As they prepare to strut their stuff at February’s Mill, Finbarr Bermingham caught up with Le Reno Amps henchmen Maple and Nero to discover that, sometimes, the simpler things in life are better
Now, we’re by no means comparing Aberdeen indie-pop outfit Le Reno Amps to industrial noiseniks Throbbing Gristle (for a start, they all seem to have figured out a guitar’s arse from its elbow pretty adeptly), but there’s a refreshing simplicity to their music, and their attitudes towards it, that proves Genesis P-Orridge’s famous adage still rings true in the 21st Century. Why overcomplicate things when you have the talent to make fine, melodic music at your disposal?
So who are Le Reno Amps?
The band’s official biog is laced with satire and lampoon, so being the highbrow rag that we are, The Skinny asked Maple and Nero to wise up slightly, and give us a brief and utterly serious rundown of how they got to where they are now. Take it from the top, fellas:
Point 2 – Gifted Songwriters record the songs what they wrote, put knapsacks on their backs and head off to the bright lights of Glasgow
Point 3– Gifted Songwriter #1 in catastrophic event at – you guessed it, an industry showcase, and is out of the game for a few months. Gifted Songwriter #2 uses free time to finish writing songs for album.
Point 4 – Gifted Songwriters have a crazy left-field idea of adding bass and drums to their live performance.
Okay, so perhaps that didn’t go wholly to plan, but you get the gist. Once a duo, now a blossoming four-piece, united by a love of… well, what exactly?
Who do they sound like and where do they fit in?
As already discussed, the band’s penchant for a spot of avant-garde noodling is nonexistent. Some people confuse songwriting with jamming, others seem to think odd timing or song structures = ‘clever’ or ‘interesting’.
“A lot of Scotland is made up of small, insular places. In our formative years our exposure to music is primarily radio and TV, so we grow up listening to pop music, which is all about melody. When we get a bit older we venture out into the world of ‘alternative’ music but we already have our solid grounding”.
But what of the band themselves?
Alt-folk, power-pop: they’ve been squished into all those boxes. “Deliberately tumbledown,” was how their second LP was described between these very sheets back in ’07, and it sounds about as good a description as any.
When questioned about influences, the simplicity slightly dissolves, replaced instead by a multitude of bands and musicians that have combined to infuse the rather exciting sonic cocktail that is Le Reno Amps. We have Nero’s love of Prince, Randy Newman and Elvis Costello (he confesses to devouring whole back catalogues), drummer Jason’s unexplainable love for all things big and, er, drummy, bassist Lindsey’s affinity for anything ‘Nu’ (it’s unclear whether this stems to the Anglicization of the Yiddish term for ‘so’, but given what’s gone before, we severely doubt it) and Maple’s partiality to the Gordon Lightfoots and Cat Stevenses of this world.
Where can we hear Le Reno Amps?
So, what does the future hold for a band with the anagrammed name?
This is not, of course, a reference to axe-man extraordinaire Death Cube K (answers on a postcard, lexicon lovers); but with the release of their third LP imminent, what does 2009 hold for Le Reno Amps?
Who would star in Le Reno Amps: The Movie?
After much deliberation, Maple and Nero turn film caster and graciously nominate Al Murray to portray Sinclair, “for selfish reasons, that girl from Transformers (Megan Fox)” is cast as Ms Scott, and as for our two protagonists? “I seem to have the same traits as Larry David,” ‘fesses Maple, while Nero, not so modestly, fancies himself as a bit of McNulty off The Wire.
Originally published here: http://www.theskinny.co.uk/article/44847-le-reno-amps-the-mill-4-feb