Joe Gideon & The Shark – a brother and sister two-piece from London – play a raw, bluesy brand of Rock & Roll, following in the whisky-drenched tradition of great entertainers such as Brighton’s very own Nick Cave. A breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant indie scene, The Badger sent Ben Hobson to chat with lead singer and guitarist Joe Gideon ahead of the band’s headline tour, which kicks off at the Freebutt on 18 March.
Hi Joe, I have to ask: why is your sister, Viva, referred to as ‘The Shark’? Is that down to any particular character trait of hers?
Ha ha! The funny thing about that is that I was writing down a list of possible band names for us, and Viva misread one of the names. It was originally ‘Joe Gideon & the Sharks’, but Viva went, “Joe Gideon & The Shark! Yeah, that’s the one I like!” – she seemed pretty excited by it, so I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was ‘Sharks’. And that set up the whole two-piece notion. We weren’t planning on just being a twosome, but suddenly when you’re called ‘Joe Gideon & The Shark’ it becomes a duo, doesn’t it?
Is it tough being on the road with your little sister?
Oh yeah! We’ve been having one long argument since we were about nine! I’m the elder in the family, but she’s the one who bosses me around. It’s really her band, you know, I just write the songs.
Who would you describe as your main influences?
Oooh, well… I’m a big, big fan of that great school of songwriters like Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Bill Callahan; they’re like the Holy Trinity. I’m sort of hanging on their coat tails!
You have an impressive live reputation. Is your live performance something you’ve consciously cultivated or does it come naturally?
We both have this belief in live music – we love going to see a really great gig – so that’s certainly a language that we can understand, and is something we’re trying ourselves. I mean, live music can be magic.
What do you think of the music scene at the moment?
I couldn’t really say too many bands off the top of my head that I’d actually want to go and see, I must admit. Apart from Archie Bronson Outfit, that’s great stuff. But I’m not really into the Pete Doherty kind of thing. I mean, there’s just so many English indie bands all chasing the same fashion. We play a mixture of the blues and other stuff, but try to be original, you know? For a lot of bands in Britain that doesn’t seem to be their number one quest.
Your debut album Harum Scarum was realised last week (March 9th), are you pleased with how it came out?
Yeah, yeah, we’re really pleased. We didn’t want to do it so it’d just be like how we play the songs live, we wanted to add some technicolour; we wanted to make it more stereophonic! We weren’t just trying to recreate our live thing, we applied a lot of colour to it as well.
What are your plans for the future? Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
We’re just seeing how it goes, I mean, there’s lots of exciting things on the horizon. You know, if things take off the way you want it to then music is also a great way to see the world, and that would be so exciting for us; if we were able to go further a field, that would just be amazing really.