Psychopomp

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psychopomp
Rob Scott caught up with Battle of the Bands finalists Psychopomp ahead of the big night.

You’re through to the final of the Battle of the Bands! How does that feel?
Matt: It feels good. I mean we basically formed the band for Battle of the Bands, initially. Two or three weeks before. We were very much a fledging band from the beginning. But when we did the first heat and we got through, we were like “oh my god we really want to get to the final.”
Gabriel: We were initially just happy to get through into the next heat, but then after that —
Frank: That was the moment we actually realised we sounded quite good.

You’d never performed live together before that?
Matt: No, that was our very first live performance.
George: We were looking into doing music related stuff, writing music or performing it, in some shape or form, but I think the Battle of the Bands was the perfect kick starter to get us actually playing.
Matt: Fortunately we’ve all got quite similar taste in music as well. I think though it’s most important to dislike the same things. It sounds like a more negative way to approach music but when I meet people, I don’t really mind what they like, as long as they dislike the right bands.
Gabriel: We all realised we hated The 1975.
Matt: It’s little things like that, like when you say “Bastille”, and they actively make a little gagging noise.

Amongst your originals, you’ve covered Radiohead, Childish Gambino, Mac Demarco, Everything Everything, which is quite a mix. Is there one of them you aspire most to sound like?
Matt: I think it’s important to aspire to make your own sound rather than sound like something else.
George: I don’t want to just sound like this band, or act like this band, because I think, is that really the best attitude to go in with if you want to take the band further.
Matt: I think that’s why we’re drawing from a lot of people.
Gabriel: We don’t want to be a ‘rock band.’

What do you want to be?
Matt: It’s impossible to sound completely different from everything — but we try to do enough so that people think we sound interesting, and so that people don’t think they know everything about us from one listen.
George: I quite like the idea of being an interesting pop band. Catchy hooks, and you get people dancing, but you’ve got a bit of an edge that throws people off maybe.

Your song 4 2 2 4 is very much like that. It’s very distinctive but very hooky as well. Have you got any plans to record?
Frank: I think we are planning to record all the songs we’ve got at the moment at some point.
Matt: I think we’ll definitely record something once we have something we can call an EP, a set of songs we think go together.
Gabriel: Once Battle of the Bands is over we’ll be able to sit down and talk about what we’re going to do.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Matt: I recently got into neo-soul as a genre, and other similar genres. I really liked Frank Ocean’s Blonde, much more than Channel Orange, even though I liked that too. I’d always been very skeptical of R&B and hip-hop, basically until I came to uni, with no real reason. I’d just never really listened to it. So yeah, I’m very much into Solange, Frank Ocean, Moses Sumney. The new Sampha. We were really impressed by that, because somehow he’s managed to be very popular and also really good. Me and George are going to go see him in the summer at Parklife.
George: On the hip-hop theme: Danny Brown. He’s one of my favourite artists at the minute. He’s just one of those artists that I’m constantly shocked by. It’s hard to be shocking in 2017. But there are certain artists who just keep subverting, and something like that I just find completely thrilling. He’s definitely my favourite MC at the minute.
Frank: I mostly listen to 90s alternative rock at the moment. Things like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine… I need to listen to more contemporary things. That’s a resolution I had this year.
Ross: I’m stuck in the 60s I think. I’m a 70 year old man at heart. Obviously The Beatles. Tame Impala as well — they’ve got that 60s psychedelic sound.

I’ve heard people compare your sound to Mac Demarco? What do you think about that? Everyone’s compared to him nowadays aren’t they?
Gabriel: It’s a lazy comparison.
Matt: It’s like when people call Arctic Monkeys alternative, and it’s like, well what are you talking about? Stop calling everything that is not pop ‘indie’ or ‘alternative’. It’s frustrating. ‘Indie’’s worse. Indie literally doesn’t mean anything any more. “Oh my god that’s so indie!” What does that mean?
 
Psycho or Pomp?
Frank: I’m gonna go with Psycho because have a tendency to miss pronounce Pomp and think it’s Pump.
Matt: Bicycle Pump.