FORMER Beta Band frontman and current Worthing resident Steve Mason is calling for the British people to storm the Houses of Parliament and bring about a “complete revolution” - but it’s not the most overt political Ssatement he’s ever made. He spoke to Hugh Finzel ahead of his December 20 show in Brighton’s St Bartholomew’s Church.

Scottish folk electro band, The Beta Band released three albums and a collection of EPs in the 90s and were hailed by both Oasis and Radiohead as significant influences, the latter describing their seminal Kid A album as their “Beta Band record.” Their first full album was called “one of the most anticipated albums since Oasis’ Definitely Maybe”, before Mason himself, a week before the record’s release, called it ““f***ing awful,” with “terrible songs,” and “probably one of the worst records that’ll come out this year.”

“We were very headstrong,” he says now with a laugh. “Maybe headstrong is too polite. We were ridiculously stubborn.”

You may have heard the band’s music in a famous scene in the film High Fidelity, in which John Cusack sells copies of their Three EPs on demand by playing Dry The Rain in his record shop.

“Well John Cusack was a fan of the band and he provided the music for that film so he asked us if he could use it,” Steve said. “We said yeah.”

“It did take us by surprise. We thought it was just going to be some background music or something like that, we didn’t realise it was going to be basically an entire advert for the band.”

The Beta Band’s experimental “folktronica” music brought them considerable critical acclaim, but little in the way of mainstream commercial success. When they disbanded in 2004 they were £1.2 million in debt to their record company, Regal.

“To do what we did, did require a lot of money,” says Steve.

This money has now largely gone from the music industry

“There’s no way the Beta Band could exist today, not a chance in hell.” he adds. “One of the great shames about what’s happened to the music industry is that genuinely interesting artists can’t exist in the way they used to do.”

Mason is now releasing music under his own name, as he has been for the past decade – “I’ve forgotten what it’s like to do things under different names” – and has recently released an EP, Coup d’état.

Mason will bring this music to Brighton for a pre-Christmas show at St Bartholomews church.

“It’s going to be calm, hopefully,” Steve says of what his audience can expect. “It’s been such a crazy year for everyone that I think the time has come just for a moment of calm.

“I think the people need to come down and let me, as a professional heartbreaker, wash away the pain of the last 12 months, because there’s an awful lot more pain to come.”

“But it all depends on what happens in the election really, it might be a time for burning things and destruction. Who knows? My gig is in Boris’ hands, and slippery hands they are.”

Coup d’état (the overthrow of an existing government by un-democratic means) is a strong political statement for the name of a release.

“It’s not the most overt political statement I’ve ever made,” Steve says with a grin.

What was the inspiration for the statement at this particular moment?

“I suppose just Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg and their little cabal trying to crash the country headlong into an iceberg so that they and all the people that they work for and all their friends can make enormous amounts of money.”

“When I think of a coup I always think of the British or American government going into a foreign country, stealing their political system and replacing it with the democracy idea, then putting their man in.”

“It’s a new thing for the prime minister to be trying to do a coup on his own country.

“I certainly think that the British people are just sitting ducks at the moment because we just don’t do anything at all about anything.

“People think it’s enough to tweet or do a meme and so these people in power now know that they can get away with anything, they can say and do whatever they want.”

“Until the British people take this situation by the scruff of the neck and turn keyboard warrioring into real warrioring these people can exist and do whatever they want, which is exactly what they’re doing.”

And what would be taking the situation by the scruff of the neck?

“Well I think taking over the television stations, taking over the Houses of Parliament, trying to form allies within the Armed Forces and take control of the whole situation. Complete revolution.

“I mean that’s the only way it has to be cause at the moment we’re playing their game, democracy is playing their game and it’s a three-card trick and the house always wins.”

“They know what to do when people march, they know how to stop that and they know how to manipulate the press to make the protesters look violent. And I think violence is not the answer, I really do. That’s their game, their game is violence, we need to be much cleverer than that.”

I mention Hong Kong, where ongoing protests over the region’s relationship to China have grown increasingly violent.

“Now that is a very different situation, but you can see exactly the same kind of thing happening here. It’s frightening. Those people that are going out there every day are so brave, so brave to keep attempting to fight against such overwhelming odds and such overwhelming violence and brutality.”

It’s difficult to know how seriously to take Mason, who has been famously quote-worthy over the years, but as he says: “I’m different, I’m married with a child now so my personal situation is completely different, I have to take things a lot more seriously now because I have a family to support.”

And the most overt political statement he’s ever made?

“Telling 40,000 Americans to shoot the president.”

This was opening for Radiohead in Texas 20 years ago, when proud Texan George Bush junior – or, “the idiot son”, as Mason calls him - had just been elected President.

Steve Mason will perform at Brighton’s St Bartholomew’s Church on December 20.