Gemma Hayes

Gemma Hayes Interview
by Alexander Laurence

It was Bloomsday and I had nothing better to do than do an interview with Irish singer, twenty-five year old Gemma Hayes. Usually I celebrate by drinking a few beers and reading a few pages of Ulysses. I had heard about Gemma Hayes from other musicians like Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. I heard Gemma's song "Ran For Miles" and was interested. It was only after I heard the full record Night On MY Side, that I was surprised by her range and scope. She seemed inspired by the disparate music of My Bloody Valentine and Joni Mitchell. Her looks alone are impressive. I was looking forward to an interview. She finally played in America in June 2003 and her live show was even better.

Gemma Hayes played locally in Tipperary and Ireland for years and there was big label interest. But she held off for years until a record label took her serious on her own terms. She finally signed to the Source label on the strength of a demo that lacked any photos, Hayes, released the five-song 4.35AM EP. This EP impressed the critics, and lead to tours with Sparklehorse, Mark Eitzel, and David Gray. Hayes released a second EP that was more electronic and rocking, which confused many people who had her pegged as a singer/songwriter. Hayes began recording her debut full-length with Dave Fridmann in 2002. Night On My Side came out in the U.K. in summer 2002, and it was issued in the America in early 2003.

Gemma is playing at the Troubadour on May 26th, 2005.

AL: The American tour has went well?

Gemma: I like places like Boulder, Colorado. We had to drive around places like Nebraska and half the band are vegetarians. The tour has gone great. I am just happy to be here. I couldn't understand why I was doing a headlining tour even of small clubs in America. Because I was thinking who the hell is going to come along and hear me. I didn't know who was going to travel that far to see the shows. So far we have had a great response to each show.

AL: How did the Field Day event go in Giants Stadium?

Gemma: It was thrown together. I played in the parking lot of Giants Stadium. That was a dream of mine. It went really well. Rain poured down from the heavens, but that just added to the "throw away" feel of the gig. People started to get into it. We made it into a really short rock set.

AL: Did you play under a tent?

Gemma: No. It was pissing rain. The stage was flooded. All our gear was flooded. We just got into the spirit of it.

AL: How many people are in your band?

Gemma: I have a five-piece band. The album is not something I can get up and play acoustically. I could probably play about half of it acoustically by myself. To get the full feel of the album you need a full proper band. There was talk of me just coming over here and doing things acoustically. That would have been very hard. Luckily I was able to bring everyone with me on the road: that is better for me mentally and health wise.

AL: You have grown up with images of America in films and books. How has it matched up to ideas of it?

Gemma: I always wanted to travel across America on a bus from east to west, playing my music. Now that has come true. I sort of pictured more dirt roads. You know when the guy and girl are driving in a convertible and the roads just seem to go on forever. We have seen more highways and petrol stations. I am usually asleep most of the time. I wake up every morning and I am in a different place. It is amazing. I woke up in Chicago and I always wanted to go there. I basically woke up, had lunch, did my soundcheck, did the gig, got on the bus and left. I didn't get to see much of Chicago at all. I wish I had more time so I would get to know each city.

AL: You have been playing quite a while now. You didn't rush into things. Why did you wait so long to sign a record deal and put out a record?

Gemma: There are a bunch of reasons actually. Five years ago when I was nineteen, a bunch of big record labels were interested in me. I think that they were looking for something a bit more accessible and commercial. They talked about changing my image and getting me in with a bunch of pop songwriters. It wasn't where I wanted to be. I had a drive to do my own music. While it might be outright pop, I wanted still to try to carve out my own path. I gave up on record labels because they always wanted to work more on my image rather than my music. At that time I had a few friends in music. They started doing their albums on their own. They would just arrange distribution deals instead. That seemed like the way to go. You could just do your own thing and not have people nag you over radio singles. Then Source came along who are French record label that are known for dance music. They liked what I did and didn't care about image. I took a chance and it worked out.

AL: When did you do the 4.35AM EP?

Gemma: That was the first thing I did on Source. I wasn't ready to do an album yet. I wasn't musically or mentally ready to do an album. I was just trying to get used to the idea of having a record out. I wanted to build a foundation up slowly, as opposed to having a record by this girl who nobody knows, then shoving her face on a whole bunch of posters. The first EP was mad. It was the first time I had put out anything. It was the first time I was reviewed in newspapers. I read some of these. By the time the album came out I learned a lot and by the time the album came out I was tougher. I formed a leathery skin so nothing would get to me, which was probably a good thing.

AL: The second EP was very different from the first.

Gemma: Yeah. That's really strange. People used to think that it was a premeditated agenda where you put out an acoustic thing and everyone thinks that you are Jewel, and then you put out a more band-oriented thing. The same band that is playing on first EP is playing on the second EP. The second EP we had more money. I could actually have the band stay in the studio longer so that we could do more songs. It was a money thing. Also, before the second EP I had just written a bunch of up-tempo songs. It was just something that happened. There was not a lot of thought going into it. There was a good mood in the studio. It was more upbeat for me, which is probably more downbeat for everyone else.

AL: You were always doing rock songs?

Gemma: I have been playing with bands for five years. It's been a very long time since I was just an acoustic act. It's always been a mixture of acoustic and rock. Always! The one thing that annoyed me about the record labels at the start was that they told me to choose. You can't be both. You have to either be acoustic and do a folk album, or be rock and do a rock album. I couldn't understand that mentality. Hang on a minute. Music is free. There are no rules in music. Why should I have to do anything? They wanted me to do that I think because they wanted their life easier, so I would be easier to market and be put in a category. The people who I like, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, they did acoustic and they did rock. It's a normal thing. Some songs sound better acoustically. Some songs need a bit of "umpf" to them.

AL: The American version of Night On My Side is split on into the day side and the night side. What was that about?

Gemma: That's right. The album really sticks out and it doesn't fit in comfortably anywhere. People started to have problems. To this day, I don't understand what is so difficult. People would say, "You do two different styles of music." And I would say I don't. I just do songs, some are low key and some are loud.

AL: Some have more guitars.

Gemma: So I said all the songs that are loud and have guitars on them: let's call that daytime music. The songs that are mellow and down tempo: let's call that nighttime music. For those people who find it difficult and the record label who think it's a hard fit, I'll call the it night and day, which are still parts of the same day. It works really. For the American release, there were some songs that I wasn't happy with. So it was a chance to change the artwork and track listing. Maybe we should push this day and night thing even more and actually split it into two CDs? They didn't do that.

AL: What was it like working with Dave Fridmann and Tarbox Studio?

