Dead Sheeran: Exclusive Interview.
To be honest with you when I was introduced to Dead Sheeran tunes by Ged Babey, our outspoken punk throwback legend from darrnn South I thought, next wave Sleaford Mods wanna be? Think again Mr AF I thought. A few listens in and I was hooked as fuck! More like the next wave of anger […]
The post Dead Sheeran: Exclusive Interview. appeared first on Louder Than War.
To be honest with you when I was introduced to Dead Sheeran tunes by Ged Babey, our outspoken punk throwback legend from darrnn South I thought, next wave Sleaford Mods wanna be? Think again Mr AF I thought. A few listens in and I was hooked as fuck! More like the next wave of anger packed with a unique punch. Sampling Pacman and shit loads of eighties sound effects in his hard hitting tales of a shite Britain. Paul Catten has got the soundtrack to my youth in his pocket, enough swearing to fill Roger’s Profanisaurus and the wisdom and funny as fuck observational wit and grit to match. This interview contains explicit content with parental guidance needed before reading…
LTW: “Alright mate. How you doing?”
DS: “Ah not bad mate. Just sat in the boxing club fuckin’ chillin’ you know what I mean?”
LTW: “Do you want me to call you Dead or Paul?”
DS: “Probably Paul yeah. Fuckin’ ‘ell man, Deads not that far away, know what I mean?”
LTW: “Congratulations on getting number three in our albums of the year. How do you feel about that?”
DS: “I’m chuffed and somewhat surprised. I’m fuckin grateful to you guys. For something that just started off as just me hanging around in the bedroom and messing with my Bandcamp page, no one was taking any notice until The Fonz appeared on one of your pages. Ged Babey had come across it and a lot of people started to dig it, or not dig it. So yeah, fuck, number three, I’ll take that. Since your article came out the Bnadcamp sales had a bit of a surge so that’s all good man. When it comes out on vinyl people should be happy with it. I’m really pleased”
LTW: “A lot of people compared you to Sleaford Mods with The Fonz yet I can hear different observations and a more hip hop feel to the sound.”
DS: “Yeah, I see what you mean with the fuckin’ Sleaford thing but I was just doing stuff that I like. I don’t hear that on the album. The only reason it’s just drums and bass is I can’t play fuckin’ guitar! Hip hop is probably my staple listening as is Sleafords, The Streets and everything else. I wasn’t claiming to reinvent the fuckin’ wheel. It’s just the way I look at it. Some people say the lyrics are “Uhh it’s this, it’s that” It’s fuckin’ not. The people that know me you know, they say it’s just like me kicking off or something, an old bloke shouting at the news, which it is to be fair. People saying there’s string in there and stuff, there’s elements of everything in music and no ones listening. I’ll make no bones about it. I’ll admit Sleafords are a big influence. They were game changers you know. I heard them I thought fuck! Two people who are speaking the same language. Those guys are on higher plains.”
LTW: “It took them years to get where they are. Have you seen Bunch Of Kunst? (Sleafords documentary). You’ve just hit it from day one”
DS: “I was listening back the other day. It’s of the time. It’s in no chronological order. It’s like stories from the last third of lockdown, through to the absolute disaster of “Hey, there you go, fuckin’ look after yourselves” And now we’re heading back into lockdown. I’ve got Brexit to deal with on the next record, so I’m looking forward to that!”
LTW: “So Paul, where are your influences from? I know you’ve got a bit of a metal hardcore background”
DS: “Fuck me man! I’ve been making records for 20 to 25 years. I’ve been around from making electronic noise in peoples garages to being at the main stage at Donington. My music background ranges from avant garde soundtracks, to jazz, grimecore, you know. Me own shit. Bands like doom, hardcore, metal, whatever. Persistent touring. This was just another of those projects to be fair. I certainly had no intentions of carrying it on for a while, doing two records in a year. That’s my background and still is. My influences go way back to the late Eighties in the punk anarcho scene following bands like Conflict. Bands like Crass had just gone although I’d discovered them as a kid and I was too young to go and fuckin’ see them. I was off going out on tour with the local punk bands. That’s where I’m from. Making a fuckin’ racket. I’ve always been potty mouthed. On the old scene you couldn’t hear my lyrics. The difference now is you can hear what I’m saying for once. I’m a huge Stones fans, huge Faith No More fan, huge Sleafords fan, at the minute I’ve got the fuckin’ Beach Boys on in the car. I’m just a huge music fan. I’ve got some demos of this stuff from five years ago before I got in touch with drum machines and they sound like raw punk. I just decided to have another go with them. I found the formula. I’ve got my own little studio where I can do stuff under my roof. The next record could be thrash metal. It fuckin’ won’t though! I’m halfway though the next EP and it’s a step forward for me. It sounds like Dead Sheeran and nobody else. I don’t take it too serious, thinking about sales and shit. It’s on my fuckin’ label, I can do what I like and by not taking it too seriously it’s the most successful thing I’ve done in fuckin’ years, just getting on with it, doing what the fuck I want. Swearing and ripping into people who deserve ripping into”
LTW: “A lot of people are into anger at the moment. Take number two in our chart Bob Vylan”
DS: “I really love Bob Vylan. He’s leading the way at the moment in that kind of genre. It’s on another level again.”
