The Scaramanga Six
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"The Dance of Death album review#1"

The danse macabre was a late-Gothic story that rattled the anxious bones of post-plague Europe. Pictures, plays, sermons, songs and sculptures told the tale of every kind of person (from an archbishop to a serf) being led by the Reaper in a cadaverous dance to their ultimate fate beyond the grave. Sic transit, as they would have said, gloria mundi. Thus passes, as we translate, the glory of the world.

No matter how much celebrity, how many units, how many millions - the last decider is the state of your soul. Or, in the present case, your music. Your sweet soul music. Damned or Sainted? Does it stack up or not?

Back at last with THE SCARAMANGA SIX we consider the challenge. Condemned (like Lord Berowne in “Love’s Labours Lost”) “to move wild laughter in the throat of death” the Six have spent their career to date carving Gothic tunes and Thespian stage moves that might tease “the pained impotent to smile”. Poor lovesick Berowne got “the speechless sick and the groaning wretches” to entertain for a measly twelve months. Musical obsessives THE SCARAMANGA SIX got the audiences of Huddersfield and Leeds for twelve excruciating years. Lucky, lucky them.

But do the groaning wretches have grins on their vacant faces yet?

Well, they were starting to hop and clap and look less miserable last summer, when the third full album “Cabin Fever” (ecstatically reviewed by W&H) was kind of released and The Six played a five drum kit tour de force at the Carling Leeds Festival.

And now. And now. And now we have “The Dance of Death”. Formally released on March 5th 2007 with full national distribution, the ten track album can already be got through the band’s website and gigs. It was produced by the band in conjunction with Tim Smith of The Cardiacs and features the stalwart Paul and Steven Morricone, with current band members Julia Arnez, Chris Catalyst and Anthony Sargeant. Orchestral arrangements are by Mike Scott and recording / engineering credits go to the same Tim Smith.

I almost daren’t tell you how good it is. You have been stung too many times. You’ve been told too often that albums will change your life. Too many times you’ve sat dejected and deflated by killer albums whose first flush of intoxication turned too quickly to nagging headache, dull oblivion and memory loss. You’ve even read this paragraph before and sighed “like … yeh … as if ...”

It cannot be.

But it is. It’s a brilliant album. It’s an album with everything. You could use up a whole degree in Contemporary Music just trying to catch all the allusions and precedents. Damn, the label have even sent out a twenty track tutorial CD to get reviewers schooled up to the task. John Barry, XTC, Gene Pitney, Scott Walker, William Shatner, The B-52s and Tony Bennett all figure along with some more obvious affinities like Cardiacs, Magazine and The Damned. One delight of listening to the album is noticing musical quotes from classic, but improbable places. Like Bacharach’s “Walk On By” (“I See Red”) or The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (“The Throning Room”). But they only lift the best bits. The ambitious bits.

I think it is worth emphasising “best” and “ambitious” because this is so unlike a standard indie chart album in scale and range. THE SCARAMANGA SIX don’t accept or work within limitations on this album. Limitations are for wimps. There are some great keyboard sounds - but not because it’s a cheap way to approximate real instruments. If they want a string section, a piano or a brass section to pound it home, they get one. If they want timpani and a huge bell for “Towering Inferno” they get one. There’s an absolutely corking saxophone part in “I See Red”. And so on - on every track. Money alone couldn’t buy this level of detail. Passion, mania even, is fundamental.

The overall mood is pumped-up, imperious scorn. There’s a self-conscious rage of affronted dignity and twisted pride surging through the whole album. Mad staring eyes and arched eyebrows are the normal gaze. Fear, admiring devotion and brittle laughter battle for emotional supremacy in the response. It’s exhilarating to hear adults having so much darkly inventive fun

Fun, yes, but never forgetful of death, punishment or retribution. THE SCARAMANGA SIX have a heart of wounded pride and murderous revenge. “The Throning Room” is a simple tale of a psychopathic bride-killing. “Baggage” warns anyone who approaches to tread very carefully. “The Collector” is impenetrably horrific.(You’ll never leave my side / Jar of ether … Arriving in silence”) “Vesuvius” vents catastrophic human fury through transmogrification into Pompeii’s nemesis. “Sunken Eyes” is a very dark story of the lonely misery of a beaten wife. I’m reminded of TOM WAITS wonderful monologue “What’s He Building In There?” Like WAITS’S child narrator, the listener just knows these things are all too grim to be innocent, but the big plan is invisible. The unnameable truth is bigger and uglier because it can’t b - Whisperin' & Hollerin'


"The Dance of Death album review#2"

