By Janna O’Shea and Hunter Lydon
Photos by Judith Stephens
Marvel.com recently welcomed indie rock band Art Brut to Marvel’s NYC headquarters while they were on tour supporting their fourth album, “Brilliant! Tragic.” While the Marvel office tour helps cement their reputations as True Believers, the Berlin-based English and German band released “Brilliant! Tragic” with a comic book featuring artwork by Jamie McKelvie, Akira The Don, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Hope Larson, Jeffrey Brown and Jeffrey Lewis, among others--proving that cool comics and good music go together quite well.
We gave Art Brut a tour of Marvel HQ and spoke with them--particularly singer Eddie Argos, a self-proclaimed comic nut--about “Brilliant! Tragic,” their awesome new comic book and their favorite Marvel characters!
|Art Brut's "Brilliant! Tragic!" cover art by Jamie McKelvie|
Marvel.com: Tell us about Art Brut, your newest album “Brilliant! Tragic,” and what you guys are all about.
Eddie Argos: We are on our fourth album. I sing on this one for the first time and our friend Jamie McKelvie [artist, SIEGE: LOKI, GENERATION HOPE] did the artwork for it. He [works] for Marvel, and like you, he is hell bent on getting me to change sides from DC to Marvel.
Marvel.com: It’s going to happen.
Eddie Argos: It has happened, I think. He knows it, too. Frank Black produced [the album], again. He taught me to sing this time; I just used to shout things in the past as opposed to sing. Now, I kind of sing a little bit. We made our own comic that came with it.
Marvel.com: Right, but you didn’t bring it for us.
Eddie Argos: No, we forgot! Jamie McKelvie did some art in that, too. Every song was done by a different artist. Brian O’Malley [Scott Pilgrim] did one and Hope Larson did one, which was kind of cool.
Marvel.com: How did the idea come about for the “Brilliant! Tragic” comic book and what were you hoping to achieve with the comic?
|Art Brut's Eddie Argos, Jasper "Jeff" Future and Ian Catskilkin in the Thor Room|
Eddie Argos: I’m a massive comic fan and I’m almost more proud of the comic than I am of the album. I review comics online, too. I’ve reviewed most of those people. They’re literally all of my favorite comic book artists. I was too shy to ask them to work on the comic for me. I got my manager to do it! I thought it would be easier for them to say no to him if they didn’t want to. But they all said yes, every single one. Like, all of my favorite artists said yes!
So, I’d buy the comic even if I didn’t like Art Brut. But I do like Art Brut! I’m really flattered that they took the time out to do it. It’s cool. I think I just really wanted to see an Art Brut comic. It was made simultaneously with the album, but we are not very good at publishing comics so it came out like a month and a half afterwards. We missed the deadlines!
Marvel.com: You’ve had several songs with heavy comic book references. How much do comic books influence the lyrics and music you write?
Eddie Argos: Everything influences what I write. I don’t write the music, I just write the words. I mean, there is a part of me that just hasn’t grown up and that still reads comics. I think there is a theme of that in my lyrics. I have a band actually called Spoiler Alert [in which] I only write about super heroes. So, that band is pretty much solidly inspired by comics. But with Art Brut, I think it’s just something I like. Things that I like get into the lyrics and that’s it, really. Doesn’t really influence the lyrics, I just really like them.
|Art Brut's Eddie Argos, Jasper "Jeff" Future and Ian Catskilkin Discuss Music and Comics|
Marvel.com: Eddie, you periodically update a comic book blog called, “Pow! To The People.” Tell us about why you decided to start the blog and what you like to write about.
Eddie Argos: Well, I was just on the Internet. I’ll add anyone on Facebook, really. If I get bored, I’ll just turn it on and chat to fans. So I was doing that. Then the guy who works for playbackstl.com, I think that’s how I got to talk to him, I can’t remember. I told him that I like comics and he asked me to review comics. And he said they would give me free comics if I did it! Also, I read [something] and I hated it so much that I had to have somewhere to vent my frustration.
Actually, that is when I started reading Marvel, because the next thing I got to review was Ed Brubaker’s THE WINTER SOLDIER: CAPTAIN AMERICA, which was amazing. I never thought I would like Captain America and then I read it and it was like “wow.” It blew me away. So that was it really; that was when I first started reading Marvel.
Marvel.com: Are you going to see “Captain America: The First Avenger”?
Eddie Argos: Yeah, can’t wait to see it. It’s out now, isn’t it?
