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The Comedy of Errors

Interview: Crazy P

23 August 06 interview: Amanda Young
photos: Dom Henry

We met up with Jim Baron and Chris Todd in their studios on Wollaton Street...

Nottingham is bursting at the seams with musical talent. Like an A to Z of music you  an find ambient, dance, electronica, garage and rock with much more in between. Some of these acts succeed, while most fall by the wayside. But Crazy P (formerly known as Crazy Penis) have seen more success than most with their albums The Wicked Is Music and 24 Hour Psychedelic Freakout leading them to a string of international tours and festival appearances. We met up with Jim Baron and Chris Todd in their studios on Wollaton Street...

Who are the people that make up Crazy P?
Jim: There is me and Chris who do all the production work and we’ve got a six-piece live band. In that there’s Danielle on vocals, Tim on bass, Mav on percussion and Matt on drums. They come up and work with us in the studio and me and Chris get at the computer and make the magic happen!

How would you describe your style?
Jim: We were signed to Paper Recordings in Manchester and kicked off making house music. As the band has developed we have moved away from that. Even though we make up-tempo music it is more live based and organic.

Tell us about the history of Crazy P…
Jim: I met Chris in Nottingham when I was doing my law finals and he was doing a contemporary arts course. I was doing a bit of music and had a couple of records out. We met up and just started working together about ten years ago now. It was just the two of us with very little equipment and it was a real laugh. We got signed and did okay, so we got quite a lot of requests for live work on an Orbital kind of tip with banks of samplers and equipment. It wasn’t what we were really about at all because we are both musicians really, so we decided to get a band together. Tim the bassist is a good mate and slipped right in there. Mav and Matt were mates and I met Danielle in Manchester, we became friends and I dragged her in too.
 
You used to be called Crazy Penis…
Jim: When we started, it was just a laugh. We never thought we would go beyond a couple of releases. Chris’ flatmate at the time had this 7” by a band called Loco Pinga which is a colloquial Mexican translation for Crazy Penis. We’ve grown away from that which is why we weren’t so precious about keeping the ‘enis’. The name has also held us back for radio play, gigs, licences and TV stuff.

What are your favourite cities and venues to play?
Jim: One of our absolute favourites is the Hi-Fi room in Melbourne, Australia. It is always absolutely amazing. It’s a 15,000 capacity venue and we always sell it out. Another one for me personally is the Sugar Club in Dublin. Our last gig there in April has got to be one of our best, just from the energy of the crowd.
 
What do you like most about live performances?
Jim: We are getting a little more rock’n’roll now. The live performance aspect is so different to DJing or the studio work, it is a good team effort. We are all pretty close and there are no egos in the band, so we just help each other through the experiences, relax and enjoy it.

What relates you to Nottingham?
Jim: I did my finals here, then moved back to Manchester. Chris remained down here and I moved back three years ago. It is a good place to come back to.
(In comes Chris, who tells us he has just woken up, takes a seat and joins the chat..)
 
What are your favourite hangouts in Nottingham?
Chris: A place that has re-opened just down the road, called Moog. That is turning into a favourite…
Jim: It’s very local.

When are you next playing Nottingham?
Chris: We are going to do another UK tour in September/October and will definitely have a Notts date in there.
 
What do you think about other Nottingham acts like Bent, Six by Seven and the DIY Crew?
Jim: They are all shit.
Chris: Obviously we are the best.
Jim: I think it is unusual, Nottingham, because of the amount of people making music for the size of the city. I definitely rate most of the people that make music. Bent are amazing, Bob and Tom Fug are brilliant.
 
Who would you most like to remix?
Jim: Kylie. Oh no, remix sorry wrong question.
Chris: (smutty laugh)
Jim: I wouldn’t mind a really high profile one.
Chris: Like Prince.
Jim: It would be nice to get some vintage 70’s stuff and get it in the computer to work on. I am also up for a bit of a comedy remix.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Chris: Jamie Lidell’s album Multiply has been on the system quite a lot.
Jim: I’ve been getting into weird Detroit electronic stuff and Paul Midon, a blind performer from New York who sings and plays guitar. He is a really raw Stevie Wonder-style talent. I saw him on Jools Holland the other day and he blew the whole thing away. I also can’t wait to get hold of the new Muse album, I’ve heard a couple of tracks from it and I’m really looking forward to that.

What’s coming up for Crazy P over the next year?
Chris: Hopefully another album will come out early next year. We’ve been getting everyone together and having jamming sessions and we’ve come up with a lot of good ideas that need developing.
Jim: We're going to try and move it on. The last album was quite a labour of love as the production values were quite big and we used a lot of live instruments. It is quite full sounding. Personally I would like to strip it down and make something a bit grittier. We are doing a lot of festivals this summer too, so check us out.

 

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