Flash Pan Hunter – Quick Way to Enemy
‘I love repetition, syncopation, discordance and experimenting with odd structures. It’s not like I’m clever at it, it’s usually just because I don’t know what I’m doing. I enjoy accidentally stumbling across something strange and interesting and then expanding it’
Brighton boy, Clark Gregg, kicks up a ramshackle, quiet storm of a racket that pays homage to and transcends the boho-blues of his hero, Tom Waits.
‘I’m not really an anthem writer. I don’t put down huge choruses. It’s more about the subtle movement of rhythm and finding interesting ways to layer melodies. Sometimes though, it does kick off a bit...’
This, then, is outsider-art as life-affirming and left-of-centre pop.
Recorded with noted folk producer, Tim Bidwell, Gregg played most of the instrumentation himself as befitting an auteur-in-the-making. His friends played cello and drums who ‘had trouble playing over it as I guess it was a bit meandering and not traditional. Tim says it’s all in the key of H, and some of the rhythms were difficult to find space in… But in the end, they all made it work.’
And work it most certainly does. Quick Way to Enemy is a driven, Beat-speak sassy peach of a debut which casts Gregg as some kind of Tyrannosaurus Rex meets Beatnik Brighton scenester: surveying, soaking up, spewing forth his junk shop vignettes.
There’s the wacked-out surf-folk of Quiz Show which ‘In my head, it was going along to a classical number that I later found out was one of the Romeo and Juliet pieces by Prokofiev. Just a really odd combination… Dramatic orchestral classic and dour lyrics. I woke up on the couch after a heavy night, and a quiz show was on the TV. I was so dead inside that I couldn’t even move and turn it off, so I just sat there, blankly staring at an awful TV program. When I recorded the original demo, my friend was in the corner knitting. It was all pretty weird for her I think… She had come round for dinner, and I was recording noises at my desk. She went home in the end, hungry… But she made good progress on her scarf’
Gregg also turns his hand to re-imagining Sealed With a Kiss with a view – successfully we might add – to making it ‘darker and bigger than Jason Donovan’s version’.
Love is the main theme though.
‘Yep, they’re all love songs I guess. Being spoilt by love. Being spoilt with love and then spoiling it; overcoming love. Ignoring it and then missing it. Letting people down and them letting me down…’
Flash Pan Hunter don’t do things the normal way though. Take the woozy-wonder of Rose Don’t Do It, a song that starts with unrequited love and ends with murder.
As for the album’s title…
‘The whole idea of Quick Way to Enemy was to bring together a number of the songs that I wrote when I was going through a particularly bad patch, one that saw me leave my girlfriend, the band I was in and get ‘divorced’ from my ten-year housemate. It was a pretty debauched ride at the time but it did seem cathartic to get it all out when it came to record the album. It’s a reflection of me when I was young and didn’t care. Quick Way to Enemy means: if you follow these simple instructions laid out in the album, you will make enemies of yourself and your friends quickly. Like an instruction manual… or a destruction manual’.
Nicely put. Come join Flash Pan Hunter on their awesomely off-kilter journey into the heart of a very human and very talented seaside town Beatnik.