According to Beak> bassist Billy Fuller the term Krautrock is offensive and we’re just mindless journalists. But is it always useful to avoid terminology that helps locate the feel or direction of a piece of music. Writing about music is “dancing about architecture” to an extent, and with such small space to get across the point such terms are to a certain extent essential given the pressure. The currency of the terms is high because of the nature of the media framework in which they operate rather than because of the personal judgements of the writers.
Billy did in fact answer some other questions too – here’s all the answers.
Bowlegs: So how did Beak> start? Did you know Geoff Barrow from way back? Did you get together knowing what sort of music you wanted to get down?
Billy: We met at an Invada records christmas party….me, Matt and Geoff had a jam for the first time that night. After that, we decided we would something in the future. I knew of Geoff and Matt but didn’t know them as people… now we’re mates.
Bowlegs: Whose the biggest Krautrock fan in the group?
Billy: I’m not a fan of the term Krautrock…it’s rude and offensive. We all like music from any place that sounds like they are trying something new or different I suppose. The blues has been done and done to death. My favourite record at the moment is This Heat Deceit. If they were German, they would have been called krautrock by some mindless journalist too.
Bowlegs: Being that this is a side project do you feel there is a different approach, a different vibe? More freedom even?
Billy: It’s not a side project, it’s a band. No more freedom than any other band I wager.
Bowlegs: You are very clear in your recording techniques, live in a room no overdubs. Does that lead to some frustrating moments when you keep fucking up halfway through a track? What track was a real bitch to get down?
Billy: Frustrating sometimes, yes. But only for that moment. It’s more frustrating when you listen to something you did 5 years ago & think…’this is fucking shit!!!!’. There was one track that was such a bitch to get down we never finished it! It was probably shit anyway….
Bowlegs: How are these songs written, through rehearsals, individually? Do they start with a riff, like that big guitar on Wulfstan II?
Billy: Everything happens in the moment, in the room. Nothing is written before we meet up. That big guitar on Wulfstan II is actually my bass.
Bowlegs: What was the game plan for Beak >>? I read that there was a period of non-productivity, where nothing was working? Was there a moment when you thought a second record might not happen? How did it all suddenly come together?
Billy: Never doubted we wouldn’t make a 2nd record, it was just a matter of getting it right. It came together when we stopped thinking too hard about it.
Bowlegs: In the tracks with vocals I hear echos of bands like Joy Division within the motorik rhythms. Is Post-Punk a purposeful influence here or did it just appear naturally?
Billy: We like those types of sounds but I think we sound quite natural, we’re not purposefully trying to remake Closer…that would be pointless.
Bowlegs: Geoff Barrow seems to have been particularly busy lately with DROKK and Quakers, is he going to find the time for a tour? We really wanna catch this live?
Billy: We’re all very busy with loads of other stuff and yes, we are going to tour it.
Bowlegs: Do you discuss future records with Beak or is this just what happens when you all have an opening in the diary? Will there be Beak >>> is basically what I’m asking?
Billy: Of course there will be more Beak>, we all really enjoy it so I can’t see why not. If we call it Beak>>> we’ve dried up!
Bowlegs: What albums released this year have you been getting into?
Billy: Released this year….no idea??!! That’s a question for Matt really, he’s young enough and solo enough to have time to do that! But I have been listening to the recent Jean Michelle Jarre Rarities thing that came out…. Early demo stuff on cronky old synths surprisingly!! Also some stuff from Zanzibar recorded in the 60′s, the new Om, and the Mills Brothers because those fella’s knew how to harmonise!