The Wedding Present @ Nieuwe Nor Oct 21st & interview

If you are standing outside a venue in a picturesque pedestrian road of a small town and cars with registrations from far away trundle searchingly by and a guy wondering why his friends took him for his birthday, realises exactly, is on the verge of tears, then you know, something big is going to happen. The man overcome with emotion shouts “George Best” pointing at a gig poster in the window and “You are taking me to a Wedding Present concert!!!” That is exactly where his friends have taken him. The Wedding Present play the Nieuwe Nor venue in Heerlen, the Netherlands on occasion of the 30th birthday (oh my!) of their very first album “George Best”. Read now all about that: The Wedding Present @ Nieuwe Nor Oct 21st & interview!

Everyone still had to bade some time at he Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen: First up were support act Strugglers who delivered pretty gloomy hard rocky stuff but musically crafted well and then at 9.30 pm CET the mighty Wedding Present entered the stage with David Gedge on vocals and guitar, Danielle Wadey on bass and vocals, Marcus Kain on guitar and Charles Layton on drums.

The Wedding Present @ Nieuwe Nor Oct 21st & interview

Sure enough, the promise of “George Best”, The Wedding Present’s first, meanwhile cult album, being performed in full attracted a big and enthusiastic crowd especially since it was announced that this would be the very last time that this event would take place on mainland Europe. Don’t fret, you can still catch up with them (in Germany for instance, with the wonderful Precious Few as support act). Tour dates are here.

But this was far from a retro gig. Sure enough, all of us did a bit of time-travelling during the “George Best” set, each in their own way, some dancing and laughing, some almost crying, some with closed eyes. But there was a brilliant selection of songs from other albums too, also from the masterpiece that their new album “Going, going…” is (no “Brassneck”, no encores – look, this is tradition!) Even “George Best” tracks were delivered in a fresh style that made me want to run out to the kids outside the venue listening to techno, shake them and drag them in to tell them: This stuff is thirty years old – just listen to it, will you listen? No, I did not…wouldn’t want to miss a second of this gig. And whereas I sometimes during concerts get a bit tired or woozy or there are kind of lows in the gig…nothing of this here. One and a half hours flew by like nothing at all. This time-travelling mallarkey seems to be a great thing when undertaken properly!

The Wedding Present @ Nieuwe Nor Oct 21st & interview

Part of the freshness in delivery were of course first of all Danielle, Marcus and Charles giving a new spin on the classics in a tight performance and then David clearly enjoying the album – see interview below.

Indeed, David Gedge kindly took some time out on busy day and spoke to the blog about a lot of things. Enjoy and off to the gigs you go!

The Wedding Present @ Nieuwe Nor Oct 21st & interview

Offbeat Music Blog: Thank you very much, David, for taking the time on yet another long, strenuous tour!

David Lewis Gedge of The Wedding Present: No worries!

OMB: Let us start at the very beginning if you would. Did you come from a musical family or was it really the punk movement – everybody can do it – that got you into music?

David: Not a musical family in the sense that anybody played anything. But there was always music going on. My parents met in the fifties, in the rock n roll era, so they had a lot of old 78s and 45s from that era going on through to the sixties. So there was always plenty of music being played. But none of them had any idea of wanting to become a musician. Punk certainly had an influence on me because it did open the world to normal people who weren’t classically trained (laughs). You just want to start a band really. Also, I went to school with a band, friends of mine, a band from Manchester called The Chameleons. I don’t know if you know them. I went to university at the same time they formed The Chameleons. The next thing I knew, they had a session for John Peel on Radio One and they signed to Epic Records, releasing singles. And I was thinking, mmmh, wait a minute (laughs), I could do this as well. So when I finished my university course, I decided to take it seriously and start The Wedding Present basically.

OMB: Funnily enough, one of my first interviews when I was still at school was with The Chameleons.

David: Full circle!

OMB: Their drummer John recently died…

David: He did, sadly, yeah.

OMB: Thinking about school days: I always wanted to go to the UK, not to London or the landscapes but to the northern big cities in all their post-industrialist gloom because that produced two good things: Football players and musicians. To a certain degree, it is still a bit like that, but not so much. How do you think, the music scene up north has changed? Do you still see as many young people going for it?

David: I don’t really know to be honest. Certainly, in that post-punk era in the 80s against the 90s, it was a hotbed. There were so many bands coming out of Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow and places like that. Nowadays, I don’t really see it as that focussed on those areas anymore. The bands seem to be everywhere really. I don’t know whether that is because of the internet. It is not quite in centres as it used to be, I think.

OMB: Would you think the youth culture is maybe a bit different now? More consuming rather than creative?

David: The youth culture is different in that we had only music and football basically (laughs). But nowadays there is so much more for kids to do. They can watch movies on their phones and computer games. The world is wide open. There is more choice. Also, there is less money in the music industry these days. I speak to some managers who work with new bands. They always say, it’s rich kids because no one else can afford to pack their job in and go off on tour unless they have got some kind of financial support or kind of family money. It is harder for kids to be in groups these days because nobody buys records anymore. That’s changed it as well, I think.

OMB: You live in Brighton now. You are a Southerner now!

David: Yeah (laughs).

OMB: You also do a festival in Brighton. Would you like to say something about that?

David: I think we did the ninth one this year. We do it (At The Edge Of The Sea) every year. It came because we were on tour once and we were in a cafe and talking about being a musician you meet a lot of people and have a quite intense relationship with them on tour, support bands or people you work with. And then you don’t see them again. You might see them again in ten years, going: “Hello, remember us?”
We just thought it would be nice if we had this event where could see the bands that we like as people or their music again. So we hit on the idea of this little festival. It is not a big thing. It is just in a venue in Brighton and we invite people who…to be honest, it is like being a kid in a sweet shop – I just go crazy. It is bands that I like or bands we toured with and got on with. Sometimes it is ex-Wedding Present members who have a new projects, so they come and play. It is kind of one of my favourites things to do. It is like Christmas almost. A lot of hard work because there is a lot to organise but it is such a good thing to be involved with.

OMB: You have always done things on the side, that is if there is time for things on the side really.

David: I think, we make time. Well, I make time. I never wanted us to be one of those bands who write songs, make an LP, go on tour, write more songs, make another LP, do another tour…I always wanted to do separate projects, Cinerama and the festival and there is loads of things that go off a tangent…have strange ideas and if you can make it work it is worth doing. It is more for me than just the music. It’s all the other things as well.

OMB: During your longish hiatus (1997-2004) you worked as Cinerama which eventually merged back into The Wedding Present. But do you have Cinerama still going on the side as well?

David: Very much so! Actually, it is one of the benefits of the festival that we do every year that Cinerama always plays. So we do at least one thing every year and get together and rehearse. Also, in the last few years we have been doing more. We did a concert in London a couple of years ago where we played with a string section, a flute player and a trumpet player. We filmed that and released it as a DVD. Just recently The Wedding Present played in London, in fact last week, and Cinerama supported them. Again we had strings and a choir. It is kind of there as a side project, like a hobby, but it comes to life when there is an opportunity. It is quite expensive! The problem with Cinerama is that it is really expensive to do in its real form because it involves a lot of musicians (laughs) who don’t play together very often. So we have to rehearse quite a lot which costs time and money. And it has never been as successful as The Wedding Present, so the economic argument for doing Cinerama is not really great (laughs). But we like to do it when we can.

