“My dad was a George Formby impersonator.” Things you knew about God Damn: two men, lots of hair, noisy rock’n’roll, from the Midlands. Things you didn’t: they’ve taken musical cues from Britain’s best-known banjo-wielder. Thom Edward (guitar, vocals) is also a dab hand at the instrument himself. “I can play ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’,” he reveals with a giggle, “I can do the voice and everything, I got indoctrinated into it.
“It’s not an influence on my music. Although…” he pauses. “Actually, there’s like a weird strumming pattern on the album which is very much George Formby.”
After a year of gigging, gigging and then gigging some more (“ah fuckin’ love it,” sighs drummer Ash Weaver in his broad Black Country accent), the pair are gearing up to release their debut album next Spring. It was largely recorded at Metropolis Studios in London with Xavier Stephenson, “the hardest working man I’ve ever met in my entire life,” remarks Thom, “space scientists don’t work as hard as that guy does. Not that our album’s a polished turd or anything…”
Choosing to record in a “pop factory”, as Thom describes it, rather than the lo-fi surroundings of Toe Rag (“initially we were going to do it there, but we realised the record we wanted to create couldn’t be done there”) did have some unexpected consequences. And not just meeting a Pussycat Doll - and her lapdog.
“We kept getting sacked off for David Guetta,” laughs Thom. “And Olly Murs! They delayed our album for about three weeks. Also Jimmy Page’s daughter works there, and was in there when I was doing guitar takes, that was quite weird. Intimidating. I was like, ‘Can you bring your Dad in and he can do this properly, that’d be good!’”
“It’s the worst time to be a two-piece band, ever!”
It’s a record which, the pair both say “could be played by two - or ten people.” God Damn didn’t start out a duo – a recent Facebook post officially confirmed the departure of founding member Dave Copson who hadn’t played live with them for some time. “It’s not something that we specifically did to be ‘in’,” says Ash, “that’s just what happened.” “It’s the worst time to be a two-piece band, ever!” laughs Thom. “In the history of music!”
“We didn’t go in the studio and think, ‘Right, there’s two people who’ve written this album, so let’s make a two-piece album’, we wanted the best album we could make,” Thom explains. “So we took the album where it needed to go, you might see more people coming on stage to play it. We can play it as a two-piece, but we’d probably prefer to play it as a three-piece, maybe a four-piece, stuff like that. We might be a ten-piece one day, who knows?!”
Taken from the December 14 / January 15 issue of DIY, out now. Photos: Emma Swann.