News Upbringing: Crushed Beaks

London two-piece take us through their cultural upbringing of horror movies and Mark E. Smith.

Crushed Beaks thrash their instruments and deliver show-stopping, dramatic rock songs like there’s no tomorrow. But in between recording dynamic singles such as ‘Grim’ and wowing London crowds with their unique live dynamic, the two-piece have the occasional slog of alone time, where Horror movies are beckoned from the chest of drawers and the gore ensues. In Neu’s Upbringing feature, we ask bands to tell us about their habits beyond music; the music they were raised up on, the cinema they adore, the works of literature they consume themselves in. For Crushed Beaks, Alex detailed his love for hardcore & black metal and his habit of enjoying gore-fests on the big screen. Matt, meanwhile, provided us with some very finite but completely flawless lists of his favourite horrorfests and live music outings. It’s all there. Allow yourself a peek into Crushed Beaks’ headspace:

What’s your relationship with film? When did you first start getting into it?
I watch a lot of film and study it at MA level. I started watching films properly when I was 15 or 16 and I used to watch various Hollywood ‘classics’ that, for some reason, I had never seen: Scarface, The Godfather, The Untouchables, Citizen Kane…and then I watched Halloween. After that I watched Friday 13th and a few more American horror films: Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Haunting, A Clockwork Orange. Watching TCM for the first time blew my mind, I thought, ‘this is incredible’. It fucked with my head because it was so nasty but it was so much more than that: textural, darkly comic, tense and terrifying. I was shocked by the fact that that film could do that with such little gore, although it’s violent, there is very little blood or gore…it’s more about what you don’t see.

Below: Hitchhiker Scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

After seeing these films I was just concerned with watching American exploitation and classic horror: The Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, Ms. 45, Pieces, Dracula, Freaks, gothic James Whale movies and British horror from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Then I watched Suspiria and Tenebre and that got me into Italian horror and exploitation. I also watched new films like Mum and Dad, The Ordeal, Wolf Creek, Martyrs, Inside…anything really that I’d heard was good or liked the look of. I wanted to get a holistic understanding of the genre which is why I think I got a bit bogged down in it for a while. Now I’m trying to nail an understanding of cinema as whole. I have been trying to get my head round Neo-realism and Italy in the 60s and 70s as well as British film of the 60s and 70s, but still with a focus on low-budget, B, and culty movies that don’t get watched much and are generally obsolete to your typical Odeon goer.

It’s fairly obvious my cinematic preoccupations don’t influence our music - we’re not going to do a Morricone-esque synth noise freak out anytime soon - however, visually the influence is strong and apparent. Our latest video is directly influenced by Suspiria and I’m not going to tell you how we do our glitched out artwork but a certain Italian horror movie is involved. Also, Matt and I share similar cinematic appreciations so we usually end up talking about witches, cannibals or zombies - over many a pint of course.

Matt’s top 10 Horror Films:
1. Suspiria
2. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
3. The Birds
4. Martyrs
5. The Beyond
6. Cannibal Holocaust
7. The Haunting (1963)
8. Night of the Living Dead
9. Lake Mungo
10. Quatermass and the Pit

What outside influences directly impact on your music?
I guess you might think I like a lot of punky, shoegazey guitar music which is true but it’s not what I generally listen to. The main kinds of music I listen to and are industrial, hardcore, black metal and hard electronic music (gabba, breakcore, acid techno, hard dnb).

When it comes to the electronic stuff, I think it is just the heavy pounding repetition and hypnotism that the repetition creates that influences my drumming. A lot of my drumming is very repetitive (‘Close Ups’ (stream below) is a prime example of this) and this reflects the pounding, repetitive nature of a massive sound-system playing fucking loud techno.

What have you been listening to recently?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Converge, Gaza, Loma Prieta and Ministry. I’ve always loved Nine Inch Nails and Emperor except I can’t think of anyway those bands influence my drumming style. The hardcore bands definitely do. I try and push myself in terms of fills, speed and intensity which is something I’ve got from bands like Converge and Gaza and I think I have a fairly heavy style - especially for the kind of band we are.

Matt’s top 10 live shows
1. Boredoms @ ATP New York

2. Liars @ The Forum
3. TV On The Radio @ Cargo
4. My Bloody Valentine @ Bestival
5. The Fall @ End of the Road
6. Radiohead @ Sziget
7. HEALTH @ End of the Road
8. A folk band with Chris Miles singing @ Sandy Bells, Edinburgh
10. Elizabeth Fraser @ Royal Festival Hall

Most highly-regarded work of literature:
Renegade : The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith.

Crushed Beaks’ new single ‘Breakdown’ will be released shortly.

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