OMB: To further creativity and to be inspired by it?

David: Yeah, it is a different kind of music. I always enjoyed that kind of filmic pop music and strings. The Wedding Present really is a guitar band. It is just nice to deviate now and again and do something different.

The Wedding Present @ Nieuwe Nor Oct 21st & interview

OMB: During your time with The Wedding Present you have been on many labels, your own, independent ones and major labels where you – which was unheard of – kept a high degree of control over your output as well. Now you are back to releasing via your own label Scopitones again. Was that always important to you to maintain the control over your output? Also, with so many changing band members, how was it there, did you let them do something?

David: Yeah, it depends on the project really. I’ve always said that The Wedding Present is made up by everyone who is in the band at the time. So I am not this kind of dictator who says: “This is what we are going to sound like!” I’d be stupid to do that to be honest, because one of the advantages to have all these different people through the years is, they come up with different ideas and different musical tastes and inspirations. Often pushes it in a different direction. But yes, I have always been bloody-minded in having that control and the reason why I started the label Scopitones a few years ago was: We used to have our own label and then we signed to RCA Records and that was fine. Then we signed to Island and that was fine. They were both major labels. Then we signed to Cooking Vinyl which is an independent label and we had less control which was weird to me. Because you think it would be the other way round. After releasing a few things on Cooking Vinyl, I decided that it is not that it is a big label so I am not making lots of money from it. I might just do it myself again and then have total control again. And we hired the same people Cooking Vinyl used, but this time I own the rights and it is totally my baby. We have gone back to doing it ourselves really.

OMB: The control issue with the smaller label is probably a financial question as well.

David: That’s the problem. With RCA we were very lucky because we signed in the 80s when there was a lot of money flying around, so anything we wanted there was no question of a problem. Whereas when we got to Cooking Vinyl, the music industry was in decline a little bit and they were a small label. It was more a budgetary thing rather than a creative thing but even so. I don’t want to write songs, make records and then have a business person sat in a room telling me what to do, do you know what I mean? That hampers the artistic freedom and it is important. I can understand why it is not important for some people who are quite happy to be told what to do. Maybe they want that. In The Wedding Present it has never happened and I can’t imagine that it ever would really.

 

OMB: You seem to be able to day when making records: “Okay, I leave it like that.” And it sounds still a bit raw and not producing the bejaysus out of something even though with a major label you would have certainly had the opportunity to do that.

David: (laughs) We probably even got more extreme as we went along on those major labels. I think we were lucky because again, the people who signed us, especially RCA had a position of power. But because they’d signed us, we got what we wanted really in terms of engineers and producers. Yeah, but it is the traditional kind of major method to get this kind of band and then bring in a producer and a stylist and take that sort of refuge. But it never really happened to us. Maybe it should have, I don’t know! (Laughs).

OMB: I think, most people like The Wedding Present they way they are really. You are celebrating the 30th anniversary of “George Best” on this tour (which is a bit painful, reminding me of my age). I think when you did the 25th birthday tour, you were first not so sure about doing this.

David: No, right. It was the twentieth actually. There was an idea of a re-release which never happened in the end. But it was supposed to come out in a special format and the label wanted to do that and they suggested we play it live. And I said no, that’s like nostalgia and I am an artist and I am looking forward to the next album rather than looking back. But then I went away and spoke to a few people, my friends and people in the band and fans and everybody said: “Oh yeah, you should definitely do that. That would be brilliant. I’d love to see you play “George Best”. Because when an album first comes up, you don’t play the entire thing because it is new. You intersperse it with other songs people know. So we said we should try it. And I was: “Yeeeeah, okaaaaay.” I suppose, I was a bit unenthusiastic. Then, when we started doing it, I realised I was actually enjoying it. It is very interesting and a bit surreal to actually go back and look at stuff you’ve done twenty, thirty years ago and then reimagine it with a new band really. And it is interesting how they interpret everything differently and for me also, it is like looking at an old diary. Because I changed quite a lot in those thirty years, as people do. It’s almost like I am covering myself. I am covering these songs by a songwriter from thirty years ago which happens to be me. And now I think it is fascinating – I love doing it. Especially “George Best”, it is a really frantic set, very powerful and fast and energetic. It’s really good fun to play live actually.

OMB: Buffalo Tom have done this recently and I think, were a bit apprehensive first and then really enjoyed it and seeing how the songs had evolved.

David: Yeah, exactly! I also came to this philosophical conclusion: The past is as important for a band as the present and the future. I did an interview actually where the person said, by doing older records, aren’t you hampering the stuff you are doing now and in the future. I don’t see that really. In the last few years we have done “Bizarro” and “Seamonsters” just like “George Best” – we did them live. But we still released three albums and still have written new songs. Again, it is like Cinerama, a side project that we occasionally do. I didn’t even plan to do “George Best” to be honest…it only happened because someone last year called me and said, oh, we have this festival in Manchester. Would you be prepared to play “George Best” as part of its 30th anniversary? And I said: “What??? Thirty years already?” It seems not so long ago that it was the 20th anniversary. I was actually quite surprised but again, I asked the rest of the group and they said: “Yeah, we should do that.” So we said yes. We got more invitations as people realised and then we thought we do this little tour. So, this one came as a little more of a surprise to me actually. So maybe we are going to do thirty years of “Bizarro” and “Seamonsters” next, who knows?

OMB: For me it is kind of an out of body experience listening to “George Best” now. It seems far away and at the same time it catapults you back right there and you can sense the atmosphere like it was with the sounds and feelings and smells even.

David: That’s exactly why I like it. You hit the nail on the head there. It is something distant, you never think about it. But then, as soon as you start doing it, you are right back there which is very odd.

OMB: You spent some time in the US. Do you see a certain influence on your music?

David: Totally, yeah. Throughout the history of The Wedding Present we have always been interested in North American bands as well as European bands. A lot of “George Best” is this kind of Velvet Underground chord but just really fast (laughs). Then Sonic Youth and Television and all these bands from the American underground have always been influential…Pavement.

OMB: Pixies?

David: Pixies, yeah. Pixies influenced us because Steve Albini as recording engineer. I remember when their “Surfer Rosa” album came out, I was: “This sounds amazing.” Great songs, but also just sounded brilliant as well. And it was Steve Albini recorded that and so we asked him to record “Seamonsters”, our third album. We always had one foot in America and one foot in the UK, even physically these days.

