Before we checked out their live show, we sat down with Charlie Costello and Bush for a few words about their new work, the tour, and everything else they can manage to change the subject to.
The first half of the interrogation comes from yours truly, and Jasmine Hallam (JH) joins us for those marked as such.
C. Costello: We’re both called Charlie and we’re both at Bodega.
C. Bush: Next question!
Can you explain your style of music for those who aren’t familiar with your work?
C. Costello: No, I really can’t.
C. Bush: Folk rock.
C. Costello: Contemporary post emo jazz.
C. Bush: Classical pop.
C. Costello: Pre-pop.
Can I have your final answer?
C. Bush: We don’t really know. Make your own mind up, I think that’s the best answer.
C. Costello: It doesn’t matter. It’s just music.
Tell us about your most recent release, The Idles.
C. Bush: It’s an EP.
C. Costello: Yeah, it is. It’s an extended-
C. Bush: Five songs.
C. Costello: I’d say four songs.
C. Bush: What would you say it’s about?
C. Costello: I’d say it’s about… over thinking.
C. Bush: Mmm, we do a lot of that, clearly (laughs) A lot of over thinking.
C. Costello: I don’t know what else it could be about. If you’re going to write music, you’re obviously going to think about writing music and think about writing lyrics, think about what you want to write lyrics about. So does the EP become about thinking or about the topics that you think about?
C. Bush: Hmm. Probably the topics. It’s just an EP. Lots of songs with lots of meanings. Different, y’know, heartfelt emotional content. (After some debate) We can’t tell you what to think of the songs, really.
Out of the five songs, you chose Heaven Sent to be the first released off it; what makes you choose a first single?
C. Costello: Radio plugger.
C. Bush: It was going to be between Scared and Heaven Sent, I think, and Heaven Sent had more of a variety of the stuff that we wanted to showcase in it than Scared did. Now I think about it, I probably actually prefer Scared, but what can you do?
C. Costello: I dunno. I don’t think Scared is – it’s a Big Sixes song, but it’s an extension of the other music.
C. Bush: Heaven Sent made sense after the other releases we’d done, I think.
What’s your favourite song off the EP?
C. Costello: Probably Coroner’s Daughter, we’ve been playing it for years.
C. Bush: Unless I’m Mistaken, it’s now called.
Why did you rename it?
C. Costello: Because it doesn’t make sense.
C. Bush: It was shit.
What in the band does make sense? You describe yourselves as… post folk jazz.
C. Bush: If only we were talented enough to pull that off.
C. Costello: I imagine turning up at the post office with that. “Sorry, we don’t post folk jazz here. Put it in a small envelope and get back to me.”
You recently released your short film.
C. Bush: We did that ourselves, with our hands and our care and attention.
You take your art through all manner of mediums as opposed to just music. What inspired that?
C. Costello & C. Bush: Boredom.
C. Costello: Definitely 100% boredom, and wanting to do something all the time.
C. Bush: Having loads of interesting things and never being capable of doing it before, never having had a platform to do it before.
C. Costello: I’m a terrible shit photographer, but I manage to pick up disposable camera all the time-
C. Bush: He manages to pick up disposable cameras all the time. It’s sounds impossible, but he can.
C. Costello: Taking photos on the road is something to do, it’s fun, it’s a laugh.
C. Bush: But making the film was fun ’cause we got to meet some really talented people who did all the work for us and took our ideas on board.
C. Costello: We’ve literally gone from beg, stealing, borrowing to make music and videos to, “this guy, he’ll sort you out some great graphics.” Now we get to… what’s the word?
C. Bush: Float.
C. Costello: Imagine we were a planet, and there were other planets going round us.
Everyone except C. Costello: Orbit.
C. Costello: We’re just in like this galaxy with all these great people orbiting around us.
C. Bush: But we’re like Pluto.
C. Costello: Nah, I’d say we’re like a black hole.
Can you explain, for those who don’t know, the mantra of Club Omega?
C. Bush: If you take the universe metaphor a bit further, if you have something you’re interested in doing, pursue it, and if you can be a part of something we do, we’ll be a part of something you do. It’s about sharing.
