Standard Fare - The Noyelle Beat (March 16, 2010)
Music was the family business for Emma Kupa. Her mother was in the Eighties anarcho-punk band Poison Girls. So perhaps it wasn't too surprising when she and teenaged pal Danny How started playing together. When they poached drummer Andy Beswick from Danny's brother's band, Standard Fare's alluring blend of adolescent crushes, young adult sexual longing, and gleeful indie-pop melody was born. Pitchfork.com wrote of the Sheffield, UK trio, "The album's highlights-- 'Fifteen (Nothing Happened),' in which lead singer and bassist Emma struggled mightily with her temptation to sleep with a 15-year-old, or 'Philadelphia,' where she waited a year to revisit an overseas fling in the titular city-- hit upon an acidic, wide-eyed middle ground." Bar/None released Standard Fare's debut album The Noyelle Beat in March, 2010. After a second album, Out Of Sight, Out Of Town in 2011, the group disbanded in 2013 but remains on friendly terms.
|Standard Fare today|
A Conversation With Standard Fare
Q.) Emma is playing with Mammoth Penguins these days. What are Dan and Andy up
Dan: We have a couple of bands together; Skeletal Shakes, where we play indie-punk-pop, and The Hangtown Thieves, which is old-time country-rockabilly. They're quite different but both great fun to play around with. We don't take them out much, but we're always writing and recording new things.
Q.) You got to tour America twice around the time of The Noyelle Beat. What was
your biggest surprise in the States, something you weren't expecting?
Dan: The biggest surprise to me was how far this scene went. We traveled all that distance and to cities we'd never been to, but we'd still meet these bands who played and loved the same music as us. We'd meet people in the afternoon and they'd drive 2 hours just to see the show that night, and people who'd let 3 strangers stay at their house just because they had guitars! Everyone really looked out for us.
Andy: Having the chance to tour the US, twice! with the guys and the band! was the best thing ever, and was a lot of fun! The roads there are much much longer than any road in the UK, haha. However every gig we played was well worth the drive! I'd say the Splorks gig was something I wasn't expecting, when they combined chucking an array of teddy bears around the audience in a mosh pit (and we all joined in). That was the most insane thing I had ever witnessed :)
Emma: The DIY scene in the US is full of such lovely people. We were shown such kindness. The first Philadelphia show we did was in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere and we were getting electric shocks off the microphones but it was fun. There were a lot of long drives but the drive from NYC to New Haven was the worst as it was during a major storm and we had to keep driving past and even getting out to move fallen down trees in the road. We got to a dive bar pretty shell-shocked but played our set anyway.
Q.) I know you played SXSW in Austin and a festival in Athens,GA, two cities that have produced great U.S. indie rock. Did you have any heroes or landmarks in those cities that you were especially excited about?
Andy: I just remember weaving through people, with beers in our hands, in the sun, walking around the streets at the SXSW festival and there was a different sound coming out of every door we passed! It was incredible there being a part of it. We had a busy schedule, but I do remember getting the chance to see Rival Schools set. I had never seen them before, and they were awesome, they had a massive sound with popping drums!
Emma: There was a great buzz in both cities while we were there. SXSW is such an experience and I remember a hairy late night drive with a red-neck taxi driver… We were keen to play Athens because Happy Happy Birthday To Me records had put out some great bands including Sourpatch.
Q.) In NYC, you got to play Death By Audio, one of the city's (now sadly defunct) all ages, DIY venues. I've met people from Europe and Japan who marvel at the concept of illegal, unlicensed underground clubs like that flourishing in a major city. What was your reaction to DBA and are there venues like it in your part of the UK?
Dan: I don't think we really understood the concept until we tried to find the place! I think it was a brilliant idea really, that music should be available to everyone. It might be the difference in legal drinking ages making pubs more accessible but I've only recently started to see similar places in the UK, like an old vegetable warehouse in Nottingham. We played a couple of warehouse shows whilst we were in the US, everyone was totally up for it, it felt really in the moment and it never got out of hand.
Emma: The all-ages thing is really important in the US I think and it is getting more so in the UK. I think it’s difficult to start up unlicensed venues here in the UK but there are more DIY spaces that are legal but are all-ages and bring your own booze like JT Soar (Nottingham) that Dan mentioned and The Audacious Art Experiment (Sheffield) and DIY Space for London.
Q.) As one of the few non-American acts to have been on Bar/None, do you have any bands who have recorded for the label who were big influences or favorites of yours growing up?
Dan: When Bar/None first got in touch I remember seeing they put out Evan Dando's solo album and that was it, I was completely in. He's an absolute hero of mine, the varying sound, slow-soft/fast-loud, I still have the same albums of his on repeat now. It's something I can always go back to and suits many different moods. Now, whenever I hear They Might Be Giants on the radio, it reminds me that we were a part of something really cool.
Andy: I'd not listened to a great deal of the stuff on their label before we were in contact with them, but now, I seem to have records and follow quite a few on it now! Like the Front Bottoms, The Moms, Parlour Tricks, and Of Montreal. It was a pleasure meeting Glenn and Mark and was great fun working with them too, they have a great studio!
Emma: I had a similar experience to Dan in that the connection to Evan Dando was really exciting for me.