IC1s converse with ZANIWritten by Matteo Sedazzari
© Words Matteo Sedazzari
“You don't get anywhere without effort, do you lad?” Ruxton Towers Reformatory’s Governor - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
Harsh words of encouragement to young offender Colin Smith, the central character in the above. A young man who finds himself incarcerated, due to a burglary. Smith is a rebellious youth, whose only form of solace is to run long distances, where he feels he is away from the world,
especially authority, which he resents. Whilst serving time, it comes to the attention of the Governor of his natural sporting ability and he is entered into a contest against a local public school. Smith is happy to run for himself, but not for anyone else, and his refractory trait questions the reason for the race as Smith will only play the game by his rules.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Novel: author Alan Sillitoe 1959, Film: Director Tony Richardson,1962), is more than a story about juvenile delinquency and sport, it is a study of the British class system, with an emphasis on the have and the have nots. It seems no matter what Smith wants or does it is decided by the system, yet he yearns to be free, and when I first saw IC1s ‘Growing Up Going Down’ video on YouTube, with the child shoplifting and the band playing with grit and determination, apart from the fact that they could play well, these lads have their own agenda, and will only play by their rules like Smith. The true spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Stemming from the suburbs of north west London, Harrow, IC1s (Daniel Coburn, Vocals, Jesse James – Guitar, John Campbell – Guitar, Leon Dee – Bass and Andy Faulkner – Drums) have been gaining momentum on the live circuit, and recording. Their debut single ‘Levitate’ was second most downloaded new entry in the ITunes Alternative Singles Chart, as their Press Release boasts, and why shouldn’t it? Moreover, since then they have played alongside the likes of The View, The Charlatans, Bloc Party and The Cribs. Worked with former Libertines drummer, now producer, Gary Powell. They have won critical acclaim from Alan McGee and support from mainstream press like the NME and XFM radio.
In addition, from listening and viewing it is easy to see why their songs are catchy (classic seven inch pop and rock numbers). They have a powerful sound, twin guitar attack, playing perfect power pop, busy and aggressive drumming, pulsating and lively bass lines topped with strong, indie yet soulful vocals. And their live shows are turning into a night of blood, sweat and tears, with the occasional stage invasion, and their audience is young. Kids, perhaps experiencing music for the first time, and what a band to do that with.
Looking like a gang of Artful Dodgers (and I mean that as a compliment) cum Terrace Culture and Mod, there is an edginess, a natural edginess about IC1s that makes them intriguing as well as threatening, and therefore for any lover of music and a writer, an ideal band to interview. So one afternoon at The Landmark Hotel London W1, ZANI chatted to Daniel and Jesse about music, local public school, the journey so far, the future and much more.
ZANI - You are from Harrow, whenever I think of Harrow, I’m reminded of Dexys Midnight Runners, Until I Believe in My Soul, (To Euston. I'm going out to Harrow again. And I'm trying to get the feeling. That I had in nineteen seventy two.) What I like is that Kevin Rowland has given Harrow a soulful element
Jesse - Well someone had to.
Daniel – No I don’t think it is soulful, we’ve got Harrow School at the top of the hill, where future prime ministers go, Winston Churchill went there.
Jesse – And when you get to the bottom of the hill, everything changes.
ZANI – So Harrow is a tale of two cites?
Daniel – Yes.
Jesse – Only three days ago there was a stabbing in the town centre.
Daniel – In the middle of the day.
Jesse – I don’t think the perpetrator came from Harrow School; you’ve got South Harrow, which is like a shanty town. You’ve got spit all over the pavement; my mum refuses to go to South Harrow now.
ZANI - Sounds gross. Screaming Lord Sutch was born and bred in Harrow. Does the town remember him
Daniel – Not really. Although a few years ago I was drinking in a pub in Harrow, The Clay Pigeon, we started chatting to these American geezers, and it turns out one was Screaming Lord Sutch’s son, went back to his dad’s house, the place where he killed himself, there are photos of him all the over place, loved the one with him and Elvis. But I don’t think anyone took Screaming Lord Sutch seriously in life or death I suppose.
