Its time to take a walk on the wild side as RoomThirteen catches up with Sean Cook of The Flies, who have just released a mini-album. With a cover of 'Ruby Tuesday' potentially catching your ear, Sean discussed the darker side of life, why hes not a massive fan of festivals and how to get red paint of your skin.

R13:Hi Sean, you've just released a mini-album, what was the thinking behind that?
SC: To get a sampler of us out there and to try and warm up interest and awareness in The Flies. The tracks on it, apart from the first couple, could be viewed as B-sides and rarities, I'm not sure how totally representative of us it is. There are curios and its done with a view to releasing the album proper in the Summer or Autumn.

R13:Moodwise, it seems to capture the band but musically, theres probably a lot more to come from you, or so it seems after a few listens?
SC: I think that's true, theres more range on the LP proper although I like this mini-album. It maybe doesn't make sense in the way that the songs are put together but its good to listen to. I used to love the old EPs and its good in this day and age of people putting 16 tracks on an album!! I cant listen to 16 tracks on a Led Zeppelin album and I love Led Zeppelin.

R13:Do you feel your previous bands are a help or a hindrance when trying to launch a new act?
SC: It does both, it's a double-edged sword. I try to ignore it now but its amazing how people feel about the bands you've been in. They think they know you from that and how you should behave. However, you do get people more inclined to check you out because of what you've done before as well. Ultimately, I can't change it, I was in those bands and you have to expect people to act on that.

R13:What was the thinking behind covering The Rolling Stones 'Ruby Tuesday'?
SC: There wasn't a hell of a lot of thinking, we did it a hell of a long time ago and it wasn't done in terms of a release. Tim in the group heard it in a shop or on the radio and thought we should try a melancholic version of that. One afternoon we had a bash at it, it was quite cool so we laid it down. It took a few days from start to end and was a bit of a laugh really. Its one of the Stones more interesting songs I think.
R13:Yeah, it has the hidden edge that's hinting at a darker meaning.
SC: It does, its been shot through with a bit of weirdness and The Stones are good for that, they came out with things like that and I liked that about The Stones.

R13:Do you think there are enough bands making dark and atmospheric music these days?
SC: Probably not but then again, if loads did it, it wouldn't be as interesting for us to do it. It's a reflection of society; people don't want to think about that stuff. We're becoming a saccharine society and if people want to believe its all going to be great, well you can wish that all you like but its going to be the way its going to be. Lots of life is dark you know.

R13:What inspires the lyrics you write?
SC: A variety of things, it depends on which track in particular. I'm not so interested in love stuff, that subjects been fairly well covered. I like the curious aspects of life and peculiar people in the world, be that a serial killer or some mad woman you went out with. Anything that is out of the ordinary will get me interested and I'll try and avoid saccharine or idealism. I just don't see that when I look around, perhaps I focus on the twisted side of things but yeah, it does seem that people are weird things, myself included. It's a good subject matter.

R13:Any plans for the next record?
SC:Theres a schedule taking place, we've just filmed a video for a single we'll release and that will come out before our full album, which we're putting the final touches on. We've just got to choose which tracks we're going to put on and then add some strings, the last annoying 2% you have to do. The album should be out in October.

R13:The video shoot for 'High' features yourself dunked in red paint. Is this side of the industry fun and worthwhile?
SC: No, it was fucking awful! In retrospect, it's a mad thing and you should fill your life with mad things. I was in a vat of freezing red paint for an hour and a half and I'm sure I was in the early stages of hypothermia and I was getting red paint off me for about a week and a half. I've still got some on my feet and it was quite gruelling. I sincerely hope it was worth it, Julien Temple is doing the editing in a few weeks time but I've seen the rough cuts and it looks like a David Cronenberg movie. Have you see in the pictures?
R13:Yeah, I saw some on-line, I liked how the shades came across untouched.
SC: That was weird, I don't know what was going on there. They put all sorts of stuff in the paint like cooking oil. They seemed to be there for two hours mulling over how to get the paint looking right. It was weird what it clung to and what it didn't but it was hard to get it off your skin! The length of time when you do it again and again. I had to cover myself in Swarfega to get the paint off and that's worse than the paint! I felt minging for four or five days after it so I hope it was all worthwhile.

R13:It seems that the cinema and film scores are as much a key factor for The Flies as the music? Do you see yourselves as a band or a bigger artistic entity?
SC: Our music is quite filmic and even the live shows we're thinking of scenes of David Lynch movies and trying to look like. Bob and Tim write soundtrack music so its not surprising that gets in there. Putting our music to film would be great, we'd be well up for doing a film score, that'd be wicked. I am into films. I buy more films than I buy records, I watch a lot of films so I suppose it creeps in. I don't do it deliberately but yes, it creeps in.

R13:Do you think with the amount of ways a band can connect with a fanbase now means that live performances are not as vital?
SC: I wouldn't say that, I always like live performance, depending on what type of band you are, some bands have a backing track and it's the fucking same every night, that's not live. Playing live is unique though, the audience is right there and its only going to be like that once. In the 90s, live music dived. In Bristol, which was never a massive gig-town admittedly, the only people playing were Nirvana tribute bands and clubland stuff. Live music has made a comeback since then, you cant duplicate the live experience so I hope its still as important. We intend to get the band on the road heavily as soon as we can.

R13:Any summer gig or festival plans?
SC: Not for this summer, the booking policy for those means you need to have a record out in advance. I'm not a massive fan of festivals, I've done millions, all the major ones in Europe and I don't like them. I hate playing in the day, I'd have to be in a tent and you don't get a soundcheck, your thrown on, I don't like that. Its not fair to the punters either. I would imagine next year I wont have a lot of say in the matter though, so I'll try and make sure its dark or in a tent.

R13:Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
SC: We had an idea of doing a duet with Beth Gibbons which I'd still like to do. Weirdly enough, 'High' started off as us trying to write a song that Beth could sing with us as she said she would. It started out as a slow thing but it morphed into the techno dance thing that it is now so that went wrong really. If we find the right track then yeah, hopefully that.

So there may not be the opportunity to catch The Flies this Summer but when theres all that sun around, perhaps that's no bad thing. When the seasons turn and the dark nights call, theres likely to be a new album out and what better way to spend your time than by checking them out.