Because Conrad Vingoe is such a sterling chap, he’s also given us a free track to give away. Download ‘Hand on my Heart’ Ft. Sarah Howells (of Paper Aeroplanes fame) for free here. The interview follows:
Cougar Microbes: What time did you wake up today? Was it out of choice or necessity?
Conrad Vingoe: 8.30 due to the Elephant children that live upstairs, I went back to bed for another hour as I am exorcising the remnants of man flu
CM: Describe The band to the uninitiated?
CV: Retro Folk/Americana influenced songwriter
CM: How do you kill time on the road, hobbies?
CV: Take a notebook to write down stuff and also addicted to Angry Birds Star Wars and online Scrabble
CM: What have been your favourite venues to play? Any venues you hated?
CV: Something interesting always happens, even in the shittiest venues. Favourites have been Union Chapel (London) and Fotografiska (Sweden).
CM: What is the songwriting process like for you. Are you able to write on the road or do you do this in your off time?
CV: Bits of both, I keep diaries on the road which sometimes end up in songs. Phone recordings are great for remembering ideas. Generally I try to experience on the road, write about it at home.
CM: Favourite track of yours and why?
CV: Well, they’re all my babies but off this album, “Little Things”. All of the album was recorded live to tape by Phill (Brown) and this was a studio “moment” when everything came together instantly. The parts that John (Parker– double bass) and Martyn (Barker– drums) played really worked for me and it has a really cool atmosphere to it. I like the cyclical nature of the song, sounds like you’re eavesdropping on something happening.
CM: If you could record any cover what would it be?
CV: Too many choices but this week anything by Smokey Robinson, maybe “Second that Emotion” in Motown’s old room!
CM: Do your songs go through many revisions via demo recordings?
CV: Not so much , I record things onto a tape 4 track which is pretty unforgiving, either a song works or it doesn’t, no amount of Reverb will fix it. If it doesn’t work I ditch it. Generally I don’t put anything to tape until I have a whole song in my head and I’m happy. There’s notebooks full of crap that didn’t make it though.
CM: What came first, the lyrics or the melody?
CV: Mostly the melody and the syncopation. It’s often sounds of words without being actual words for a while, but sometimes music and words come together
CM: What are your views on auto tune?
CV: Don’t touch it unless you’re Cher
CM: Any other band/bands from your local scene we really should know about?
CV: Loads of great Brighton people – Sharon Lewis, House of Hats, my sometimes band mate Fiddes Smith, the Dials, Lloyd Williams, the list goes on and on
CM: Most flattering thing you’ve read about yourselves?
CV: I had a review once saying I was London’s answer to Neil Young, a ridiculous comparison but it made me feel great for the rest of that day
CM: What was the first record/tape/cd you ever bought?
CV: Actually it was cool, ‘Rock the Casbah‘ by the Clash, then followed by several years of very uncool albums
CM: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
CV: The one I just said is now stuck in my head
CM: What was the last show you paid and queued up for?
CV: Cat Power in Brighton, no queue though
CM: If you had to bring on artist back from the dead in exchange for sending a living artist down ,which artists would it be and why?
CV: Oh that’s harsh , I wouldn’t wish death on anybody, is it temporary? I’d like to see Billie Holiday sing so let’s resurrect her in exchange for say…Simon Cowell , not technically an artist but I’m liking the swap. Actually let’s make that permanent, never met him but he’s got a lot to answer for.
CM: Lastly, is there any question I should have asked you that I didn’t? And if so what’s the answer?
CV: Answer – You can’t get rid of them, they always come back. Question – up to you.