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Interview: Great Cynics

Since releasing his well-received 'Stones I've Thrown' EP last year, Giles Bidder's Cynics project has gone through numerous changes. Most notably the one-time solo act has become a trio and has changed its name to Great Cynics. Now joined by drummer Bob Barrett and Iona Cairns on bass, the band are set to release their debut full-length 'Don't Need Much' next month.

Alter The Press! recently caught up with front man Giles Bidder to discuss the line-up changes, the new name, how 'Don't Need Much' came together and more.

Alter The Press: Awhile ago your solo act expanded to a trio. What was the motive for this?
Great Cynics: We wanted it to be louder. Also I think there's something awesome about three piece bands - there's no bullshit, no complications. Plus our preferred demographic includes air-drummers, so we needed to think about those guys.

ATP: How did you join up with Bob Barrett and Iona Cairns?
GC: At one point last year I realised the ten songs I'd written on an acoustic guitar for an album would sound better on an electric and with drums. I'd hung out with Bob a few times previously and seen his other bands a bunch of times, so I gave him a call and he seemed up for it. I sent him acoustic demos I'd recorded on my laptop and I'm not sure if he liked it or not, but either way we practised for a few weeks and then went to record. Pete played bass on the album and for our first few shows we had a revolving bass player situation. Then Iona came on our first tour as a band and it was awesome so it stayed that. She's sung on everything I recorded solo before the album, so she's always been involved.

ATP: How has the changes affected the band's sound?
GC: It sounds more like a whole thing. When I recorded the acoustic 7" and the split CD I always thought 'it would sound really cool if this bit had more stuff going on in'. Now it sounds complete. It feels natural. It sounds cliché, but the three of us have the best time being in this band. It's awesome.

ATP: How does your new album, 'Don't Need Much' differ from your previous releases?
GC: It's a full length LP, it was written when I was living in Elephant and Castle with Angela and Dave and there's drums, bass and electric guitar. The songs are still about blazing in the sun, girls and the Brothers Of Shame.

ATP: For those who don't know. Could you explain the reasons for the name change from Cynics to Great Cynics?
GC: 'The Cynics', from Pittsburgh in America, are a garage rock revivial band who have been going for over 27 years and toured the world. They sent us an email explaining they have a lawyer, saying they would take legal action if we didn't change our name. So we changed our name to Great Cynics. I've found the whole situation pretty funny, especially since our album is called 'Don't Need Much' and The Cynics' new single is called 'I Need More'.

ATP: What was your inital reaction when The Cynics threatened legal action?
GC: "Anyone got any suggestions for a new name?"

ATP: How has the reaction been to the name change and the line-up changes?
GC: A mix. No-one called me up and shouted at me when we became a three piece, but a couple of people did when we changed our name. I don't mind it if people dislike either. I've been getting shit for years and I've never minded it so I don't see a reason to start now.

ATP: On 'Don't Need Much', has your songwriting developed?
GC: I think it became more balanced and rounded. I've been listening to Jawbreaker, The Lemonheads and the most recent Against Me! album a lot and I can hear those in the structures and lyrics.

ATP: How has the new members affected the way you develop songs? Is it now a collective effort?
GC: I had written all the songs on this album on an acoustic guitar before we became a band and they didn't change when we started playing together, but in the future we'll play around with ideas as a three. Sometimes things work better when you don't think and just get on with it instead.

ATP: What reaction are you hoping fans come away with after 'Don't Need Much'?
GC: I want people to feel encouraged to have morning sex while listening to it.

ATP: After the release of the album, what do Great Cynics have planned?
GC: Touring, album two and trying to stay alive.

ATP: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
GC: Everyone in the world should listen to Limbeck - 'Hi, Everything Is Great'.

'Don't Need Much' is released on June 13th through Household Name Records (CD) and Kind Of Like Records (LP).

'Don't Need Much' can be pre-ordered through Banquet Records.

Great Cynics on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Tumblr.

Words by Sean Reid

Alter The Press!