Ikara Colt Interview


By Nathan Westley

When Ikara Colt released there debut album 'chat and business' in 2002, it went on the most part unnoticed by the British press. There mix of new wave, punk and 80's style electronica recalled Sonic Youth and The Fall you kind of got the impression that if they had been American instead of British, they would have become as well known as either Interpol or The Rapture. But on the eve of the release of there new album 'Modern Apprentice', it looks like this might be about to change…..

Ikara Colt are just under halfway though there UK tour when I meet them. Later that evening they would play a blistering set at Po na na in Brighton, a fairly small club that sometimes passes as a music venue. The interior resembles an Indian restaurant and it is here that I speak to vocalist Paul Resende.

Talk instantly turns to the subject of their new album and at first glimpse it seems an odd choice to name a second album Modern Apprentice, as surely this would be a more suitable name for a debut release but as Paul explains "the word apprentice, it's a learning curve, we're still kinda striving. There's the whole idea of making the perfect album or what you think of as the perfect album and I don't think there is such a thing as that. It's a documentation of where you were at that moment, the first was where we were at that moment and this one is where we are at this moment and the next will be where we are at that moment. I think that's important as you're a product of your environment."

It's refreshing to hear a musician be so open and honest about there work, as usually when an artist releases new material they discard past albums and make out that their new release is the best thing since sliced bread, only to hold the same viewpoint when another follow up album is released.

Alex Newport best known for his involvement with both At The Drive In and The Mars Volta was sat in the producers chair for Modern Apprentice. "It was cool, he approached us when we were out in America, I knew who he was and stuff because of the records that he had done,"

A line-up change also occurred before the recording of there second album, as it so often does when bands are finding there feet. Original bassist Jon Ball left and was replaced by Tracy Bellaires.

On hearing the new material lining up against the old it is evident that Ikara Colt have evolved since the release of there debut album. "In terms of the sound we've moved on, I think you have too, we're not one of those bands that's going to do the same album over and over again, I couldn't do that, you've gotta keep moving forwards."

They have also established a loyal following though constant touring. Apart from their own headline shows they have recently been the main support for metal band Amen's last UK tour which also included Icelandic rock band Minus. Ikara Colt maybe weren't the obvious choice for supporting Amen but as Paul explains "It was good and bad, hats off to Amen for choosing a support bill that wasn't like them, you see a lot of headline bands who just take out bands that sound the same, which is really unimaginative. Sometimes we had it tough as they (the crowd) just wanted metal and we weren't giving them that, we were giving them what we do, you could see that we were winning people over and that was a good thing. I think it's always good to take bands out on tour that aren't the same as you, your offering something different that makes for a much more interesting night, a bit of challenge, a bit of variety, I think it's a good thing."

There has always been a strong link between art and music, in the 60's there was The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol, while both Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon are ex-art students.
It may not than surprise you that the people in Ikara Colt also used to attend art school, but surprisingly "Musically there's no influence really, the band were already fully formed before we went to art school, art school just offered you a place to meet people who were kinda like minded, that's the good thing about it, but it had no influence musically at all,"

Due to chart restrictions which state that promotional goods aren't allowed to be attached to a release. There debut album was not eligible for the album charts as some stickers came included with the album.
"We don't make these records to get high in the chart, if it happens it happens and we can get satisfaction out of that."

For those of you planning on attending either Reading or Leeds festival either this year or in the future, it may disappoint you to learn that the promoters banned Ikara Colt from playing this festival. This occurred after some trouble when they finished their headline set on the Carling Tent at Reading in 2002, Paul's description of the event is "it was a horrendous experience really, there was a bit of a stage invasion, some stuff got broke, the people at Leeds knew Leeds was gonna be a bit of a flashpoint, which it was, and they pulled us from Leeds … no one got hurt." "We had to pay for the equipment that got smashed….it wasn't cheap."

At the time of their first release Ikara Colt and many other British bands were overlooked by the media who favoured American acts.
Granted some of these American bands were good, some where even better than good, while others were average and sometimes even poor.
I half expected to find some resentment from the band towards American bands but I didn't find any, instead I found an understandable antipathy towards British bands that want to be American.

Sometimes people overlook what's in their own back garden, in favour of what lies in a neighbours. Maybe it is time for those people to step outside and explore.