There are songs which can return as ghosts to swirl around your room late at night, or while you're driving alone, or perhaps even when you're bundling a dismembered corpse into the freezer. Durable and hard to scrub away, like bloodstains.
Durable and hard to scrub away, like bloodstains. They're like something half remembered, or perhaps something you were trying to forget, coming back in flashback form.
What's haunting me is "The Dance Of Death," the new album from self styled 'evil pop' band The Scaramanga Six. If you're conjuring images of death metal zombies spitting blood and invoking Satan, forget it - this is stylish and intelligent stuff from the masters of mood. These are guys who named their band after a Bond villain and changed their surnames in honour of an Italian film score composer. They bring scenarios, there are characters, incidents. Sit back. Eat popcorn. But watch from behind the sofa.
The plot thickens. Here and there, light moments, even flashes of humour, But cracks appear. There is rage, suppressed and released. Much of it hinted at and off-camera. There are consequences. Casualties. Sentimental moments. Repercussions. There's even a big finale with a burning building.
The Six don't hide their inspiration - my copy came with a CD entitled "What made the Scaramanga Six,” and it's an eclectic mix spanning XTC, Bowie, Scott Walker, Magazine, The Cardiacs, Gene Pitney and Tony Bennett. They wear their Stranglers influence on their sleeve - aside from the menacing overtones, there are recurring 'Toiler On The Sea' motifs. For the uninitiated, this means sections of euphoric and driving instrumental twangery. There's even a blatant JJ Burnel impression - 'get out of my waaaaay....or you'll regret what you saaaaaay..." but no single influence overpowers the sheer originality and intelligence at work here.
In fact, it's all quite brilliant and fizzes with ideas. Their last album "Cabin Fever," while excellent, is less accessible, somewhat abrasive, an assault, a punch in the knackers. "The Dance of Death" is far more controlled, multi-textured and at times positively melodic, with arrangements to die for. They take you to hell and Bacharach. It rocks, it pops, it operas, it croons, it shouts, it soothes. Above all, it works. Not one note of this is wasted and there's not a moment to spare.
The production is forensic. The string sound is slicing, the guitars have teeth, the organ is ground and the rhythm is sectioned. These are not blunt instruments. For most of it, the Morricone brothers are in the foreground. Both play the evil mastermind - Paul's forte is the cat-stroking, smooth talking calm-but deadly type, while Steve tends to handle psychotic beard-wielding wide-eyed axe-maniac duties. There's more than a little panache; each dish is served with blood red vibrato ketchup.
And such themes. Murder. Obsession. Man turns into volcano. Domestic violence. A typeface bent on revenge. Sinister vibes everywhere. But this is, at heart, pop music. It's catchy. It's concise; it never drifts into self indulgence or cliché. It has power AND subtlety.
It's mercifully intelligent, and it has more hooks than a gangster's meat freezer.
Lesser beings, craving acceptance, try to fit themselves in somewhere. Bands like this one stand tall from the crowd, they are defiant, self-contained, playing by their own rules and succeeding on their own terms. This is music without a genre, and a group with a long pedigree hitting its peak.
In short, this is the best and most original album I have heard in a long, long time. British pop seems to be thrashing around and looking for new heroes, but endlessly coming up with tuneless artrock fads, bloated stadium-indie or countless new waves of old waves. The Scaramanga Six's combination of cinematic menace and highly focused, edgy pop could changc the musical landscape. "The Dance Of Death" really is THAT good.
The devil has all the best tunes. He really does. The Scaramanga Six just proved it.
- The Music Guru


"The Dance of Death album review#3"

‘The Dance Of Death’ is album number 4 from the Scaramanga Six. It features 10 epic tales of self confessed evil pop bastardry. Featuring ‘Baggage’ this CD grabs you by the throat and strokes your face, like a lover who has been drinking whiskey until all hours. You never quite know what it’s going to do next. But you know it’s going to be a grand gesture. Sporadically recorded in a farmhouse in Salisbury with Cardiac’s Tim Smith, who worked with the Scaramangas on 2004’s ‘Cabin Fever’. It sounds more like it should have been made in a blood red velvet padded cell.
The opener ‘The Throning Room’ sweeps in dramatically like an ageing drag queen that proceeds to bite the head off your son’s pet hamster. Short and with proper guitars Morricone’s vocals shouting then crooning in rock splendour like a man who’s spent years practicing. So wrong, yet so good. It comes as no surprise that they used a drummer from a Queen tribute band on this. Nestled between the chaos we have songs that border on tender. ‘The Collector’ is almost stripped bare in comparison. ‘Catalyst’ provides some lovely piano and although it verges on rock ballad there’s something more
Scott Walker about it. “When you smile it takes up your whole face”.
Similarly ‘Sunken Eyes’ takes the serious issue of domestic violence and makes it into a dirty rock epic with a croon that Walker would be proud of. The underlying organ adds a sense of foreboding and although it’s not easy listening because of the truthful lyrics, the music is actually surprisingly like schizophrenic funky cabaret verging on early Pulp recordings. Lyrically speaking there seems to be a penchant for word play and rhyming couplets. There seems to be a genuine love for the sounds of words. ‘Helvetica’ takes the font of the same name and turns it into an anthem of ego with glorious harmonies and baritone saxophone. ”Treat me like I’m just common place - I’m the man from Helvetica”.
The passion and skill in this CD is palpable in every play. Those who will try to pigeonhole The Scaramanga Six as mock rock darkly humorous Northerners. Think again and listen to this. it’s seriously good music. The piano on the opening to ’Towering Inferno’ is a thing of beauty by itself. The humour is just a bonus. ‘The Dance of Death’ takes every little trendy boy and hangs him with his own skinny tie.
4/5
- Gigwise


