Ah Bis. Or so the advert so nearly said. For about five and a half minutes back in 1996, Bis were everywhere, the cover of the NME, first unsigned band on TOTP, Blue Peter, your local branch of Tesco (ok perhaps not that one).

This was largely down to the song ‘Kandy Pop’ from their first proper single ‘the Secret Vampire Soundtrack’. This was a catchy shouty pop song that the Nation, took to its hearts. It remains staple indie disco fodder to this day, although I haven’t been to an indie disco in roughly four years so that might be bollocks (and then I stayed for 27 minutes and left in huff when they played Pearl Jam).

It was official, Bis were ‘The Next Big Thing’. Four months later, they were no longer that fashionable, I think Embrace had turned up by then or the Bluetones or someone. Bis however became superstars in Japan, largely thanks I think to the presence of Manda Rin, the singer who had, people thought, a passing resemblance, perhaps, unfairly, to a Powderpuff Girl, at the time the most popular cartoon in Japan. Bis, also later recorded the exit music to the Powderpuff Girls Cartoon, which I don’t think helped.

Their popularity in the UK had waned a little, not helped by ‘The New Transistor Heroes’ what was described as being a distinctly average debut album, but that may have been helped by the burden of hype and expectation surrounding them.

This is Fake DIY was the follow up single to ‘Kandy Pop’ and is largely following the same progam. A catchy shouty pop song with a fuzzy garage disco feel to it. I rather like it. I always thought Bis should have been the Next Big Thing, and in Manda Rin, there was a likeable person, who seemed comfortable with perhaps being a spokesperson for a geeky generation.

mp3 : Bis – This Is Fake DIY

The last time I read anything Bis and in particular Manda, she was making a comfortable living selling and manufacturing badges. So today for the first time in I don’t how long I googled Bis (I think, ever) and they are unrecognisable from the cartoon 18 year olds that turned up in 1995. They still play live, regularly seen in Glasgow, London and some of the festival circuits. They are releasing new material – which is probably a good thing.


Note from JC

Bis were due to play a gig in Glasgow on 4  August 2013 ..and to quote from their own website, it was to feature a VERY pregnant Manda Rin.

That gig never went ahead as Manda went into labour that very same day, and in the early hours of 5 August she gave birth to a two-month premature boy.   But I’m delighted to pass on the news that  her son, who has been named Denny, is doing very well…….


  1. I recently wrote a piece about a Bis gig I went to back in the day. One of the most hilarious nights I’ve had, but that was down to the people I was with. The band was awful. Maybe I’ll send it to JC at some point to post it on my behalf.

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