CD = Candida Doyle
NB = Nick Banks
Interviewer: Could you first of all introduce yourselves.
NB: Hello people, I'm Nick and I'm from Pulp and I play the drums in the group.
CD: And hello, I'm Candida and I play keyboards in the group.
Interviewer: A new album coming out, right?
NB: Yeah, I believe so. Err, yeah, This is Hardcore it's called - I think.
Interviewer: It's not Black Flag, right?
NB: (Sounding puzzled) No black flag, err.
Interviewer: That's hardcore.
NB: Oh, you mean it's not hardcore punk. No, nothing like that - no, no, no, no, no, no! Far from it.
CD: No way!
Interviewer: Took you a while to write it, heh?
CD: Bloody did!
NB: ...it does take a long time, you know, writing any music. I think that [if] you want to stand the test of time then you've got to put the hours in - to all of these things, you know. Gone are the days when you could just thrash an album out in a couple of weeks. The actual writing's got to be... you know, it kind of takes time: things have got to settle in. And then, you know, these modern studios they might [have] got all this fancy technology, but it takes twice as long with all this fancy technology - for some reason, I don't know why.
Interviewer: Well, it makes sense, I mean you've got all that fancy technology, you want to use it, right?
NB: I'm sure most of the time is reading the instruction book.
NB: Find out how to use it. Well, I know what you mean, yeah. Just to get all this... get it all spot on.
(Whispers) I don't do fruit, Candida.
CD: Of course not.
Interviewer: You don't do fruit?
NB: Not today, no.
CD: You do grapes.
NB: I do grapes, yeah.
CD: In a drink.
NB: I do - and I'll have some now.
Interviewer: So how do you guys work, actually?
CD: I mean, very hard!
NB: Very hard! Oh, do you mean the actual writing process? Err, well, the music all comes first, that is always the first thing. We start off by just, you know, jamming together and coming up with... you've got to come up with ideas: little bits of songs. And I think we came up with a couple of hundred little bits of songs, or you know, a few chords and snippets. And we would always listen back to them, sort of every now and again, and we'd just laugh.
(To Candida) Watch those hiccups.
CD: Hmm hmm.
NB: We'd always be... we'd find it very funny listening to all the rubbish we'd come out with. But gradually over the weeks and weeks those loads of snippets would get... you know, bits would get added to other bits and that would be stuck in another bit of song. And it would gradually get whittled down and distilled into, you know, 20 songs to be considered candidates for an album. But it takes a long time to get that far. It's like evolution.
Interviewer: Now, when people think of Pulp, they think Jarvis Cocker, and they think he's probably the 'band dictator' or something.
CD: Hmm hmm.
CD: We're here to prove he isn't. It's a fight, it's a strong fight - we have to keep him in his place. He used... in the early days he used to be more of a dictator than he is now. He used to be a nightmare to be in a group in - to be in a group with.
CD: Yeah, but he's improved with age. Thank God!
Interviewer: Yeah, because I mean how long have you been together now?
CD: Well, we've been together for a long time.
Interviewer: Longer than most marriages, right?
CD: Longer than many marriages put together, yeah.
NB: Jarvis did start the group when he was in school, and I've been in now for 11 years; Candida for about 14, is it?
CD: Hmm hmm.
NB: So that is, you know... you could probably get a career out of three or four bands in that time - maybe even more these days - so it is quite unique.
Interviewer: But you never get on the verge of killing each other?
CD: Erm, well, I'm sure we have thoughts in our minds but we would never do it.
Interviewer: You get along?
Interviewer: Well, I guess you have to, I mean...
NB: Well, basically we're used to each other like, you know, like you might have a favourite pair of slippers, you know, they're just kind of comfortable, so we're just kind of used to the same faces being around, you know. The same worn haggard faces.
Interviewer: It's an excellent album, by the way. Of course, everybody like says that. Just to...
CD: No... well they do, but we...
NB: Don't be polite.
CD: Tell us the truth! We need to know. We're gonna find out sooner or later.
Interviewer: I hear some like what I would say were typical Pulp songs, but I also hear new influences, like classical music.
NB: Well, that's quite amusing because firstly the person who was most into classical music was Russell and he left before the record was started. Mark likes quite a lot of bad classical music.
CD: I like good classical music. I've always liked classical music, class-i-cal. (Slowly and clearly) I've always liked classical music.
NB: We've always really liked a lot of soundtrack music, like John Barry, and I suppose sort of Burt Bacharach, and things like that. So the influence of that - big string sounds and things like that, you know - their roots are in that field. Yeah, we all like looking at films do we.
Interviewer: Yeah, I mean would you ever write a soundtrack - a complete soundtrack?
NB: If we had the time it would be good.
