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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

That Fucking Tank: An Interview

December 7, 2013
Writer_Edward Ginn Instrumental groove-rockers, That Fucking Tank, chat to Ed Ginn about their unusual name, influences and future plans That Fucking Tank is a two-piece band from Leeds that have been creating off-beat, unique, grooves since 2004. The band consists of Andy Abbot, who plays a specially tuned baritone guitar through bass amplifiers and James…

Writer_Edward Ginn

  • Instrumental groove-rockers, That Fucking Tank, chat to Ed Ginn about their unusual name, influences and future plans
Image courtesy of www.marklatham.co.uk from www.destroybeforereading.co.uk

Image courtesy of www.marklatham.co.uk from www.destroybeforereading.co.uk

That Fucking Tank is a two-piece band from Leeds that have been creating off-beat, unique, grooves since 2004. The band consists of Andy Abbot, who plays a specially tuned baritone guitar through bass amplifiers and James Islip, on a minimal drum kit. Together they give birth to fuzzy intricate guitar riffs and chaotic rhythms. Currently they have released three studio albums: Death by Bono Adrenaline Shock, Tankology, TFT and recently A Document of the Last Set a live set recorded in 2004, available now on Spotify. The boys are firm believers in the DIY aspect of music; they record and produce their own material and book their own gigs. I sent the band a few questions and they were kind enough to get back to me with some great answers…

Ed Ginn: I know you must get asked this a lot but That Fucking Tank is an interesting name, how did it come about?

That Fucking Tank: We only ever intended for the band to do one gig so we just chose something daft. The origins are long forgotten but people have said it’s a line from Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket. There was also a large water tank that James was shifting for his mum that may have been a subconscious inspiration.

EG: There is a lot of variation in your music and you have been classed under many genres such as punk, metal and math-rock to name but a few. How would you describe your sound?                                                                                                                  

TFT: We play instrumental rock music that people can dance to. The basis of our sound is rooted in ‘the riff’ and ‘the groove’.

EG: When you first formed Tank, which bands influenced you in creating your sound?

TFT: We came out of a very healthy DIY music scene in Leeds where we were getting to see tonnes of exciting bands like Bilge Pump, Sweep the Leg Johnny, The Fucking Champs, Trans Am, Vialka, Oxes and Chinese Stars. I think initially we wanted to do a complicated/progressive noise rock thing, but in the end our formative years listening to and playing alternative rock in the 90’s have dominated our sound.

EG: Out of all your songs you’ve made, which are you most proud of? And which do you enjoy playing most live?

TFT: There’s tracks on the records that we’ve had a lot of fun writing and never played live, like Lomond on TFT or d8. Stephen Hawkwind and Threads are our longest compositions. Our most enduring song has been Making a Meal for Beethoven, which we play at almost every gig.

EG: To the up and coming music students at Goldsmiths University, what is the best piece of advice you can give them?

TFT: We’ve always put fun at the forefront of what we do and operated without a great deal of concern for the pressures of the music industry. We manage as much of our own matters as possible and make decisions based on what will be most enjoyable for us (and as a result, the audience) rather than what makes sense in terms of a career. We are committed and passionate amateurs.

EG: Do you have any projects in the works for next year?

TFT: We’ll be doing some live dates with a band that we can’t mention at the moment that will mean us playing in some venues that are quite unusual for us if it comes together. James and I both have other music and arts projects (Jimmy Islip and The Ghosts, Nope, Elizabeth, Recon Festival, Black Dogs etc.) that also keep us busy.