1.A lot of music fans will be aware of Cajun Dance Party from the
initial press coverage that you received a couple of years ago. But
how do you feel that youve changed both as a group and personally
since that time?
Daniel: Well, were not at school anymore (laughing)! No,
I think loads of things have happened. I mean obviously we had a lot
of press really early on, when we were young it wasnt too
long ago, but it feels like ages ago, because obviously these couple
of years are the ones where you do sort of really grow up, in a way
(smiling), like 15 to 18. I think personally, Ive changed a lot
and the band has changed a lot personally and musically. At that time,
it was just all a bit mad, because we didnt really know what we
were trying to achieve or anything. We knew where we started, which
was the Battle Of The Bands, but we didnt really know anything
else the rest of it was all just quite crazy!
Daniel: Yeah, exactly (laughing)! In interviews, people would
be asking us stuff and I didnt have anything to say, so Id
just say silly things (laughing). But now that I have got more into
music since then, I think as a band, we sort of know where we want to
be going a bit more.
2.Would you say that you all now have a common goal, and what is
it that you take from the artists / bands that you most admire?
Robbie: I think songwriting has always got to be central
its always got to be key! And in terms of a common goal, in the broad
sense of things, its just to be ruthlessly self-critical, write
better and better songs and get that side of things right, with a view
to creating better records!
3.What has been the best thing that someone has said about CDP?
Daniel: I quite liked it when someone said, Its too
pop to be weird and too weird to be pop. It was meant as a criticism,
but I liked it, I thought that was cool (laughing)! Im not sure
if Robbie would agree with me?
Robbie: I do, yeah (nodding).
Daniel: Really (surprised)?
4.Complete the following: I would like to write a song as good as
and make an album that equals
Daniel: Oh my gosh.
Robbie: Shall we do them separately (looking at Daniel)?
Daniel: Yeah, well probably disagree otherwise (laughing)!
Robbie: I would like to write a song as good as Tangled Up In
Blue (Bob Dylan), and make an album that equals Ys by Joanna Newsom.
Daniel: Thats funny that you said Tangled Up In Blue, I
wouldnt have expected you to say that, its quite interesting.
I would like to write a song as good as (long pause + thinking), I cant
maybe Another Day Full Of Dread by Bonnie Prince Billy.
And I would like to make an album that equals Slanted And Enchanted
5.The Colourful Life has a very memorable opening salvo of songs,
but are there any albums in your record collection, which you feel have
a strong set of opening songs that sit well next to each other?
Daniel: Slanted And Enchanted (laughing) definitely! Thats
got a good opening (pausing), actually, the best opening to an album
is Ziggy Stardust by Bowie its not really one of my favourite
albums, but the opening is amazing!
Robbie: I like the first few tracks of Revolver Taxman,
Eleanor Rigby and Im Only Sleeping thats an amazing
set of opening songs!
Daniel: Silver Jews always have amazing first lyrics. Actually,
the three artists who I find (pausing), Bonnie Prince Billy and Lambchop
always put their best tracks at the start of albums, and Silver Jews
always come up with the best lyrics the opening line is always
amazing! But I hadnt heard of any of these people before writing
The Colourful Life.
6.If you could join any other band for just one night, who would it
Robbie: Oh man (long pause + thinking), Id like to be in
Björks backing band
Daniel: How about Suede?
Robbie: No (laughing), definitely not Suede! It would be Björks
Daniel: I dont know? I think Id say Pavement, because
it would be so much fun and theyre my favourite band it
would probably be hilarious!
7.In reference to your band name, whats the best party that
youve ever been to?
Robbie: Oh wow! Well Will our drummer theres
always things at his house which I really like going to, which we kind
of co-host together.
