Sunday, 26 August 2012


On Friday Bedge wandered up to Spiral Archive for a short chat with Alex Novak about Venus Fly Trap, future gigs and some more very exciting news he's got coming up. However being a very busy man the talk ended up a little longer than expected! So, jam packed with some amazing little titbits, it's time to discover exactly what has been, is and will be happening in the life of one of Northampton's biggest music lovers. Pretty exciting if I do say so myself.
So for all of those who aren't lucky enough to know could you explain what Venus Fly Trap is about?
It's a band I've been in for a fair few years [since 1986 to be exact], we kind of started off with a drum machine and I guess you could check us in with the post-punk/electronica area. The line-up's changed over the years, we did have a drummer and now we're back to using computers so we use backing tracks live with guitar and vocal over top so it's strange how it's come sort of full circle.
Recently released your seventh studio album Nemesis...
Well it's taken a few years to get there; as you know with technology it can give you a lot of choices and sometimes too much choice so you mess around too much. Whereas a live band would go in and record something, probably do a few overdubs, but with the technology you can go: "oh we can change that drum sound into a trumpet!" you can change it into something completely different so there's a lot more options.
So is this a deliberate change or is it just something that's come about naturally?
It's just the way it's happened I mean we've always used electronics in the past it's just come back in again. I think after the experience of the whole band thing - which was fine and it worked - with electronics you can do a lot more different things. In a way a band can be quite limiting if you want to explore electronica.
And are you hoping to explore that further in the future?
Yeah, we're going to see how this album goes and then we'll start thinking about some more material but I think we just really want to get out and play live again. Hopefully we'll be able to sort out a tour next year. It's just time really because obviously I run a record shop Spiral Archive Records, I DJ and I put on gigs so between that it takes a lot of time. Hopefully we'll do some in Northampton before the end of the year, maybe London, but next year we're hopefully going to go to France, Belgium, Germany... I think that's the plan.
Any other gigs that you've got organised with other bands?
The last thing I did was with a band called Cyanide Pills which was at The Labour Club and they're on Damaged Goods Records. I've done some stuff with a local band called Jubilee Courts DJing and helping with the sound and I think we've got another couple coming up with them. And I've got a band called London which is a very early sort of punk band that are going to be at The Labour Club [Friday 19th October from 8pm]. Then I think hopefully later in the year I'm going to be doing something with David J of Bauhaus who's going to do a rare hometown gig and hopefully Alan Moore might do something as well because he's quite close and they did collaborate on a few things (there was a record came out V For Vendetta before the whole film thing) so hopefully he might come along and do something. We'll see.
I see you've also been doing Northampton Scene 70s and 80s...
Yeah, it's one of the nights I DJ, but there has been a local CD that's been reissued. It originally came out as a tape but it's been redone for CD now and that's Northampton Under Glass and that's available in the shop. I think the plan is to do some kind of book in the future based around fanzines from that time and then posters and fliers and whatever, and maybe a CD with it as well.
Is there anything you'd like to say about Spiral Archive?
Umm, come in and have a look! I'm always surprised about how many people still don't know I'm here after all these years, even being on Facebook and all these other things it's strange how it passes people by. The next few events I've got the Blitz night at The Lamplighter that's on September 8th and the next gig is London at The Labour Club and that's in October sometime so that's what's forthcoming anyway.
And what records are popular at the moment?
Strangely all the classics from different eras. You can imagine Hendrix, Doors, Beatles and Stones are still very popular and then things like Stone Roses, Oasis, Blur and then things like My Bloody Valentine, obviously things like Nirvana and Soundgarden, I get asked about Metallica. Depends on the era but if you imagine every era has a classic band then people still search for those bands. They don't seem to go away.
Local music doing well?
I've got a small section of local music: Code500's CD single, a band called Subculture they've released some 7" vinyl, TANAOU I've got some of there stuff, Snakeman 3, Mobbs CD and vinyl, Serious Types compilation... I prefer to have a vinyl version than a CD, just depends what I can get hold of really, if people bring records in then I definitely have them. It's just a bit easier to sell, CDs are a bit more commonplace and easier to produce but records are still quite expensive so they tend to be more limited, maybe one or two thousand, so immediately the collectors have got to go straight in for them, even new releases.

Any local bands you're a fan of at the moment?

Jubilee Courts obviously I rate them. There's a band called Thee Bophins from Daventry, they're good. I'm always surprised by how many good bands there are locally. I've seen Decibels and they're pretty good, Party In Paris I rate them. There's quite a few put it that way.

I heard Jubilee Courts were doing something on White Elephant Records...

Yeah, that's the label that supports Northampton Under Glass. I think they have plans to do an album but I don't know at the moment. I don't really get involved too much at the end of the day they have to make the decision about what they want to do and what they don't want to do.

So what are the big plans for the future of Alex Novak?

I'd like to get this book together, as I say it's the local scene from '76 to '86 but I'm finding it's a long process. But I'd just like to get out and play and DJ a bit more to be honest, probably play live a bit more than DJ but the thing is I get offered stuff and it's hard to say no. Still put on bands but not too regularly; I tend to do stuff I like to do in oppose to every week otherwise it would get a bit boring. But you know just see how things carry along. It's early days but I'm trying to negotiate with another record label to try and get some of the stuff reissued but we'll see what happens.

Brilliant thanks for chatting to us and we hope to hear from you soon.

After the interview we got talking a bit about the Antisect reunion which Alex said should be interesting and he hopes more of the original line-up get involved. He also reccomended a great new local fanzine called Bigmouth which includes reviews of Theme Park, Fixers, Friends, Best Coast and Passion Pit as well as an interview with (you guessed it) Jubilee Courts.

You can next catch Alex Novak DJing on Saturday 8th September from 8pm at the Lamplighter as part of the Blitz where he'll be playing a selection of amazing songs from the 70s and 80s archives, including a few Northampton bands as well.

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