Sink Ya Teeth’s experiences have taught them that there is a lot to be said for true independence. “We’re so worried that if we get someone else on board, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with us,” admits Cullingford. Having secured some funding from Arts Council England, they set about writing and recording a set of songs, without worrying about waiting for a label to pick them up. “We do our own artwork, we write the songs, and we produce, mix, record and release our music ourselves. Sometimes we do our own videos too. It’s good to have that kind of control, but it ain’t cheap!” That’s not to say that they’re adverse to the label model either: their first two singles were released on 1965 Records, but a funding issue got in the way of that. In the event, the album is coming out on Hey Buffalo, Uzor’s own label that she set up for Girl in a Thunderbolt.
The other price of artistic independence, of course, is a reliance on the day job. Uzor is a support worker and textiles teacher at a school for children who have been bullied, whilst Cullingford is a self-employed ukulele teacher for 6 to 10 year olds.
Barely a piece has been written about this duo that doesn’t compare them to the seminal New York no wave group ESG. Without a doubt, there are similarities in their economical dance-punk arrangements, especially on a track like ‘If You See Me’, but whilst Cullingford is a big fan, Uzor, who wrote the song in question, is largely unfamiliar with the group. “I think it’s probably that I listen to the same music that they were influenced by too,” she suggests. Cullingford is less sure. “I love ESG, but I don’t get the comparison,” she says. “I guess it’s the fact that it’s mostly drums and bass, but I wouldn’t say vocally that Maria is anything like [ESG singer] Renee Scroggins.” They reference S-Express, LCD Soundsystem and Shopping as artists they consider as kindred spirits, whilst Cullingford points to Tina Weymouth, Carol Kaye and Peter Hook as bassists she admires. It’s another Manchester music institution, however, that they have formed a relationship with over the last year: when A Certain Ratio saw them supporting !!! at a gig at Manchester venue Gorilla, they reached out to them and consequently the two will be sharing a stage on multiple occasions this summer.
When a passing remark is made about possibly recording alongside Electronic in the future, the conversation strays, as so many have done recently, into the murky waters that surround Morrissey. Speaking just days after his most recent and most indefensible outburst to date, Uzor expands on how hard it has become to reconcile her teenage love for The Smiths with the man’s current descent into a cheap UKIP soundbite machine. “You find out he’s a racist twat, and you’re a black person. It’s like I’ve wasted my entire teenage years on this cunt. I’m in a period of mourning, but also defiance.” Realising the potential here, Cullingford suggests that we set up a Blur-Oasis style media war between Sink Ya Teeth and Morrissey, to which Uzor, seamlessly slipping into an unsettlingly good Moz impression, replies in his stead: “Ohh I’ve never heard of them. And anyway, they’ve got a black person.”
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