"The Dance of Death album review#4"

The Scaramanga Six are clearly one of the greatest unsung bands of all time. Let's face it, they've yet to release an album that is less than superb and if they carry on putting out such remarkable music, they ought to have statues of the band erected everywhere to commemorate their brilliance. It brings tears to my eyes that anyone can put a handful of albums full of such unbridled beauty and show no signs of letting up. Of course, the enormity of such singles as "Baggage", with such impassioned vigour, are just the tip of the iceberg. Elsewhere on the album you can taste the macabre, the mad and the mighty, as well as a mystical splendour that once again results in a wonderful album.

When The Scaramanga Six land on our desk, it's pretty certain what we are to expect, and this opinion has never altered. Like a rollercoaster, but one where the attraction has added that new section of track to confound the thrillseekers. This time round, the Six have plundered rock operas to add new twists and turns to the total package and leave us to emerge breathless from the listening booth. 10/10
- Atomic Duster


"The Dance of Death album review#5"

Having grown up with the firm understanding that progressive rock = BADDDDD, it takes something pretty damn unique to turn that ingrained theory on its head.
There was something to do with the advent of punk rock - or rather one John Lydon - which essentially held the belief that anything lasting over two minutes with a complicated middle-eight and pseudo-classical instrumental solo was wrong. Then, of course, Lydon formed PiL, and the goalposts disintegrated dramatically.
Now that time has moved on and people aren't afraid of letting their influences seep out of the closet, the mix 'n' match philosophies that would have been sneered at less than a decade ago are now welcomed by anyone with a spare bass amp, mic stand and snare. Which is just as well: Leeds visionaries The Scaramanga Six probably wouldn't exist otherwise.
The Dance Of Death sounds like 'Bohemian Rhapsody' after being stripped down into ten segments by Kwikfit before each one was rebuilt by a team of three-chord wonders with alarmingly distinctive falsetto voices. What is quite ironic about this record is that the band actually recruited their new drummer (Anthony Sargeant) from a Queen tribute band to add that extra touch of ‘authentic pomposity’ - or not, as the case may be.
Whatever the purpose of it all, The Dance Of Death is as grandiose a record as anyone who'd previously listened to The Scaramanga Six would expect, with the Morricone brothers Paul and Steve in fine form here both in their songwriting ("I am the man from Helvetica!") and the delivery, such as on the epic finale of 'The Towering Inferno'.
As this is their fourth long-player, even the band themselves probably stopped dreaming of lucrative recording contracts a while back, but any A&R scouts currently foaming at the mouth over fellow Leeds pomp 'n' grandeur merchants Wild Beasts would do well to check these out first, if only for the fact that these guys actually sound like they really mean it, maaaan.
Now isn't that a novelty?
- Drowned In Sound


"Various live reviews"

Gigwise - 03/09/05

"Senior in every respect except public acclaim are The Scaramanga Six. Ten years and a thousand personnel changes down the line, Julia, Steve and Paul are still doggedly pursuing their idiosyncratic vision. Bolstered by ‘Gentleman’ James Kenosha and Chris ‘Robochrist’ Catalyst on drums (imagine having Animal from The Muppets in your band … twice), this has to be the best line-up yet. Largely comprising a collection of epic new songs, the set is snarling, powerful stuff. What would be unforgivably indulgent sludge in the hands of others becomes grand drama when treated to Paul Morricone’s velvet croon, or the band’s taut arrangements. The healthy pulse at the heart of the Leeds scene, The Scaramanga Six keep hurtling forward, irrespective of successes or setbacks."

