Interview: FHM 2001
FHM (August 2001)
James Atkin, vocalist with EMF, shares his home with 150 cyborg flatmates...
Why on earth did you start collecting robots?
I don't remember starting, actually - I've just accumulated them over the years. The first one was probably six or seven years ago, and since then I've just sort of been picking them up along the way.
Any of them worth a tidy sum?
None of them are really expensive, they're not the old Japanese tins ones or anything - they're all quite tacky plastic ones. I've picked them up all over the world but they tend to come from car boot sales and the like. The value's more sentimental than anything - they're my mates.
Have you ever pitted one against a pet or stood God-like over a giant robot battle?
Ha! No. Good idea, though. Sometimes I switch them all on and play a really loud banging house track while they rave around for a bit. The last one standing is the King of the Rave.
Has a ham-fisted mate ever broken one?
I don't let anyone touch them. They all stay on four big shelves unless I want to get them down. They look great all lined up together.
Is there a special one that gets pride of place on the mantelpiece?
I've got a really nice old one that I call Mr. Wheezer. It's a wind-up and it's got a piston in it, so as it goes along it makes a wheezing sound like it's just smoked a hundred fags. Another one called Kasey is pretty cool - his face lights up and he can play tapes. I've also got a radio one. The first time I switched it on, Unbelievable was playing. That was pretty weird.
They all have names then?
Well yeah, most mostly names I make up on the spot. Most of them I calll Robert.
As a cybernetic connoisseur, do you prefer the sleek curves of
C-3PO or the squat, dumpy lines of Metal Mickey?
It's got to be Metal Mickey really, although I'm not really one of those sci-fi heads - I don't go to Doctor Who conferences. I just love the square boxy ones that have lots of flashing lights and loud noises.
Finally, have you ever sampled their robotic bleeps to make a jaunty record?
I've sampled them on a few tracks, yeah. I've got this one that talks in a really daft American accent, going: "Hey kids - let's stay together and make a better world." I never got it on the EMF records though - the rest of the band wouldn't let me.