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the-culprit-bandAfresh: What is your name, and name your group/band/act?

Tommy Gittins from the Culprit

Afresh: Where are the artists from?  What is their talent in the group?

The Band is from Birmingham, England

Tommy Gittins – Vocals / Guitars /  Programming

Luke Hicks – Guitars / Vocals

Scotty Garrett – Drums

Russ Carlin – Bass

Afresh: How did the band get the name?

A long story – Based on getting into various trouble, so the name stuck. When we launched the band it was done anonymously so no one knew who was involved. The suspense really built the hype!

Afresh: What instrument do you play now? (If applicable)

In the band I sing, play guitar and do the electronics programming.

Afresh: What (who) does your act/art consist of?

A mutually vicious yet beautiful meeting of hard rock and electronica. Seven strings meet sawtooths and sinewaves!

Afresh: How would you describe your music/art/entertainment for the public audience if they have never seen you before?

Modern heavy rock sounds with a nod to the 80s synthpop scene and a splash of film and multimedia samples.

Afresh: Give me some details about the group/act/art?

Well upon first glance it just looks like 4 (stunningly handsome and charming British) guys slogging around the rock venues of the US, but when you see the show you will find a whole lot more. Its not just about the songs, the live show really is a multimedia experience.

Afresh: How long have you been performing live or making art?

The band has been together since July 2008.

Afresh:  What do you feel distinguishes “an artist” from just a musician?

A musician can play music, but can’t necessarily perform, but an artist takes that musical form further to become a performance that he/she becomes part of.

Afresh: Where did you meet your group and how long have you been together now?

Usual story – Eyes across a crowded bar, coupla drinks, the rest is history! Since July 2008

Afresh: What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?

Well the pursuance of any artform as a serious career is a continuous challenge, but its a labour of love.

Afresh: You’ve heard of the term “starving artists” before, how do you cope with major obstacles?

Persistence, a love of what we do, good friendships within the band and a bloody good sense of humour.

Afresh:  Do you feel the economic crunch has hurt the industry, or do you have some other promotional tips to help support your music?

Well its kinda weird now, as the industry is on its ass. However I honestly think that this is the strongest position now that musicians have ever been in. It is possible for people to write, record, produce, promote, release and distribute everything from their homes, it just needs the effort and commitment. So in that way it kinda separates the pretenders from the people that really want to do it.

Afresh: Art & Music has an impact on both young and old.  Everyone loves a celebrity, so what advice do you have for the youth of today?

Well it all depends on what you define as a celebrity. I can whole heartedly admire someone who has a talent and commitment for what they do, and that should be celebrated. As for bullshit like Big Brother and other reality TV which promotes the celebration of utter mediocrity and talentless people who just want fame without any skill to back it up…count me out.

Afresh: What does your family think of your performance and do they support you?

Well its not something they always understand entirely…but they do support it. We all work in various other areas of the industry too, so they are safe in the knowledge of us having ‘proper’ jobs too.

Afresh: What is your stance on how to get the public to support “live music” and see the shows?  Any ideas???

Turn off the TV and go and seek something that excites you. With live music, you will never ever see the same thing twice.

Afresh: Thinking back, did your family carry on the same musical/artistic interests?

Nope. There is no musical heritage within the bands families. My Mum can hum pretty well though.

Afresh: Do you have your own favorite type of music and is it any different from what you play now?

Well I think that is why we kinda sound so varied. None of us just listen to one kind of music. I personally work in all areas of music production and love everything from Metal to Drum and bass, Classical to Hip Hop, from the most brutal leftfield sounds through to the shiniest most sugary pop. You’ll find it all in the Culprit show!

Afresh: Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us?

Um…ahem…nothing that I could publicly announce!

Afresh: What has been your strong influence to continue performing?

It sounds cheesy but we just love it. We strive to make each show better than the last.

Afresh: Does anyone in particular influence your artistic/musical talent?

