Interview: White Belt Yellow Tag
Published on March 5th, 2010 | Jonny Abrams
I caught up with Justin Lockey and Tom Bellamy from epic buzz-rockers White Belt Yellow Tag on the morning of their headline show at Hoxton Bar & Grill. Justin was a member of alternative cult heroes Yourcodenameis:milo while Tom was formerly guitarist and nob-twiddling techno wizard for the sadly defunct The Cooper Temple Clause.
Tom, whatever happened to The Cooper Temple Clause?
TB: We just got fed up. Didn’t really like looking at each other anymore.
JL: It’s a life span, innit?
TB: Yeah, exactly.
JL: It’s almost like you’ve got to cut off your nose to spite your face. You know it’s not going to be the same level of enjoyment forever. Gotta move on and do something else.
And what about Yourcodenameis:milo, Justin?
JL: It’s when things stop becoming amazingly inventive all the time or you can see things aren’t going to be the same. You’ve either got to cut your losses or put it to bed for a bit – years, maybe decades – then dig it up later on. We toured so heavily for the first few records and then did a collaborations record so we thought let’s give it a rest for a bit.
So how did White Belt Yellow Tag come together?
JL: Me and Craig the singer went into production. I started making my own records towards the end of Milo and I started working at a studio that Craig was working in. We got it together and halfway through making a record we realised we’d need a drummer to play it live. Our manager used to be tour manager for the Coopers and we asked him if he knew any good non-drummer drummers, ’cause drummers are always the ones that mess up bands! He suggested Tom as he’s a guitarist who can also drum, and that was that. Easy. It felt right so we cracked on, basically. You’re Johnny Come Lately, aren’t you?
TB: *Vague grunt of recognition*
I read that you’re currently being championed by Zane Lowe. Are there any bands that he doesn’t champion?
JL: We’ve both been in the position of being championed by Zane Lowe before. I met him a few times when I was in the old band, when he was doing his MTV2 thing. He’s actually really knowledgeable, and you’d be surprised by how many people in the music industry don’t actually know anything about music, but Zane’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of music. It’s pretty awe-inspiring and it’s very nice to get that kind of support. We’re quite lucky but we’ve got a good record so we should be championed!
What have you been listening to lately?
JL: I put on ‘Freak Me’ by Another Level last night.
TB: Our singer Craig is obsessed with the 80s. He put on ‘Mr. Mister’ last night.
JL: I put on Norah Jones’ new single last night. It’s a top tune. I don’t know much about her other than that she made coffee table music in the late 90s but…
TB: ‘The Rip’ off Portishead’s new album is amazing.
JL: I heard UNKLE’s new song on the radio on the way down – that’s amazing. I heard Beach House for the first time on Radio 2 last night and they’re amazing. Everything Everything are really good. And everyone else is rubbish. Fact!
TB: I’m listening to The Beach Boys ’cause I was given it for my birthday and all my other CDs are scratched.
JL: And I only listen to The Beatles ’cause I’m a musical fascist.
I always saw The Cooper Temple Clause as being possibly the next Super Furry Animals.
TB: I’m a massive fan of them. If there’s one man I could marry, it would be Gruff [Rhys]. He’s just sex on legs. We supported them once at the Hackney Ocean and I basically told him how much I loved him.
Anything else you’d like to mention, plug, promote or champion?
JL: I’m going to go to Upper Crust now so I’ll promote them if they give me a free baguette. They do the best baguette in London town.
They don’t change their range enough for me.
JL: It’s perfect. Uniform. “Do you want that hot?” Yeah, cheers. And can I have some of those over-priced crisps as well? Cider vinegar. Thank you.
The tuna one needs salad in it.
JL: You can ask them. But they’ll probably tell you to do one. Worth a punt though, innit?
Tom, your favourite high street sandwich shop?
TB: Pret A Manger.
JL: Don’t like it. Marks & Spencers wins above all. Their beef enchilada’s amazing but you’ve got to get there early ’cause they always sell out.