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Interviews Andy Parle - February 1997 - Toronto SunKieran Grant
So far, Space's success hasn't blown their cool. Last year, the Liverpool band's suave sounding single, Female Of The Species, sold 700,000 copies.
As the catchy tune begins to infect North American airwaves, the quartet is showing none of the "we're-the-best-band-in-the-world" attitude we have come to expect from Brit bands. They come across instead as, to use their words, "dead okay geezers."
"You can't make things happen, you've just gotta go with it,?" says Space drummer Andy Parle on the phone from Denmark last week. The band make their Canadian debut Monday at Lee's Palace.
"The true story is, me and Tommy wrote Female Of The Species for a B-side," he adds. "We thought the record company were crazy when they said it was an A-side. We thought it was too weird. Lo and behold, as soon as radio stations got it they went nuts. Totally surprised me, to be honest."
In his almost impenetrable Liverpudlian lilt, Parle says that "America" was the last place he expected Space to prosper.
The band were concerned that their album, Spiders, might sound too European, with its dance beats, fuzzy guitar, and singer Tommy Scott's jaunty vocals.
Then again, it was that sound that set them apart from other Liverpool guitar bands.
"I don't think we're like anything in the UK at the moment, and that's the way we want it to be," says Parle. "Especially coming from Liverpool, where bands like The La's and Cast sound very retro-'60s, with jangly guitar parts like The Byrds used to do. Don't get me wrong, we like those bands."
The drummer shifts to Liverpool's most trusty musical yardstick.
"If The Beatles were going today, they'd be The Prodigy, know what I mean?" he says, alluding to the popular techno band. "You look from the first Beatles album to the last one, you can see the change. None of it was the same."
Spiders goes for that effect. Andy says there are no rules:
"When we were in Hong Kong, we heard these children saying prayers, it was like a mad wailing sound. Straight away we got out a dictaphone and started taping it. If something's going to make a track sound better we'll use it. As long as it's not contrived."
Parle admits that Space intentionally broke with the lounge-lizard feel of Female Of The Species for that reason.
"Tommy's got a chameleon-like voice, and he'll write a song with a film character in mind," he says. "For Female he had in mind the easy-listening vibe of Sinatra and Bacharach, which has been done to death here so we sacked that one. On other songs he's thinking of Peter Lorre, Speedy Gonzales, Marlene Dietrich."
So, a little flair doesn't hurt.
"It's even more than flair, it's character," says Parle. "Without sounding rude, a lot of UK bands lack character. I know a lot of it's for kids, but I can't get me 'ead around all this throwaway music. That music's purely business, like."
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