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04'06 INTERVIEW
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Mountaigns

Nightmares On Wax Interview
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Trunk Records Interview
Trunk Records

04'06 FEATURES
Biosphere / Egbert Mittelstädt live
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03'06 INTERVIEW
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Clark Interview
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04'06 REVIEWS
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Dictaphone
Glissandro 70
Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid
International Peoples Gang
Izu
Kyler
Loka
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Same Actor
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Terrestrial Tones
Uniform
Vizier Of Damascus
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04'06 SHORT CUTS
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Christ.
Fisk Industries
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BROADCAST

...continues from previous page

You seem to attach a lot of importance to the graphics on your record covers. You’ve been working with Intro pretty much from the start…
Trish: Yes, from the start, from the Accidentals single…

James: Well, it’s not actually Intro, it’s Julian (band acquiesce). Before he was working with Intro, we were working with Julian. He happens to be there now.

Do you see that side of a release as a further expression of your work?
Tim: Definitely. When you buy a record, you can’t help but look at the sleeve. We’re all record fans. When you buy a record, you’re exited about it, it’s like it creates a whole world for you. It’s very important you know… there’s nothing worse than having a record in a blank sleeve.

Trish: It’s the greatest advert for the music.

Tim: It’s an opportunity to do something more really.

How does your relationship with Julian works? Do you give him ideas, tell him what you want?
James: Julian is like another member of the band really. We respect what he does, so we just let him do it.

Tim: We’ve got similar musical tastes, and we understand the same references.

James: He’s got everything we would have ever wanted in a producer, except that he does artwork. We’re on the same wave length.

Similarly, your B-sides seem to benefit from the same attention as album tracks, which is rather rare these days. How do approach an EP compared to an album?
Tim: We treat EPs differently really.

James: You know when you buy a 99p single with a couple of remixes on it, I just feel like it’s a piece of junk really. There’s no point of manufacturing them to promote records. I like the idea of singles or EPs being things in their own right, things of merit.

Trish: When you walk into Woolworth and you see all those 99p singles, you just imagine them in some land field site; you’ve got millions upon millions of them…

Tim: Yeah, that’s where they’re going to go. It’s just rubbish really, where does all that shit goes?... CDs that they manufacture, all those 99p singles are going to go in the bin; they end up being planted in the ground.

James: It’s like the whole process is reversed for us. Whereas Kylie releases a single to promote the album, with us, you’re better off buying the EP for the B-sides because you can get the A-side on the album. That already exists, and the EP is another part of the puzzle which is as valid, it’s just another branch of the bigger picture.

Tim: For us, because we recorded the EP (refereeing to Pendulum) after doing the album, you can feel a bit freer because you’ve done the LP, so let’s have some mad bits on the EP.

So it’s a more experimental approach then?
James: I don’t know if it’s experimental, but it is certainly looser

Tim: It’s not as precious, although it’s still high quality (laughing)

James: yeah it’s just… (laughing) yeah high quality..

Tim: even if it’s to be put straight in the bin (laughing)

Trish: What usually happens is that you do a lot of sweat, and all of a sudden, when you’re not trying, something really nice pops up, and that’s what happens when you’ve done that album, you’ve sweated over it, and then it’s like the pressure’s off now, we do an EP, and all of a sudden all these wonderful little tracks pop out really quickly. And it’s because of all that sweat that you’ve done before, that hard work and that working habit, it pays off…

Was that what happened after The Noise... as you released quite a few EPs afterwards?
James: The album took a long time and we wanted to prove that it wasn’t because of whatever, and EPs are a good opportunity to do something good. You know, those My Bloody Valentine EPs were kind of an influence on that. We always talked about You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss or whatever... They were great records to buy because there hadn’t been an album, or the album was gone, and it was a load more stuff just as good. It’s a lot more interesting as a buyer.

Tim: I’ve always felt like if you’re going to make a product, make it worth wile. Let’s not just make it as a marketing tool, it’s that simple really.

