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Late Of The Pier

August 2008

ASHLEE Simpson didn't get him. The singer and sister of Jessica was clearly baffled by Late Of The Pier's synth magician Potter when they met for Channel 4's The Green Room.

"That was really fun, actually," he says.

"I said to myself I'm not going to think about it, I'm just going to be impulsive and honest and see what happens."

He was seen on the late night show, interrogating her as she squirmed uncomfortably.

"I just wanted to know who she was really. I'm not that good with new people. I am if you get me but if you don't I just confuse the hell out of people."

It's understandable. During our chat he insists: "I'm not even using my voice today, I'm using somebody else's."

He adds: "I was just trying to scope her out. And she wasn't a very nice person, to be honest. She was really plastic. Then when her boyfriend came in - I didn't know who he was at first. That Pete Wentz fella (of Fall Out Boy and now her husband), apparently I offended his perception of Britain. He was like 'is this British humour?'

"Kelly Rowland was amazing, though. The picture of elegance. A star. She was really friendly, really respectful. She was actually interested."

Even though it's late morning, Potter has just woken up.

"I've a bit of a fuzzy head and the sun's shining on it and making it worse."

Have you been sleeping outside?

"No but I'm outside now, topless, flaunting my nipples at all of South London."

You live in London?

"No, Radcliffe-on-Trent."

The quartet met at primary school in Castle Donington but consider themselves a Nottingham band.

"Basically Derby had nothing so we went to Nottingham and Nottingham gave us things."

Like what?

"The Liars Club and Wollaton Hall."


"The place is beautiful."

You weren't there last weekend for Splendour?

"No. I think we got asked to play it but then they... didn't ask us. Which is weird because we are a Nottingham band. It's funny because I don't think people realise we're a Nottingham band."

The Liars Club at The Bodega Social Club hosted a number of pre-fame bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Scissor Sisters and was a regular haunt of the four-piece.

It was where they were inspired to inject dance in to their music.

"It was this kind of community thing and it was a little bit cutting edge and before its time. And there were some insane people there. Freaks and weirdos."

Under this influence, LOTP evolved from a "Gang Of Four rip-off" in to a type of band that is hard to pigeonhole. Load the forthcoming album, Fantasy Black Channel, in to iTunes and it'll say electronica but it's also indie rock and pop.

"We're trying to be pioneering," he says, citing a Cut Copy gig at The Liars Club as a big influence on them.

"The whole nation thinks we're a bunch of zany kids but we're deadly serious, kind of scientists of sound who want to do something quite important for the music world."

Comparisons to the Klaxons - or anyone - tend to grate.

"We try as hard as we can not to be compared to anyone," he says.

I can hear traces of Gary Numan, Van Halen, Duran Duran and David Bowie on the album - there is an 80s influence, he admits.

"It was a wildly experimental time in music and clothes and we can really relate to that. It was like you could get away with trying to do a lot more in them days whereas now people try to nail us into a particular area. But every song has different reference points."

The album is produced by Erol Alkan.

"We were going to do a completely electronic album but he brought out this band in us. We're using traditional instruments a lot more. A lot of vintage synths and stuff. He's really influenced by Joe Meek so he had us putting a guitar part through a ventilation shaft just to see what happened."

What happened?

"It didn't work. It just went upstairs in to an office.

"But we had loads of fun in the studio."

Last month they played The Eden Project with the Kaiser Chiefs.

"And White Lies. They're going to be huge."

He's also a fan Nottingham bands Clarky Cat and La La Lepus, name-checking local "heroes" on his blog on the band's website.

In the autumn Late of The Pier will be organising their own shows in warehouses and "weird venues" featuring other bands.

"We're a bit sick of playing daggy venues."

Their last local gig, at The Polish Eagle Club, included a pre-show kickaround on the Forest Recreation Ground. Sort of.

"It was a shambles. Our bassist organised it and none of us could do it," because they can't play football.

"It was ill-conceived, nonsense really."

Late Of The Pier will play a short set at Fopp in Queen Street on Tuesday August 5 at 5pm to promote the new single Heartbeat. The album Fantasy Black Channel is released on August 11.

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