Recently described in a gig review as an AntiChrist Supergroup, GLOBAL CITIZEN are no strangers to us here at Rivetheads. Their dark and rather filthy sound is right up our passage. They’ve supported such heavyweights as KMFDM and Front 242 and gathered much critical acclaim for their two officially released full lengths ‘Master Stroke’ and ‘Nil By Mouth’ along with their numerous singles and remix EPs. The world of a Global Citizen looks like a dark and seedy, yet enticing place. John E Smoke tracks down chief protagonist Rich ‘September’ Mills for a bit of a chinwag.
JES – First of all, a huge thank you for sparing some time to chat to us Rivetheads at Midlands Metalheads. How do we find you and what the devils are you up to at the moment?
JES – For the uninitiated, describe your sound and style in less than ten words….
Rich – Someone once described me as the Nymphomaniac Numan …..
I dunno, ……. dark, edgy, often perverse electronica.
Maybe you could describe it better, I’m not really one for pigeon holing us to one sound or genre … 🙂
JES – Your artwork and image are clearly influenced by certain aspects of Japanese culture. Would you care to enlighten us further? Have you ever been to or played live in Japan?
Rich – A lot of the songs were inspired by photographic images taken by a well known Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki and others were just inspired by Japanese bondage images so it was quite natural that the artwork would take a similar kind of direction, I was never one for splattering my own image over everything anyway. In general though, I have always had a thing for Japan, it’s women, culture and art …… but especially it’s women ….
I’ve never been to Japan but came very close to doing so back in 2006 but it never happened for one reason or another, mostly laziness, lack of cash and the fact that Japan always came to me in London. Obviously, having never been there also means we’ve never played there but that is something I would VERY much like to do, but it’s just not that easy …. I’m sure we would be very well received but how on earth do you go about doing such a thing when it’s a hard enough struggle even in your own country?
JES – What was your main objective when you started Global Citizen and have you achieved it yet?
Rich – I really just wanted to make something I was proud of and that other people enjoyed as much as me, I never had any over inflated dreams of being some sort of huge super star, that was never going to happen making the music I make …. And so yes, I have achieved that I think …. 🙂
JES – Do you realise you have one of the least searchable band names on the web? Do you like the sense of mystery that this gives you?
Rich – Yes I do and that is exactly what our name was all about, blending in …. It was adopted from an early song with the same name which was about an international hired hit man who would travel the world taking out people for money and he was like a chameleon, adapting how he looked to fit in with the locals wherever he was hired to go ….
Rich – Yes of course, the new, as yet untitled, album, will finally surface this year along with at least a couple of singles from it, it’s been a bit of a slow process this time round with moving home and putting a new studio together from scratch but it’s coming together slowly. On top of that I also plan to put some more limited edition vinyl out, well also have to repress Master Stroke, so a new edition of that will be put together and there’s also some other back catalogue from our self release days I’m considering putting out.
JES – You have a few vinyl releases under your belt, a shared passion of ours. What is it about the format that stirs you? Are there any other perhaps bygone formats that tempt you?
Rich – I just love vinyl, I grew up with it, it’s more of a complete package, music and art, I love the smell of old record players, the large artwork format and the fact that it requires more effort from you to play, listen to and enjoy it, it makes it more of an occasion rather than just background music etc, the warmth, the little crackles, I could go on …. a nd of course it was the format I grew up with and collected other artists on …
JES – You’re on the bill for Alt-Fest 2014. The festival looks like it is going to be HUGE! Are you planning anything particularly unique for your performance? Any new outfits that you’re going to premier?
Rich – It is going to be the hugest! We’re just one of the small fry at events of this scale and we’ll no doubt be on pretty early in the day on the Sunday but we are very much looking forward to the experience anyway …… We’re not planning anything hugely extravagant on our budget but we will be introducing tracks from the new album for the first time, we’ll have additional live keyboards in the form of original Constructive Noise/Global Citizen keys player Paul Maynard who’s returned to the line up, no major changes to what I wear or how I look, it wouldn’t be me otherwise … 😉
JES – What is your current live band line up?
Rich – Myself as usual on Vocals
Jacob Oles: Drums
Calum Grey (Jo The Waiter): Keyboards
Paul Maynard: Keyboards
JES – Who else on the bill is getting your taste buds tingling? Who would you say is not to be missed in your opinion?