Daniel: That sounds so good (jokingly), Theres always
things at Wills house which we co-host (laughing). The best
party that Ive ever been to (pausing), I was wearing a Daniel
Johnston T-shirt, Id just seen him the night before and I was
walking in Hackney Market (pausing), this sounds made up but its
true (laughing)! This fat man walked past with dribble coming out both
sides of his mouth he was American and you could see his belly
and he had dribble down his top. I was with my girlfriend and he was
like (adopting an American accent), Hey man, I love Daniel Johnston
so much, hes my hero! And I was like, Oh, hes
amazing, we saw him last night. And then we just got into this
massive conversation. Hes got this radio station called South
Hackney Radio, which is amazing it broadcasts for about an hour
every Thursday, this is what I found out later. Hes got listeners
from all over the world and hes been doing it for a few years
I think hes got 26 listeners now (laughing)! But anyway,
I was like, Thats amazing about your radio station,
because he was talking about all of this amazing music and he was like,
Do you want to do a show on it? And we said, Yes,
definitely! So he said, Well why dont you come to
my party tonight, just bring a few beers and we can talk about it.
He gave us his address and we went there and when we walked in (laughing),
he was just sitting in the front room of his house, opening Birthday
presents and eating cake. It was just him on his own and there were
loads and loads of fish tanks, and we were just sat speaking to him
for ages, and he was sort of half-speaking, half-eating this massive
cake. There was one point where he was sitting on the sofa and he was
trying to open this present, but he couldnt be bothered to pick
it up, so he was just sort of clawing at it (laughing). Anyway, that
was good and then we went into the other room, and there were about
10 of his really, really close friends around and we felt so awkward
(laughing). We were just standing around, but then we ended up having
a really great time! The food was great because he had bought it from
Hackney Market, so there were really nice meats and stuff, and we met
some really nice people. We met this man who used to be in this garage
band The Horrors worship him and he didnt stop talking
about The Horrors he was like 50 or something, and he was an
indie artist from The 80s, well, mainly garage punk
Robbie: Have you got to type this up (looking at me)? The articles
going to be pages and pages, it will be massive (laughing)!
Daniel: Oh right, sorry, this will finish Chapter 1 (laughing)!
Then we took him in the car to the pub, because I was meeting some friends
there later it was so good! But yeah, that was definitely the
best party that Ive ever been to (smiling)!
8.Each week, The Culture Show has a busking challenge, whereby musicians
and bands have to play a selection of their songs to passers by, to
see how much money they can make. But if you had to play some Cajun
Dance Party tracks and a cover version, what would they be?
Robbie: I would play No Joanna, a new song which might be called
Train Song, and Stephanie Says by The Velvet Underground
Daniel: No, Big Star - Thirteen
Robbie: You can do Big Star - Thirteen.
Daniel: Its the whole band though.
Robbie: You could do it separately then, because I would play
Daniel: You probably wouldnt do Stephanie Says, because
we would have a big discussion with the band
Robbie: And you would manipulate everyone into doing it (laughing).
Daniel: No, wed probably agree on doing Big Star - Thirteen,
because Stephanie Says would be too risky as its so good! And
you wouldnt want to touch it. So, we would probably do Big Star
- Thirteen, not Stephanie Says (laughing). We probably wouldnt
do Train Song, wed do No Joanna
Robbie: Both (laughing)!
9.When playing live, do you feel a synergy between the band and the
Robbie: Yeah, I do! Im sure its different for everyone
and Im sure everyone has got their own individual take on it
Daniel: I reckon thats what happens most of the time. The
thing is, when youre playing bigger venues, its harder to
gauge, but were still playing really small venues, so its
really good because its just you and your fans in a little room.
Its the best (smiling)!
Robbie: When you do an arena, like when we went to Japan and played
the Summer Sonic Festival, you almost feel like youre playing
on a stage thats a little island, because youre so far away
10.If you could have been at any gig in the history of music, which
one would you have most liked to have attended?
Daniel & Robbie: Ooh (long pause + thinking)
Robbie: I would have liked to have been at The Trout Quintet at
the Royal Festival Hall that wouldve been mine!
