Monday, September 25, 2017

interview about glam, pop today, etc

an interview I did with David Lichfield at The Work Trials. Topics covered include glam rock, radio rap, poptimists turning against pop, "Retro - still a problem?", life in the US versus life in the UK, and  the ineffectiveness of eloquence as a weapon against the Trump bloc(kheads).

On the glam past:

"One of the things about these glam TV memories is that Top of the Pops was a context that was very variable – you had the really middle-of-the-road performers, you had novelty singles, singles by comedians, you had sort of generic pop groups, then you’d have hairy groups like Hawkwind on there. Then suddenly you’d have weird teenage-oriented groups all covered in spangles. One of the things I didn’t actually discuss in the book but was in an early draft, was how Top of the Pops had certain visual special effects – I think one of them was called howlround - things that probably now look really cheap but at the time looked mind-blowing. For instance, the whole screen would go this metallic purple, and Marc Bolan would become this sort of purple haze figure. They would use these effects a lot, specifically on glam groups. They seemed to know it wouldn’t really work on the Brotherhood of Man or Tony Orlando – the MOR groups would be filmed flat, but T-Rex and The Sweet would get all these plastic-fantastic effects on them where suddenly the screen would go all trippy. That had a pretty big impression on me as a child. It seemed like a really suitable effect to use on these bands, with it being very psychedelic but also plastic and artificial-looking, with a cheap sci-fi feel. They would also use it on people like Gary Glitter to fit their sort of trashy, bubblegum sound. That’s really the main thing I remember from that era, seeing these bands swathed with those special effects on Top of the Pops." 

On the pop present:

"We’ve seen a lot of serious artistic statements being made and written about endlessly with think pieces and highly serious, intense analyses of things like Lemonade and the Solange record for instance. You could say pop has become the new rock, with a somewhat didactic, improving, rather worthy form of writing being produced around it, in exactly the same way critics would have written about Bruce Springsteen or U2, using a language and a tone that makes you feel like you’re in school basically. The other thing I noticed was that, amongst the people some of us call “poptimists”, is that they saw 2016 as the worst year for pop music ever."  

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