American Men

LuckyMe's ambient rockers talk 90s post rock and R'n'B goddesses

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When attempting to describe the Scottish trio American Men, the phrase 'love-child' resonates the strongest in a mind grasping at other, lesser terms of endearment. Like a late night studio lock-in between Battles and Boards of Canada, they walk the line between sultry electronica and ambitious post-rock. With their highly-anticipated 'Cool World' EP dropping in late March on the ever-progressive LuckyMe label, this truly Scottish collaboration is sure to set the tone for their first live shows and ensuing forum chattering. Greatness, it appears, comes in threes.  

DazedDigital: Describe your sound to us.
Scottt Chevrolet: A very glassy and distant future.
Aliloyd: A victorious game of chess against a technicolour disco robot.
Claude Speeed: I like to think our music sounds like a computer trying to emulate the underground Scottish and American guitar music I grew up with; something real filtered through something synthetic.

DD: Paul is a member of Dananananaykroyd. Do you feel you have a 'band sensibility' in your approach to production?
Claude Speeed: We weren't initially a proper 'band' - but when it comes to production, yes absolutely. It's electronic music, but everything ties back to the drums. Although the record was largely written in the studio I always imagine a band playing all the sounds when we're writing, even if at that stage it's not at all clear how we'd achieve it in practice.

DD: Would you consider making a film soundtrack?
Scottt Chevrolet: I suspect we would, yes. As long as it was a rom-com starring Elizabeth Taylor and the guy who played Sloth in 'The Goonies'.
Claude Speeed: I've written film music before on a small scale, and it's something I'd like to do again. I'm not keen to score a commercial film given the normal restrictions that we'd undoubtedly be put under, but the idea of putting music to visuals is really appealing. I would love to do the soundtrack to something like Holy Mountain, or the Cremaster Cycle.

DD: Who would be your dream musical collaboration?
Claude Speeed: Chavez would be awesome. Maybe an "In The Fishtank" (a series of collaborative projects run by Dutch label Konkurrent, where two bands get given free studio time together and make an EP in a couple of days) session with them. Alternatively, a singer like Bjork, or maybe Amerie.

DD: Describe your live act to us.
Scottt Chevrolet: As we've yet to play our first gig, there's no definitive answer on this but we'd like to make it as human as possible, which can be difficult with 'electronic' music. Fortunately, our live set is a bit more guitar-heavy than what you're hearing on 'Cool World'.

DD: What would be your dream online music service, for artists and listeners?
Aliloyd: As a listener I'd take most of the features of Last.fm and combine them with Spotify's playlist-based interface. Much more about the music and less about social networking. For artists I think it's difficult to balance our aversion to homogeneity and sites' need to maintain the cohesive presentation that establishes them as a brand. Stuff like customising Myspace becomes a sort of sport, like trying to find out what you can get away with wearing at school or something. It's fun for a while but then you wish there weren't any restrictions.

DD: Who would you cite as your major influences?
Scottt Chevrolet: For me, it's alternative music from the '90s. Polvo, Sonic Youth, Urusei Yatsura. Then again I'd say Boards of Canada have had as much of an influence as any other band.
Claude Speeed: A mix of "serious" stuff like Jaga Jazzist, Tortoise, Slint, Steve Reich etc. and then lots of supposedly cheesy stuff like Phil Collins, the Police, Pointer Sisters, Prefab Sprout.

DD: Beyoncé or Rihanna?
Scottt Chevrolet: Rihanna is a robot and therefore must be killed. Beyoncé has 'skills'.
Aliloyd: Beyoncé please.
Claude Speeed: Ass or forehead? Beyoncé. Every time.

DD: Where do you feel you sit amongst the Scottish music scene?
Alilyod: In the back row playing on a DS.
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