LeedsMusicScene - Leeds festival 26/08/06:

Smartly dressed in suits The Scaramanga Six deliver edgy rock tunes with lyrics as sharp as their threads. The band glare out menacingly as the bass and guitars throb with pure rock and roll gristle and the drums pound out the beat to upcoming single "Baggage". The band possess a commanding presence and manage to grip the crowd within their grasp with both their fine tunes and strong on stage persona. With a finale that includes a drum ensemble made up of several of the bands' former drummers and Raw Talent DJ Alan Raw, The Scaramanga Six put on a powerful and captivating end to set that will have left many with blisters on their ears.

Playlouder - 16/06/05

...Meanwhile, over in Cub Fandango, the main event's cheeky sibling based in the Caernarvon Castle, the far better Scaramanga Six are playing to an undeservedly littler but rather more enraptured audience. Turn-of-the-century Peel faves, they've been away a good long while now, even to the point where their present line-up's drastically unfamiliar (and, no, of course there aren't six of them, though should they ever employ a Bez that'll take them up to their quota), and it's seen them develop a heroic degree of bile, superbly displayed on new single 'Horrible Face'. Plus! they've got a keyboarding drummer, always a rare and thrilling thing, and not one but two magnificent frontman in the forms of the Morricone brothers; Paul is brilliantly bombastic and more than a tad Bill Bailey, while Steve's voice, implausibly, consistently crosses the line dividing Stuart Staples from Mike Patton. They have come to hurt you and frighten your children, and, frankly, we love 'em. Quality!

Sandman Magazine - 10/03/07

....But the evening belongs to the Morricone brothers and associates. Steven’s hair is gelled to a diabolical two-inches, while Paul looks quietly reassured in suit and tropical shirt. After a brief hush, the Six bludgeon their way into ‘Baggage’, with Steve leering at the crowd and Julia looking positively regal. Paul is having trouble with his mic, however, and after two more songs and a head wound (unnoticed) for Chris, words are had. As a result, ‘I Wear My Heart…’ is pleasingly dynamic and ‘Vesuvius’, as ever, volcanic. The sweeping tragedy of ‘Sunken Eyes’ gives way to the antic mania of ‘The Throning Room’, and Steve announces that they have “given up on subtlety,” rounding off the set with ‘Pincers’ and ‘The Poison Pen’. It’s been a joyful performance, technical difficulties aside, and a great night. Long live the Six that are five.



- Gigwise, LMS, Playlouder


"Various older press quotes"

“As we tiptoe graciously through all the wannabe Libertines and second-rate U2s to find something genuinely original, unique and inspiring, it seems dear old Leeds has come up with the goods again - the intense-yet-aloof rock operas of The Scaramanga Six could be its most omnipotent discovery yet.” – Dom Gourlay, DROWNEDINSOUND

“Rarely does such disregard for the basic principles of songwriting provide such exhilerating results” – Victoria Durham, ROCK SOUND

“‘Cabin Fever’ - It kicks and screams right in your face and then beats you up even more with a few punches and headbutts until everywhere is a bloody mess. You’ll get over it and want to go another round. Recommended.” – Neil Daniels, POWER PLAY

“The Scaramanga Six are one of the most exciting bands making noise in Leeds at the moment” – Karl Cremin, THE FLY

“A group at the height of considerable powers, yet working entirely outside the indie scene, let alone the actual industry. The Scaramanga Six wear the outsider costume well and exude a mafia-like family vibe, alongside awesome self-confidence. The Six never let you forget, even for a second, that they know EXACTLY what they're doing.” – Toby Jarvis, DROWNED IN SOUND

“These individuals may just as well have met in an asylum - their tunes twist and turn with guitar eccentricities and lunatic Moog injections, and are as raw as scraping your knuckles on a cheese-grater - this is retro-rock with panache!” – Ronnie Kerswell, ROCK SOUND

“Chunks of brutal rock’n’roll hammer through your temples with all the desperation of a 47 year-old virgin in the back of a knocking shop. Excellent stuff.” – Matt Brown, LOGO MAGAZINE

“B-movie chic combined with real musical muscle.” – Essi Berelian, KERRANG!

“Not just one of the best and most timely underground rock bands in Britain, but also one of the most formidable.” – Dan Chinn, THE ORGAN

“SOULFUL AND subtle, yet also adventurous and abrasive, Huddersfield's The Scaramanga Six possess all the makings of a classic band.” KKKK – James Sherry, KERRANG!