ZANI – He was part of the Joe Meek Entourage
Daniel – Yea I know, but his contribution to rock ‘n’ roll was very tongue in cheek.
ZANI – True. What are the typical characteristics of a working class boy from Harrow?
Daniel – Drinks a lot I suppose
Jesse – There’s a place in Harrow called The Trinity which I suppose is the hub of the music scene.
Daniel – It’s the only venue in Harrow.
Jesse – We know everyone there, everyone is in a band. It’s the place you play for your first gig, everyone gets there to chat about music, and slag each other off. As you do
ZANI - Your band name IC1’s is pretty in your face, with a sense of being deviant, I presume that was the intention?
Daniel – Yea, in a way, it also raises questions, a lot of people don’t know what it means.
ZANI – Police description, white male or female, northern European.
Daniel – We are not right wing or anything, but it is more to say who can put numbers on anyone, and put white at number one. There are no racist overtones, and that doesn’t come out in our music either.
ZANI – You can certainly tell that, There is a skinhead band called IC1, have you ever been confused with them?
Jesse – They are a Neo-Nazi band, aren’t they? There was an article about them, and on the comment page someone had posted a video of us, saying that that was them, when it was us. Quite laughable really. They are using the name for a fascist message, whilst ours is the total opposite.
ZANI – I can see that, and I like the philosophy behind the name. How did the band form?
Daniel – We make up all sorts of stories, I was drowning, Jesse was a life guard and he saved me.
ZANI – That’s a good one.
Daniel – I met John (Campbell), Andy (Faulkner) and the former bassist in a pub one day, they recognised me from a house party awhile back. We were acting out scenes from the hooligan film ID, I was snapping pool cues over my knee like in the film and they remembered me from that.
ZANI – Understandable.
Daniel – They asked what I was up to, I told them I was a singer without a band, and they said they were a band without a singer. Next thing we were rehearsing, tried out a few guitarists before we got Jesse. Our original bassist had to leave as his partner was having babies, so we got Leon (Dee) in.
ZANI – Do you two share song writing?
Daniel – I do the songwriting, but the others are chipping in now.
ZANI - Pete Donaldson of XFM Radio said of you "Little bit Libertines, a little bit Ramones, but one hundred percent London” do you agree with that?
Jesse – Not particularly. Like The Libertines, a fan of Ramones, best thing they did was with Phil Spector. I take a lot of my influences from Northern music, like Oasis, and suchlike.
Daniel – I like The Ramones’ attitude, but influenced by their music I can’t see the comparison? I would say we are more like The Pistols.
ZANI – The early Ramones were three chords being played at 100 miles an hour, which is certainly not your sound. As a band, do you have an album or even a band, that not only inspires you but which you want to better?
Daniel - Yea, with five people in the band each of them would have a difference of opinion. For me it is difficult but I would have to split between Oasis’ Definitely Maybe, they have shown that working class people can make it, come from nothing and do it, and Nirvana’s Nevermind. They are the two albums that got me into music. Whenever I write a song I want to it to sound like Nirvana, and when we go into a studio it ends up sounding like a mixture of Nirvana and Oasis and Soul music.
ZANI – I can hear a bit of soul in your vocals, I take it you are a fan?
Daniel - I was brought up listening to Motown, Marvin Gaye, and Stax thanks to my dad. I am an Otis Redding freak.
ZANI – That is a good upbringing, and I never get tired of Otis. Does the band have favourite instruments and amps, drum kits, if so, which ones and why?
Jesse – Fender, Fender guitar, Fender bass Fender amps, it’s all Fender.
ZANI – So it is Fender, and the drum kit?
Jesse – Tama Drums.
