Dollars To Pounds: Graffiti Island

July 21, 2009

"Wolf Guy" is a song by London-based trio Graffiti Island. Its chorus goes, “infected with congenital general hypertrichosis,” repeated four times and it is catchier (ha!) than you could ever imagine. Another song, about cannibals, contains the line, “I want a pipe made from the bones of a man’s pinky finger.” They have lots of these deadpan ditties, songs that sound like The Cramps after a 12-hour horror movie marathon. Here you can stream "Moon Tan," a new track from a four-way split 7-inch (with Pens, Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls). It’s out in August to coincide with their first US tour. I had a chat with them about ridiculous Ghanaian movies and GG Allin.

Graffiti Island, "Moon Tan"

So you guys are touring the states soon with Pens. Looking forward to it?

Pete Donaldson: this is our first tour ever we're pretty excited.

Conan Roberts: We’ve never played outside England before. Totally looking forward to it. It couldn’t get much better than driving up and down California in the middle of summer playing a bunch of amazing shows. Pretty much looking forward to playing everywhere, we play in Sacramento with this band Ganglians whose new album is awesome so can’t wait to see them and the last show is in San Diego with No Age and Wavves so that should be pretty crazy. But just being and hanging out in places like Santa Cruz and San Francisco is gonna be rad, I can’t wait to skate down a hill in San Francisco after seeing it on videos my whole life.

Cherise Payne: We hardly play any gigs out of London, never mind the country, so we're pretty stoked. I think we might all go a little bit insane with each other. I'm looking forward to LA! I lived there when I was 2, but never been back. But I'm really bummed we're not getting to play the Smell.

Your songs always remind me of macabre 50s b-movies.

Conan Roberts: I’d say it was more 80s VHS movies that inspire us, like the weird forgotten about VHS tapes you find in 2nd hand shops with amazing had drawn covers. Beach Babes From Beyond 2: Cave Girl Island is my current fave, it was made in the 90s but is so low budget it looks 80s it’s about some babes from another planet that crash land on an island inhabited by dinosaurs and cave men. It’s immense. The first one is awesome too as it has loads of famous actors brothers and sisters in it.

Have you read The Master and Margarita? It's about a day when the devil comes to modern Russia and causes havoc. He has a sidekick, a giant vodka drinking cat that is exactly like the one in your song Demonic Cat.

Pete Donaldson: I’ve never read The Master and Margarita but it sounds pretty good, I got the idea to write demonic cat from seeing a Ghanaian movie poster for the film Demonic Cat. I still haven’t seen the movie but it looks amazing.

What bands are you into at the moment?

Pete Donaldson: I’ve been listening to James Ferraro, Teen Sheiks, The Deadly Ones, Big Star, Harry Nilsson and Forbidden Five

Cherise Payne: I've been listening to Geneva Jacuzzi a lot. I really like Dum Dum girls too.

Conan Roberts: I definitely gain most inspiration from my friends’ bands. Not so much musically but getting the motivation to write songs, put out records, play awesome shows. To write songs I’m much more influenced by images I can come up with in my head and making music to fit them. Imagining awesome film scenes then creating the soundtrack to go with it.

What is a Graffiti Island?

Pete Donaldson: It’s an island where people go to hang out/relax/ spoon/hump/ chant/ drink/ play bongos and speak in tongues

Tell us about your GG Allin project.

Conan Roberts: I’ve been interested in GG and his music and life for ages and have become more and more interested in his life and how he became what he did. The guy was fucked up for sure and had some crazy ideas about a lot of stuff, but he also wrote some totally amazing songs and had an incredible public persona, I can’t think of anybody before or since like that.
I’m friends with all the bands that are gonna be on the compilation and I know they all totally dig his music. All the songs are finished now and they’re amazing. It’s worked exactly how I wanted it to where each band has totally taken one of his songs and made it their own. If you didn’t know there songs were GG's they could easily pass as the bands own.

What's next for you guys?

Conan Roberts: We go to America in August and while we’re there Art Fag will release a four-way split with Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls, Pens and us. As soon as we’re back the GG Allin 7-inch should come out which I’m releasing on my label Italian Beach Babes. We have a 2-track 7-inch coming out on a German label called Fin Du Monde which is gonna be the two tracks which were on the very first cassette we released with a snake skin b-side. After that we will be releasing a 7-inch on Sex Is Disgusting and then in the winter a 12-inch on Captured Tracks.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Posted: July 21, 2009
Dollars To Pounds: Graffiti Island