Selling England By The Pond


Bearded’s Guide To Bristol: An interview with Rasha Shaheen of The Liftmen

for Bearded Magazine

The Liftmen are comprised of full time members Neil Smith (vocals/guitar), Rasha Shaheen, and Jamie Whitby-Coles (drums/organ/vocals), though they are often boosted by contributions from guitarist Jesse D. Vernon and electronic wizard SJ Esau. They were formed in an Easton lift over a decade ago; they are now one of Bristol’s best-loved bands, both live and on record. They have been described as many things, and compared to many other bands; and while they do fit under the banners of ‘art-’ and ‘post-’, they have a charm, and balance of content, that’s very much their own. Three albums in to an ever-blossoming career – a recent session on BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley show attests to this – their most recent effort Luftwaffe Pond (Twisted Nerve) sees The Liftmen at their dark/light, pond referencing, creative best. Bearded spoke the band’s bassist/vocalist.

Bearded: I hope everyone agrees that ponds are special places, but just how deeply does the band/pond connection go? Is it purely metaphorical, an ecosystem thing? Are you trying to highlight environmental issues, or do you just love ponds?

The Liftmen: The love of ponds comes from guitarist/songwriter Neil Smith, who is ultimately the brain behind The Liftmen. Neil has a huge passion for newts and so is interested in building ponds for anyone who is willing to keep newts in them. He recently organised a pond fundraiser at The Attic in Bristol to raise money to restore a pond in St. Werburghs. So I guess it’s a bit of both. The love of all things newts, which includes ponds, and this includes highlighting environmental issues, as they are a rare breed. Read More . . .