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“Reverb, Tremolo, Cigarettes.” -The Bookhouse Boys

DarkMedia Interviews The Bookhouse Boys:

Named after the secret society of vigilantes from David Lynch’s iconic psychological thrill-ride, Twin Peaks, The Bookhouse Boys truly does justice to the depth, mystery and unique nature of their namesake.  Their rich, sensual style is accomplished by not five, not six, but eight incredibly talented musicians: Paul Van Oestren (vocals/guitar), Catherine Turner (vocals), Pete Emms (drums), William Emms (bass), JP Fellows (keyboards), Heddy Korachi-Alaoui (drums), Natty Defriend (trumpet), and Charlie Beringer (trumpet).

While filmmakers like Lynch and Quentin Tarantino build mystery and style with their dialogue and artistic vision, they could never do it as well without the depth, tone, and unforgettable mood created by artists like The Bookhouse Boys.  It’s the soundtrack to a heightened reality.

DarkMedia was privileged to sit down with Paul, Catherine and Will to talk about the artists who’ve inspired them, how they define their sound, and what’s next for The Bookhouse Boys.

Your name is from the Twin Peaks Secret Society, formed to combat the darkness surrounding the town. Can you tell us a little about what David Lynch has meant to you, and why you decided to pay tribute to him, and Twin Peaks, with your band name?

Paul: Catherine was the one who came up with the idea of calling our band The Bookhouse Boys. Weird seeing as she’s the only girl!

It definitely fitted our gang mentality at the time…

I came across Twin Peaks when it first aired in the UK, my dad absolutely loved it, and for some reason allowed the 10 year old me to watch it!! It scared the absolute crap out of me. Bob at the end of Laura’s bed stuck with me for a long time!! He (my dad) also bought the “Falling” single, which i played A LOT around that time. (It came with a free “I killed Laura Palmer” bumper sticker, which promptly got stuck on his van window, next to a blonde haired manikin!!)

Theres such a beautiful ethereal air to that bunch of songs Lynch and Badalamenti created. I wouldn’t say we, as a band, are influenced by them, more that I just find them quite inspirational… I love a good soundtrack and that one’s right up there.

If we could have been a soundtracks only band, I think we would have jumped at the chance!

Catherine:  Before The Bookhouse Boys formed, Badalamenti was an influence on music I was writing, and music Paul and Will were playing, although in very different ways. Badalamenti’s music is so complimentary to Lynch’s work. In many ways they are both structured in their form just with otherworldly subject matter. That’s one of the things that is so intruiging about Lynch — the familliarity of the smalltown or suburban setting & archetypal characters becomes contorted by darker elements which we don’t necessarily want to accept as ‘of ourselves’, but which are familiar in their own right.

“Tales To Be Told” is the title of your album. Can you tell DMC readers how you came up with that title?

Catherine: It’s a lyric from History. Album titles are nearly as hard to decide on as band names. You want something more than white noise without being too pompous. Plus you’ve always got half an eye on a journalistic response – you don’t want to leave yourself open to a pun. Tales To Be Told felt right as lyrically the album is full of stories…

Paul: Exactly as she said! Actually, our debut album was full of truths and situations that had happened to me, stuff I needed to get out/vent. But with this record, I really intentionally set out to write in a more “fly on the wall” fashion. I love that observational writing that Lou Reed had going on on Berlin.  I’m sure there are bits on there that a couple of friends MUST realise are about them!!!

“Tales To Be Told” was picked out by Catherine (again!) as a good title. History is actually the only song on the record that is about a “me” situation, autobiographical if you like.  A very honest song about the birth of my first son.

The use of trumpets in your band gives you such a classic edge. Can you describe your influences, and how you came to include brass in your music?

Paul: The inclusion of brass early on with The BHBs came about coz we were doing a lot more surf-y stuff… the bold brash mariachi tints to stuff like Dick Dale or The Fender IV. Surf is not a very popular or “big” genre of music in the UK. Obviously everything is far more available nowadays, what with the internet and all, but my first experience of proper surf music was through the Pulp Fiction soundtrack — Tarantino’s soundtrack.

Trying to get hold of Tornadoes records at car boot sales (our version of yard sales) was a mild obsession of mine for a while!!

Image by John Hooper

How would you define “surf music”?

Catherine: Paul?

Paul: I guess it’s a bunch of good garage bands that never much fancied getting a singer! When we very first started playing as The Bookhouse Boys, my kind of goal was to make Surf music, but with words/melody/lyrics. It was that simple! Sound wise we’ve moved on from there somewhat!

You played a show on November 24th at The Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park to launch your new single “Fever Lullaby”. For your fans in America, any plans for a tour out here?

