2013 Artist Survey: Cheatahs | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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2013 Artist Survey: Cheatahs

James Wignall on Music Industry Scams, Embarrassing High School Moments, Edward Snowden, Obamacare, Spotify, and More

Feb 03, 2014 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 11th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the important issues of the last year, as well as some quirkier subjects. Check out our next print issue and digital issue for surveys from My Morning Jacket, Foals, Amanda Palmer, Local Natives, Wild Nothing, These New Puritans, Lanterns on the Lake, Xiu Xiu, and Summer Camp.

Here are answers from James Wignall of England's Cheatahs. Cheatah's self-titled full-length debut album is due out February 11 on Wichita.

Top 10 Albums of 2013

1. Magik Markers: Surrender to the Fantasy 
2. Thee Oh Sees: Floating Coffin
3. My Bloody Valentine: m b v
4. Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven
5. Swearin': Surfing Strange
6. Mogwai: Les Revenants 
7. Factory Floor: Factory Floor
8. Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 3
9. These New Puritans: Field of Reeds
10. Goat: World Music

What was the highlight of 2013, either for you personally or for the band? 

Finishing the album, without a doubt. It was tough as we ostensibly had the album finished at one point, but we decided that what we had was okay, but not good enough, so we re-recorded a lot of stuff, and wrote a lot of new stuff until we were satisfied. The tour we've just finished with Metz was a highlight too, and was the perfect thing to do after the intensity of recording. Super nice guys and just an insanely good band.  

What was the low point of 2013 for you? 

I was homeless for a good few months, just staying on friends' couches, etc.as was Dean [Reid], our bass player. I have my own place now though, thankfully.   

What are your hopes and plans for 2014?

I guess it's as simple as touring as much as we possibly can. 

What are your thoughts on the passing of Lou Reed? Did his music influence you at all and in what way?

I think it affected everyone in the band quite a lotit was a shock. He was a hero to all of us, undeniably a true poet. The importance and influence of VU is immeasurable.    

What are your thoughts on the U.S. government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate?

Well, I'm a Brit, but I have been following it and it just seemed to me that the shutdown was the result of sheer petulance and pigheadedness on the part of the Republicanscompletely avoidable. To hold the country to ransom over affordable care is unforgivable. 

What are your thoughts on Obamacare, now that it's being implemented? 

Universal healthcare is simply a right of every human being. Life in Britain without the NHS is unthinkable. I'm sure the Republicans aren't done trying to sabotage it, but they've come out of this thing so badly that thankfully it's unlikely they'll risk anything like this again.

What is your opinion on the extensive government spying on the world's Internet/phone usage? Is Edward Snowden a patriot or traitor?

Spying on legitimate terror threatssure, you have to. But the extent to which they have been doing it is an infringement on our civil liberties and indefensible. I think Edward Snowden is a patriot, yes, and incredibly brave.  

What are your thoughts on music streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio? Are they good or bad for musicians?

Well, we're on Spotify, but that's out of our hands. Until they pay musicians fairly for using their music, I'd rather we weren'tI think it financially cripples musicians and record labels alike. 

Who was the first person to break your heart? Whose heart did you first break?

To quote Auden: "Hearts that we broke long ago have long been breaking others." That's just the way it is. 

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

All of high school seemed to be generally embarrassing for everyone involved. 

Do bad reviews bother you and which negative review has affected you the most?

Not really, but then the album hasn't come out yet... 

What moment in history do you most wish you could've witnessed in person?

It's a toss up between Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech and seeing Lungfish and Fugazi play on the same bill in '98.

What is your favorite word and why?

"Avuncular." It's a nice word to say.

What was the first R-rated (17+) movie you remember seeing and how old were you?

In the U.K. our version was 18-rated, but I guess it was A Nightmare on Elm Street at a friend's house when I was 11. 

What's the weirdest/grossest thing you've ever eaten?

Not that weird, but maybe to someroasted bone marrow at St. John in Smithfield. 

What was your most disastrous vacation experience?

Snowboarding in Switzerland a few years ago. I cracked a rib on the first day. 

What's the biggest scam in the music industry today?

One of many, but my pet hate is corporations who want to use your songs for little or no money to promote their product/event. "It'll be great exposure..." Piss off.

People filming gigs with their phones: yes or no? If no, what's the best way to prevent it?

In a perfect world, no, but I can't see any way around it. 

What is your biggest regret of 2013?

Probably something to do with a girl. 

Who was the biggest unrequited love of your life?

She knows who she is. 

Which line from a movie or TV show do you most quote?

It variesnormally something from Seinfeld as Nathan, our singer, is a big fan as well. "That's a shame" incredibly sarcastically, etc. In an episode of Louie, David Lynch, playing an old-school producer, says to Louie: "Listen, champchamp is short for champion..." which I've decided I'm going to drop into a conversation at some point.

In 2013, what was the best movie you saw, book you read, comic book you read, video game you played, and/or TV show you watched? 

Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums. Hadn't seen it for ages and forgot how good it is. Book: Finally got around to reading The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. Comic book: Sleepwalk and Other Stories by Adrian Tomine. TV: I watched all of The West Wing again. So good.

www.cheatahs.net



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