And then other times I would think it sounded a bit boring. The Mrs said it was good, she said it sounded like a hit! She is quite honest with me, she quite liked it so that helps.”
There’s no denying PSB have got something new to offer. Their unique approach to music makes them way more than a concept band. A topic of interest for fans is, no doubt the way they approach the archives: “For American samples we use the public domain or expired copyright, so a lot of that is just digging through various archive websites and doing a lot of internet research.
“For British samples we have been working a lot with BFI- we have a good relationship with them. We would just call them up and confuse them with questions to use footage for our performances. They kind of know what we are doing now, and they are pretty behind it. Studio Canal have been good to us as well and we have tried others who haven’t helped us at all.”
And for the Tenement TV readers, who do PSB recommend? “I am stuck in the 90’s, so I always struggle to think of any new bands! Baltic Fleet have been around a while, but this year they are really getting their live show worked out. They are playing with us in Liverpool and London. Really synthy and grouty sounding band, they are great and worth a listen.
“We have the album to look forward to so getting really excited for that.
“And Wickerman, of course.”
By Nadine Walker
You can catch Public Service Broadcasting at Wickerman Festival http://www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk/ on 26th and 27th July. Weekend camping tickets are priced at £100 and available online now.