It has been described as ‘an ever-evolving wall of sound to lose yourself in. It’s drugged up & tranced out.’ and ‘Led Zeppelin meets Moroder’.
David Gilmour Girls are the fruits of the labours of Dutchmen Robin van der Kaa and Jasper Uhl and the above quote from their Biog pretty much sums up their sound. So, who better to invite to talk to Cosmic Disco and provide us with some music.
We spoke to Robin from the band…
Cosmic Disco: ‘David Gilmour Girls’ – I take it from the name you are early Pink Floyd fans..?
Hehe, how did you figure that one out? But yes, we are big fans of early Floyd – especially Jasper. He totally grew up on them and I figure it shows in his guitar playing style… I don’t think you should look into the name THAT much though.
Looking back, it was a pretty bad joke, but before we knew it the first 12 was out and we couldn’t really get out of it anymore.
The best reaction we ever got on the name was from Gilmour’s sound guy who saw us play at some festival a few years back – he thought we were pretty much the worst band he’d ever seen…
Cosmic Disco: Wow, heady praise indeed!
The album artwork for Vultures looks very Prog Rock as well. Grand and Pompous!
Are you nodding towards the past with this album and does your sound have any major reference points?
Hehe, well, I definately intended to give a prog feel to the artwork – mostly to put the music into a little bit of context I guess. And maybe to fuck with perceptions a little also.
I’m hoping that if someone would see the cover they would not instantly get an idea how the record sounds like, but I was also trying to connect it to the music of course.
Jasper actually had to push me a lot to get it right. The initial cover was just black and white but he made me try working with colors – which I had rarely done in my illustrations before. Anyhow,I’m happy how it turned out, and people seem to respond to it pretty well…
As far as nodding towards the past goes – I don’t think we do that on purpose as much but it’s hard not to do sometimes. The biggest part of the music we listen to and are into was probably made before we were even born, and it’s influences are definately there. But, we didn’t try to make a retro sounding record at all. We’ve gotten this type of question a lot in interviews… We didn’t set out to combine parts of specific genres or areas in time per se, we just took ALL of the things we are influenced by and went with it. We don’t try and limit ourselves with that. I can definately point out specific parts on the album and say ‘this was obviously influenced by this and this band’ – but it wasn’t a starting point.
Cosmic Disco: I didn’t realise you had done the illustrations Robin. It’s a great piece of album art. You mention that all of the music that influences you shows through in the music you make (whether intentionally or not).
Cosmic Disco is very much about embracing the music that influenced us and trying to blend that with music that is currently pressing all of the right buttons for us. To that end who are the ‘past’ inspirations that you allude to in your previous answer & who do you look at, in a contemporary setting, and think ‘these guys are doing things right!’….?
On the influences bit – I definitely think embracing the music that influenced us is a big factor in our ‘sound’. Like I said before it’s a little hard to name some of them directly, but there’s definately a few I can point out… Take the album version of ‘Heavy Metal Music Magazines’ for example – clearly, the drumparts in the beginning are totally Bonham, but I think the last part was influenced a lot by Grand Funk Railroad – check out the last track on their (Zappa produced!) ‘Good Singin, Good Playin’ album and you’ll see what I mean.
We get the ‘Zep meets Moroder’ tag quite a lot, but in general I don’t think we’ve been influenced by Moroder directly that much (all though it’s of course hard to deny his influence on electronic music in general – so there’s definitely some).
