The Crimea started making an impact on the UK last year. Now, returning from touring the States and their debut 'Tragedy Rocks' these guys are out to prove themselves. Davey Macmanus [vocals/ guitar] answers R13's questions.

R13: Hello. Where are you presently and what are your plans for tonight?
DM: I am lying in bed, my next door neighbours are having a party, they are playing ABBA very loud, I may go and complain a la Victor Meldrew, then I shall do some tai chi and dream about all the bad stuff I done.

R13: You've just returned from an American tour - which bands were you touring with and were you happy touring buddies?
DM: We make it our business to be friendly when we are in the US because so many English bands have bad reputations over there for being stuck up etc. This year we toured with Ash, Keane, The Bravery, Billy Corgan and Youth Group in the States as well as our own dates. We got on good with everybody although Americans in general struggled with my jokes. Usually you find other bands are really nice, even Billy Corgan who has a questionable reputation when it comes to socialising was sweet as pie.

R13: Which was the most memorable gig over in the States and why?
DM: For me the whole Billy Corgan tour was knockout, we were playing huge venues and his fans were all waiting outside the venue at 9 in the morning it was June and July, we were wisecracking about in an R.V, stopping off to swim in the sea and generally larging it up like crusaders. My favourite gig was El Paso it truly felt like the end of the earth, there were hundreds of starved cats outside the venue and the most insane sunset.

R13: You made video clips for the website - Why did you decide to do this and will there be more in the future?
DM: We decided to do it to try to give people a look at what we actually do. Unfortunately as soon as the camera turns on we all turn into the fucking young ones so it's been a learning curve, we did it to try and familiarise ourselves with making videos so when we do make one it isn't rubbish. We have shed loads more in the pipeline and indeed have been filming more or less everything we do. It's just been tricky lately to get the editing done as we have been up to our eyeballs.

R13: So, beginnings. I read Davey and Owen started the band?
DM: Yes myself and Owen found ourselves living in the same house in Forest Gate, London, so far East it's practically France. We had a 16track and made demos constantly for a long time, changing rhythms, tempos, keys structures. Working it out like a mathematical equation. Like fucking phi, you see that's why we learned that stuff in school, we wanted a real band like U2 or REM. Not some half arsed association of bad haircuts.

R13: How did the others get involved?
DM: After a certain amount of time we knew we had some good stuff recorded and we were getting sick of working day jobs as we had no qualifications and couldn't seem to rise above five pounds an hour salary. I found Andrew Stafford through a friend and he immediately became our keyboard player, he even had his own keyboard. Then Joe our bass player moved into our house after he met our next door neighbour at a free party, he was straight off the boat from Zimbabwe. As he lived upstairs, played bass and was of an even temperament it seemed obvious that he should join, also we often speak of going to Zimbabwe to assassinate Mugabe. We found Andy Norton our guitarist just before we went over to South by Southwest, he was the missing link and completed our line up. We met and auditioned many jokers along the way, wasting many hours as me and Owen were no good at telling people they were rubbish and could they please go.

R13: The new record 'Tragedy Rocks', was originally released back in March last year; you decided to re-record it in February and re-release it this March. Was it easier to record the second time round?
DM: We never really released it, we recorded it at home to take to South by Southwest, basically to make us look good. We then put it on sale online to make some money, but then we signed to Warners and everything got put on hold. If any of that makes sense. I think it was even harder to record the second time around as we were trying to make it sound better, also we were working with a producer on some of the songs and that was hard on me because up to then I had been used to getting my own way.
R13: Were there any major changes to any of the songs?
DM: There were no real major changes, we had kinda worked everything out on the demos and it was just a matter of recording it with a kick drum that actually sounded like a kick drum.
R13: I read there were new members for the re-recording?
DM: Well as such because for the re-recording we had a full line up, so it is mainly the addition of Mr [Andy] Norton which affected the re-recording because he added new parts and played all the old parts properly as opposed to my cumbersome fret suicide.

R13: The record company has decided to exclude 3 tracks off the UK release that are set to appear on the US version released early next year - why do you think that is?
DM: They just wanted a shorter more dazzling record I think, the American version is really long and possibly we don't have as long an attention span as the Americans, ah.
R13: Will these tracks be released in the UK at a future date?
DM: They will all be made available to download free at a later date.

R13: John Peel was a fan of yours, especially of the track 'Lottery Winners On Acid' with the anniversary of his death approaching, what are your favourite memories of him?
DM: John Peel hated our first band. For seven years he refused to play our music, I once threatened to go on hunger strike outside Radio 1 because they wouldn't play us. I practiced for a week to make sure I could do it. Two years later when I got some Crimea demos together my sister gave John Peel the CD and he played all 9 straight away. They were home recordings and I couldn't believe that he had changed his mind about us, that my shitty demos were on the radio. It was fucking brilliant; he was the first person to realize that something had changed in our music.

R13: You put a lot of energy into your shows to create a dynamic performance; has this led to any injuries to each other?
DM: There have been several fallings off things, I once hurt my knee and Jason Donavon was in A&E because he'd broken his wrist doing the Rocky Horror Show. Knocked my tooth out on the microphone. Generally just bumping into each other, hitting heads on roof. My fingers always cut on the guitar, also I end up super gluing them and now I am convinced I have cyanide poisoning because I have a weird rash like Yushenko the Ukranian president that the Russians tried to disappear.

R13: Your UK tour is fast approaching, is there a certain place you're looking forward to playing?
DM: I'm looking forward to the Autumn, there is no real place, I am looking forward to the fact you can smoke weed here with out getting in too much trouble. Wales is our spiritual home, so I am looking forward to Cardiff, I can't wait to go out and see if anyone remembers us, we have been gone since last April when we toured UK with Ash, so it is going to interesting, but Reading was brilliant - so touch wood.

R13: Halloween is not booked up with gigging? What are you planning to dress up as to do your trick or treating in?
DM: Wurzel Gummage, because I wouldn't have to try very hard.

R13: Finally, what does the Crimea hope to achieve in 2006?
DM: We just want to carry on regardless, always looking on the bright side of death, charging through the enemy lines, with the devil on our side, killing every weed which sprouts on the tarmac before us, trouble on ten legs.
We don't want to work a day job ever again and will do everything in our power to ensure this doesn't happen!