British Sea Power - Salty Water

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Soundscape UK: British Sea Power

Since moving from the Lake District to south coast hotspot Brighton, post-punk indie rock four-piece British Sea Power have built a reputation as one of Britain's top live acts. As they prepared for this year's Fuji Rock Festival, we spoke to vocalist Yan about William Turner, Dostoevsky and Dizzee Rascal.

Let's start with that name...
It came from a naval history book. I guess we wanted a name that wasn't ordinary because we didn't want to be an ordinary band.

Are you a concept band?
We're a band that occasionally has concepts. When we did our first album we tried to make it sound like a William Turner seascape.

And does it?
I think it was at least partly successful.

What inspires your lyrics?
It's quite varied really. There's one called Apologies to Insect Life which is really a retelling of a story by - it sounds a bit stupid, but - Dostoevsky. He's someone who people mention if they're trying to sound intellectual, but it was a good story and the only book of his I've read. Mostly I just try to describe what life's like on this strange little island.

This year's Fuji Rock line-up is loaded with Brits, is there a renaissance right now?
There kind of is, yeah. It reminds me almost of the early days of Britpop.

Who are the Blur and Oasis this time around?
I guess it's the Libertines - they rocketed through. And then The Streets and Dizzee Rascal with their new, London, sort of, English hip-hop.

A lot of people accuse you of being pretentious.
I think we probably are pretentious, but hopefully in a good way. We wanted to expand the definition of what being in a band might mean.

Why music?
Well, pop music is the most accessible and the most modern art form at the moment - and you've got to make your money somehow don't you? But it probably boils down to the boring 'love of music'.

London, Manchester and Liverpool are famous for their music scenes; what goes on in Brighton besides Fatboy Slim?
I'm not such a believer in scenes; they normally don't amount to much, but I think Brighton is quite an exciting and stimulating place. It suddenly became incredibly trendy about three years ago. I think London became too expensive for pop stars to live in. But now, it's become so expensive in Brighton that it probaby won't last much longer.

Author: Nami Sezawa
Source: British Council Magazine
Date: 1st July 2004

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