Out of all the bands I have watched, Inter are the group who I have seen and enjoyed the most. Basically, they are the band that got me along to so many local gigs, and inspired me to get into alternative music. Therefore, I was pretty excited when I got to interview Sid and Steve from the band, backstage at Inter's December gig at the Aldershot WEC. Anyway, enough of this introduction, the interview covers just about everything you need to know about one of the most fun, exciting and downright brilliant bands around...
What are you names and instruments, please?
SID: I'm Sid and I play guitar.
STEVE: I'm Steve and I'm the singer.
I've watched you about ten times over three years...
STEVE: I pity you! (laughs)
...but I don't actually know how you got together, so tell me a bit about how the band formed.
STEVE: Me and the bass player (Michael) used to be in another band, and Sid used to be in a band with the drummer (Johnny). When all the bands we were in split up, we just thought stuff that for a laugh, we want to keep going, and we all got together.
Is it true you're named after the Italian football team, and if so why?
STEVE: It is true, yeah. We were trying to think of a name about three weeks after we'd formed, and I was spending a very boring Sunday afternoon watching 'Football Italia'. It just appealed to me at the time.
How hard was it to get signed?
SID: We were quite lucky actually, we were sort of in the right place at the right time. We were just doing loads of gigs, because we've always enjoyed doing gigs, and we just happened to be somewhere and someone spotted us, liked us and signed us.
STEVE: I think it helped that I got my tongue in his throat!
SID: Yeah, it helped that you snogged him!
What advice would you give to a band looking to get signed?
SID: The best thing a band can do is play loads of gigs really.
STEVE: But have a laugh with it. Don't set out to get signed, just enjoy it.
You got signed in March 1998, so what have you been doing for the past eighteen months except releasing a single?
SID: (laughs) We recorded the album, which took a few months, um...
STEVE: Unfortunately, the label we did end up signing to was a kind of fledgling thing, and they're still finding their feet. So it is guinea pig time for them and us. The timings not good anyway, particularly at the moment what with the millennium coming up. Basically, we've got to sit on our arses for four months because there's no point small bands releasing stuff, because we'd just get buried by the big acts if the album came out now.
How good does the album sound and what are your favourite tracks off it?
SID: The album sounds fantastic actually.
STEVE: I haven't heard it! I won't listen to it.
SID: The main problem we've got at the moment is that we've got so many new songs. A lot of songs on the album are really old ones. My personal favourite is 'Pigs'. It's got lots of strings and stuff on it- bit different for us, but it's still nice.
Over the past three years you've matured as songwriters. Has that been a conscious decision?
STEVE: No, it's the fact we're older and we can't jump around so much anymore!
SID: I don't think it's conscious... it's just the way it's been.
STEVE: When we started doing this band we just got a shitload of songs together as fast as we could to get our first gig. Now we've got the time to sit down and think about the songs more, and they've turned out more mellow and thought out. That's how it goes.
Was it weird being lumped in with all the teen-scene bands?
SID: It was very weird, and very not-us really.
STEVE: Not weird, just ironic. At the time we weren't that far musically from the likes of Midget and Symposium, we did use to play more speedy, punkish songs. It didn't seem weird getting lumped in with it, but the age thing was just... ironic.
How would you rate yourselves as a live band?
STEVE: Depends if we have a good night! (laughs)
SID: As a live band, we've been a cut above a lot of bands really. A lot of our emphasis to start with was putting it on as a live performance, and making sure we put on a good show. We're not going to be one of those bands that just stands there and plays their songs.
STEVE: In the band, some of us are better at the live stuff, and some of us are just better at doing the songwriting and stuff like that. It works out well. I like to think I'm okay at the live stuff and Sid's the one we all really rely on because everyone looks at him anyway.
How big would you like to be?
SID: Cult status really, where we can pull regular crowds, play some really good gigs and release records that people are going to buy.
STEVE: And make a living from it.
How often do you get recognised in the streets?
STEVE: Um...it depends which streets.
SID: It does happen. I was up at a gig in London the other day and someone came up to me and went 'urgh, you're in Inter' and ran off laughing. (laughs) To follow that, he did come back and say 'oh, I do like your music'!
Who can you see becoming Inter's successor's as the local area's favourite band?
STEVE: (holds Dictaphone up to the wall, where the sound of Dreyfuss' soundcheck is booming through) Dreyfuss, marvellous band. Caretaker are good, but they're not from round here really are they?
SID: Dreyfuss have got that kind of thing where a lot of people are really into them and coming to see them and stuff, which is something we have, so they're very similar to us in a way. I think they're going to be big.
STEVE: And they don't play any of this soft shite. They don't play any of this thirty year-old melodic rock that we do. (laughs)
Sid, how does your success with Inter compare with that with Who Moved The Ground? (popular local band that Sid used to be in)
SID: It's very different actually...
STEVE: The coat's are better! (laughs- Sid is wearing a dodgy black jacket)
SID:...it's different, WMTG started to get to a real cult thing and we were very popular in Poland and bizarre places like that where we toured, but nobody really took any notice of us in England. I've always wanted to do it in England before being big anywhere else. So, I think the main difference is that a lot more people stand up and take notice of Inter in England than they ever did with WMTG. I don't know whether that's a fashion thing, or whether the songs are better.
STEVE: No, I think that's purely because with Inter we're just more commercially pop, which is neither a good thing or a bad thing.
Do you think music is too image orientated ?
SID: It was for a while, I'm not so sure it is now. I think it really was for a while, off the back of Britpop and shit like that.
STEVE: It certainly shouldn't be. Everyone tells me I should stop drinking beer because I'm a fat fucker, but I couldn't give a toss. If you write intelligent lyrics, decent songs, good tunes, it doesn't matter what you look like.
When you're old and on your deathbed or something, what are you going to remember most from being in Inter?
SID: Well, the fun we had basically. We've had some fucking good laughs. We've been in the studio, played loads of gigs... it's been fun, y'know? It's always a laugh to us.
STEVE: The thing I'll remember is the blagging element. Being a bit of an arsehole anyway, we've just wanted to get drunk all the time and then all of a sudden you've got people standing in front of you, looking up at you... I enjoy that.
There then followed a struggle of almost Spinal Tap proportions to get out of the backstage area and into the bar. The debut Inter album is planned for release in May, and, believe me, when it eventually sees the light of day, it'll be one of the records of the year. Oh, go and catch them live too, because they're always a riot. Thank-you Sid and Steve for being such good interviewees.
Issue 5 Contents
Issue 5 Winter 2000 © Tim Bragger