Rhys Webb interviews label co-founder Fraser Moss
Personalit Clash - The Horrors Vs YMC

Rhys Webb is a member of The Horrors, an established DJ and an avid crate digger and collector of vinyl. Fraser Moss co-founded the clothing brand YMC in 1995. He was brought up in Wales and now resides in Brighton.  

Vinyl enthusiasts love to talk about their collections with fellow aficionados.  They will seek each other out and enjoy hours of conversation which would be almost unintelligible to someone with only a cursory interest in music. Rhys Webb and Fraser Moss’ friendship was born from a mutual love of collecting records and they sat down in an East London pub to discuss their favourite topic.

Rhys: One of the things we have in common is that we have been inspired by a very early interest in music and the effect that music has on us as people and decisions that you make as a result of it.

Fraser: It was the be all and end all for me growing up in Wales. You couldn’t put your finger on a button and get information immediately to you; you had to work at it. There were all these little pockets of people growing up, not aware of each other, you could be in a scene as small as your town and it never even got outside of that. That’s how creative that period was.

Rhys: I grew up in Southend and there were still only a handful of people who were into the same things I was into. That was almost half the fun as well in a way. The first thing I got into at school was the mod movement and soul music before anything else. We started sneaking into nightclubs when we were fourteen-years-old. There was something kind of exciting about having your gang, your identity, and wandering around the streets feeling like you were part of something.

Fraser: It was sort of almost tribalism wasn’t it? You had your own little tribe that no one else understood apart from you and then it gave you the energy and confidence to keep on progressing.

Rhys: Even when I started listening to music, collecting records and going on my first trips to London I was so young that information wasn’t available at the touch of a button; it was still a culture of mixtapes and word of mouth.

Fraser: The Internet still wasn’t as whole as it is now, you still had to put a bit of legwork in, there still wasn’t information on obscure European bands or even obscure British bands and there wasn’t these blog sites like we have today. It was still through digging, I think it’s a shame today that it’s all too easy.

Rhys: There’s a lot of people I’ve met in recent years who’ve never had to go through that thing of searching for an infamous track or maybe just trying to find out the name of a song.

Fraser: Of course and it almost became like a Holy Grail, like a religion... well, it still is for me. I still believe that out there is this hidden gold and if you just work hard enough you’ll find it. Every week something new turns up and it’s down to the people like us who are out there, putting a bit of graft in, digging deep.

Rhys: We’re talking as real record enthusiasts, talking about discoveries and sounds...

Fraser: We’re historians!

Rhys: One thing I feel like I’ve missed out on is not having experienced that idea of punk exploding for the first time, seeing the Pistols on the Bill Grundy Show, or with post-punk, hearing the way that Gang Of Four attacked the guitar. Hearing The Contortions with James Chance howling on a saxophone and then hearing Kraftwerk, or hearing ‘Planet Rock’ and early hip-hop. As much as I’ve heard these songs, and been probably as excited as you were, I do feel like my generation missed out on that.

Fraser: I’d gone from listening to ‘Master Of The Universe’ [by Hawkwind] to suddenly listening to The Jonzun Crew’s ‘Space Cowboy’...

Rhys: It’s amazing how both of those records still sound as fresh now, more so than so much other stuff that’s been released since, even within the last five years.

Fraser: If we were talking about current culture I’d probably come across as a bitter old man and I don’t know if I want to come across like that. I just think everything has become too easy and therefore we’ve all become a bit lazy with it.

Rhys: We play festivals every year and I look at the line-up and I just think: ‘Everything is bloody awful!’ There’s maybe one or two bands a day that you’d want to go and see and one of them is a band that released their first album twenty years ago. I think it is a disappointing time - maybe look through this year’s top records, there’s nothing dangerous, exciting or inspiring.

Fraser: A lot of music is literal - to progress you’ve got to take from somewhere but interpret it in a different way to move forwards - but I feel a lot of bands just don’t do that, they’re lazy. They take it literally and therefore the music just stagnates.

Rhys: Do you feel there’s a similar thing in fashion at the moment?

Fraser: Yeah I do, because I think that whole heritage thing is going up a dead-end street. In some ways it’s teaching people how to make a garment properly, in the old school manner, but it’s taken away trying to create something new. You’ve got to keep moving and progressing and changing and I just feel it’s a bit like ‘Pop will eat itself’, the phrase not the band!
Interview: Paddy Hughes


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