In Jasper’s guitar playing I can hear a lot of things – besides the more obvious influences, I think one of his biggest strength is harmonizing his own lines. I’m amazed hearing him do that at times. There’s also a pretty strong New Wave/Post Punk influence in it. At times something like the Wild Swans or Medium Medium comes to mind. Sort of a loose and more atmospheric type of playing. For me as a bass player I think I was influenced a lot by this band Girls Against Boys – a somewhat distorted, basic type of playing. Even with the band Jasper and me played in before it was like this – I try and lay down a good solid foundation for Jasper to work on. I believe bass and drums should be the groundwork and everything else should be built on top of that. Even though I love someone like Chris Squire (his ‘Fish Out of Water’ is one of my favourite records ever) I’m not interested in using the bass like that. For the synth work we take cues from loads of different things – because we were primarily a guitar and bass player we’ve just been experimenting with the ones we got quite a lot for this record. We have been listening to stuff like Tomita, White Noise, Mort Garson, Klaus Schulze and Tim Blake, so I guess we took some from that, but I guess just the possibilities a ‘new’ instrument brought for us were a lot more influential. As far as contemporary artists go – we’ve been blessed to have some great remixers and met a lot of great people so far. I think most notably the mix Rub n Tug did for our first ever track was very important to us. It was the first ‘electronic’ thing we ever did, and somehow Robi (Headman) got it and wanted to release it. Looking back, I can’t say we’re 100% happy with how our own track came out – but it has a kind of naive quality to it I guess. Anyhow, when we got the remix back from R&T we suddenly realized there were so much more possibilities to our music and we definately had to step up our game. That was a big eye opener for us. Other things that I really like in a more contemporary context are Nemesi (on Relish also), Studio of course… Uhm, I really liked that Sorcerer record also. The last LCD Soundsystem record I think is amazing – I love the overall feel and pop sensibility on that.
Cosmic Disco: You mention your previous band there Robin.
Oil were a sort of Hardcore-Punk band were they not?
It’s quite a big leap from that sound to the rich, proggy noises that you are making with David Gilmour Girls – was this an organic thing or something that you consciously wanted to do?
Oil definately started out as a hardcore band yes, but over the years developed a lot into a more post punk sound I guess (Yes, we sold out… haha). When the band broke up we were in the process of recording a full length record which would have been a far stretch from traditional hardcore though. For myself, I see the development as a very natural thing… We sort of went ahead in the direction we were already going into. I think the only thing that made a difference is that we didn’t have to deal with three other bandmembers anymore. Just to make things clear – it’s not a bad thing to deal with other bandmembers ofcourse, but we’re able to work out our own ideas a lot faster just working with two people.
Cosmic Disco: I imagine it is. Too many cooks and all that…!
How do you translate the David Gilmour Girls sound on the road. You mentioned there were 5 of you in Oil and you’ve alluded to their being the two of you involved in DGG but that doesn’t cover drumming or the synths etc. Do you hire in session musicians or are you both kitted up like ‘one-man-bands’ with a drum kit on your back.
Hehe, that’s definately true. Although working with more people in a band gives some other advantages ofcourse – more ideas, more input and all that… It’s just a completely different thing. It sort of took a while to get the DGG thing live going well. Playing live for us was such a normal thing for us in years that we pretty much started playing out right away with just a laptop and a guitar. Maybe we even started to soon with that, because I think the live shows were not up to standard at all in the beginning. Fortunatelly we got it covered right now when we asked a good friend of ours to play drums – he’s an amazing drummer and hits like a madman. It’s so great to have him play behind us… Besides him Jasper plays guitar and I play bass and synths if needed, and we have some sequences running. We also occasionaly do some shows with just synths – which is a little more suitable for a club environment I think.
Cosmic Disco:Where do you play gigs then? I know you played at Tramp in Manchester last year and that is a club environment- do you get more club gigs than traditional ‘band venue’ things?
It’s a little mixed – in Holland we play more traditional band gigs… I guess mostly because people remember us from the Oil days a bit more. If we play abroad it usually more of a club thing. I guess that’s due to the label we’re on – we’re more in that ‘scene’ if you can call it that. I love to be able to do both though – it’s such a different energy. Playing at 2 in the morning on a dance party always brings out a little bit extra it seems, all though that may be caused by the extra hours of drinking before sometimes.
Cosmic Disco: Extra drinking definitely helps to get a crowd going. Do you dj out live as David Gilmour Girls or do you tend to ‘perform’ when you are in a club environment?
Hehe, for sure. We’ve been dj’ing quite a lot the last year – it’s lots of fun. We’ve never did it so much before -and I would not classify us as very technical capable dj’s – but it’s always nice to be able to play out the tracks you want to hear yourself… Plus, after touring as a full scale band for over 10 years it’s such a relief not having to carry all those huge amps around the whole time, haha.
