Born into the math-rock world in 2012, Bristol quartet Iran Iran have just last week put out their third EP, the wonderful ‘Milk Time For Spiders.’ The new five track EP follows on from previous releases ‘V’ (2013) and ‘Crystal Math’ (2014), and this time around the song titles have developed past naming Hollywood’s heroes (I’m particularly partial to ‘All Of The Baldwins’) and moved into the world of puns. They are a math-rock band after all…
From the enticing rhythmic ‘Olivia Newton John Belushi’ and its beckoning drum beat all the way through to the twists and turns of the Mutiny On The Bounty-esque ‘Cry Me A River Phoenix’, this new EP from the Bristolian instrumentalists is a pulsing heart of riffs and twiddles, often descending into heavy, darker territories. A good example of this is in second track ‘You Make Me Feel Ted Danson’ and its dancey, stop-start nature, which becomes a riffy, crunching monster toward its conclusion.
With the new EP now coming up to two weeks on from its birth, it’s been soaking up quite a bit of admiration from math-heads all over. You can listen to and most importantly purchase Milk Time For Spiders here, but before you do, check out this interview with Iran Iran guitarist Luke:
BCFB: ‘Milk Time For Spiders’ is the name of your latest EP, your third release since you were born back in 2012. What’s different this time around?
Luke: With this new EP, I think we were a bit better placed to put down a record. With ‘V’ and ‘Crystal Math’ we decided on 3 tracks each time and focused on getting them recorded. It wasn’t ever a case of ‘these are the best 3 songs together’ or ‘let’s record our strongest 3 live tracks’ but more a case of ‘what do we think we can manage in the short time we have afforded ourselves to record this EP?’
How long has it been in the works? What was the production process like?
We changed things around a bit – we recorded with Rik Dowding (Engineer for Portishead/The XX) at Invada Studios, and we spent a bit longer in there than we have before. We wanted to achieve a sound not dissimilar to our live sound because you know, you can overproduce a record. We were less clinical with getting everything exactly right and I think the record is far stronger for it.
We’d started writing new tracks before we recorded ‘Crystal Math’ – Val Kilmer (There Ain’t No Iguana) has been a staple live tune since our first show, but it needed heavy tweaking before it was ready to be recorded. Michael Mannhunter and You Make Me Feel Ted Danson are new but we were ready to get them recorded. The only worry I had was with Olivia Newton John Belushi – I came up with it as an intro to the EP and I think that’s the first time we’ve pretty much recorded a track without really having rehearsed the shit out of it beforehand.
Fitting of a math band, you’ve got some cracking song titles. Any personal favourites on the new EP? Any particular songs too that you’d consider a favourite?
With there being no lyrics, the wordplay is a necessity. I’m really keen on You Make Me Feel Ted Danson and Cry Me A River Phoenix. Extra points to anyone who gets the Michael Mannhunter joke…
Musically, I really enjoy what we’ve done with Olivia Newton John Belushi/You Make Me Feel Ted Danson, especially Steve’s guitar lines and the space they explore. I think Michael is another collective favourite amongst us.
Those Fecking Bahamas blokes described ‘Michael Mannhunter’ as a “sandwich with every condiment known to the Western World on it, an overwhelming yet fucking delectable treat.” So it’s been pretty well received then?
That’s about right isn’t it? It’s a bit wilder and more aggressive than a lot of other ‘math-rock’.
Reviews have been very kind yeah – we’re all really pleased with the response and the feedback that the record has been receiving. Everything from the artwork to the titles is getting talked up and with that it feels a bit bigger and more exciting to us.
The Beastie Boys once wanted to release an album via somehow having it come out of the shower head when you turned on the tap. You’ve instead released the EP on CD for listener’s “cocaine-tray needs” Any plans to get this bad boy out on vinyl?
I don’t know how that would work but I’d buy that shower head component – maybe some sort of cartridge?
I don’t think that putting this one out on vinyl is going to be financially viable. We’re looking at recording a full length at some stage though and that’ll almost certainly be on vinyl. Maybe some pretty, bright, translucent vinyl. But who knows.
Oh and also, drugs are bad kids.
You’re taking part in the super secret 4-way split with math-rock oddballs Space Blood later in the year. What can you tell us about that? How did you get involved with the project?
How secret is it? I mean, we both know about it but you’ve referred to it as super secret… Well, Will from Space Blood got in touch with me via the interwebs, facebook I think. We got talking about Iran Iran’s new release and he suggested we make something available for the split project. We all thought it was a great idea and so we’ve got something special in the works for it, but that will remain a secret for the time being.
You played at last year’s brilliant ArcTanGent festival, which I think was even better than the first outing! How was that weekend for you?
It’s a really wonderful festival experience and had it not rained consistently for almost the entire time I was there, I’d have to put it up there as my top festival experience. The music is nice, it’s clean, friendly, not overcrowded. Iran Iran are all in our 30s now. We don’t like too much excitement, we just like a nicely cooked steak sandwich and being able to return to a tent which hasn’t been stolen/ransacked/jumped on/pissed in.
You’re off on a mini tour of the UK at the end of the month – where are you heading, and who are you looking forward to playing with?
It’s only a handful of dates due to work commitments and the like but we’re heading up to Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham and then shows in London and Bristol.
I’m excited about Bristol – we’ve got Chiyoda Ku supporting us and they’re about my favourite little math rock band at the moment. It’s also the last date and a hometown show. Aside from that, we’ve only played with a few of the bands (Alright The Captain/Kusanagi/Lambhorn) previously so it’ll be exciting to check out the others!