The Money Interview: Hard-Fi and the Robert Johnson/Faustus Effect

In light of the money issue, Impact interviews two of the latest musicians to ‘bend over’ for the corporate buck.
Hard-Fi’s Steve Kemp has hard words for contributor Ben Griffin about their Carling commercial, money and ‘getting his facts straight.’ Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Ben Griffith, face of the Ford Focus campaign, chats to Sophie Pearce and Ian Steadman over tea about Ford, the sexes and televised bears.

After their début album Stars Of CCTV took football stadiums and Walkabout bars around the country by storm, the Staines rockers returned this year with Once Upon A Time In The West and more tales of life in the middle lane

Ben: Your first album ‘Stars Of CCTV’ and your latest album ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ both speak of moving on from hum-drum suburbia and money struggles. Now you’re going up in the world, do you fear you’ll run out of ideas?
Steve: I don’t think you can run out of ideas. If you were the richest man alive, you’re telling me if you opened the paper and saw something you were pissed off about, that you’d be closed off? – Unless you’re Bono and you live in a castle, I can’t see us not being connected with the world around us.

So you’re still Steven from the block?
[*Laughs*] I’m still Steven from the block. But people like Jennifer Lopez, singing about being from the block wearing a fur coat; she’s talking bollocks!

Radiohead recently released their new album online, and let the fans decide the price. If you did the same, how much do you think your fans would be willing to give?
How much do you think people paid for the Radiohead album? I think they would’ve given them fuck all. They’re millionaires! I don’t expect anyone to go out there and say ‘hmm, I’ll just give ‘em two quid’ do you? I think record companies are fucked. Right now they’re thinking ‘oh shit, what do we do’ because people aren’t buying records in the usual sense. One click of the mouse, 79p, that’s it!

You released your second album without any cover art. For your next one will you go a step further and release it without any music?
Yeah, you’re clever aren’t you? We did it because we didn’t want to be like every other fucker out there who has a black and white picture of themselves on their album because they haven’t got anything else to say.

I know you have this gritty image to uphold, but you once turned down recording in Abbey Road in favour of a cab office. Are you mental?
It’s harder to create in that place. In our studio you can hear the guy upstairs shouting at his wife and everything, it forces us to try out a lot of different things until we find something that sounds different from everyone else.

You’ve had a huge advertising deal with Carling, amongst others. How does it feel ‘bending over’ for big companies?
I do like your style. Have you any idea of the stuff we’ve turned down? – No, you haven’t. McDonald’s wanted to do something with us once and it was going to be this worldwide thing. Before you have an opinion on something we do, before you try and accuse us of bending over for companies, you should get your facts straight.

Steve Kemp, thanks for your time.

By Ben P. Griffin


Leave a Reply