OMB: If you could sort of say very shortly about each of your albums what you had in mind or wanted to achieve when you made it. (We are a bit late and It is dinner time and plates are being banged and people start flooding in and chatting, but this won’t be obvious in the written format here, so on we go…)

 

David: (chortling and thankfully going on despite maybe at this stage dying with hunger) With “George Best” we really had no plans. We were just happy to make a record. All the songs we had at the time, we just played them. (David’s very lovely wife comes in and brings the equally lovely Doris, their wee dog, to David for some quality time between driving and soundchecking and interviewing and performing. Doris is being interviewed on the life as a touring dog as well).

Then, “Bizarro” was almost the album that “George Best” would have been if we had thought about it a bit more. It is more of a structured record really with more variety and dynamics.

“Seamonsters”: We wanted to get a bit away from that jangly guitar pop and indiepop stuff. So we used Steve Albini. It is more of a dark rock record I suppose.

“Hitparade” (1 and 2), I don’t really see as an album. It was twelve singles.

OMB: And the covers.

David: And the covers, yeah. What’s the next one?

OMB: “Watusi”.

David: “Watusi” is very interesting because we were really interested in these layers of guitar sounds and distortion and noise. But then we had this kind of idea, what would people do without that – if they didn’t have these guitar pedals and these big rock sounds. “Watusi” was more of a look back to the sixties and seventies. What did people do then to achieve this kind of dynamics?

“Saturnalia” is the most experimental record actually. There are some very odd arrangement ideas in there. We wanted to make a record that was a little more challenging.

Then came the Cinerama time. What next? Oh, “Take Fountain”. “Take Fountain” was going to be a Cinerama LP actually because it was still Cinerama at the time. But then as we were making the record we decided it sounded more like a Wedding Present album. So we released it as a Wedding Present album. That is almost like an album where the two bands join.

“Valentina” was interesting because our drummer at the time became the guitar player. We switched instruments. A lot of the songs are rhythmically interesting. It wasn’t straightforward kind of beats which I thought was cool. Oh, I missed one: “El Rey”.

“El Rey”: We went back to work with Steve Albini again in Chicago. And then “Valentina”. And “Going, going…”.

“Going, going…” is my favourite one but that might be because it is the most recent. It is a concept album basically. It is a story that goes through the twenty tracks and the lyrics are linked and the music is kind of linked. The music, I wanted to go somewhere different but at the same time make references to The Wedding Present’s and Cinerama’s past. It was quite a complicated record to make.

OBM: I call it The Wedding Present’s Ulysses.

David: I remember you saying that on the phone. Yes, it is.It is not a straighforward record. I did not plan for it to be a double LP (laughs). It just became that because of the size of the project.

OBM: Lyrically, you have the seal of John Peel of having written some of the best love songs ever. What more can you ask for? They are usually of the platonic or unrequited or broken up kind…

David: I try and cover a whole range really. It is such a big subject.

OBM: Is there autobiographical stuff coming in?

David: Some autobiographical, some less so. Some from my point of view, some from somebody else’s point of view. I am just very fascinated with the thing people say to each other, especially inside relationships, starting or ending. It works really well in pop songs. If I think back to my favourite songs in the fifties and sixties, it was love songs, then punk. They are the most meaningful lyrics to me.

OBM: So you wouldn’t see yourself as doing political songs?

David: I’d like to and I have tried occasionally but I have just never been as happy. I’ve always thought, it is a bit clumsy. I should probably leave it to people who know how to do that (laughs). I am quite happy to be stuck to my field.

OBM: One last thing for you. You said somewhere, your voice has changed a lot. Even though I think the range both musically and atmospherically has increased considerably, you are still instantly recognisable?

David: It is purely down to experience like anything that you do. It is like a skill. Yeah, the range has increased and there is more texture to it and more dimensions which I can control whereas thirty years ago I didn’t know what I was doing. It is like driving a car.

OBM: Thank you very much for your time, David!

David: Thank you!

Wovenhand interview at Reflektor, Liège, 2017

Here’s man who thinks that not many people listen to his music. I have heard otherwise and if all the gigs are like the one I attended, it could not be further from the truth. Have a short recap on Wovenhand and the gig and then read a  Wovenhand interview at Reflektor, Liège, 2017. David Eugene Edwards’ upbringing was one of extremes: After his freedom and biking loving father died, he spent a lot of time with his grandfather, a Nazarene preacher, and joined him on his travelling. The Nazarene church is a very strict one and David left it later – much to the chagrin of his grandfather. He is still a very religious person – or to put it a better way: He believes in God, in Jesus and the Bible. His faith determines everything he does.

Late as a teenager David Eugene Edwards discovered music by Joy Division, Bauhaus and other dark, heavy music and he could identify with the music, if not the lyrics. But he accepted the honesty of the music.

Having been the lead singer and songwriter for 16 Horsepower (still sorely missed by many fans) until 2001, Denver-born Edwards founded Wovenhand with an often changing set of musicians. Wovenhand had started out roughly in the alternative country, folk and native American music sphere. Live shows and single songs would sometimes be harder, louder and darker. Up to and including Wovenhand’s eighth album “Star Treatment”, the music has been spiralling to its rockiest yet. This might have disappointed early fans but it both reflects the origin of the musicians he works with now and the way he sees his ideas portrayed best presently.

16 Horse Power already were welcomed into the metal scene and even though fans there might have a totally different stance towards faith, David Eugene Edwards would be impressed by their honesty rather than being fake.

Supposedly, at least at a live concert in Europe, many fans will not even make out the words so much. Again, it has been proven worthwhile not to ignore the lyrics or indeed ignoring the whole band due to the Biblical content of the lyrics but to listen and appreciate that there is a man who has been delivering music of high quality over the years, shows an intense interest in music from all over the world and performing to a very high standard and is himself. No more, no less.

In the sold-out Reflektor Club in Liège, Belgium, the audience was captivated and enthusiastic. Quite a few in the audience were unfamiliar with Wovenhand and seemed to feel rewarded to come in and see them play. David Eugene Edwards brought along Chuck French on guitar and vocals, Neil Keener on bass and Ordy Garrison on drums. Neil Keener and Chuck French form half of the hardcore band Mistaken For Stars.

A set that left you hardly time to breathe. Being pummelled by bass and drums, longing guitars and singing and intense, mostly dark, hypnotising songs, the audience was compelled, wanted more and received.

David Eugene Edwards kindly spared some time before the concert and spoke to Offbeat Music Blog. Thank you very much, also to Lutz at Glitterhouse Records and Lou and Toon from the tour management and the lovely Reflektor team.

Wovenhand interview at Reflektor, Liège, 2017

Offbeat Music Blog:
Your latest album “Star Treatment”, despite more tender moments, has all the marks of a real rock album. You have been welcomed into the metal scene, a scene, that I used to think of as quite insular. What do you make of that?

Wovenhand – David Eugene Edwards:
That is not something that happened lately. We were popular with 16 Horsepower, mostly in Norway and Sweden with the, I guess, black metal crowd. It followed us all the way through to where we are now. Yeah, we have all kinds of fans in those kinds of music that, for whatever reason, like what we do too.