Cosmic Disco: I can imagine. We have got very lazy and are using Serato scratch now when we dj out live so we don’t even have to take bags of records. We just rock up at gigs with a laptop bag and and a portable usb drive. Are you an old school record collector or have you embraced the digital revolution…
Hehe, we’re definately lazy too. We use cd’s mostly – we get loads of promos as cd’s and hi quality downloads, so it works perfectly just to burn them and play them out. Also we can play new stuff that we did ourselves really easy that way to see how it works out in a club. Sometimes I just record vinyl and burn it. It’s so easy to just get to a gig with two maps filled with cd’s. I do buy a reasonable amount of vinyl though, but it’s mostly second hand old stuff, or the occasional rerelease… I love the format still of course – nothing beats the old school triple fold cover – but for dj’ing it’s just so much more convenient do use cd’s.
Cosmic Disco: I would say 99% of the vinyl that Baggy and I buy is second half stuff that dig up from basements in weird backwater towns. What is the dusty, second hand vinyl buying market like in Holland as it’s certainly dying out over here.
Yeah, same here. At this point the market for vinyl is pretty good here I guess. Or maybe I’m just looking for things that no one is interested in… There are a few shops that have a decent selection, and that update their stock quite a lot. Right around my house is a really cool small second hand shop called Record Mania – run by this elderly lady who is always playing Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac. She’s really friendly and the selection they have is great – Last week I found this rare Tesco Vee 12″ with a misprinted Negative Approach on the spine, and the original ‘An Electric Storm’ by White Noise. She’s making fun of me a lot because every time I go in there with a friend I make them buy that Chris Squire record I was talking about earlier…
Cosmic Disco: Haha. I will have to look it up in tribute. A few of your tracks have been remixed (by people like Rub’N'Tug & Headman) but apart from the ‘Hey Mickey’ remix from 2004 you haven’t done any. Is this because you haven’t had opportunity or through choice?
Well, we actually did do a few remixes – I guess we have to update our discogs page
First one we did was for the Relish ‘Italian E.P.’ – we did Ajello’s ‘Harlem USA’ on that. After that we did a remix for Hardrock Striker on Skylax which only just came out. Also, a remix for Dennis Young (the Liquid Liquid percussionist) will be out on Relish soon. We’ve also been lucky enough to be able to do a Roxy Music mix – although that one didn’t come out (yet). Same thing with a Linus Loves mix we did two years ago that’s still unreleased so far. We’re working on some more at the moment, but I can’t say too much about those yet I’m afraid…
Cosmic Disco: That’s fine Robin. The Roxy Music mix sounds interesting…!
Do you have much in the pipeline for DGG or has a lot of your recent time been taken up promoting the last album and djing/remixing/playing live?
We’ve been playing out a lot lately and haven’t really started on a new album yet actually… But I guess we’ll get to that soon. ‘Vultures’ took us about three years to finish, and we don’t plan on taking that long again for a next one . There will be two new remixes of ‘Tune in Your Aura’ coming out on a Relish comp soon – one by Michoacan and one by Freeform Five.
Cosmic Disco: Well, I look forward to hearing them. Freeform Five are always an interesting remixer and their transformation and evolution as dance music artist over the past 7/8 years has been really interesting.
Do you pick the remixers for your tracks or do the label get involved.
Most of the times Relish comes up with ideas for a remixer, and we’ve learned to trust Robi’s judgement – we’ve really been very lucky with great mixes. Besides the Rub n tug one we’ve had great ones from Punks Jump Up, Motiivi:Tuntematon and Pink Skull to name a few… I love hearing what others do with our material.
Cosmic Disco: We recently had the brits over here – I don’t know if you caught any of it – what’s your opinion of ‘pop’ music at the moment?
About the Brits – I completely missed that I just realized. I’m checking out the winners now. Hmm, there’s not too much I can say about this I guess… I’m pretty much indifferent to all the acts that won. Except Kate Nash I guess, who I really can’t stand to hear for more than three seconds. Actually, Jasper should have answered this one – just mentioning that girl’s name will send him into an instant anxiety attack.