Daniel: Its really difficult to know, to think of the one
that you would have most liked to have attended (thinking). I wouldve
definitely liked to have seen one of the Neil Young shows at Massey
Hall. I have the recording of it, but it would have been amazing to
have been there!
Robbie: Dylan at The Troubadour Club, that would have been amazing!
Daniel: But Neil Youngs better (laughing)!
11.How do you find life on the road / touring?
Daniel: I really like it its a nice life! Its
been so good, because if we hadnt been in the band, we wouldnt
have seen so much of England. Me and Robbie were talking about this
in Manchester, because people in general do see other parts of England
because they have family living in different areas. But in a band, you
just travel everywhere and its nice to see all of the little pockets
I quite like that. And were going to Europe, which is so
good! Going to Japan is really good as well, just in itself not
musically were pretty lucky to be doing these things. Its
part of the job, so thats really weird.
12.Do you have any favourite Websites that you would recommend to
us, and to date, whats the best YouTube clip that youve
Daniel: allmusic.com is my favourite website if you want
to find out about album credits, like who produced what and stuff, its
amazing! But theyve given all of my favourite albums really high
ratings out of 5 its a really accurate and useful resource.
My favourite YouTube clip is Binocular Football. Its basically
a Japanese football match, but theyve got binoculars strapped
to their eyes and they cant see the ball, so theyre just
kicking (laughing), they dont have any perspective!
Robbie: I dont really go on the Internet very much
Daniel: Thats a lie (laughing).
Robbie: No, I dont. If I had a favourite YouTube clip though,
it would probably be The Smiths playing Barbarism Begins At Home, because
during the outro Johnny Marr puts down in his guitar, and its
just him and Morrissey dancing together for about 10 minutes
the tension between them is amazing! Its just them dancing with
the rhythm section rocking-out, its hilarious (laughing)!
13.A lot of CDPs songs have a real dream-like quality, but
have you ever had a recurring dream?
Daniel: I used to have so many recurring dreams, but they were
really weird, because they were all about space and meteors (laughing)!
I think there was one about a finger-clicking factory as well, or something
really weird I always got them when I was ill, when I was younger.
They werent scary, but I can remember thinking that they were
really scary at the time. They were just odd concepts I wish
I could remember them, its really annoying.
Robbie: Ive not had any recurring dreams recently, but when
I was young, I used to dream about robot dinosaurs that were going to
kidnap me (laughing).
14.If you could ask a musical hero anything, who would it be and
what would you ask them?
Daniel: Id ask Bonnie Prince Billy if he could be my friend
and if we could go swimming together (laughing).
Robbie: Id like to sit in a room with Björk for about
half-an-hour and just listen to her talk about anything!
Daniel: Youd like to (inaudible).
Robbie: No (both laugh hysterically).
Daniel: You should definitely say that (laughing)!
Robbie: No, its not being said (laughing)!
15.As solo artists, Lennon & McCartney were always known to keep
a close eye on what each other was doing musically. But are there any
specific artists / bands that you use as a musical yardstick?
Robbie: Not really as a yardstick, no. I dont think we look
at other bands to see what they come up with in a competitive way. I
always follow Bombay Bicycle Club and what theyre doing, just
because theyre friends of mine and Ive made music with the
singer in the past. So, I keep an eye on them just out of sheer interest
because Im a fan.
Daniel: Im probably the same and also WayOutWest
Late Of The Pier, Video Nasties theyre the best
and even stuff like Laura Marling. Because when we all started and had
our first proper gigs, it was at WayOutWest and its just nice
to see how all of those people have progressed, what theyre doing
and how everyones following their own paths now.
16.Do you have a favourite chord / chord sequence, and are melodies,
rhythms, grooves, beats etc. equally as important to you?