Daniel – But I think he would rather go for DW drums.
ZANI – Both good kits, why did you go for Fenders?
Jesse - I used to use Marshall Amps all the time but I found you could lose a lot of sound with them. Tried out Fender, it’s a nicer sound, brighter and richer.
ZANI – What has been the highlight of the band so far, and the low point? Let’s start with the negative one first.
Daniel – Losing our original bass player, because he was a friend and a founder member, I don’t know what other low points.
Jesse - We always try and take positives out of negatives. High points? I don’t think we have reached our high point yet. We are enjoying everything as we are going along.
ZANI – You are certainly on the up. Like your songs, you can write and play and your new single, ‘Beautiful Ugly’ seems you are experimenting with a different genre? Do you think it is important with bands to experiment with different sounds, but still keep their ID; Arctic Monkeys have gone Hip Hop with their latest album AM?
Daniel – Yea I know, I would say write what you want to write. I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘Beautiful Ugly’ is a different genre, it’s a little slower and more heartfelt, and we added strings for the first time It’s about my girlfriend.
ZANI – You can feel the emotion.
Jesse – We wrote it in about 20 minutes, the best ones are.
ZANI – True. Maybe, not now, but perhaps two years down the line you might add a brass section?
Daniel – Fancy some gospel singers as backing singers. In an acoustic set, we did a cover of Freda Payne’s Band of Gold. I have been hearing that song all my life and then one day it just got me. We covered it, and put our stamp onto it.
ZANI – That is an ingenious cover, I like that a lot. So you all hang out outside of the band, or is it strictly business?
Daniel – Jesse and I speak every day, and hang out as much as we can.
ZANI – The John and Paul of the band?
Daniel –Yea I am John.
ZANI – No one ever goes for Paul, I take it you are into clothes?
Daniel – Yea, like to look good, it’s important.
Jesse – Lambretta Clothing sponsor us. Every time we go down Carnaby Street and go into their shop they give us some clothes. I like the clothes in Pretty Green.
ZANI – They are good, a tad expensive but nice gear. I see your fan base is growing
Jesse – At the start, we relied on our friends a lot, which we are still grateful for. Now at shows, we look out to see if we know anyone, which is good. We always take time out to speak to them and be close to them.
ZANI – That’s important, and all great bands start like that. What are your plans from now and for next year?
Jesse – Leading up to the end of the year, ‘Beautiful Ugly’ is coming out as a single mid October. Our mini album ‘In The Blink Of An Eye’ is to be released in Japan in November.
Daniel – Also in November we are supporting The Family Rain and in January of next year, we’re supporting Random Impulse for 12 dates leading up to our debut album in March ‘Lowering The Tone’. We are also going to do freeload or uploading a video every two weeks from mid November to late January.
ZANI – That is a good close to the year. If you had a budget to make a film, would it be a fly on the wall documentary, a comedy, a thriller or an attack on the music business?
Daniel – It would be an attack on the music industry, with a comedy overtone.
Jesse - A fly on the wall reminds me of This Is Spinal Tap.
ZANI - Have you seen Slade in Flame?
Daniel – Not yet.
ZANI – That is a brilliant attack on the music industry. Final question, if the IC1s were a football team, it can be a legendary team or a current team, what team would it be and why?
Daniel – I’ve got to say my football team, Tottenham Hotspurs. We have got all the ambition in the world, just got to wait for something to happen and hopefully we can evolve into a Barcelona, because if The Beatles were a football team they would be Barcelona.
IC1s are certainly going to have a good season, a season that lays down a strong infrastructure which will help them to win trophies and titles. They have a strong team, and it is a winning team, yet prepared to change formation and rotate to get the necessary result. Totally dedicated to their cause, failure for them, a cliché it may be, is certainly not an option. They know that to win does require effort, yet if they can’t play their game they won’t, like Smith in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner they would rather run into the woods than compete in a race that is meaningless to them.
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