Few bands make people stand up and listen and then dance like Flesh Tetris. Their quirky electro pop is all about fun and smiles. They have a vibrant sound to go with a colourful stage show. Inventive and witty they are making some big ripples on the underground music scene right now. Devolution’s Gary Trueman chatted to the five piece ahead of their recent show at Club Antichrist. Up for discussion was making music without guitars and why DIY makes more sense than ever.
You have an extremely unique sound. How did you all get together and what was the thought process in forming Flesh Tetris?
“Andy Heinz(vocals) and Eva decided that as they were both in bands having long periods of doing absolutely nothing they wanted to do something where they didn’t have to rely on other people. Eva was already playing with Andy Duke (bass) and with him being an amazing bassist he was or first choice. We couldn’t think of anyone else at all and we’re so glad he said yes. We have Jez from The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing on drums. And we have Karen on Keyboards, Theremin and vocals.”
How would you describe your sound? There’s a bit of everything in there with the notable exception of guitar.
“Fun! We decided we weren’t going to have any guitars because we didn’t want any guitar solos because that’s a wasted bit of a song. You might as well have fun and catchy pop, but stuff that we like. Stuff that makes us laugh.”
So basically you’re a party band on stage…..
“Yeah, there’s no limits to what we want to do. We have a lot of fun in rehearsals as well. It’s all about having fun.”
So where do your influences lie?
Karen: “As the keyboard player Kraftwerk for sure.”
Andy Heinz: “I like Sparks and the B52s, that kind of stuff. I like techno and I like disco.”
Andy Duke: “We also listen to new bands. We’re digging Coach Party at the moment. And a band from Brighton we like a lot called CLTDRP. So we’ve got this whole pot pourri of whatever we’re listening to, and that comes out in what we play. Not a week goes by where one of us texts the others about a hidden vintage gem we didn’t know about. We have one foot in obscure veteran territory and the other is in emerging talent.”
Speaking of emerging talent there’s a lot of new young bands coming through the whole music spectrum. They seem to be getting their music out there and finding an audience. Why do you think that is?
“Because they were bored with what was going on. They’ve had a really shit two years so they might as well get together and have fun and we just want to join in. Netflix has had an influence because shows like Stranger Things have made people aware of the day to Day life of another era, and that of course involves music. People just out of their teens or in their teens will watch the likes of Stranger Things. They’ll check it out on YouTube and that makes them enter into genres they might not have been into before. Also games culture as well. It’s a good sign that people are wanting to pick up instruments and play live. And it’s good that people want to see those bands.”
Further back young bands struggled to get their music heard. Digitisation has helped level the playing field hasn’t it?
“Definitely. Things being easy for people to produce stuff themselves these days. You don’t have to go into a studio with a massive mixing desk. You can record at home and get really good results. It’s easier for everybody. It’s also easier for people to share music. It’s instant. People don’t worry about genres either, they just pick and choose from anywhere. It’s just music and if they like it then they like it. Music is still a meritocracy and if people do make it because they are good.”
Do you think it’s going to be harder to get to that mega band level or mega artist level now because the finite amount of fan support is spread out a lot more? Will we continue to see huge 100,000 strong crowds?
“There will always be veteran bands that can command that. To a certain extent it’s like the Menuda model from the Spanish speaking world where you have a boy band that reach a certain age, and a bit like Logan’s Run they get rid of them. So the band just ends up regenerating. A classic example is The Eagles. Glenn Frey died and his son took over. You may see that more and more. But stadium rock is a vile thing in that does it sound great? No. Can it look great? At a huge cost. But that’s not a fun place to be. Although Rammstein do break that rule. Cottage industry is the new model in a way. That doesn’t mean it’s small. That means you have bands that can play all around the world with a loyal fan base playing 1000 capacity venues and can hopefully carry on doing that for a long while. We may not see another Rolling Stones again but there will be more acts like Sparks. Is that a loss toi the music industry? Not necessarily.”
Where are Flesh Tetris in terms of recorded material and song writing?
“Lockdown was incredibly fruitful for us. Thankfully we had access to a studio where we could record tracks. So we were able to record week after week after week. So releasing songs is just a matter of choosing the right time. We don’t want to inundate people with material. It’s a case of being very careful about releases and treating them as something to celebrate. We also don’t want to be overshadowed by every other band that have lockdown songs. We have songs written during lockdown, none of them actually feature lockdown or Covid. If anything we became more escapist from that world. Because we weren’t gigging when we were writing we just went off on our own tangent. We also have stuff we want to finish videos for.”
Gig wise do you have anything booked at all?
“We’ve got a bit booked, some festivals and some London gigs. A few shows around the country.”
Each one of you get to choose a band to share a stage with Flesh Tetris. Who do you choose?
Eva: “Rammstein, because I get really chilly and their shows are very warm. They always put on an amazing show.”
Miller Light (stand in drummer for Jez for the evening): “Magazine.”
Andy Duke: “Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense era. To be able to witness that and to share a stage along side it would be a dream come true.”
Andy Heinz: “I’d like to play with Sparks.”
Karen: “Maybe The Prodigy someone like that. Or LCD Sound System.”