Robbie: I dont have a favourite chord, but Ive probably
got favourite sequences within various songs and I think for me, harmonies
are more important than melodies, rhythms, grooves and beats.
*Robbie has to leave the interview to soundcheck, but Daniel kindly
agrees to answer my remaining questions*
17.Is it difficult letting your songs go, and if by magic you were able
to hear your own songs with fresh ears, do you think that youd
appreciate the nuances in Cajun Dance Partys music?
Its pretty difficult knowing when to put a stop on it. Obviously,
with things like mixing, you could go on forever. But songwriting-wise,
with stuff like lyrics, you could always change words, so its
difficult to know its normally better if you stop as soon
as possible, otherwise, you lose the original sense of it. So, it can
be really difficult. I cant really answer the other part of your
question (pausing), its weird, because you respond to what peoples
reactions to the music is. Like when you come to the venues, they have
a little write-up about the band like yesterday, we were in Cardiff
and it described us as Indie MySpace Cats. There was a bit
of vomit in our mouths when we entered the venue and saw that. But then
today, it compared us to Orange Juice and The Smiths and obviously,
you much prefer that (laughing)! Everyone really liked it and was like,
Yeah, thats a much better description! Thats
just obvious, but you never know what to expect, especially with the
first album (pausing), because when it was written, I had no idea what
we were doing and I hadnt listened to much music, and I didnt
know what I wanted to achieve musically.
18.A new physical music format called slotMusic, which
allows people to buy music that has been preloaded onto SanDisk Memory
Cards and can be played on a variety of different platforms, is soon
to be launched. Do you think its likely to take off?
I dont understand that, because if people are interested
in owning something tangible, art is the only material that people should
be interested in like a CD or vinyl. Vinyls the best, because
its a piece of art and whats so great about iTunes, is that
music becomes something more that just another material possession.
People can say, iTunes makes music less romantic because youre
not putting on a vinyl. But, I think it makes it more romantic
in some ways, because its like, What is it? What do you
own? Its just a pure track, its not like, Look
at my CD collection! And I think that theres some beauty
in that, that doesnt ever get talked about and I like that. But
at the same time, I love LPs because the artist and musician can present
their work in the context of a beautiful piece of art. A Memory Card,
what the fuck is that? Thats just a disgusting piece of plastic,
which doesnt help either of those things that I was talking about.
I dont think its going to make people buy more music
I dont care, I dont want people to buy music, it would just
be good if people listened to good music!
19.Continuing with this train of thought, I really love the photography
used on your single sleeves can you tell us more about this?
Im happy that you asked about that, just because Im
obsessed with photography! I did an A-Level in photography and I really
enjoyed that, but when we first started getting into photo shoots and
stuff, people would come in with these digital cameras and take the
most bland photos ever. Because in The 60s and 70s, there
were so many different cameras available, but now, there are only a
handful of brands and they all take the same pictures you open
up a music magazine and they all look exactly the same. I love photography,
music and everything being like this whole world I love that!
Just being absorbed in the whole art side of it and I think its
really important (pausing), our videos havent achieved that at
all I think our videos are awful, apart from the last one we
did for Colourful Life, which I really like. The photographer we worked
with on our fourth single sleeve is called Jon Bergman, hes Scandinavian
and is quite a classic photographer, he uses old medium format cameras
and he takes beautiful photos. I think a lot of other bands have started
using him now, but I always want to use him, because it sort of just
connected with us. I actually took the third single sleeve myself and
I try to do as much photography as possible, for the website and stuff
like that. Im sort of lucky, because even if Im not good
enough at photography (laughing), Ive still got a platform to
use it practically (smiling)! But Im really into the relationship
between music and the visual side of music, because I think it adds
so much to it. Its like with promo videos at the moment, you know
that people want to see the band and all that stuff, and that coincides
with the whole world that we live in today, which is about personality
and celebrity. Its not about art, which it should be and which
is what it used to be about. So I hope in the future, our videos will
be less disgusting in that way. The Colourful Life one was made for
£200 and even the one that looks really posh and high-budget,
that was made pretty cheaply, but it just doesnt appeal to me.
