Clark Kent’s Rock and Roll Revue #008 Meet SEBASTIAN MELMOTH
October 9th 2013
The Rhythm Factory
Aldgate East (London)
Happy snap by: Artemis Barkhin
You’re standing in the front row with one of your pals who you’ve invited down to see a band. If the band doesn’t play that well it reflects badly on your taste. I don’t care how liberal they are, they will see the bands frailty as your own. At the very least, your mate will be a little let down, regretting the journey time. Thankfully my friend Lauren Brown was happy to have watched Sebastian Melmoth. At least, I think so. After the gig I forgot to ask! I was so fixated on finding an opportunity to cross from the audience area to the stage so that I might exclaim my joy to these fine musicians!
Right Gypsies, I've realised that my mounting work schedule is something that is getting steadily higher...so I figured – fuck it – I’ll post conversations with bands. It’s simple and a fun project to produce as well as promote.
So without further ado, I give you a convo with Sebastian Melmouth's singer, Iliya. The interview concerns their recent performance at one of East London’s finest free band nights, Let Them Eat Gak.
This music isn’t for everyone. Consider yourself adventurous? Put yourself to the test...
Tell me more about your music? I really enjoyed it. The word shamanic comes to mind. Laura's drums are incessantly primal.
Our music is (almost) always generated by the accumulation of various disparate elements. We appropriate themes from the public sphere and manipulate them. We are particularly interested in existential questions regarding the human condition, mankind's futile gestures in the face of impending disaster and the exploration of outer/inner space. Our primary focus is to subvert the standard way many people perceive their immediate environment. We do this by constructing a narrative. Everything begins with poetry and works outwards.
As you quite rightly suggested, the shamanic element is quite an important part of our performance. Unless prompted, the audience rarely feel the impulse to participate. Various factors enforce barricades between the spectacle and its viewers. In order to achieve collective transcendence, these barricades need to be torn down. Repetitive rhythmic patterns, drones and noise aid introspective exploration.
That's quite a manifesto there. The performance last night, is it completely spontaneous, or do you plan ahead? I love a band that ventures off stage into the crowd. Break that fourth wall man!
Before Laura joined us, (January 2013) we had played with a pre-recorded drum track playing out of a laptop. The drums were always simple, and precisely for that reason, we wanted to find someone who would drive the song. A machine sounds like a machine. There was always a problem of having a specific time restraint. Each song would last only as long as it was programmed to. There was little manoeuvre with respect to group dynamics and improvisation. Now we have someone fleshy to keep it steady, which is delightful.
Audience participation has been a relatively recent development for us. It's both an excuse to channel frustration and an attempt at expansion of the audio/visual experience. We are far more interested in genuine catharsis rather than rock star posing. I'd like to think people will remember us for what we do and not what we look like.
By the way, here's a link to our biography:
Well I for one really liked the all black clothing which can be a difficult move to pull off without looking forced. I closed my eyes to some of your music so I could hear more of the lyrics. Penultimate question: do you care if the audience can hear them or not? And final question: Where can people see you play next?
Thanks, the music is meant to take you places. It is unfortunate that very often the lyrics are drowned out by the noise as I consider them to be of critical importance. I think that is mostly to do with the fact that there is so little time to get everything perfect for every band performing on the night. I kind of forget about it all once we get on stage though. But we always get this feedback from people coming to our shows and as a result I have been working on my delivery, trying to project more.
The next gig in the pipeline is a fundraiser for the Socialist Workers Party that our friend James from Parva Hinton is putting together. It's going to be held at the New Cross Inn on Wed 6 November, which is coincidentally our drummer's birthday. So there are two great reasons to come! We'll be live in session on DeXter Bentley's Hello Goodbye Show on Resonance FM Sat 23 November. And playing the Electric Company DIY or Die all dayer in Glasgow on Sat 14 December.
Thanks for the chit chat. See you on the 6th November!
Yeah, no worries. It was fun.
See you on the sixth.
Sebastian Melmoth are:
Ilia Rogatchevski (Guitar and Vox)
Peter Jordan (Bass and Backing Vox)
Laura Smith (Drums)
Let Them Eat Gak is hosted by...
Let Them Eat Gak is on at The Rhythm Factory every Wednesday.