C. Costello: It’s about doing whatever the fuck you want to do, all the time. Whatever makes you happy-
C. Bush: Unless you’re hurting someone else.
C. Costello: Yeah, don’t be like, “I’m a fan of homicide now.”
C. Bush: Yeah, don’t start Satanic rituals in your nan’s back garden.
C. Costello: We’re all fucked. Don’t get a job and die and be fucked under a Tory government for the rest of your life. Just have fun. And save the NHS.
JH: I reached out to fans to-
C. Bush: That must have taken a while.
C. Costello: And all three of them are here tonight!
JH: If they were to ask you anything, what would it be, and the first person I asked didn’t take it too seriously; what do you want for Christmas?
C. Bush: Don’t say something stupid.
C. Costello: Like what?
C. Bush: Like world peace, or something.
C. Costello: I was gonna say a Labour government. I don’t really care.
C. Bush: I have very few material needs. Maybe some really good knives. Like Japanese sushi knives. ‘Cause I love cooking. I make an effort to cook for my family so they notice that I really like cooking, but they never ever buy me anything cooking related. I just get socks and shit in a bag.
C. Costello: Knives and a Labour government.
C. Bush: Toby, what do you want for Christmas?
Toby: I haven’t thought about it.
C. Costello: Joe, what do you want? “Two inches taller”?
Joe: A car.
C. Bush: Dave, what do you want for Christmas?
Dave: World peace, and a Labour government.
JH: When bands are asked if they’re inspired musically, they’ll often say Nirvana, or The Beatles, or someone big that’s probably dead. Had another artist inspired you in some way and does that reflect in your music at all?
C. Bush: Does it have to be a dead person?
C. Costello: No, not really. I don’t actually listen to any music, like I really like the new National album, I’ve been playing that for about eight months. I’m not even trying to be pretentious, I fucking hate music, I really like Kanye West.
C. Bush: Anything with good vocals, so I like a load of soul music. Most soul music. All soul music. Soul music.
C. Costello: I tend to like people just because I like the idea of them and don’t really mind how the music sounds.
C. Bush: So if they’re pretty.
C. Costello: Not if they’re pretty, just if they’re interesting.
C. Bush: Is that why you liked Justin Bieber for so long?
C. Costello: It’s brief and vaguely entertaining and pop shit.
JH: What inspired you to want to share the stage with the beautifully voiced Natasha North?
C. Costello: You say it, ’cause you’ll say something good, and then I’ll say my reason.
C. Bush: We had a few people in mind who’d be great to go on tour with, we didn’t have Natasha in mind as we thought she’d be doing something better than going on tour with us, but it turned out she was very much available to come on tour with us and we were very, very happy to have her because she is very, very good. It’s nice to have someone who is kind of on the same level as we are.
C. Bush: Well, I got told, “do you want Natasha North to open for you?” and I said, “who’s Natasha North?”
C. Costello: We have met her loads of times before so it’s interesting that he forgot.
C. Costello: Well, I’m an idiot.
C. Bush: Yeah.
JH: What does it feel like headlining your own tour?
C. Bush: Stressful as hell.
C. Costello: It’s really long waiting to play.
C. Bush: I am stressed.
C. Costello: I preferred it when we went on at doors, that was the dream.
C. Bush: It’s been alright. There’s a lot more stress and a lot more angst.
JH: My final question is that if you were to say anything to your fans right now, what would it be?
C. Costello: Just, thanks.
C. Bush: Thank you.
C. Costello: It’s mad that people actually care.
C. Bush: We would have zero prospects of we hadn’t gotten together and started making music. We started recording it and were like, “fuck, this is good.” Then people started asking us on tours like, “fuck, this is even better.” Now we’re headlining one, like, “fuck, this is incredible.” If it weren’t for the people that come to see us, we’d be sitting in Toby’s house, really stoned, all the time.
C. Costello: We’ve been making music for years and years and years and years and years, and now we’re at a point where we can get in the top ten alternative charts.
C. Bush: For two hours.
C. Costello: It doesn’t matter how many hours, it’s still people buying shit, I’ve written fucking thousands of songs over the years and no one’s ever bought fucking anything. It’s fucking brilliant, I love it.
C. Bush: It’s very gratifying. It’s the best option.
C. Costello: It’s the only option. What else are you going to do, start a pet shop?
C. Bush: I’d run the best pet shop in town.
C. Costello: No you wouldn’t, you hate animals.
C. Bush: That’s bullshit.
C. Costello: That was wonderful. Thank you!