Desolation Angels
7th September '02
It's been a decade since Manchester was the centre of the UK music universe but that's about to change! The last few years has seen an upsurgence in new, vibrant independent bands such as the beautiful Desolation Angels. Far removed from the "Lad rock" days of "Madchester", this band are more than musicians, they transform their music into a transcedental artform weaving nuances of the surreal, abstract and the pure beauty of renaissance into their songs. SkidMcSkidder was lucky enough to catch all the band together and chat about the whole Angels & Manchester scene!
SkidMcSkidder:  Hi guys it's a great buzz interviewing such an awesome act - and one who also hail from the city of my birth, Manchester!

The Angels: Thanks

SkidMcSkidder: So, to kick off with one of those run of the mill type questions: How'd you guys meet up and form the angels?

The Angels: Steph was the magnet which brought us all together... Steph and Julie met at college, then met Mike at University. They were all in a band called 'Subtitle'. After lots of shuffling around Steph met Mandy in a club, and these four formed the core of Desolation Angels. A few drummers later and we have Gareth

SkidMcSkidder: Cool. So what was the inspiration for the band name?

The Angels: Jack Kerouac. The words themselves evoke fitting imagery and we like the thought of beauty coming from desolation. The ideas contained within the novel and the Beat notion of collaborative creativity is something which inspires us.

SkidMcSkidder: I love your great distinctive and individual sound - it's one I have
trouble pidgeon-holing though - if you had to chose a music genre
to describe the Angels, what would it be?

Julie: You can't pigeon-hole good music - the only way to understand is to listen

Mandy: You'll have to make up a new category for us.

SkidMcSkidder: I agree: how about alternative aural satisfaction?!

Julie: It's fine apart from the words!

SkidMcSkidder: So how has the Manchester scene changed since the decadent days of "MAD"chester?

The Angels: We're a bit too young to have experienced it first hand. When we first started playing four years ago, Manchester was burdened with the dregs of ladrock; since then there's been a surge of new, alternative acts, which are united by their diversity. The unsigned bands scene is far more fertile than the mainstream acts - unfortunately the press is slow to catch on.

SkidMcSkidder: The Night and Day cafe in Manchester city centre is a great haven for the independent artist to "show off their wares" - I was there last year
for one of (another SkidMark listed artist) Ali Handal's shows - are there
many venues of this kind in the city?

The Angels: The standard venues are the Night and Day and the Roadhouse, but there are far more interesting, quirky venues if you look for them - it just takes a bit of imagination. There's quite a lot of underground nights put on by the bands themselves that use venues like The Retro Bar, Big Hands, and the Dancehouse, which attract people to the night rather than the venue.

SkidMcSkidder: On the subject of the Night & Day cafe, you're releasing your latest CD "Rocks in her pocket" there on the 30th September - looking forward to it?

The Angels: Yes. The night is going to be fantastic - there's going to be poetry, music, guest slots, art, projections, DJs, and surprises that we are busy planning...

SkidMcSkidder: Excellent! Finger's crossed I'll be jumping on a train over to catch you for that!

Steph: Cool

Julie: You'll miss out if you miss it!

SkidMcSkidder: I'll be there!

SkidMcSkidder: The CD was the first release of the newly formed Prolekult label which is basically a co-operative of unsigned artists on the Manchester
circuit - is that correct?

Steph: Yes. We used to have 'Prolekult' the band night at the Night and Day. It seemed a natural progression, using the ethos of bands doing it for themselves, to start putting out our own releases and breaking the bands out of the underground and into the eyes of the world.

SkidMcSkidder: Why do you think the Mainstream press is so blind to the vibrant new independent bands flourishing on the gigging circuit?

Mandy: They're too attached to their sofas and their local watering-holes in London

SkidMcSkidder: heh heh - I think you've pretty much hit it on the head there - London is the place a lot of the oversea's SkidMark bands tend to talk about visiting to gig - it's almost as if the rest of the UK is a "grey" area on the music map.

SkidMcSkidder: You've a tour supporting your CD release coming up - how far reaching will it be?
The Angels: Leeds, London, Northampton, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, Warrington. Manchester of course - anywhere we can...

Mike: Dates are on our website.

SkidMcSkidder: Will the tour affect your day to day i.e. what do you guys do when you aren't gigging / recording, etc?

The Angels: Most of us are working part time, which enables us to fulfil our creative urges.

