Monday, June 23, 2008

Interview: PUMICE

Pumice - World With Worms

Pumice is Stefan Geoffrey Neville, he lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and makes music. Seeing I've been digging his new album Quo so much (and because I sense some collective internet digging going on right now) I thought I'd ask him a few questions about it.

People talk about the 'downer' vibe of yr music. What do you think about that? I do agree that there is that sort of sound to some extent but I noticed some particularly bright and happy moments on 'Quo', like the second half of 'World With Worms'.

I think a lot of people hearing my music just want to believe I'm a broken mongol. makes a better story I guess. sometimes i am a broken mongol. My sister thinks my music is really jolly, she only seems to hear the ninganinga twangy toe tapping party bits which are always there too.

Can you describe what it's like at yr studio and where it's situated?

My studio is a few suitcases and a tape machine and mixing desk. I just set it up wherever I'm living at the time. Quo was done in a little sleepout in Morningside, Auckland right by train tracks. I expected more trains to be audible on the record but none made it onto tape which is odd cos they would shake the whole room when they went by.

I've noticed the junky Flying Nun sound mentioned increasingly more in reviews and medias lately. Do you feel any particular connection to that?

Yeah thats particularly a favourite comparison of lazy Americans. I admit I was a teenage fanatic of FN/xway stuff, and especially to hear shitty bands like Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos and the Axemen putting out records was particularly inspiring. But I was a teenager in the 90s and was equally fanatical about Public Enemy and The Jesus and Mary Chain as well as equally inspiring Hamilton (where i went to high school) stuff like Hand of Glory, Frybrain and Reg & Arch. I always cop Alistair Galbraith comparisons but apart from the accent I cant see it, I'm way more trashy aren't I?

I'm not sure what the light is like up there in Northland but down here as I've been listening to Quo, there's been a big case of this strange cold white harsh afternoon light. It might be a southern thing but somehow 'Thermos in the Studio' sounds particularly like this.

I only grew up in northland particularly Ahipara, Omanaia and Paihia. I don't live there anymore and I haven't spent much time up there recently. I can't remember anything about the light in morning side when i did Quo, sorry. I'm glad the record is stirring you up though!

A bit about yr instruments, what sort of ones have you made/do you use?

I haven't made any instruments, modified some a little which only means putting a pick up in the guitar and gluing some horns on it. The small silver guitar is the most important thing. The tuning is always just a little bit off no matter how hard you try. My hands can easily span the tiny fretboard and pull off impossible chord shapes. When i arrived back in Auckland last week the small silver guitar got smashed in the flight. I think i can piece it back together but it wont tour again which means the end of Pumice as we know it. Otherwise its a normal drum kit, chord organ, accordion etc., feed them through cheap microphones and a Holden spring reverb, some distortion pedals made by Pat Kraus. Put it all through intercom speakers onto tape and you're laughing.

Also, what is it about the somewhat broken, murky sound that attracts you to it?

I dunno. But I can listen to a small speaker shit itself all day.

When I was seven years old I went to England and went to the real Coronation Street. Any thoughts on Coronation Street at the moment?

Well I've been away for 5 months so I'm outta touch. I saw some episodes in Scotland in May which are a year ahead of episodes screening here. David Platt is in jail for pushing Gail down the stairs and Becky saw Roy Cropper in the shower and he has got an enormous cock.

[Pumice MySpace]

[Pumice's favourite albums on Rose Quartz last year]

[Buy Quo from Soft Abuse]

[Pumice live on WFMU]


seanh said...

What a shame. I was lucky enough to watch one of the silver guitar's last appearances in Brooklyn. The show was really wonderful, I just wish more had been out to see it.

thanks for the interview, and thanks Stefan for roaming around the world and sharing your music with the plebes.

richard said...

what a shame right! it looks well and truly broken for sure. makes me wonder what sort of interesting sounds could come out of there now though!