'I’ve been buying records since I was four years old beginning with January by Pilot in 1975. In 1985, somewhat older but not much wiser I started making music out of other people’s music with 1/4" tape loops, cassette recorder pause buttons and an Atari 800 based sampler. This coincided with a headlong dive into ‘60s psych and ‘70s prog thanks largely to my 80s synthpop heroes becoming overblown and crap. This is an era I’ve still not quite surfaced from. Later still, I somehow made a minor splash in the early '00s in the first 'bastard pop' exposion...’
The name Soundhog is the main pseudonym of north Wales resident Ben Hayes (taken from a 1970s-era blank cassette-tape made by EMI) a some-time DJ, producer and composer. Those 1980s experiments with tape and basic sampling facilities eventually culminated in the early 2000s with some notable examples of 'bastard pop ' which ended up, for better or worse, in the near unavoidable 'm@$h-up' culture of the present day.
This attention led to a brief but enjoyable spell of DJing parties in the UK and Europe. The early part of the decade also saw the release of an electronic 12" single called 'Curdler,' and a few remixes for various artists including Shelly Poole and Chicago-based electropop dup Microfilm. Ben is also a member of the experimantal electronica trio Tauchseider (along with Stuart McLean and Innes Smith) who released a CD album entitled 'Louder' (which features contributions from Colin Newman of Wire, uber-producer Richard X, Severed Heads main man Tom Ellard and JD Twitch from Optimo) and more recently remixed Fini Tribe's balaeric classic 'De Testimony.'
Ben was also responsible for a notorious series of tracks released under the pseudonym of The Freelance Hairdresser (a play on the name of Bastard Pop pioneer Freelance Hellraiser), whose most famous creation was probably Marshall's Been Snookered which featured a vocal by Eminem set over Winifred Atwell's 'Black and White Rag' as famously used by the BBC for the Pot Black TV snooker show theme. His wonky remix of Kevin Eldon singing 'Machadaynu' from the Peter Serafinowicz / obert Popper show Look Around You almost got released as a single, but not quite.
I've been popping up on late night weekend BBC Radio Wales playing unusual and hopefully interesting tracks for the past seven years. I own three 1970s synthesizers, a guitar and bass and occasionally try to make some kind of unlistenable noise using them. I still create the odd online mix set when I can be arsed and they're usually pretty good, if very undiscovered. I've covertly DJed on one of the stages at Green Man over the last couple of years although I don't take to the turntables in public situations much these days. I own more records than it's possible to listen to in my remaining lifetime and this situation is not helped by my sudden obssession with 1930s dance band 78s. I never thought I'd see the day but these two 2006 re-edits have finally made it to vinyl. The intention had always been there but these things take time, as it transpired!
The Dakotas edit might be familiar to anyone clever enough to listen to the Mix90 series, while the Open Mind has never been heard until now apart from one airing at a DJ night in Preston in 2007, played from a 10" dubplate.
Coincidentally with Dakotas, The Open Mind were also initially named after a Native American Indian tribe. The Apaches were formed by Tim du Feu, Mike Brancaccio, Philip Fox and Ray Nye. Ray When Ray Nye left Terry Schindler was drafted in and they changed their name to The Drag Set and released a single.
Shortly thereafter they changed their name to The Open Mind and in July 1969 released a self-titled LP which has since become a highly sought-after collectable. The band, however, is best known for its druggy August 1969 single Magic Potion which did not appear on the album.
In 1973 the band (minus Philip Fox) moved towards more jazz-influenced music. As The Open Mind had been so well known as a psychedelic band they changed their name to Armada. They lasted about three years but did not release any recorded material. Despite their paucity of recorded material, The Open Mind have proven to be influential in the psychedelic rock genre, their single Magic Potion having been covered by bands such as The Seers and Sun Dial.
Founded in September 1960 the original line-up of Robin MacDonald, Bryn Jones, Tony Mansfield and Ian Fraser gained their name when the manager of the Plaza Ballroom in Oxford Street requested they dress as Native American Indians and be called Dakotas.
After a few line-up changes Brian Epstein offered them the opportunity to be the backing band for Billy J Kramer and like the The Beatles before them they were sent to the night clubs of Hamburg to perfect their act. Despite releasing a few instrumental singles under their own name they never achieved chart success and they parted company with Kramer as his career declined through alcoholism.
By the time The Spider And The Fly was recorded, Robin MacDonald was the sole survivor of the original Dakotas line-up. Ex-Pirates guitarist Mick Green had drafted in fellow 'pirateer' members and an unknown American sessionist was employed to provide vocals. The track itself is a masterful hotch-potch of the Dakotas trad beat style, a heavier freakbeat rhythm, earworm guitar hooks and a jolly big dollop of proto-glam.