Another interview with the resurgent Inca Babies…
And suddenly another voice came screaming out of the darkness. A malformed beast slowly began to drag itself out of the depths of the Black Lagoon, driven on by crushing drums and a hollow, reverberating bass. “Wounded souls lie in my box, I curse the man who put them there,” it howled, lashed by the barbs of an awkwardly scything guitar. “The tongue is scorched to the very root of the interior.” The Inca Babies had arrived.
“The idea was to take it down to the bare bones of a really intense rhythm and have someone squeal innuendos and violence at you. I thought it rather worked,” comments Harry Stafford, the Babies’ founder, songwriter and guitarist. “At that time in Manchester, the rest of the world were into this hideous concoction called jazz-funk and I can’t describe how awful it was. Northern Soul had evolved into this disco by any other name, but it had been given a posher title and it was just dire. I used to go to clubs to meet people and I was hearing this music and refusing to be part of any scene there whatever and waiting for it to disappear. It never did disappear as it turned into house music and then acid house and rave. It was awful.”
Stafford’s answer was to form his own band who would produce a sound which would prove the antidote the world required to rid itself of this revolting blight. He gathered together bassist Bill Marten, drummer Alan Brown and vocalist Julian Woropay and began to hurl defiance at the sea of soul that surrounded him. However, he was soon to find that the Inca Babies were destined to be perennial outsiders, rejected by both the city’s mainstream and the happening underground. “In Manchester playing what we did, we stuck out like a sore thumb and we never really fitted in.
A lot of Mancunians patronised us, saying “Oh yeah, you’re good at what you do, but you’re not really one of us. You don’t have Northern Soul sensibility.” I came from the south of England, so of course I didn’t have Northern Soul sensibility. And I remember people making compilations of the (underground) scene and getting all the bands together like Big Flame, A Witness, the Membranes and the Fall and we were never asked to be any part of these. We were just rock. They used to use the term ‘rockist’; we were considered ‘rockists’. But people still came to see us so I don’t think there was that much wrong.”
Read more here: Inca Babies – Lost in a Sea of Soul.