OMB:
Some media and listeners are not quite able to put you in a box – your variety in music, the – to them – contrast in music and lyrics. How is the reception for you in Europe and in particular Eastern Europe as compared to the States? Do you find people more open?
Wovenhand: There are more open in certain ways, maybe, I dunno. We do better in Europe – it has always been that way. A lot of bands are in the same situation. We do well in parts of America, on the coasts of course, you know, and in Texas we do well. Where we are from, we do well enough. So we have a good crowd everywhere. It is just, we spent a lot more time here. The arts in general are more supported by the government itself and it is easier for people to be part of that. People are happy to work at the club than can’t wait to leave as it is in America. But we have great shows in America too.

OMB:
Are you still a part of the Denver music scene?

Wovenhand:
Well…of course, I mean, we have never really been part of any music scene in Denver. We have only just played in Denver. There are all kinds of different scenes in Denver and there always have been but we don’t play there very often. We play there once a year.

OMB:
You write the music, you write the lyrics, you perform – and we are getting an honest David Eugene Edwards on record and on stage and not a persona, not a role which ist great. There are people out there who might ignore the Christian part of it or reject the whole package which is a pity because you are not really about organised religion so much, I understand. Do you wish it was different or were you ever tempted to try and change something about yourself or your honesty to maybe compromise?

Wovenhand:
No, of course not. I do that all the time in my mind, compromise, but not in the sense that you say. I dunno what else to do. I just do what I have to do. (Laughs). I don’t really have control over it, you know what I mean? It just is what it is. And of course if you are in a band that is associated with you, you are immediately on the B-list, you know what I mean? (Laughs). That’s fine with me, that’s okay.

OMB:
What we see in the US today and have seen for a while and everywhere else, is the power, the money, the white supremacy, the shallowness and the lies on the one side, often hiding behind or abusing the Christian front. What do you think of that? Did you ever get mistaken for this kind of believer? Did they ever try to employ you?

Wovenhand:
I dunno. This is really difficult. You know, I come from a place where everything was taken from the people who live there. They were destroyed in order to set something up for [new] people that are helping each other out and doing good things. But first you have to get rid of the people who were there. For me it’s all bullshit. I just believe what I believe and I don’t really think about it so much outside complaining about it (laughs).

OMB:
But you were never approached by anyone with a political agenda?

Wovenhand:
No, we weren’t. We have always been too wild for any sort of religious group to be a part of…and too religious for any other group to be a part of.

OMB:
If you go back to your very earliest musical childhood memory, what was that?

Wovenhand:
I guess my mother singing, playing guitar.

OMB:
When did you pick up playing yourself?

Wovenhand:
I played the violin first when I was small, the piano and then the drums for a long time. Then guitar at probably sixteen or so. And then from there everything else.

OMB:
Were you self-taught?

Wovenhand:
Oh yeah. Although I got violin lessons and piano lessons, but I did not last long with lessons, only a few months.

OMB: You had an extraordinary upbringing. Now you are a touring musician. What brings peace and settlement into your life?

Wovenhand:
(Long pause). I dunno. (Another long pause). Just what I know to be true.

OMB:
So, the things you believe in and family. Does that balance the touring life out a bit?

Wovenhand:
No, it’s not easy. It’s not a normal job.

OMB:
You’ve got kids, right?

Wovenhand:
I have two.

OMB:
How old are they now?

Wovenhand:
They are older, both of them. My daughter is been on her own for quite a while. My son is still with me. I have him just part time. His mother has him the other half of the time.

OMB:
But is a bit easier now that they have grown older to be on tour?

Wovenhand:
Sort of. It is always hard, even now.

OMB:
There is a beautiful 40-minutes plus documentary on yourself from a while back on your website. Can you still identify with that?

Wovenhand:
That dates probably fifteen years back. But I still stand for the things I said there, of course.

Wovenhand interview at Reflektor, Liège, 2017

OMB:
You have a love for traditional music from all over the world and also for traditional instruments. Is there anything you would like to explore more or for the first time?

Wovenhand:
Not really, other than just going to places where I haven’t been. To listen to the people play, in Persia, Afghanistan or Pakistan or Egypt. To be able to go to these places and play music there. That’s what interests me.
OMB:
You are interested in the pure form of the traditional music? Often, especially Indian music, gets used for this wishy washy new age stuff.

Wovenhand:
Yeah, I am not into that, I am interested in what the people play. Well, you know, if people make some money out of that kind of music. If that is what it takes to make some money out of their music, it’s okay with me. It gets used for other purposes, it gets appropriated – as does everything (laughs).
OMB:
How do you write your songs? How do you go about it? Music or lyrics first.

Wovenhand:
Music first. I mean, they kind of happen at the same time. But there is more attention to the music, more time spent with the music and then the words just kind of fall on top of the music.

OMB:
Does the band get a particular input?

Wovenhand:
Of course. It varies, it depends on how far along the song is when it is presented. Sometimes it is worked out at the same time, other times it is so far along that is quite obvious what to do.

OMB:
Looking back on a record you made, do you feel, I should have done that differently or do you feel the songs are in constant development anyway and you kind have had to let them go? Which song or songs encapsulates your current state of mind best?

Wovenhand:
Obviously the most current songs. Well, you know, I don’t like any of them. To me they are all not what they should be. I am not good enough to do what I want to do.
OMB:
But only you think that or it is your own measurement against your expectations. The listeners would not know.

Wovenhand:
Well, we don’t have that many listeners (laughs).

OMB:
Ah, now don’t be so modest. I know a few.
Wovenhand:
No, it’s true.
OMB;
Are there any older songs where you say: Can’t identify with that at all anymore?

Wovenhand:
Oh yeah. Most of the 16 Horsepower stuff. People always want to hear the old songs but that is not very easy for me. I have trouble with just a few years back.

OMB:
But does it happen that maybe sometimes a song does survives because it takes on a different meaning?

Wovenhand:
It can happen, yeah. But there are lot of criteria going in why we play what we play at shows. From instrumentation to tunings, different guitars that are needed because I use so many different tunings. So we do what is most expedient at the moment for the most part.

OMB:
If I may ask you that…can you live from the music and thus concentrate on it full-time?

Wovenhand:
Yeah, I live from the music.

OMB:
Brilliant! And: Well, you kind of answered that earlier probably but are you content with what you achieved musically so far?

Wovenhand:
Yes.

OMB:
Good. What kind of show can we expect tonight?

Wovenhand:
All kinds of contentment! (Laughs). No, it’s different every night. It is always a surprise. We have a setlist but again associated with the guitars that I use and the songs going together as a sort of a story as we play.

OMB:
Thank you very much!

Wovenhand:
You’re welcome.

Wovenhand interview at Reflektor, Liège, 2017

Interview with The Wave Pictures, May 2017

Staying true to yourself, no matter how little you earn, no matter how much scorn you face – is that not the true aim of an artist? To do what you love and keep doing it despite the wind blowing cold into your face? The Wave Pictures from Wymeswold in the UK (i.e. Franic and David hail from there) (Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar & vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass)) do just that and do it in heaps and with joy. Find out in this interview with The Wave Pictures, May 2017.