Gemma: It was brilliant and mad. The studio is in the forest in the middle of nowhere. It's in a log cabin. He kept freaking me out. He kept telling me that there was a cult that lived there in the forest. He said that bears come around at night. I had to stay there by myself at night. Dave is a lovely guy and not one bit intimidating. I was afraid because Dave Fridmann has a definite sound as a producer and engineer. I could listen to one of his records and know it is he. Just the sound of the cymbals, drums and mellotron. We had a discussion before we made the album. I said look I don't want this to become a Dave Fridmann project. I want this to be about my sound as well. I have built up a sound with my band. We have really worked hard at it. I don't want it all to be taken away. I think it worked really well. People might think that I went up to Tarbox with an acoustic guitar, and Dave built this sound around me. It's not the case. My band has been with me for years and they need credit for arrangements.

AL: What is biggest obstacle you had to overcome with doing music?

Gemma: For me, it has got to do with confidence really. I was fine for years to play music by myself. It took a lot for me to get up on stage and allow people to have their own opinions: and go, she's crap or she's really good. I feel a real struggle with entertaining. I am very comfortable in the studio or making music at my own pace. When it comes to getting up on stage and playing in front of people, it still freaks the hell out of me. I haven't done a gig where I haven't gotten sick with nerves beforehand. I did some shows recently in New York, and some press was there and the record label was there. Some people from the record label have never heard me play before. I don't understand why they come up to me after the show and say, "Oh Gemma, such and such is here." Why the fuck are you telling me this? I am trying to put in my mind that this is just a gig. Onstage I am crapping myself. Then it wore off and I just get into the music. The other night we were in Minnesota and it was one the best shows we ever did. I just got up onstage and I was full of confidence and full of beans. It was great.

AL: What does your family think of your record?

Gemma: Some of them like it. They have a lot of strong opinions and they always let me know about them. My sister wishes it was more pop. She goes "Come on, Gemma, play the game. Write a bunch of pop songs. Make your money. Then make the album that doesn't fit in anywhere." I have another sister who supports everything I do. She works at a radio station and she is constantly plugging my stuff. My parents are quite old and they like the quiet stuff.

AL: It's Bloomsday in Ireland today. Do you have any experiences of it?

Gemma: Just pick a day in the month and that's an excuse to drink. There are tour buses that go around Ireland and stop around at the pubs and bars where Irish poets and artists used to hang out at and talk. So you go there and sit a the table where they sat at, and you drink, and then you go to another pub. There's a bunch of plaques all over town. There's a tower and it says James Joyce lived here. There is a building right off Stephen's Green in the middle of Dublin where W. B. Yeats lived. Now they're just offices. Because I lived there, I am too close to actually see it. It's like when I went to Chicago, and asked them about a building. What is that museum like? They said, "Oh, I have never been in there. I live here and I don't care."

AL: What was it like being nominated for The Mercury Prize?

Gemma: It was amazing. It actually took me a few months after it all happened, to relax and allow myself a pat on the back. It's something nobody can take away from me. It happened and it was really cool. I was a massive fan of the awards ceremony anyway. It's one of the special nominations because it's not broken up into best band and best female. It's just twelve albums that they chose for the year and people should go get them. To be part of those twelve albums is amazing. To be alongside people like David Bowie did a lot for the old ego.

AL: I can't remember who won last year.

Gemma: I'll never forget. Ms. Dynamite won. I think she is great but I was so jealous. Her table was next to mine. I was just happy to be nominated. No bullshit. But just as they were opening up the envelope I thought: "Oh, come one, wouldn't it be so nice?" Then they announced her name and all the cameras were on the everyone to see their reaction. I had a pain in my cheeks from smiling. Okay take the camera off please. I am happy for her.

Website: http://www.gemmahayes-makingwaves.net/


--Alexander Laurence

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Blast From The Past 3: LADYTRON

Blast from the PAST 3: I was one of the first people to interview LADYTRON
This happened in November 2000

Ladytron are from Liverpool. They hit the scene about a year ago when they released the single "He Took Her To A Movie." NME picked it as single of the week, as they did their next single "Playgirl." Soon there was a bidding war and international interest. They were signed to Emperor Norton a few months ago. Their first EP "Commodore Rock" was released this summer. Now they just released their first album, 604, last month. I have heard it and it's an amazing record. It expands upon their singles and has many instrumental tracks, showcasing the full palate of their sound. I met Daniel Hunt in New York City during CMJ. I was disappointed that they didn't play, we will have to wait a few months for that. Others members are Reuben, Mira, and Helena.
AL: Do you do a lot of DJ-ing?
Daniel: The label we are on runs a club. I DJ there most weeks. Me and Reuben go out and DJ as Ladytron as well. We did one club in London a few weeks ago.
AL: What's it like in Liverpool? Are you influenced by the city or is the music of Ladytron a work of the imagination?
Daniel: Liverpool has changed a lot in the last five years. It doesn't feel like England. It feels more like a colony. When I go down south I feel like I'm visiting another country. But that is true probably going from state to state in the US as well.

I feel more comfortable in Manchester than in London. Manchester and Liverpool have a complete hatred of each other. A genetic rivalry. The population of Liverpool has gone down every year for the last forty years, but recently it stabilized. There's been a lot of redevelopment. In a way, what we do reflects how Liverpool has changed.

