MORE than a decade after their first release British disco powerhouse Crazy Penis opted for a PC name change, but they are still as loud, lively, luscious and lairy as ever and are heading back Down Under to re-assert their dominance over the Aussie festival scene. Lead singer Danielle Moore spoke to Rob Moore about naughty cartwheels, offending her nana and why the tired Penis is no more.
You are about to return Down Under. Do you spend more time here than at home?
It sometimes feels like it. It’s like a long distance second home. It’s a pleasure to keep coming back as much as we do, especially if the weather is as crap as it is here in Manchester at present.
Many bands say the summer festival season is their annual highlight, do you feel lucky you can enjoy it all twice?
Summer festivals are the place where you get to let your hair down. You can go a bit mad for a couple of days and get a far better vibe there than at a dark and dingy club. You can take on a whole different personality when you’re in the great oudoors and dress up, be a bit cheekier and get away with more naughty little things. It’s probably best not to go into specifics, but my most memorable moment involved being dared to do something by a bo-ho, hippy chick involving cartwheels. She enjoyed it more than me!
You also get to perform in front of a much bigger audiences, many of whom wouldn’t have heard of you otherwise. They are just stumbling around and come across you or are dragged there by friends. But they are often people’s best festival experiences. That’s why you must always put in your best performance. You’re aware you’re playing to newcomers which makes it so exciting. It’s a nice way to sell yourself. You can just get into the party spirit and lose yourself. It’s very different in England when it pisses down. But in Australia, you have sunshine, good music and good people. We are a band who enjoy it as much as the crowd and can get the party started. There’s a song in that isn’t there?
Why do you think Australia has fallen in love with you guys and your music?
It sounds a bit shit but we embrace the scene. Socialising before and after our shows is important to us. We are approachable, sociable and get involved. People appreciate that we’re a warm band. We don’t try to be ultra-cool, but are just doing something we love. Our music is very accessible and great in most situations – whether it be at a barbecue or a festival. It goes hand in hand with the Aussie sunshine, and we’re always thrilled with the reaction we get over there.
As veterans of the disco scene do you feel your live act is strong enough to fight off competition from young bands jumping on the 80s revival bandwagon?
We are definitely well rehearsed now and I actually feel more comfortable and natural performing live than going into the studio. It’s first nature to me to be a performer rather than a singer. It’s only a subtle difference, but it wasn’t long ago that I was a studio virgin. For other newer bands it may be the other way round and performing live is alien to them. Although a lot of our sound is electronic, we pride ourselves on having only a tiny part of our set with backing tracks. It’s very much live and kicking.
There has been a ‘re-branding’ of the band’s name. What was the story behind being called Crazy Penis and why change?
It started when (band founders and producers) Jim (Baron) and Chris (Todd) released a seven-inch as Loco Pingo – which roughly translates as Crazy Penis. They were just two students making instrumental music and thought the gimmicky name was appropriate at the time as they didn’t think the name would have any longevity.
But as time went on people started commenting and raising their eyebrows – especially my nana. I really cringed the first time she excitedly went to the shop to buy my record. We realised it was offending a few people – especially at radio stations and abroad – and were bored of people making bland, laboured points about the name and always expecting funny stories about it. We just grew out of it and it was time for a change. We weren’t precious about it and rather than a complete name change decided to shorten it and so far so good. The penis was tired, leathered and needed to be put to bed.
Tell us about your new release ‘Stop Space Return’.
It’s actually a re-worked version of the album ‘Love On The Line’ which we released exclusively in Australia last year. We’d toured the previous album for three years and because we had so much material ready to go, we were pressured by our record label, which we were in the process of changing, to release something for our last Australian tour.
So although ‘Love On The Line’ was good and we were happy with it at the time, once we had time to reflect we realised we’d moved a bit too far from what we’re about. We then put four new songs on ‘Stop Space Return’ for the UK release and they are now probably our four favourite songs. We toured the new record in the UK in November and had no expectations as it was a transitional period where we had changed managers and labels. So when the crowd started singing the words back to me it was weird and wonderful. The feedback we’ve had about the record itself and our live shows has been great.
So the group are now better than ever?
We feel we have matured together as a band. Whereas Jim and Chris used various artists in the past, the five of us are great mates and now tighter with a more coherent sound and classic danceable songs. Personally I’ve grown in confidence and I really feel we’ve found our feet as a five-piece family. While we are at the peak of our powers, there is a lot more still to come.
Crazy P Australasian Tour Dates:
25 JAN – Overflow At The Bay, Glenelg; 29 JAN – The Forum, Sydney; 30 JAN – Tivoli, Brisbane; 31 JAN – Capitol, Perth; 5 FEB – Venue TBC, Auckland; 6 FEB – Billboard, Melbourne; 7 FEB – Playground Weekender, Wisemans Ferry near Sydney.