Ranging in style from hip-hop to electro, from crooner to rap, from grooves to dancey beats, Theo Sayers always applies witty humour and a playful sense of fun to his streetwise take on life.
‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’ from 2020 was his SLEAFORD MODS styled musical response to the worldwide pandemic, but he finally has new material and an album in the can. The first single released from it is ‘Tough Guys’ which also features the voice of former KNIGHT$ live band member Jasmine Brady.
Taking a break from finishing his upcoming full-length debut album ‘Ramen For Two’ and preparing for his next ‘Old Dreams For A New Age’ radio show on Resonance EXTRA, Theo Sayers kindly spoke to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the lot of a tough guy…
What is ‘Tough Guys’ about, is the narrative autobiographical?
It’s not autobiographical and I wouldn’t really say there’s a strong narrative. With the song I suppose I wanted to poke fun at traditional ideas of masculinity and toughness, exploring the campiness of that imagery. There’s also subtle political undercurrents, “Fight back at the kingdom” has an air of resistance to it.
Your vocal delivery has been compared to Ian Dury, Jona Lewie, Kate Nash, Mike Skinner and Jason Williamson but who has it actually been most influenced by?
Those are all vocalists I admire and in the video you will, in fact, find me in the kitchen at a party… Haha! Some other vocalists that have strongly influenced me over the years are Terry Hall, Robert Smith and Damon Albarn.
Musically and technically, how was ‘Tough Guys’ seeded?
It actually began a long time ago (sometime in 2018) as a collaboration between me and my friend Andy Carter (who performs under the name COIN OP and appears in the video as the disapproving “tough guy”). We’d recently met and were bonding over a shared love of 80s music and cinema, we were also watching ‘Cobra Kai’ together so perhaps that had an influence.
We created the backing track together, I wrote my vocal part and then invited my friend Jasmine Brady (who previously performed with KNIGHT$) to sing on it. She came up with the lovely vocal hook you hear throughout and the song became the first of our many collaborations. Although it’s long been a staple of our live sets, I haven’t released it until now as admittedly I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
The video was filmed with a camera phone strapped to a waistband mount but you must have had some quite interesting and funny moments wearing it, particularly during the house party scene?
We used an actual camera, not a camera phone! There were many funny moments. Perhaps the unsung hero of the shoot is Rhys Votano (who directed my previous videos and also cameoed as the sleazy guy in ‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’), during the handlebar scenes he was actually underneath me, lifting me up. Later on at the party, he made a lot of fuss about being stuck with that role. Poor Rhys hahaha…
Are you sending up Vlogger/Influencer culture? Have people become too self-obsessed and narcissistic in their attempts to set up “a brand”?
You know, I hadn’t actually thought of that. I do think there’s a very toxic side to that culture though, especially the toxic male influencers like Andrew Tate. They deserve all the ridicule they can get!
How is your debut album ‘Ramen For Two’ coming along?
Very well! There’s just a few more tracks that require mastering so an actual release date will be set in stone soon. There will also be more videos!
Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th April 2023