There is also a lineage with the musical past, especially the early 1980s, like The Teardrop Explodes. People in England have a fixed expectation of what Liverpool produces, specifically Beatles influenced guitar bands, which is sort sometimes true but there's a lot more out there than that.
AL: Do you like Liverpool or Everton?
Daniel: People in the band are taken aback by how much I'm into football. It doesn't fit in with the image of the band. It's complete therapy. You can't be doing music all the time. I have looked so long for a place to watch games live in LA, and I found a place in Studio City. I got a fax of my schedule for Thursday from Emperor Norton. It says that Danny watches soccer game at 12. Liverpool has one of the most supported teams in the world, but everyone you meet in Liverpool seems to support Everton. It's weird.
AL: How did you meet the other members of the band? Are they all from Liverpool?
Daniel: Reuben has always been from Liverpool. I've known him for a long time. Mira is Bulgarian and she lives in Oxford. Helena is Scottish and didn't live in Liverpool till very recently. Helena introduced Mira to the band. It was all quite organic. We didn't put up any adverts. We just met people. We fell over each other at a bar. I was working on stuff with Reuben anyway, so it sort of became a band about two years ago. We started working as a band.
AL: Did you write all the songs on this album?
Daniel: I wrote most of this album because I was working on it first and I had built up quite a lot of material. So that everyone has equal input we will make the next album more evenly. It strikes me now why people's second albums are so difficult. The first album has been long since finished. Now there's a bunch of stuff we have to do, and there's a barrier for us before we can record again. We have stuff ready and I want to get on with it. The live shows are not that important to the band.
AL: How many shows have you played?
Daniel: Less than ten. I've been in bands before where they spend so much time rehearsing and carrying amplifiers around that they haven't actually achieved anything. I thought it would be better to sacrifice the physical fitness. We have our own studio. We do about ninety percent of it there, and then take it somewhere else to finish it.
AL: Is the studio near Strawberry Fields or Penny Lane to get that good vibe?
Daniel: No. We took part of the wall and put it in the studio. People actually do that. They take a piece of the gate of Strawberry Fields. Where the fuck do they think they can actually sell it? There's only about three hundred thousand people in Liverpool. There was about a million in the 1930s when it was a thriving port, before we were fucked up by Rotterdam. All the Beatles stuff is south Liverpool and we are south Liverpool as well. North Liverpool is predominantly white and working class. Culturally they're a bit backwards. South Liverpool is where all the immigrant communities are and it's a bit more cosmopolitan.
AL: Ladytron got the attention of the NME right away. How did that happen?
Daniel: It was the single of the week. It had actually been around for six months. It had been sent out and it didn't get reviewed or anything. It was sitting on the shelves for six months and it was re-promoted. Then it landed on the right person's desk, and it became single of the week. That got a lot of attention and we had a load of major labels chasing us. At first we were tempted because it would be an easy thing to explain to my mum and dad. They understand signing to a big label, but wouldn't know what an indie label is. So we resisted that temptation and hooked up with Emperor Norton. I think that if we went with a major label and a worldwide deal, they wouldn't have done as good a job.
AL: Are you more interested in the DJ scene or in being a pop group?
Daniel: Ladytron is supposed to be a pop group. I'm into the idea of subverting things from within. We want to make pop records and not records for pure collectors. The music were into will never come out straight. I think that you can make pop music out of anything. Any instruments. As long as it has a good melody and is regular, then it's pop music.
AL: Do you have Arps and Moogs? What other gear do you have?
Daniel: Yeah. I've been collecting that stuff since I was about seventeen. Liverpool was lucky to have this shop that was only open for a year, because the market was obviously quite limited. About seven years ago they were selling analog synths. I bought loads of stuff from there and from other sales. So I have about ten analog synths. I have had a few stolen. And I've stolen a few myself. I don't have any old ones. Mini-moogs you are supposed to leave on for half a day. They are brittle. I broke two when we played in Spain. They just didn't work anymore. I use pro tools on a Mac. Keeping the programming to a minimum, and play live as much as possible. Someone in Spain described it as Electronic music with skin, because it's not completely pure.
AL: Bands like Kraftwerk and Detroit Techno guys like Derrick May were imagining the future with their music. It was cold, robotic and the human body was close to being eliminated.
Daniel: It's not like we're anticipating the future anymore. It's strange that people associate those sounds with the future. That people said "This is what the future sounds like." There's a lot of Sci-Fi connotations to the sound. There's no reason why the future should sound like that. I have a friend who built me a ring modulator. It sounds a bit like a therimin. It has limited usefulness. Kraftwerk has become a self-parody. They have an enormous influence. But Kraftwerk 2000 sounds like Kraftwerk trying to sound like Kraftwerk. That happens to a band a certain point in their career: they attempt to recycle what they have done "Free As A Bird" style.
AL: How do you feel about Napster?
Daniel: I'm into it. I think it's like playing on the radio and people taping your song. But someone hears about you they check out your stuff straight away. If it does impact record sales in the long term, that's just tough shit. There's nothing you can do about it. I was really pleased to find our stuff on Napster because it was like we were getting played on the radio. I was really pleased that someone had taken the song from the CD and put it up.

I sent an email message to the person who did it and asked them if they had any more Ladytron stuff. They said, "No." Then we had a series of messages back and forth and I told them that I was actually in the band. And they wouldn't believe me.

I checked back on Napster a few weeks later and the content had multiplied. One song appeared off of this Japanese mini-album we had done. Some of the tracks off this will be on the album coming out in January. Well, I saw one track and thought that's weird. Then a few minutes later there were two more songs. So this guy was in the process of ripping off all the songs on the CD. This panicked me because it wasn't out yet. It was out in Japan but we deliberately kept it away from the rest of the world. We didn't want to take any of the impact off the album. I thought that was scary. I felt that someone had gotten into my computer and taken these songs out.
AL: The cover of the Commodore Rock EP makes you look like a Japanese band.
Daniel: Right. Well, Reuben is Chinese and he does the illustrations. We all work on the artwork. We try and keep it all in house. Many people thought we were Japanese because we released our first record over there. We haven't played over there yet.
AL: What is the live show like?
Daniel: Well, there's the four of us with a keyboard each. Then there's these two guys who help us, who do additional stuff. They're not in the band but they play with us. I suppose it looks a little like Kraftwerk as well. I wanted to take it into a whole rock show direction, but I wimped out because the whole sound is based around drum machines. We don't want to confuse people when they first see us. All the keyboards get routed to the two guys in the back, white-coated technicians.

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Long-View Interview

Long-View Interview
By alexander laurence

Long-View is a new band with enough advance warning. Their debut record has
been out a while, July 2003, in the UK. British music lovers here in the USA
have been hearing good things about this Manchester band for a long time, and
probably downloaded many of the tunes. Even though they have been playing for
over three years now, only now are they having an American release. It’s been
worth the wait. The first song “Further” introduces their brand of universal
rock to our shores. With Coldplay and Snow Patrol doing well here, it’s no
wonder that Long-View have been thrust upon the crowded scene. They are played SXSW
and impressed just about everyone. I saw them at the Viper Room during their
first LA show and they were amazing.

The band are Rob McVey (vocal/guitar), Matt Dabbs (drums), Doug Morch
(guitar), and Aidan Banks (bass guitar). They are all over England but met up in
Manchester in 2001.

Some of the songs like “When You Sleep” and “In A Dream” have a more
aggressive sound that suggest some of the shoegazer bands. “Still” is an amazing
song that sends shivers through my body. It promises, “Good times are coming.”
This band definitely has what it takes to find an audience. It sounds sincere.
They may be for this year what bands like Snow Patrol and Keane were last
year. This may be one of the great records that we are still talking about in six
months. They seem concerned with making a mark in America. There has already
been one successful tour in March and April 2005. They are returning in June
with the band Embrace. I spoke to Rob McVey recently.

