This is an interview double bill with British alternative bands Peach and Foil. Who? Quite. We have not heard of them either. But here is what the music press overseas has written about the two groups in the past. Peach is Lisa Lamb, Pascal Gabriel and Paul Statham, who met at an exhibition entitled 'Naked S***' while Foil's Hugh Duggie, Colin McInally, Shug Anderson and Alan Findlay are from West Lothian, Scotland. This is what NME says about Peach's hit single On My Own: 'Grandly stomping Spector-ish Vegas-pop classicism atop the thunderous tidal waves of rumbling bass and crashing cymbals, sounding rather like McAlmont & Butler's Yes with The Ronettes on vocals. Yes, really - as thumpingly great as that.' While a recent Foil gig was described by Kerrang! as 'dirty, indecisive rock and roll charged with the f*** off lunacy of punk.' Now, meet the two lead vocals Lamb and Duggie. In person, neither are as off-the-wall as the reviews may have suggested. Both are easy-going (Lamb offers us a free ride to a local pub in a humble five-seater) and chatty. But despite their different backgrounds, they hold strong views - quickly evident when Lamb is asked her age. 'Women are asked that question more frequently than men and I find that greatly offensive,' said the Londoner, who is 'in her mid-20s'. 'For guys it is okay to be ageless and they aren't defined by their age but there is always a hoo-ha with female age. On behalf of my sisters, I quote this: the years a woman subtracts from her age merely adds on to other women's ages.' Lamb is not as fierce as she sounds. The Chelsea School of Art graduate just stands firmly by her beliefs and this relentless attitude is often reflected in her music. 'The messages in our songs are of a personal nature. I am not one to write about external situations,' says Lamb, who pens the band's lyrics. On My Own and Sorrow Town are about 'independence' which, she says, is an important issue to her. 'The song is more about physical independence, you must get out in the world and do what you need to on your own and leave behind what isn't good for you,' Lamb says. 'While Sorrow Town is more about emotional independence, standing on your own two feet and deciding to walk out of a place of darkness into some light, which I believe you can only shed on yourself. 'I have fallen down a few times and had to get up just that one time extra so I am always on my feet. I don't find life particularly easy although I frequently find it rewarding.' Lamb finds it much harder to describe her music, saying only every track on their debut album AudioPeach is different, has an electronic feel, and is strong on melody and lyrics. Born into a well-to-do family - her father works for the World Bank - she said there had been problems as well as privileges. 'Certainly for me nothing is unambiguously happy. Even when there is something wonderful, there is always regret or sadness or weariness. You have to struggle to make things good in your life, to endure to get to the next level.' Foil's lead singer Duggie can relate to that, his music career has been nothing but a struggle. The four Scottish lads (Findlay has replaced Jim Anderson) from two Edinburgh bands got together in the early 90s. Duggie moved from West Lothian to Edinburgh a decade ago and has been doing odd jobs as well as spending periods unemployed. He says the band started partly because of high unemployment at home. 'Everybody's sick of the whole unemployment situation . . . West Lothian is very much a cultural wasteland. There is very little happening there,' the 32-year-old says. 'If you want to do something, you've got to do it yourself. If you want to hear a band, you start a band yourself so you can hear it. Instead of a general sense of frustration, [our band] is taking off, which is a very positive thing.' However, recognition did not come easy. 'We played for about a year but we had no luck at all. So we decided to write new material and changed our name to Foil,' says Duggie, whose brother, a landscape architect, lives in Hong Kong. The band's first real break came after they performed a gig at London's Underworld in February 1996. 'We got signed up the first night, which was very, very lucky because we weren't very good at all on that particular night. But that is the way it goes.' Though it has been described as a 'punk rock' band, Foil tries to be more than that. 'People think punk rock is just like guitar sounds, playing very loud music very fast. But for me, punk rock is playing what you want and not being scared of trying out new ideas,' he says. And how does Foil's own brand of music fit into the music scene in the late 90s? 'People either love [our music] or don't like it. We are not trying to fit into anything or trying to do anything for anybody.' The band is currently writing material for a second album and a new single and will be going on tour in Germany and France, where they have become popular. Both Peach and Foil want to get their music across to a broader international audience, though both are already more popular abroad - Peach in the United States and Foil on the Continent - than in Britain. 'The British music industry sometimes really surprises you,' Lamb says. 'There is a great tradition of people plucking away for years doing what they do, making the kind of music they like, then suddenly, one day people wake up and go: 'Oh, this is really great!' 'Look at Chumbawumba, when I hear stories like theirs I get really excited. If you just do what you do for long enough and produce quality work, something will happen.