Forward, Russia!

Silent Uproar: Tell me a bit about the exclamation points used around the band name and for the album cover – what is the significance of those marks?

Whiskas: It is just Spanish punctuation; not that we really knew that when we adopted it. It gives impression that the band name is being shouted, its almost as if the name is enclosed in a yell. It makes sense to have some way of identifying the band without resorting to words. When people see the logo they remember the band even if they can't recall the exact name.

SU: The only problem with that is if you grow tired of them are you OK abandoning the theme and trying something knew visually or is it to ingrained with the band?

Whiskas: Who knows? we are always open to new ideas, and that is one of the positive things about this band. I don't think anyone would have a heart attack over abandoning the punctuation but I can't see any particular reason why we would want to do so. At the moment they seem fairly ingrained in what we are and how we identify ourselves.

SU: Give Me A Wall is a accumulation of tracks from different singles you have put out over the last couple years, right?

Whiskas: Not really, there are a few things on there that we had already put out - Nine, Thirteen and Twelve, but the majority was unreleased and all but Twelve were re-recorded. It was important to us to have an album that worked well as a whole and as a kind of story. Too many bands do what you assumed we did; an album should be a distinct entity.

SU: I am sure you have been asked this a million times, but is there a reason for naming the songs with numbers for titles?

Whiskas: It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. We had four songs and called them One, Two, Three and Four out of convenience. The idea makes sense in many ways; there are no preconceptions supplied by numbered songs and fans can follow the creative process via the chronological naming.

SU: The word is that you have abandoned with the new track “Don’t Be a Doctor” – had the idea just run its course or what?

Whiskas: Pretty much. There was no point in continuing beyond one album - the idea ceases to be interesting. And there is the obvious fact that we were sick of being asked about it all the time!

SU: What was it about Song 15 that deserved a Part I and a Part II?

Whiskas: We just felt that there were aspects of part I that could be expanded upon, but not within the context of that particular song. We wanted to take the song in two different directions without compromising any particular vision.

SU: You have been going at it in the UK for some time – what makes now the right time to give it a shot in the US?

Whiskas: We have a label (Mute) who really believe in us and it has coincided with their involvement more than anything. It would have been hard to tour the US without label backing so the timing is more influenced by when they got involved than anything else.

SU: Is it important to you to be successful on both sides of the pond or would you be OK with really only being successful in one place or the other?

Whiskas: I don't exactly know what "important" means in this instance, it is a hard question to answer because if you say you want success everywhere you come across as a megalomaniac and if you declare yourself happy with what you've got then you appear to lack ambition. Each person that likes the music matters, and I think that is the best I can do. The most important thing is playing music to people; whether that is live or on record, in America or in the UK, or any other factor.

SU: What is the best thing about being from Leeds?

Whiskas: Being around so many great places and people. All my friends live there and I know where to go to have a good time. The music is great and the company is awesome.

SU: What is the worst?

Whiskas: Not being there enough, and the occasional dickhead.

SU: So what is the deal with AnteAter? Is it just you or are there other band members?

Whiskas: It's just me, although I have had help from my friend Danny Robinson for a couple of live shows in the past. It is just an opportunity for me to do something totally different from Forward Russia. I can be a lot more selfish and indulge my pretensions, which can result in something more pure or something that sounds equally more terrible.

SU: Can we expect to see an album sometime soon?

Whiskas: Not soon, although there are tentative plans to maybe put out some AnteAter music in the UK next year. This is very tentative though; with Forward Russia being so busy it is hard to find the time for it.

SU: What will it take for you to feel like the band has been a success? Is it more about album sales, critical acclaim, or just being happy with what you have created?

Whiskas: It's hard to pick one particular thing. I'm not sure if you can ever be totally happy with things; the bands that are always seem to release fucking terrible records soon after. Hopefully we can make some great music and maybe even affect people's lives in some small way. Apart from that I think events are what you make of them; you make your own path and have the power to alter events so mostly have to take the consequences of your actions upon yourself.

Oct 12 2006