Long-View performs in Los Angeles with Embrace on June 22 at The

AL: How did you meet the rest of the guys in the band Long-View?
Rob: When I was 19 I moved from the south of England to the north, to
Manchester to start a band. I went on me own. I had that romantic vision of starting
a band there. It worked. I met Matt who was studying at Music College there.
And Aidan and Doug were hanging around. I was doing a music degree as well. In
England, you get a little money from the government. That is how I removed
myself from suburban southern England. I was pretending to be studying music, but
what I really wanted to do was meet musicians and start a band. Manchester is
a good place for that.

AL: Did you move to Manchester because it was “Manchester” or was that just
where you were accepted to college?
Rob: Yeah, I moved there because it was “Manchester.” There are so many
bands from there. Bands like Joy Division, New Order, Oasis, Doves, Elbow, so many
band that I loved. I wanted to go to Manchester because of that history, but
I also wanted to get away from the south as far as I could. Manchester was
very northwest.

AL: You didn’t like suburban England?
Rob: It’s not so much that I didn’t like it. It was because you have to be
surrounded by musicians and venues if you want to start a band. Suburban
England doesn’t have that. You have to venture to the bigger cities. When you write
music you find so many interesting things to write about in the suburbs. There
is a sense of hope out there in the suburban dreariness. Half of Britain
lives like that. You have those sorts of people. You have a McDonalds and a
Woolworths and shops and schools. But there are no venues. It’s very typical and
comfortable. I am very uncomfortable with comfort. I grew up an hour outside

AL: When did the band start to happen?
Rob: We were playing around Manchester as a three-piece. We were playing tons
of shows. We had residencies. We were trying to make money. Matt and I would
get 25 pounds for playing in a club till two in the morning on a Wednesday. We
would play just anything. All the time I was writing songs. I was going
around putting up posters for extra members. A person, Ben Durling, spotted us from
Nude Records. I was 21 years old at the time. We were signed to Nude Records
and then the record company went bust. He became our manager. A year later we
got the final member in the band, Doug. Then we started to gel. We did four
shows and then we were signed again.

AL: You played with Elbow a lot in the early days?
Rob: Yeah. Guy from Elbow was at a lot of our first shows when we were a
three-piece. I didn’t know who he was. But Manchester is a very small place and
you bump into people all the time. Elbow was unsigned at that time too. I
actually met Doug, from Long-View, at an Elbow video shoot. Elbow had all their
friends down for the video shoot. That is how I met Doug. You find liked minded
people there in Manchester.

AL: The first single “Further" came out in the UK three years ago.
Rob: That’s right. We released it as a demo. When we got the fourth member we
had a bunch of songs, so we decided to spend some money to make a demo. That
first version of “Further” was the demo that we were signed on. It was a
four-song demo that had “Further” and “falling For You” and two other songs.
When we got signed we thought it would be cool to put out the demo, because we
had recorded it ourselves.

AL: The album came out a whole ago in the UK. It’s only coming out now in
Rob: It’s been out in the UK for a year and a half. The story with America is
that we were playing a show with Elbow in Manchester. Matt Pinfield from
Columbia Records came to the show. We were having coffee with him the next
morning. When you are in a band that is how it works. You never know when these
albums are going to come out elsewhere. You never think about going Transatlantic.
It just took that long for America to catch on. We didn’t have to play one
show in America. Matt Pinfield found us and signed us up. That was more real than
playing a showcase to a bunch of corporate types.

AL: Matt Pinfield is known in America for being a host on MTV. Now he is like
an A&R guy. He can fit in over there in the UK because he looks like a
football hooligan.
Rob: Yeah, I didn’t know who he was. He should be wearing a Celtic shirt.
He’s a good guy. He was a fan of the band. It took a year for the American deal
to go through.

AL: Your band started at the same time bands like The Strokes, The White
Stripes, and The Libertines were getting a lot of attention in the media. What do
you think about them?
Rob: That’s a good question. We weren’t really part of that. I think that
The Strokes have some good songs, but many of the spin-off bands from that were
just rubbish. It was just all style. It was weird to get signed at that period
because all the record labels were trying to hunt down all the new Libertines
or the new Strokes. We were against that. We wanted to write songs that were
real to us. And “NYC Cops” was not real to us. The Strokes are great
songwriters. Many of the bands that were part of that scene weren’t. When we got
signed we wanted to not record an album in that sort of fashion. The White Stripes
recorded their album at Toe Rag Studios in London. It was all about trashy
sounds. Although they did it well, most bands did it badly. The whole trend went
that way. We decided to go to Seattle to do our album. We wanted to sound like
something that was akin to a scene. We wanted to transcend the scene by using
the best sounds we could get.

AL: How do you write the songs in the band? How does the process go?
Rob: Where do songs come from? Sometimes they fall in your lap. You think
“God, that is a real song.” The songs usually start with an acoustic guitar and
an idea of a sentiment. A good songwriter captures a sentiment. That’s the art
of it. The talent is spotting when a feeling happens and trying to reflect on
things you see around you. A song starts with me on acoustic guitar. Then I
take it to the band and we exaggerate it, to emphasize the point of the song.
It’s important to create something that you are connected to.

AL: What are you songs about? Are they about your life or catching general
feelings that are in the air?
Rob: You try to be inspired by what is around you. I like how John Lennon
tried to put into words what everyone was thinking. It’s a talent to translate
what everyone felt. I can’t say that we do that successfully. But what we do is
find a sentiment and nail it down. Whatever that may be: nostalgia or hope.
But to do that with things we know about, like with suburban England, or that
sense of nostalgia when the seasons change, or with the feeling of loss. I think
that music and art should deal with sentiments. That is what we are trying to
do. Hopefully it will be something inspired. We are not trying to invent
ourselves with a gimmick. We are not a novelty band.

AL: What is a good example of that?
Rob: I read an article recently that said the Kaiser Chiefs were searching
for inspiration in their shallow lives. Like most other bands they were creating
something new. I didn’t agree with that at all. I think that you have to
write about what you got and what is inspired. It might be boring but at least
it’s inspired. It’s far shallower to create some scenario to write some music
about. Bob Dylan once said “The world doesn’t need anymore songs, unless you
have something to say.”

AL: Will your next record be different?
Rob: I am really proud of the first album. I wrote Mercury during a certain
part of my life. I was 19 years old when I started and 22 years old when it was
done. I had a lot of hope. I was young and naïve. I wanted that naivety to
come across in the record. There is a kind of beauty in the passing of those
late teenage years. For the next record I would like to be inspired by what is
happening in my life now. I have traveled around the world. I know so much more
now than when I wrote Mercury. I want to write about whatever pain that I feel
now. I think that the record will be darker. One song we have done is called
“Coming Down.” It was something that we worked on in the rehearsal room. We ha
ve just started thinking about the next record.