Since 1998 they have released (wait for it) fifteen albums, toured relentlessly and poured out the songs – all of them little funny and touching and handmade with love wonders.

The Wave Pictures released their album “Bamboo Diner In The Rain” in November 2016 and went straight on tour. On the last day of their tour through Austria and Germany, Offbeat had the chance to see them perform and speak to them.

They delivered a long and skilfull, laugh-out-loud and moving to tears set with covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival, a Van Morrison rendition by Johnny and old and new songs galore. Shining on all instruments percussion was their tour guest David Beauchamp from New York. Their conviviality, their craftsmanship and the sheer joy, was rewarded plenty by an enthusiastic audience that came to see and hear them on a Monday night (first warm evening this year) into a dark WWII bunker in Aachen, Germany. The Wave Pictures made that last day of their tour a memorable one for everyone and here they go, in their words.

Thank you already The Wave Pictures for coming inside from a just started stroll outside, for the interview, for the fabulous gig and also to their label Moshi Moshi/PIAS for arranging this.

Interview with The Wave Pictures, May 2017

Interview with The Wave Pictures, May 2017

Offbeat Music Blog: Thank you very much, Dave, Franic and John for taking the time! How has the tour gone?

The Wave Pictures (Franic): It’s been a success…I think. (Johnny) Fran’s the man in charge, so if he says it’s a success, then it is a success.

OMB: Listening to your album “Bamboo Diner In The Rain” (Moshi Moshi), it is hard to believe, if it weren’t for the lyrics, that you are actually a British band. From, what I thought, initial quirkiness and jangliness, it is sort of full-on American now. How do you see your own development?

TWP (Dave): Well, we wanted to do something bluesy but we didn’t want to do a blues album. That was the starting point for “Bamboo Diner In The Rain” really. Then we put the acoustic guitar instrumentals on there, so there are a sort of ragtime/John Fahey kind of style songs there. We tried to do some bluesy kind of rock but with our type of lyrics. We are big fans of American music, especially blues and rock’n roll and we just wanted to bring that out a little more without changing anything fundamental about the band, I suppose.

OMB: But has it been creeping in a little more over the years?

TWP (Dave): It’s always been there, probably. What do you think, Johnny? (Johnny) Yeah, I think, it has always been there. We all love rock’n roll music and the birthplace was America. Trying to play like an American blues or R&B band is definitely something that we would aspire to do. I suppose, doing the Creedence covers on the previous album, the album recorded with Billy Childish, was kind of a more obvious step towards that old-style American rock’n roll music that we all listen to a lot.

OMB: Have you always listened to that kind of music?

TWP (Dave): Yeah, that’s our first love really. (Johnny) That and the Rolling Stones, English sixties rock’n roll as well.

OMB: How was it to work with Billy Childish?

TWP (Dave): Oh, really fun! Really good fun! We were very nervous when we went to meet him on the first day because we didn’t know what he would be like. And we thought that maybe he would be kind of an aggressive punk guy. And he wasn’t really (laughs). He was painting in his artist’s studio with his beret on and his painting clothes. He was just this funny, eccentric kind of guy, very enthusiastic and he wanted to write all the songs for the album. He had never heard of The Wave Pictures!  We thought, we’d do a covers album and get him to produce it. But he wanted to write all the songs together which was great, immediately great fun. Because then we knew that he wanted to have fun with us and make something up.

OMB: And really get into it?

TWP (Dave): Really get into it. He is just the same as we are. We got along great. He just likes doing stuff, loves being creative. He’s fun, like a child at play, Billy. Of course he is a genius with the sound. He knows exactly to get the right sound for his kind of music. It was sort of “anything goes”. He knows what he likes. We liked one another and it was really easy and super fast. I went to his house twice or maybe three times. In three songwriting sessions we wrote about four or five songs every time. We recorded it in two days. It was a very fast, fun thing. We haven’t seen him since…(laughter). It was very fun and exciting because we listen to his records a lot.

OMB: You also have been associated with the Anti-Folk music scene? Do you approve of that?

TWP (Dave): Kind of. When we were kids, Franic and I grew up together. We were very much on our own with the type of music we wanted to play in Wymeswold in the East Midlands. We had gone and played nights with other bands and nobody liked us or understood us at all. Except for our parents who were always quite enthusiastic and nice about it. When we first went to New York and met Jeff Lewis and Turner Cody and Prewar Yardsale, Brian Piltin…these so-called Anti-Folk musicians liked us a lot. That was the first time when we had a lot of friends that were musicians. So, in a way, it is okay. In another type of way, I think, Anti-Folk music doesn’t really mean anything. It is just the people who play in The Sidewalk Cafe and the likes in Manhattan. A lot of them are terrible, some of them are very good. It would be weird to like all of them. But it was an important part of our lives really. We had lots of friends and musicians we were friends with in New York when we didn’t have any in England. (Franic) One of them is on tour with us now: David Beauchamp used to play drums for the Jeffrey Lewis band for a long time. (Johnny) And Franic sometimes plays mandolin for Jeffrey Lewis. So those connections are still there, they are still our friends.

OMB: Some artists like their lyrics not to be misunderstood, very clear. Some sing about personal things, but leave their listener their own perspective, their own handle on them. Some rather not sing about anything personal at all. Some artists say, their lyrics don’t mean that much or don’t think about it. Where do you stand?

TWP (Dave): Ooooh. Well, I think, the lyrics are very important. I always write the lyrics first…

OMB: That’s a very rare thing!

TWP (Dave): Yeah, but my Dad always used to say: If you write the lyrics afterwards, after you got the music, you might as well just go “la la la la la”. You are just making words to fit a tune. It is not communicating anything. But I find it very boring if the songs are straight-forward and easy for people to understand. They are not really supposed to be understood or puzzled over. They are supposed to make a strong impression that you couldn’t say in any other way, I suppose. There is not a message or a riddle to figure out.

Interview with The Wave Pictures, May 2017

OMB: You’ve been virtually churning the songs out over the years. Do you put all the new songs on an album or do you actually select the tracks to make an album – even though again that is rare today.

TWP (Dave): We do make a lot of effort to select specific tracks that go on an album and debate it a lot for a very long time. What we do is, we record very quickly, write songs very quickly and then spent a long time arguing about what to release. That’s The Wave Pictures’ method. We always have loads of stuff left over from any album. Lots of songs don’t make it onto one album, but make it onto a later one because they fit better or they disappear entirely.

OMB: You still think in terms of an album, even with A- and B-sides?

TWP (Dave): Yeah, that’s really important to us (all nod). We think about which song starts side two of the album, which song starts the album, which song finishes it and the flow. We plan them all for vinyl, for the two sides or even the four sides of a vinyl in the case of “City Forgiveness”. Even though we know that nobody listens to music this way anymore. They just listen to them in a random order on Spotify or just watch the videos on Youtube. Albums is where we really come from in terms of being music fans. We are always trying to make the best album that we can, complete things in themselves. Albums are very important to us, yeah. Even though, we don’t know if there is that many people who relate to albums any more. But for us it is the only way to think. I couldn’t imagine for instance thinking that a single was important. I know that singles are supposed to be important and I appreciate that they get played on the radio and people watch the videos. I know all this. But I can’t relate to it because I’ve just never been a singles guy. I don’t think I ever bought a single in my life. Whichever song somebody wants to be a single, is fine by me, most of the time. But what’s on the album is really important to me.

