Musicians have toyed with identity ever since the inception of the music industry, be it Bowie and his intergalactic messiah, The Residents and their secretive collective or even Elvis Presley dying his hair black to complete his bad boy image. Following in their footsteps, and hopefully creating a few massive prints of their own, The Hate Eighties are two Glaswegian artists who have begun to slowly unveil their latest project, debut album 'POW'. Their ethos transcends the musical, creating a fully realised world with a cast of characters that will have listeners questioning their relationship with art, commerce and the world around them. We decided to see what they were all about.
Hard question first - who are we talking to right now? The Hate Eighties or the two people behind The Hate Eighties?
Lucius: Right now you're talking to the people behind the Hate Eighties, but we'll bring in some of the characters from the Hate Eighties to help answer questions. Here with me now are Sebastian and we also have Bobby Raygun and JP-E who are two wealthy, white rappers. They laid down the vocals on the next track we're releasing into the world, which is called 'Modern Life'.
Bobby Raygun: What up?
Sebastian: Is this how each interview will be? I already struggle with my own identity and I'm me! How the hell am I going to manage all of these two stupid selfish alter egos!?
What prompted you to launch such an ambitious project as a debut?
Lucius: We've both been performing music and playing in bands for years and there was always this underlying feeling that we wanted to add something more to what we were creating. Something to make it a little more exciting or engaging.
Sebastian: Sitting post gig or post rehearsal we would often talk of how great it would be to take our ideas all the way without compromise! Well... this is that project for us and we feel free because of it.
JP-E: *sings* "It's all for the glory"
What can we expect from one of your live performances?
Sebastian: Our live performances are full of videos, costume changes and songs that all combine together to tell the story of the Hate Eighties. One of my favourite parts of the show is when we take to the stage dressed as members of the Metropolitan police force and play hard hitting dance music to try and get the "yoof" on the side of the establishment.
Bobby Raygun: Two sexy motherf**kers gettin' b*tches psyched for the D.
Lucius: Don't listen to them. they're just a chimera constructed from the patriarchal ideal of manliness and the subjugation of black culture by the white middle class.
Give us a history, fictional or not, of Sebastian and Lucius.
Lucius: We met years ago at one of Glasgow's many acoustic nights. I had thrown himself down some stairs as a joke after singing the word 'Jobby' for ten minutes straight and pretended to sprain my ankle. Sebastian had offered me a lift and a few weeks later I was playing the drums in his band.
We played in various different bands around Glasgow, but always had a musical kinship. Over the years it has developed into a sort of musical psychic connection.
We started Sebastian & Lucius because we wanted an outlet for our varied musical styles. The Hate Eighties is just one big part of that.
Who would you say has had a direct influence on you artistically?
Lucius: Quite a few artists of different disciplines have influenced our work. Artists like Gillian Wearing and Cindy Sherman play around a lot with identity and character and that really ties in with some of the ideas we're exploring. The connection that there are between how we want to be perceived in relation to what we buy, our style and our sense of identity as an individual and the reality that we are all very similar creatures.
Rachel Maclean is an artist whose work we love. A lot of it also concerns modern culture and its adherence to capitalist ideals. Her work is incredible. It manages to sum up so much in an incredibly succinct manner.
Are there any other musicians and artists who are local to you who've joined your cause?
We've got a couple of old band mates/collaborators from Hordes of Unstoppable Skeletons and Engeo helping us write material for our websites and radio shows. It's really great having a pool of people to develop the project with and bounce ideas.
Do you think there's a solution to the current state of affairs, regarding capitalism and the commodofication of the arts, or have we gone too far?
Lucius: The story of the Hate Eighties is all about this idea. The driving question that started it was 'could a world in which creativity and capitalism are completely separate exist?' and in this digital age I think we're heading that way. We have more access to the free and affordable tools to make and disseminate our individual creative endeavours. We've managed to create everything for this project on a fairly small budget.
For me art, in all its forms, is something that manages to be worthless while at the same time remains completely invaluable. And The Hate Eighties imagines the world beyond that as a level playing field in which we all have access to create media while all playing our part in the every day operation of society.
For years any sort of attempt to undermine capitalism or alternative has always been recuperated into the capitalist system. Dead grunge singers and money hungry punk musicians used to sell all sorts of products. The left has never really been able to amass a strong enough counterattack because capitalism has managed to instil this idea that we are all individuals with our own particular struggles. The Hate Eighties ask the question what if a big company attempted to recuperate the ideals of, say the Occupy movement, and using all of the same financial investment, bribery, marketing and corrupt tactics that corporations use force the world and the buyer to follow suit could that make the world a better place?
Sebastian: What he said!
Michael Walton Jnr: I was just as surprised myself at what I was willing to do in the name of the future the ECM had imagined.
Do you worry that some of these tracks heard in isolation might not fully demonstrate your intentions? There is a danger people might walk away thinking that you're just another pop band (albeit, a really talented one).
Lucius: We wanted our project to work for the audience no matter what level of engagement they came to it with. Because we're walking such a fine line of satire, a listener could easily hear 'The Beat of Your Heart' and not question the weird autoerotica, advert style voiceover right in the middle of it, but as each song and album comes out I think the story will start to become clearer for people. If they don't and they enjoy the music that's enough for us, too. Making music that we were proud of was just as important as the creation of the world around it.
Is there anything you want to say to anyone reading this?
Sebastian: We are trying to start a revolution here by imagining the possible... Unfortunately I think people are so comfortable in the status quo it will take a different tactic to take on capitalism. This imagining is that tactic and if it gets through to the correct person then perhaps... perhaps? We are just excited to have people talking about it as we've spent so long crafting it all.
How will you be supporting 'POW', the album's release before October?
Lucius: We'll soon be launching our website which is full of news articles, radio shows, adverts and all sorts of other things for people to engage with. We'll be playing some gigs up and down the country in September and early October and then launching the album in October. It's all very exciting.
Bobby Raygun: Gonna leak a sex tape. Y'don't leave a tank parked in a nunnery, yo.
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