Q&A with Car Crash Set’s Nigel Russell, Trevor Reekie & David Bulog
What bands were you in before CCS?
Nigel Russell: Retrox (school band), Spelling Mistakes, Danse Macabre.
Trevor Reekie: I was in a prog-punk band at Otago University and played semi-professionally in France, providing music for a Renaissance theatre group who performed around the Cote D’Azur. I was the proud owner of a motley bunch of instruments including dulcimers and psalterions. When I returned to New Zealand I helped produce the Danse Macabre records, which introduced me to Nigel.
David Bulog: Post-punk band Stranger Upstairs.
What was your main day job during CCS?
NR: Worked at Kingsley Smith Music pimping synths and guitars to aspiring bands.
TR: I worked part-time at Record Warehouse in Durham Lane and concurrently at Stunn Records who licensed The Cure and the Fiction catalogue for New Zealand. I worked with Mandrill Studios’ Glyn Tucker Jnr, helping develop the Reaction Records label (Danse Macabre, Penknife Glides, The Mockers and Car Crash Set).
DB: Worked at the Post Office.
What instruments did you play in CCS?
NR: Sang, played synths and drum machines, smoked cigarettes (regular menthol and Jazz).
TR: Electric 6-string, acoustic 12-string.
DB: TR-808, Junos, Korgs, etc.
What was the biggest influence on CCS?
NR: For me, DAF, Kraftwerk, early Human League, Alan Vega/Suicide, Giorgio Moroder/Donna Summer, Sparks.
DB: Kraftwerk, New Order.
What CCS song are you most proud of?
NR: ‘Those Days’, ‘Fall From Grace’, ‘East And West’.
TR: I think we nailed ‘Fall From Grace’ and ‘East And West’, remixed by John Fryer. Full credit to Dave for setting that connection up and pulling it off. The four remixes Fryer did on the final EP, Another Day, still sound formidable.
DB: Two Songs EP: ‘Outsider’ and ‘Fall From Grace’.
What do you remember most fondly about being in CCS?
NR: Having the run of Mandrill Studios after hours and weekends.
TR: Developing our material rehearsing in the control room at Progressive Studios. 48 hour recording sessions at Mandrill. Glyn was very generous to CCS. Our engineer, Tim Field, who passed away in 2008, made an immense contribution. Also the Shriekback gig, with most of that band coming into Mandrill Studios the next day to contribute parts to ‘Love Situation’ (never released).
DB: The studio time and crafting the songs in the studio.
What didn’t you like about being in CCS?
NR: What’s not to like?
TR: Technology was in its infancy back then, sometimes frustratingly so.
DB: Nothing really.
What do you feel is the legacy of CCS?
NR: Still to be discovered.
TR: Since the vinyl album was released in Germany in 2008, Car Crash Set’s legacy started really evolving, which is good because none of us here can get around to correctly curating it. So thanks AudioCulture.
DB: Some great records are out there.
What are you each doing musically now?
NR: Played with Greg Johnson till the mid-90s, pimp pro-audio equipment to aspiring bands at Oceania … some things never change. Reformed Spelling Mistakes and Danse Macabre for a couple of shows. Currently working on synth music with fellow Danse Macabre members!
TR: I still own the Pagan and Antenna labels and make music programmes for Radio NZ National. I’m also recording and gigging with Trip To The Moon.
DB: Crystal Voyager Project: acid house, ambient, Krautrock.