LTW: “Where did you get the name Dead Sheeran? What’s that all about?”
DS: “Aww mate! Literally it took ten seconds. It was on my tongue for ages. You know blokes our age (he shared 50 years with me this year) we sit around talking loads of shit. We reminisce, always coming up with tribute acts. There always some cunt in the local paper doing Robbie Williams, singing the hits. PeteLoaf, shit like that. Dead Sheeran came up, we had a bit of a chuckle. I thought yeah, literally I can’t put this out under my own name cos I didn’t want me mum to hear it. I just wrote Dead Sheeran down because like I said, I wasn’t planning on doing anything. The whole biog on the first record took me about five fuckin’ minutes. I had no intentions of doing anything with it. That’s the truth man. Have it for free on Bandcamp, I’m gonna do fuckin’ something else now”
LTW: “Has your mum actually heard it?”
DS: “Yeah! She told me off for using the ‘C’ bomb. My mates had put it on Facebook and she’s heard it and said “Oh, I love that Eighties song” I’m always in trouble with the old lady”
LTW: “That was my next question actually. The Eighties song really resonates with our age group. You did a positive take on the mini album, then a negative take on the main album? It’s like a Yin Yang thing”
DS: “Well I was talking about this after that track went out, and it’s actually debatable whether things were better in the Eighties and it struck a chord. You know as a kid there were happy times, but we also used to sit around talking about what would happen if the four minute warning went off and shit like that? You remember? Our parents had no money, there were riots on the news, I was toying with the idea for ages about putting the two songs out together, which I am doing now. It was great sitting around watching Grange Hill, getting in trouble, listening to punk and all that. When we were kids we didn’t have the kind of hassles actually, but looking back on it they were pretty dark days, similar to where we are now. Things are the same now as they were then. Shit!”
LTW: “We’re under the same government as we were then.”
DS: “Oh mate, exactly. And this guy in charge now. Fuck that! That mans gotta go!”
LTW: “One song on the album Flytippin’ is a funny as fuck observation. Have you ever found a “Duffle bag full of porn mags”?
DS: “Ha seriously, do you know what? There’s a lovely cycle path in Ross (On Wye where Paul’s from) that used to be an old overgrown train line from fifty, sixty years ago and there’s a nice little slope that goes up to the top now. When I was a kid in the fuckin’ Eighties we used to go down there and people used to throw all their fuckin’ shit over this bridge. It was like this huge mountain of shopping trollies where we used to go looking for porn mags. Maybe not in duffle bags but there was always loads of porn there. It’s fact. It’s based on a particular part of Ross. It doesn’t exist anymore, it’s a fuckin’ beauty spot now. Back then there was always places like that on the outskirts of town. The councils didn’t clean up like we’re used to. They were always on fuckin’ strike. People were dumping shit everywhere. Maybe there wasn’t a dead tramp there, but there were always bags of coal, newspapers, it used to fuckin’ stink. Which is why years later they decided to make it into a beauty spot. It’s all based on fact. All of this stuff is based on fact. Flytipping actually fuckin’ happened and it’s happening now after the tips were fuckin’ closed. People are just too fuckin’ bone idle to stack it neatly in their gardens. You just see cars driving up to the woods at night chucking all their stuff. There’s nowhere to walk. I was going a bit feral while the missus was working and I’m walking through the woods and there’s a fuckin’ kitchen table there the bastards. On Facebook there’s always a picture of a settee in a fuckin’ car park. Lazy bastards man.”
LTW: “I really like the track Interesting Bunch Of Guys due to the split personality theme. What’s the story?”
DS: “I’ve had that quote hanging around for years from one of my metal mates who came on tour with us, and a journalist who used to hang around doing interviews used to say “That Paul Catten, he’s an interesting bunch of guys” Bearing in mind I was in my late twenties then and I was either a stroppy bastard, or I was a fuckin’ clown, or I was a crazy drunk, I was different people and I thought, that’s an interesting quote and it sprung to mind not long ago and I scribbled it down quick. If you think about it, when you go to work you have to do that. I work with kids and I’m always telling them off for swearing. It’s fuckin’ ridiculous. I’ve got to deal with parents so I have to be different there, the boxing coaching same thing, walking down the street, it depends who I’m with. And then the next minute I’m Dead Sheeran, you know what I mean? It’s a bit of self reflection. Years of trying to live the lifestyle of Mick Jagger or trying to be Mike Patten or something like that. I’m too fuckin’ old. I don’t care what anyone says. Anyone who’s a singer is trying to be someone else. It’s all honest. People are probably saying “Who the fuck is Ted Rogers?” You need to get on Youtube”
LTW: “I love the Pacman sample on the first track. It reminds me of people running around trying to catch each other”
DS: “Well you know, when I was on tour I was a huge fan of those games, when there’s nothing to do and you’re playing the old school games. I used Space Invaders on the first album and these samples will always crop up. I love Pacman. Do you remember that programme years ago Most Haunted with Derek Acorah in it? You get people saying “Oh Derek’s just come on and my fuckin’ cats shot off the settee.” Me and my mates sent a screen shot of Pacman and they were going “Oh look it’s a yellow orb being chased by a set of ghosts” Then there’s the host saying “We’getting some prank photos sent in. Please don’t waste our time” It was piss funny. I went to see Derek Acorah once doing a fuckin’ live seance. Absolute bollocks”
LTW: “One of my highlights on the album is Who’s That Twat. It’s about a guy you actually know isn’t it?”