“deliciously sinister stuff, but this lot still manage to keep it as raw as trapping yourself in your flies. Noise seems to be all the rage nowadays, and this band serves it up in a big fuck-off ladle.” – Ricky Cheung, GLASSWERK

“These gospel tinged punk/rock and roll songs beat the hell out of any amphetamine based rush I've indulged in, the energy tangible even through my redundant discman headphones. Join the flock son, you will be saved!” – Johnathan Sebire, JOYZINE

“one of the most viscerally exciting things this reviewer has heard for yonks - murderous, piledriving rock action we've come to expect from this stupidly under-rated band” – Tim Peacock, WHISPERIN&HOLLERIN

“The Scaramanga Six have turned it on for “Cabin Fever”. Every knob in the house has been super-glued onto 11. Every fader is jammed open with pencils & chewing gum. The engineer had his children kidnapped during the recording sessions & they were only returned to him once the desired levels of intensity had been effectively stitched into the sound. The Scaramanga Six have talent, taste & humour in spades – all they need now is your patronage. – Marquee Smith, TRAKMARX

“Cabin Fever’ makes you laugh, stroke your imaginary goatee, dance like a frog on E and shit your pants in one hearing. Name one Dylan album that does that” – Neil Condron, GIGWISE

“Though much of ‘Cabin Fever’ rocks like a bear with a sore head, there’s an underlying sinister element which you just can’t lay your finger on. Like that next door neighbour you had that would puncture your footballs but was perfectly pleasant to your parents, it’s schizophrenic stuff. – Kristian Barford, TELETEXT

“Cabin Fever is simply one of this year’s must have albums. Not "must have" albums like those ones in the HMV sale, I mean MUST HAVE. Buy it.” – Andy, INDIGO FLOW
- Various


"The Scaramanga Six - Interview#1"

THE SCARAMANGA SIX

Tired of hearing industry talk of New Yorkshire and seeing kids in skinny jeans, FACT decided it was high times to meet one of the truly thrilling acts playing around Leeds - The Scaramanga Six. Most bands never get any further than taking the dullest bits from the last Bloc Party album, even fewer get further than their Gang of Four obsession, none have ever managed to include the phrase “pyroclastic flow” into a pop song, or have admitted to being as in debt to the Stranglers as they are to Tony Bennett. Except for The Scaramanga Six, that is.
Whilst gearing up for the release of their fourth album The Dance of Death (on their own label Wrath Records) scary bassist/vocalist and label boss Steve Morricone shared some of his wisdom with us.

What the hell have you lot been listening to to come up with something as preposterous as The Dance of Death?
We have spent our lives trapped in a cabinet with nothing but a hugely diverse range of incredible records to keep us company. It all started when myself and brother Paul were pumped full of punk, new wave & 70’s rock records by our older brothers when we were children. Certain artists/records stuck fast and became etched in both of our psyches - Black & White by The Stranglers, Transformer by Lou Reed and Shot by Both Sides by Magazine are notable examples. On top of all that, our Mum had a real penchant for Tom Jones and Tony Bennett which we were also happily subject to. There have of course been too many other life-changing discoveries since to mention, but if you chew all these influences up together, digest over a couple of decades, then shit it out very quickly, our sound is the result.

How important is it to try and psych your audience out whilst you are onstage?
I have no sympathy with bands and artists who make no effort to connect with the audience, then moan about nobody reacting to them - TRY HARDER I say. We have always come at it from the opposite angle - you must engage the audience to such an extreme degree that they are scared shitless and utterly elated at the same time. If this means singling out individual members for a particular psyche-out, then so be it. There are many techniques, but the resulting bamboozlement means they have no choice but to be involved in the set and will never forget it. We want to infiltrate their crania and set off a nail bomb.

Are The Scaramanaga Six living proof that a band can be utterly ace without requiring vast funds, huge commercial success and a daft marketing budget?
Yes - we are probably the exception to any rule of conventional industry wisdom you can think of. We can make better records on a shoestring than many big budget fly-by-nights. We can crack off songs with more lasting power and artistic value than any passing hypeouts and our egos don’t need constant bathing in order for us to carry on - we know how good we are. We are like insects - our function is hard-wired in and we will pursue our given task relentlessly. Commercial success would be a lovely bi-product, but the main aim is to build a timeless body of work, to leave our big grubby pawprints on our cultural heritage.

What's the most troubling part of being in The Scaramanga Six?
Embarking on any new creative voyage can often seem daunting, but that is quickly sunk by a tidal wave of excitement and obsession. Making music is the least of our worries. Instead, our troubles centre on the more mundane and logistical elements of running and being part of a band - when can we find time in our hectic personal schedules to squeeze some rock action in? Will we all turn up? What work will need to be done to get the van through its MOT? Whos turn is it to make a brew? Etc. There is also a mountain of troubles associated with making, releasing, marketing, selling & distributing your own records on your own label which I could bore anyone to tears with given the chance - don’t get me started!

