Interview: The Pure Conjecture
Published on July 6th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker was utterly charmed by Courgettes, the dreamily soulful debut album from supergroup The Pure Conjecture (click here to read our four-quail review), so we fired some questions over to band leader/award-winning vinter Matt Eaton in the hope of finding out a little more about the whole operation…
How long have you been writing/recording/performing music for?
About twenty years. My first gig was 25th January 1991 – the band was called Gristle and our set was mostly made up of Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys covers.
How did The Pure Conjecture come together? Do you see it as a one-off project or would you like to do more with it?
I sent the demos out to friends and people with whom I’ve previously toured/recorded accompanied by a note saying where and when the studio was booked for. Whoever turned up was in the band, essentially. The second album is already written and demos recorded – it’s going to be called Gendres and we’ll be recording it before the end of this year.
How fully realised were your original demos compared to the finished results?
Pretty much complete, certainly complete in style and tone. But, as I hoped, having them played live in the studio with the band changed some of the arrangements and dynamics quite radically for the better.
Why is the album called Courgettes?
With ten people standing in a circle in a recording studio with limited time, lots of instuments to keep in tune and arrangements to figure out, it creates quite a hectic, buzzing environment. Whenever somebody (usually Matt Twaites the engineer) shouted “courgettes!” it meant that we were about to start recording whether everyone’s ready or not. It was like a safety word and helped us finish in time. The whole album was recorded in just two days.
Do all ten of you play live? Will there be a tour?
We’ve only ever performed live twice; the first show we played right before Field Music at an all-day thing and our second one was opening for The Hazey Janes. At the moment I’m ridiculously busy with another project (I’ve just finished co-writing an opera with Keith Allen), so I just don’t have the time or money to mobilise all eleven people. I’m in the process of organising some Pure Conjecture shows during the Autumn months.
Is it true that you’re an award-winning vintner? If so, what did you win the award for, and what’s your favourite produce?
Myself and my wife Alice make Hedgerow Wine and sell it at markets and food fairs. We won a Food & Drink award a couple of years ago and our Elderflower Wine came runner-up in a thing last year. We’re called Fieldbar Wine.
For some reason I had it in my mind that you’re Scottish – your singing voice sounds so, although I accept this could be solely attributable to the “mind yer heid” line in “The Power of the Notes”…
Well, the majority of my family hail from Scotland, the record label who are releasing Courgettes are in Glasgow and I recently got married there. That might explain things a bit, but I’ve never actually lived there. If I’m honest, the concept of national identity isn’t something I’ve ever really cared for or about – but having said that, I’m eternally fascinated by languages, dialects, accents and mannerisms.
Are there any up-and-coming and/or obscure bands that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
The Strypes from Cavan in Ireland are pretty sensational.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days with the back catalogues of just five different musical artists, whose would you choose?
John Coltrane, Edwyn Collins, Laura Nyro, Euros Childs and Bobby Womack.
Matt Eaton, thank you.