Sebastopol in 2012
|Also known as||The Masters of Monochrome|
|Genres||Alternative rock, art rock, post-punk, new wave|
|Labels||Warm Fuzz Records|
|Associated acts||Kinky Machine|
The band formed in 2010 following an unusual incident the previous year when Powell found himself dangerously marooned in the North Atlantic while making a television documentary. That experience and what Powell described as "the consequent feeling of helplessness" prompted him to write a collection of songs based around the lyrical themes of being lost, and, specifically, lost at sea. After signing to Warm Fuzz Records, these songs were recorded and became the debut album "Hello All Stations, This Is Zero" which was released in 2012.
The band's name "Sebastopol" reportedly comes from the open D guitar tuning exclusively used by Richards on all Sebastopol recordings which is traditionally called "sebastopol" after the traditional song "The Siege of Sebastopol" composed in that tuning by the 19th Century artist and composer Henry Worrall.
Hello All Stations, This Is Zero
The band's first album "Hello All Stations, This Is Zero" was released in September 2012. It was well received by reviewers, with one commenting that it would be "cited by singers and songwriters for years to come." Comparisons have been drawn with The Police, with a commentator noting the "space in the sound", the high quality of the songwriting, and the fact that Sebastopol has a power trio configuration.
The album's title "Hello All Stations, This Is Zero" is taken from a wartime radio call signal from the 1940s signalling the start of a message. However, the number "zero" being written out is apparently poetic license since, according to the command protocol for imposing radio silence, the actual spoken phrase should be "Hello all stations, this is 0" with the zero being pronounced "oh".
Powell, who is the band's main songwriter, has revealed in a number of radio and press interviews the unusual circumstances and inspiration behind the album. In 2009 he found himself marooned on Sable Island, a very small and extremely remote island in the North Atlantic. This lasted a number of weeks during which time Powell's life was in constant danger. The tracks "Send The Boats" and "Take Me Home" directly refer to this experience with the other songs being more loosely linked thematically.
The Masters of Monochrome
Sebastopol are occasionally referred to as "The Masters of Monochrome" in radio and press interviews, due to all band artwork and photographs being only produced in black and white. The nickname was first coined in 2012 by journalist Cameron Smith after Sebastopol insisted that video he had just shot of them be converted to black and white as a condition of its being released. This nickname was then repeated on BBC Radio Bristol by hosts Livvy and Chrissie who professed to be bemused that all band members turned up for a radio interview fully dressed in black and white clothes from the 1940s.
Involvement with Mick Glossop
Sebastopol's debut album was produced by the band but mixed by Mick Glossop who has worked extensively with punk and post-punk artists including Public Image Limited and The Wonderstuff. In December 2012 the band revealed in a BBC interview that they were working on new material with Glossop this time in the role of producer and that it would have an "edgier sound".
- "Sebastopol Reveal New Release, Debut single 'Send the Boats' To Hit The Shelves This Month!". Musicosis. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Introduction to the Open D Tuning". AcousticFingerstyle.com. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Ritchie, Jason. "3.5 Stars for Sebastopol Album". Get Ready To Rock. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Franklin, Dave. "Hello All Stations, This Is Zero - Sebastopol". Green Man Music. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Robertson, Iain. "Fascinating debut from next generation version of The Police". Reviewed Online. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Lyons, Orna. "Sebastopol – Hello All Stations, This Is Zero". AAA Music. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "Standard command protocol for imposing radio silence". Radio Silence. Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Lloyd, Chrissie. "The 12 O'clock Show". BBC Radio Bristol. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Forrest, Jason. "Episode 168". The Milk Bar Podcast. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- BBC Cambridge. 18 December 2012.
- Beach, Becky. "Sebastopol Q&A". Muswell Hill Flyer. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Smith, Cameron. "Sebastopol Exclusive Live Session Part 1". Female First. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Rose, Alivia. "The Livvy and Chrissie Show". BBC Radio Bristol. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Brickell, Antonia. "BBC radio interview (Mick Glossop producing new material)".