Three Against Four are a four piece Reggae/Hip Hop/Dub/Funk/Punk band from Brighton.
We caught up with them on the famous Brighton Pier where Claire & Si were trying their hardest to win a stuffed Garfield toy from the 'grabber' machine. Inbetween cursing and shouting at the machine, we fired off some questions….
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence… At our gig last week an innocent bystander proclaimed that we sound something like the custody battle between Roni Size and King Crimson for their Chuck D-esque lovechild…I think we're OK with that for now.
Three against Four, how did you come up with the name and what does it mean? Three Against Four is a traditional clave found in Latin music, but is more popularly heard in dancehall music, it quite literally is one drum hitting four beats, while another plays three over the top. When we first started out a lot of our earlier punky tracks used the rhythm, but it still makes an appearance in the newer tracks we’ve been writing.
When can we expect an EP or an album to be released? Were looking for some funding to go into the studio with the right people, so at the moment were just gigging and saving up. We’ve recorded individual tracks with some great producers over the past couple of years, and a lot of demos in our own home recording set ups, but as the sound of the band has progressed we really want to get our next batch of new songs out together in one package, complete with artwork and a photoshoot. So in answer to your question were probably looking to record a 5 or 6 track ep over summer, for touring in Dec/ Jan and catch a booking on some festivals in 2015!
'Popstars' and 'Shivers' are two impressive tracks can you tell us the story behind them? Thanks! Popstars is a song which reflects ours (and a lot of other bands in the scene’s) views on Saturday night talent shows such as the X Factor. When we wrote the track it really was everywhere, manufactured celebrities which were becoming famous for being famous, and it still is prevalent a lot in the media I guess, but I do like to think that the general public has ‘wised up’ to just how fake all these shows are. Every trend comes and goes eventually, maybe going to live gigs will taek over staying in and watching talent shows on Saturday nights…stranger things have happened hey…
First gig you ever went to?
Si: Iron Maiden with my old man…can’t really top that ;)
Claire: The spice Girls!!! Actually it may have been Elton John, can’t remember :s
What classic song do you wish you recorded and why? That is such a tough question! We’ve recently been working on a cover of a song called Lungkiller, written by one of our fellow bands on the Brighton music scene ‘Johnson and the Believer’s’. We just love the song and wanted to do our own interpretation of it. But you said CLASSIC, I know its cliche but I am a massive Beatles fan. I’d love to do a Three Against Four interpretation of something like John Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’
In your opinion, who was the best band/artist of 2013?
Claire: Hahaha thats tough to say, we all listen to so many different types of music! Arctic Monkey’s had a good year right? I loved a lot of Snarky Puppy’s stuff they did last year actually. Also THE DEFEKTORS! A band from Stevenage area, check them out;)
Si: hmmm I don’t really listen to his stuff anymore but I respect Eminem so much for what he has done in music, I think he released another album in 2013, it was never gonna be another Marshall Mathers LP but he has been working at the top of his game for a long time now, and I feel like i’ve kind of grown up with him.
Being a multi genre style band, how do you make it work? Simple, we get together, we all bring something different to the table musically, then we jam to bring it all together in a way that we enjoy. Sometimes one of us will have a distinct idea or theme for a song, and bring it to the band, but others of our tracks have been created solely out of jamming together.
What was the last album/record you bought? Si: I bought an LP by a Detroit based Hip Hop group called Clear Soul Forces last week. It’s great.
Do you have a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Claire: I think everyone has a few cringe records in their collections, but they should all be embraced!
Si: I bought a Dido album once. I don’t think I ever listened to it. Should have given it away as smothers day present or something….
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before? No were all very open with each other. Its a four way relationship ;)
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from? Si: Claire gives a lot of good advise to us lads in the band…does that count?! I also like a quote from George Santayana: ‘He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it’
First record you ever bought?
Claire: ‘Witch Doctor’ by the Cartoons (cringe)
Si: Now 36 on cassette LOL
You covered Gangsters by The Specials, what has been the response from this? The Gangsters cover has been a bit of a laugh, it started going down really well when we played it live, so when the opportunity arose to record it in a live setting at the end of last year, that track just seemed appropriate to do. I like to think we’ve put our own stamp on it, but still tipping a hat to The Specials
Tell people why they should come and see you play live… We hand out party bags and free sandwiches….
How do you feel social media has aided unsigned bands such as yourselves I think social media benefits bands of all levels, not just unsigned bands. How great is it to not have your favourite artist as a poster on a wall and an idea in your head of what they might be like, but keep up with their day to day activity, whilst being able to directly interact with them! In fact things like Twitter seem to be quite useful to humanity in general.
What does music mean to you? Well one good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain. Some famous reggae bloke said that in one of his songs…
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned? Surely it depends on who is watching the chicken? We’d never question its motives, animal rights and all that :)
It wasn't looking too good for the Garfield toy, Claire had spent all but her BFH (bus fare home) and Si was down to his last 50p, before the pair got violent, we decided to pose some quickfire questions then get the hell outta there !!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Coke or Pepsi? Neither
Mac or PC? Mac
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Lemmy
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl
Car or Motorbike? Car
Shower or Bath? Shower
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino? Robert De Niro
God or Google? Google
So there you have it folks, all you could ever wish to know about Three Against Four, please take a moment to check their social media pages below.
Take a look on their Facebook page for some upcoming London and Brighton dates.
Musicmuso would like to thank Claire & Si from the band for sparing their time to chat to us.
Interview by Mark Wincott