THE CLASSIC BAND – CARDIACS
Tim Smith has been a Cardiac for 20 years. That’s 20 years of incalculably influential experimental jazz-tinged punk pop. Almost every band in Britain can be linked back to Cardiacs through around three degrees of separation. The band – Tim, Jim, Bob and John – all have various side-projects, including other bands, production credits and advertising jingles. The Cardiacs fan base is a legion of dedicated nutcases who will follow the band around the country. Their reward is the fact that Tim manages to make time to maintain good friendships with every single one of them – and we are talking a very large number of people here …
Tim: I personally have never had any expectations about anything ever … so … um. I saw that comet that’s been hanging about for the first time yesterday – Hale Bopp or whatever – I was thrilled, it actually looked like a real comet. Cardiac-wise, I personally have passed any ambition or expectations inasmuch as we still record and play any old stuff which we think is OK. We like to think that no rules surround music so … if we think a noise sounds good to us, then so be it. Music is a really great big thing, which should not be boxed in by people, whatever the f***ness, who think it is just a trinket to decorate a style or way of life, etc.
Music is wonderful and should be rejoiced as being such. But going back to your question about expections … the answer is … it has and it hasn’t. It has, inasmuch as we still do it (and some other bands do something similar inasmuch as the being-out-thereness is concerned). And it hasn’t, as far as, the people that dig this kind of s*** are still few and far between purely for the reason that it is an ignored art form, blah blah.
Did you choose the style you play or did it just happen?
Tim: It just happened and still does for some reason.
How has being in a band affected you in terms of how you treat people and are treated?
Tim: Doing what we do – I do – I forget to keep answering personally – OK – what I think – my mind is stupidly open to anything now. I will look at a door knob and see the art/design/thought and heartache that has gone into that work. I will appreciate anything that has had someone think and work on something, but I am not as liberal as that, I also know what I personally think is sh*te or dead smart or not.
People treat us lot either as scumbags wasting our time making a dreadful racket and wondering why we bother when it’s obvious that we are never going to have a Top 10 hit, or as people just making a horrid racket for a giggle.
Are you happy with the level of success you have achieved?
Tim: The answer is sort of … no … we would obviously like to be more famous than we are merely to survive and things not to be such a constant struggle, but on the other hand, we are successful inasmuch as we succeed in making the noise that we set out to achieve in the first place so what the f***.
Does it worry you that bands influenced by you have more chart success? Blur are a prime example …
Tim: Blur are a brilliant pop band, they deserve success: they are unique, they are pretty, they know exactly what they are up to and they do it without fear. Blur rule! England is lucky to have such a pop band as a flagship. There is nowt wrong with stealing tunes from each other.
What was the main reason for starting the band?
What advice would you give to new bands?
Tim: Do what you wanna.