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Ceyote

The Stinger's one to watch

Written By Juliet Harris

As one of The Stinger’s loyal infantrymen, I spend much of my time primed and ready in my Garrett, feverishly awaiting my instructions for the next issue. When I finally received The Call of a reconnaissance mission about Ceyote, I was delighted.   

Ceyote are one of Hastings’ most talked about bands. Previously tipped for greatness by the NME, they seemed to have gone quiet of late. However, their “comeback” gig at the Royal Standard on Saturday 23 August 2014 was anything but. A riot of sounds and colour, everybody in the packed-out venue seemed to be taken away to another world. The visuals behind the band were spectacular, yet the music impressively managed to be even more Kaleidoscopic – tremulously spiralling vocals, washes of psychedelica, waves of electronica… It may be a small town but Ceyote are thinking and sounding big.  

I caught up with singer/keyboard and synths player Pat Tipler, bassist and synths player Reuben Ramsey and guitarist James Page (drummer Joe Gregory was given the evening off, though sadly his rumoured replacement of a drum machine never made it to the interview…) 

Juliet Harris: “So…. Tell me how Ceyote started – talk me through it…”

Pat Tipler: “Well, me and our drummer Joe used to be in a band a few years ago called Green Emperor Way. It was a three piece psychy rock sort of thing. That all ended up going wrong and I wanted to start another band. I played bass in my previous band, but I wanted to do more song writing and singing. So I got together with Joe again and then I met Reuben by accident…”

Reuben Ramsey: “Actually we met through the old band – I used to go and see Green Emperor Way and think “oh, that’s pretty sweet, I wouldn’t mind doing something like that!”

Pat: “So I started hanging around with Reuben and went back to his, where I met James in the kitchen when I was really drunk at 3 in the morning!”

James Page: “And then we all bonded over a mutual love of Radiohead.” 

(All band members present and the interviewer then make general approving noises about Radiohead)

Pat: “When we first started I had no songwriting experience at all and we didn’t really know what we were doing, so we just did these big jam-type things.”

JH: “Did you ever record these?”

Reuben: “Yeah, we’ve got tonnes of old recordings somewhere…” 

Pat: Ready for the future Anthology box set!

JH: “The tracks that are up on your Soundcloud – have you recorded much besides this? How are the plans for an album coming along?”

Pat: “We’ve pretty much recorded all of it. It’s being mixed at the moment by a friend of ours. All the other recordings up are either really basic ones that we recorded in a bedroom with programmed drums, or in a practice room with a single microphone in the corner!”

Reuben: “Most of them are old songs that we don’t even play live anymore.” 

JH: “Do you write songs a lot?”

Pat: “Not as a band, really. We don’t really have the time, or practice, to do that sort of thing. What will usually happen is that I’ll record something on my computer and then put it on Dropbox, so everyone else can listen to it. If people like it, then we’ll try it at practice.” 

Reuben: “We then arrange it as a band from the ideas that Pat writes.” 

JH: “Do you only perform your own songs?”

Reuben: “We used to do a couple of covers – ‘Planet Caravan’ by Black Sabbath was one.” 

Pat: “We also used to do a song by a band called Pond, called ‘Eye Pattern Blindness’. They share members with Tame Impala, who are also a big influence on us. We even met Kevin Parker (the singer from Tame Impala) at the Latitude festival this year! Although as soon as I met him, I stepped on his toe by accident. Oops! Still, it was his own fault for wearing flip flops.” 

Reuben: “And he did like Pat’s shirt, at least.” 

Pat (mistily): “It was this dark green, paisley…banger. A total banger of a shirt.” 

Reuben: “We couldn’t even have gone to Latitude if it wasn’t for our new manager, Neil.” 

Pat: “Sweet Neil! We love Neil, so he’s always Sweet Neil to us.” 

Reuben: “He’s taking us to the top!” 

Pat: “But first, he got us free tickets to Latitude as he tour manages for Slow Club and they were headlining.” 

JH: “Do you go and see other bands a lot?”

Reuben: “Well, we do. James plays Chess!”

(General band laughter and sheepish agreement by James)

JH: “Which other bands do you rate in Hastings?”

Reuben: “The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovel are definitely one of my favourite bands, but there’s a lot really. Tim Hoyte as well.” 

Pat: “And Otti (Albietz), we’re really big fans of him. Ooh, we’re also incredibly Pro-Hornet! The Hastings scene is supportive.” 

Reuben: “Obviously we also know and really like Kid Kapichi, because they were Judges for the Battle of the Bands, which we won! So they’ve been particularly supportive.” 

Reuben: “Plus there are a lot of people making really interesting Electronic music at home. People like Leofwin…”

Pat: “He’s probably our favourite local artist. We’ve certainly heard him a lot.”

James: “That’s because he’s always coming around our flats and playing us his stuff, all the time…”

JH: “You mention Electro. Whilst you’ve obviously got a lot of psychedelia going on in your music, there’s a big electro influence too. Is that something that you’ve looked to develop and has it changed over time?”

Reuben: “Yeah, I do think we’re trying to distance ourselves from that whole “psych revival” thing, as it can get really predictable and clichéd.” 

Pat: “The idea of a “psychedelic” genre doesn’t even make sense. The whole point of it in the first place was doing something different and completely new that couldn’t be labelled. Now it’s become a genre, it’s like there’s a method to it…”

Reuben: “People just buy a phaser pedal and say “right, we’re a Psych band now!” and forget to actually write any memorable songs. We don’t find the big, hyped new “Psych” bands like Temples to be that exciting.” 

James: “They’re pretty boring, to be honest.” 

Reuben: “Temples are like the Kula Shaker of today! That’s another gold nugget quote for you…”

JH: “It’s therefore important to you not to sound too much like anybody else and to do your own thing…”

Reuben: “Plus, I think we’re influenced by all kinds of different things. Not just one genre, or one band. And once our new stuff comes out, people will hear that a lot more in our music.” 

Pat: “We’re definitely going in a more electro direction. We’ve all been listening to Can, which is really shaping us. Plus we’ve got LOADS of new gear now too.” 

JH: “So what are your future plans for gigging, the album etc?”

Reuben: “We hope to have the album available by the time the year is out.”

Pat: “So that then everyone can buy it as a Christmas present for their loved ones.” 

Reuben: “We’re going to release it ourselves. We’ll make up physical copies on CD and then have it available as a free digital download. If we make enough money, we hope to do a Vinyl release later on.” 

Pat: “Once we’ve got some of the tracks mixed, Sweet Neil is then going to send them out and get us loads of gigs. If we do go on tour, we really want to take our friend John with us.” 

Reuben: “He does our background projections – he programs the whole thing in computer script, which also links up to a webcam filming us and is then projected back behind us. It takes sound input too, it’s really clever.”  

JH: “And finally, does the album have a title yet?”

Pat: “Well I thought I knew what the title was, but according to everybody else I didn’t, apparently…”

Ceyote’s as-yet-untitled album will be out later this year. In the meantime, you can hear them on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ceyote and find out more on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ceyote1 

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