Brexit Chainstore Massacre

By John Clay

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The Widows are politically aware if their last single is anything to go by. I had a word with Kim Le Tan about the current climate and their forthcoming album.

Kim Le Tan: I’ve been feeling pretty jaded politically of late for obvious reasons. Though when that story broke about the EU elections with EU nationals living in the UK being turned away from polling stations across the land and told things like “go and vote in your own country”, that really got my blood up. Whether by design or incompetence, it seems the fascist agenda is most certainly underway, which is nothing short of horrifying IMO. I guess you could say there are other political references on the record apart from Brexit Chainstore Massacre, but I shall leave that to our listeners to pick up on. No point spoiling the surprise in these heady days of democratic collapse.

And how do you feel about May’s tearful speech?

Kim Le Tan: It was pathetic, really. Self-pitying hypocrisy of the highest order. If she’d showed a bit of that humanity from the get-go, rather than being an inflexible, intransigent hard right stooge, she could’ve done something positive. But as the old cliche goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and she proved utterly incapable of either wielding one nor taking on the other. I just find it staggering that the Tories have any support left at all – I mean, can you imagine voting for that? To my mind, they essentially represent the dark, sociopathic element of the collective unconscious, the part that compels us to be self-serving cunts. And the truth is we are all more than capable. It’s just that some find it a much stronger impulse than others, usually those who already have everything. I hope she enjoys her retirement running through endless fields of wheat while Boris ushers in a golden age of pure, unregulated, American-style Disaster Capitalism. Fun times await. Okay, rant over.

No, please continue with your rant. Is there much to complain about on the forthcoming album? We want details, please.

Kim Le Tan: I wouldn’t call it complaining, more reflecting my personal views on specific issues, some of which happen to stem from politics. It’d be weird if that were totally absent seeing as we live in the most politically charged times in living memory. But actually most of the songs are about individuals, real or imagined, and their shadow. We all have this aspect in our psyches that we’re terrified to confront but which unconsciously drives our emotions and behaviour. It’s the great personal challenge of the human animal, understanding and reconciling the shadow.

People are starting to talk about your band now (Joyzine has picked you as one of their bands to watch), have you picked up on this buzz and how does it reflect on all your hard work this year?

Kim Le Tan: To be honest, I only realised via a post from Deux Furieuses who are playing Camden Rocks on Sunday, too. They’re also one of Joyzine’s ‘bands to watch’ and kindly named us in their post. Definitely worth checking out. Working with the right people who believe in what you do is really important, and it’s pretty evident that the further you can cast the net is down to more than just music, performance and looking cool – though it’s fair to say that these are relatively important. I’ve thought it’d be interesting as a kind of (expensive) experiment to buy billboard space to promote a new album, for example, of an unknown band and see what happens. Would the simple fact of it existing in the public space as an “officially sanctioned product” mean that it started selling, even if hardly anyone had any prior knowledge of this particular band? If anyone reading this has a spare £5000+ kicking about, I’d be happy to give it a try!

In this day of the playlist and singles chart, the idea of an album is perhaps not as revered as it used to be. Is this a good or a bad thing in your opinion?

Kim Le Tan: The technology we’re subject to makes it inevitable. All digital media platforms are vying for our ever-diminishing attention spans. I’d say this is especially true of teens and the so-called millennials, who were born ‘tech in hand’ so to speak, and, as far as I can tell, are being meta-programmed by its innovators for corporate and financial gain. I read an essay to that effect recently and was struck by the notion that younger generations are being covertly conditioned by the astonishing digital creations of an older generation. And this, of course, affects the format of all media, essentially reducing it down into smaller and smaller units. But then you get the reaction against it and people within a specific age range and with particular interests who choose to carry the torch of the old LP format, buying vinyl, taking the time and (by modern standards) the enormous effort to listen to a whole, entire album in one go.

Very intriguing. We here at Public Pressure feel ever grateful that you allowed ‘Brexit Chainstore Massacre’ to feature on our compilation earlier this year. Pick three bands from that collection to say a few words about, but only three!

Kim Le Tan: Well, thanks a lot for including us on the comp. There are certainly some fine tracks on there, great to be involved. Apart from BCM, I especially like Arrows Of Love, Nova Twins and Atomic Suplex’s contributions. I’d happily pay to see all of them live.

Caught Atomic Suplex the other night supporting Snakerattlers. Had a massive grin on my face. That motorcycle helmet Jim wears does it for me every time. You don’t have a specific stage gimmick, do you? Though you do wade out into the crowd a fair bit. Any surprises for your upcoming show at Camden Rocks?

Kim Le Tan: The word ‘gimmick’ makes me think of a novelty act on Eurovision, like Lordi. Remember them? Brilliant, throwaway entertainment, which is the exception to the rule of course, because novelty acts are usually dire. We’ll be debuting a new song, The Victim, at Camden Rocks. Could well be our next single.

What’s The Victim about and also who do you plan to see at Camden Rocks?

Kim Le Tan: It’s basically about the consequences of unforgivable behaviour. I’ll say no more than that. I plan to trawl from venue to venue and catch whoever happens to be playing. There are so many great bands on the bill that I’ve no doubt I’ll come across some amazing stuff just by leaving it to chance. It’s gonna be fun!

Great stuff, and thank you for being so frank in your answers. Feel free to plug the time you’re on and anything else relevant to your stint at Camden Rocks!

Kim Le Tan: It’s been a pleasure! The Widows are on at 15:30 at Music & Beans, 82 Camden High Street on Sunday 2nd June.

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Cover photo by Stacy Picard