We love music, we love the people who love music and naturally we love the people that make music.
So what about those people that make music? What sort of people are they? They like music as well, right? What were they into as kids? Was it the same sort of music we were into? What are they listening to now? What songs did they wish they had written?
We wanted to discover the “music fan” inside these artists, so we decided to find out using a similar format to our Meet The Community feature. By firing a series of short questions at a selected indie artist we wanted to get a bit of an insight into what makes them tick musically.
In this edition – Rob Sekula (14 Iced Bears)
A quick scoot over to Wikipedia should provide anyone in need of some background on 14 Iced Bears with a salient amount of valuable data. On there you’ll discover 14 Iced Bears were a British indie pop band associated with the C86 music scene. Formed in Brighton in 1985, the group released a handful of singles, including “Come Get Me” on the influential Sarah label, and two full-length albums: the eponymous 14 Iced Bears in 1988 and Wonder in 1991. After a break of almost 20 years the band reformed in 2010 and toured the USA and performed gigs in London. In July 2013, they released a 2-CD retrospective of their total output “Hold On Inside” on Cherry Red records. Not quite verbatim…but almost.
However, this gathering of data is not really our style or what we are about. Way too anodyne. What’s more meaningful to us is how 14 Iced Bears have passed through the EIO40 world and the mark they have left on our community.
For example, we were able to discover from this poster of gigs at The Duchess of York, Leeds in 1991 shared by Paul Dean (@akumulator_uk) on our Facebook group, that Michael Bairstow (@BillyChief) remembered seeing 14 Iced Bears at the Camden Falcon around that time. Michael reminded us of this once again when we asked on Twitter if anyone had been at the Camden Falcon on the night of 15th February 1991. In fact, Rob himself from 14 Iced Bears responded to the tweet wondering whether this was the night his guitar cut out and he ended up just pulling the strings out on stage.
We also know that Jeff Gaisford is a bit of a fan of 14 Iced Bears because he shared “Balloon Song” on our Facebook group, a song which we also played on Episode 8 of our own regular podcast. It is also worthwhile noting that the same 14 Iced Bear song “Cut” has appeared as suggestions during both our Daily Image Game and Indie Advent Calendar. We have also used their debut album as the subject of one of our 4 PICS 1 ALBUM quizza features.
14 Iced Bears even made an appearance during one of our IndieOver40 Cup live draws when that man again, Michael Bairstow rather novelly used Sarah Records catalogue numbers when revealing the bands. Those boys from Ride can thank Sarah 5 and 14 Iced Bears “Come Get Me” EP for their big match against Teenage Fanclub in the Quarter Finals.
From our own experiences of 14 Iced Bears, we had the pleasure last year of hearing ‘Unhappy Days” blaring out at us whilst sitting in the comfort of the Hackney Picturehouse watching the Sarah Records docu-film My Secret World. Plus our own music library has been much improved recently with the addition of “Surfacer” which is wedged rather wonderfully between Loop’s “Arc-Lite” and Galaxie 500’s “Tugboat” on the Cherry Red shoegaze compilation Still In A Dream.
What we can conclude from all of this is that 14 Iced Bears have remained firmly in people’s consciousness, even to this day. The reason for that is really rather clear to us. They made fantastic music and that sort of thing you won’t learn from Wikipedia.
So we were therefore delighted when Rob Sekula from 14 Iced Bears agreed to give us his view from the stage. So let’s find discover a bit more about him..
1) Where did you grow up?
I was born in Camberwell, South London, and that was where I grew up, apart from a year when I was 8 on the nightmare that was North Peckham Estate. It annoys me when music journalists assume all C86 period people were fey middle class types
2) What posters did you have on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Teardop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen, Strawberry Switchblade – mainly from articles in The Face, NME etc
3) What was the first record you bought?
Think it was by The Police. Didn’t really buy many records pre 1980, taped things like Blondie off the chart rundown. Then got into The Jam, Liverpool scene and early Pink Floyd (thanks to Paul Weller, I think).
4) What moment made you want to become a singer/artist/musician?
Always been musical. When I was about 4/5, teachers let me have a go on a glockenspiel and said I should go for music lessons. Thanks to my mum and dad encouraging me, I started taking lessons/exams for the recorder and piano. Got the top grade (8) possible in recorder when I was 15!
Didn’t really like classical stuff though, apart from Beethoven maybe, always a pop music fan. Would rather have watched TOTP anyday!
Once I got to 16 and into indie/psyche stuff being in a band was all I wanted to do
5) How much did you get paid for your first gig?
My first proper gig was at Sussex Uni Bar with 14 Iced Bears in about 85. Don’t know if we got paid but remember a reggae toaster man invaded the stage and ruined one of our songs with his tirade!
6) Do you have a particularly memorable gig you performed at?
I’d have to say supporting Alex Chilton in 91/92. I was a massive Big Star fan and he was one of my all-time favourite singers.
We came off stage and it was just me and him sitting in the dressing room. He said ‘You guys were great! Really sophisticated stuff.’ I didn’t care what any idiot journalist thought of us after that. We spent the evening having a laugh and I met him quite a few times after that over the years.
7) Who would you most like to perform with on stage?
Apart from Alex Chilton, it would have to be Gram Parsons or the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – not very likely, I suppose.
8) What is the best venue you have played at?
Some weird dome in Switzerland in about 90. Think it was in the middle of a car park. The Mary Chain had played there a week earlier apparently.
9) What song would you most like to have written (not your own)?
So many. Anything with a classic tune – maybe ‘September Gurls’ cos I’m a December boy.
10) If you weren’t a singer/artist/musician what would have been?
Before I turned 16 I wanted to be a footballer, but that didn’t work out, did it?
11) What are you listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?
I don’t really hear much new stuff I like, although my favourite current song is ‘Open your eyes’ by School of Seven Bells. I mainly listen to stuff I’ve liked over the decades. Mainly psyche stuff like West Coast Pop Art… or singers like Scott Walker, Judee Sill or Gram Parsons. I always go to see Euros Childs live cos he’s great
12) What are you up to at the moment?
Musically? The Bears have sort of resplit so I’m focusing on my solo stuff. Got an album’s worth of songs I want to put out eventually. Been working a bit this year with DC Fontana, which includes Donald Ross Skinner (Julian Cope’s guitarist). Been doing some guest vocals for their forthcoming LP and may do some of my stuff too with them. Great musicians.
Thank you to Rob Sekula for taking part in our Q&A and for providing an enjoyable insight into his musical world.
You can find out more about 14 Iced Bears at the following:
So who’s gonna be next then?