*Due to the editing process required to keep this to a reasonable word count I’ve had to cut out the story about him witnessing a stabbing incident in a supermarket. Sorry about that.
Who were the bands you first listened to growing up? Did the music your parents listened to have a big influence on you?
Of course, but I think the majority of people first hear music in church which seems appropriate. I have and always will like hymns, not for the religious sentiment, but for the melody and the human sound of the voice and of voices singing together. And its spirituality. 'Jerusalem' is not really an anthem for religious zeal as it has been commonly mistaken for but rather it is a statement that expresses the need to re-establish a spirit or soul in a modern landscape that was becoming increasingly material and robotic. Blake thought Science was evil and that Newton and the Enlightenment were the Devil. He thought that engaging with a scientific life with inevitable faith, or relying on it for obtaining what was considered to be 'absolute truth' would literally 'scientificise' the human soul and diminish it - or at least isolate it from its more spiritual or poetic values or senses – such as the imagination.
But apart from this I loved Rubber Soul (6 or 7) as well as various 60’s compilation tapes that my mum and dad passed on. I used to listen to them on a tape played before I went to bed or before watching late night Channel 5. I once had a tantrum at the age of 8 because my dad wanted to play Revolver at his party instead of my beloved Rubber Soul- I wasn't ready for Revolver at 8. I also remember discovering O Sweet Nothing by the Velvet Underground which I put on a tape for a girl and sent it to her with a letter. She never replied. I am now gay.
What were the first musical projects you got involved with?
Charlie and Will used to play together in an instrumental band two-piece called We Are Gay Together. And we played in bands at school but this band was the first real band that we have been in really.
Is Money’s sound formed from having similar musical tastes or do you all bring different ideas to the table?
We all like different things. I think this could be due to our physiognomy and there is a strong academic argument for the possibility that the physical body dictates certain unchangeable character traits. Charlie (guitar) is ginger and lanky so he feels the need to survive, in relative terms, and therefore likes things that are resolute but economic (Radiohead, Dan Deacon, Philip Glass, anything by Jonny Greenwood). Billy (drums) is naturally muscly – I think his ancestors were forest people, Serbs or Hungarians (these people are now all waitresses in cafes in London) - so his taste is implied and confident but perhaps hides a compensatory doubt and so this is mirrored in his taste being also sporadic and adaptable (SBTRKT, Twin Shadow, Four Tet, Cream, Phosphorescent). I have a big head and small legs but have a kind of schizophrenic strength (when Will and I used to live together we would fight and though he is much bigger than me physically we were pretty evenly matched (though this may have been because I use illegal methods (I fight naked) so my inner physical voice is one of hiding and secrecy but is internally bold - I like the mystics, the outsiders, the occult, the insane (Daniel Johnston, Charles Manson, Simon Cowell, Vaslav Nijinksy, 'Johnny' Thewlis, John Maus). Scott (bass) I think was tall as a child but then stopped growing and has since been overtaken. This has imbued him with a sense of self-deception, shrewdness, alertness and duplicity - a lot of dark-sex-club electronic music is therefore to his taste (Joy Orbison, Koreless, Jacques Green).
Obviously these are only a small section of things we listen to. We have different taste. But we all hate jazz. It’s just not 'catchy' enough.
How has the band changed or evolved since your first release?
Will has become more ambitious with his recording and what he wants to do with the technology, his ideas and learning, and that is the same with the rest of the band. Charlie has become a more ambitious player and musical thinker and I have become more ambitious and thoughtful over the songs and the way I want to sing. Wah wah wah. (On a couple of personal recordings I have actually wanted the vocal to sound like I was crying). We are getting to know what we want more but this may all be a mistake and we will change and change. Destruction!
Your releases have been quite sporadic so far, do you have any creative outlets outside of the band?
Charlie and I write a good amount. I spend more time writing than I do on music and consider myself a writer before a musician. Will takes photos. And I'm starting a publishing company in honour of Malcolm Lowry's masterpiece of the English language 'Under the Volcano'. The greatest book ever written. Ever. Scripture. We will publish writers that we like and have events where we will burn bad books and effigies of Jonathan Franzen. Our first author is a guy called Austin Collings who wrote the Renegade book for Mark E Smith and made it comprehensible and removed 50 percent of the cursing (which still leaves a lot of cursing).
How do you feel your music translates to live performances? Do you have a lot of creative control over your live shows?
Yes we have films that we have made projected and more recently we have had a visual mastermind called Emanuel Biard who projects all sorts through things and round things and into the audience. It's cool.
Describe the band’s songwriting process…
Normally we write together but I also bring fully written songs to the band. I have to go home to London to do this. It's quieter there but I have a big family so normally I wait until they are all asleep and drink some gin and sit at the piano. Sometimes I will go for a walk and by the time I feel completely alone, that's when I have a song.
Do you feel being based in Manchester has any impact on the band or you individually?
It is twofold - Manchester attracts certain types of people and then there is the aesthetic which seems to live inside our subconscious world like a blueprint with which we interweave our internal experience with (a kind of two-way projection). Manchester actually 'feels' menacing, surreal, intelligent.
What is happening here now has nothing to do with the music that has come from the city in the past - we do not really relate or listen to any of those bands. A lot of those bands seem to be at odds with real, genuine and modern artistic values. I think I relate to the city's artistic spirit and its spirit of individuality. It is the poet's city - full of shadow and symbolism and drunkeness and humorous melancholy. I like to think you can be Mancunian even if you're not from or have ever been to Manchester. William Blake was definitely Mancunian though William Burroughs is most probably from Salford.
Manchester is Paradise. It is a neo-religious city for many reasons. To start with the people here are symbolically dead. They occupy a place that is outside of conventional attitudes of living and time - a realm that is not 'alive'. Due to the size of the city and its character the people seem to have some supernal relevance beyond what they simply 'are'. The bores sat ceremoniously on the bar stools are the best bores in the world because they are sadly eternal and purgatorial - they are not just 'hopeless', they are 'hopelessness'. So the people have some kind of religious and parabolic meaning just as characters in the Bible (Cain - an allegory for a most common human jealousy between brothers) are the residual examples of human life and experience. Religious rhetoric is a poetic language used to describe and define humanitarian questions as well our natural surroundings – I do not see why we cannot see our modern world in these terms. Saying that Manchester is Paradise is saying that symbolically it has qualities that are religious due to its strong poetics. What makes this city different in this sense to another city like London is that in London the isolation of the people and the resulting trivia of everyday life there ceases to be meaning in even the most poignant acts. In Manchester one feels as if the small actions have some effect and therefore you are potent. In London, your actions are meaningless. When you tie this in with the poetic elements of Manchester, its symbolism, its 'otherness', its originality and its energy you have a place that is full of allegory and is therefore surreal and biblical. It has qualities that assume a kind of doom.
More simply though, there is a fantastic and completely forward thinking music and arts scene happening in Manchester at the moment. So many good bands and artists that are very diverse.