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Escape Velocity

Twisted Metal: Todd On The Importance Of Noise
Ben Hewitt , July 23rd, 2009 08:04

Ben Hewitt finds out that Todd want to cover La Roux in tomato sauce. It is, after all, the only language she understands

The Quietus is slowly beginning to steel itself for a pure blast of sweet noise, adrenaline and rock & roll at tomorrow night's Clang v Stool Pigeon showcase at The Wilmington Arms, London. We persuade the evening's headliners Todd to leave the dark sweaty basement where they've been recording their latest album to tell us why they're the only band who can guarantee you ear-splitting volume and broken bones - and still give you the best evening of your life.

I just finished reading J.G. Ballard's Crash, and the depiction of that first brutal car collision reminds me of listenin to Todd; how chaotic violence and aggression can produce sensory pleasure. How integral is that blast of noise to Todd?

Craig Clouse: Hmmm. Not sure how to answer that. Blast of sound is just what we are. We simply like to play really loud.

But do you think your love for sheer volume is something that's lacking in most contemporary 'alternative music'?

CC: I dont pay attention to any in-between half ass so called alternative music. I think at the moment there are loads of loud noisy bands around. Ever since Sunn got big guys are buying loads of amps on ebay and setting them all up together in walls. It's everywhere now. A lot of this stuff is just boring geek/tough guy amp worship sludge but there are some great new noisy bands out there doing all manner of crazy music. It's just such a do-able thing. Why not?

It's easy to think of Todd as a British band because you live in London, but you're originally from Texas, which is where you played in your first bands. What sort of musical exposure did you get there, and what were the bands you played in like?

CC: When I was living in austin playing in bands it was a fun time; a kind of anything goes attitude. It wasn't all about how stylish you were or showing off your influences by trying to look and sound like the weak bands you were influenced by! The stuff I saw then,the bands were using lots of black humor, a little subtle performance art, some very creative riffery and all round total disregard for any normal kind of approach to playing guitar. Interestingly weird, intensely delivered rock music.

How different or similar were those bands to Todd?

CC: Todd are similar in a lot of ways to the bands that inspired me then, but we all have such different musical tastes we're not just about trying to replicate a certain 'noise rock' sound or package. Our songs and the way we put them together always come out a bit odd in the end. Maybe not quite right! But right. We all create and control.

Is there anything you think Todd do differently to those bands that makes you unique?

CC: I just don't know or care.

So for all the readers out there who aren't familiar with Todd, how did the current line up meet? There are rumours that you recruited your bass player in a brothel...

CC: HAAAAA!!! That's beautiful! I'd like to know how these stories get started! Jason,our bass player, is one of the nicest guys on the planet. Sure, nice guys go to brothels but I'm quite sure Jason doesn't! Especially judging by the way he laughed when I read him this question. The nearest I've been to a brothel is when I was walking past one in Amsterdam and the door guy yelled: "Hey what's the matter, afraid of a little pussy??!" We actually met on a haunted island in the middle of the Thames that was formerly a torpedo boat factory. We're still there. THAT is a true story.

You're working on a new album at the moment. How's it going so far? How's it different from your previous stuff?

CC: The most exciting change about our new record is this time we recorded the entire thing ourselves. We finally got to push our own faders! We've been taking our time and haven't had to watch the clock and feel stressed out about getting things done. It's been the most enjoyable recording session we've ever had and it shows. The record will be out on riotseason in the fall.

OK. You're headlining the Clang v Pigeon night on Friday along with Friendship and Teeth Of The Sea. Before we get into that, at a recent Todd gig, Fifi broke the collarbone of corkscrewed hair bon viveur and friend of The Quietus David Harrison. Did this incident contribute to the 'no drinking on tour' rule Todd are rumoured to have introduced?

CC: WHAT? Fifi?? That's my 5 ft 2 inch wife! She had nothing at all to do with the breaking of that guys bone! I'd love to see her take a big drunk guy like that down though. She was the girl who jumped in and pushed Lawrence (our singer!) out the door so he'd stop hurting people, and himself, and gave him a good telling off. And who said anything about a no drinking before shows rule??!! HAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

So what can people expect who make the trip down to see you on Friday that they wouldn't get from your records?

CC: A broken fucking collarbone!

Finally, finish the following sentence: Todd are the perfect band for you if..

CC: You are the kind of person who would like to see an entire family sized squeezy bottle of ketchup forcibly ejected onto the face of that girl from La Roux with the pointy hair.

Todd join Friendship and Teeth Of The Sea at Clang v Pigeon night tomorrow evening at The Wilmington Arms, London. Visit the website of The Stool Pigeon here for more information. And you can get your hands on some lovely tickets here.