Interview by Claire Walker.
Desperate Journalist are a North London quartet who’ve been causing ruffles with their ‘Cristina’ single and hectic live shows which blend gothic sensibilities with post-punk machinations. Beneath the deadpan panda-eyed exterior there is something fantastically uncontrived about their fervent hollerings, encapsulated in their eponymous debut album, released in January 2015.
Your band name comes up in a lot of interviews (sorry, for bringing it up again!) for the Indietracks readers, where does it stem from?
The Cure once did a version of the song Grinding Halt on a Peel Session, where the lyrics were swapped for snippets from Paul Morley’s unfavourable NME review of their first album. The version was retitled ‘Desperate Journalist in Ongoing Meaningful Review Situation’ – the name and the self-deprecating/actually-quite-bitter tone of the song itself appealed to us.
How did you meet, and how long have you been together?
We all knew each other anyway through living really close together in Finsbury Park and generally liking similar sorts of music. We were bored when we didn’t have a band, so we started a band. Our first rehearsal was in December 2012.
Are you all in other bands, if so how do they differ from this one?
Caz plays guitar in a band called Medium Wave, who play brilliant Hall & Oates synthpop. Simon also plays bass in the “Countrypunkrocknrollabilly” Sweetheart Contract from time to time.
I’ve only discovered Desperate Journalist recently, and what grabbed me from my first listen is just how powerful and intense it sounds, and not just in waves but throughout every song, is this intentional? And how do you get your sound to come across this way?
It is intentional – we try and remove everything extraneous from our music so each song is as exciting/direct as possible. The lyrics are all very personal and so the delivery of them is naturally quite emotional. We also hit stuff really hard.
Desperate Journalist has been tipped to be ‘the band’ to watch this year, how does that make you feel?
Excited! Flattered! Wary?
What are your musical plans for the rest of the year?
We’ve just recorded a new EP which we hope will be out in the autumn, and will be touring the UK around the same time. Other than that we are constantly writing stuff for the new album.
As I’m interviewing you for Indietracks festival, has anyone been before and if not what are your assumptions of it?
We haven’t been before. We know people who have and they have told us it’s lovely – we have also heard tell of there being some particularly lethal orange cider on offer which we will be enjoying.
Any bands in particular you want to catch whilst you are at Indietracks?
I (Jo) would love to see Martha because they are wicked, but sadly they’re on Sunday when we will be travelling up to Sheffield to play Tramlines. Colleen Green is great and so are TPOBPAH (with whom we will have just played at the Garage in London the Thursday before the festival), so will also hope to see them.
Thank you Desperate Journalist, looking forward to seeing you at the festival