Now a five piece touring outfit, giving their onstage performance numerous new dimensions RA spoke to Chris Todd in the UK, before he heads to Australia.
How has the group evolved since you and Jim met in Nottingham?
Well we have been going for about two years now as a 5 piece band, and well it started out as an experiment really. Then we got Danielle who is the singer, and we basically started writing songs with her initially, and then we brought Tim and Mav in. Tim who is the bass player has been involved with Crazy Penis before, He did a bit of writing on the first album so he is no stranger to it. Once we got the five of us together it was just a case of practice really. As we evolved over the 2 years it got better and has become and more live and we are producing more of the sounds on stage.
Did you ever think that it would get as far as it has today, did you ever think it would get past an experiment?
When the first album was released (‘a nice hot bath with’– 1998), we got a few requests to do some live shows, we initially did them with the two of us and realised very quickly that it wasn’t very do-able with the style of music we produced as it was quite instrumental and quite structured. The only way to get around this was to get a band involved so we did. We have done a few live shows around the place but Australia is really the first properly organised show so we are just really relieved that it has all come off, because its been in the pipeline for such a long time.
You must be excited coming to Australia and performing to a different crowd.
Defiantly, and also because Jim been out a few times before and he has been raving about it. We can’t wait.
You have a very Creative name for your group, what are the stories (if there are any) behind it?
The main reason we went for a name like Crazy Penis that would get us instant recognition…. the shock value basically… A flat mate of mine had a record called ‘loco pingu’ (sorry about the spelling) which roughly translates to Crazy Penis, we were going to call out selves loco pingu but once we told people that, they liked crazy penis better for the shock value. So far its paid off and we haven’t really had to many problems with it.
They aren’t banning your name in any Countries are they?
We have had more problems in this country than any really…. We did a council run event and we had to change the name to Crazy Denny because they couldn’t put Crazy Penis.
How would you describe your style of music? How do you think it’s changed with the addition with vocals?
The biggest change is the vocals really, because at first it was purely instrumental.
You also have a few orchestral Elements in your latest album… Were they just samples or live recordings?
There are a few string samples in the album… We do like our samples especially with the Willy Wonka introduction… We like samples, just to give it that edge and an angle. That first song actually started with that sound. We have never actually recorded any live strings. But for our next album we have a string quartet coming in and a few brass instruments as well. As far as the sound goes its really the more we do and the more time we spend the more people we bring in and the more complicated it gets. Fortunately, Jim’s quite good at it so he can transcribe any parts for people as we need them.
Do you have any other influences? What kind of cds do you have lying around at the moment?
I just bought Tim Love Lee’s ‘Just call me lovely’. It’s on Tummy Touch Records. It’s really left – field breaks, quite orchestral, very atmospheric. We love our old stuff. We have quite a big, old record collection that we are always topping up with songs from second hand record shops. That plays a really important part to our music.
You and Jim and Danielle both DJ as well? How does Djing compare to performing as a group?
Danielle does a bit more regular stuff than we do, plays at bars etc
They both have different angles really. The group thing is brilliant really because there are five of us on stage and its a lot different to just the dj thing.. We have always had a record collection but have never really tried to DJ Professionally. I used to get more nervous Djing than performing..
How long will you be in Australia for?
I think its about 12 days. We basically have 4 dates which are over 2 weekends. We have the first week in Melbourne and the second week in Sydney. We have 4 or 5 days to relax before heading back home. We have to get back to recording as we will hopefully be releasing an album this year so we will be quite busy.