Pete Bones & The Stones of Convention

Pete Bones’ new album ‘Wild Moose Chase’ is a seven-track, heavy-duty, dark-disco spectacular. Ahead of its release on the 24th June we put Pete through our quickfire Q&A. 

Why music?

Because music is the answer. You see what I did there….

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?

I presume you mean career-wise, as I do do other things other than make and play music, like staring at the contents in people’s fridges, deliberating for hours when ordering Belgian beers online, and being a good son by taking my mums out for lunch. I actually have no idea what I’d be doing if I hadn’t scraped a living out of music, maybe I’d be an ethical porn director.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

‘Neither a borrower nor lender be’. My dad, bless him, was a charmingly old school gent who didn’t believe in buying anything on credit, and always being happy with one’s lot. He also thought it was outrageous to expect to make a living doing something you loved. I think he finally got it that I was a success right before he died and he even managed a bit of a proud smirk. I didn’t get much else from him other than his stoic frugalism. Basically, I’m a bit of a tight git.

What inspires you?

TBH I don’t really need much external inspiration, I just play around with ideas until something tangible starts to form. I listen to a shit load of music obviously, and have always been a bit of a punk, so I suppose I get some of my starting ideas from rather unusual sources. 

What’s the next big thing?

The what? In music or just in life? I’m hoping that a bigger thing will be people paying for music and being more mindful of just how much effort musicians put into their art, and while the people who are in in for the right reasons don’t give a shit about money, if it dries up there won’t be any, especially of the good stuff. 

Wild Moose Chase by Pete Bones And The Stones Of Convention

Best club experience?

Hmmm, probably at an un-named club in Miami when I was throwing a Red Ant party. It was about 3 am, the place was pumping, but I’d been having problems with the staff all night; not honouring drinks tickets, heavy-handed doormen, usual Miami WMC biz, and the manager came up and told me the night was finishing in 5 minutes. When I protested and even showed him the contract that said 5 am, he told me it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and even got the biggest bouncer to come over and start pushing me around. I said ok ok, went into the booth, made sure no one was looking, emptied out my record bag and unplugged the brand new Pioneer mixer and put it in said record bag. I waited for them to finish pushing everyone out, said no hard feelings eh and left with my records under my arm and bag on my back. Know your strengths.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

My worst job was without doubt my first job, at a mushroom farm in Staines aged about 14. Not even the good kind of mushrooms. I don’t even like mushrooms. It was pretty grim, I think I lasted about an hour, started a mushroom fight and got fired.

How do you know when a track’s finished?

Ha a track is never finished is it? It’s funny how when I listen back to stuff I wrote in the 90s as The Shaker whilst most of it hasn’t necessarily stood the test of time, the tracks do all sound finished. Maybe that’s all it takes, a lot of time, because when I listen to my more recent work, I always find some little tweak I would make if I had the chance again.

What was your last day job and when did you realise you could give it up?

 I can’t actually remember my last day job. It was way over 30 years ago I know that. I was training to be a quantity surveyor when I finally stopped getting fired from jobs after a few weeks. I’m guessing it was as a trainee QS in Isleworth around 1989. I suppose I realised I could quit when I was offered my second residency gig in 1991. I was already playing once a month on a Sunday and was offered a weekly Tuesday night in Weybridge at the Hand & Spear. The rest as they say….

Which song do you wish you wrote?

In the rock/pop world probably ‘Up The Junction’ by Squeeze or ‘Are Friends Electric’ by Tubeway Army. In the dance music domain that’s much tougher as it’s more about production quality. There are guys like Prins Thomas and Pete Herbert who always seem to be at least one step ahead…

What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?

Errr, do you mean with raw talent or connections? I can only speak from the former position I suppose, so keep plugging away, have your own style and don’t compromise it. If you’re good enough it will happen eventually. 

What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?

I dunno, what’s the worst question you’ve ever asked?!

Recommend us a film.

’12 Angry Men’, old black & white movie about resolution and racism in the US in the 1950s.

Recommend us a book.

‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus. It’s not  particularly long but it just seems to have everything you could ever want in a book. Hope, despair, and the indefatigable strength of the human spirit. He’s a man who can set an atmosphere or draw you into a character with fewer words than any other.

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What or who is underrated?

Underrated bands of our time eh, hmmm, Talking Heads, Gong, Wilco, Beck, Sault.

What or who is overrated?

Again, I’ll just do well known bands, U2, Daft Punk, Black Midi, Stone Roses. Not saying they’re shit, just overrated so easy now. 

What are you addicted to?

Cheeeeeeese Gromit!

What do you lust over?

I’m not particularly materialistic but I do get envious when I see someone in a brand new slick looking camper van.

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What is your greatest regret?

No regrets right? Ok, maybe one, selling my flat to pay a tax bill in the mid 90s, only to find out a year later that the amount had been estimated and I got 3/4s of it back, which was nice, but was like a pittance compared to the appreciation of said flat. Oh well.

What one thing would most improve your life?

That damn camper van of course. And a pill that eliminates hangovers. One that actually works.

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?

God, there’s a lot of bad ones, any professional DJ who started from the bottom will know that. Probably lugging equipment up 3 flights of stairs right at the beginning of my career only to be handed a stack of 7″ singles by the house owner. We turned around and lugged it down again. Oh, and being asked to cover a headline slot by a well-known DJ in the early 90s, only to be told about 3 tracks in that the girl I was with had to leave due to her wearing trainers. I lifted the needle off the record playing, quietly packed all my stuff up and we both walked out to dead air and a couple of hundred people staring at us with their jaws on the floor. 

Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?

PITA, although now virtually works a bit better.

What’s the secret to a great mix?

Get [sound engineer and one half of Peace Division] Drakey to do it.

If you could only listen to one more track, what would it be?

The one I’m working on.

How do you relax?

 I try to get horizontal.

What one piece of software/kit could you not do without? Why?

My guitar.

Art or money?

Anyone who answers money is both very honest and a total wanker.

Strangest place you ever wrote a track?

Room 1, Coral Rock Hotel, Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar.

Must-visit record store?

These days any one that’s still open.

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What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?

Don’t believe the hype. Also the whole plugging set up – yes you can get your record played on 6 Music but it will cost you £1500.

What’s the worst thing about making music?

Being bored of the tracks right at the same time everyone else is getting excited about them.

What’s your motto?

All the ideas, none of the gear.

What’s your favourite label? Why?

Sub Pop probably. I think the name is on the tin. Ugly Bug [Pete’s excellent 90s house label] was a pretty decent label back in the day lol.

Name something timeless

A good riff will always be a good riff.

Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?

Open up your frequencies. It’s obvious once you think about it but like most things, takes time to get right.

Complete this sentence: At heart I’m just a frustrated …

Vulcan. 

Can music change the world?

Surely it does every second of every day, somewhere and to someone’s world.

What are you listening to right now?

The new Crumb album has been on the heaviest rotation in the last couple weeks. Plus the new Simple Symmetry LP.

What should you do before you die?

Help someone achieve something they wouldn’t have been able to do without you.

Pete Bones & The Stones of Convention’s ‘Wild Moose Chase’ is released on the 24th June and you can preview some of the tracks on Bandcamp.

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