What's the most exhilarating part?
There is no doubt that making an utter racket in front of a room full of unsuspecting people is a thrill, but nothing beats the feeling of getting back a newly completed musical opus from the manufacturers and sitting down to listen again, pretending it’s for the first time. All the memories of how much you’ve struggled against the tide at every stage in its realisation seem to be instantly replaced with a racing pulse and a tingling in the toes. For us, finishing a record is much like crossing the line of a marathon, discovering a scientific breakthrough or planting a flag on the summit of Everest.
- FACT Magazine


"The Scaramanga Six - Interview#2"

paul morricone of ireallylovemusic's fave band the scaramanga six! tells us all bout the gore and horror that is the bands new album 'cabin fever'

cabin fever - a fascinating return – what’s the story behind the album?

Well, the title suggests the feeling of being locked up in claustrophobic rooms, sweaty and uncomfortable. That’s exactly what it was like doing the album. We spent an unhealthy amount of time together to get this done and illness and disease spread to epidemic proportions while we recorded. There were buboes upon buboes and cabin fever really did set in. We like to think that the insanity and deprivation is apparent when listening to the album.

in your opinion how is this album different from “Strike! up the Band !”

Strike! Up The Band was made up of several recording sessions in different places and sounded like it. Cabin Fever has a complete sound to it. We also thought that the next logical step for us would be to do what we did on Strike Up The Band but much more extreme – louder, faster, slower, more dynamic, more uncomfortable. The next album will push the envelope even more.

the musical scope is as varied as ever, both the bands strength, and also conversely it’s ball-and-chain as it prevents easy media pigeon-holing ?

Good. It prevents lazy journalism. In fact, a recent reviewer in a fanzine spent the entire review writing about how difficult it was to review and pigeonhole it. Personally, I don’t think the musical scope is that wide at all – every song sounds like us. It doesn’t sound like ten different bands on one album because it isn’t. Why should people be tied down to doing one kind of thing anyway? Why can’t we do a loud bombastic onslaught and then a slow crooner? They both share the same dynamics and passion. I’d rather they didn’t review our album at all than read some half-cocked attempt by someone who’s only heard the first three tracks and is obsessed with trying to find likenesses to ‘some band vs. some other band in a deathmatch referred by another band’ etc. etc.

there were 6, now there’s 4. with only 3 original members, are you basically becoming the evil twin of Ben Folds Five, is this staff turnover due to you and brother Steve being hard taskmasters (Julia obviously knows how to deal with you - something we should get into another time perhaps!) or a genuine issue with internal band politics?

Everyone who has been in The Scaramanga Six has put in 100%. When they leave, it’s usually due to personal reasons – careers, babies etc. There has never been anything acrimonious and we’re still in touch with all of our former colleagues. If I had my way, I’d pay them all to stay and we’d be a 12-piece.

you and Steve .. a tense working sibling rivalry, or the one person in the world you trust?

Steve is my brother and therefore we stick together. If there are any decisions to be made, we thrash it out between us. It was like that at school – if you’ve got a problem with him, you’ll have me to deal with too.

i am unable to enjoy daytime tv due to work commitments - but its obvious you have all undergone some form of tv makeover in recent times .. you all look like a real band. the suits. the hair. the walking stick. you are making a concerted effort to stand out from the crowd - or is this just the s6 way ?

The only addition to the way we normally look is that bloody cane. Steve got it from a specialist gentlemen’s tailor and he doesn’t even walk funny. But you should see him run though – it’s like a cross between a girl and a spermatozoa. We were brought up to take care in our appearance – something many people could do with learning today.

with the cover of 'strike up the band' looking like a homage to blair witch and cabin fever being an unsubtle reference to a recent slasher flick - is the hollywood connections intentional or all coincidence ?

i’ve never seen either film and I didn’t even know ‘Cabin Fever’ the film existed. I think you’ll find the term ‘cabin fever’ has existed for many years previous to some cheap Hollywood flick. There is however a song on our new single called ‘Director’s Cut’ which plays about with the theme of fickle fame and whimsy. But that’s as far as it goes. We’d love to be involved in film soundtracks though – instilling terror and taut dynamics is our game.

the appeal of the darkside seems to be a strong element to the s6 .. there is a lot of implied violence and retribution in the lyrics ('poison pen', 'we rode the storm', 'horrible face' etc) where does this stem from ? troubled childhood ?

it stems from what happens to people if they cross us. Anyway, there’s no violence in We Rode The Storm – it’s one of the most positive and uplifting thing’s we’ve ever written. Having said that, the new material for the next album seems to be themed with violent murder. There’s a new song about a man who kills his victims with cyanide then performs a macabre dance with their corpses. There’s also a - IReallyLoveMusic


"The Scaramanga Six - Interview#3"

>Please introduce yourself and your Scaramanga associates, what qualities do you each bring to the band, musically and otherwise?