AL: How has the first tour of America been?
Rob: It’s been amazing. It’s a young country. We have seen so much.
Everything from seeing a person get run over by a car to having our gear stolen. We
had our crew locked up in prison. It was amazing going to these places like New
Orleans and Dallas. There is certain similarities with England and parts of
America. It’s been a new experience. We had all guitars stolen in Dallas. There
is a buzz in the air.

AL: How did the remixes happen?
Rob: That happened naturally. A guy named Ulrich Schnauss made it. It was by
friends of the band.

AL: And Depeche Mode?
Rob: We did a cover of the song “Stripped.” We thought that we could add
something to that song. We put it out as a limited edition. It was funny. One of
the papers didn’t realize that it was a Depeche Mode song and slagged us off
completely. They said something like “McVey’s lyrics have slipped tremendously
on this song.” I had a good laugh. It was a vehicle for our second album. The
sound change was good to put it through a cover version rather than one of
our own songs, and being laid bare. By doing that song, it let us move towards
how we see our direction going. We could do that without giving away the crown

AL: What do you think of people putting on Long-View records as come down
music after a big night out?
Rob: When I used to come home from parties I used to put on shoegazer stuff
like Ride or Slowdive or Verve. These are albums that I love. Whatever people
want to use my songs for I am into it, as long as it’s not for a doormat.

AL: What is this summer going to be like?
Rob: We are going to be touring America. We might play some shows with
Idlewild. We played Glastonbury last year. We are going to concentrate on America
for a while.

Upcoming June 2005 shows:
Thu 06/16/05 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe
Fri 06/17/05 Portland, OR Douglas Fir Lounge
Sat 06/18/05 Reno, NV Satellite Bar
Sun 06/19/05 Sacramento, CA Harlow's
Mon 06/20/05 San Francisco, CA The Independent
Wed 06/22/05 Hollywood, CA The Troubadour
Thu 06/23/05 San Diego, CA Epicentre
Fri 06/24/05 Tempe, AZ The Clubhouse
Sun 06/26/05 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
Mon 06/27/05 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
Tue 06/28/05 Minneapolis, MN Ascot Room @ Quest Club
Thu 06/30/05 Chicago, IL Double Door
Fri 07/01/05 Detroit, MI The Shelter
Sun 07/03/05 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
Tue 07/05/05 N. Charleston, SC Centre Stage @ The Plex

Website: www.longviewmusic.com

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Inara George Interview

"All Rise" takes the Heart in tow and drifts through an x-ray nebula of emotion, punctured by hope, love and illuminated by California sunshine. Much like Inara herself; Small, sprite and full of life, she heaves a giant vintage hollow body epiphone to get her thoughts across. The music of "All Rise" ranges from indie, folk, vintage pop and what sounds like mutations of eerie country western lounge acts. All of it is approachable yet sometimes coy. Some would argue that "All Rise" is too dreamy and unassuming to affect the listener. I would say that these are the same jerks that need a wall of noise to overload their senses to feel anything. "All Rise" is a beautifully woven album carried by a wonderful voice that gives room for the listener.

KM: Inara is an interesting name. It sounds Japanese. How did you get that name?
Inara: It is actually Latvian. My mother and father had a friend named Inara and they liked the name.

JDD: How did a sense of place influence your songs?
Inara: Not quite sure what you mean...Did my surroundings influence my writing? I suppose so, but I think I write more about what's going on in my life, rather than where I am physically.

JDD: Were you writing diaries and poetry when you were younger?
Inara: Here and there. I have never been very good about keeping a diary. And I have never been much of a poet. I would say I am a songwriter that is sometimes poetic.

KM: How has the theatre affected your music?
Inara: I think it has affected it quite a bit. Not only in how I perform or interpret songs, but my writing. To be exposed to such incredible writers, like Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams... I'd say could only help me.

KM: You were raised in a family ingrained in music. What was it like growing up in a situation like that?
Inara: My father died when I was just 5, so my upbringing could have been a lot musical if he had been around. But my mother still encouraged all of us to play music, write, act, dance etc. And she took us to see the music of my father's peers. So I still had a pretty arty upbringing.

KM: Did you ever have any formal music training or was it always just a part of your life?
Inara: Like almost all kids I took piano lessons and I was also in the school choir, but I would never say that I'm very skilled in any traditional sense. I've had moments of being able to read music more fluently than other times, but I suppose it doesn't apply to what I'm doing, so I forget very quickly. It's just like any language, you have to keep using it. Does that answer your question?

JDD: When did you start thinking about making music and being in a band?
Inara: I don't know if I ever started thinking about it, I just fell into it. When I was 19 I started a band with some friends as a joke and it kind of snowballed. It took me a couple of years to actually feel comfortable with the idea of playing music professionally. But I feel pretty lucky that this is where I ended up.. I'm having a lot of fun.

KM: Can you describe your creative process?

Inara: There is not much to it. I just sit down with a guitar and hope that something good comes out. Usually I begin with the music, but sometimes I have a word or phrase that gets me started. I wish there was something more magical about it. At the risk os sounding a little cheesy, I guess when I can finally play a new song from start to finish is when it feels kind of magical. Nice to feel like you finished something...made something new.

KM: How long do you work, typically on a song, before you feel its has realized complete fruition?
Inara: Every song is different. Some songs take a month, some songs take a day.

KM: You seem very connected with the guitar. Is this true? How many do you have?
Inara: I have quite a few, but I am not a gear head like many of the musicians I play with. Mike Andrews, who produced the record, is a complete equipment fiend. I am quite content with a few great guitars.

JDD: Did you ever do any collaborations and how did that go?
Inara: Mike Andrews helped me write most of the songs for this record. I love to collaborate with people. It's the best feeling to share a song with someone else. I tend to enjoy the song so much more.

JDD: Who did the album cover?
Inara: Geoff McFetridge, who is this incredible graphic designer and old friend of my boyfriend. I am so thrilled by how the artwork came out.

JDD: Who do you play with and how did you find these musicians?
Inara: Mike gathered together this amazing group of guys for the record and almost all of them are still playing with me.

JDD: When did you start recording music?
Inara: I suppose when I started playing in a band. Around 19.

JDD: What are some of your songs about?
Inara: That's a hard question. What do you think they're about?

KM: Is there an underlying string or idea that you are trying to express through your music?
Inara: I wish I was more conceptual than I am. I just write songs and hope they're good songs.

