After the mind-bending shenanigans of cosmic noise collective, The Moonlandingz the world of music experienced a dizzying and discombobulating come down. Mercifully, the the creative compulsions of Adrian Flanagan’s imaginarium sprung into action; illuminating an otherwise dreary and uninspiring landscape. The result? International Teachers of Pop (ITOP); A ‘nerd disco’ project brought to you via regular Flanagan collaborator, Dean Honer as well as the mercurial talents of Whyte Horse vocalist, Leonore Wheatley.
ITOP will be performing at District this Saturday and we caught up with Adrian to discuss the role of Jarvis Cocker in the creation of ITOP, his experiences of working with Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono and Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi, his respect and admiration for Jayne Casey and his enduring friendship with Maxine Peake.
We’re well into the new year, Adrian. What was your resolution for the 2019.
Don’t answer questions about Brexit!
Imagine yourself in the 2038 appearing on a C4 ‘Best of 2018’ show (probably with Stuart Maconie and a Gemma Collins hologram bot), what would your take be on 2018.
The only thing that truly gutted me was hearing about the loss of Mark E Smith, a total hero.
Your last visit to Liverpool was with The Moonlandingz. How do you reflect on the success of TM and working with artists like Lias Saoudi, Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono?
I don’t reflect on it to be honest, it was pretty good I guess!? I’m too busy constantly moving forward. I suspect they are all sat about reflecting deeply on the absolute honour of working with me, dunking a biscuit in to their tea going “fuck me, I feel so blessed to have worked with that Adrian bloke, thing!
You’re back to the Liverpool with new outfit International Teachers of Pop. For those that have not been initiated, tell us a bit about how this project came about?
It was just a happy accident. In short, early last year we wrote a song, then we wrote another. I sent one song to Jarvis Cocker, then sent two songs to Marc Riley at 6 music. Jarvis then invited us to open for him for two nights in a cave in Derbyshire called the Devils Arse, then Marc Riley invited us to do a radio session, both of which went down really really well.
Following that we got a little record deal that gave us complete control to release singles whenever we felt like it and from that shrewd ‘no nonsense’ move more people started asking us to come and play gigs for them where we’ve been really winning crowds over. We now have an album coming out and are about to embark on a U.K. tour, then in to Europe then a bunch of festivals. Other than that, Ambition is the curse of imbeciles!!
You’ll be playing at District which is run by Liverpool legend Jayne Casey – were/are you a fan of Big in Japan.
I’m a little too young to have been a fan of Big In Japan during their actual existence but I’m well aware of how that little crew of misfits went on to do some of my favourite subversive pop music. I was a big KLF fan as a kid – and Frankie made some genius pop Records, gloriously outrageous pop music that made the Pistols look like Showaddywaddy!
I do however recall once DJ’ing at a wedding and playing Cindy and the Barbi Dolls by Big In Japan for about 15 minutes at the end of the night. I had all the Nana’s on the dance floor and the party kids running for the exit! Jayne’s been a good ambassador for the north west and its arts for a long time and she should have a statue erected of her at lime street. She’s done more for Liverpool than Cilla Black ever did!
After Dark sees another collaboration with the amazing Maxine Peake. How did you guys meet and what do you feel she brings to your video projects?
Maxine is one of my best friends, we met on a video shoot on a windy moor in Salford nine years ago – within three minutes I had her in a pink bunny rabbit suit having an arm wrestle and a water pistol fight with me. We realised almost immediately that this kind of friendship was missing from our lives. We share a funny bone.
New album International Teachers of Pop dropped on February 8th – can you give us your quick capsule review?
It’s a giant, spinning, mirrorball of outsider pop invention in a decrepit world of broken and useless shite!
International Teachers of Pop play District this Saturday 23rd. Last few tickets can be got here.