INTERVIEW: THE HARLEQUIN DYNAMITE MARCHING BAND

Picture yourself lollygagging down a sodden English high street where manikins sell dreams to mothers rushing, hushing and ushering their squealing toddlers into another debuting Poundland. Great British monotony and Greggs pasties, ramshackle bus stops and solemn job centres and empty retail promises…

“OOMAHARUMOOMA!” – You’ve been accosted by a bassoon! And with a “CLACKADY CLACKADY BOOM BOOM BOOM!” you’re encircled by a brightly clad twelve-manned raggle-taggle marching band, wielding a megaphone and a fuck-tonne of drum and brass. You’ve stumbled into the loud and impromptu hot jazz sounds of The Harlequin Dynamite Marching Band! *Throws Pokeball*

“We like throwing conformity to the wind and immersing ourselves among a public crowd” – Simone the biscuit thief trumpets. “We’ve been asked to keep it down by diamond sellers, joined by toddlers on percussion and a crazy lady once tried to start a fight with Joel” He continues “We’ve paraded through shopping malls and through the streets for the sheer unity and experience of it all” Michael Paul elaborates “Guerrilla performances are great practice for us, it’s amazing to see the responses of passers-by. We love playing the streets and feel that street culture is incredibly important and needs to be safeguarded. It’ll be a sad day when the only reason to visit the high street is to go to the shops. The streets of our cities should be awash with cultural and social activity and if feels good to be contributing to that!” “Where would we most like to drop a guerrilla performance you ask… Harry Potter world!”

This life-loving and large Liverpool ensemble is the side project and brainchild of Lucy Mercer of the freak-folk trio Stealing Sheep, and as it also turns out, the side-project of over nine bands including The Wizards of Twiddly, The Weave, Dead Head Trio, The Long Finger Bandits, Sing For Your Supper and many more. The group commonly supports Stealing Sheep. “There have been performances with our other side projects,” Moody Trudy explains “At our first EP launch three side projects performed including Long Finger Bandits and King Twit. At the second launch Dead Hedge Trio performed, so it does happen, but normally only when we are putting on the events ourselves. Also Stealing Sheep are a hardworking and recognisable name; these other projects just don’t have the notoriety.”

These jazzy misfits are also set to play alongside hyper-klezmer wizards Tantz at Fire in the Mountain Festival and Kendal Calling this year. “We’re most excited to play Fire in the Mountain because it’s just a dead nice, easy going, old folk bluegrass festival. We’re probably going to be the loudest band there!” the band gleefully boasts.

“If money wasn’t an issue we’d buy a farm or manor house in the middle of nowhere and become completely self-sufficient: grow our own food, make our own booze and spend all day writing and playing music without having to worry about anything else. And then of course we’d have loads of gigs everywhere, though I guess we’d have to pay someone to run our farm when we’re off traveling the world…unless there are some diehard fans out there that would just do it for love?”

The group are proud of their Liverpudlian roots and also an integral part of the music scene there. “The scene in Liverpool is amazing! A few of us are associated with running nights in venues such as the Kazimier and Mello Mello so we see the really esoteric side of Liverpool’s music.” Laura ‘Brown Stains’ continues “It’s great to see bands in our circuit that are really pushing new sounds and it’s an inspiring community to be surrounded by.”

“Playing in Harlequin Dynamite Marching Band opens up a lot of creative avenues because we’re a versatile gang of misfits that are always up for trying everyone’s utterly mad ideas. We get to hang out with our friends and make music, travel about, overcome life’s dramas and have fun” recollects Simon the biscuit thief. “Our ultimate goal, I guess, is to record one ultimate song, not just a bit good, really good!”

“We’d like to thank the whole band for everyone’s input, Luciana Mercer for coming up with the vision, Stealing Sheep for giving us the opportunity to travel around the festival scene and Simon for his special organisation skills, recording and for being a real driving force of the band against all odds.”

Harlequin Dynamite will start their summer festival tour on May 31 at Fire in the Mountain Festival.
You can listen to their EP at:
www.soundcloud.com/harlequindynamite

More information can be found at:
www.facebook.com/harlequindynamite
www.harlequindynamite.blogspot.co.uk
For more about Stealing Sheep Visit:
www.stealingsheep.co.uk

About Voodoojukeboxzine (52 Articles)
Voodoo Jukebox - promoting underground, independent and bizarre music, based in Birmingham.