OMB: You’ve stayed very true to yourself. Do you feel sort of misplaced in the UK?

TWP (Dave): We do feel out of place in the UK. (Franic) We used to feel even more out of place than we do now. People didn’t like us much at home at first. That was why we were hanging out with people in bands from New York or France much more. We don’t really have as many English band friends still. But people are starting to like us a bit more and not think we are so ridiculous. People are just more aware of what’s fashionable and we didn’t really fit in very much in the UK. That was a problem. But in Germany – we just came here and people liked us straightaway. Which is really cool and feels good. We didn’t realise until we got signed to a label. Because we grew up in the countryside, as Dave says, kind of isolated, we didn’t really think about the fashion stuff. There was no fashion in Wymeswold. Then we moved to London and signed to a label, people kept telling us we did everything wrong, the clothes or the guitar solos, videos or all this stuff which we didn’t think important because we grew up just listening to albums all the time. But it’s much better now than it used to be. But Germany and Spain, the rest of Europe is much easier to come and play and people criticise you less.

OMB: In an ideal world, you could retain what you want to do and still sell a lot. So what do you think of today’s music scene?

TWP (Dave): I feel that we would sell a lot if people got a chance to hear us. Every time we play, everyone comes over to us and says “You guys are great”. So I always think if they played our music all the time on the radio and television, we’d sell loads of records just as we are. I think it comes more from the media in a way because we don’t fit in. I don’t think we make music that is difficult for people to like. It’s pretty accessible. It is not avantgarde music or anything. That’s my theory. I may be wrong about that.

OMB: No, you are addressing the right person. People do not listen to the radio that much anymore and if so, then on the side. The commercial radios have to play what the attracts people or what they think attracts people, so they play what is being given to them by the big labels with the big money and mostly public broadcasting does too. People buy what they hear and then strengthen those artists who would not really need anymore strengthening. I am always surprised by listeners going: Oh my word, that was an excellent song, where did you find that….It is because many listeners don’t go out and search for the music anymore. The money involved in the industry makes it very difficult for bands and it makes me cringe. You really don’t get a chance.

TWP (Dave): Yeah, exactly. It feels that way. And also, what Franic was saying, it seems a bit difficult for people to place us sometimes because we have guitar solos like in classic rock and also something quite indie. We are too indie for the classic rock fans and too rock for the indie fans. You can get booed by indie fans in London for playing a guitar solo – they’ll boo you (laughter). They don’t like anything except for Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths. Nothing from the whole history of music do they like. Fascists, they are extraordinary.

OMB: In the States there is a whole generation getting into say, American primitive music, psych, folk, John Fahey…a whole crowd of musicians are into this now. The original musicians are turning up again and going on tour, like Michael Chapman. And then you have all the younger artists getting into this music. Not a keyboard in sight. It seems to work there. I am not saying they are selling that great. But they have a very very strong following, are very well-known and you wonder why it cannot work in the UK even though Michael Chapman is and Bert Jansch for instance was from the UK.

TWP (Dave): Yeah, I know! Exactly. But I don’t know the answer to that.

OMB: What can an audience expect from a typical The Wave Pictures gig?

TWP (Dave): Every gig is different because we don’t use setlists and we don’t plan the shows out in advance and we improvise a little bit. We do very old songs, from when we were fifteen and very new songs and a couple of covers, a Van Morrison song or a Jonathan Richman song. I don’t know what I play immediately before I play it, let alone anybody else. It is usually pretty rocking and pretty good. We are probably at our best live.

OMB: Do you get to tour much?

TWP (Dave): I guess, about a hundred shows a year.

OMB: On your latest album, you also included instrumentals there. Did you find it difficult, just to do instrumentals?

TWP (Dave): Not really because I when I started out playing guitar, I started with acoustic instrumental stuff. It was not difficult and I suppose we thought, once we have recorded them we don’t have to release them but they fitted in perfectly and they came out great and Franic played some really beautiful mandolin and the songs just came out really nicely. One of them in particular “Meeting Simon at the airport” is maybe my favourite track on the album. It was easy but kind of a big deal for us to try something a little bit different. We are pleased that it worked.

OBM: It is all handmade music. No synths, not even effects?

TWP (Dave): No effects pedals, no click track, very little overdub even. It is pretty much as playing in a room live. I was reading in a magazine the other day, Brian Eno was saying that he hates it when he hears a record and he can just hear four people in a room playing music. And I read that and I thought: That’s exactly what I like. The complete opposite of Brian Eno. Which makes sense because I don’t like his music. (Offbeat shushing photographer, big Eno fan…) I like four people playing in a room, Jimmy Reid, that’s what I like.

OBM: Who would you like to collaborate with?

TWP (Dave): We always talk about being  a band for Bob Dylan because we always think Bob Dylan’s band aren’t very good. We would be a much better band for Bob Dylan and I think he would have a good time hanging out with us. If he’s interested, get in touch. We’d love to do that and it would be jolly good fun.

OBM: So, Dave, you write the lyrics and then you come in with the songs and everybody joins in for the music or how does it work?

TWP (Johnny): That’s pretty much it. Dave will come in with a complete song that he has written and the guitar’s already there. We join in. That’s mostly how it goes. If I am doing something that he really doesn’t like, he might say: Try this.

OBM: That’s very diplomatic.

TWP (Johnny): Yes, he is VERY diplomatic! Surprisingly diplomatic (laugher). (Franic) Yeah, most of the time it is pretty easy. It is not experimental music, it is classic. Sometimes I try, when I have been listening to something, to copy it and fit it in. If it doesn’t sound like what I copied, but all the small differences make the songs. You just try and make everything sound good. Hard to explain. I guess, once Dave’s written the song, that is the hard part over. Then you just try and make it work together.

OBM: Thank you so much, Dave, Johnny and Franic from the Wave Pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with The Veils

Interview with The Veils at Muziekgieterij, Maastricht, Netherlands, April 20th 2017
Following the release of their album “Total Depravity” (Network) The Veils are touring. You can be sure to catch them at a place near you and please do as their already rounded and exciting latest album and of course the songs of the four predecessors sound on stage like…an even more grumbling, cathartic, very dark, heart-stopping and heart-touching affair!

At the Muziekgieterij The Veils delivered (just like everywhere else on this tour) a gig where the music swept over you like a dark tropical climate interspersed with pining songs, a little acoustic set and much love for the audience. I particularly loved the moment, when bass player Sofia was no longer hiding and came out with a happy smile and a little wave. But each and everyone in the band was giving it welly and it sounded very much complete.  The appreciation of the audience was well-deserved!

