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At home with Elastica

It's not every day you get to help out with a pop star's domestic chores. But surreal as it may seem, iCrunch is doing just that.

We're in the West London home of Justine Frischman, and before we get down to quizzing the Elastica star on their long awaited second LP, there's important work to be done.

So iCrunch does the honest thing, rolls up its sleeves and starts moving the furniture. Why does the furniture have to be shifted, you may well ask?

Because it's Justine's flatmate Loz from Kingmaker's turn to do the hoovering! Of course!

Not entirely unconvinced we haven't accidentally stumbled onto the set of a new indie BBC2 sitcom, we proceed downstairs and into the basement, which doubles as recording studio and is where much of the new album was originally conceived and get down to business...

: Is the new album a departure or just a natural progression?

Justine: The first load of stuff we did for it, when Donna was still in the band, was a departure. We were trying to do something different to what we'd done before.

There's also stuff on the album that was written in my basement with Loz (Kingmaker) at a time when I didn't think I was writing for Elastica anymore, when I didn't think the band was going to continue and I think that phase of writing is quite different from what people would normally expect from us.

It kind of went full circle when Annie and Paul were back in the band and we started doing punkier upbeat stuff again, which is what I feel more comfortable doing.

iCrunch: What have (new members) Mew and Paul brought to the band?

Justine: Paul is a much more spikier player than Donna, and he's probably a lot less pop than Donna was, he's a big lo-fi fan really and I think that's changed the sound of the band live. I think having Dave Bush in the band live has meant we sound a lot more powerful than we used to, and Mew's energy on stage gives it a slightly different twist as well.

iCrunch: How do you feel about the whole Internet revolution in regards to music?

Justine: I like the idea that music can get directly to people without record companies having to distribute it. I also like the fact people have the right to reply without having to go through journalists. The only thing that worries me about the MP3 thing is that people have the opportunity just to buy individual tracks and singles, as opposed to the whole album and I think if this happens enough, record companies will not invest in bands to make albums and they may become a thing of the past.

iCrunch: Does it piss you off that people constantly ask you about Damon, when they should be focusing on your music?

Justine: Unfortunately the way the press and the media works is that people generally like to read gossip and I think it's a shame but that's just the way the media works.

iCrunch: Will the next album take as long to make?

Justine: Absolutely not. I think whatever we do next will be quite quick. We'd quite like to get something totally new out by the end of this year, hopefully.

iCrunch: Are you enjoying life in the band more this time round?

Justine: Yeah, I am actually, I really enjoy spending time with the others and I really think we enjoy being together. It's kind of what it was like when the band started out the first time but then it got difficult after all the touring and everything. In terms of doing press this time, I actually want people to know about the record because I'm proud of it and I want to give it a good chance, but I still feel uncomfortable doing it and I haven't missed being out of the spotlight.

iCrunch: You were well received in the USA - more so than a lot of other UK guitar bands - do you think you can make it there again this time round?

Justine: I think there will still be a fan base there, but I don't think we will attempt the same level of touring out there as we did last time. I think the climate has changed a lot now, I feel we always saw ourselves as a less commercial sounding band than maybe other people saw us as. I think this time round it will be easier for us to exist in the underground which is good as I do think success at a certain level does kind of destroy things.

iCrunch: What's your opinion of the current UK music scene?

Justine: I think guitar music is a bit strange at the moment. The stuff that is quite big seems to be very straight. Ironically, I think Kingmaker would be absolutely huge at the moment amongst all the guitar bands that are around. What is more worrying is the out and out pop thing that is going on at the moment, which is good in a way as it gives bands something to react against. Top of the Pops is quite grim at present and Radio 1 is quite hard listening.

iCrunch: The recent London Astoria gig was quite a triumphant return...

Justine: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. It was nice to feel that a London audience was really rooting for us, as that's quite an unusual feeling in London.

iCrunch: You're doing a cover of Wire's '12xu,' which was often done by Heave - Mew's other band - during their live set...

Justine: I actually heard Mew do it with Heave and I loved their version, and I loved the fact it was a girl doing those lyrics. It was a song that Elastica loved but I always thought it would be cheeky to do it, but Mew was up for it so we did it.

iCrunch: What's on your stereo at the moment?

Justine: I really like the Gomez record, and the Super Furry Animals is brilliant. I also like the Clinic stuff from last year and the Le Tigre album is fantastic."

At this point the interview finishes there and we return upstairs - just in time to return the furniture to its rightful place.