With Angela Martin on vocals and guitar, Paula Snow on bass and Jack Houston on drums, Bugeye have upped the anti and are currently touring . In between gigs, we caught up with Angela and found out more about this three-piece rock band who ‘blend cherry-liqueur lyrics, bubblegum-kneecap bass electrics, goth-heavy drum compactions & hi-rise guitar sculptures’. With an unmissable Sheffield gig on 21st March at West Street Live, they are bringing their unique blend of rock to us all as they tour the UK and beyond.
How would you describe your band in terms of look and musical style?
Looks wise, I guess we tend to blend a bit of ’50s style with a splash of punk. It’s not exactly planned that way, we just all have a love of vintage glamour but half-arsed, so that’s where the natural punk side comes into play. Music always seems to be a bit harder to pin down in a description. I suppose it’s because we’re too close to it, but someone once said we were like Blondie and The Pixies in a blender with a good measure of Elastica thrown in. I’m not sure if that’s true, but we liked the description all the same.
Which music did you listen to growing up?
I was pretty lucky to have a dad with such an eclectic taste in music. When mum was out shopping, my dad would crank up the volume to the most wonderful sounds. From Otis Redding to Blondie. The Beatles to Duran Duran. Sandie Shaw, The Ronnettes, Phil Collins, Queen… the list goes on. I’m the youngest of four, so I was also subjected to my sisters’ stereo battles of chart music.
Which instruments did you play growing up?
I was forced to learn the recorder at an early age. Every Saturday we’d get the number fifteen bus to East Ham for morning lessons at the free music school. I hated it instantly, and used to sneak off from class and hide under the stacks of chairs in the hall and listen to the orchestra practice. I loathed the recorder and I was pretty bad at studying. I never bothered with learning to read music at that age as I wanted to limit the amount of time I spent on the recorder, so I learnt to play by ear instead. I rebelled at the ripe old age of ten and swore never to touch a recorder again. My first introduction to the guitar wasn’t great either. I went to a Catholic school and was given the opportunity to learn an instrument. I choose the guitar but was told by Sister Carol (Yes the teachers were nuns, fact not fiction), that my hands were too small and I’d never be able to play… I was seven years old, so I think small hands are to be expected. Glad to say that my hands did grow, and I was able to teach myself how to play in my teens.
How does this translate in to the instruments you play on the band?
Recorders do not feature in our music. (shudders at the thought!)
What was your first favourite band?
My eight year old self would say The Beach Boys. My teenage self would say Pearl Jam (Don’t call me Daughter – a great go to song to play at full blast to annoy the parents) or The Breeders.
What are your influences now?
Too long to list musically, but from a songwriting point of view, and not wanting to sound like a wanker, it’s more about a feeling or topic which then dictates the mood of the music.
How do you plan to make your mark in our current music industry?
DIY to the max and help as many people as we can along the way. There’s a marvellous collective of people out there all doing great things to create an alternative music scene in which new music can thrive. For us, it’s about enjoying the ride of being in a band and connecting with people. If those people like what we do, then that’s frecking awesome, but if they don’t, we’ll still keep going all the same. Be in a band because you love it, and don’t give a fuck about the popularity contest.
What do you think makes you standout from other indie/disco bands?
Jack’s incredible fashion tips and Paula’s ability to play bass lines backwards. In all seriousness, I think what makes us stand out is the way we blend musical styles together, rather than badging ourselves with a strict title and limiting the parameters of music. Too many bands try to be this or that. We’ve always been nerds and I’ve never really felt like I’ve fitted in, so I’m not about to try and be a tick box pleaser.
Which themes do you write about? In terms of lyrics and melody?
Jack’s a poet and me and Paula are storytellers and so that’s how we treat songwriting. We have political songs with ‘Closing Time’ and ‘Wake Up’, a song about a Vampire, a stalker, a song based on Ruth Ellis (last woman to be hanged), break-ups, breakdowns, love and climbing trees. Music is a sound track to life, so I can’t imagine only ever writing about one subject or theme. Life tends to go in cycles and I’m quite interested in the mental process of this, how we all live in repeat mode. A lot of my lyrics look to create that and can sometimes be seen as obsessive chants. That annoying little voice in your head that generates key words that have the ability in a second to push you forward or leave you to huddle in a corner in the dark.
How is it for you as musicians in your home town? Do you find it a challenge or are you supported?
London is both a wonderful place to be, as a musician, and also a nightmare. It’s a hard place to breakthrough, but for every negative experience I can name ten positives. I think it’s about attitude. If you’re open to being part of a supportive network, working with promoters and other bands in the common cause of making great music and events, then you’ll have a jolly good time. If you’re a band that doesn’t cross promote, has such an ego that your head only just fits in the door, then I’m sorry, but you’ll be doomed to fail.
What’s happening for you at the moment?
We’re on a year long tour. Yes a whole year. UK and European dates with recording in-between, film making, art creating and blogging. It’s busy and that’s how we like it.
Any exciting news you can share with us?
The tour continues with our next show at WEST STREET LIVE, Sheffield on the 21st March. We’re recording with producer superstar, Paul Tipler, plus we have a new single coming out on Friday 13th April called ‘I’m Not The One’. And lastly, we’re going to be hosting our own radio show for The Croydonist. You heard it here first folks!
Amazing stuff – I’ll look forward to seeing how all that develops! Catch these when and where ever you can – they are one of the most hard-working bands out there at present and we can’t wait to catch up with them when they play Sheffield!