Marvel.com: It’s out on July 22.
Eddie Argos: Jasper’s friend is in it.
Jasper Future: My friend is in the movie. He is the body double from before he takes the serum. He is like the weenie body double! I’ve heard very funny stories about that film.
Marvel.com: Who are your favorite Marvel heroes/villains?
Eddie Argos: I’ve [liked] Spider-Man from a really early age, from when I was about four. I liked Spider-Man growing up so much I used to write [in to] the Spider-Man comic. I asked [Marvel] if I could write it for them and stuff. They said, “Yes. One day, keep writing.” They sent me a badge. They must have been sick of me, really, I wrote them like three or four times. Like, I love Spider-Man, you know? So it was really fun to come here today and see where he is made.
Jasper Future: I like Galactus because he eats planets. And that’s kind of awesome. You can’t really get better than Galactus. Definitely my favorite villain.
Marvel.com: Jasper, do you really think that Galactus is a villain?
Jasper Future: He’s not really either; he is just a presence. I don’t think he really cares either way.
Marvel.com: A necessary force in the universe.
Jasper Future: Yeah, exactly. But he is still awesome.
Ian Catskilkin: I like the Hulk.
Jasper Future: Of course you like the Hulk.
Ian Catskilkin: I think he is cool. I like the Hulk. I used to like the TV program when I was a kid.
|Art Brut's Ian Catskilkin Goes Toe to Toe With Spidey!|
Eddie Argos: I think that is what confused me growing up [with Marvel], that they don’t fight crime. Like the Hulk isn’t fighting crime, he is just being Hulk. And the X-Men don’t fight crime, they just kind of sort things out. I think when I was younger, I didn’t really understand that.
So, I only really liked Spider-Man because he was fighting crime and that made sense to me. And now that I am older and Jamie [McKelvie] lent me loads of Marvel comics. And I’m like, this is kind of better. Like, I don’t want to read about guys fighting crime anymore.
Jasper Future: Right, they are sort of struggling with their powers.
Marvel.com: Well, that’s what’s great about Marvel characters. They have human problems! What do you guys see in your band’s future? More tours, more albums, more side projects?
Eddie Argos: [Laughs] My side project Spoiler Alert, we write songs about DC super heroes and are now going to write about Marvel super heroes. That’s going to happen now. And Jamie [McKelvie] actually plays the drums in my band. At least kind of, when I play live. So, I probably should have always been writing about Marvel characters, really. As for Art Brut, we’re just going to keep writing albums and touring. I think [that] is the plan.
Jasper Future: Yeah, pretty much. Carry on, power through [laughs].
Eddie Argos: Whether people want us to or not. Just keep releasing records.
|Art Brut's Eddie Argos With Editor Jeanine Schaefer and Social Media Coordinator Janna O'Shea|
Marvel.com: If you could have any super powers, what would they be, why and what would your super hero/villain names be?
Eddie Argos: See, I quite like the idea of being psychic and knowing what other people were thinking, but I think that would be a bit too much to have all the time. So, I would like it if I could have the power, but only for like 15 minutes a day. And I would be like, “Oh, I’ll read their minds for a bit,” and then it fades away. I think it would help to write songs; to read peoples minds. You know? I wouldn’t have a name. No one should know that I’ve got that power.
Jasper Future: I’d kind of like the ability just to be able to change my hands into anything that I needed at that time. Just because I’m really lazy. So you want a bit of paper and your hand turns into paper.
Marvel.com: Would it detach from your body?
Jasper Future: Yeah, you could take it off and then your hand would grow back. You could just produce things that you needed at any point. Basically, it’s the lazy man super power. You would never have to go and get anything ever again. I’d be called The Producer. I think. Or The Detachable Man.
Ian Catskilkin: I would be like a remote control and I could pause and rewind. I could also turn people’s volumes up and down and I would be called The Manipulator. I would probably be a villain. The volume thing being most useful, I think.
Eddie Argos and Jasper Future: You would definitely be a villain.
Marvel.com: Would you like to say anything to your fans or to the readers of Marvel.com?
Eddie Argos: Marvel comics are awesome. Marvel comics and banana milkshakes.
Marvel.com: And you are going to write a new song?
Eddie Argos: I did just replace [the lyrics to “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes”] when singing live. Honest to God, I sang that for the first time and when I woke up the next day and checked the Internet, the entire DC universe had reset itself. They are starting all over again, from number one. I think I did that. I opened a paradox by singing “Marvel Comics and banana milkshakes.”