New album, out now on Second Language Music. http://www.secondlanguagemusic.com
There’s not just a brutalism about Cumbernauld, the Scottish “new town” in North Lanarkshire, developed ostensibly to catch the population overspill from neighbouring Glasgow in the 1950’s but also a melancholy, almost tangible banalism. According to brothers Phillip and Peter Walker, collectively operating under the moniker of P60, the lack of any discernible activity, cultural or otherwise, has resulted in a “blank society” which practically revels in its stagnance. “If you Google images on Cumbernauld,” says Phillip, you’ll notice a distinct dearth of people in the photos. Everyone just stays at home watching tv.” But look very closely and you’ll notice that something is happening behind the concrete and steel facade.
“We got into this by default,” says Peter. “Our uncle Jim, died about 5 years ago and they found all these old synths and stuff in his attic which obviously, he’d never used. Some of them were wrapped up in bin liners and bits of carpet so the rain wouldn’t get at them. Nobody wanted them so at first I thought let’s just stick them on eBay or something.”
Phillip, however, had other ideas. “I used to be in a band (the equally reclusive Glasgow post-punk outfit, Knives Replace Air) which was all guitars but I knew we could do something if we applied ourselves. It’s taken 2 years to actually start making tunes we’re happy with. Before, it was just press a key, twist some knobs and see what comes out. We’re still not exactly Depeche Mode.”
It’s this rudimental, even naïve approach to their somewhat rusty analogue palette that makes P60 stand out. As Phil says, “Most people with a few synths and a drum-machine would go, ‘Let’s make dance music’ but between us, we literally have no interest in club culture. We’re much more interested in the voice of the instruments.”
But why P60? “Both our names start with P obviously but in one of the binbags with all these synths was a little black box held together with duct tape and someone’s Dymo’ed ‘P60’ on it. There’s an input and an output and we’ve had it apart but we’ve still got no idea what it does! It’s literally a little black box that does nothing. It seemed very apt. We aren’t going to play live or have our photos taken. We want to stay anonymous. In the current celeb-obsessed climate, that’s about as punk as I can imagine.”
P60 ‘Models’ comes in a semi-transparent glassine envelope with postcard, sanding disc, tachograph, hand-stamped litmus paper and electrical resistor. Limited edition of 300 copies.