who and what is. . .Am I Dead Yet?
AIDY? Is the new musical project from Pop Will Eat Itself & Gaye Bykers On Acid frontman Mary Byker and Apollo440 founder-member, Magazine guitarist & long-time collaborator, Noko
The soundscape is wide-screen retro-cinematic. The mood is distinctly glass-half-empty, with songs lamenting the failure of technology to save us from ourselves. Mary steps up to the microphone. Noko makes the noises. Like you’ve never quite heard them before…
Mary singing over a lush Lynchian laptop orchestra, replete with the sweet vocal harmonies of Noko and the sumptuous twang of his vintage Gretsch White Falcon buried deep in a canyon of spring reverb.
The pair first worked together way back in 1992, When Noko produced the album Metaphasia by Mary’s first post-GBOA band Hyperhead. They later re-charged their creative batteries in the surf-jungle live band Maximum Roach, they formed in 1996 with drummer Paul Kodish.
Soon after Mary was invited to join Noko’s other band, Apollo 440 as frontman and this re-energised line-up took them chart-bound with their genre-busting “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Dub” amongst others. Their collaboration. ‘Stop The Rock’, hit world-wide and, nearly 20 years after it’s release the track recently flew into a stadium near you on Budweiser’s global FIFA World Cup ad.
Apollo 440 tracks have appeared in countless Hollywood blockbusters (The band were also commissioned to record the themes of 'Lost In Space' and 'Charlie’s Angels 2000’ movies), or mega-selling video games (‘Gran Turismo’; ‘FIFA’; ‘Forza Motorsport’ ; ‘Spider Man’ etc ) alike.
Noko - for it is he..
Noko has played on countless records by other people and collaborated with artists as varied as Jean-Michel Jarre and Jeff Beck, his early non-440 previous includes work-outs with ‘The Cure’ (bass), Buzzcock Pete Shelley (bass & guitar) and Luxuria, the band he formed in 1986 with Magazine’s Howard Devoto.
Noko joined the re-formed Magazine in 2009, replacing the late John McGeoch and recording 2011’s “No Thyself” album. More recently he played bass with Japanese “Kill Bill” superstar guitarist, Tomoyasu Hotei. Noko has scored a number of feature-films, notably Éric Valette’s French-language noir thrillers, 'Une Affaire D’Etat' and ‘La Proie’, plus Darren Cavanagh’s feature-length 2017 “Ex-Dominatrix” documentary.
Mary’s previous includes vocalising for psychedelic-grebo leg ends, ‘Gaye Bykers On Acid’, industrial monsters, ’Pigface’, and Black Country indie perennials, ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’. He even delivered on ‘Nervous’ with DJ Fresh and took it to #1 in the BBC Radio 1 dance chart. Mary still, to this day, fronts the Gaye Bykers, Pop Will Eat Itself and Magnetic Empire with Former apollo 440 DJ and Maximum Roach alumni Harry K, and like Noko, Mary has composed film scores most notably for Brazilian Filmaker Cavi Borges & TV documentary soundtracks for ARD in Germany.
It’s this shared love for the dramatic, the cinematic and the smell of the popcorn, that sets the tone for their new work together in Am I Dead Yet?