I am Steven Morricone, twanger of the four brutal stings of fury and torturer of vocal chords. I also write a share of the material, look after the band, produce the records, run the label, book the gigs, do the promotion and generally badger the rest of them into getting stuff done. I am like Emporer Ming in some ways, but also like Aunt Deirdre in other ways.

The rest of The Six:

Paul Morricone – Twin brother of me and more prolific writer for the band. He does all the crooning stuff and treats his guitar like the scum it is. Paul is also in charge of all the creative stuff (cover designs, videos, website etc) and takes some macabre glee from intimidating audiences.

Julia Arnez – Plays the spangliest guitars available and belts out vocal harmonies. She recently got contact lenses so can now see what she’s playing. She is also our ‘secret weapon’.

Anthony Sargeant – Beats the drums like he’s playing one of those arcade machines on the pier in Weston-Super-Mare where you have to twat moles back into their holes. He also sings the really high bits and has been with us just over a year – we poached him from a Queen tribute band.

Chris Catalyst – Our newest associate, mohawked bezerker Chris, picks up and plays whatever is closest to hand, manly the second drums and organ at the moment, but there is rumour that he also plays a mean trombone. When not in The Six, his alter-ego is ‘Robochrist’ which is basically a one-man, painted-silver death-metal pantomime show.

>You and your bro also play as part of Being 747, is there any conflict in terms of songwriting? Do you reserve the ‘better stuff’ for one or the other?

The majority of the writing for Being 747 is done by The Cookster -Dave Cooke. Me and Paul just take it all apart and reassemble it in a more meaty fashion in practices. Dave is a lyrical genius we reckon – he always seems to come up with the situations, concepts and rhymes that you would never expect. The new 747 album will feature songs about having a mechanical wife, sabotaging a love-rival’s microlite, bribery at work involving sexual favours and Do-It-Yourself surgery to name but a few.

Dave’s a more musically subtle writer than either me or Paul, so we pretty much exclusively use all the savage, gnarly and over-the-top ideas for The Six. As far as we are concerned, there is no weak stuff in either bands.

>What inspires you, musically and lyrically?

There seems to be quite a few common themes in our songs – The drudgery of every-day life, work and office politics, autobiographical stuff about the band itself, Human behaviour/animal behaviour and a spot of criminology here and there. A lot of the lyrical content is designed to draw the listener in and empathise with the characters mentioned, or sung from the point of view of – whether they be real, exaggerated or fictional (sometimes it’s hard to distinguish). For that reason we might come across misogynistic, cruel or self-obsessed, which of course is all rubbish. Inspiration for lyrics can often come from people we see milling about trying to live their lives amongst severe futility and obstacles (usually self-made). There’s a lot of our frustrations in there too. People like Scott Walker, Elvis Costello, Andy Partridge etc were all good at this approach – and also managed to get enough pop hooks in too.

On the music side of things, we take inspiration from the teachings of our dark lord Beelzebub and his goated minions.

>If the musical world was ideal, it would…

… come out from up its own arse and reveal its true colours (shit-brown). The problem is (now more than ever) that the music world is intrinsically linked with the fashion world and operates in a similar manner. Everything’s done on a short-term what-goes-around-comes-around basis. Artistic expression is stifled by the fickleness of the media and familiar ideas are recycled on a regular basis. The other problem is that not enough people are arsed to question what tripe they are fed, thus perpetuating the situation.

In an ideal world, we truly independent artists would be afforded a level field in terms of coverage and exposure as the majors have, without having to pay for our coverage in advertising revenue or dodgy deals. I believe that people out there would be less cynical about the music world if they were offered more genuine choice and total transparency about its origins. They could then decide for themselves whether they like the music for its artistic merit – hey, that’s a novel idea!

>Why should people buy ‘Cabin Fever’?

Because it has been written, performed, produced, manufactured and released without the influence of any crack-smoking twats, ‘dangerous’ haircuts, ‘guerrilla’ marketing ploys, advertising budget, buzzwords, genre-association, bandwagons, target demographic, managemen - Vanity Project


Discography

Discography:
'Vamp' 7" single (Double-Plus Records) - 1997
'The Liar, The Bitch & Her Wardrobe' CD album (Trinity Records) - 1999
'Are You One of The Family?' CD EP (Wrath Records) - 2001
'The Continuing Saga of The Scaramanga Six' CD EP (Wrath Records) - 2002
'Strike! Up The Band' CD Album (Wrath Records) - 2002
'The Poison Pen' 7" single (Wrath Records) - 2003
'Cabin Fever' CD album (Wrath Records) - 2003
'We Rode The Storm' CD EP (Wrath Records) - 2004
'Horrible Face' 7"/CD single (Wrath Records) - 2005
'I Wear My Heart on My Sleeve' 7" single (Wrath Records) - 2006
'Baggage' 7"/CD single (Wrath Records) - 2006
'The Dance of Death' CD album (Wrath Records) - 2007

Photos

Bio

WHAT THE BLAZES DO THEY THINK THEY’RE PLAYING AT?