Catherine: Touring America is something you need to do properly. I think in an ideal world we’d love nothing more — and playing SXSW is on my life wish list. Being an 8 piece band who have collectively sired 7 children makes it logistically problematic – but we will get there.

Paul: Yeah, SXSW would be an awesome starting block to getting us over to the US. The thing is, we are signed to an Indie label, Black Records, over here, who simply don’t have the money to be sending us over. As you can imagine, it would cost a small fortune just to get us over to you in the first place! But we all really want to, would love to, we just have to wait for the right opportunity!

When can we hope to see your new video for “Fever Lullaby”?

Catherine: It is now up, ready and waiting for you here. We made it with our good friend John Hooper in the woods by Paul’s folks’ house. There was a slightly edgy moment when they police sent their dogs into the woods after some joyriders. It could have ended up a very different video.

What bands and/or solo artists would you say have had the greatest impact on your music? What new bands do you listen to now?

Will: Standard 8 people with wildly different music tastes response.  New music wise, to me at least, I’m enjoying Lykke Li, Colin Stetson, Girls, The Walkmen, Dirtly Beaches, Morphine, PJ Harvey, Fucked Up, Wild Beasts, The Unthanks, Kenny Graham and his Satellites.

Catherine: (How?) New bands: Girls, Low, Gillian Welch, Tennis.

Paul: Will’s not wrong there, if you’d had all 8 band members responses they’d all be wildly different! I would say, honestly, no one band/artist about today influences our band, we kind of influence each other and make the racket we do, by just playing.

Records I’m listening to and enjoying a lot at the mo’: Massive Attack Heligoland, PJ Harvey Let England Shake, Portishead Third, Iggy Pop The Idiot (Iggys is and always has been my go-to artist, love him!)

You have such a unique sound when compared to other artists in the music industry today. What bands do you feel would be a good fit to tour with?

Will: Someone with a similar sense for the dramatic and filmic. It could be another big band or someone who just makes incredibly quiet intense music. Dan Michaelson’s new record sounds pretty “Close”.

Catherine: Hmmmm….

Paul: We have always enjoyed playing with Johnny Flynn, with or without his band. He’s an exceptional song-writer and a lovely guy. Not sure how much of a good fit he is to us musically, but most of playing shows together is about the bands getting on!!

Congratulations on the success of “With You”. How did you find out it was playing on XFM?

Catherine: My brother’s brother-in-law texted me on his way to work.

Paul: Annoyingly, I knew through our label that we were being play listed on XFM and BBC 6 music, before the month started, so I didn’t get that happy random surprise thing!

For those who like it Dark, can you tell us your favorite horror film(s)?

Paul: Kevin Smiths Red State…BRILLIANT. Is that horror tho!? The Shining still manages to f**K me up a bit after watching it.

Gore films don’t really do it for me…far too cynical!!

Will: It’s gotta be realistic or possible to be frightening. Can’t think of a single horror film that I have seen other than Nightmare on Elm Street which isn’t frightening, just ridiculous and Rosemary’s Baby, which is a good movie but the ending doesn’t fit my realistic or possible criteria. Should get out to the cinema more often.

Catherine: Don’t Look Now – It may not count as a typical horror but it is terrifying.

Have you ever had a paranormal encounter?

Will: I’m told that I used to tell my mum about a red headed woman in the house when I was a kid when there couldn’t have been anyone there. She’d seen a ginger cat in the house too, but could never find it.

I have all sorts of ideas about children’s minds, the doors of perception, parallels with senile dementia and ghosts which are totally contrary to my rational views of the world.

Heddy (BHB drummer) has good stories about Roman Legionaries in his back garden.

Catherine: No.

Paul: I’m pretty sure I saw a little boy or girl in a white night dress walking down a hall at my old school, but I was a bit messy at the time, so it could well be blamed on something other than the paranormal… still freaked me out!

Where do you hope to see The Bookhouse Boys in a year?

Will: Third Album in the can after a great summer playing some great shows at festivals across Europe.

Catherine: Giving our third record it’s first outing at SXSW.

Paul: Exactly what they’ve said! There is nothing better than getting out with a bunch of new songs and playing good festivals.

It was a pleasure to interview you. Can you give us three words to describe then band for those who haven’t heard your music yet?

Paul: Reverb, Tremolo, Cigarettes

Will: Listen to it.

Catherine: A bit filthy.

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You can find The Bookhouse Boys currently featured on DarkMediaCity, a free social network for those who like it Dark.  Whether it be literature or film, music or art, horror or sci-fi, paranormal romance or paranormal investigation, we’ve got something for you.  www.DarkMediaCity.com

They can also be found on their website.

Many thanks to our contributing music interviewers, Annie & Kelly.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission, excepting links to the interview.)

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