New Noise: Artificial Pleasure

Getting to know the funk-fuelled four piece.

With their innuendo-like name, Artificial Pleasure are the quartet you’re about to fall in love with. Formed by childhood friends Phil McDonnell and Dom Brennan, the group originally began as a trio with drummer Lee Jordan before they came across classically trained bassist Rich Zbaraski and coaxed him to join creating the unstoppable band you see today.

Getting ready to release their upcoming EP “Like Never Before” at the end of this week, the band’s incredible DIY style means their hypnotising funk-punk tracks are entirely self-produced and self-mixed. And why wouldn’t they want to take all the credit when what they have made is so great?

Just about holding back the butterflies in anticipation of Friday’s release, we spoke to Phil to find out all we need to know about the exciting new band.

How did you all meet?

I’ve pretty much known Dom since I can remember because our families were friends. We hadn’t seen each other for a few years and when I started recording some demos my brother said I should get in touch with Dom again. After playing him the demos we decided to put a band together. We met Lee through a mutual friend who saw him playing drums at a jazz gig. After a night in the pub we knew he was alright. We were looking for a bass player to complete the line and my cousin, who’s also a musician, said I should check out this guy Rich. I watched a video of him and within a few seconds I knew he could really play.

Was it “let’s make music together” at first sight?

Unfortunately yes. I know that’s boring. We all have the same musical principles so it’s very harmonious.

Who did you listen to when growing up?

My dad use to listen to a lot of soul music so that’s what always got played in the car. He use to play a lot of JJ Cale and Loudon Wainwright III. But then I had the influence of my older brother who would always make me listen to music with him. I use to listen to a lot of Talking Heads, Eels, Strokes and Tom Waits.

Who were your guilty pleasure listen-tos?

The Darkness. ABBA. Justin Timberlake. I know.

“The freedom to not make narrative sense was a very freeing experience.”

What’s the inspiration behind your band name?

We take pleasure in highly constructed things. Whether it be a Rauschenberg screen print, a brutalist building or an E-number riddled energy drink, their artificial nature is part of our enjoyment of them. But also I do feel that, for better or for worse, we as a society are becoming more detached and increasingly expressing emotion through technology. But people can interpret it how they want.

Can you tell us about your latest track, “The Hand On My Shoulder”?

I was experimenting with my songwriting process. I gave myself 15 minutes, turned off all other electrical devices and wrote down every phrase that i liked the natural rhythm or sound of without worrying about a consistent narrative. I chopped them up and put them in order. The freedom to not make narrative sense was a very freeing experience.

What was the inspiration behind the track?

Musically it came from listening to a lot of D.A.F. and Gang of Four at the same time. Lyrically it was inspired by the imagery of Captain Beefheart’s lyrics (particularly on the Shiny Beast album). If you listen to Tropical Hot Dog Night you’ll get what I mean.

You’re about to release your debut EP, what can we expect from it?

Full on synth and guitar driven sweaty soul pop.

If you were one of these people who could see colours when they hear music, what colours would the tracks be?

Neon pink, green and yellow with a gold trim. Can I have a trim?

What else can we expect from you guys this year?

We’ll be at all the major inner city festivals, Hit The North, Live At Leeds, Stag and Dagger, Great Escape and Dot 2 Dot and we’ll be releasing another EP in the next few months.

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New Noise: Artificial Pleasure

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