When you hear the word Manchester, Surf music isn’t usually the first thing that you think of, however The Bell Peppers who come from Manchester having been quickly picking up interest via their retro reverb drenched Surf and Rock and Roll sound. Starting out in mid 2011, The Bell Peppers are “a couple of Left handed guys from Manchester who dig Left Handed Guitars, Analogue Recording Equipment and Music from the 1950's and 60's” as stated on their website. Having released two EP’s in 2011 their debut Cooking With Bell Peppers and their three song EP “B Each” which contained Surf versions of Nirvana songs, interest in the band has been well received through their online fan base and locally. Currently all of their music has been made available for free download. Being a two piece band, Dominic Oliver and Miyk Topping would record live drum loops and play guitar over them on stage, more recently they’ve been playing with a variety of drummers evolving to a three piece band.
In August of 2012, The Bell Peppers released their third EP Saved By The Bell Peppers via their bandcamp page online. This four song EP builds on their previous Cooking With Bell Peppers EP adding more range and diversity to their already established sound. The EP starts off with the ramshackle reverb drenched Garage sounds of “Drapes N’ Squares”, the song even features distorted vocals, “Hoofstomp” follows with it’s Duane Eddy and Country influenced dynamics, while “Moonlight Heartache” slows things down a bit with its 50’s Rock and Roll sounds, sounding like a song that you might hear in film Back To The Future when Marty McFly goes back in time to 1955 at his parents high school dance. The final song on the EP “Golf Shack” twists and bends with its Link Wray meets The Ventures riffs leaving us wanting to hear more. Saved By The Bell Peppers displays a familiar yet fresh take on the Surf music and the instrumental Rock and Roll genres, although it doesn't always follow that format.
Check out and download the EP for free:
The following interview was done between myself (Dave Konstantino host of Revolution Rock) and Dom and Miyk of The Bell Peppers. We talk of cooking, Nirvana, Vinyl and Detroit.
RR: What would you describe the sound of your band The Bell Peppers as and when did you start playing as a band?
Dom: Raw sassy rhythm & blues with twangy surf guitar and smooth haunted diner doo-wop.
Miyk: Melodic, then what you said.
Dom: Yup melody is key.
Miyk: We started about 18 months ago, innit? Put 1st EP out last May.
Dom: is it? Yeah... and recorded them about a month before that.
RR: How did you come up with the band name The Bell Peppers?
Miyk: I got it from the Simpsons. It's when Homer goes on the bell pepper diet.
Dom: what about the concept cookery album?
Miyk: Oh yeah, haha!
Miyk: 'Cooking With Bell Peppers' was originally meant to be a concept album, where each song would be either a recipe or ingredients to make a meal involving bell peppers and the artwork to the record would be a cookery book, each song would be the length of time required for each stage of the recipe, so you could cook along while listening to the album.....
Miyk: But then I realised that would have been far too time consuming.
Dom: Still, would have been interesting...
Miyk: Also I’m a lousy cook!
Dom: It would have to have massive instrumental breaks where the potatoes are boiling and that... 'Now cook that pasta!' (Into 15 min long guitar solo)
Miyk: Haha! Yeah, would have been at least 4 discs.
RR: What would you say your main influences are musically?
Miyk: The Stooges (even though that doesn't show too much in the music) Link Wray, Bo Diddley, The Beatles, James Brown.
Dom: Duane Eddy, Chuck Berry.
Miyk: Eddie Cochran, pre army Elvis, Ventures, Phil Spector, Dick Dale...
Dom: I also like current underground indie/garage, [Thee] Oh Sees, The Mallard, Sonny and the Sunsets, Triptides, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, we both like them.
Miyk: Yeah, your into new stuff I’m stuck in the past.
Dom: And I love the sleazy Las Vegas grind stuff that they used play in strip clubs in the 50s.
RR: You just released the Saved By The Bell Peppers EP. When and where was this EP recorded and by who?
Miyk: 1956, sun studios, Sam Phillips.
RR: How would you compare the sound of your previous EP Cooking With The Bell Peppers to Saved By The Bell Peppers?
Miyk: One of em is like do do do do do, and t'other is like da da da da do do da da
Dom: First one not got any da. Second one, bit o da in it.
Miyk: Only 2 songs were written before recording for 1st EP. The rest we just were jamming.
Dom: Both EPs show diversity within a specific era, exploring micro-genres, the second EP just separates a bit more.
Separates the specific styles.
Miyk: 1st EP was like '58 to '62, this one is like '56 - '65.
Dom: Going further forward but also further back. Next one will have some late 20s blues and late 60s psych (maybe).
Miyk: I'm down with that.
RR: What inspired the “B EACH” EP? The Nirvana songs translate so well into your style – was that something you planned or did it just happen?
Miyk: We both started out playing Nirvana songs when we was kids.
Dom: Both of us are huge Nirvana geeks.
Miyk: And cack handed like kurdt, I've got his signature guitars.
Dom: We always have ended up jamming out their tunes when we jam, can't help it.
Miyk: It shows how great a songwriter Cobain was that his music can be interpreted into almost any style and it sounds good e.g.: the battle for Seattle reggae Nirvana covers.
Miyk: The night n day charity gig gave us the idea then peeps said we should record them.
Dom: So the N&D gig was a night where people were getting up doing a set of covers of one particular band, we chose Nirvana.
Miyk: When the greatest hits and complete works box set come out there'll be previously unreleased versions of Neg[ative] Creep and T[erritorial] Pissings.
Dom: 'Bell Peppers from the back of the freezer'
Miyk: Haha! B-sides and rarities.
RR: What are your plans for The Bell Peppers in the future? Do you plan on putting out a full length release?
Dom: Another EP recorded with a 3rd member within the next month and another one after that before the end of the year, that’s the plan.
Dom: UK tour, yeah.
Miyk: Nervous breakdown.
Dom: Nice trainers, gold watches. Want it all.
Miyk: Cowboy hats, new boots and suits.
Dom: A 7 inch if we can find the money/backing, full length maybe next year if we pull our finger out.
Miyk: Or more better than that a 10" 78 rpm.
Dom: Are they made of shellac? Shellac breaks easy doesn't it? Be rattling about in the back of the tour van.
Dom: Reet need go and sign on, are we done here?
Miyk: Pretty much, gotta mention how much I bum Detroit music as well. Stooges, MC5, Destroy All Monsters, Motown n shit.
Dom: You mentioned Stooges.
Miyk: I just wanna go to Detroit, find the funhouse in Ann Arbor and soak up some magic.
This Weeks Play List:
1. What Seas What Shores – Siren Radio
2. Papermaps – Reaction Formation
3. Sebadoh - License To Confuse
4. Tame Impala – Elephant
5. Blonds – Magic
6. Dundas – You Can’t Hear Me
7. Jaill – House With Haunting
8. Vic Godard & The Subway Sect – Double Negative
9. Twin Library – Phantoms Run The Factory
10. Wax Mannequin – Black Bells (Reprise)
11. The Cramps – Voodoo Idol
12. Indian Wars – Commanche Killer
13. Atomic 7 - She's Got Haggar Party Slacks
14. Bell Peppers – Drapes N’ Squares
15. Bell Peppers – Moonlight Heartache
16. Thee Oh Sees – Tidal Wave
17. The Standells – Rari
18. The Stooges – Trollin’
19. Lost Patrol – Ghost In The Night
20. Young Rival – Black Is Good
21. John Spencer Blues Explosion – Soul Typecast
22. The Clash – Know Your Rights
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for August 28. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.