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Crazy P's Danielle Moore on Throwing the Middle Finger to the Establishment

28 April 19 interview: Eileen Pegg

Crazy P’s singer might have ‘blagged’ her way into a twenty year career, but they’re about to release new album, Age of the Ego, kicking off the tour at Brickworks for a rare live performance in the band’s hometown.

We love a Nottingham success story, and Crazy P (formerly Crazy Penis) is definitely one of them. Formed by Jim Baron and Chris Todd after meeting at University here in the 90s, following a number of releases on Manchester label Paper Recordings, they were soon joined by Danielle Moore as front woman. Her addition of lyrics, singing and stage presence completed the group, turning them into the house-infused funky disco hit machine that has seen them gain fans and gigs across the globe, with their eighth album about to drop.

They say you should never meet your heroes, but I spoke to one of them and it only confirmed why I think she, and the band, are so brilliant. Here’s what happened when I had a chat with Danielle Moore as she took a break in between rehearsing for the new album tour’s kick off show at Brickworks next week...

The rest of the band met and lived in Nottingham (there are even rumours that LeftLion magazine actually started in the flat that belonged to a Crazy P member…)

You’re not from Notts though, so how did you end up joining the band?
At the time I lived in a shared house in Manchester, and my housemate went out with Tim, who plays bass. Whenever Tim was over, he would play these CDs and I’d always ask what we were listening to and he’d say, “it’s Crazy P, I’ve already told you!” so I suppose I’d always known about the band.

In those days I used to DJ at after parties - particularly held at our house. At one party I was apparently carrying on and ‘performing’ to the crowd. The guys from the band were at the party and one of them came up to me asked me if I could sing, and if I wanted to be their singer. I mean I didn’t, not really, but I did it and look at us now!

I didn’t know what to expect, not at all, and there’s no way I thought I’d still be doing it 20 years later. I know my story isn’t how moving into the music industry often happens. I was about 29 / 30 years old at the time, so I wasn’t dead young. I was definitely blagging it and it was an unknown career choice! I know I’m privileged and it’s not a normality.

When you were starting out, can you remember some of the local venues you played your first gigs in?
To be honest, we’ve DJd here in Nottingham more than anything so it’s been smaller, more clubby venues. We’ve played at The Bomb a lot, as well as places like Rescue Rooms, The Maze and Market Bar, and have been part of local nights like Soul Buggin’ too.

Now you’re heading to Brickworks as part of a tour for your new album, Age of the Ego. Tell us some more about the theme for the album, and what about the sound too?
We all got together a few years ago and were chatting. We were all getting a feeling about the current society and our politics, how they were being affected by something that’s out of our control. There is lots of unrest and it has had a dark effect on society, dividing friends, families and communities.

I must have quite felt angry about it at the time, so lyrically it just fell out into the songs. Especially Lean on Me, Witness and We Will Fuck You Up. Really, Age of the Ego is a big middle finger up to the establishment, mirroring our feeling of frustration, and that no one is listening.

Sound wise, you can expect less of the same - it’s a bit different, but still has that quirkyness, soul and 80s synth, with a bit more aggyness this time!

It's getting released on your Notts date isn't it?
It is, and it will be the first show of our tour too.

You mentioned how you often do DJ performances, but this show is with your live band. It’s rare to be able to merge both worlds / scenes together, but you do it well! Why do you think this is?
Three of us all DJ and do projects separately. Jim Baron does stuff as Ron Basejam, Chris Todd as Hot Toddy, and we write music and do remixes too.

When Crazy P first started, they were always brilliant musicians - Jim was a trombone player! But they had no front person, so the vocals were all samples. I think adding me to the mix helped to take it to a live band and allowed us to perform in that way.

Now, with all these parts, we’re lucky to be able to offer three ‘versions’ of Crazy P. We have the Soundsystem, which is me singing and a DJ, we can all DJ so we can offer a set, or we can play as a full live band.

It’s good because some promoters might not have space or budget to put on the full live band, so it’s great to have the options - that’s probably helped us get a variety of gigs. That live band element is an essential string to our bow though, and we’re proud of that.

What can we expect from the show at Brickworks?
There will be five of us playing as the live band; myself, Matt, Chris, Tim and Jim. We’ve been a solid unit for 20 years now, so it feels good to still be doing it all together.

The set list will definitely focused on the new album, but we will be playing some of the other songs too. People always ask us to play our older tracks, which is great, but it’s important to remember that the stuff everyone knows now was once also new, so it’s exciting to get the chance to play something a bit different and introduce everyone to it.

Sound wise, you can expect less of the same - it’s a bit different, but still has that quirkyness, soul and 80s synth, with a bit more aggyness this time!

In your last LeftLion interview in 2015, Jim said he now had a word with himself every now and then to calm it down with the partying on tour - is this still true?
Well, Jim has two young kids now, but he still likes to party, as do I! I used to go out dancing a  lot and I love the feeling of going out and connecting to the crowd.

We’ve all reined it in a lot now though, and have made a pledge to help each other keep it reined in on the tour too!

The tour finishes in May, then it’s festival season. What are you guys up to this summer?
Yeah I’m sure we’ll be tired, but we do have loads of exciting things coming up that’ll soon get us going again. We’ve got a DJ residency at Pikes hotel in Ibiza, and you can find us at Gottwood, Wildwood, Love International, Standon Calling, and Glitterbox, to name just a few.

Shut The Front Door presents the Crazy P Age Of The Ego album show at Brickworks on Friday 3 May, from 7 - 11pm.

Join the Facebook event.

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