We’re not going to draw any lazy comparisons here – The Scaramanga Six do not rock by association. The only thing worn on the sleeves of this band are gaudy cufflinks. Whatever it is The Six turn their hand to, it's got to be flamboyant and colourful, self-assured and passionate, brutal and arrogant. Their love of dynamics and dramatic tension stirs them to create brilliant moments of songwriting in the classic British tradition, yet underpinned by a relentless barrage of sonic terror – all mashed up together and captured within perfectly dark and discordant pop songs. The lyrical content is intelligent, contentious, intriguing and seething. The hooks in their songs will stick into you so far, that you will have no choice but to be reeled in, gutted and battered like a haddock. One taste of this chaotic and intimidating group, whether it be live or on record, and you’ll see why ‘the band who torture from Yorkshire’ are so blindly committed to their cause.

In a nutshell: Scott Walker crooning for Motorhead, Tony Bennett straddling The Stranglers, Tom Jones joins Sonic Youth. You get the picture.

WHERE DID THESE SCOUNDRELS COME FROM?

The Scaramanga Six is the brainchild of headstrong siblings Paul and Steven Morricone. Not in any way like your conventional mindless rock-star filth, The Morricone brothers appear more like a pair of polite and softly-spoken, yet viciously intense and sadistic nightclub bouncers. Raised in the Westcountry seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare on an education of Stranglers records (by older brothers) and Tony Bennett records (by their Mum), the young Morricone twins discovered there was much fun to be had in crooning and shouting in equal measures.
The latter part of the Nineties saw them hooking up with nonchalant, yet studious organist Dr John Gulliver, and rabid guitar-smashing dwarf Bill Bailey. Then THE SCARAMANGA SIX had become a brutal and startling reality amongst an endless torrent of boring mediocrity. The scene was set – a new backdrop of the drizzly Yorkshire town of Huddersfield, a penchant for deafening noise and easy listening composers, this set of misfits started to work out how to ROCK. They played frantic gigs around the north of England to harden themselves to a strict regime of total rock action, where they would go onstage in dark suits and stare the audience out in silence for the length of a cigarette before starting the set.
After numerous substitutions, several now-legendary early recorded releases and a trail of carnage and broken equipment left at various venues up and down the country, The Scaramanga Six matured into a truly evil band augmented by the womanly persuasions of Miss Julia Arnez on second drums, guitar and vocals. The Six signalled malicious intent with 1999's 'THE LIAR, THE BITCH AND HER WARDROBE' LP on Trinity Records. This hour-long, low-budget thriller contained earlier singles ‘VAMP’ and ‘HORRIBLE FACE’.
2000 sees maniacal fiend, James Agnew takes up the drums and The Six leave the melodramatics behind in favour of a more balls-to-the-wall rock sound. Jenny Jet Harris is drafted in to complete the female guitar duelling and the next two years see the release of two EP’s: 'ARE YOU ONE OF THE FAMILY?', 'THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE SCARAMANGA SIX' and 7-inch single ‘YOU DO, YOU DIE!’ All releases are much lauded by numerous printed and digital press, spats of radio glory beckon and an even more prolific future is heralded. The Six become increasingly untouchable in their home manor of Leeds, particularly with the founding of the miraculous new label, Wrath Records.
2003 was a good year for The Six as they declared an all-out war against the bore with the truly confusing album, ‘STRIKE! UP THE BAND’ which garnered a shitload of crawly-bumlick press coverage from the likes of Kerrang!, Rock Sound, Drowned In Sound etc. The band toured sporadically with new drumster Stuffy Gilchrist who eventually left to join the legendary Graham Coxon’s live band. However, not before he linked the Six up with one of their musical idols, Mr Tim Smith of the Cardiacs. The Six found great kinship with Mr Smith’s skewed and schizoid take on music and the results form the rest of their current output: ‘THE POISON PEN’ 7” single, the ‘WE RODE THE STORM’ single and their third behemoth of an album ‘CABIN FEVER’, which all saw release throughout 2004/5.
Armed with this arsenal of ear-splitting and frankly bizarre pop music, new drum-twatter Anthony Sargeant is poached from a Queen tribute-band and the Six stubbornly carry on as a 4-piece with Steven Morricone playing organ with his arse at live shows. The line-up is completed in the autumn of 2004 with the addition of mohawked bezerker Chris Catalyst to pick up and make a racket with whatever is closest to hand.
Sargeant leaves to go back to a life on the cabaret circuit at the start of 2006, but not before laying down the drum tracks for what