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INTERVIEW: Dean Honer Talks 'Frogman'
Patrick Clarke , June 26th, 2018 13:54

Dean Honer of the ERC, The Moonlandingz and more, on his new trilogy Frogman with Supreme Vagabond Craftsman: volume one is out now

With The Eccentronic Research Council, The Moonlandingz, All Seeing I, The International Teachers Of Pop and more, Dean Honer is the understated force behind some of the last two decades' best and most interesting British bands.

Now, in collaboration with Supreme Vagabond Craftsman (aka Will Goddard), he is undertaking a new project entitled Frogman, like 'a dystopian TV series made for Yorkshire Television in 1978'. Envisaged as a trilogy, part one is available now on an incredibly limited run of just 50 cassettes, with parts two and three - and then a potential screenplay - to be released in the coming months.

The tape also features a number of guests who read various spoken word parts, they include Russel Senior (best known as guitarist and violinist of Pulp), Richard Speight (actor in 70s series The Tomorrow People) and more.

To find out more about the ongoing project (a sample of which you can hear below), as well as a quick word about the future of his other excellent projects like The Moonlandingz and The ERC, we caught up with Honer for an interview.

Tell us more about Frogman, and your plans for the release

We are releasing Frogman on a very limited number of handmade cassette tapes, no digital. Only available via Invisible Spies records. The project feels like a dystopian TV series made for Yorkshire Television in 1978. I imagine that the soundtrack to the series would have only been available on cassette, you would have probably had to loan it from a central lending library as Our Price Records would have refused to stock it. Plus it would have been too expensive for YTV to release it on vinyl. What with their tiny 1978 budget.

Have you completed the trilogy yet? When can we expect to see part two?

The trilogy is not yet complete! We are halfway through part two. Its gone quite subterranean. Hopefully that will also appear on tape by the end of this year.

Have you worked with Supreme Vagabond Craftsman before? How did it come about that you’re working with him now?

I hadn't worked with Will [SVC] before but I was aware of his work and was a fan. We got chatting and soon discovered that we are both parents of twin boys. In fact weirdly, I share the same birthday as his progeny. We had also both previously worked with Barry 7 from Add N to X and Kid Acne, so we have a lot in common. He had just moved back to Sheffield from somewhere else in the North and his new house is 50 yards up the road from mine. I took it as a sign that we were destined to make some unholy noise together.

I have a very strange and wonderful 1970 English synthesizer called an EMS Synthi, it was used by The Radiophonic Workshop, Brian Eno and Hawkwind. I bought mine from Barry 7. I had the idea of making a 40 minute piece of music using just the Synthi and a tape echo and wanted someone to write an oddball Science Fiction story over it. I asked Will if he would be up for writing something, as he used to work in a bookshop, but he said he hated Science Fiction. But he gave it a listen and came up with the first part of the Frogman saga. We got together at my place once a month to improvise some more music which eventually got edited and shredded into the Frogman soundtrack.

We then found a few interesting characters to read the parts of the interesting characters, including Pulp legend Russel Senior, audio visual artist HK119, Forced Entertainment artist Terry O'Connor and ex Tomorrow People actor Richard Speight.

Once we had everything stitched together into a cohesive story structure we then randomly chopped the sections into a different order so that it becomes quiet a disorientating listen, as if the fabric of time has also been disturbed by the events of the story.

What are the plans for the screenplay? Do you know who you will work with on that?

No real plans. I've made a start on the screenplay. Its an adaptation of Wills Frogman story, so I need him to get parts two and three finished! I think it should be a TV series rather than a film as it feels like it shouldn't be condensed into 90 minutes. Its box set binge material!

Frogman is obviously set in Derbyshire, what spurs your ongoing obsession with the area surrounding Sheffield in your work?

The area where part one is set is a 15 minute drive from my house. I often go up there of a morning after dropping my kids off at school. Its very beautiful and rugged. I can walk for miles without seeing or hearing another human. Just birds and the odd dead sheep. I find it easy to convince myself that something apocalyptic has happened and that I am one of the few survivors. Its especially strange wandering about while listening to abstract electronic music on headphones. I like that juxtaposition of countryside and Radiophonic alien noise, it feels uniquely British .

Will and I had some walks up there and took photographs, they become part of the inspiration for the story. The extreme dramatic landscape that lies just outside the ordered city. What would happen if...?

What about Moonlandingz and ERC? How do you reflect on the last year and do you have any future plans for either project?

There are plans for a new Moonlandingz album, it will probably be next year though. Lias is back on the Fat Whites charabanc, recording and touring this year. Adrian and I are cooking up some electropop with the brilliant Leonore Wheatley from The Soundcarriers as The International Teachers of Pop, there will be a release this summer and some shows. The ERC have always got something bubbling under, I'm not quite sure what that will turn out to be yet...

And there are also plans for a new I Monster album with my cohort Jarrod Gosling who has been very busy with his Cobalt Chapel project and I've been working on some new material with my old All Seeing I comrade Parrot. There is plenty of stuff to do.

Part One of Frogman is available on a limited run of 50 cassettes via Invisible Spies Records. To purchase one for just £5, click here