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The Peace & Freedom Magazine ESP Kinetic Interview

Neil Campbell of ESP Kinetic interviewed by Paul Rance for Peace & Freedom, No. 4, Summer/Autumn 1986

ESP seem to go from extremes to orthodoxy, do you foresee this always being the case?

The sounds we make are motivated more than anything by what we want to listen to, with our only constraints being technical or financial. We never consider what we should be doing, only things that are natural for us to be doing, and, hopefully, our diversity will increase to the level when we'll be able to utilise and experiment with any musical idiom we desire.

You plan a single - will this be typical of any of ESP's previous work?

With the single, we aim to provide as much information/inspiration with a limited time as possible. It will be a condensed version of all that ESP Kinetic stand for.

Have you had much coverage in fanzines and music press generally, and if so where?

Coverage has been isolated so far, mainly confined to local magazines, but we are continuing widening our horizons. We've also had some play on radio in the U.S.A. and France.

How has the feedback been to ESP locally?

Locally, we're regarded as the "Untouchable"; madmen, idiots, talentless, all because we will not play by anybody's rules. We play live only occasionally, and in this area we are being ignored - in the hope that we'll go away - fools! None of the local bands want to associate with us, but as we don't feel any empathy with them in the slightest, that's okay. Nearly all the Kettering bands are concerned only with hairstyles...

You've appeared on several compos - have they helped greatly in getting the name around?

To a limited degree. Yes, compilation tapes have helped to spread our name and music about, but so many of them are the same people again and again, so we'd like to avoid being on every tape around. We stand by the ideals of D.I.Y. cassette production. It helps getting in touch with like-minded people and genuine friendship can be, in fact, established.

What indie groups do you most admire?

Those with integrity, who offer more than some cut-price alternative to that which is already widely acceptable.

Are gigs more important to you than creating sounds in a studio?

Recording material was always our primary concern, although when we play live we like to set up an atmosphere - we often involve sections which are designed to work only on a visual level. On the rare occasions whereby gigs have been right we have fed off of some of the hostility and some of their open-mindedness and have pushed ourselves to limits higher than are possible in a studio. For those moments alone it is worth playing live.

What are your beliefs in life and your idea of a perfect world?

We would never put forward any great philosophies/masterplans. The only belief that we would adhere to is that of positive thinking. The main thing we've got back from ESP Kinetic is meeting friendly and open-minded people - friendship and honesty are central values to us. As regards a perfect world, we feel happiest when we come against hostility and ignorance and destroy a fraction of it - we are, possibly, the perpetual outsiders.