“Bow Down”

Pengu!ns will be supporting Beady Eye at their forthcoming sold-out gigs in Edinburgh and Newcastle.


FAULT: How long have you guys been making music together?

Sshh: It’s been about three or four years now, we were down in a place called Black Dog in Devon and we had been running around all day scaring sheep… as you do… and there was a little studio there. We just decided to have a little jam with Zak on the drums and me singing “Creatures style” (Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees Budgie). That’s how it all started and the rest is history.

Zak: It was 2005. Sshh was living in Australia and was only visiting England now and again. We came up with an idea for one tune while I was on tour in Mexico. It had drums and a chorus, which became Jet Engines. I put together a backing track, played it over the phone, Sshh recorded it into her camera, and then she sang down the phone, and that’s how our first record came together.

Sshh: It really had a great sound and I think it’s something we captured really well.

Zak: So we did the demo like that and then Sshh moved over here for good.

Sshh: It was a natural progression.

Zak: All our friends are really encouraging as well, which is amazing.

FAULT: What is your musical background Sshh?

Sshh: I was playing with a lot of bands in Australia when I was in art school and I obviously became an art school drop out! I was more interested in wearing an afro wig and singing with this insane band rather than going to school and having teachers tell me what to do. I did a few amateurish recordings and stuff on the radio but it was all very tongue in cheek. We were doing a gig once and I was wearing a wig and half way through the set I took it off and people were coming up to me and asking me where the other chick went. When I came to England I fucked about a bit doing stuff on computers, writing and making some art in between. I was hazing my way through life but now it feels like I’ve got a bit of direction. I was so all over the place with with creative paths, not sure which one to take, and I was feeling a bit lost… I was lost but now I’m found (laughs), that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

FAULT: How did you both meet?

Sshh: We met at a gig in Australia, I was supposed to go and see MC5 the next night and I asked Zak if he wanted to go.

Zak: I wanted to go but I couldn’t so I just texted Sshh a question mark and it went from there.

FAULT: Other than recording demos down the phone what is your creative process?

Sshh: Sometimes it kind of pops out, like at the moment we’ve got this new tune called Hell’s a Poppin’, we were watching an insane montage film from the 40’s called Hell’s a Poppin’ and we just thought that it was a great name. The tune has nothing to do with the film really… it’s about selling your soul to Satan, but it’s not condoning it or selling it -it is what it is.

Zak: Mostly it just comes how it comes. We’ll have a beat, or the guitar, or we’ll have an idea for some lyrics. Sometimes it might not even be lyrics, there might just be words around, like we’ve got a song up on Myspace at the minute called Space Invader and that’s just about…

Sshh: People invading space- it’s a dance… like the pogo in the punk era but the space invader!!

Zak: Some songs are just written on acoustic guitar. We sit there and write a tune, we’ve got an old CD player with an A to B button on it and we can just loop a bit of a record.

Sshh: We went through a bit of an Alice Cooper faze for a while.

Zak: Or Kenneth Anger. Just loop a bit of that, not necessarily watch ii but have it on in the background while we’re coming up with ideas, anything is an inspiration really. A lot of our vibe is from Rock ‘n’ Roll but 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, we don’t have to sound like it, but just keep the immediacy of it because you can’t help but fucking hear it.

FAULT: Do you like new music?

Sshh: Yeah we do but we don’t really listen to that much.

Zak: I think modern music is really predictable, except for Kasabian.

FAULT: How would you want someone to describe your music?

Sshh: It’s a bit a bit of a mash-up so it’s tough to pin it down… I described it to someone the other day as a collage of the best music that you’ve ever heard (laughs)… what would you say Zak?

Zak: Rock ‘n’ Roll.

FAULT: What would you say is the best thing about Penguins?

Sshh: Everything!

Zak: We sound fresh.

Sshh: Yeah, to me you can’t get fresher. What’s that song you can’t get fresher…?

Zak: You mean you can’t get quicker than a quick fit fitter? (laughs).

Sshh: No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

FAULT: Are you looking forward to anything?

Sshh: Having the finished product because we are so close to it now, you can really taste it.

Zak: We’re about to put a band together, we’re going to start playing live again because we haven’t played live for ages; when we’re playing live we never wrote any tunes.

Sshh: Yeah, I concur.

Zak: We’ve done a lot of tunes but we’ve also sacked a lot of tunes and now we’ve got a great record to put out there.

FAULT: Where did the name come from?

Zak: It’s in our song Jet Engines; it says ‘penguins start your engines’. Then a mate of ours said ‘you should call yourself Penguins’. We don’t want to come across dark and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Music is supposed to lift you and everyone needs to start enjoying life a bit more and start having a good time… it’s what we do!

Sshh: You need music to take you higher. We’ve got a song called Bow Down, it’s brilliant! It’s about how brilliant I am (laughs) but it’s more about how brilliant everyone is no matter who you are or what you do.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Sshh: Everything is our FAULT!