KM: If you could distill your drive to create music in one word, what would that word be?
Inara: Fun.

KM: Jackson Browne sings on one of the tracks of "All Rise". How did this come about?
Inara: He is an old friend of the family and when we were finishing up the record Mike suggested that we have Jackson come in and sing on "A Day". It seemed fitting somehow.

KM: We spoke briefly at Noisepop last February. You said that some journalist had fabricated a story about how your father had died on stage during a set. How do you feel artists like yourself are impacted by hackneyed journalism and press?
Inara: I do think that a lot of people believe everything they read...I know that I tend to. So I think that a journalist has quite a bit of power over an artist, a politician, etc. And I figure if you're going to say nasty things about my music or record( btw I do believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions) at least get your facts right.
JDD: Do you think that it is important to have a lot of emotion in your voice, as a singer?

Inara: Definitely. But I think that everyone's definition of emotion is different. I think the better thing to know is what is the intention behind the voice.

KM: Have you toured outside of the states yet?

Inara: Not with this record. But I hope to soon.

KM: Are there any events that you recall from your tours that are particularly memorable?
Inara: We had a heckler the other night. A very drunk heckler at that. That was pretty memorable. She wanted us to play rock and it was just me and Mike with acoustic guitars. I think if we had a less attentive audience that night it would've probably been really depressing.

JDD: Any advice to your young fans who may want to do music one day? Inara: I'm not very good about giving advice. But if I were to say one thing just have fun. That is all you can control.

An interview with Inara George By Keith Martin & Jesús Don Diablo
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Adult. Interviewby Alexander Laurence
The mysterious duo behind Adult. started releasing records 1998 under the pseudonym Plasma Co. They became known quickly for their integration of vocals into analog synths and drum-machine electro. By 2000, it was clear that Adult. had already developed a style based around their new electro sounds and the almost punk, robotic vocals and the confident and strange lyrics. For years the identity of Adult. was unknown. The word is now out that the band consists of Adam Lee Miller (formerly of Le Car) and visual artist Nicola Kuperus.
Adult. were initially best known for their remixes of other bands. They released five singles and were included on many compilations. At the same time many people saw them for the first time live. They travelled to Europe to do many festivals. I saw them play with THe Faint and I Am Spoonbender for the first time a year ago at Noise Pop. They definitely made an impact. I was searching the stores for their records.
The duo released Resuscitation (2001), a full-length album consisting of reworkings of previously released tracks. By this time it was obvious Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus were responsible for a resurgeance in electronic music and were a big influence on many bands. Adult. toured with Trans Am in 2002. Nicola Kuperus did the lead vocals of a Death In Vegas track. The duo's cynical satirization of mainstream life continued on with the new record, Anxiety Always, which was released in April 2003. In May 2003, Adult. embarked on its first headlining tour of America. They have since released the D.U.M.E. ep.
Adult. will be performing in LA at The Echo on May 13th.
Photos: Keith Martin
AL: Have you done a lot of tours?
Adam: No. The most we have ever done is nine shows with Trans Am. This is our first headline tour and our longest tour ever. It's twenty shows

