Interview: Pere Fume & Drew Ling, Bootsauce


For various reasons some interviews are strange. When the BOOTSAUCE job came up I immediately offered my services, not because I particularly identified with 'em but because I used to work at the same record emporium in the West End with two founders of the band.

The 'SAUCE were in town primarily to support THE CULT whilst promoting their debut The Brown Album release. So with another of our old accomplices tagging along, the 'meet' was arranged for uptown Ladbroke Grove.

To say both Pere Fume (guitar and keyboards) and Drew Ling (vocals) were tired could be deemed an understatement, having just arrived from Montreal the jetlag had set in and to confound the weariness, as Pere puts it, they "came through customs with severe vodka breath."

Having relocated to Canada, and eventually settling in Montreal in Montreal a few years back, BOOTSAUCE the band took shape. Playing local gigs and particular a show with BAD BRAINS gained the interest of the labels. Drew takes up the storyline.

"Island were interested, as well as Polygram," but they chose the latter because "they gave us more time. When we went in to record, it was basically the same stuff we'd been doing on our four-track and the live shows. Right now it's er..."

"Completely out of control," laughs Pere.

The result of their labours is The Brown Album. Hard funk is one way to pigeon hole it, but categorization is a pointless exercises. Indeed in the States it has been marketed as a dance album. It is also obvious that the UK is lagging way behind, as Pere is at pains to point out.

"It was released two years ago in Canada, though the States was a little disorganised. The colleges there had the singles up front, so when it was released officially on SALT N'PEPA's Next Plateau label it died a slow and miserable death."

"Which is quite touching really," manages Drew between mouthfuls of hotel hospitality.

The sales in Canada have been most encouraging, nearing Gold in fact, though Cancom, the Canadian radio-play system which protects native artists must play a part in this.

"Oh sure," admits Pere. "Whatever you can, you use."

The album was recorded in Upstate New York, and all was not well as Drew explains.

"We were in Hudson Studio which was a bit of a nightmare 'cos the engineer and the owner didn't understand us at all. They were always complaining, like, we had too much bass, etc., but we managed to remix a couple of tracks later."

"We produced it ourselves in main," adds Pere. "Another guy helped but we only really used his ideas. There's so much input from the guys that to bring someone else in is a bit like having a finger in our butts."

On the writing side, it would also seem even distribution is the key as Pere explains.

"We don't have too many limits or it can get boring. Writing can start with anything, a vocal, melody, bass line, guitar riff, or a sample loop."

Ah, now there's a question! With such a furore concerning backing tapes recently, BOOTSAUCE aren't embarrassed to use synths, sequencers or sampled rhythm programmers?

"We have all synths triggered from a Mackintosh with the drummer playing to a click," explains Pere who's quick to elaborate on the theme. "I love the Mac. You can everything with it. You can chop the songs in half and keep the integrity of the song intact. A lot of people dis sequencers but we don't abuse it. It's just another tool. Besides we could do the whole show without it if need be, and by using the Mac I don't have to stand behind keyboards and can work out with guitar."

There's no hidden messages of a political nature in the lyrics either. Having a good time holds more sway than any holes in the ozone layer.

"Everyone has so much input that we can't make one stand as everyone has different opinions," explains Drew. "It's more of a fun vibe. There's a lot of lust on this record."

But it's Pere that puts it in perspective.

"I bet half the time you hear all this preachy stuff coming out of Bono's mouth the rest of the band don't agree with it!"

Despite all this the band still find themselves promoting an album over two years old. Has it fazed them?

"I get something new out of it all the time," sniggers Pere.

Drew is more diplomatic.

"It's a necessity. It's just the way this industry operates. To synchronise all territories takes so long. Everything takes so long, then it all happens at once! It's the hurry up and wait syndrome."

Britain may be slow on the uptake, but their homeland is more than ready for more 'SAUCE. Their second album is almost finished, and the debut's success has brought its rewards.

"We originally signed a seven album deal, which was a kinda development deal, but the company are looking at us differently now because of the first one's success. It was number one on one chart, top 5 in another," offers Drew. "The company have actually been very good about it. The budget for the new album is bigger, but, there again, so's the pressure to deliver."

"I think that the second record is too good," interjects Pere from his near comatose state.

Before I lose them both to the land of nod, THE CULT support crops up. Wembley sized audiences may be rare for the band but that's not to say they haven't had prior experience. Drew, still alive, explains.

"On our own we've top billed a 1,200 seater, but our biggest crowd was when we played second on the bill to BLUE RODEO at a Canada Day festival when we played to 45,000."

"It scared the shit out of me," snoozes Pere.

It becomes apparent that Ian Astbury saw the band a couple of times in Canada, subsequently offering them the gig.

"We thought he was joking," smiles Drew. "It's funny really."

Funnier still, BOOTSAUCE still had to 'buy on' to get the role. Like I said 'some things are strange."

Joe Mackett
Riff Raff
March 1992

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