Thought Forms x Esben and the Witch
A split interview to celebrate a split LP from two truly innovative young British bands
We’ve been charting the rise and rise of post rock’s most charming three-piece Thought Forms for a while.
The band have a history that spans ten years, a smattering of CDRs, a full-length album and a mighty impressive live retrospective under their belts. When we heard they were releasing a split LP on Geoff Barrow and Redg Weeks’ Invada Records with Brighton’s Esben and The Witch we really got excited. Esben make all the right noises and their gloomy, weirdo pop is the perfect compliment to Thought Forms’ spaced out noise rock. The record they’ve produced together draws the best from both bands and reignites the somewhat waning tradition of the split album.
“What better way to get to the bottom of this whole split thing than a split interview?” we thought to ourselves. So we headed down to local independent-record-store-cum-cafe Rise just a couple of hours before they were due onstage to play an intimate in-store show together. We found the two bands feeling somewhat worn after a heavy night and while the sun beat down outside we got the beers in and sat down for a chat in the comfortable, air conditioned climes of the venue. So we asked Thought Forms’ Charlie, Deej and Guy to go at it with Esben and the Witch’s Dan, Rachel and Tom – this is what went down.
On their favourite splits
Deej: The obvious one is Mudhoney and Sonic Youth.
Dan: Recently there was the Suun 0)))/Ulver one. That’s more of a collaboration though.
Deej: I kinda wish that we’d have covered one of yours and you’d covered one of ours – that woulda been cool.
Crack: Who would do it better?
Rachel: I say let battle commence!
On dream splits
Deej: I wouldn’t mind doing a split with Slint or Kinski.
Guy: No, no Paik!
Charlie: They’re a band we love from Detroit.
Tom: There’s not many people apart from these guys and Teeth Of The Sea that we’d really want to do it with. Just cause, even though there’s loads of bands that it would be amazing to do stuff with, the fact we’ve know them on a personal level and played live together makes it more appealing.
Charlie: We could all work together to do the artwork and stuff – that’s what it should be about.
Rachel: That kind of community spirit thing. Teeth Of The Sea could do some fine artwork. We’re actually trying to get Sam (Barton from TOTS) to come down to Brighton to record him playing trumpet for the new record.
On extra curricular bonding
Tom: We’ve done a few tours now. We first met at Green Door Store (in Brighton), which Dan used to manage.
Dan: I was managing the bar and these guys played. I got really excited and was just like “We’re going in tour in February and you guys are coming!” without realising I had to ask everyone else involved.
Rachel: I remember Dan being jealous of the Galaxy!
Deej: That’s our DIY tour van, it’s a kind of family car. That was a really cold tour.
Rachel: It snowed every day and each one of us got a cold, one by one!
Dan: Then the next tour with Teeth of the Sea you played with us in Brighton and we drunk all that whiskey and … yeah … [Everyone laughs]
On working with Invada
Rachel: This is our first thing working with Invada and it’s been great. We’re yet to meet the gentleman at the helm.
Tom: I like the idea of this Redg, like this mythical being.
Deej: Peas on toast with ketchup is his favourite meal.
Dan: That’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever heard.
On recording the split
Guy: We did it at Jim Barr’s studio in Bristol, J & J, and then mixed it at Invada Studios.
Rachel: We recorded separately in a studio in a Brighton, it was a good opportunity for us because we got to track everything totally live.
On who would win a fight
Tom: I think we’d win, I’ve seen Dan go mad once at a HEALTH show. There was a fight and Dan had to step in. He was swirling around in his trench coat.
Deej: I’m pretty good at talking my way out of a fight.
Rachel: I’m pretty good at arm wrestling.
Crack: Shall we?
Rachel: There’s fear in this young man’s eyes!
Crack: We’ll pay the damages…
Deej: You will be paying for a new arm after she splits mine open.
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Esben and The Witch and Thought Forms Split LP is out now on Invada Records.
Words: Billy Black