“For me, it’s simple,” says Charlie Boyer, setting his pint down thoughtfully on the table of a gloomy Camden drinking hole. “I just wanna make primitive, sexy, glamorous rock’n’roll music.” This is the manifesto he dished out to The Voyeurs, the band he put together in February last year and who were snapped up by Heavenly straight after their first gig. “We were friends, we went to the same pubs and clubs, so the idea just fitted straight away,” he says of his comrades.
Given that Charlie’s got a social circle that reads like a full cast-list of east London’s finest – he’s tight with The Horrors, Toy et al – it would be easy to assume his own musical endeavours to be the latest ‘Nuggets’-infused kraut-kosmische hybrid. Sod that, though. These boys swing to a totally different beat and play jagged proto-punk with a beaten heart. The setting: New York circa 1975. From Boyer’s Tom Verlaine scrawl to The Voyeurs’ Richard Hell-indebted guitar assault, theirs is a world of brittle, pre-Pistols raw power – but crucially it also revels in being technically amazing.
These are comparisons that Boyer has no qualms about. “I always go straight to the Velvets,” he says. “I adore Television, I adore the Ramones, The Modern Lovers. Those bands love The Velvet Underground in the same way that I do. If people say I’ve ripped them off, it’s a good thing.” When Radar even goes as far to suggest that he looks uncannily like Verlaine, he merely smirks: “That’s what happens if you like someone enough. You start to look like them.”
Currently recording their debut album (due to be released in April) at London’s West Heath Yard studio with Orange Juice man Edwyn Collins (Charlie: “He’s an amazing, slightly camp Scotsman with a great presence”), there’s no plan to slow down any time soon. “I have strong ideas and I want to work quickly,” he says, staring at us head-on to make sure we’ve snatched every last bit of his grand rock’n’roll plan. “Achieve things and move on, achieve things and move on,” he says, like a mantra. “I want to get this record done, get it perfect, and then tour for six months. Then we’ll come out of that and make a second album that’s twice as good as the first.”
NEED TO KNOW
For Fans Of: Television, Richard Hell & The Voidoids
Buy It Now: Debut single ‘I Watch You’ is out now
See Them Live: They play London’s Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on March 4
Believe It Or Not: As well as being a Voyeur, keyboard player Ross Kristian is also a hairdresser in Fulham. “It’s really posh,” Charlie says. “Full of old ladies with their poodles getting blow dried.”