Men’s Adventures are rock and roll broncos who won’t be reined. I saw them sometime around the scrag-end of last year in Dalston’s Hysteria, and it was clear they were a class apart from the other bands traipsing round E8. Playing drowsy vignettes fuelled by psychobilly surf-rock and an Ennio Morriccone sense of dread, they wore suits as sharp as their tongues.
The band are made up of Jimmy Casson, 27, and Alfie Smith, 26, and are about to release their debut E.P Solitary Trip, through Dirty Bingo records. It comes out on 24th June, but in advance of that we’ve got an exclusive stream of it here. It's ace.
The band play a launch show in Dalston on the 25th June.
There’s a defined aesthetic to the band, from the slick hair to the music via the tats and the clothes. Is this something you’ve considered or something that’s just occurred naturally?
Alfie: The way we look is pretty natural, this is how we dress. As with most people you change the way you dress over the years but we have looked like this for a while now, Jimmy especially. I definitely have my days off in a hoody and a hat though!
How important is the way bands are styled to you?
Jimmy: If they are 'styled' I don't really care. I think chemistry is more important, whenever I watch a band, that's what I am looking at. How are they with each other? How much is rehearsed and how much is natural? These are the important elements to me. When it's not there, it stands out, it's hard for me to stay interested. If they don't really care, if it's not in their blood and they don't live for it and whole heartedly believe in what they are doing, why should I give a fuck? There's a million bands, I wanna go see the guys and girls who really mean it…
Alfie, you opened the Victoria in Mile End a while back and it’s seen every East London band pass through. What’s your opinion on the music scene round that way at the moment?
Alfie: Round here? As in Mile End? Not much goin' on down here really, there’s no venues and we aren't putting on live music anymore either. We've been putting on gigs for 5 years and after repeated complaints from neighbours and the council being arseholes and not willing to help the area grow we decided we will do better without music, and we are. I like going elsewhere to see gigs now. We had seen bands coming down and playing here for years, we felt like it was time for us to go out and play a bit!
Who was the last band that made you really sit up and think they were something special?
Jimmy: Well like I said, I have pretty strict criteria for contemporary bands that I will feel passionately about. Probably the only band recently that I have seen that I really believed in and that made me sit up, is SAVAGES, they are brilliant. They play their instruments like they mean it and command the stage like they own it. I was at their first show and i've been to many subsequent shows and it comes as no surprise to me that they have blown up like they have. Fay (Drummer) is a good friend of mine and I can tell you those girls have worked fucking hard to be where they are now and that's what I wanna see from a band, that's what makes me sit up!
Alfie: Telegram. I've been waiting for my mate Matt to start a band for years and I knew he had been putting ideas together for some time but he refused to rush it. Now they've started playing live, it’s been well worth the wait, they'll be huge soon.
What do you both do when you’re not in Men’s Adventures?
Jimmy: I do bits and pieces of freelance work, engineering, DJing, I work with other bands either producing or helping them out with demo's. I don't sell myself particularly well, so work trickles in slowly through word of mouth. I'd love to do more, that's where I am most happy, working on music related projects. I want some film makers to contact us as I'd love to do some original soundtrack music for something.
Alfie: I run the bar and I do Men's Adventures. I haven't got much time to do much else apart from drinking and smoking…
Tell us about Men’s Adventures the magazine, which you are named after…
Alfie: Men's Adventures is more of a style of magazine, like pulp fiction mags. There were about from the 50's and for many years after, but lost the audience when they started looking a bit dated around the 80's. Like a very innocent FHM, but more storytelling, a lot of it based on true stories from the war or some explorer, and there’s always a girl wrapped up in some kind of danger. The writers and illustrators are amazing and inspired the way I write for the band.
On ‘Friends’ you sing: “I wish that I had more friends.” Is this true? How many of your own Men’s Adventures make it into the songs?
Jimmy: 'Friends' is a song I wrote a while ago to be honest, I was and still am pretty content with the amount of friends I have, haha! That's not really what it's about. It's more about insecurity. I think when writing, it's easier to channel emotions you have felt rather than the ones you are feeling. If I am actually depressed or extremely happy, for example, I think I'm usually working on other elements like mixing or recording rather than actual lyric writing and obviously when Alf is writing the lyrics it's not my problem! Writing for me comes most natural when I am in more of a neutral state or the aftermath of a particularly extreme emotion, whatever that may be.
Alfie: Obviously our own experiences and adventures go into it, but in my case usually hidden within a much more interesting character who has much more to offer than just me.
Where are you playing next?
Jimmy: We are doing something in Cannes next week, and back in the UK playing the Library in Leeds with a band called Post War Glamour Girls on the 24th June.
Alfie: Then our EP launch at Birthdays on Tuesday the 25th of June, come down and check it out.