Published on February 27th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer is a key player on the Merseyside music scene, and a cast-iron hero in Rocksucker’s book. Formerly bassist, producer and arranger to Liverpool odd-pop marvels Space, he also took production duties for the most recent album by the great Shack (namely 2006’s …The Corner of Miles and Gil), as well as for the likes of Seven Seals, Ivan Campo, My Amiga and Circlesound.
Now he is back with his own project Moongoose, whose servings of intricately designed electronic soundscapes are supplemented with visual backdrops courtesy of Yorkie’s old schoolmate Mark Jordan, providing quite the nourishment for ears, eyes and brains alike.
Today sees the release of Moongoose’s new single “And From My Window I Look Down on Skyscrapers”, so we caught up with Yorkie to find out more about the whole operation, the releases of which all go under the banner of Reaction Music…
“And From My Window I Look Down on Skyscrapers”
Who does what within the band?
I write all of the material and do all of the programming. I also play bass, keyboards and occasionally guitar. I then give the various members of Moongoose the almost finished piece and ask for their contributions. They are free to interpret the material without any guidelines from myself, other than the title of the given piece. This is what Reaction Music is about, and how we work together as a band.
I then take the additional material supplied by each member and incorporate it into the tune to make a finished composition. This is then passed on to our Video Artist (Mark Jordan) for him to interpret and visualise.
The current line-up of Moongoose:
Yorkie – Bass, Keyboards, Guitar, Programming, String Arrangements
Paul Cavanagh – Guitar
Alex Griffiths – Guitar
Daniel Spiers – Drums, Percussion
Iain Templeton – Percussion
Mark Jordan – Visuals
I have the greatest band on the planet at the moment!
As far a Reaction Music goes, we are extending the concept, via our website, to invite people to contribute to Moongoose tracks in any way they choose. We have had a few people saying they would like to put vocals on the tracks and while I have no desire to do this myself, I think it would be interesting. People can request, through the website, stems of their chosen track and when completed, send it back to us. There will be a special page on the site for the best re-interpretations/remixes.
Do you know when the album [titled Organic Technology: Reaction Music 2] will be out? Will the tracks from your various EPs thus far be included on it? Who will you be releasing it through?
The album will be out at the end of March 2012 through my own label (Imprint Of Quality) as well as the usual download sites (iTunes, HMV Digital, Amazon, Napster, etc). The Imprint Of Quality releases are all handmade LTD editions and include special packaging. The album will contain all new music, not available on the EPs, apart from the title track, which is a remodelled version of the tune that appeared on the Footprints EP.
The album features a number of special guests:
Pete Wylie (The Mighty Wah!)
Andy Diagram (James, Spaceheads, Two Pale Boys, The Pale Fountains)
Carl Hunter & Steve Grimes (The Farm)
Will there be a tour of any kind?
No, no intention of touring as such, but we are planning a number of special shows around the country, starting in Liverpool around the end of May. Moongoose live is more of a show than a band. Because there are no vocals, the videos take centre stage, so it is very important for us to find the right type of venue. Most rock clubs are not really set up for what we do.
Why are you not taking part in the Space reunion? Have you heard their new songs? If so, what do you think of them?
I am 100% committed to Moongoose at the moment, so being part of the Space reunion was never on the cards for me. I wish them all the best and hope it goes well for them. Haven’t heard any new stuff, but I know they’re doing a few of The Drellas’ songs…always liked them.
You have a good voice, as heard on “Supersonic Jetplane” and the backing vocals of many other Space songs. What made you decide to go purely instrumental with Moongoose?
First off, thanks for the compliment. Tommy asked me to contribute a song for the Love You More Than Football album, so I wrote “Supersonic Jetplane”. It was a song about my mum passing away (she died while we were on tour in America). I was very pleased with the end result, but a little upset about the recent comments in your recent Space interview. For the record, whether it sounds like a generic Space track or not, none of the other members of the band played a single note on it.
However, with Moongoose, I wanted to see if we could dispense with a lyrical narrative and let the music evoke an atmosphere and narrative that spoke for itself. I have always loved instrumental music and find that it is more open to interpretation by the listener than a straightforward song, which sort of defines itself by the lyrical content.
When I was young I used to really love soundtrack albums. Both myself and Mark Jordan were huge movie fans when we were at school and often as not, if we liked a particular movie, we would buy the accompanying album. Movies such as Rollerball, Planet of the Apes, THX 1138, Logan’s Run, The Illustrated Man, Demon Seed, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, etc.
Sometimes, the soundtrack to the film has retained its credibility more than the film itself. The most memorable of these have stayed with me all my life. Things like John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith, John Carpenter. I particularly love the way Carpenter does his own music and was particularly impressed when he deviated from this policy for his classic The Thing. He got Ennio Morricone to compose the score and, as a fitting tribute, Morricone did about 50% in a John Carpenter style. Surely the best compliment he could ever have wished for.
Do you know if Shack have a new album in the works? And if so, if you’ll be producing it?
Don’t know of any immediate plans for a new Shack album, but Mick has a solo album already finished and John is working on new material. Mick and I have been talking about working together again, but when this will happen I am not too sure, as I have such a busy schedule at the moment.
Do you have any other production gigs on the horizon?
I am producing an album for some friends in Italy called Other Voices. I produced their last single and have been working on and off on the album tracks whenever time permits.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
I love Ivan Campo. You should really do a piece on them. They are really magical. I have worked with them a few times in the past and they always have the capacity to completely blow me away.
Current favourites are Moon Duo; reminiscent of early Suicide, but with enough of their own thing going on so as not to be a tribute band.
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
The Velvet Underground: the greatest band to have ever walked the planet.
John Barry: from his early Stringbeat recordings with the John Barry Seven, right through to his Chet Baker tribute album, the man led the way in soundtrack composition.
Ennio Morricone: not only redefined the sound of the Western film, but also the Giallo thrillers from Italy.
The Residents: as obscure today as they were forty years ago, but still as essential.
Kraftwerk: changed modern music forever.
Yorkie, thank you.
“Now Her Son”
“And From My Window I Look Down on Skyscrapers”, the new single from Moongoose, is now available to download from iTunes, Amazon, HMV Digital, etc now. CD copies are available exclusively from the online shop and at Probe Records, Liverpool. For more information, please visit www.moongoosetheband.co.uk