Interview New Young Pony Club: More Depth And More Colour

DIY catches up with the lady herself to talk ‘The Optimist’, time capsules and Simon Amstell.

Dust off your “I ‘heart’ NYPC” badge from the NME New Rave tour 2007 because Tahita Bulmer and co. are back from their ‘Fantastic Playroom’ with a new album and tour. DIY caught up with the lady herself to talk ‘The Optimist’, time capsules and Simon Amstell.

Hey Tahita! New record is called ‘The Optimist’ and it’s coming out shortly! What took you so long to get it together?
Well, like a lot of bands we needed a bit of time to develop our new ethic and sound. We wanted to move forward and to grow creatively, without losing our sense of ourselves, or our tight rein on quality control. Plus we were touring until the end of 2008 so we’ve only really been away for a year in which we recorded the album.

The first single chaos feels very ‘NYPC’. You once said, “We marry the dance ethic with the pop ethic, and make something that you can dance to and sing along to’. Does this ring true of the new record?
Yes in some respects, but with this album we are striving for more depth and more colour. We set ourselves a very narrow remit with the first record. It was a fantastic playroom but quite a small one. With “The Optimist” we have opened the doors and decided that nothing is forbidden. This has meant that we have been able to channel aspects of all of the music we have been inspired by into this record, from Riot Grrl to Bulgarian Ladies Choirs.

I spoke to Black Francis the other week, who said he was happy that the Pixies came out before the digital age in terms of reaping financial rewards. If you had a time capsule, would you rather have come out in the 80s also?
Definitely would have preferred to come out in the 80s or 90s. Music hadn’t yet been cheapened by the ease of procurement over a speedy Internet connection. Bands could still be original because of the surge of new technology (synths, and computers) and your peers were original and exciting artists like The Cure, Nick Cave, Christina, The Fall…the list is endless. I think your peers were actually people who liked music in those days and wanted to be musicians first and foremost. No one was on the lookout for a potential vintage clothing line with their name on it or a bit part in a US miniseries about Henry 8th.

In retrospect, did ‘Nu Rave’ ever exist as a movement, and if so, did you consider yourselves as part of that scene?

You did a support tour with the potty-mouthed Lily Allen back in 2006-7, who has gone on to have number 1s and sell millions, but you said in an interview you don’t want to be the biggest band in the world and make radio friendly singles. Aren’t these things sometimes independent of each other? Does being commercially successful automatically mean compromising your sound or lyrical content?
To be a successful musician in the 21st Century, it seems it is not necessary to be original. Only that your music be well executed and easy to encapsulate in a sentence composed of four words or less.

Tahita, you’ve had a taste of the ‘mainstream’ when you were on Never Mind The Buzzcocks with Noel Fielding and Keith Chegwin as well as Dappy from N Dubz. What was it like facing “The Amstell”?
He’s nice. He should have his own show where stars come on and he destroys them with well-timed witticisms. Noel was horrible to Keith Chegwin though.

There is an emergence of female-fronted bands in the same ilk as NYPC. What is the biggest form of flattery you’ve been paid? Have you spotted your influence anywhere?
I have definitely spotted our influence all over the place but it’s not discussed. We are like a dirty secret in people’s music collections. I can think of at least one track that soundtracked a car commercial that was basically an NYPC track with a soul vocal……[DIY thinks she’s hinting at a certain ‘Go Baby Go’ song].

Speaking of which, your song “Ice Cream” soundtracked Nissan and Intel ads. What would your new album be perfect to soundtrack?
Maybe Gillette. Or the World Cup depending on what track you are listening to!

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