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BAND HISTORY PART 2: DON'T STOP THE DANCE

Thankfully Neurotica were not without a drummer for too long. The new resident DJ at the club night was James Lawless, who introduced Ergi Ahmed to the band. Ergi was soon spending all night jam sessions at Studio Neurotica in Haringey (and quickly losing his day job in the process). A new harder, faster and more psychedelic sound emerged. With no singer, the jams were long, free and wild. James soon joined the line-up, dropping samples and scratches. The band played a few gigs at the club like this (under the names Acid Toe Jam and Acid Toe Ruen), often backing random poets and singers who had turned up at the club.

One of these was Cat Von Trapp, and it could be said that she was officially a member of the band for a while. Cat was a truly unique singer; her style could be described as yodeling and she sang in her own made-up mountain language. After a couple of improvised gigs at the club, Cat went to a few rehearsal sessions at the studio. Miles, being a songwriter, soon started steering the jams into arranged songs, usually by doing frantic conducting and shouting 'Chorus!' every 8 bars. Cat did not dig this one bit, and at one point even made Miles play in the booth out of sight. Eventually the calming effects of her sage stick ceased to work, and she went solo again. There's a clip of Cat in action on the Club Neurotica documentary, which you can watch here.

A couple of other singers came and went, and then in the summer of 1994 the band was joined by singer and songwriter Kandina Jane. Kandy had enjoyed success in Wales with her bands The Exit and The Dean's Daughter, supporting acts such as The Alarm and All About Eve. Despite having a large portfolio of her own songs, Kandy took up the front spot of Neurotica and soon there was a new set ready to go.

Click to enlarge and see notes

Sounding like a proper band again, Neurotica started playing gigs other than the club, including The Sir George Robey (RIP) and The Rock Garden (not RIP-ing, sadly. Why do all the good venues get shut? See Mean Fiddler guide to Fucking Up A Venue).

Maybe it was the company they were keeping, or perhaps it was the LSD being consumed by some members of the band. Maybe it was the raves they were going to, or just the era that they were living in, but Neurotica were becoming more and more dance orientated. The traditional arrangements of Miles's songs were being stretched and stripped with build-ups and breakdowns. Breakbeats, 4 to the floor beats and acid synths were becoming the norm. The live set-up had got pretty complicated, with a sequencer running additional synths and beats. Dave was a resident engineer at Camden Lock Studios (RIP) at the time, and having access to the 24-track facilities, with fat samplers and more synths and modules meant the band got into more fanciful and ambitious productions. An early example of this style was another version of 'Gonna Make U Move'. Melody Maker (RIP) was most un-impressed, as this demo review reveals. (Not very nice considering the money being spent in their classifieds in the same issue, however it should be noted that 'Holly's Demo Hell' was not known for its' favourable reviews!)

A 6th member joined. Stuart 'Tabla' (surname unknown), played Tablas. The Indian flavour was back! In a bid to simplify the live show, a DAT machine replaced the sequencer, playing pre-mixed backing tracks of beats, synths and backing vocals. Stuart was having trouble competing with Ergi's powerful drumming- there just wasn't the space in the music for the subtle nuances of the tabla. Having studied under Talvin Singh, Stuart took his playing quite seriously, and after a while Ergi graciously moved from the full kit onto percussion (bongos, congas etc.). Although studio sessions were going well, sadly Stuart still didn't feel he had the room he needed in the live show, and he left the band after a few months.

Neurotica started playing at raves, notably One Louder at Adrenaline Village, and a techno festival with Pendragon in mid-Wales. This was to be the final stage of the Neurotica story. Miles and Kandy were missing doing proper songs, Miles and Ergi were missing their rock, and all three were being under-challenged. The band never actually split, just wandered off in different directions.

Ergi joined punk band Coma with Nial and Alzi from The Sultans of Ping FC, and later joined Japanese punk band Mika Bomb.

James pursued his DJ career.

Miles went on to form several bands including Housewife Superstar, Sure Gas, Fancy Dress and current outfit Daze Like These.

Kandina Jane continued working with Dave and signed a solo deal with Colossus Records. An album of Kandy's songs was completed, but the label didn't have the resources to release it and the deal was torn up. Kandy returned to North Wales is busy promoting her new solo album.

Diesel Dave has recently returned to production and remix work, and is currently composing music for films.

More info and up-to-date links on all Neurotica members can be found on the Who's Who? page