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Ivory Springer

Imagine Shellac if they were pirates, or a submarine crewed by members of Fugazi and Jawbox, and you’re on your way to nailing down the Ivory Springer sound. Beautifully composed, articulate shipwrecks of songs with lyrics encompassing sea spray, portholes and press-ganging – maybe it’s the sea air down in Bristol that inspires. God bless the good ship Ivory Springer, and all who sail in her.

Stuart: Six strings and shouting
Paul: Hits things
Rob: Four strings and mumbling

Location: Bristol
Formed: 1990

What do you think you sound like, and how different is that from what other people have said or written about you?

I’m not worried about our influences being worn on our sleeves, because I feel that we essentially provide our own slant on things. We have been compared to Shellac, Fugazi, Jawbox and Mission of Burma most regularly, all of which is pretty damn flattering. Some people have mentioned Tortoise and Slint, which is rather odd as though I love both bands, I can’t see any real resemblance at all. People who aren’t really into the alt. rock thing seem to like mentioning Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins because they have no other frame of reference. Paul’s gran reckons we sound like ‘all that other rubbish on the radio’, but I have never heard any of their stuff.

What great new bands are there in your locality, or that you’ve played with, that you’d urge the curious music fan to check out?

So many… Bristol’s a real hive of activity: Big Joan, The Playwrights, Madnomad, Hustler, Soeza, Geisha, Gravenhurst, Bronnt Industries Kapital and Kiska are just a few names that spring to mind. Band’s we’ve played with? Well, if you don’t like Part Chimp or Enon, then you obviously don’t like music.

Do you feel much affiliation with any community with regards to the music that you make?

The Bristol ‘scene’ is a very supportive and cooperative one. Musical styles and genres are all over the place, but there’s a network of mutual respect here that’s really healthy. The place just seems to lack some of the backbiting I’ve seen elsewhere.

Where did you get your band name from? Do you like it?

The name actually comes from a character from a TV show called Northern Exposure – chosen for no other reason than it was the least terrible of the other ideas for band names we had.

What’s with the nautical theme on your website, and with titles like ‘Submariner Song’? Are you really ‘nautically-themed artcore’?

I actually think we’re thematically nuanced ship-core. Well, the ideas for the imagery and themes came way before the music, to be honest with you. I have had a casual interest in exploration and nautically-veined things for a while and it just seemed like a good place to start. It’s only been during the last couple of years that the imagery and the music have kind of worked together. I knew we must have been onto something when I started getting sent stuff in the post by people who have got into us (books on ships, poems about Melville, whale postcards etc.). The short answer is that it looks fucking cool too.

Which is your favourite of your own tracks and why?

‘Time Travel for Beginners’, simply people seem to misread as having some deep allegorical meaning. It doesn’t. It’s essentially just a silly story.

What would you be willing to give up/sacrifice for success in your band?

Everything I don’t like.

What does your family think of your music?

Ranges from casual indifference, to myopic sycophancy, to utter contempt. My mum thinks we’re funny.

You’ve been asked to contribute to a charity covers album. Which song(s) would you most likely cover, and why?

Anything by AC/DC circa 1978 would definitely rock our boat.

What’s your favourite bit of band kit?

My Travis Bean TB1000.

If diskant could buy one thing for your band for Christmas, what would it be?

A Travis Bean TB500, or failing that world peace.

Choose between:

(a) Indie label or major label deal?

Neither. Why tarnish yourself with labels of being an indie snob or a corporate whore? The world isn’t black and white.

(b) CD or vinyl?

CD for convenience, vinyl for the goodness.

(c) Records or live music?

Records of live music.

Sing us a song to send us on our way…

I can whistle ‘Captain Pugwash’ to keep up appearances if you like.

Website: www.ivoryspringer.com

Records we can buy: ‘Thirty Two Points on a Compass’ (Purr Records 0013)