The Others: How to Lose Your Job and Influence People... - The Others
Punk rock semi celebrities and NME darlings, The Others are friends of Pete Doherty and the Libertines, but appear to be more effective as friends of the underdog. Michelle Manning speaks to front man, Dominic Masters on the set of the video to The Others’ latest single, Lackey.
In an office block in West London, weary teenage extras gathered around The Others front man Dominic Masters during a break from an entire day of filming the video clip of their new single, Lackey. Telling tales of music downloads and of another life as a goal keeper on the high school football team, Masters was Hans Christian Andersen entertaining the children in the village square.
The music video sees Masters in a shirt and tie with the words LACKEY emblazoned across a burgundy badge as he walks through the bustling office singing, I don't want to be a lackey in a job… Want to escape for a while, get a new idea. I'll start up a band, I'll get a brand new plan. I'll find some way out of here...
Leaving a life of drudgery is exactly what the determined and purposeful Masters achieved, “I spent two and a half years after and during university working in market research, and it was horrible. After that, doing advertising, but during that period I spent another two and a half to three years getting this band to the stage it is today. I worked really really hard. I was getting up each morning at 7.30am, going to work at nine, finishing work at 5.30, spending three nights a week making sure I could go to concerts and club nights to get promoters’ numbers, to get bands’ telephone numbers, to get managers’ telephone numbers, to find lawyers, to find A & R men… On Tuesday and Thursday nights, we would go to work all day, and in the night we’d have a concert where we’d provide a free after party for the kids.
Saturday, I would sleep, and then Sunday we’d have rehearsals. So we worked really hard for a good couple of years. I was the manager of our band and I got us signed, and when I got us signed I quit the job.”
Masters looks decidedly uncomfortable in the office environment he learned to loathe as someone gathered enough marijuana to make a joint to the irritation of a crew member frightened of the set being “shut down.” This didn’t bother Masters but was instead bothered by being overly tired to continue the filming due to being awake for the previous two days.
But late nights are hardly alien to any man in rock, or Masters who spent the last night filming the live footage for the Lackey video at Brixton Academy, another opportunity for the 853 Kamikaze Stage Diving Division to get together once again.
The 853 Kamikaze Stage Diving Division is a gathering of The Others’ fans that frequent their live shows and continuously stage dive, hence one part of the name -- the 853 bit came from inspiration and a stolen license plate. Furthermore, the loyalty to The Others’ live shows grew to be so strong that Masters thought to put his number on the band’s web site, in order to give back to the fans, “Well, that’s what we’ve done for the past year. We’ve got all the people in for free, we’ve done guest lists, had reduced price lists and got all the under 18s in, and as we move up through the ranks, we’re not going to change our policies because we’re getting bigger. That’s why for [the gig at London Scala] we’re doing 900 people for £8 which is unheard of so, yeah. You gotta do it. It’s not thinking of the kids, it’s thinking of our 853 Kamikaze Stage Diving Division.
“I’ve got about 2800 telephone numbers and I’ve got about 900 emails, these are 3000, 4000 kids who help build and establish the band, so they all need to be rewarded for the work that they’ve put in to come in to see us for packing in the gigs and buying the records.”
Poverty inducing marketing techniques aside, The Others have also gathered a fan base because of their appeal to the misunderstood. The Others are the outsiders, the disenfranchised, the bullied and the awkward, and Masters especially has made no secret of his impoverished upbringing, his failed marriage, or his bisexuality. Previous singles such as This is for the Poor and Stan Bowles, where the lyrics were written from a personal perspective, he seems to appeal to those marginalised by society by default. “I always felt growing up it was a bit of a difficult scenario. I grew up in Somerset, in a very conservative area, and being a bisexual boy in Somerset was certainly a difficult thing to do because of the way people behave towards the homosexual community, and also towards the drugs issues in Somerset, it is a very conservative area, so when I write my lyrics I write about all of the troubles of coming to London and how hard it has been to survive. I think a lot of disillusioned and disfranchised kids who come from working class backgrounds who have to struggle and strive to try and make their way in life identify with all the lyrics I put forward. Maybe that’s where there’s such a connection with the under class, so to speak.”
Now, Masters is appealing to a wider section of society, the unhappy-at-work, with Lackey being another example of how Masters’ own life is reflected in his art, “The whole idea of Lackey was to try and convey the image of the shit work I used to have to do. I used to have to wear a suit and a tie and be in one of those horrible, manufactured multipurpose offices designed for these horrible call centres with no life. [But] a lot of people hate their work on a day to day basis, so like I say, it’s for the workers who are in really shit jobs. What we are trying to say is that this job shouldn’t be a means to the end. There are other ways to try and make sure that you have a fulfilling life.”
Lackey is a powerful take on the post punk genre, a sound as relevant to current musical ears as their friends the Libertines are today, and at the same time, both bands can be reminiscent of punk bands of yore. It seems what the Libertines are to the Sex Pistols, with shocking antics more or less rocking society, The Others are to The Clash, with both bands starting out on the respective band’s coat tails. And with similar values as The Clash, The Others have embraced their fans with after show parties as The Clash have done by putting fans up in hotel rooms after a show. The Clash sing about poverty and The Others sing for the poor. Now, in the wake of The Clash’s Career Opportunities, The Others now have Lackey.
The extras on the set who are dressed in business attire answer the telephones and pretend to type on computers in the background, while The Others are to become more involved in the office work. However, these are extras that are considered to be “friends” of Masters and who are, in no doubt, the kids with his mobile number and email address. These are the kids he thinks of when he ensures that gigs are accessible to them.
The frenzy The Others garner at their live shows, is something to behold, and with the Cold Turkey Christmas Tour in December, will the 853 Kamikaze Stage Diving Division be in force? Will his friends rush the stage in mad adoration? It’s something to which Masters is looking forward, “Oh yes, lovely,” he says, “It’s nice. For everybody who comes up on stage, try to give ‘em a big hug and just shake their hand and say thank you for making the effort. I do my best to do my own crowd surfing and stage diving myself, so we’re all in the same boat…”
The Others next single will be William - Out March 28, 2005.