"I’ll say from the drive Australia gave me, it’s given me full focus on writing shit-hot songs more frequently!"
In Conversation With... Filthy Tricks
Indie-rock band, Filthy Tricks, consistently deliver high-energy, foot-stomping songs. With their recently released single, Leah (read our review here), continuing to exceed expectations, Liam Rimmer (vocals) and Gerard Van Den Hoek (vocals/guitar) spoke to us about forming, their recording process, Leah, and what’s to come…
How did Filthy Tricks initially form and evolve into the line-up it is today?
Liam: I'll take you back to the start. Gerard got in touch with me after seeing me perform at my brother's memorial gig. I accepted but a wee bit shy, I must admit, just due to meeting a group of new people and obviously a very talented lot! We rehearsed well initially, and the timing saw Gerard jet off on his adventures to Australia. I tried to keep the momentum and when Gerard returned it was clear, although not to me (forever the great observer), that some commitments had gone shoddy… After a while we had to shake it up, and thus myself and Gerard had to find others. I was looking for a bassist. Ged found the god and backbone beat that is Chris Peake, and I saw Matty [Hignett] at a local open-mic night in The Lounge. Slowly, the line-up you see today was formed and forged in sweat, guitar picks, and Jakemans!
Can you tell me more about your creative process, and how you create songs that sound unique, but still distinctively Filthy Tricks?
Liam: The creative process is always adapting as it should in any successful band, I think! Sometimes, if it’s just the one guy you all look to or rely on then it can get tedious. Although the majority of the tracks are mostly Ged's creations, we all have input and share responsibilities. Some tracks come from a warm up jam at the start of a rehearsal, some tracks come from a worked-on melody or idea, such as Walk in Line which was brought to the rehearsal, and some come from drums or bass. It’s a mad combo but it’s one I’m so glad to be a part of!
When it came to recording your first EP, did you already have a bank of songs to work with, or, like Sixty Two, did they grow organically in rehearsals?
Liam: I'd say every track we do or I imagine we will ever do as Filthy Tricks will already be in a bank of songs we've got to take to a producer of our next release. You give yourself a better chance of sounding better and tighter – more focussed too – ‘cause you already have a good idea of what you want the track to sound like recorded. Also, tracks forever change and improve when you rehearse, so I'd say it’s best to never rush anything; unless it’s punk!
Was there an aim to showcase versatility with the EP, or is this just quintessential Filthy Tricks?
Liam: We certainly didn’t aim for our versatility to come across so much on the EP. It’s something that just sort of happened in the recording process. Our producer, Dave at Red City Studios (Manchester), got to know us well through that first process and initially hand-picked two of the tracks to be put down after Black Diamond Eyes, which is just music filth – an anthem that belongs on films, that beast! Then you got Sixty Two which is a ballad and not a bad driving song on an open road with the roof down. However, we live in Warrington, so no chance of either of them!
You have spoken about a studio being like a second home. Would you rather be in a studio creating, or out on the road performing?
Liam: We do feel at home in the studio. Well, I do ‘cause it’s a chance to basically ‘arse about with the lads’, like a family do! However, the best feeling is to be out there performing. Last year – or the year before (bloody Covid is sending my head west) – we played three venues in three days, finishing at our hometown’s music festival; and it was the best three days with more memories that I can’t remember… just brilliant!
Aside from sound, fashion seems to play a role in your overall aesthetic. Is this just a natural way of dressing for you all, or do you find that fashion plays a large role for an artist?
Liam: I’ve always been a sucker for vintage fashion and anything old! I’ve gotta be the coolest person ‘cause I'm the frontman. People will look at me regardless! I’ve always took music and fashion as one. To me, they follow each other and it has done since the late 60s. Gig attire is a must, you must always look spot on but effortlessly cool... that’s the hard bit to put down!
Following on, you released the single Walk In Line, used by Warrington Wolves for their promotional video. How did that arrangement come about?
Liam: Walk in Line was a big success for us and huge honour to have been partnered with Warrington Wolves for the season! It was a track that Ged had come to the rehearsal room all ready to be showed to the rest of the lads. We heard it and instantly thought Oh aye lad. We had previously played on the pitch before Warrington played a game close to the release of our EP, so we were thrilled when they came knocking with an idea and a proposal. When anything like that happens in life, snap their bloody hands off!
Now, we land on your most recent single, Leah. Gerard, you have spoken about being in a bad place, but what was it that triggered you to change things around?
Gerard: I was on a construction site mid-January. Monday morning, rain and wind coming at me from all angles; rough as fuck, and I had £1.70 in my bank after another heavy weekend doing the same shit I’ve done for the past seven/eight years. So, I pictured what is the opposite of being in this grim position, which was the flip side of the earth, Australia. I’d much rather be on a beach in budgie smugglers with a BBQ and actually have something interesting going on in my life. I think I’ve always had a unique sound about my songs, I was just always in a shit band so they never got noticed...
Did your time in Australia influence your writing or sound at all?
Gerard: I would say in the time I was traveling Australia, I wrote four solid albums’ worth of songs and they all have this anthem feel about them. They didn’t sway into basic average songs to fill the gaps and I don’t write average. I’ll say from the drive Australia gave me, it’s given me full focus on writing shit-hot songs more frequently!
Your new single is already yielding a lot of streams. What is next for the band?
Liam: What’s next for Filthy Tricks? I want the world! An album would be lovely and as Ged says above, we've got more than enough to accomplish that. Having said that, in today’s climate the majority of success is releasing as many singles as you can and trying the waters with them! But myself and Matty have been working on a detective series based in Holland called Clever Clogs!
Peace out, look after yourselves, and thank you for your time and yours eyes!
Whilst waiting for Filthy Tricks’ next anthemic single, you can stream Leah by clicking here (check out our review by clicking here), and be sure to check out the rest of Filthy Tricks’ music! Be sure to keep up to date with their journey by following them via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is refreshing to see a band that is acutely aware of how the business side of the industry works, but can also be playful and stay true to themselves. As Liam says, Peace out.