Modus (Mod. Us. Get it?)
TRUE, WE NORMALLY PROFILE AN INDIVIDUAL WHOSE ATTIRE CATCHES OUR EYE, BUT ONCE WE CAUGHT THIS BAND LIVE, THERE WAS NO IGNORING THEIR ALL-ENCOMPASSING MOD STYLE. WITH MISS MODUS AND HER MYSTERIOSO CHARISMA ON LEAD VOCALS, THE GROOVY WAILS OF A HAMMOND THROUGHOUT AND CATCHY SONGS ENTITLED DO THE GO-GO SHAKE AND CLUB SOUL MAGIC, THIS FIVE-SOME BRING ENERGY AND NOSTALGIA TO THE STAGE, LEAVING EVERYONE WIDE-EYED AND DANCIN' FOR MORE. BITE LIFE CAUGHT UP WITH MEMBERS ROD, SCOTT AND MEL TO QUERY THE LOOK THEY'RE SO DEVOTED TO, BOTH IN AND OUT OF MODUS-MODE. IT IS A STYLE DEFINED BY SCOTT AS "THE UNENDING, NEVER-SATISFYING ATTAINMENT OF IMPECCABLE TASTE."
BL: What is your favourite thing(s) about the (mod) style?
Scott: Bespoke hipsters, 4 ½ inch rise, 2 inch belt loops, tapered boot-cut, in black mohair.
Mel: Despite the hijacking of the suit in the corporate world, and its degradation to just a uniform of sorts, nothing really looks quite as sharp, nothing says you mean business on-stage, nothing singles you out from the crowd more than a good suit. If it's a little bit reflective under the stage lights, has just the right number of pockets and buttons, and a nice psychedelic lining, then so much the better
Rod: The neat lines and cool clothes. It seems to have infiltrated high street fashion and is part of everyone’s life now so it looks like I wasn’t wrong!
BL: Where do you shop and what lengths do you go to in order to achieve your style?
Scott: I find clothes everywhere and anywhere, pretty much on a constant shopping spree. Do quite a bit on-line, Costco (great for American import Levis), Jenners, John Smedley in Leeds. I spend about as much on having clothes altered at the tailors as I do on the items themselves; this generally involves having shirts shoulders re-aligned, darts inserted in the back panels, trousers taken-in/tapered.
Mel: Hmm, I've not actually bought a lot of gear, it's sort of been acquired over the years. I take advice from the guys on this but I also love Merc suits, especially the Tonic suits.
Rod: I don’t shop anywhere in particular though there are certain things I search for here & there (not in 2nd hand shops though to destroy a myth). I usually get the stuff made for me, then it's exactly what I want and no-one else has it. I’m lucky enough to be friendly with designers who make shirts for me and a variety of tailors who make my suits and trousers.
BL: Favourite item of clothing, shoes or accessory and is there a story behind it?
Scott: An immaculate 1966, double breasted, high collared, black smoking jacket with lime green silk lining. A once in a lifetime find. The condition of the jacket is amazing.
Mel: I like my blue Merc Tonic suit but it's worn out from stage use...so another is on the cards. Maybe in red ;)
Rod: My black shirt with the red collar cuffs. I love that with a big buckled belt, a pair of black Chelsea boots and some black hipsters I got made in Edinburgh. I got the shirt made in Italy and was so distraught when it started fading (through wearing it too much) that I went over and got another one made. I do have other shirts, another 59 in fact, but I just love that one best.
BL: If you had to name a fashion icon, who would it be and why?
Scott: A guy called Robert. S. Lee. He appeared on the cover of a horrible ‘revival’ album from 1979 called, appropriately enough, ‘Mods Mayday ’79’. It’s a black and white photograph of him sitting on a scooter. It’s been 27 years since I first saw the image and it’s still a valid style reference point for me.
Mel: Phew, tough call. Errr...you know, it's an easy answer but I do think Weller does well for himself these days, apart from the increasingly dodgy haircuts (says me!). Other than that...millennium version James Bond. Who can argue with an Aston Martin and Savile Row's finest? Not quite mod, but sharp all the same.
Rod: Mmm difficult one. I don’t really have a fashion hero as such but if I had to say anyone it would be Paul Weller as I admire and identify with his contemporary Mod outlook without looking like a 60s throwback. He has his fair share of off days though.
Modus will play at Bannermans in Edinburgh on November 4th.
In the fashion pages of the Sept/Oct 08 issue of Bite Life Magazine