 

The Veils - Finn Andrews ©Kevin Burns 2017

Slightly worn out from the night before, Finn Andrews still very kindly gave an interview to Offbeat Music Blog and here it comes:

Offbeat Music Blog: I have Finn Andrews from The Veils here with me. Thank you so much for taking the time, Finn!

Finn Andrews (The Veils): Of course!

OMB: You are the head of the band. Would you introduce the other members of the band?

Finn: Sure! Well, there’s Sophia who I went to school with in New Zealand. So we have known each other the longest. She plays bass. Then there is Dan who plays guitar and Henning who plays drums and is German. Ubi is from Italy and plays keyboards. We are from all over the place. A German, an Italian, an Englishman and two New Zealanders.

OMB: But you were all located in London when you met?

Finn: Yes, we all ended up there for different reasons.

OMB: What are the band dynamics when you are in the studio or on tour? Have different roles developed or specific characteristics?

Finn: Yes, definitely. I think, particularly on tour, it feels like a very familial dynamic in that sort of weird way, you can all hang out and not say anything for hours but also have a really nice time. It is sort of what I miss most when we are not on the road, that feeling – that travelling weird family (laughs).

OMB: You writing the songs and then coming in with half-finished or even three-quarter finished products and then others contributing or even changing the songs in the studio, ending in a song totally gone and the listener making it their own: Is that hard for you to let a song go?
Finn: Yes, there are different stages of that feeling of letting go things. Although, I found more and more, it is strange how long they keep changing after they have been finished by virtue of touring.

The songs that stay with you the longest – what they ended up meaning two years on is often very different to what they meant either when you were writing them or when they came out. There is a song called “The tide that left and never came back” which I wrote when I was about seventeen and first moved back to London, a song effectively about missing home really. A sweet, simple little song. But I found that song really interesting how it has come to really represent my whole youth. Those years feel very much distilled into that one little song.
It did not feel like that big a song to me when I wrote it. It feels like a time capsule and has become increasingly precious.

There are a few songs that have been like that. I imagine they will change even more if I can manage to keep going until my old age. I am sure there will be songs that have all kind of other meanings that will be clear later on.

OMB: Are there songs that you kind of gave up on but you return to them? Would you be happy or better, would you find it easy to bin a song because you think it is not going to work?
Finn: Yeah, I don’t think I ever bin anything. I read a lot of interviews with other people who write songs and things. Obviously a lot of people who write songs lie a lot about what they are doing. Or they like to imagine other things. So it is quite hard, you have to read between the lines. Tom Waits – I always found him really interesting, his thoughts on things, and he said it using this mechanic analogy: You keep everything out there in the garage and you can use it for spares.
So I think, even the stuff that you write that you don’t use – there are little bits in there that are useful. The song “Iodine and iron” which is on the new record (“Total depravity”) I wrote about five or six years ago and played with the band but then it did not really work. But Ubi really thought for that song to be included so we kept playing it intermittently for a few years and then it came together at the last minute. But that was one that I thought was probably on the pile for spares and then ended up probably being my favourite on the record. The life of songs is a curious thing.

OBM: Someone asked on social networks whether lyrics should be made available or explained even and I thought: Privately? No, thank you. That would be like watching the film before reading the book and I would like to see the lyrics the way I want to. Professionally? Yes, please give me the deeper meaning of that lyric. What is your stance on the lyrics? Would you rather keep them abstract?

Finn: It is more that I don’t ever feel that I have anything more particular about them to say. Generally you write songs because you are not particularly good at articulating how you feel in the normal world, that you end up retreating to this weird other place where you get to spend weeks if not years working on articulating how you feel. So it seems odd to talk about that further. I dunno. But I am obsessed with lyrics and words and always have been. Works have always been a huge part of this for me and a huge part of my life in general. Sometimes it is nice to know things if the story is interesting but generally musicians waffling on about what they think about stuff. I don’t really know…I hate me doing it (laughs).

OBM: So your lyrics might be personal but they are also from a different perspective?

Finn: I will always feel like I am making up what I am saying about them because they come from a very subconscious place. I can sort of attribute meaning to bits of them. Some people are not like that. Some people are able to sit down and be like: Right, I am going to write a song about how I feel about this. And they do that. But that has never been the way it worked for me.

OBM: So it is more like a stream of consciousness thing?

Finn: Yeah, for me that is almost exclusively how it is.

OBM: With a father like that (Barry Andrews – XTC, League of Gentlemen, Shriekback, playing on Iggy Pop and David Bowie albums), was it really hard to rebel in your teenage years via music?

Finn: Right, that is a complicated question. I had a really good relationship with my Dad but I was raised almost exclusively by my mother, quite often on the other side of the planet, in New Zealand and Dad was in London.

I think, he created a kind of interest, a kind of longing for that sort of life, his life, I suppose, when I was young. But it was only when I left and went to New Zealand that I started playing music, so I was a long way away from him and I suppose that is no accident.

But certainly my parents were impossible to rebel against in any kind of way. My mother is incredible…yeah..she is very open and understanding and honest with her life. It was just something that I didn’t feel I needed to do. My Dad was very extreme. He rebelled against his parents in a very large way.

There are different kinds of rebellion. I suppose there is always an element when your father is in the same profession as you. So, when you are starting out, you want to be better than them. That is a kind of rebellion as well, I suppose. I think, Dad found it weird that I ended up doing this – I was always more into drawing and making films. It just happened. He didn’t hear me sing for about for years. That was pretty odd for him. So, back then there was kind of an element of “Fuck you, Dad, I can do this too”. But if I had been an accountant that would probably have been more of a rebellion.

OBM: You spent most of your, you could say, character forming years in New Zealand. Most people would regard The Veils as a British band. To me, none of your records sound particularly British. In a way, they have more of an American feel to them. Would you think, that your environment, that New Zealand had played a great part in your music?

Finn: I think, you can definitely hear that Kiwi thing. There is a lot of influence from America and England in the culture there, especially in the pop music that was around when I was growing up. There was some great music that was made there but the stuff that I liked from New Zealand had all kind of finished by the time I was growing up there. It was more my Dad’s time. The Dunedin sound and Flying Nun.

So I didn’t feel there was much for me there musically. It felt very much like as soon as you can leave and go overseas. That’s different now if you are young there – there are a lot of bands coming out of there now and there are more bands touring around.

I had a pretty weird time where I haven’t really been hooked anywhere long. My whole life has been, moving around. So, I think, you just end up with a kind of influence of all the different places I spent any time. I am very envious actually of people that have that sort of identity of where they come from. People have an accent.

OBM: You definitely don’t have a New Zealand accent.

Finn: Yeah, in England they think I sound a New Zealander and in New Zealand they think I sound English. So I have this weird mongrel accent. Growing up, I always wanted to be from somewhere. But I just don’t get that, so I have to work out some other way to be.

OBM: But you still enjoy touring? Most people find it so tedious.

Finn: I do enjoy it, yeah.

OBM: Well, from a practical point of view, it is probably the way to make money in the music business, not selling records anymore.

