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Charlottefield are another of the brilliant bands from Brighton that have really rocked my world in the last year or so. Along with I’m Being Good, Cat on Form and others, they make up part of an absolutely brilliant independent and noisy South Coast scene, which doesn’t make its way away from the South Coast (i.e. to Leeds) enough for my liking. Having helped me out with stocking some fanzines in the Brighton area, they were kind enough to grant me an audience. What great guys!

Names, ages and instruments please, and a brief biography/discography…

Chris Butler – bass
Adam Hansford – guitar
Thomas House – guitar and voice
Ashley Marlowe – drums

We have ninety-nine years between us.

The band started up around the start of 2000 in Hastings, where there was no scene and no chance of getting a show. Tunbridge Wells has a sympathetic venue (The Forum) and an actual community of bands and people who go to shows. Most of us actually knew each other through or as a part of that community before playing together. Three of us now live in Brighton, so it’s difficult to say where our home is… probably somewhere between the three towns. To date we have released one 7″ on Fat Cat records (Picture Diary), one on Jonson Family (Firewood) and a split seven with Cove on Jonson Family, plus we have appeared on the un7 and un23 compilations on unlabel, and The Twominutemen Volume Two on Jonson Family. Jonson Family will also be releasing our mini-album, when the bloody thing is finished.

Major influences…?

We have been inspired by the following: Miles Davis, The Fall, Captain Beefheart, Throwing Muses, Erik Satie, The Jesus Lizard, Harkonen, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Nirvana, Gang of Four, Movietone, Botch… not that we claim to sound like any of the above.

Lyrical themes? Are lyrics integral to your songs, or are they usually an afterthought? Who writes them?

Thomas writes them. Neither afterthought nor integral – incidental perhaps.

What do you do in your day-to-day lives, other than being Charlottefield?

If you were in the Charlottefield you might also: play in another band; be looking for a job; be in full-time education; be struggling to keep your job; be working on and releasing tracks of a dancefloor nature; be going to two or three gigs each week; be daily astonished by the ridiculous behaviour of others; be reading a lot more lately in an attempt to smoke less and spend less time obsessing; be asleep on somebody else’s sofa…

Tell us about your John Peel Twominutemen experience. You played with some excellent bands. Was it fun?

  • Nerves and build up not helped by a very relaxed looking Bilge Pump.
  • Playing was fun but strange as it fell somewhere between a gig and a studio session.
  • Good sense of community between Jonson Family Records staff and bands.
  • Then it was suddenly all over, and took days to sink in.

What are your ambitions as a band/individuals? Would you ever go down the major(ish) label, press officer etc route, even if it didn’t impact on your music, or are you DIY purists? Or somewhere in-between?

Our lives are such that it would be impossible for us to be DIY purists. We barely have enough money to buy strings. we would always choose to work with people with sound ethics and motives. To write and play with commitment and to evolve musically have always been our priorities. To play live as much as possible in as many places as possible.

Best city in the UK for music?

There must be countless bands in towns all over the country that are amazing that we have never heard of, so it would be impossible to say.

What are your thoughts on Brighton both in terms of music and more generally, as a place to live? Do you ever see Nick Cave?

It’s reasonably unique, in its own way. If we ever see Cave we’ll tell him to hurry up and get a divorce and get back to writing decent music. Nick’s a Hove boy anyway. There’s a difference, you know.

Tell us about a good band(s) that we won’t have heard of.

We played with this Australian guy called Ben Andrews in Limerick last year. He goes under the name Blarke Bayer. He had a Fender Jag strung up left-handed through a looper, and a couple of amps. We met him before and he was really quiet, then he sat down to play and blew us all away. You could see him really concentrating, counting out bars playing pat-a-cake on his knees, and his music is stunning. He also plays in a three-piece back in Sydney called My Disco. Little Girl With Cherries were pretty good when we played with them in Leicester. Rebus was an awesome Tunbridge Wells band that frustratingly never really captured it on record. There was this Canadian band called Choke To Start, who only ever did one 7″ (to our knowledge), but it’s a killer…

Best band in the UK?

Paper Cut Out.

Best band in the world?

Ask the NME this week, and next week, and again the week after that…

Best band ever?

Probably The Fall circa ’80-’83.

Recommended reading?

Charles Bukowski, Paul Auster The Music of Chance, Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh, Captain Beefheart’ by Mike somebody, Who I Am and What I Want by somebody else, Into The Wild by John Krakauer.

Any final thoughts, jokes, philosophy, diatribes etc?

Not really.