Ikara Colt is interviewed by The Toronto Star

Ikara Colt keeps it prickly

Paul Resende, lead singer for prickly London punk-rock squad Ikara Colt, fondly recalls his first encounter with the Canadian rock 'n' roll elite.

"We were playing this festival in Belgium last summer, opening the main stage, and Nickelback was one of the headliners," he says, lounging and chain-smoking Marlboro Lights in an Austin, Tex., hotel lobby on the afternoon before Ikara Colt's debut South by Southwest festival performance two weeks ago.

"They showed up with two articulated lorries full of gear. Autotuners, effects units, piles of guitars, all this sh--.

"Earlier in the day, Jon Spencer played. He had three flight cases, a drumkit and two guitars. The Blues Explosion couldn't find their flight cases at the end of the day because all of Nickelback's gear was everywhere. It had just swallowed them up."

This, in a nutshell, is why Ikara Colt exists. Had Resende and his bandmates --- bassist Jon Ball, guitarist Claire Ingram and bionic drummer Dominic Young --- never reached their collective wit's end with the state of contemporary popular music and, in particular, the self-important grunge-metal hoo-hah and mopey Brit-rock "music for bedwetters" that pass for "authentic" rock music these days, they might still be taking verbal potshots at Travis and Starsailor over pints at the pub between art-school classes.

Instead, though, they were driven by abject disgust to form a band they could actually listen to.

"The music we were listening to and the music that was around at that time, three or four years ago, was really, really dire," recalls Resende, 24.

"It was all this jock stuff, this American nu-metal. It didn't really speak for us. And that kind of inspired us to get a band going ... We knew what we wanted, I think. There was no set of conditions or anything. We didn't want to form a band to pay homage to another band, like Bush. I mean, we're all Joy Division nuts. They're fantastic. But if you try to sound like them, you're just gonna wind up being second-best, you know what I mean? Touched by the hand of God, they were."

If Ikara Colt and its openly antagonistic debut album, Chat And Business --- released overseas on Fantastic Plastic Records last spring, but recently reissued domestically by Epitaph Records --- have since found favour with members of the music press on both sides of the Atlantic, then, it might be because the outspoken band members often sound like music critics themselves.

It doesn't hurt that the no-fuss quartet has also distilled a laundry list of critically lauded influences that includes the Fall (Resende is a dead-on vocal ringer for Mark E. Smith), Sonic Youth, Wire and, naturally, Joy Division into an appealingly cantankerous, somewhat photogenic package on Chat And Business --- to say nothing of the truly devastating live show Ikara Colt turned loose on the breathless SXSW hordes two Fridays ago.

Ikara Colt's delayed assault on these shores comes smack in the middle of demo-ing for the follow-up to the year-old Chat And Business, and Resende admits he's "sick to death of these songs."

Thus, following a three-week whistle-stop tour of Canada and the States with Swedish garage-rock sweeties Sahara Hotnights (set to arrive at the Horseshoe on April 3) the group --- which, Resende acknowledges, is on record saying "all bands should be shot after five years" --- will promptly return to the studio and bash out another record.

"It'll be our `Jazz Odyssey,'" laughs Resende. "Every band's new album is their best. No one ever says `Yeah, man, we're going into the studio and we're really fired up and we're gonna make a really sh-- album.' But it'll be better... We're a much better playing band than when we started. There's a lot more things we can use.

"We were never really musicians in the beginning. Musicians can be dangerous. Music takes some talent, obviously, but it's really just technique and having the taste to know what to do with it. I mean, Steve Vai's an amazing guitarist, but he plays some right sh--."

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