If you fancy something satisfyingly unusual, then Bristol’s anarchic aural absurdists, Norman, have released an EP of sorts, via a visual mixtape, available online. And if ‘Norman’ makes you think of the bloke with disconcerting eyes and an equally unsettling blade in Psycho, you’re somewhere close to the right wavelength.
‘Normal Haircut’ combines drunk funk with squalling, dissonant brass; hearty bass vocals crave Salt & Shake crisps, layered over an unfiltered spoken rant about ravioli that “tastes like misery.” ‘Call Me Sentimental’ is languid. A funereal church organ dominates, then yields to some kind of Tarantino tango. ‘New Years Eve’ is awash with applied vibrato on the vocals. There’s a jazzy section reminiscent of King Louie in The Jungle Book. Wherever the ‘norm’ is situated, this mixtape isn’t there.
We caught up with Natty Morris (guitar/synth/vocals) and Jack Ogborne (lead singer/guitar) during lockdown to get a sense of how Norman’s new normal looks:
Jack: “I’ve just been writing/recording a lot using Garageband on my phone. We’ll put out a single at some point in 2020. It’s already recorded. Praying that End Of The Road is still on so we can all have a big party when this all blows over. That’s all.
Natty: “Mainly during lockdown, I’ve just been practising radical laziness but trying to keep up writing, I feel it’s a good time to look for inspiration from little things.”
See Norman’s Visual Mixtape here:
Three words to describe my/our music…
Jack: Abrasive, Anxious, Direct.
Natty: Nervous avant-ballads
Last photo on my phone...
J: The back of my head in the mirror. Checking how well I’d cut my hair.
N: A screen shot of trading details from the game Mount and Blade Warband
Favourite Instagram account…
J: Toss up between BIGTIME TOMMIE & Thrift Store Art.
The best venue I’ve played…
J: The Old England, always.
N: The Windmill, Brixton
Earliest song I remember…
J: ‘Love’s In Need Of Love Today’ – Stevie Wonder.
N: ‘I’m a Believer’ – Neil Diamond/The Monkees/Smash Mouth
The worst job I’ve ever had…
J: Behind the bar at Ramshackle.
N: Cleaner of a local venue (specifically the toilets) or working Christmas in Primark
Favourite food on tour…
N: The cheapest anchovy and caper pizza available
N: Hubris or petard
Things that cheer me up…
J: Train guy.
N: Madmen, Ribena, Jaffa Cakes
If I could play a gig anywhere it would be…
J: My primary school hall (rumour has it The Pop Group played their first gig there).
N: The Bronze in Sunnydale, California
I think you should listen to…
J: Our Mixtape, it’s fun.
N: Everything LICE have released and will release
If I could see anyone play live it would be…
J: Arthur Russell.
N: Silver Jews/Purple mountains :(((
Featured Image by Callum O’Driscoll