CD: Yeah, it would be fun to do, because you wouldn't feel you'd got the limitations of Pulp around you. Not that there are particular limitations, but when you're doing a soundtrack it's completely different from having to think up some kind of pop song.
NB: Yeah, you wouldn't have to say, you know, you're going to write...
CD: And it's gonna be three and a half minutes. Yeah, it would be really good.
Interviewer: Yeah, because I mean British cinema is booming right now, so...
Interviewer: Nobody asks you?
NB: Yeah, it is actually I suppose.
CD: We do turn it down funnily enough, don't we.
NB: We do.
NB: It is coming up a bit, I mean it's always kind of knocking on the door. But I suppose there's been a few films out recently that have been doing quite well.
Interviewer: I was reading this article in Time Out and Pulp was blamed for the revival of the whole seventies glam-or-lo... g-lo-lo-lo - okay edit, edit! I'll cut that out - glamorous look. What do you think of that?
CD: It's fair enough.
NB: It probably is, but then [...] when something [has] got its prominence, there's always people who will totally shun that and go for the thing that is seen as the complete opposite of what is in fashion and try to be anti-fashion. So I suppose ten years ago the Pulp look would have been seen as a kind of anti-fashion but because things kind of go round in cycles it has now become, I suppose, fashion. In a way, I suppose, the blame could be laid at a certain person's door.
Interviewer: Yeah, I mean do you think you actually triggered that?
CD: I don't know. I mean history always repeats itself with fashions and with music. I don't know whether we were responsible for it, or whether it was going to happen anyway - I don't know.
CD: Can you pass my tea please, Nick?
NB: Yes, I can.
Interviewer: I'll have a sip of my water as well.
NB: That's it, ahh.
NB: Well, you want your biscuit don't you?
CD: [...] You don't want to eat my biscuit.
NB: Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm.
Interviewer: Well, I guess it's kind of hard to talk about the lyrics with you guys. But in general I'd say your songs have these like really common topics, like everyday themes, but then again you're like totally stylish and glamorous. Somehow that seems such a contradiction, how do you unite that?
CD: You answer that one Nick.
NB: Well, I suppose actual subject matter of everyday things is less so on this new record. I don't suppose people really want to hear about the problems of being famous so much. But I suppose there is a kind of glamour in everyday things out there - it's difficult to say exactly what. But you know, just because you are an ordinary person, just doing say a mundane job, doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't aspire to having a glamorous feeling about who you are. Even if you are a school cleaner, just having a bit of glitter eye shadow, and stamping your individuality on and saying: 'Yeah, hey, I might be just a cleaner, but hey, I want to be glamorous too.'
Interviewer: There's a lot of sex on it as well.
CD: That's Jarvis for you.
NB: Well, you know what they say? Those who don't get it talk about it.
Interviewer: Is that true you think?
NB: I think so, yeah.
CD: Yeah, dread to think...
NB: Well, he's always talking about sex. He's a bit retarded in that way.
Interviewer: I was checking the Internet about Pulp - like everybody does, I guess - and I found some really in depth information about you guys. For instance, you are supposed to like plastic jewellery.
CD: Yes, that has been the bane of my life, I must admit, because I used to work in a toy shop and everyone thought because I worked in a toy shop that I loved toys, and I do like toys, but I don't particularly want loads. And I have had loads, so much, plastic stuff sent to me - you wouldn't believe it - that I kind of went off it a bit. You see, I've got these on - oh, that is plastic - that was a present from Japan. And, this one, that's not plastic at all.
NB: It's like a little belt.
CD: It's good isn't it?
NB: It's nice that, yeah.
Interviewer: Then Japan must be paradise for you, or not?
CD: Yeah, but you know I've grown out of the plastic thing; that was more when I was like up to being 25. I'm 34 now, so...
Interviewer: So they should update the Internet.
CD: Oh, right, yeah they should. It's their fault. I must admit I've not even surfed the Internet.
Interviewer: You haven't?
CD: No, I haven't got one; I haven't got a computer.
NB: The trick is with that, I think, is to say you're into something you really, really want. Like you could say, I'm really into, you know, money. And hope people send you loads of that - but it'd be a bit silly to say that.
Interviewer: And you were born in Holland, right?
NB: Well, err, no I wasn't.
Interviewer: You weren't!
NB: No, I've never heard that before, no.
Interviewer: Ahh, lies, lies - fuck!
NB: No, no - you can't say that on the radio.
Interviewer: Oh, I can. In Holland you can.
CD: Can you?
NB: Well, we don't, we're nice people, we don't swear on the radio.
Interviewer: That's no problem (Laughs)
NB: See, we're just repressed English people.
No, where did you hear that - that I was born in Holland?
Interviewer: On the net as well.
NB: Well, the net is... that's the net for you see - you don't know whether you are getting the right information 'cos that's not true.
CD: Where did they get that from?
