Must be a right fucker starting a band these days. Sod just slinging a few tunes on Bandcamp and hoping for the best. Now, you have to create an entire new aesthetic around your music to make a ripple in the biz, usually by subscribing to the less-is-more approach. Things appear to have reached a peak in this respect with Manchester’s Stay+ collective. You’ll probably know them better as Christian AIDS, which is also what we were calling them until a day before writing this piece, when their management informed us that Christian Aid (the charity) had slapped them with a “trademark infringement notice”.
One rename later and Stay+ was born, the name (pronounced ‘Stay’ or ‘Stay Plus’ – they want you to decide) honed from their epic Salem-meets-Underworld signature track. That hiccup aside, they’re playing the game of secrecy to perfection, selling out their first few gigs to A&Rs alone. Not that they’re bothered. Instead, their schtick involves: publicly telling all labels to fuck off, performing with a motionless/silent “choir” onstage, using confrontational images (kids smoking, naked dudes), providing doomy remixes for the likes of DFA 1979 and – oh yeah – refusing to say how many people are involved in the project or conduct any one-on-one press interviews.
Radar is granted a reprieve by way of an email Q&A with “the collective” (read it in full at NME.COM/newmusic). In it, they say clever things like: “Considering the size of institutions like David Lynch, Radiohead and Apple, they do an inspired job of keeping quiet at just the right times”, then follow them up with inane things like: “I kept imagining how spectacular a terrorist attack would have been” (when asked about the royal wedding footage featured in their provocative ‘Young Luv’ video).
But has the collective’s cover already been blown? A little detective-Googling leads us to claims they’re headed by noted Manchester DJ Matt ‘Kid’ Farthing. Perhaps they’ll be pissed that we published that, but whatever their hidden agendas it’s the music of Stay+ that speaks for itself. Dark, brooding and menacingly catchy, it can’t hurt for them to step out of the shadows properly now.
Need To Know
For Fans Of: Crystal Castles, David Lynch, Burial
Next Gig: The Victoria, Dalston, London (June 30)
Buy It: ‘Stay+’ (out now)
Believe It Or Not: Will White – brother of The Maccabees’ Felix and Hugo – has told us he’s involved in the collective, playing keyboards