DS: “I think we’ve all got mates like that, people you grew up with. Sometimes you’ve gotta adapt. This guy I’ve known him most of me fuckin’ life. If we’re discussing anything other than politics he’s fine. He does my fuckin’ head in. “Aahh what about Brexit? We’ll be alright.” Fuck off. I don’t see much racism where I am but I hear comments about Boris like “He’s alright he’s doing his best” Fuck off. And comments like “We voted to keep out borders closed” Fuck off. That’s exactly what inspired that song. You can put one of those things on Facebook “If you don’t like it, fuck off” and I was like, you cunt. Ros is a small town. You can’t avoid people. I’ll be walking down the street and hear “Oy Catt!” and I’ll be walking down the street thinking, oh here he’s comes in his Union Jack T-shirt. Dickhead. Unfortunately these people are everywhere at the moment. I think they’re slowly realising what they voted for isn’t what they voted for. Maybe they’ll come to their senses again.
LTW: “As a solo artist are you planning to get a band in when you tour?”
DS: “Nah, fuck that. I’ve thought about it but I’m just gonna take my laptop out. I could get a drummer and bass player and that but it wouldn’t sound right without a piano and I’d have to get a keyboard / synth player, then I’d have to go through all the hassle of rehearsals. You know at our age we’re not like when were twenty. People have kids, working shifts. I literally can’t be dealing with that, that’s why I can’t be doing with bands anymore. It would be military precision trying to organise that. Fuck it. It’s just me and my laptop. (I mention getting some backdrop slides of flytips and Boris Johnson and other twats…) “Yeah, I’ve got some excellent flytipping pictures which nearly ended up in the video. You’re giving me fuckin’ ideas man! I’m just going out with the laptop and I don’t care if people say I’m Sleafords or whoever. I was doing noise gigs with a laptop 10 years ago. Get in a car, go to the gig, do it, go back home.” I’m ready, but typically there aren’t any. As soon as live gigs are back I’m out there. I just need some contacts. It’s a completely different scene now to me.”
LTW: ” A question you’ve already answered really. What are you going to write about next?”
DS: “Brexit, which has gone off the menu for a bit with all this Covid business. As long as there’s a Tory government there’s always going to be something to write about because they haven’t got anyone’s interest at heart. I’m not trying to make a joke out of it, you know what I mean? It is satire to a degree but if I didn’t fuckin’ laugh at it or take the piss out of it I’d be fuckin’ depressed. I have to keep writing about it to keep myself sane. Inside like most people I’m fuckin’ raging. Boris was here near where I’m sat right now and I’m furious I didn’t know. Cos I would have literally gone up there and fuckin’ gone for him. I certainly would have chucked an egg at the cunt. He made a surprise visit to the local hospital. For fucks sake, I missed a golden opportunity. That cunt makes me so fuckin’ mad. I’m getting mad talking about him now. As long as he’s still alive and breathing I’m gonna keep writing. Any of them, Gove, Raab, Patel. I could literally write a song about each one of them. I could do an album. Theresa May was useless. David Cameron was a tit, but Johnson’s fuckin’ dangerous man. He doesn’t give a fuck. The country is on it’s knees. It will collapse. It’ll be an absolute disaster and then he’ll fuck off. He’s shitting himself. Now Trump is out he’s got to buckle down a bit, because Joe Biden won’t have it. Boris is still trying to claim he’s done everything to help. People are starting to see him for what he is after this pandemic. There’s still fuckin’ idiots who think he’s doing a good job. At least I’ll have a Dead Sheeran career for the next four years. It’ll be just as bad if Labour get in for a while, so plenty to write about. It’s gonna be like this for a while now. We had a bit of reasonable bliss for a decade in the 90’s I suppose, yet there’s still a lot of right wing twats around. It’s just a shame they’re running the country at the minute.
And here it ends. We have a quick chat about his boxing coaching, the release of the forthcoming vinyl edition of A National Disgrace which will include a Dead Sheeran comic strip with an Eighties theme, the double AA side Eighties single which could have the potential to get radio play. Paul is a true music nutter who plows all his money back into his art and will be with us for a while if things carry on they way he’s planning.
An interesting bunch of guys…
Album review by Ged Babey here
Buy his album from here
Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here