MONEY interview: “You just have to look.”

16.03.11, Words by: Charlie Jones

“We are influenced mainly by ideas,” write MONEY via email. It’s a good answer that doesn’t actually reveal a great deal, but then there’s a lot about MONEY that slips just outside the bounds of making straight sense. A distance that isn’t quite ironic, but still knowingly evasive. Towards the end of last year, we came across their video for Letter To Yesterday, which was then up on YouTube under the band name YOUTH. Names are fluid. As well as MONEY and YOUTH, they’ve operated under Books, Méké Menété, and KUNST. Even after emailing them some questions, we still don’t know a lot about them. They come from Manchester, and there are three of them.

The music though, that we can can a grip on. It’s powerful and sincere. Rough and raw melodies, chiming guitars that unfold somewhere between soaring and melancholic, a large, orchestral take on DIY post-punk. Ambitious, but steadfastly in its own space – similar maybe to the way JJ make gorgeous pop, but with a distinctive and rather abstract sensibility. Their YouTube channel contains many of their tracks set to grainy, striking montages. The spidery guitar uncoiling on Other People, the damaged grey soul of Goodnight London and Girls’s stumbling, celebratory, playfulness – although they are yet to put out anything, this already feels bold and memorable.

What name would you like to be known as?

We play under a few aliases because we enjoy playing different kinds of music (Méké Menété, Youth, Books, Money). We have a variety of sets that we play. We don’t really mind what our name is as long as we make music that we are proud of.

Who is involved in the band and how and when did it start?

There are three of us. It began about six months ago.

Where are you based?

Manchester.

Would you say your environment has an affect on the music you make?

Manchester is interesting. It is a melancholic but strangely beautiful place – a kind of gloominess and gritty attitude and landscape. It is really an enigma of sorts. Its artistic heritage is world-renowned as well as it being known as a place of menace and violence. It maintains an element of danger that can be exciting as well as scary at times. You are constantly being forced to mix with all kinds of people here. It is a confrontational city. The limited space and the breadth of conflicting ideology forces its inhabitants to interact however that may be. It compels you to consider yourself and other people from up-close. You cannot escape this city. It’s poetry is in the REAL Manchester pubs full of real people, in the rain, in the hedonism, its boisterous intellect, attitude, community, a struggle, a hopelessness. These sentiments are synonymous with the music and art that has been produced here.

What other artists or bands would you say have been an influence on your music?

All kinds. From afro-beat to our friends who make music.

What things outside of music influence you?

We are influenced mainly by ideas.

I came across you through your video for Letter To Yesterday. Is the visual side of things very important to you?

We are interested in exploring any avenue of expression that can be married to music.

Your internet presence is pretty minimal at the moment. Any reason for that?

We are concentrating on making music at the moment but also have a few myspace accounts and videos on the wonderful youtube. You just have to look.

How do you like people to react to your music?

We believe that the best kind of music is evocative and emotive in the way that it was intended by the maker. By whatever means that may be.

Is playing live important to you?

Playing live is the true test of any band. We are only ever fully won over by a band who can impress us with their live show. It is an integral part of the enjoyment of music for us. We want to see how people perform the music they make because it is the most direct and bare aspect of the conversation or communication.

What are you up to at the moment?

We are recording and writing. We have a basement in the centre of Manchester where we spend most of our time.

Any plans for a release?

We will be releasing our first EP on Manchester label Melodic with a follow up on HIT CLUB.

MONEY will play The Castle in Manchester on April 19th

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