NB: I was born in Rotherham, which is just outside Sheffield.
Interviewer: Oh, then someone must have gotten that wrong because it said - I think it said - Rotterdam.
NB: Oh, Rotherham, Rotterdam, Rotherham - very similar, but miles apart.
CD: Well, there you go.
NB: There, Rotherham, not Rotterdam!
Interviewer: Wow, that's what you get, there's lots of crazy stuff on the...
NB: I'm sure Rotherham is quite similar to Rotterdam - probably a bit bigger, and near the sea.
CD: A bit more culture, maybe.
NB: A bit seedy though isn't it, Rotterdam?
Interviewer: Now, what is the craziest gossip written about you?
CD: Nick was born in Holland!
NB: That's pretty crazy to start with. Erm, what's a crazy bit of gossip? Erm.
CD: Jarvis gets the most gossip about him. And it usually is true. And crazy.
I can't think of any gossip about me.
NB: Certainly not unusual stuff. It's one of those things in an hour's time we'll go: 'Oh, what about that bit; oh, what about that...' I can't think of any at the moment.
Interviewer: Yeah, because over here the British press has a reputation for like writing crazy stuff.
NB: Yeah, they do, especially the British media, the tabloid media, do tend to kind of make their own news up all the time, or take just a very small, trivial thing and expand it into something that... and then it becomes something that it isn't.
I mean we did sort of, you know, when Sorted for E's and Wizz came out we did sort of meet that head on [...] it seemed like a day when not much news or scandalous news happened so they had to think: 'What are we gonna put on the front cover? I know, Pulp have got this record sleeve out.' And they put it on the front pages and all this, and it just went silly because we never thought of it as: 'We'll do this and it's going to be controversial and it's going to get this reputation.' It was just like: 'What they on about - it's stupid?' And it all just got out of hand and all a bit silly. And then they were actually trying to plant drugs on Russell and things like that - it was just very...
Interviewer: Excuse me?
NB: Oh, we played a concert in Cambridge and Russell went out for a walk and this young lad sort of approached him in the street and was sort of saying: 'Here do you want some speed? Here have this.' - you know. And Russell was like going: 'I don't want any of that. Take off.' And he was thinking that's a bit strange and he noticed in a doorway a bit away there was a photographer there with a long lens. So they were obviously trying to get him going: 'Cheers, nice one, yeah.' And trying to set up this great 'Pulp hypocrites' sort of headline.
Interviewer: No way! That's crazy.
NB: That's what happens kid.
Interviewer: Yeah, 'cos what we hear is that when the NME likes you, the Melody Maker has to slag you, and the other way around.
NB: Well, that's it, one week the NME will love you and the next week they'll hate you.
CD: We've not really had that though. We didn't really get to be famous by having a lot of good press. I think we did get there on our own work - we wasn't like some groups.
NB: Some groups get put on the front cover before they've even had a record out.
NB: None of that.
CD: So hopefully because they didn't build us up, hopefully they won't be able to knock us down so easily.
Interviewer: Yeah. Do you think it's an advantage that you have been together such a long time before you got famous?
CD: I don't know, I mean maybe it's because... I don't know it's really hard to say. I mean Mark hasn't been in for long; although Mark has been around for a long time. He's only been in the group maybe coming up for three years or something, but he's always been there, somewhere.
Interviewer: But do you maybe feel like less dependent on how other people react to what you are doing?
Interviewer: Well, if you're a band that's starting out fresh [...] you really need the press to build you up.
CD: Oh, I think that would, that position, would be awful to be in and I wouldn't want anything to do with any group like that. I wouldn't want to be in a group where someone else picked the people - where the people were picked by a management or something. I think the way we've got together is the best way.
NB: Yeah, I kind of agree with that. I think that it is for me an advantage that we've been together for so long. I mean if you were forming a group now, I wouldn't say: 'Stick around for ten years and then try and get successful.' It's only because you're kind of using hindsight to look back and sort of say: 'I'm glad it's happened that way.' Because it's... I can't think of any other group that it's ever happened to and I think it's really unique. And [I'm] quite proud of that in a way 'cos no one else can touch us for longevity of unsuccessfulness, followed by success.
Interviewer: Your album isn't out yet but I guess it's been around for promotion. How's the reaction been to it so far?
CD: Err, everyone seems to have liked it, which has surprised me. They all say it took a while to grow on them, but they do end up liking it, which is very good.
NB: We haven't really had any critical reviews yet, but feedback has been, you know, pretty positive so far, which is nice. I mean it's always difficult because you expect the critics - because they are going to have a jaded musical palette so to speak - that they might be saying: 'Ahh, pff, heard it all before.' That kind of thing. But so far what we seem to be understanding is that people are being positive about it and saying that it's, you know, up there.
Interviewer: Okay, thanks a lot.
CD: Thank you.