Having only just recently finished touring the country with Parklife, leaving a trail of exhausted, sweaty and MDMA riddled audiences in most major cities, Music Feeds was lucky enough to sit down with Does It Offend You, Yeah? bass player and vocalist James Rushent after the band’s sideshow at the Oxford Arts Factory.
“Do you know what, it’s funny man,” James tells me as he lights up a cigarette. “Before all the anti-smoking laws got put in I was all up for it. I was like fair enough man, people shouldn’t be made to you know, smell my smoke or breathe my smoke, you know. But then when you’re drunk and in a pub and you’re not allowed to take your drink outside and have a cigarette, which is half the fun, it’s like ah man. But luckily we go to enough countries where they don’t have laws like that, so I get my pint and ciggy fix frequently enough.”
And he’s doing just that as I speak to him, although it’s a schooner instead of a pint, and he’s crammed into the corner of a black leather couch backstage at the Oxford Arts Factory. Cast on his leg and crutches by his side, his expression shows no signs of the physical discomfort he must be in and despite the sweltering heat never once removes his beanie.
Having just finished a set so powerful, it saw the Oxford Art Factory turn into a condensed version of the Big Day Out D-barrier mosh, James and the rest of the guys are relaxing with a few beers. The jokes fly thick and fast between James and Dan Coop (synths) and singer and guitarist Morgan Quaintance chats away eagerly to a striking little blonde by the door while Sean “Har Mar Superstar” Tillman treats us to his incendiary mix of freestyle rap and burlesque, seemingly possessed by the spirit of an epileptic exotic dancer.
In an attempt to try and steer the conversation back towards something resembling an interview I ask him where the band got the name Does It Offend You,Yeah? “Well we were setting up our MySpace account, and we needed a name. So we were like oh I don’t know, let’s just put anything and Dan was like, well we can’t just put anything. So I was like lets just put on the TV and the first thing that was said was, Ricky Gervais just went, does it offend you, yeah? my drinking. So we were like, Does It Offend You, Yeah? Put that in, and that’s how it happened.”
“It’s funny, when we first came out a lot of people thought we were trying to say something with the name, you know trying to be outrageous or something, trying to make it funny or something. We were like, no, we just needed a name, and we were too lazy to think of one so we just ripped it off the TV, no thought went into it at all.”
Described as everything from electro-punk to space-disco-spunk, James can’t help but laugh a little when I ask him what it was that got him into electro. “You see we got known for the electro thing, which is funny to us because it was from like two weeks that we were into electro,” he explains. “We went to a nightclub and they were playing loads of electro stuff and me and Dan were like hey, let’s write songs like this.”
By this point the room has cleared out considerably as most of the others have fucked off to party with Soulwax while James, leg broken, is having a quite one.
“We all go through stages with goin’ out I think. Even I go through stages you know, I’ll drink five shows in a row then I’m dead, you know I can’t move for a week and I feel really ill for ages. It’s very rare that we all hit our stride at the same time, I think it’s only happened twice, and that’s when it got really messy, that’s when the tour manager cracks it.”
“Like Morgan’s woken up in LA on the street before with no idea where he was,” he laughs. “We had to do this TV thing, and we sort of showed up at this station and we were like where the hell’s Morgan. Then at like three in the afternoon, our tour manager got this call, it was like this collect call sort of thing and he was like ‘Morgan’s been out on the street all night, he’s totally lost and we’ve got to pick him up.’”
Unfortunately it’s James that’s had the misadventure this time, which means that he won’t be playing with the band for the last two Parklife dates. “I’m leaving to go back home like tomorrow,” he tells me. “We’ve still got one more tour of England, our last tour of England before we take a break to work on the new album. We’re trying to find a place to record and there are a couple of places that’ve come up that are just amazing.”
“There’s like this old mental institution in the middle of the woods that’s come up, so we’re thinking of decamping out to there and setting up shop and recording there. There’s also a nuclear bunker in Newbury so we might go record down there cos it’s like thirty feet under the ground, and we’re thinking man, that’d be great to go down there and do an album, you know so you can come out like three months later and belike wow.”
“We’ve recorded in recording studios and they’re very clinical places you know, you have your engineer and you can’t smoke and you have a menu to order food from and it’s all a bit just, this isn’t very nice.”
Just looking at James you get the sense he’s a man who favour simplicity. While their music may scream with the voice of the hipsters, the boys themselves are fairly no nonsense. “We just want to go somewhere with mattresses on the floor, paint peeling off the walls, you know where we have to use a heater to toast our bread, do you know what I mean something just bit more ghetto a bit more like a gang of four guys just having fun.