AL: When did you stop doing Le Car?
Adam: Le Car ended in 1997. We put out a 12-inch on a German label under the name Plasma Co. In 1998, Le Car was asked to play a show with Kraftwerk in Barcelona. It was the Sonar Festival. We got back together just for that one show.
AL: The Resuscitation CD is mainly just a collection of all the early singles and EPs. Why did you release that?
Adam: People kept saying that we should release these records on CD because people would like that. People would say: "I don't have a record player. I would really like to get your stuff on CD." So that's what we did. But many of the times, we didn't like the way the songs were recorded originally. Most of the songs were remastered or re-recorded. Songs like "Dispassionate Furniture" were completely redone. That is why the album is called "Resuscitation."
AL: You released all those songs as singles before?
Adam: All of them eventually were. There was a song "Mouth To Mouth" was an original song. But then a Dutch label put it out on a "Hand To Phone" remix EP. Everything on Resuscitation is on vinyl, but not in the same version. Many of these records are hard to find now. The first Adult. 12-inch single is out of print. The Plasma Co. record is out of print. All the singles are becoming rare.
AL: Was Nicola Kuperus always the visual component of Adult.?
Adam: I did the graphic design. There was a compilation that first had a photograph of hers. We started to use more and more of them. I think it was the "Hand To Phone" picture disc that created a buzz. That was a year before Resuscitation. That was the moment that solidified her photography with Adult.
AL: Did you ever DJ as Adult. or were you a studio group?
Adam: No, I never DJed. I have only DJed at three or four events in my life. Those were just casual events. I was just having fun with friends. I don't mix or match beats. Adult. was totally a studio project at the beginning. It was a big surprise that we got invited to play shows. We thought it was funny.
AL: Why did you think it was funny?
Adam: We never thought of ourselves as doing any of that. It was 1997. We were doing harder electronic music with vocals. Absolutely nobody else was doing that, except Kitbuilders. People were just getting into it.
AL: Why do you think that music caught on with people like Ladytron and The Faint?
Adam: I know a lot of these bands: Ladytron, The Faint, Kitbuilders, Miss Kitten and The Hackers. I think that you had all these people who were super passionate about what they were doing. It's one of those things. You can have a great business team or put out music that you believe in. I spoke to a lot of these people. There were a bunch of Techno DJs who were totally burned out and going through the motions. It just becomes a job.
AL: Paul Oakenfold has been doing the same thing for fifteen years now.
Adam: Exactly. There was a time between 1990 and 1995, when Techno music was still really weird. Now when you go to a Banana Republic and they are playing that music. It's on bank commercials. It's not weird nor new music anymore.
AL: You have a few songs which are ironic comments on techno music and consumerism.
Adam: Yeah. In the song "Pressure Suit" we are talking about that. It's quite funny to have a crowd of people chanting "I want to spend my money on entertainment." Yeah, you just did. We have been playing a lot of small clubs that hold about 500 people. People usually want to be there. I couldn't imagine that happening at a big festival where people are so burned out on drugs that they couldn't care less who is on stage. Obviously you can tell that I don't have a good opinion of festivals.
AL: What did you think of being part of the first Electroclash Festival?
Adam: At the time, it was just the name of a festival then. I don't think that we fit in that at all. We recently played a festival in Greece called Fire Fighters. No one started calling us Fire Fighter music. If we knew what Electroclash was going to mean in the future, we would have never done it, because we don't want to be genre-fied.
AL: Do you collect a lot of old Arps and Moogs?
Adam: On this whole trip, we have been driving around the country and seeing pawn shops. We think maybe we should look around and see if they have anything. We never really have any time. We want to stop and look around in these small towns. Right now I am in Flagstaff, Arizona. We are near the Grand Canyon. If you could find some old pawn shop, you could probably find some old Korg. You could plug it in and make it sound really stupid. They would probably give it to you for twenty bucks. I like gear. I am not a hardcore collector. We are more into pedals right now.
AL: Do you have old keyboards?
Adam: Yeah. We don't tour with the really fragile stuff. We have a Juno 106. If one of them breaks, we have a second backup one.
AL: Could you talk about the label Ersatz Audio?
Adam: We started it about eight years ago. We evolved over time. We don't sound like we did eight years ago. There was a time when it became Adult.-centric. We didn't want that. We wanted to have a family again. We have Magas now. It's naturally happened. Now it's like the Manson Family. We had a lot of labels who wanted to put out the new Adult. record, but we are very content to do it ourselves.
AL: When did you record the new album, Anxiety Always?
Adam: It started in September 2002 and we finished up in December. Most of the songs have been written in the past year. One song "Nothing of The Kind" had been around a little longer. We wrote it so we could do it live on the Trans Am tour last June. We hadn't recorded it yet.
AL: It seems like the vocals are really advanced on this record, compared to the early stuff.
Adam: Nicola is asleep in the back right now. I don't like to answer for her. We played so many live shows between Resuscitation and the new record. That allowed her to develop from one record to the next. On stage we used to be static. Now, she has total control over the audience, and it's awesome.
AL: Some of the bass guitar on the new record reminds me of Joy Division and The Cure.
Adam: Oh yeah. I love those bands. I played bass guitar in some punk rock bands before this too. In the show I play a lot of bass guitar and keyboards. Many of the early songs are mechanical and many of the parts are impossible to play live. One of the ideas with this album was that we wanted to write songs that we would enjoy playing live. We wanted to give out more energy to the crowd.
AL: When I think of some of the songs like "Glue Your Eyelids Together" and "Nausea" it reminds me of Existentialism. Do you like those writers, like Sartre and Camus?
Adam: Yeah. I have actually. People have asked us before about our lyrics. Most things work on a subconscious level. When it is written, nothing is about this one thing. Our songs are not about anything specifically. They are a non-didactic, or non-narrative approach. Then over time, the songs begin to have meaning to us. But we always enjoy what people think the lyrics mean. "The Wages of Fear" is my favorite French film.
AL: You have remixed tracks by The Faint, Tuxudeomoon ,and Erase Errata. Do you think that you will release a remix album at some point?
Adam: I don't know. It's a double edged sword. It's totally out of control. We have just put out Anxiety Always. Then people think "So when are you going to do a remix album?" When did that become a standard? I don't know if we will or we won't. Shouldn't you put out a real record, and see if it does well, before you do a remix record. I find that really funny. We have cut down on doing remixes. We have done about twenty-three remixes in the past few years. That is ridiculous. We could have done two new albums in that same time. If you concentrate on that, you stop developing your own music.
AL: What other bands do you like?
Adam: The Faint.
AL: When I first heard "Pressure Suit" it made me think of John Foxx "Metamatic." Were you familiar with John Foxx and the stuff he did with Ultravox!?
Adam: Oh yeah. My old band, Le Car, was very John Foxx-centric. It was on a label called Monoplaza, which referred to a song of his called "Plaza." The sticker for our band had a burning car on it which referred to his song "Burning Car." The bands that we like the most were Throbbing Gristle and Sonic Youth. They are an influence because they are massively independent. They had their own labels and they always did exactly what they want to do.
AL: Do you see yourself as a futuristic band?
Adam: Yeah, except phones still don't work everywhere in the future. We have never thought of ourselves as futuristic music. Lyrically, we think of what we are doing as social commentary. It's about anxiety and social disorder. I know that John Foxx and Tubeaway Army are the first records that I bought that put me on this path that I am still on sixteen years later.
AL: What do you think of people who put your music on the internet and do filesharing?
Adam: There's a good chance that all that will kill the industry. We had a lot of problems with Anxiety Always being uploaded on the web. This is how we live. We are just two people. We are not a corporation. We have no money coming in, except through playing live and putting out our CDs and selling them. Now that we have released it, there are journalists who sell them back, and people who buy them used and put them on Ebay. There are massive amounts of lost revenues. We had to go after this one company. They put the whole album up on this corporation website. It was the webmaster for this corporation. We had to tell the corporation that we were going to sue them, because this webmaster would take it down. They had to lock him out and close the website down. It's okay to have one or two MP3's to hear what you sound like. But if you give it all away for free, nobody can do it for a living.

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WIRE INTERVIEW: a chat with Colin Newman

photo by Angel Ceballos

Blast from the Past: part two
An Interview with Colin Newman
by Alexander Laurence

WIRE are one of the most distinctive bands of our time. Colin Newman (guitar/vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), Graham Lewis (bass/vocals), and Robert Gotobed (drums) make up this enduring band that emerged at the time of the punk explosion in London in the late seventies. They released three amazing albums during this period which are still considered to be classics: Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978), and 154 (1979).

In the early eighties, the band members pursued several solo projects, but soon after reformed as a group (now subtitled "The Beat Combo") and produced five more albums. The most distinct were The Ideal Copy (1996) and The Drill (1991). Many of the albums were heavily produced and were not well received. They soon moved on to other projects and didn't perform together for a decade.
WIRE surprisingly came back to the USA in May 2000 and played to audiences who were often too young to have ever seen them play live in the seventies or eighties. With this third version of the band (WIRE mark III), they started to play material from all their albums. Later they started releasing some singles and EPs, marking a new period for the band. This new material is faster and heavier than anything they have done in the past. People are getting into them for the first time or, like me, getting excited about a band they have loved since the late 1970s. I spoke to Colin Newman three years ago. They have toured and released Send (2003) since then.
AL: I am guessing that WIRE reformed because either Graham Lewis moved back
to England or because you were being asked to do many festivals like All Tomorrow's
Parties. How did it happen exactly?
Colin: No, Graham still lives in Sweden. You cannot divorce WIRE, especially
WIRE mark III, working again from a notion of appropriate timing. WIRE is a
creature of whatever time it is being conducted in. If you go back to say
1995 it would be hard to imagine how WIRE as a specific unit could have
operated at that time, the individuals are multi-modal, they are always happy
to operate with culturally appropriate artistic currency. But it would have
been hard (although not impossible) to construct a model of WIRE that could
have operated at that time (for a start it would have had to be totally
AL: You reunited at the Meltdown around 1998, right?
Colin: Yeah. By the late 1990's things had moved on. Both Bruce and I (who are London residents) independently developed the sense that there could be a WIRE construction for that period. A specific invite came to play a show at Daniel Miller's "mini meltdown" in 1998. In the end it came to nothing, but the seeds were sown. The next year an invite came that it would have been unwise to ignore in the shape of an offer to curate an evening and headline at the Royal Festival Hall (with a reasonably sized check attached!!) This was actually a bigger show than WIRE had ever played in their own right! A 3,500 capacity, which we sold out! In order to do the show we had to tool up the band from a more or less cold start.
AL: WIRE hadn't played for about ten years.
Colin: In preparation for it we made the decision that it would have been giving ourselves too much of a mountain to climb to try to make entirely new material for this one show, as the band had been effectively dormant for 10 years. So we worked through a huge list of back catalogue material to try to find -

