A four-piece pop band from Liverpool. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, it shouldn’t. Here is something energetic, sassy and really fresh. When Chris Ward, Zoë Alex, Kai Sheen and Chris Barlett created Sex Education, their primary concern was obviously not to put out a sound that the music industry would happily gobble up. Which doesn’t mean their music is hard to digest. As they never forget to lavishly sprinkle their songs with fun and naughty winks, Sex Education is the rare type of sound that is at once individualistic and very catchy. And above all glamorous.“Sex Education” is surely one attention-grabbing name. But beyond that, it seems to me it is also a concept that makes a clever reference to your playfully provocative style. Am I right? Are there any other hidden meanings in the phrase?
The band will soon unveil its debut album. In the meantime, most of the songs can be heard on Sex Education’s MySpace and Last.fm profiles. Vocalist Chris Ward reveals more about the band and its style in a conversation with trilby*foxglove.
Playfully provocative and attention grabbing – yes, that was exactly the idea! How well you understand us! We thought it’d stand out, plus it looks good written down, and I think suits the music. It also tied in nicely with our club night, Adult Books. Not sure about hidden meanings, but a hidden by-product has been the way people often pull a kind of Kenneth Williams “Ooh, matron!” expression if you tell them the name when you’re out in a bar or something. Which is quite funny… the first twenty times…What kind of educators are you? What do you want to teach and who is the object of the education?
Hmm… Well, the object of the education is surely the listener! And what we’d want to teach is our own skewed, hopefully unique approach to pop music. Though self-taught, we make for excitable and learned educators, coaxing you with a charm that makes you yearn for more classes at the earliest opportunity.Liverpool has a very special place in the history of British rock and pop and is the birthplace of many notable bands. In this respect, can the Liverpool origin help a young band or does it set the bar quite high?
I guess it sets the bar very high, but that’s in no way a bad thing! Gives you something to aim for and be inspired by. I love living in Liverpool, it’s such a fascinating city to make music in – there’s great places to hang out, loads of wild characters doing their own stuff and, of course, some of our favourite bands have been from here too.What experience have you had with record labels and the purely commercial aspect of making music?
So far, we’ve deliberately had little to no contact with all that. Instead, we’ve been deep inside Sex Education HQ, completing an album to sound how we want it to… But now that’s all done! The album’s fully dressed, glammed up and heading out ‘round the bars. It’s making that first flirty eye contact, and seeing if anyone ventures over for a snog. What is good and what is bad about today’s music business from your perspective?
I guess what’s sometimes bad about today’s music business is the way many artists never get the chance to develop, and seem on a downward spiral after that initial blast of hype; often before they’ve had a chance to work out what they’re trying to get across. So instead, we’ve just been keeping ourselves to ourselves, first developing the sound into how we want it. And, now it’s ready, hopefully we’ll get to see what’s good in the music business!How does your music relate to the current trends?
Well, I keep hearing how this is the time for synth-y, electronic-based pop and that trad indie chancers are being chased out with spears, so I suppose it could seem like we’re ready-made for current trends… But we were working on stuff like this whilst The Pigeon Detectives still ruled a very small spot of the earth. We’re kind of detached from trends, so if there’d been a spoon-playing revival – rather than a synth one – we’d still have remained spoon-free, except at meal times.…And how does it relate to the classics of rock and pop?
Of course we all love and get inspired by what makes the classics in rock and pop the classics they are, but you can’t let yourself get too bogged down and infatuated in all that when trying to make something new – the best moments are often frothy, spontaneous and living for today.What public response has your music found so far? Did it match your expectations?
I’m not sure what expectations we had, but the response has certainly made us feel we’re doing something right! Until now, we’ve just relied on word of mouth, but that’s been enough to put us in touch with people worldwide who’ve sent some ace messages about the band.
Plus, those that haven’t really got it are often the ones you wouldn’t expect to anyway, who’d sooner be stroking beards to "math-rock" or something… Currently you have a very tight bond with your fans via your MySpace page. Do you think you will still have the time and energy to personally communicate with your fan base as your popularity grows?
It’d be good to think so! Being able to immediately and directly get in touch with bands you like sets today’s music apart from what’s gone before; and if it means you can make those who appreciate what you do feel appreciated back, it’s got to be worth the time and energy, hasn’t it?Tell me about “Get Sick, Get Stung”. Why did you choose it to be your debut single?
We didn’t, we were approached by a label who asked if they could release it as a download-single. Though I quite like the idea that the first one released isn’t the three-minute radio-pleaser (if we have one!) but the longest track on the album. So, when will your debut album be out and where will it be available?
We’ll have to see! Like I said, with the album recorded, we’re finally getting out there and talking to a few industry types about everything, so we may head off in that direction if we get on with them and they have nice aftershave. But if that doesn’t suit, there’s more than enough options nowadays to make it available to everyone who wants it. Either way, we’re just excited with how it sounds and hope others enjoy it!http://www.myspace.com/sexeducationband