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Friday 15th October, 2010 10:05AM

Richie Setford is a man with fingers in pies of many flavours.  From the sunny dub/ska of One Million Dollars, the noisy punk of the Brood and the percussive groove of Batucada Sound Machine, he's nearly done it all. Now popping up with the more introspective and atmospheric Bannerman, we had a chat with Richie about the new record The Dusty Dream Hole and what's next for this musical jack of all trades.

Hey Richie, how’s it goin?

I'm well, feeling a bit chuffed soaking up all the good things people are saying about The Dusty Dream Hole album.

You’re based in Auckland correct? Where you always based there?

Pretty much, although I spent the first 11 years of my life in Marton. Was a cool town to run around in. Playing music started in Pakuranga.

How long has Bannerman been around and what inspired you to start the project?

The first EP was released in 2008 but the songs for that were started around 2005, it seems I take forever to do anything. I guess that's when it felt like I had the feel for what the Bannerman sound might be – atmospheric, slighty unhinged etc. No one thing was the trigger, but I definitely had a desire to move away from soul and funk music and get into something more reflective of who I am. In hindsight I wish I'd made the change earlier.

We were really blown away when we first heard Bannerman, it’s just so different from One Million Dollars and Batucada Sound Machine – has this been a common response? Have you found it hard to create a new image for yourself?

Yeah most people have mentioned the fact – I mean it's pretty hard not to notice. Because the songs are so atmospheric and evocative, I've found it really easy to slip into characters or conjure up imagery. Other people have too, Angela Koeghan who did the artwork has come up with some amazing illustrations and Daniel Batkin-Smith has just shot a vid for The Knife which is a really creepy piece of work – like I don't wanna show my Mum creepy. But we captured the dark content of the tune bang on. Anyway, it's probably as far I'll go with evil shit on this album. I might turn into a shepherd for the next release...

Are there any particular artists you feel has influenced Bannerman, or anyone you’ve taken cues from?

There's been many – as soon as I started really listening to music I was influenced and that stretches out from my Dad's folk and easy listening records, to my sisters 80's pop, to my bass tutors soul/jazz, to my friend's noise punk and ska, to my workmate's flying nun and electronica collection and so all gets processed somehow and I crap it out. The difference from writing a song at 16 and one at 34 is that I can distill it all better – so the influences only get hinted at – hopefully.

You’ve just released your debut album as Bannerman, tell us a bit about it…

Me and drummer Alistair Deverick from The Ruby Suns started rehearsing 26 songs which were planned to make up 2 seperate records when we got to The Lab studios. We got them all ready and tracked them over 3 days. But I didn't have enough time and money to overdub all the tracks and only managed to get 14 sussed – that's The Dusty Dream Hole. Those 14 were the ones I was into at the time but I could've ended up releasing completely different tracks out of the 26. The title came first by the way. So the next release will be the other 12 tunes, they'll have a really similar feeling and will work as a pair – I'm calling it Dearly Departed. After that it's gonna be a band album, cause all the new new tracks have been built up by the live band.

It’s a great example of an “album”, it’s a lot more enjoyable as a whole than as singles – was this intentional?

I don't aim to write singles as such, just songs. Because of that I've had a really hard time working out which tunes to give to radio – and I'm not interested in editing a track just to have it fit a format, so hey, it's my fault if no one hears this stuff. If the song turns out with an identifiable verse and chorus then it's easy – but somehow mine hardly ever do. I'm an album fan – it's fashionable to download singles but it's never been me. Each track is a self-contained work with their own life and imagery. If anything that is what connects the album as a whole.

So there is a quite a bit of talent behind Bannerman recorded and live, tell us a bit about them. How’d you get everyone together?

Well I wanted Flip Grater to guest on some album tracks when I heard her voice, so after she moved to Auckland it made sense to have her in the band – she really wanted a new challenge too, so it's been good for both of us. Cass Mitchell was bass player in the last days of One Mill and she's so versatile and strong, everybody falls in love when they hear Cass play. Finn Scholes was also in One Mill and I didn't really know he could play keys, but now I know better. Oliver Emmit plays in BSM and can do the multi tasking musician thing as well. I really wanted a multi-instrumentalist cause I didn't want the band getting to big in numbers, it didn't work out like that, but those two guys combined amount to the same thing. Alistair going overseas with Ryan meant we never got a chance to show off all the awesome work we did in the studio together so I had to get in Cole Goodley who I knew from old days. That's the story.

You have done a couple of shows in support of the album, any plans for more? What other plans do you have for the release?

Need to play heaps more but I'm afraid of my apathetic nature. Flip's in Europe over October and Cass, Finn and Oliver go to India for 2 months over summer - but we got something lined up for November 19th at Whammy. Yeah, we'll sort more gigs out, I need to show this band off. I'd like to do a vinyl press but I'll have to wait for money to come in. So we just need to gig really...usual story.

What have you been listening to recently?

Lots of kiwi stuff cause I work up at – so on repeat are The Sharpie Crows EP, Full Moon Fiasco, Street Chant and Robert Scott's new one. I'm also loving Atlas Sound and Bill Calahan and have been delving back into the great singers like Nina Simone and Mel Torme.

What would be your dream collaboration?

Me and David Bowie in a Berlin studio.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt musically in the last year?

Good reviews don't sell albums.

What’s the best concert you have ever been to?

Of late it was Jarvis Cocker at the Powerstation with a great support from The Phoenix Foundation.

Best or most memorable gig you have played?

I guess the Bannerman album release show at Whammy was the best so far, cause it all came together so well. But I do remember a One Mill gig in Sydney where you had to drink from a bottle of tequila if you made a mistake – I think that one was good.

If you could share the stage with anyone (band or person) who would it be?

Maybe I could do bvs at a Wilco show one day but only if the band let Jarvis Cocker and Stereolab hump Grizzly Bear as Via Chicago went ape – while Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Ray Davies drowned the rider as John Lennon looked on from beyond.

What does the future hold for Bannerman? Is this going to be a one off for you, or a regular thing?

This is gonna be the start of a long line of releases that take me to my death – walk with me....

The state of music in NZ is...

Horny couple in the back row of a film festival.


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