INTERVIEW: Ikara Colt on why England is almost as bad as America

The smooth slur of a soft British accent sweeps over me, and for a minute I’m convinced. Forget friends, forget school, forget everything. I’m going out on the road. The moment passes and, I shake my head. “Sorry guys. I can’t be a roadie. I don’t have the muscle for it.” They all laugh. I laugh too and the conversation continues. It’s only later, at home that I realize, I just missed my chance. I could have called people “wankers” and stayed up half the night “drinking with me’ mates.” As it is I’m stuck in my room drinking alone and the only mates around are the 2-D figures on the BBC.

Sure they just crossed the pond but Ikara Colt isn’t quite leading a British invasion. Theirs is a more calculated attack, aimed purely under the radar.

The band, Jon Ball (bass, keyboards), Claire Ingram (guitars, vocals), Paul Resende (vocals, keyboards) and Dominic Young (drums), got its start at when the members met at a UK art school in 1999. The band’s 2002 debut Chat and Business meshes artsy punk rock riffs with the stylistics of retro-rock creating the flurry of energetic sounds that seem to be their staple.

Together in their dressing room the group is energetic and easily excited. They explain they don’t see coming to America as part of their job but rather as “a bit of a holiday really.”

Hatchet: This is your first American tour?

Claire Ingram: Yes

H: So what’s it like?

Dominic Young: It’s an eye opener, seeing how another country works. We spent a lot of time driving in the last few days, around New York and New Jersey. And it reminded me of Eastern Europe. That’s what caught my eye. It doesn’t seem very ‘American’ to me.

H: You guy’s have toured a lot in Europe. How do you keep it together on the road?

Young: You’ve got to stay healthy.

Jon Ball: You’ve got to stay alive. We haven’t really concentrated on doing that too much. So I thought maybe I should start, with this tour, to try it.

H: What’s your perception of America in general? A lot of foreigners I know think America is a crazy place right now.

Resende: Well I mean, there’s America and then there’s the American establishment. Just like Britain. Our establishment is fucking crazy.

H: What do you mean?

Resende: Well, we’re walking into a war with you guys. I don’t agree with that. I doubt you agree with that. People think, “Well Americans must think like that.” It’s easy to do that. It’s like just because “Britain” wants to go to war I must be like “Hey sign me up!”

Young: That’s how it is. Each country has a lousy establishment. There’s America, the brand; you know McDonalds and all that stuff. And then there’s Americans.

H: So you get along all right then with actual Americans?

Young: Of course. We came here with an open mind. But I do think your people should learn to vote. If American people voted in the last election, we wouldn’t have this problem with Mr. Bush.

H: I remember election night, hearing the news, grabbing a beer and being like, “Oh God.”

Young: I was drinking that night as well. Like, “how the fuck did that happen?”

Resende: We’re having a lot of anxious times.

Young: In London, with 25 years of the IRA, where they used to plant bombs. We’ve always had terrorism.

Ball: Every time the news comes on, and your dad’s not home, you worry.

Young: In our psyche we were aware. In the ’90s you had to check the bins (mailboxes) because there had been bin bombings. It’s not a new thing. It’s just new to Americans.

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