As I said, our influences are to far and wide. I could give you some examples though…Karnivool/Squarepusher/Pharcyde/Holst/Tears for Fears…the list is very obscure.

Afresh: Who does most of the song writing/art/literature?

Well its mostly myself, but some of the material on the album was by Luke and myself.

Afresh: If you had to change one thing about your music/group what do you feel would be the best change to benefit the group overall and why?

Probably my socks and Scotts underpants. That van can be a pretty gnarly place to be!

Afresh:  Where would you like to see yourself within the next five years as an artist?

Japan! I’d love to tour there! To be honest, I’d love to be touring all over the world, just bigger better venues!

Afresh: Have you ever had any strange or stalker type fans that you are aware of?


Afresh: While getting ready to perform have you ever been interrupted by fans who snuck in to the dressing room/rehearsal?

Well not that we know of!

Afresh: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment if you care to share it with us?

Afresh: What has been the most bizarre thing (thrown) on the stage with you?  How did you react?

Afresh: What is your wildest story with the group?

Afresh: What has been the worst nightmare for the group?  How did you get through it all?

In answer to all the above…Ahem…well most stories and experiences have come from our US tours. And for some reason they tend to involve some kind of disaster and near death experience. Planes nearly falling out of the sky, hurricanes, earthquakes, road accidents due to our ‘fearless’ van driver, firearms at point blank, bizarre and often obscene requests from fans, the list goes on – We have the evidence! Pranks are at the heart of a regular day with the Culprit though, so if you come on tour with us you gotta have pretty thick skin. Our last trip out to Austin for the SXSW festival involved our roadie being gaffa taped naked to a swivel chair and sent down in the lift to reception in a very swanky hotel. Needless to say we are now banished to the cockroach motels for the next tour!

Afresh: What are your up-to-date performance plans?  New releases?  Tours? News?

Well we’re on tour in the US through July and August in support of the new self titled album out now on all major download sites, and all iphone/ipod owners can download our free app too!

Afresh: If you could perform with anyone in the world, either dead or alive who would it be? Why? (Name up to three)

Kurt Cobain, and the cheeky girls.

Afresh: What is the furthest show from your home that you have done?

Probably Albuquerque.

Afresh:  How do you feel about file swapping?

I assume you mean music! Well I think that whilst the labels haven’t quite found how to harness it fairly, it inadvertently blows the lid wide open on promotion. The internet is saturated with it all, but we found that initially when we started releasing some tracks for free, that people would start to then remain loyal when more became available to purchase.

Afresh: Have you been involved in any benefit performances?  What was it and how did you become involved?

Yeah we have done quite a few. We are often involved with events that are either for a charity, remembrance or even just to try to keep a venue open. We have a show in aid of ‘Help for Heroes’ in September.

Afresh:  How do you think you would like to be remembered by everyone?

Why, are you about to kill me?

Afresh:  As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish?

Well I could say the classic Miss World type answer and say ‘World Peace!’ But that is something that relies on a lot more public awareness of many issues. However, sometimes the lyrics of a song can make you turn on to an issue…

Afresh:  When things seem to go negatively at times, how do you turn things into something positive?

When all you got is lemons, you may as well make lemonade!

Afresh:  What do you attribute to your “drive as an artist”?

I’m not much good at anything else!

Afresh:  If you had to think of a slogan that could leave a positive impact for everyone what would your slogan be?

Be excellent to one another. (George Carlin – a.k.a ‘Rufus’ in Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure.)

Afresh: Do you currently have an agent, endorsement, record label, sponsor, etc.?

We currently have a US agent and a UK label.

Afresh: Is this your first interview or do you have some other articles/stories about you posted somewhere for public viewing?

There is lots of information and social networking sites/youtube etc linked off our main site

Afresh: Do you have any video links where people can see you?

See above

Afresh: Do you have a website of any type?  (Name all options)

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