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Gavin Brown Takes On Pixy Jones | Interview & Album Release Special

September 26, 2022

Gavin Brown Takes On Pixy Jones

Interview & Album Release Special

Pixy Jones has just released his new album Bits N Bobs and it is a vibrant collection of songs that are full of psychedelic and 60s pop influences. We had the pleasure to talk to Pixy Jones to hear all about Bits N Bobs as well as his time with El Goodo, releasing music on Strangetown Records, Welsh music and his influences.

Your new album Bits N Bobs is out now (at time of interview just weeks away). How did the creation and recording of the album go?    

I started recording it as a little side project to keep me busy while we (El Goodo) were finishing recording and mixing Zombie. I recorded it in Tim Lewis’ studio in Carmarthenshire and would post the songs as I was going in their unfinished states on Soundcloud over the next two years as they progressed. I quit smoking and used the money saved from not buying cigarettes to fund the recording process, which in turn gave me a good incentive to quit smoking.

Hold Your Tongue was the last song you have released before the album comes out. Can you tell us about that song and what it is about?

From what I can remember it’s been around for a while, probably eight or nine years. I think it was two separate songs at one point, a verse with a shit chorus and a chorus with a shit verse and then I put them together and it worked. Lyrics are based loosely on various Dystopian novels but with its own little story going on.

How have the singles you have released from the album gone down so far?

Ok, I think. Hard to tell really. They’ve been played on the radio and featured on playlists and all that stuff and a lot of positive feedback so, yeah. Not too bad.

Have you always had a keen ear for the melody in the music that you make?

I’m into lots of types of music, some of which aren’t really melodic. The way I write songs is by having loads of things on the go at any given time in various different states of completion, over the course of years, and I suppose the ones that stick and sort of keep calling me back to finish them are the ones that have the best melodies. That’s because I tend to write on my own on a guitar though so the melody is probably the most important thing in that setting. If I was to write stuff jamming with a band, then it’d probably be a bit different – the groove or the guitar lines may be the things that draw you in. But I like jazz and hip hop and noise/soundscape stuff too, it’s just difficult to try doing that when you’re just strumming an acoustic in the living room.

Can you tell us about the walrus-inspired cover for Bits N Bobs and why you chose it?

We recorded the first three El Goodo records ourselves and I always referred to anything that I recorded as being done at ‘Walrus Recordings’. So when I started recording this album it was as Walrus Recordings. I bought a Walrus mask to post shit photos of my day in the studio on social media and was calling myself Wallace Russell. I dropped the name last minute though but kept wearing the mask as I’m a very awkward photographee and it made posing for photos much easier! Probably ended up just making myself look like a weirdo though. I wanted the cover to have a Trout Mask Replica feel, which my mate Lewy Sewers (of El Goodo) captured perfectly.

The album is out on Strangetown Records. Can you tell us about them and how you came to work with the label?

Strangetown is Cian and Daf from the Super Furries’ label. El Goodo’s first album was released on SFA’s Placid Casual label and then Cian mixed our second album, Coyote, and then our third, By Order Of The Moose. Nobody wanted to release Moose so Cian offered to release it on Strangetown. They’ve put out everything I’ve done since. The Furries and in particular Cian have been amazing to me and El Goodo practically since we started. Legends! (Full album stream below)

There is a big psychedelic feel to your music. How did you discover psychedelia in the first place?

My parents used to listen to 60s music a lot when I was growing up and I got into it as a teenager and then just went down many rabbit holes from there. Early days of Youtube and Blogs were excellent for finding stuff off the beaten track.

What are some of your favourite ever psych albums?

My favourite album ever is Black Foliage by Olivia Tremor Control. It’s just a mixture of loads of stuff that I like – 60s pop, harmonies, jazz, noise, loads of instruments and sounds and tape loops. A proper headfuck of an album but with great tunes holding it all together. Apart from the big 60s psych albums like Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle, Small Faces’ Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake etc there are loads of amazing lesser known ones like Forever Amber’s The Love Cycle, Side Trips by Kaleidoscope, The Misunderstood, 13th Floor Elevators, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, United States Of America, Golden Dawn, Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera – too many to name really. One of my favourites too is Orange Alabaster Mushroom from the 90s. Amazing! Plus there are tons of great 60s psych garage compilations like the various Nuggets albums, The Pebbles and the Rubble Box Of Trash. As I said, far too many to name but Olivia Tremor Control are the absolute best for me.

Who is the biggest influence on you and your music?

Tremor Control, Gene Clark, Lee Mavers, Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Pavement. But everything really. I think even stuff you hate influences your music in some way even if its just to remind you not to do it like that!

How was your last ever show with El Goodo was at last month’s Green Man festival. How did the show go and was it an emotional experience?

It went as well as it could, I suppose. It was probably our biggest crowd ever. There was clapping in between all the songs and everything! We absolutely loved it! I don’t think any of us really got emotional though. Personally, I was just concentrating on playing and generally doing my usual thing of looking at the floor so I didn’t fully take it all in haha. We all enjoyed though, and all our families came to see it so we got to impress the kids as well!

What were some of your favourite memories of El Goodo?

My favourite thing is being in the studio so all of that stuff. The few times we went on tour too. Just pissing about with your mates really. The high point in terms of having fun was probably going on tour with the Furries. I can’t remember it much but it was definitely fun! We were absolutely shit live at that time but we were playing Glasgow Barrowlands, Brixton Academy and places like that. Later on when we’d become quite good live we were playing small venues to about ten people most of the time. The struggle is real haha.

Will there be more music from The Eggmen Whooo! in the future?

Yes, The Eggmen Whoooo! are currently recording our first album. Hoping it’ll be done by very early next year. Loving it, can’t wait to get it finished.

Who are your favourite ever Welsh artists and bands?

The usual ones for many my age – Super Furries and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynki. Datblygu too. There are loads of great artists in Wales at the moment. Not only guitar bands but electronic stuff and hip hop too. Shit loads of good stuff everywhere. It’s quite exciting at the moment starting a new band (as an old bastard) and trying to get gigs, and there’s lots going on. My favourite Welsh band at the moment is Dactyl Terra.

What are your favourite venues to play in Wales?

The Duke, Neath. Had a fun gig in Porter’s in Cardiff recently too. Shame they’re knocking it down.

What have been some of the most memorable moments of your music career so far?

Going on tour with Love/Arthur Lee was pretty special. I was playing bass for my mates’ band Keys. Hell of a boy, Arthur – Wrote one of the best albums of all time too.

What do you still want to achieve with your music in the future?

I’ve been called unambitious over the years by people who know me because my ambition is always to get the next album done, release it and then start recording another one. To me as a musician that’s the most ambitious thing ever! So that’s what I want to achieve in the future – finish recording the next album, release it, and then start recording another one.

A huge thank you for your time with Circuit Sweet, the new album is a true masterpiece.

https://pixyjones.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/pixyjones

https://www.facebook.com/strangetownrecords

Words: Gavin Brown

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