New Young Pony Club Interview - Electro-pop from New Young Pony Club
EMMA LEE Saddle up! Electro-pop scenesters New Young Pony Club are putting the fun back into music and want you to dig out your dancing shoes. EMMA LEE caught up with the group’s co-founder ahead of their date at the Norwich Waterfront.
Hands up. Who's bored with sullen, shoe-gazing indie boys and guitars? The good news is that New Young Pony Club are galloping our way.
Formed by production guru Andy Spence and all-mouth-and-trousers singer Tahita Bulmer, their raison d'etre is a simple one. They want to make music fun - and they want to make you dance.
And, as anyone who was crammed into the sweaty Sunrise arena during their headline set at this summer's Latitude festival will tell you, when they take to the stage it's hard to keep your feet still.
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“I think for us the Latitude festival was great,” agrees Andy. “The crowd were really up for something dancey - and in the end the gig had to be shut down. It was a bit rock and roll.”
They both come from unconventional backgrounds - Andy is a graduate of UOL - the University of Life, with a peace-activist mum and Tahita (who says that she always “wanted to be Iggy Pop on stage”) was raised in transit somewhere between Egypt, a Greek motorway and New York City.
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Their first single, a limited-edition pressing of the suggestive Ice Cream, got picked up by radio stations and things just spiralled from there.
“Basically I met Tahita, we made friends and were looking for something exciting to do,” Andy explains. “I wanted to make some music that I enjoyed and we met the other guys along the way when we were thinking of going live. I liked bands like the Stranglers, the Damned and the Clash - we both like the punk ethic. And we both like 80s dance music. There's a whole selection of stuff we like.
“When it [Ice Cream] got picked up we didn't actually have that much material - that's why it's taken a while to get to this point. It was really exciting - we had no expectations at all,” he says.
In an earlier interview Tahita has said that as well as getting people on the dancefloor they're also deliberately provocative.
“Who says you can't have songs that have a cultural resonance, that have a singalong chorus, that make you go away and think, make you want to fall in love with somebody or dance? And why shouldn't that exist in the same moment?”
Soon the likes of Lily Allen, Stella McCartney and - most impressively of all, David Bowie - were declaring themselves fans, Tahita found herself on the NME's cool list and they signed to the label Modular, which is also home to the Avalanches, Cut Copy and Wolfmother.
Ready to get out on the road Sarah Jones was recruited to keep time, along with Igor Volk on bass and Lou Hayter on keyboards.
In recent months their hectic festival schedule has included dates alongside kindred spirits CSS and LCD Soundsystem, Gnarls Barkley and the Shins.
“Put it this way, we've just done a 10-day stint in Europe, and we've been to seven countries. That's the way it works - it's ridiculous,” says Andy. “But it's been great to hang out with other bands.”
Their debut album, the crazy-sexy-cool-smart Fantastic Playroom, was released earlier in the summer, just in time to make the Mercury Music Prize shortlist.
“It's a dream really,” says Andy. “We had it in the back of our minds that it could happen. But we were really shocked.”
Although he's barely had time to catch his breath during the last couple of months, Andy is glad to be staying on the road.
“We did a tour in May and this one's going to be bigger and better. It's really exciting. I remember some gigs and people didn't even know the album and they were going crazy. So I'm looking forward to going on tour and them knowing the album,” he says.
t New Young Pony Club play the Waterfont, Norwich on Wednesday September 19. Tickets £12.50adv from UEA Students' Union, Waterfront and Soundclash, 01603 508050 or www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk.