Strummerville Spotlight on The Penny Black Remedy

As one of our bands we’re delighted to announce that the release date of The Penny Black Remedy‘s debut album ‘No One’s Fault But Your own‘ is officially 18th May. The album has been independently recorded and released via their own label (Soundinistas) and will be available via iTunes and directly from their website. We caught up with Keith M. Thomson (singer/songwriter) and fired a few questions his way …

Who are you?

Keith M Thomson – Vocals/Guitar/Songwriter
Marijana Hajdarhodzic – Vocals/Percussion
Steve Nelson – Bass/Vocals
Wilco Van Eijk – Drums/Vocals

How long have you been together? / how did you get together?

The four of us have been working together as The Penny Black Remedy for around 16 months.  Meeting each other was a pleasingly serendipitous affair.  When I moved from Edinburgh to London, I had a real desire to form a band who were fearless of categorization and who didn’t mind casual swearing.  It was essentially through playing a lot of shows in London as a fairly lugubrious and perpetually inebriated singer-songwriter that provided me with the opportunity of fortuitously stumbling into Marijana, Steve and Wilco (all on different occasions, a bit like Monkey: Journey To The West, except that none of us were born in an egg or have had a fight with a dangly spiderwoman).  We did, however, bond very quickly over our shared love of music, openness to marmite and lack of money.

Tell us your inspirations

Musically, I’m inspired by anything with unabashed passion, boundless energy, an unimpeachable sense of integrity and ideally a catchy chorus with some witty words.  Really, as a song-writer and more pertinently as a human being, I’m very much inspired by anything which isn’t completely vacuous, needlessly offensive or just plain annoying.

Tell us about your style of music

I mentioned before that we’re pretty fearless in the face of categorization, so it’s an enormously tricky thing to sum up in a nutshell. Stylistically, we consider ourselves fairly broad, which will happen if you throw in as many disparate influences as indiscriminately as we do.  In an attempt to avoid being viewed as just another cowardly musician trying to deflect that specific question, I was recently asked to sum up the album in five words, to wit: “Cheerful sing-a-longs about uncheerful things”.  I hope that helps.

What are your recording / performing Highlights so far?

We recorded and mixed our album in Zagreb, Croatia last Autumn, and it was a truly wonderful experience.  We very much wanted to capture the energy of our live show, as much as is feasibly possible.  We’re all incredibly pleased and proud of the resulting album (“No One’s Fault But Your Own”).  It was also great to take ourselves out of the comfort zone of our London base.  It really helped us to focus on the matter at hand.  We also very much fell on our feet working with such a discerning, creative and pleasingly patient producer as Robbie Nappholz.   Performing wise, as a band in London, you’re kind of spoiled for choice with regards to playing historically magical places.  Playing The Forum at The 2008 UK Indy Awards was extremely exciting for us, as we also won their award for best Alternative Act.  The 100 Club was also a thrilling experience, given our love of The Clash and The Pistols.  We were especially enamoured by the dressing room.  It has a very high standard of witty graffiti, as you would rightly expect from such a venue.  I remember one stating “Ireland for the Irish” to which someone had replied “Peckham For The Peckish”.  Marvelous.

Favourite song lyric ever written?

Difficult.  I’m just going to have to pick an old favourite at random from my very limited memory…OK, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” from Anthem by Leonard Cohen.  “I shot a man in reno, just to watch him die” from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash is also a particular favourite.   I’m terrible at decisions.

Plans for 2009

We’re looking forward to hitting the road to promote our new album, “No One’s Fault But Your Own”, which is out on the 18th May.  On which note, all of us at The Penny Black Remedy would like to say an enormous thank you to Strummerville for all the help they gave us during the process of actually getting our album out. The work they do in helping new bands get off the ground is revolutionary, unique and absolutely vital.  We can’t think of a more appropriate and deferential way of continuing the legacy of Mr Joe Strummer.

All band links:

Download their debut single ’95 Charing Cross Road’ exclusively for FREE on Strummerville DIY

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