20.Are there any songs that you think should have been worldwide
Its weird, because when songs are smash hits, nowadays,
theyre played loads and its really annoying (laughing)!
So I want to be in control of the songs and if I really love a song,
I try not to listen to it over and over and over again, because I know
that Im just going to get sick of it. So I save it for special
times (smiling). But yeah, I do think there are some songs that deserve
to get played, compared to a lot of the stuff that does.
21.Is there an artists / groups body of work, that you think
would lend itself to either a film soundtrack, or day I say it, a musical?
I dont really enjoy musicals (laughing), but I think After
The Gold Rush by Neil Young was supposed to be made for a film. Apparently,
he was trying to write a film and nobody wanted to make the film, but
they wanted to use the soundtrack. I wouldve liked to have seen
22.Do you think the Arts Council Take It Away scheme, To
help you to buy an instrument with an interest-free loan is a
positive step for young, up-and-coming musicians?
Thats such a good idea! Because you can write amazing songs
(pausing), you just need one guitar, you dont need loads of equipment.
But if a young musician can get help to buy their first instrument,
that can only help increase the amount of quality music being created
in this country, which is what we need!
23.And with so many new bands constantly springing up, do you think
it would be a good thing if there were more mainstream music TV shows
dedicated to promoting young talent?
I dont know? Jools Holland is good, Ive watched that
a couple of times, but Im not a big TV watcher personally. I think
it would be quite good, because people are interested in watching music
on TV and music channels are good but (pausing), I dont know?
It depends, because sometimes The Charts can be irrelevant, because
theres so much new music, so its difficult to generalise
and say, These are the bands that people should be watching!
Especially when theres YouTube and you can watch whatever you
want even if its not very popular, theres always
something on there. But I suppose more mainstream music TV shows would
be a good thing.
24.What are your biggest hopes for Cajun Dance Party, and do you
see your sound evolving in the future?
The thing about our music evolving, is that I only want it to
evolve if its natural. Because with some bands who do something
well, you dont necessarily want them to change direction, as there
are so many different bands who can do different things. But, I think
our second record will sound completely different and whether thats
a good thing or not, the main thing is that its natural. Im
happy for my musical tastes to change, as long as Im excited about
the music that were currently working on.
25.A recent article in The Guardian entitled Class War On The
Dancefloor, discussed how The Enemys Tom Clarke once berated
rival bands whose backgrounds he considered to border on the aristocratic.
What are your feelings on this?
Im not saying anything bad about other bands, but I think
statements like that are disgusting. Because its talking about
something which is just completely irrelevant to music. Our class has
been talked about in articles and its been complete bullshit!
I mean people can assume stuff, but weve never talked about it,
so how will people know and why should people care. Because music is
music, but some people do get carried away with music being political
and blah, blah, blah. But really, that just shouldnt just come
into it. I can understand why people are attracted to bands because
of a class or if theyre singing about certain things, thats
great! But I dont think all bands should do that there
should be diversity! Im sure there are other bands who were originally
seen like that, but then they become successful like The Streets for
example. I think its amazing how he wrote his third album about
being really rich and famous, because if he hadnt, it would have
been disingenuous rubbish. If people want to listen to him singing about
urban life, then they should listen to the first two albums dont
expect him to keep coming out with it. Its all about being genuine
I think, because there are so many people who want to give music and
have music to offer, and if theyre genuine, then thats the
26.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Oh my gosh, probably chips
with a nice sauce (laughing)!
A very special thanks to Daniel, Robbie, Vicky, Max
and Will, and to Cajun Dance Partys Manager Alun + Tour Manager
Alex, for all of their time and help.
High up in the sky, in the colourful life
My light will reappear, when they keep it on
To hear my songs