Late of the Pier | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, July 25th, 2024  

Late of the Pier

New-Wave Fantasies

Nov 01, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

Back in their home base of Donnington, England, Late of the Pier’s career started with a jumbled mess of dusty synthesizer equipment, guitars in various states of disrepair, and scattershot drum kits. The band’s keyboardist/sampler, Sam Potter, remembers those early days stuck in a musty attic well. “Our singer/guitarist Sam [Eastgate]’s dad played in a couple bands in the ’80s,” Potter explains. “A lot of the original instruments we played came from that attic. We used to practice with this old battered blue drum kit and this old guitar that was covered in comics. We used to get stoned and just go crazy.”

Potter and Eastgate were joined in the attic by Andrew Faley (synths) and Ross Dawson (drums), and from those meager beginnings, the Pier pals began screwing around with dancey synth-pop songs that play with the exact frequencies that, according to Potter, can excite a woman’s clitoris. “Yeah man. There is an exact frequency that excites a clitoris! In ‘Space and the Woods’ we have that running underneath most of it. We want to do it with all of them.”

If the dance tremors Late of the Pier are jolting in London’s suburbs are any indication, the ladies and guys have found a new band to fill up their party mixtapes. That clitoral shakedown comes via a crunchy Gary Numan riff that spirals off into MGMT-with-glow-sticks territory. The dance-floor electronica of “Space and the Woods” is just one of the fantasy-craving tracks on Late of the Pier’s aptly titled debut, Fantasy Black Channel. Potter sees the purpose of the band as a conduit to bring back the element of daydreaming that he feels pop music has lost. He describes their songs as “just fantasy with music attached to them. You can go anywhere with it. People around here have sort of lost that aspect.”

Impervious to the stuffiness that afflicts some pop acts, Late of the Pier know how to party like its 2099; in fact, their origin can be traced to the dance floor. “We would always go to [these local places] called The Wise Club, Crack Whore, or Gravy Train,” Potter says. “The electric scene started kicking off back then. Students made up the scene over there….We’d go out and stay out listening to tunes from DJs. That drove us to play in Late of the Pier.”

Besides aiming a Gary Numan synthesizer straight at the heart of the U.K.’s dance music scene, the foursome also creates imaginative music videos that recall the drugged-out ’80s videos Bowie made with “Ashes to Ashes” and “Loving the Alien.” For better or worse, the imagination’s there. The murky retro-futurist video for “Bathroom Gurgle” features the band shirtless in a claustrophobic house of broken mirrors. “Space and the Woods” conjures up Voltron, and the gravity-defying stage shifts in “Heartbeat” seem to be straight out of the cult sci-fi movie Cube. All of Late of the Pier’s calculated craziness stems from the group’s fascination with weird and wonderful

“Any visual element and musical element can be created from anything,” Potter says. “Films like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and Holy Mountain are great inspirations. Your imagination is a powerful thing.”


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