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How I am in a band
by Joe aged 26 ¾
Sneaker Pimps formed in the early nineties. Their roots lie much earlier in the Northeast of England. Chris Corner lived in Middlesborough, where he met Liam Howe who came from nearby Hartlepool. They began to make dance music from their small bedroom studio and soon decided to attempt to release it on a commercial basis.
Recording under the names Frisk and Line Of Flight, they released two EPs on the young Clean Up label. At this stage they were both at college, Chris in London studying astrophysics, Liam in Reading at Art College. It was here that Liam met David and myself, who also avoided the hardship of life through art inaction. Ironically it was at this stage that Frisk played a low key gig with the current line-up. In some ways this was the first Sneaker Pimps line-up.
Liam and Chris, while influenced by dance music and, in particular, the rigour of dance production, were keen to express a more song-based music. To this aim they recorded a series of demos with Chris singing.
Those songs were written by Liam and Chris, and a childhood friend called Ian Pickering.
They would eventually become Becoming X. Kelli was recruited at this point to sing, because it was felt that at this stage, the nature of these songs would probably suit a female vocal. Chris also felt he hadnít reached the level of confidence that he now has.
This first record became Sneaker Pimps and at this stage it was regarded as a short-term project, that would be one of many. This was reflected by the small initial run of albums.
We viewed it as a record you selfishly release for only a few thousand copies, rather than half a million international records.
Dave and I were then asked to join on a more permanent basis when it looked like touring and live performances were unavoidable. David had in fact supplied drums on Becoming X whereas I had helped design the sleeves for the first Frisk release and had been part of the DJ wing of the organisation, playing test pressings of records Liam and Chris had just finished.
The five of us then quickly found that a huge momentum had gathered behind the record, particularly in America. This forced us into 18 months of on/ off touring, which we were never really prepared for. We quickly fell into a lifestyle that was both rock star cliché and rock star casualty.
It was difficult for the band to keep a realistic perspective when we were sharing lift journeys with Donald Trump and the Wu Tang Clan. We came back into England fed up with everything and everyone. Instead of taking a break, we moved Line Of Flight studio from the Northeast to London.
One of our strengths was that the band was never tied to any particular location. Other bands bored the nation with their loyalty to being from Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol or London, but we had no geographical base. Liam was from Hartlepool, Chris from Middlesborough, David from Newton Abbot, and I from London.
This was important to us because we wanted to absorb any musical style or direction we wanted.
With a new studio we wanted to start the second album, but as soon as we started we also realised that we wanted Chris to sing on it. He was now ready so the band returned to itís core of Joe, Dave, Chris and Liam. We knew that like the first record it had to rely on the four of us as producers, and on no one else.
We had no external influence. The world seemed to not understand what we were doing by replacing Kelli, but we four and Ian the co-lyricist felt we could make a more open and direct LP. This has a much more organic feel, and this is due to us making the sounds from scratch, from the smallest beep to the shortest beat. It was produced by Line Of Flight, who consist of me, Dave, Chris and Liam. This record took just one year to produce and is born from a period of terrible frustration with the world and the music industry.
It is a record where you can see the ends of our nerves, rather than the perfect skin above.
And thatís what I done on my summer holidays. It was great and then we went home.