Rich – Obviously, being a lifelong fan, I’m not going to miss Gary Numan, and I’ll no doubt hang around after to see Marilyn Manson for the first time. Would have been nice to see Front242 again but unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to be there for the Friday. There are lots and lots of bands playing that I don’t know, or rather I know the name but havn’t really experienced them, so I’m looking forward also to making some new discoveries also …
JES – Have you played any festival type gigs before? Do you prefer dark dingy sweaty club gigs or larger venues/festival gigs, and why?
Rich – Yes, we’ve played a number of festivals now both here and in Europe, it’s a good way of getting across to new audiences so we do enjoy them very much along with the whole atmosphere they create but we’re equally at home playing the small sweatshop venues getting deep down and dirty, in your face …. ans much more personal.
Rich – I’m really enjoying playing Ain’t Over Yet at the moment but that could just be because it’s fresh and new and a slightly different vocal style for me …. but I always enjoy performing tracks like Slave and Naughty Naked Nude etc,
I’m pretty proud of all my songs, if I didn’t like them I wouldn’t release them but there are some I listen to or get attached to more than others. The first track I was really proud of would have been ‘Lady Killer’ and that was because of the amount of detail I had put into it’s soundtrack but since that I’ve gone on to perfect that kind of technique, in general though I’m a big fan of songs that plod along which is why you don’t hear too many high speed Global Citizen songs …
JES – It seems that you’re not shy of strutting your stuff as an alternative model. How did your modeling work come about and are you keen to do more?
Rich – The modeling was never anything I actually had plans or dreams of doing, I was just asked by a couple of designers if I would be interested and I said yes, obviously, more to help them out than any benefit for myself. A few other designers/photographers followed suit and that was about it. I’ve no plans to do any more, I’m probably getting too old for it now anyway but if anyone asks I will certainly consider doing some more …
JES – Here at Rivetheads HQ we like to find out more about the musical tastes of the artists we play. Can you remember the first record you purchased and the most recent addition to your music collection? Please tell us a little bit about these records and what they mean to you.
Rich – Yes, that’s easy, I actually bought two records at the same time, both 7” singles and they were Are ‘Friends’ Electric? By Tubeway Army and Message In A Bottle by The Police, though one of them obviously went on to have more influence on me than the other … 🙂
The Tubeway Army track was a life changer and I wouldn’t even be a musician today if it wasn’t for that record/band and the releases that followed it under the Numan banner. The moment Tubeway Army appeared on TOTP for the first time in 1979 struck a chord and hypnotised many thousands and that moment still gives me tingles remembering it today …
The Police I enjoyed for a few more years also but not like I did all the emerging electronics.
My most recent purchase was a re-issue of Drinking Gasoline by the mighty Cabaret Voltaire, another band very close to my heart.
JES – We’re also a bit geeky here at Rivetheads HQ and I know for a fact that you are a total vintage synth geek. Can you tell us about your recording set up? What software and hardware do you most like to use to create your sound?
Rich – My recording setup beside of those recent purchases has remained the same for many years. I record into a piece of software called Making Waves Audio on pc, and have done pretty much since the time it was launched. I record in live hand played audio only and drums are also sequenced audio, I’ve never used midi in any way except to play a sound from a module driven by a keyboard, so I basically use my computer just like an old tape recorder, building up audio tracks and mixing as I go. For editing it gets even more basic, I use Goldwave and Nero Sound Editor, I’m pretty much using the same tools I started out with all those years ago, they’ve never let me down, they do everything I’ve needed them to do and so I’ve been loyal to them.
My main keyboard, also since it’s launch in the late nineties, is the Roland JP8000, you’ll find that all over my work. For me it’s the last great Roland synthesizer and I wish they would release something new, very similar but analogue, I can only dream ….
You can expect with all my recent purchases that a whole load of vintage synths will now find their way into my recordings though …
JES – Which of your synths would you defend with your life?
Rich – Several years back I would have said straight away that would be the Roland JP8000, I always claimed that it would be buried with me but unfortunately my very own original was stolen in a spate of burglaries. I’ve since replaced it but it just isn’t the same …. It’s still my go to synth of choice though, even with all these vintage synths I’m now surrounded by …..
JES – Once again, thank you for talking to Midlands Metalheads and Rivetheads Radio. Is there anything you would like to add?
Rich – Not at all John, always a pleasure and many thanks for the support and look forward to working with you again at some point. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this, keep supporting independent music, especially the small fry like us, we’ve never needed you more than now and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy what we have to offer.
Take care out there …