On pop music in general – It’s a little hard to say… I figured I’d have a look at the UK singles chart to see what was in there right now but I don’t think I’ve actually heard more than two songs (Morissey & Hot Chip) in there. Both of these songs would by the way never ever make it into the charts in Holland. For the rest it’s some familiar names and a whole lot of stuff that seems to be directed to 14 year old girls specifically. It’s hard to say something good or bad about it I think – it’s there, it serves a purpose I guess, but I don’t really relate to it in any way. It’s hard to define the concept ‘pop music’ also. For example – I liked that last Jay Z single, but is that pop music necessarily?
Cosmic Disco: I suppose Jay-Z is. In the UK certainly Hip-Hop is pretty much the mainstream.
What is likely to make a splash in the Dutch charts and would you ever be tempted to make a ‘chart’ track if it got you a bit of cash/exposure…?
Yeah I guess Hip Hop is also a pretty mainstream thing here – it’s weird though. I remember when Hip Hop was just one hour of ‘Yo MTV Raps’ every week on TV, haha. I don’t know, I guess Holland is pretty bad music wise… If you want to make a chart hit it would involve a lot of money and music business schmoozing. I can’t be bothered with that too much. Besides that I doubt if we could do it anyhow – we’re mostly instrumental so that’s a bad start already. What’s the last instrumental hit record? Jan Hammer?
Cosmic Disco: Yeah, probably.
So, David Gilmour Project present Crocketts Theme ’08 (Trance Banger Mix).
Add some wailing diva vocals and I think we’ve got your number one there.
Hehe, be careful with what ideas you want to plant in our heads….
Cosmic Disco: The mix looks interesting Robin, what’s the theme behind it?
I wanted to make something a little different… It’s a lot of rock/psychedelic stuff now, and not a well mixed dance mix I guess.
Anyhow, hope you like it! Here’s some info on the tracks
David Gilmour Girls – Cosmicdiscomixxx
- Mort Garson ‘I’ve Been Over the Rainbow’
From Garson’s ‘The Wozard of Iz’ LP – It’s rumoured Nancy Sinatra is the one singing on this track, but I’m not too sure that’s entirely true.
- Baldelli & TBC ‘Cosmic Sprint’
No need to explain this one on a blog with a name like this right?
- Warren Zevon ‘Nighttime in the Switching Yard’
One of the most underrated (in Europe at least…) US singer/songwriters I think. From his 1978 ‘Excitable Boy’ album.
- David Gilmour Girls ‘Tune in Your Aura (Michoacan Remix)’
I guess this is an exclusive for you guys – should be out in the future somewhere on a Relish compilation.
- Chrome ‘Eyes in the Centre’
I’m in no way an expert on Chrome – but I like the tracks I know of them, and this one is great.
- Black Randy ‘Marlon Brando’
From the ‘Pass the Dust, I Think I’m Bowie’ album, which might just be the best name for a record ever. Originally released on Dangerhouse Records who released a whole lot of amazing late seventies LA punk singles (The Dils, Weirdos, X, The Eyes). Not extremely influential on our sound I guess, but boy do I love that stuff.
- Jobriath ‘World Without End’
Jobriath was set out to be the American answer to Bowie in the mid seventies… He only made two records of which only the first one actually is really good. His life and carreer is a pretty sad story if you get into it – there’s some stuff to be found on the internets I guess. Morrissey had a hand in a CD reissue a few years back.
- The Ghost ‘The Storm’
Amazing late sixties/early seventies UK psychedelic band – Wah Wah from Barcelona reissued their (only?) album last year… Definately one to look for.
- Gomorrha ‘Tittisch Child’
I hardly know anything about this band – I guess they’re German and made only one record in ’72. This track is sick though…
- Grand Funk Railroad ‘Going For the Pastor’
I mentioned this track as the main inspiration for the break in ‘Heavy Metal Music Magazines’. The vocals are a little bit too much at times, but musically it’s great. Frank Zappa produced this.
- Left Banke ‘Men Are Building Sand’
Some higly Zombies inspired stuff here I guess… There’s a compilation album with all of their recordings between ’66 and ’69. Highly Recommended… Oh yes, Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean played with them at some point, haha.
- Astral Navigations ‘Someday’
Some more 70s British psychedelica.
- Chris Squire ‘You By My Side’
So many horrible Rick Wakeman records, and just one amazing Chris Squire solo album… It’s just unfair.