MIMR Band Chat: Factory Acts

We head to Salford for our next act to appear on MIMR and one you will be able to see live in the flesh at tonight Deco Records gig at Gullivers.

MIMR spoke to the duo about their latest plans and playing gigs.

MIMR: Super to have you on the blog, tell us a bit about the band and what kind of music influences your sound?

FA: Hi thanks for having us. We use this tag line to describe ourselves as we think it gets to the heart of what we’re about. We’re a “Salford post-punk, dark-electro duo at the edge of the analogue-digital divide, sometimes dreaming, always dancing. Cork at heart.” Our influences can sometimes be heard in our music, like New Order (bass), Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees (vocal) or Human League (synth). We’re influenced by innovative and boundary pushing artists like Bowie, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, The Fall and electronic and experimental acts like Massive Attack, LCD Sound System, Róisín Murphy, Jon Hopkins, Cabaret Voltaire, Factory Floor, Holly Herndon…and much more. We like to mix analogue warm sounds which the bass usually provides with digital and analogue synthesis. Although I’m stuck behind keyboards and gadgets when playing live we want our music to feel like it’s dynamic and full of movement so I tend to gesticulate wildly with my arms. Sometimes the music is full of harsh industrial sounds and other times we try to create that illusive perfect electropop tune.

MIMR: Whats the latest with the band and what does the future hold?

FA: We’ve got a few great local gigs coming up that will take us to the New Year and hopefully we’ll have a few more interesting gigs on the way in 2020 with some of our favourite musicians too. We’re looking forward to playing with Alice Hubble at the Eagle 3 Oct with Rodney Cromwell and we’ll probably play some more of our synthpop driven tracks for this. We think Alice Hubble is on to something special, even before BBC6 Music and Electronic Sound magazine caught wind of her, so don’t miss out this gig. November is busy starting with a DJ set for Foundations Festival and ending the month with a live gig under the Meltdown banner both at The Peer Hat. Then it’s party season in December so expect some AnalogueTrash label based shenanigans. We’ve been threatening to update our promo photographs too, as I (Susan) don’t look anything now like I did then, so we’ll be working with a talented Manchester based photographer on some exciting ideas. We want to nail that album down too, sooner rather than later. We’ve plenty of tracks but sometimes life just gets in the way. We’re not making any date promises but let’s just say it’s ‘in progress’.

MIMR: Great to see on the bill with our good friends Deco Records this Saturday at Gulliver’s, which venues have you enjoyed playing and why?

FA: Manchester and Salford has some of the best live venues, although sadly some have also disappeared since we starting playing. We still miss the Crescent in Salford, and it’s kind of poignant that our EP launch for Second Amendment was the last gig that happened in the venue. Interestingly tAngerinecAt kindly joined us for that, so it’s great to be playing with them again. We’ve always enjoyed playing the Ruby Lounge (RIP), it’s great to have such good sound on stage and plenty of room to move around. Well, at least Matt can have the freedom to let go with the bass. We actually played there with Brix and The Extricated for their first gig as a band. That was memorable. Of course you can’t beat the holy trinity of Gullivers, The Castle and The Eagle for great sound, wonderful bar staff and engineers and a loyal local fan-base of music lovers. We’ve played so many venues it’s hard to choose but there is something special about playing places like Partisan and The Peer Hat which are as grassroots as it gets. Partisan really care about making music and culture accessible and open and their live music and club night programming really reflects that. The Peer Hat is like our second home we’ve played there so much including a few DJ slots – it’s fun, open, friendly with just the right amount of messiness with band night’s like the Meltdown series to chase the January Blues away and various mini festivals.

MIMR: Your track ‘Are You The Singer’ discusses the discrimination that is still an issue within the music industry. I cover female acts on the blog as much as i can but i know other media outlets ain’t as accommodating, even in 2019. What’s your view, by experience, of this, is it improving?

FA: Yes there is some improvement, but it’s not really happening as quickly as we’d like. We wrote this track because when we started playing live first I’d always have a male sound engineer ask if I was the singer – the assumption is that the guy knows all the technical stuff and probably writes all the music too. This is patronising and also downplays the important creative contribution of singers to bands. When I asked other musicians I know from the UK, Ireland and the USA they came back with similar stories. One really annoying thing is even when mainstream media give more equal coverage to women and non-binary folk making music the questions they are asked are either really predictable or patronising like “what’s it like being a woman in music”, or “how do you manage being a mom and being a musician on the road”. The worst interview I heard with Viv Albertine of The Slits, rather than talk about her new amazing solo album the female BBC broadcaster spent the whole time asking her how can she look so good at her age and what was her secret to staying young? What a wasted opportunity. Thankfully, blogs like yours and the more independent music journalists have shifted the focus and are much better at getting to the heart of a band, which is more than just questions about their gender. Until more promoters, festivals and mainstream music journalists realise that being female is not a genre then we still have some way to go.

MIMR: Great to have you on the blog, wish you well for rest of the year and have a great gig on saturday. How can people follow you on social media?

FA: You can find us on the usual media channels.
Facebook for gig updates: https://www.facebook.com/FactoryActs/

Twitter @FactoryActs for all things music related with a bit of political posturing thrown in and Instagram @FactoryActs for pictures of our holidays.

You can find more of our music here https://www.analoguetrash.com/artist/factory-acts as well as on Spotify and Soundcloud.

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