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Bent's Own Axis of Evil: George W Bush, NME and Zero 7

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, March 8, 2003
Sitting in a swanky conference room of a cooler-than-cool London PR company, Bent duo Nail Tolliday and Simons Mills seem relaxed. In town from Nottingham to promote their new album, both appear chilled out and calm though ask them the wrong question and they burst with pent-up passion. Trigger topics include Zero 7 ('We're not sophisticated like Air, we're British and proud of it'), President Bush ('He's fighting his Dad's war') and the NME ('Heat magazine for rock music') though otherwise they're sweetness and light, not unlike their latest musical opus, the Everlasting Blink.

Featuring samples from the likes of 70s Robbie Williams equivalent David Essex and Captain and Tenille, the record is a highly listenable collection of songs, ranging from the Balearic style chillout of Beautiful Otherness to the distinctly uptempo vibes of new single Magic Love. Despite being marketed somewhat bizarrely around a Monty Python-esque medical theme, the album is a fine follow up to debut long player Programmed to Love, and looks set to establish the pair as serious song-writers with something to say. Skrufff's Jonty Adderley asks the questions.

Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): Up until now you've always been presented as Balearic, club culture type producers, do you still see Bent as a dance duo-

Bent: (Nail): "I don't really knowt the answer to that, I don't really go clubbing anymore, the only time I go to clubs is when we're DJing. I don't know what we are, we just try to appeal to ourselves and as many different kinds of people as possible. We mix up so many different styles in our music so there might be something in one track that your granddad will like and another one which appeals to a clubber. We might have been put in the dance genre because of the equipment we use and the chillout thing. I also used to make house music beforehand, which may be why we started off more in dance music."

Bent: (Simon): "We're a band who use electronic equipment a lot of the time, in fact, I think of our music as electronic music. Though a lot of the sounds are also organic too."

Bent: (Simon): "What people listen to is a direct reflection of what they're like as a person, that's obvious. A lot of people who like our record are people like us, people with the same background, taste in music and general outlook. I've noticed that with fans we've met."

Skrufff: Legendary pop producer Stephen Hague worked on some of the production for the new album, did he use the Phil Spector guns-to-the-head approach-

Bent: (Simon)"He's always been a bit of a nutter, Phil Spector, hasn't he-

Bent: (Nail): "We spoke to Stephen a few times on the phone beforehand and he was saying 'look, with this or that song I'd like to re-arrange it'. His tip is all about making a pop tune and he's very good at it. I like the process of working with him too, normally it's just us two messing around, but when he got involved we went to his studio where he's got his own engineer and producer. We'd write the tune, take it into his studio and his engineer would be there writing loads of extra parts. He'd then leave his other engineer to mix it all night after which, he'd come in and mix it as he wanted it. Then we'd come in and say 'Yeah'. It's mad to think we've actually done a track with him because he's produced some songs we absolutely love. He's a bit of a hero, really."

Skrufff: You're both from Nottingham, what drew you into dance culture-

Bent: (Nail): "I grew up in a place called Beeston, just up the road from where he lived, and we had this mutual friend called Darren who owned some musical equipment, some (Roland) 303s and 606s. I next got a job in a rehearsal studio when I was 16, working nights, then got introduced to DIY (legendary British sound system crew) and started hanging out around them. They had a studio in a car park with cost £35 a day to hire and as I was on the dole at the time I'd pay for 1 day in the studio every t