The Neat make blistering, uncompromising post-punk – with an all-too-enticing garage rock spin. In fact, they’re anything but neat. Especially since we heard they store their demos in their pants. Wonderland climb in for the ride with lead singer Mez.
How did you guys all meet?
Me and Lawrence, who are the founding members, went to school with each other. Then we met the rest at university.
What made you want to be in a band?
I grew up always going to festivals because my parents were real hippies, so I grew up with lots of people on stage. I always wanted to do it from a young age. And then, when I was about sixteen, I was getting into music with The Strokes and everything, that really made it look cool.
So what are you influenced by?
Lyrically I read a lot of Ginsberg and that kind of thing, but musically a lot of us like a lot of different things. All the lyrics are mine and then the music’s a big collective thing.
I heard that you gave Steve Lamacq your demo out of your boxers. Is that true?
We were playing at White Heat and by that time we hadn’t had any radio play. I had a denim jacket but no pockets, so I just stored the demos in the top of my jeans. I saw Steve Lamacq and just pulled it out and gave it to him, and we got on the radio.
if you were going to describe the sound of The Neat to someone who hadn’t heard it before, what would you say?
Controlled noise with a purpose.
So what’s your single “New Kids” about?
We’d been briefly signed for two singles before “New Kids”, then we had a year of limbo where all these other bands were getting signed. I think “New Kids” was just an attack on that. You get these certain massive breaks and these other bands that have been going for a long time who are almost forgotten about.
Right now, are you signed to a label or are you just doing it independently?
We’re just doing it independently. “New Kids” we funded ourselves, but we put it through a label that’s based up in Sunderland. We’re looking to record the next one like that.
You guys are from Hull. What’s was growing up there like?
It was interesting. I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s almost like the forgotten city: there’s only one way in and that’s over the Humber Bridge, and you have to pay to get over it. It’s kind of given us a good grounding to not get too high above our station.
Is there a bit of a north/south divide in the music industry?
I think bands up north struggle to get a good reputation. When we started out, the whole scene is very lad rock and backwards. We never really wanted to be a part of it, we were always drawn to the London stuff.
Would you ever move south?
All our jobs are up here. I work as a career advisor, our drummer works with his dad laying bricks for a living, Lawrence works with people with anorexia and stuff. If we had the chance to go down with a label putting money into us then I’m pretty sure we’d move.
Do you ever advise people to join a band?
Not really, no.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Words: Zing Tsjeng