SkidMcSkidder: So you're not tied down to the 9 to 5, 5 times a week grind like some us eh?! Great - I'm jealous LoL

SkidMcSkidder: Any plans for a follow album to the E.P. release in the near future?

Julie: We've certainly enough material to keep us going...

Mandy: We've a few offers of recording time, which we'll definitely be following up

SkidMcSkidder: Is studio time pretty costly in Manchester then?

Mike: We've been lucky to have a few offers of cheap studio time in Manchester...

SkidMcSkidder: Ever contemplated the use of home computer-driven recording software packages?

(Mandy yawns)

SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh

SkidMcSkidder: Not your cup of tea then?

The Angels: We want to talk about art (!)

SkidMcSkidder: Okay... have you seen the SkidMark Dawg Art gallery on the site?

SkidMcSkidder: LoL

Julie: Yeah - any response from Saatchi?

SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh no, but the local psychiatric hospital is extremely interested!

The Angels: mmm

SkidMcSkidder: Okay let's talk about the net.....

SkidMcSkidder: How have you found having an internet presence through your web site has helped the Angels cause?

Mandy: I had a very luddite view of technology, but have to admit the Internet is indispensible when it comes to being in a band - press releases, contacting fans, wearing people down, etc. Steph tends to be attached to the screen most of the time.

SkidMcSkidder: And I appreciate all the Angels updates she tirelessly sends me. Is the Angels site completely band designed and written?

Julie: Of course - we don't want some pleb doing it!

SkidMcSkidder: Ha ha

SkidMcSkidder: Ever done or thought about doing a live show via webcast?

Mandy: Who knows or dares to dream ?!

SkidMcSkidder: There are some great webcast shows out there such as based in NJ, USA - in fact they're doing a three day non-stop, live independent band show on the 27th to the 29th which I'll be playing a few acoustic numbers on aka Incubus Lovechild

SkidMcSkidder: (Sorry blatent self-plugging! LoL)

The Angels: oh-ho!

SkidMcSkidder: The web Q's lead me onto the international scene - The band has been receiving radio play in Columbia and Scotland, and you've also had an interview for Columbian radio as well as fantastic reviews in Belgium and Argentina - how does your international fanbase compare to the UK?

The Angels: Europe's music scene seems to be more open - bands get treated a lot better (so we're told); they're not so dependant on what the mainstream press tell them to like, so it's less formulaic. Plus of course the music scene is bilingual, unlike here where it's very difficult for an artist not performing in English to break through...

The Angels: We'd love to play abroad and our EP has been enthusiastically received in Spain, France, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Italy and WALES...

SkidMcSkidder: So how exactly did you get hooked with the South American connections???

Steph: Hmm..A Colombian artist saw us play in Manchester and has since taken it upon himself to promote us in that part of the world alongside his own material. We also have fans from Europe who have spread the word.

SkidMcSkidder: Fantastic. At the end of the day it just shows that word of mouth can be far more effective than a bunch of flyers.

SkidMcSkidder: So, What are the Angel's plans for the rest of 2002?

The Angels: Mainly the Tour and EP release, though we wouldn't mind getting back into the studio. We've got lots of new material that we look forward to working on.

SkidMcSkidder: Great - and I look forward to hearing it!

SkidMcSkidder: Well guys, I'm running a little dry on the Questions front - is there anything you wanted to ask me or subjects you'd like to discuss?

The Angels: Mandy wants to know which celebrity you'd most like to share a jacuzzi with.

SkidMcSkidder: That's a good one! Let's see...

SkidMcSkidder: E.T. probably. Those fingers would be great for massaging my feet!

SkidMcSkidder: Anything else you people want to talk about?

The Angels: Love and law and poverty... oh, oh, these are the things that kill me...

SkidMcSkidder: Well..... I've had run in's with all three at some stage of my life so fire away!! LoL

SkidMcSkidder: I LOVE my bike, the LAW is always pulling me over and the price of parts leaves me in a state of perpetual POVERTY!

The Angels: One to be obeyed, one destroyed, one fought...But -

The dogs are howling, the vomit is swirling... the Angels must fly!

SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh, okay. It's been great talking to you all - thanks for taking the time out to talk to me and wishing you all the best with the CD launch on the 30th

The Angels: Cool, thanks very much. Looking forward to being FAOTM!

The Angels: Goodbye

SkidMcSkidder: Thanks again! Take care & catcha later!

Back to top of page

Virtual Interview conducted using MSN instant messenger 07-09-2002
SkidMark Multimedia Productions MMII