A- the items that we could easily remember how to play and
B- items that were not so totally dependent on the "atmosphere" of the studio versions that they could sustain a new life. At this time we were really not sure if what we were doing was going to last any more than one very well paid gig.

The approach was quite simple and could be described as a stripping away, not only of extraneous musical information but also of approaches and formalities belonging to another age.
AL: How did the gigs go?
Colin: The Royal Festival Hall gig went well and we were offered to play the first, Mogwai curated, All Tomorrow's Parties. There, seeds for much more were unearthed. Whereas the RFH gig, for all it's trappings, was a "museum piece" a chance for the belated and curious to see it and add it to the checklist - ATP was something else, a young audience of music fans there to watch whoever might take their fancy from the assortment on show. Their response, especially to WIRE in full flight with the accelerator on was enlightening.

ATP that year could be described as a "festival of slowness," a lot of Tortoise derived bands exploring the spaces in between the notes. So it was surprising that the effect of WIRE's fastness was visceral. Not something measured in applause and outbreaks of mad frenzy, just a sense that, to put it simply and presciently "fast is on it's way." At that point (April 2000) I personally knew that WIRE had to make new, fast material. It was just something you could feel in the room.

By that time we were also committed to a US tour. No time to develop new material but a space to hammer the museum piece into contemporary currency. WIRE were discovering a directness and urgency it had never had before.
AL: You lived in Israel off and on for the past 16 years. Was it a real
influence on you, Wire, and your solo records?
Colin: I haven't lived there, just visited. Probably not a big influence.
AL: What was the biggest WIRE single or album that charted?
Colin: No idea. I don't have any comparative sales figures plus the 70's stuff didn't sell much at the time but kept selling (and still continues to do so)
AL: What do you think of Graham Lewis' solo stuff?
Colin: You can't ask people in group's what they think of their co-members solo work!
AL: There are many references to Berlin and Germany in many WIRE songs. What is the fascination with Berlin?
Colin: WIRE made two albums in Berlin in the 1980's: The Ideal Copy, and A Bell Is A Cup. Berlin is a fascinating place.
AL: During that American tour you played a new song "The Art of Persistence." What
happened to that song?
Colin: Not a lot really. We don't play it any more. At one point I made a much darker version of it which we may revisit at some time in the future.
AL: Do you still wish to collaborate with others, new groups, musically and
producing them, or is it limited to WIRE and Malka Spigel/Immersion?
Colin: Of course. I just did a mix for a Belgian band Dead Man Ray. In fact, since "Read & Burn 01" has started to be heard, I'm starting to get more people approaching me about mixing or production.
AL: I was always wondering about the WIRE/WIR gigs around 1989/1991. What was it like performing songs off of albums like Manscape or The First Letter which were more studio based albums? And what was it like without Robert Gotobed?
Colin: In a way this was a different band dealing with a different set of circumstances. In general WIRE had very little appropriate support during the 1980's and fared rather badly under it's own advice. WIRE is never short of good ideas, however care always needs to be taken to be selective about which paths will yield well for the long term. 1980's WIRE is bitty. It is the band's least favorite version. I feel we have a much more intelligently curated strategy now.
AL: Some people think "Read & Burn 01" is much better than the last few WIRE
Colin: Absolutely. The aim of mk III WIRE is to produce items which have the power of our best work but centered in now rather than then.
AL: "Read & Burn 01" is one of the first releases on Pinkflag. Is there a plan to do any further albums or EPs?
Colin: That little 01 in the corner there should tell you what you need to know about pinkflag's future. The label started by releasing two albums in 2000 "The Third Day" (PF 1) & "It's all in the Brochure" (PF2). The former is a record of the first rehearsal for the RFH thing and the latter is a document of the show. These items were only available either at shows or through mail-order at www.posteverything.com/pinkflag. They are now out of print. We followed up with a seven inch single "twelve times you" (VPF3) based on audio recorded at the Garage in 2000. Although "Read & Burn 01" has been put into conventional distribution, it's follow up "Read & Burn 02" will not be. It will be available at the US shows. Pinkflag started as a "fan" imprint but now it becomes a record company.
AL: Could you comment on some more obscure WIRE tracks like "Harry Houdini," "Stepping Off Too Quick," "Oh No Not So (save the bullet)," or "It's the Motive?"
Colin: They are obscure. If they were any good they'd be less so...
AL: You are touring America this September. After that in Europe. What should people expect?
Colin: The live show features stuff from "Read & Burn 01" & "Read & Burn 02" as well as some as yet unscheduled pieces. We did the "museum piece" show in 2000, now it's time for new stuff. We have played this set a few times in the UK and have received the strongest positive feedback we have ever received for Wire live.
AL: Many British bands refuse to tour the USA because even if they have a
high profile in the UK they are like an indie band here. Any comments?
Colin: It's quite hard to make money on the road in USA so you'd better have an audience or someone to subsidize you. You can easily get sunk by the costs. WIRE have an audience (no one subsidizes us) but we have to be pretty careful otherwise we'd end up losing money and that comes out of our pockets directly! I can see therefore why someone might not want to do it.
AL: What advice do you have for younger people who want to play music?
Colin: How young are we talking here? Not young but younger, if young is teen then younger is pre-teen? I have a 13-year old son who makes his own tracks under the name of Bumpy. We have released a few of these on swim. He also recently started picking up bass guitar. We never really encouraged him but if he's interested we can help. I'm going to buy him a bass soon. Wanting isn't enough, it's about doing it. If you are interested you'll find a way to do it.
AL: What qualities do you like about music?
Colin: I can't believe anyone would ask such a question! I've spent most of my adult life being involved with what might loosely be described as "music." It's qualities are many and various and life is way to short to list them all here.

-- Alexander Laurence


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