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Cynics Become Great Cynics: An Interview About Clarity, Lawsuits And Name Changes

Cynics have been gaining ground in both the British and American music scenes through their recent release of singer Giles’ solo EPs, Stones I’ve Thrown and the more recent Dave And Angela EP. The band’s newest endeavor comes at the hand of a fleshed out lineup, now solidifying themselves as a plugged in three piece for their upcoming debut full length, Don’t Need Much, coming out on Kind Of Like Records. The band were recently on the blunt end of a cease and desist letter from garage legends The Cynics, resulting in Cynics becoming Great Cynics. Lead singer Giles took the time to talk to us about the name change, the dichotomy of American and British music and the progression from a solo act to a full band.

Great Cynics is:
Giles Bidder
Bob Barrett
Iona Cairns
Interview by Patrick McEachnie

The 1st Five: Don’t Need Much shows a movement from the singer-songwriter style of your first material to a more succinct style of pop-punk. Ironically enough, Don’t Need Much uses more than ever. Is the title in reference to the lyrical themes of the record rather than the sound?

Giles: It’s about the lyrical themes throughout the album, which are about making the best of what you’re given and creating something out of nothing. I think the title is also true about the sound; it might not just be me and an acoustic guitar anymore, but it’s only a three piece band. I used the same guitar tone in all the songs on the record and apart from the group vocals, there’s only one voice singing at a time. We like it that way.

T1F: What led to the change in sound from singer-songwriter to pop punk?

Giles: All the songs on the album were written on an acoustic guitar like I did for the acoustic EP and none of their structures changed when we started practising as a band, so in terms of songwriting it hasn’t changed for me. It’s just louder, faster and drummers have started to pay attention to us.

T1F: Punk rock is often cited as being a strong, unified scene, yet it seems as if the British and American scenes run relatively independent of each other. There are a few bands who have presence in both (although even that seems to under represent England), but most it seem aren’t able to play shows in the other until they’re a decent amount of time into their career. Do you have any up and coming bands from your scene that you think North America should take note of sooner rather than later?

Giles: I think the reason that we don’t tour in each other’s countries all the time is because of how expensive visas are. The punk rock scene that I know of in the States seems really similar to what we have in the UK, so things like The Fest in Gainesville are awesome because it gives us the opportunity to all be in the same place at the same time. Crazy Arm and ONSIND are two absolutely killer bands who haven’t been over yet. Apologies, I Have None played one show at Fest 8, but they’re recording their first album at the moment and it’s going to rule.

Cynics: “Dave & Angela” from Punknews.org on Vimeo.

T1F: What were the events leading up to your name change, and how will it affect the future of the band?

Giles: The Cynics, a garage rock revival band from Pittsburgh, sent an email which pretty much said they will take us to court if we don’t change our name. They’ve been going for 27 years which is longer than I’ve been alive and we didn’t want to try and risk having to pay them a fuck load of money if we didn’t get away with it, so we cut our losses and added a ‘Great’ onto the front of the name.

T1F: What is the band’s new name, and why?

Giles: Great Cynics. It has the same meaning as the original name did, which is about people who sit back and tell you that you can’t do what you want to do whilst doing fuck all themselves.

T1F: With Don’t Need Much coming out next month, do you have any full scale touring plans to support it?

Giles: We’re playing a record release show in London on June 13, which is going to be 99p entry. I’m planning a week of acoustic instores and then we’re touring the UK in July with The Living Daylights. We’re booking a European tour in September and in October we’re going over to Fest 10 and hopefully doing something down the East coast on the way down, but that’s all up in the air right now. We’re waiting to hear about a few things in August as well, but nothing ever happens till it happens so we’ll sit on it.

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  1. Wow. I ran across your facebook page when I was looking for The Cynics, the ones that have been around longer than you’ve been alive, and I have to say that Giles is kind of a snotty brat. The Cynics have been around for 27 years…could they not check myspace to see that the name was already taken? The Cynics are quite popular and have never been considered a revival band….just a rock band. A GREAT ROCK BAND!!! AND they own a really cool label. It’s unlikely Giles’ career will last that long but, if it does, maybe he would understand. Next time he does an interview, perhaps he should not portray himself as a inexperienced kid with an overblown sense of entitlement.

    Comment by Trish — 26/05/2011 #

  2. The Cynics haven’t been around longer than I or most of our staff have been alive. I own a couple of The Cynics records and I’ve never looked at them as anything more than a garage rock revival band. Maybe they should have written songs that sounded like more than garage rock revival stuff. I get they’re super cool. I get that dudes in denim jackets really like them. He doesn’t have a sense of entitlement, he thinks it’s stupid that anyone would sue over a name that generic to begin with. The Cynics is different from Cynics. It’s not like Bad Brains. It’s so nonspecific that it probably never occurred to them that the band would lose their shit. It’s almost like he named the band when he was young and hadn’t yet had the time to become a stuck up jaded rock star like the band that sued him. Go figure.

    Comment by John-Michael — 27/05/2011 #

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