Big Deal: Nostalgic But Menacing


Written by Yusuf Laher
24 Monday 24th January 2011

What would happen if Notorious BIG teamed up with Kim Deal? Not this. But Big Deal are quite good all the same. Alice Costelloe, formerly of indie pop kids (and I mean kids) Pull In Emergency, onboard with KC Underwood from Little Death. They've got lots of songs about being at school. We're assured they're not K-I-S-S-I-N-G, not that it would matter or anything. They snuck out of class to meet Yusuf down the pub (don't worry, no booze).   

I get to the Hope & Anchor five minutes early. A blonde girl with a locket around her neck's reading a book outside, standing out without even trying. "Alice?" I ask nervously, trying not to sound creepy. "Yes", she replies. We step inside and I order beer. Alice orders nothing. We wait for her American band mate KC in an awkward, 'blind-date' kind of silence. Then, through the window, I see a thin, indie-looking guy ride up on a bicycle. He takes off his hat, chains up his bike and brushes back a floppy, greasy-looking fringe. Definitely. He orders a water. We go upstairs. They finish each other's sentences.

So, what's been the biggest Big Deal moment so far?
KC: Hmm, the biggest Big Deal moment so far...   
Alice: My mum bought two copies of the NME when it came out.
What about the Guardian?
Alice: The Guardian article was so early on that we were just... shocked.
How did it happen, right place at the right time?
KC: Yeah. But the guy that wrote it (Michael Hann) wasn’t even there, a good friend of his was. Apparently, this friend goes to a lot of shows and usually hates everything. And he said that we were kind of alright. Which, to him, meant he should check us out.  
And what did you think of their description, “Woozy, druggy, sexy pop”?
KC: That sounds nice. We've definitely heard worse.
KC: I don’t wanna talk about it. But yeah, that sounds nice. I’m all for woozy, druggy, sex...
Alice: Ha ha... That sounds so bad. 
Did you guys make any new bands to look out for in 2011 lists?
Alice: We did. The Fly, NME and Clash...
KC: And Glamour. That’s the one I’m really proud of.
What did you think of some of the other bands on the list?
KC: I think there’s a lot of really interesting music actually. I think Yuck will do well this year.
Alice: They’re already doing well.   

What about Brother, putting the bollocks back into British rock ‘n roll?
KC: They’re definitely putting the bollocks back into something. I was asking Alice what she thought of them. And she was like “I try not to listen to bands...”  
Alice: That you know you’ll hate.    
KC: That are hyped everywhere. I’ll at least listen before I make up my mind. I listened to a band I liked last night, Weird Dreams.
You just brought out a limited 7” of 'Homework'. How limited was the run?
KC: 250.
Alice: Wasn’t it 350?
KC: I think it’s 250. That’s what I read somewhere.
And did they sell out immediately?  
KC: I don’t know. I know all the money got stolen. Our friend’s house got burgled. I really feel bad about it.
Alice: It sounded like there was quite a lot of money though. They’ve sold out in the shops.
KC: Yeah, I don’t think you can get them at any shops. But I think you can still get them from Records, Records, Records Records. From under his bed. Ha ha...  
Okay, how did you guys meet?
Alice: How did we meet, KC?
KC: We were meant to meet 10 minutes early today, so we could go over our story.
Alice: And then you were late.
KC: What’s this for again, Don’t Panic?
Yeah. Do you have a different story depending on the publication?
KC: We met at a Brother concert. We were their first fans. No... We're just good friends. We were both in different bands. But we usually ended up making fun of each other’s bands.
Alice: I never made fun of your band.
KC: I’m sure you did. Oh, now I feel bad. I was in a band called Little Death.
Alice: I was in a band called Pull In Emergency. (Ed - oh yeah, we interviewed you then!)
Okay, a lot of your songs seem to deal with strained relationships, are you a couple?
KC: No. We’re brother and sister.
Another theme I’ve noticed is school: lunch money, homework etc?
KC: I think it’s nostalgic but also menacing. I don’t know if we got the menacing part. But it just happened that way. We were listening to the Arcade Fire record (The Suburbs) a lot. And it was interesting how there was this heavy theme. But at the same time, it wasn’t anything we ever wanted to do. Then we looked at the first four songs we wrote and they were all referencing a certain period of growing up. But it’s not something we’re going to continue.   
So the album’s not going to be about university then?
KC: Ha ha, junior high.
Alice: Secondary school.
KC: Sorry, secondary school.
How did you enjoy school, any hang-ups? 
Alice: You just found your year book, didn’t you?
KC: I did. I had a total of six signatures.
Is that bad?
KC: I went a little school out in the desert. But six signatures is pretty bad. I think there were about a thousand kids at my school.
Your sound’s quite bare, just guitar and vocals, very gentle. What kind of venues do you usually play?
KC: Strip clubs.
Alice: We did actually play a strip club.
KC: Almost all the places you play when you’re starting out in London used to be strip clubs. There weren’t any strippers though.
Alice: But there was a pole.
But not having a drummer?
KC: It’s interesting. People tend to talk over just about anything. So not matter how loud you are, people will talk over you. When it’s more fragile, or there’s only a couple of things happening on stage, people feel either awkward and watch, or it just gets their attention ‘cos it’s not something they usually see. But once that happens, the pressure’s on to make sure that people stay like that. 
Where does the name come from? Are you big Anchorman fans or simply aiming for the stars?
KC: I don’t have a TV or follow pop culture much. But most people assume we’re big Anchorman fans.
Alice: Or really arrogant. Obviously we don’t any drums or a massive band behind us, so that’s the joke.   
KC: People have been really, like, “Pfft, you’re not a big deal!” People are used to bands being very...
Alice: Brotherly. Ha ha...
KC: Businessmen.
Have you had a listen to any of the other Big Deal bands online?
KC: Yes!
Which one’s your favourite?
KC: The one from Florida. They’re amazing. Long hair, Sammy Hagar-looking dudes. 
Plans for 2011?
KC: We’re recording an album next month that’ll be out on Mute in the summer, depending on when we finish it. And we’ve got a single coming out on Moshi Moshi in March. We’re trying to get out to South by Southwest. We’ve been invited, but those invitations didn’t come with plane tickets. 
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Photos © Yusuf Laher


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