Our man Nikhil Sharma got to talk to the Grasscut crew who are signed to Ninja Tune. Find out what they had to say when questioned about their influences, their debut album, performing live and award nominations.
How did you both meet and how long have you both been involved with music?
Grasscut: Good day to you sir. Andrew is an award-nominated film composer and producer; Marcus is a classically trained keyboard player and double bassist. We met in Brighton where we both reside.
Explain your sound.
Grasscut: As well as original vocals, we feature samples recorded on mobile phones or stolen from gramophones. We use live drums, or make beats from mouse-clicks and glitches, and instruments range from the cheapest Casio keyboard to antique harmoniums.
Who are your influences?
Grasscut: Kraftwerk, Wordsworth, Public Enemy, Robert Wyatt, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, WG Sebald, Afrika Bambaata, Gavin Bryars, Devo, Blockhead, Brian Eno…
What are your views on the music industry at the moment?
Grasscut: Seems as grotesque and beautiful as it has always been, but happily we find ourselves gathered into the bosom of the delightful Ninja Tune.
Talk me through your debut album.
Grasscut: It’s an attempt to reflect life in contemporary England – a transcendental journey through the sublime and ridiculous.
Do your songs have a message?
Grasscut: Most certainly: play up, play up and play the game.
You’ve been on a number of stages, tell me which was your favourite crowd to perform to and why?
Grasscut: We’ve had some great gigs with people like Nathan Fake and at festivals including Loop and The Great Escape, but we’re really looking forward to our upcoming show with Plaid and Clark. The Big Chill too.
How was it playing an audiovisual show at the Tate Britain?
Grasscut: Sharing a room with the paintings of JMW Turner was truly extraordinary. Obviously our visuals were better though.
I was checking out your MySpace page and, you have a lot of influences. Who would you say influences you the most and why?
Grasscut: WG Sebald, a sadly deceased German author of compendious knowledge, who lived in Suffolk. His voices graces our debut single, High Down.
Now, the name. How did you come up with Grasscut?
Grasscut: It represents the Englishness and the cut-up nature of our sound.
I heard that the “Mona Lisa Curse” (scored by Andrew) won an award for Best Documentary at the Banff Film Festival. How was it to be involved with that?
Grasscut: Andrew’s been nominated for a BAFTA previously, and won other awards, but this was a very special film by director Mandy Chang – which, by the way, greatly upset Damien Hirst.
Finally, what does the future hold for Grasscut?
Grasscut: In the short term, we have a session coming up on Xfm, gigs at Cargo, the ICA, Koko, The Big Chill, and Bloom festival. After the album is released in October, we will be heading to France, and hopefully further afield, as well as touring good ol’ blighty.