Finn: Phew, not for us really. The band has been going for fourteen years and I’d say for the first thirteen years of that, no-one got paid to tour. We would tour for free. Any money made would go back into it so you could tour other places. And it is only some parts of the world where we make money now.

Most of the time you are doing it as a way to just get people to hear what you are doing really. In some countries it is going well – here, we get good crowds. In parts of Europe, in the States and in New Zealand we get good crowds. But quite often you are putting the money back into to keep going. We are certainly not doing it in any way to make money. It tends to cost more than you make. That’s the sad truth of it. It is a labour of love, completely. If we didn’t love it, we’d just stop.

OBM: Do you ever find time to see place when you are on tour?

Finn: It is sort of a cumulative experience really. We have been to a lot of these towns seven or eight times but only for a day each time, so after a few years, it’s like as if you spent a week there but it is spread out. But so you get to know some places. In Los Angeles we have made three records now so we know that well. The bigger cities, like Paris, Amsterdam and so on.

I am terrible tourist as a result of it. I don’t really go anywhere unless we are playing. Whenever you have tried going anywhere as a tourist, you realise how special this is that you go to towns and people really want to show you what’s great about their town and take you out after the show or during the day. Compared to travelling around by yourself, this is infinitely more fun. You feel like you are doing something as well – you are giving at least some sort of a thing to the town. It is an exchange of currency.

OBM: So no beach holiday for you then?

Finn: Naw (laughs).

The Veils - Finn Andrews ©Kevin Burns 2017

OBM: Another part of the touring is: You are really putting a lot of energy into the shows, you really give. Is that at some stage exhausting?

Finn: I am definitely going to get too old for it at some point. What sucks is, if you have got a lot of money and a lot of time, then it is fine. I could tour forever if we were in a tour bus and if we had a day off every now and then but a couple of years ago we did a tour that was 30 shows in 32 days. By the end of that I was considering if I could do this anymore. It just destroyed my voice and my body.

OBM: Maybe also mentally if you put so much into the shows?

Finn: That side is fine, it is only the physical side of it. There is only so much you can do with your body. The will is always there. If you have a dog and a frisbee: You keep throwing the frisbee and the dog keeps bringing it back even until their legs degrade. I feel a little like this. I feel like I just would keep going until I fall apart. But I am trying to get more conscious to not to get to the point where I am having a full breakdown. This tour has been leisurely. The Netherlands are small, not very long drives, the venues are nice, the hotels are nice. It is up and down.

OBM: For your new record you worked with El-P. You met by coincidence really. Would you have ever thought it possible, a collaboration with someone from a completely different genre, if you had sat down and planned it?

Finn: No, I think, if it had been planned, it would not have worked. It had to be sort of an accident if that makes any sense. It was really just that he was such a sincere fan of what we did what was interesting about it in the beginning and us of him of course. So it is a rare thing, I suppose. Usually one of you knows the other person’s stuff and the other one doesn’t really. So one of you ends up taking a bit of a risk whereas this time it is based on a friendship and a mutual appreciation.

OBM: So on your new record you had new sounds and tools to choose from and also more time. Is that a good thing or can it be a bad thing as well as in it makes it harder to focus?

Finn: We had a lot of time but we certainly did not have more time in the studio. We basically had time in between being in the studio. In the past we would into the studio for a month. By the end of that you would have to have the record finished and all the money be gone and that would be it. Whereas this time we opted to do it in little chunks spread out over a period of a year or so. The time in-between was the most precious really, time to think about things and change things. Which took me a long time to learn that I needed to do that.

OBM: The record…I remember going to record stores, going through the records, talking to other people, looking at record sleeves.This has changed to the other extreme and often many just use music as a kind of background noise. So touring is probably the only opportunity to get close to a listener?

Finn: Sure, I dunno. It seems like it is changing all the time. People are buying vinyl, again. People still like the object and they want the physical thing and they want the pull-out thing.

OBM: Wouldn’t that be the music nerds only really?

Finn: I dunno. Didn’t they say that this year there were more vinyl sales than downloads? I might be making that up. I think that there are still as many people labouring over music and enjoying it as there used to, just in different ways. That’s how it seems to me. Depends on who you talk to you. And I am sure in the past there were people who weren’t…
OBM: Weren’t too bothered?

Finn: Weren’t too bothered.

OBM: Your records always sound as if you had that classic vinyl record in mind. A cover fitting the music, a selection of songs fitting together.

Finn: I think it is very hard to get out of the habit of things that you have initially fell in love with really. That’s how I was introduced to music and that is how I think of it. Obviously does not take so much care to do mp3s and they are all disconnected. I enjoy track-listing and I enjoy that format. But I wouldn’t insist that people listen to it that way, either. It’s just nice that it is there for people who want it.

OBM: The cover art on “Total depravity” makes me a bit squeamish…not to mention the combination of the song “Young mothers to be” with the album title “Nux Vomica” because I got prescribed Nux Vomica against pregnancy sickness and it made me feel much worse if possible…

Finn: Oh, we really must stop doing this to you! But as for the cover art on “Total depravity” – it depends on the perception. I see her as devouring something as opposed to expelling it. You can read into it whatever you wish. But there does seem to be a lot of vomiting involved in our albums over the years and in our videos (“Axolotl”) where Charles Darwin vomits black bile.

OBM: Maybe getting things out of your system?

Finn: Maybe, yeah.

OBM: But you love storytelling?

Finn: Yes, stories are the best.

OBM: Did you ever consider writing books?

Finn: I do write, poetry and stuff, without intention of ever doing anything with it, just for enjoyment of it. And when I get sick of myself as a songwriter, just to write something completely different. I could foresee doing something in that area at some point but as for now…

OBM: Musically, what kind of stuff would you listen to?

Finn: A whole bunch of stuff. I have been trying to DJ recently, also something that I never thought I would like but I have actually really been enjoying it. The odd sort of thing, getting up and playing something for a couple of hours.

OBM: You initially came from a folksier background?

Finn: Yeah, more of a singer-songwriter thing, Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Johnny Cash. But that’s expanded over the years. It is still the core of it though. They were and are all great lyrical storytellers.

OBM: Straight after the making of the new album, you were wondering how you would bring the songs with their new sounds and new approaches to the stage. How did that pan out so far?

Finn: It has been great. There is a lot to figure out but I am really happy with the balance. I have no interest in going to shows and seeing stuff not been played in front of me. We are trying to keep it like you are seeing a live band. If we are using samples, they are still being hit and triggered on stage. There is still someone hitting something. It is what we have always done. I think we put on a really muscular live show but it has a wider palette of sound. I really enjoy these harsh high ends and these low scary sub-sounds. We just expanded a bit more. You are still be seeing a bunch of people on stage making a fucking racket. This is what I like to see when I go to a gig.

OBM: You have as support Anthonie Tonnon from New Zealand with you?

Finn: Yes, he is great. We did some shows in the States together last year. Great voice, great songs!
OBM: Thank you so much and looking forward to a great show!

Finn: Thank you!