Graham Crabb interviewed about the new Pop Will Eat Itself album, Anti-Nasty League, and his other projects
By Bob Gourley | Published on September 12, 2015
After a long hiatus, Pop Will Eat Itself finally returned in 2011 with a radically different line-up and an excellent new album, “New Noise Designed by a Sadist.” With Graham Crabb as the only original member, the new PWEI added co-vocalist Mary Byker (Gaye Bykers on Acid, Apollo 440, Pigface), guitarist Tim Muddiman (Gary Numan), drummer Jason Bowld (Pitchshifter, Killing Joke) and bassist Davey Bennett (This Burning Age). This incarnation of PWEI is back with their second release, “Anti-Nasty League.” In an email interview, Crabb gave us an update.
Are there any particular ways that the making of “Anti-Nasty League” differed from “New Noise Designed by a Sadist”? Perhaps due to the current version of Pop Will Eat Itself being more established now?
Yeah, it was totally different. This one was much more of a band effort. I coaxed everyone to get involved more, as I had too much control on ’New Noise’, probably cos everyone saw it as my baby, but I wanted more of a group effort & it shows.
Has the Pop Will Eat Itself line-up changed at all since “New Noise Designed by a Sadist” and the live shows you did around it?
The line up of v2.0 of the band has not changed at all – oh, apart from Jason not being able to make it when his wife was expecting, so Joe (ex Hell is For Heroes drummer) stood in. Otherwise it’s been the current 5 from 2011 to now. For the upcoming US dates it’s going to be myself & Mary backed by End of an Era. We couldn’t afford to bring the whole band & all the costs that that entails. the new band visa post 9/11 is extortionate.
What are the reasons behind doing a physical-only release of “Anti-Nasty League”? Have you considered putting just a few tracks or perhaps alternate mixes on streaming services in order to give listeners a taste?
We will do something like that to give the album longevity, but originally it was a statement to say PWEI is a band with a history of great artwork and sleeves, courtesy of The Designers Republic, and it sets us apart for wanting to retain that ’touch of quality’. I understand the convenience of streaming, I do it myself, great for a consumer, but as artists we’re being ripped off. So it’s a point worth making.
Are you concerned that there are people out there who no longer buy physical CDs at all, who might buy on iTunes/etc if they could? (And might just look for a pirated version when they can’t…)
Not concerned no, I think they’re missing out on something great by just downloading or stealing it, but I’m not going to go on any moral crusade about it.
Some versions of the album come with stems and loops of all tracks – has anyone sent you remixes they’ve done with them yet?
A few have reared their head and sound pretty good. but I’m eager to hear more.
You performed at Cold Waves 2015 and finally brought this incarnation of Pop Will Eat Itself to the US. Will you be doing any more shows here?
The idea is we come back in the spring & do the west coast, hopefully that pans out.
“Reclaim The Game (Funk FIFA)” was your second World Cup-themed single – what were your motivations behind that? How did you come to work with BNegão?
With Mary living in Brazil, and the tournament being held there, that was a key factor. He has DJ’d out & plays a bit of Brazilian stuff, so put some loops & grooves together. I immediately seized the chance to rant about the corruption inherent in FIFA & we had a solid idea. Mary used to run a bar in Rio & met BNegão. They started chatting & it became clear he knew of PWEI & was happy to get involved, which was perfect, it rounded the whole thing off.
How did you get involved with Primitive Race? What made you want to be part of it?
A great chap called Chris Kniker roped me in & I’m glad he did. I knew Chris from getting me remix work in various industrial projects & he sent me a few ideas which I ran with immediately. It was very organic & happened very quickly. I’m a fan of all the other contributors to the band, so it was great to see it take shape.
What was the collaborative/creative process like on the Primitive Race songs you appear on?
Typically I’d get a bass loop or guitar riff & I’d expand on that with a vocal or progression or something to add to the party. Then I’d pass the idea on to be mixed or added to again. It was like a conveyor belt method. An interesting way to work.
You have another project now, Je Suis Crabbi. What made you start that up? How much of a focus is it for you, in relation to Pop Will Eat Itself?
Well, it’s quite liberating, cos I keep the track really simple, basically just one riff that gets messed with, and the vocal takes the limelight. I’ve got enough tracks for an album but I got an old mate involved who plays saxophone and the stories have got more autobiographical, so it’s taken a different twist.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just thank you, for taking the time to be interested in what I’m up to! So much stuff out there these days, it’s hard getting noticed. Cheers.
For more info in Pop Will Eat Itself, visit popwilleatitself.net.