Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.
In this edition – PedroF @Betamax857
@Betamax857 is probably our closest member and we mean that literally not figuratively. In terms of crows flying we’re talking 2.122 miles between EIO40 HQ and his abode. In fact, at one point we may have even been close enough to borrow his lawn mower, had circumstances panned out differently when securing our new premises.
You’re probably wondering how we discovered where @Betamax857 lives. Rest assured we don’t undertake intrusive background checks on community members or employ shadowy figures to rifle though personal records or rubbish bins. Nothing as sinister as that. We needed his address so we could send him the T Shirt he’d won in a Best Off A Best Off competition we held in the early days of that feature with @howcaniapply. That particular Best Of album was PWEI’s “16 Different Flavours Of Hell” and considering what we know about his musical penchants there was certainly an element of kismet about his triumph.
Our “closesness” to @Betamax857 doesn’t end there. He was also the first person from the community that Steve at EIO40 ever met in the real world. Their paths intertwined on the 24th March 2015 at the Lexington in London at a Back To The Panet gig. Steve’s wife had taken him for a posh meal earlier that evening to celebrate his birthday and in order to help @Betamax857 recognise him among the ageing punks in the venue messaged him “You can’t miss us, we’re the couple who look like they’ve just been out for a posh meal”.
Steve did confess later to being a little anxious at meeting @Betamax857 that night. That Twitter profile pic had haunted his dreams in the early days and he was a little shit scared that he might actually come to face to face with it. So if you are wondering, @Betamax857 doesn’t have that psychedelic facial tattoo and penetrating stare in real life.
We even have on file a photo of @Betamax857 stair carpet as his perfectly symmetrical Stuffies CD art installation making their way upstairs was his offering to their epic Quarter Final battle against The Manics during the The IndieOver40 Cup
In all seriousness, @Betamax857 contribution to the EIO40 community has been immense from his first tweet to us about Stereolab back on 23rd June 2014 to the present day. None more so than when he judged the 30 Years Of Indie Albums in January 2015. His dedication and hard work for the task at hand was never more pronounced than the infamous photo of his work station. The judging bar was set very high from that moment on.
On that day he handed album of 1993 to Eat’s “Epicure” so on that note let’s “feast” on @Betamax857
1) Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Beckenham, Kent. There was a great nightclub called Langtry’s that had an Indie night. The DJ would take requests and he remains the only one I have ever know to play Eat. He used to put on the record and then come and dance with the rest of us before running back to change over.
2) What first got you into “indie” music?
In 1988 I was a complete metal head. At the age of 16, I wanted to go to my first gig which was to be Iron Maiden at Wembley Arena. No one would go with me (all of my mates liked Alexander O’Neal and Luther Vandross.) A friend at school said he would come along if I returned the favour by going with him to The Town and Country Club to see Pop Will Eat Itself.
After the Poppies gig which was visceral and chaotic the Iron Maiden gig seemed corporate and middle aged. Over the next year I got into and saw the Poppies several times and also The Wonder Stuff and Jesus Jones.
3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?
Box Frenzy by Pop Will Eat Itself was the first album and Info Freako by Jesus Jones was my first 12”.
4) What was your favourite record shop?
I used to like Our Price on Bromley High Street as they stocked loads of 12”s. When I was a student at Swansea I loved a second hand store called More Music. They had loads of indie promos and I managed to get a copy of Info Psycho by Jesus Jones there.
5) What music magazines did you read?
I liked Melody Maker and Sounds.
6) What was your first “indie” gig?
Pop Will Eat Itself at The Town and Country Club. The support acts were Nasty Rox Inc. and Yeah God. I bought a Yeah God t shirt to cover up my Iron Maiden t shirt.
7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?
The Wonder Stuff ‘God Bless the Fuckin’ Lot of Us Tour’ in 1990, Preston Town Hall, August 11th. My friend and I, who lived in Kent, couldn’t make the London dates so we drove to Preston and back to see The Wonder Stuff supported by Spirit of the West and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. The gig was great even though we thought we were mad to drive such a long way. Bizarrely enough we met a guy who had hitchhiked to the gig from about 1/2 a mile from where we lived. Needless to say he was thrilled to get a lift back.
8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?
Going Blank Again by Ride for the Leave Them All Behind, Twisterella and Ox4.
When Do We Start Fighting by Seafood because they are the Indie band that me and my wife like the most.
Devil Hopping by The Inspiral Carpets for I want You, Uniform and Saturn 5.
9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?
It has to be Clint Mansell. I’m a huge PWEI fan and I’m now a big fan of Clint’s film music. The first time I saw Clint in 1988 he was on stage wearing black leather trousers, no top and was completely drunk. Now on stage he sits quietly at the keyboard, tells a great story and appears completely humble.
10) What one song defines your indie-ness?
It’s She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. It’s a little bit gothic, a bit rock and great to dance to.
A huge thank you to @Betamax857 for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into his indie-ness.
You could be next.