Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start a band / become an artist?
When I was a young kid, I found an old cassette tape (remember them?) in the street and I took it home to play on my dad’s tape player. The music on it just blew my tiny head off. I had no idea at the time, but it was The Skids. It was years before I knew who it was.
Anyway, so I bought my first guitar with money saved up from holiday jobs and part-time work, but it was always just about bashing out a few chords and maybe getting some pals involved. It all kinda fizzled out.
Then three years ago, my local pub started putting on open mic nights, so I figured I’d give it a go. I bashed out three songs on an acoustic guitar and I had to have the words in front of me. It scared the crap out of me, but I loved it, and it was a start. Four months later I was playing a local beer festival, then I put an indie covers band together and we were gigging on the pub circuit a few months after that.
Introduce Cold Culprits to the world
It’s just me, Andy Watson. I play all the instruments in Cold Culprits and it sounds a lot like a band, so loads of people think it’s more than one person.
What does the name Cold Culprits actually mean?
There was this crazy LA punk band in the 1970s, The Germs, and the name is a salute to them. You know, Germs, Cold Culprits, germs are the culprits of the cold, that kinda thing.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
I don’t mind being asked the same questions over and over. I just answer them in different ways each time. It’s actually fun to be asked the same stuff, as it makes me come up with odd answers and I have a bit of a laugh with it.
Although, I have been asked in an interview what my star sign is, which was proper weird and annoying. It’s not the 1960s.
What is the unsigned scene in York like at the minute?
Yeah, it’s good. As great as it can be with all this crap going on, anyway. There are so many kickass venues that support grass roots music here. And a lot of them have managed to get funding so they can hang in there and weather the storm.
I’ve played Fulford Arms a couple of times, which is an awesome venue. They get some damn good bands in there. Then we have the Crescent Community Venue and plenty, plenty more. Fibbers was a superb venue, but that place is no more ☹
What good bands are coming out of York at the minute?
Damn, there’s a bunch. Skylights are going strong and sounding great. I caught one of their gigs in Fibbers a while back, great lads.
Van Der Neer have some great tunes, well worth a listen. My Wonderful Daze is a band worth hunting out too.
What’s your favourite song right now from another band?
A new band called Tropical Boyfriend Catalogue released Dinner Party earlier this year. It’s really catchy and all about murdering your friends. Sweet.
What useless talent do you have/ party trick?
Fill me with whisky, wind me up and set me off breakdancing. I once kicked a table leg clean off a table that I got too close to while I was doing a windmill. Idiot.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I only released the first Cold Culprits single in April, so I haven’t gigged this material. But with other bands I’ve played in, I guess the funniest thing is when we had a bunch of people just going proper mental and dancing like nutters as we were doing our thing. You know, the fairly usual stuff.
Then this girl just out of nowhere gets front and centre, grabs her top, lifts it up and pulls her bra off. She’s just standing there, all teeth and tits.
It’s at that point that I kinda thought, yeah, we must be doing something fairly good up here to get that sort of appreciation.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Probably a pub gig when we had a few songs left in our first set and little bits of smoke started creeping over the stage. It began to stink of burning and some people in the crowd kind of started looking around, looking a bit worried.
It was a big crowd, as we were pretty much playing on our doorstep. We just kept on playing, and our sound guy was running about checking all the kit. We figured, let’s just play on and try to get to the break, then work it out from there. It seemed like a looooong couple of songs, jumping around and hoping the sprinklers didn’t go off.
When we finished the set, it proper stunk of an electrical fire. The bar manager was asking if our equipment was any good and saying we should go get some replacement kit for the second set. Then one of the bar staff came over and said they’d discovered it was coming from the dishwashers that were working hard and overloading the circuits in a room at the back of the stage. They were having to keep everything constantly running to wash glasses, because of the size of the crowd that had turned up. That felt good.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
One of my arms is all held together with titanium plates and screws after a snowboarding accident in an Austrian snow park, when my board snapped under me as I landed a jump. I ended up with my arm wrapped around my neck like a scarf. I was airlifted out and choppered to the hospital for some serious surgery.
The worst thing about it, is titanium isn’t even magnetic, so I can’t attach fridge magnets to my arm. Epic fail.
Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing?
I saw Neil Young play Brixton Academy, maybe 15 years ago, when I was living down near London. That was massive for me. I’ve always loved his stuff and it was just awesome to see him live. He did a stripped back acoustic set followed by a full-on electric set. Kicked ass.
What goes into your favourite sandwich?
You just cannot beat putting crisps inside bread. Ready salted or salt and vinegar. I’m not fussed either way.
How do you think the government has looked after the night time economy / live gig circuit?
The great thing about live music is the jumping around, singing along, having a laugh and getting in among it. Social interaction is the core of it. It’s difficult to do live music quietly, that’s for sure. And it can’t be appreciated by detaching yourself and folding your arms. You may as well be watching it on the telly.
But it does need to be done safely and responsibly now, or not at all. There’s too much at risk. The way forward needs to be communicated with clear direction and consistent messaging. But that hasn’t happened. It seems the government has a hodge-podge, change-your-mind, make-it-up-as-you-go approach. Is it on? Is it off? Nobody knows from one week to the next. It is hugely damaging.
I think they’ve made a lot of decisions that have done harm. They’ve acted too slowly, then changed their minds, then made a completely different decision again. And when they’ve given grant aid, they’ve heavily implied venues must tell everyone on social media how awesome the government is. A lot of urban centres across the country will end up getting ripped out and turned into high end flats.
However, live music will return, and bands will tour again. We just need to hang in there, keep safe and keep on our feet, regardless of how it’s being handled.
What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?
Don’t do it for the money, but you do need to work out where the money is, and lay some groundwork to make some kind of income. Learn everything you can about the other stuff beyond your instrument. Learn about marketing, business strategy, promo, photography, video techniques, music mixing, mastering, rights management. Even if someone else is eventually doing this stuff, you need to have an idea of it. Learn about common metre, iambic pentameters, song structure, arrangements, and building tension and release. Read books on it. Lots of books. Listen to a lot of music outside your genre. Listen to stuff from way, way back. Please don’t write shite, sloppy lyrics with obvious rhymes.
And always consider getting some music lessons every now and then, just to keep you fully polished and progressing.
Most importantly, turn up on time, be professional and don’t be a dickhead. Even if you’re not quite as good a musician as others, when you have the right attitude, work hard and get on with the job, it can get you a long, long way.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Cant say the virus 🙂
Not having any double glazing, It’s bloody freezing here!
What’s your favourite song to play live?
Jumping Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones is awesome to play live. There’s a bunch of long, sustained chords in it, so I can really rip into my guitar and snarl into the mic. It always gets a good reaction too. Loads of fun!
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Nope, not a single. It’s a new EP that’s on its way, called Episode1, containing five brand new tracks. I’m really chuffed with how it’s turned out. If you’re into your indie rock it’s definitely worth a listen. It’s a mix of guitar rock, New York punk and some new wave synth stuff going on in there. A couple of the tracks are getting some airplay, so listen out for Full Moon, Empty Promises.
Release date is 11 December, but you can pre-order a limited edition CD right now, with digital downloads included. Check it out at www.coldculprits.com. Go on, have a nosey at it. You know you want to 😊
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Don’t sneeze while you’re having a piss. It’s not a good idea. Hopefully I’ll see you at a gig sometime when all this craziness is behind us. Cheers!
Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.