The Dalek I Love You Band
Dalek, I Love You!
John V. Roy talks to The Dalek I Love You Band and tries to fit their name onto the sleeve of their new album...
The Daleks' past has been anything but a meteoric rise to stardom. The Dalek I Love You Band came to light in Liverpool 1979 and they led the explosion of Liverpool bands with The Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen following in their wake. 'Compass Kum'pas', their debut album, first saw the light of day in 1980 amid widespread critical acclaim, but following its release the band existed in name alone while Alan Gill, founder of the band, joined Teardrop Explodes around the Kilimanjaro period and wrote their hit single 'Reward'. Hence the three years delay before the second album 'Ambition', due for release in early November.
It's only been in the last year that the band, Gordon Hon on keyboards and vocals, Kenny Peers on keyboards and vocals and Alan Gill on guitars, vocals and rhythm programming, have come together while working on the forth-coming album and the recent single 'Holiday in Disneyland'. It's still Alan who's the main influence in the band, but both Gordon and Kenny worked closely on the material for the album.
They've no touring plans as yet, emphasising the fact that everything depends on the success of the album, as Gordon points out; "In the early days of Dalek I the stage was littered with pieces of furniture and strewn with tailors dummies. That was in the art school days", he says rather with some embarrassment; "we've not played a lot of live gigs, but when we do a show in Liverpool we usually attract over 500 people; with a few well known band members, most of those who've followed the band since its earliest inception still like what we're doing."
The band's name has certainly gained them plenty of attention, and the album should keep them noticed. The album isn't a slap-dash affair as Kenny told me; "We wrote the album about six months ago, but because of financial difficulties it's only now that we've been able to go into the studio to record it. We've been very lucky, although it's the band's work we have a number of session musicians on various tracks. They made it far more exciting. We had two drummers who played on different tracks, Drummie Zeb from Aswad who plays on '12 hours of blues' and Chris Hughes (better known as Merrick) ex-of Adam and the Ants and now producer of Tears for Fears who played on 'African Express', 'Horoscope' and on general overdubs. The real drummer made a great deal of difference; it was good to get away from working with a drum machine, in fact as soon as we can afford the space in the band for a drummer we'll seriously consider bringing one into the line-up. Perhaps the best musician we had to play on the record was the highly respected saxophonist Gary Barnacle who plays on 'Lust' and '12 hours of blues'. The sax was great to work with. He just came in, listened to the tracks a couple of times and laid down some brilliant saxophone parts. We'd love to have him tour with us some time in the future but he's a very busy man and not usually available. We also had Randy Taylor who played bass on 'Ambition' and 'Holiday in Disneyland', the album version not on the single."
"The real drummer made a great deal of difference; it was good to get away from working with a drum machine."
The album isn't restricted to synthesizers, as both Gordon and Kenny are eager to emphasise; "We like using other instruments to complement the synths. We use tom toms and other pieces of percussion and of course there's Alan's guitar; he uses a lot of effects, his most popular being the Tube Screamer as he likes the gutsy sound of his guitar; rough and ready. The piano is also really effective, we play it a lot on the album, it gives a lot of power and emotion. That's something that I think's missing with synthesizers, you can't express physical emotion like you can on the guitar or the piano. Even the drum sound is unique; built by Alan, the technician of the band, using the mixing desk or the Korg MS20 to trigger a Pelsin drum cushion with two separate oscillators with two separate outputs and six variations plus modulations, giving infinitely variable drum sounds. We want our music to progress and mature. It's not impossible that sometime in the future we may shun synths of all kinds altogether, but that's way in the future."
Videos are now playing a very important part in the promotion of new bands' albums and single, but Dalek I have their own opinions as aired by Kenny: "Of course we'd like to do promo videos, but we'd like to make our's different. All the videos now either show the band playing live or posing in some exotic location, or else they're arty such as Ultravox, where the video matters more than the music. We'd like to have enough money to hire a camera for a couple of days and make our own, just where we live and what we do. Make it fun. Madness know how to make videos."
"That's something that I think's missing with synthesizers, you can't express physical emotion like you can on the guitar or the piano."
Dalek I would like to make it known that they are the biggest band in their home town of Birkenhead and not just another Liverpool band. "We're very wary of the labels that the press and media put on Liverpool bands. They always pick up on the unemployment and how the bands are struggling to get away from the gloom and despondency. The unemployment is bad, but it's everywhere, they make out as though all the unemployed in Britain congregate in Liverpool, and they seem to demand a higher standard from Liverpool bands."
Their attitude to life is down to earth and filled with humour, sarcasm and cynicism, all emotions which exude from their music. Since they signed to Korova records they've been fighting for national recognition and the new album promises to gain it for them.
Perhaps you're asking how the name of the band (shared, like Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, with one of their first songs), came about. Favourites were either 'Darling I Love You' or 'Dalek' so they compromised; the result — Dalek I (Love You).
Interview by John V. Roy
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