Tim, in a recent interview with the BBC, you said that you didn’t think the public gave a shit about how Broadcast were perceived…
Tim: I can’t remember the context in which it was said really…

The question was “How do you think you (Broadcast) are perceived by the public?”, and you said that you didn’t think the public gave a shit…
Trish: Anyone of us could have said that really… that’s the kind of things I’d say

Tim: It’s something that just came out… I think any of us could have said that. I suppose that in the great scheme of things no one really gives a shit, you know the general public doesn’t give a shit. We were talking about commercialism earlier…

James: People make their own minds up. We might have an overall view of how people see us, but generally… I mean, when we do interviews we get the impression that people see us as that kind of moody sort of band you know… trying to be… (looking for word)

Trish: Too serious perhaps…

James: Yeah, but when we speak to fans, they don’t feel the same way. It’s quite weird really…

Tim: It’s like people don’t care about what went on during the making of the album or however long it took or whatever, they only care about the finished product, all they’re interested in is facts or whatever they can buy, you know…

The way I interpreted your answer was that you didn’t think people were necessarily interested in an image…
Tim: Yeah, I think that’s right… you know, you can see through a band that is trying to create that sort of thing for themselves you know…

Trish: You can’t just create an image really, it happens naturally because of what you’re into and…

Tim: The reasons why you’re doing something…

Trish: Yeah… because band members are usually friends first, you know like-minds attract… it’s very much a sub-genre that you’re involved or some sub-culture that you’ve always been into and it’s for real as far as your taste goes. It’s not something you can manufacture and go for a certain look if it’s not there just because you’ve seen it…

Tim: People see through it… Generally you can tell if something’s faked…

Trish: Darius wears an MC5 t-shirt (Tim laughs…)

James: That’s because Levi bought that logo, did you hear about that?… (Trish and Tim look at James amazed)

Tim: What, Levi bought the MC5 logo?

James: Yeah that’s what it is…

Tim: Motorcity’s burning (band laughs)… Jesus!…

You also declared in an interview with Jockey Slut back in 2000 that you felt that in the early nineties, music was opening up a lot, and people were not scared of exploring old music like Krautrock and exotica. Do you think it’s still the case now, ten years later?…
Tim: Yes, I think so…

James: Yeah… I think probably more so now. There are so many different things, it’s hard to say.

Tim: It’s not like the late eighties or early nineties when there were very definite genres going on, you know, like trip-hop and when the whole Bristol thing happened, there were very definite musical trends, whereas now it’s far more fragmented…

James: Which is good if you’re willing to look for things instead of having them put on your lap. It’s all there for you to find. It’s quite easy to sit back and say there’s nothing going on, because there is, you just have to do more work to find it

You’ve been touring a lot lately. How does that affect the relationship between you as a band?
Trish: There’s always something to keep you focused...

James: Tim’s got Battleship on his phone, so he plays that a lot… (laughs)

Trish: The drummer’s a new addition, and Billy… we don’t really know Billy.. This time, going on tour, we didn’t have our projectionist with us, we had a different soundman, so it felt like a new group of people. Everyone’s still getting to know each other… I think we pretty much ignore each other on tour… I don’t mean that in a bad way, but we’ve got such a focussed day, you know, you wake up, you wait for the bus to come and pick you up to take you to the venue, you’ve got a few interviews to do perhaps, and then you set up the gear, you do the sound check, you eat… it’s so structured that you almost turn off a bit.

Tim: Yeah, we all know we’ve got a job to do; we just want the whole thing to work as well as it can. You just live in such close proximity that you’ve got to respect other people’s space. You want the gigs to go well and that’s what the main aim of the thing is, so you just focus on that and get along.

What’s the mood before you start touring?
Trish: There’s a big panic at the end that we’re all unrehearsed, and suddenly it all goes out of your head, and you think “oh no… I don’t know, I can’t remember anything, I forgot the lyrics”…

Tim: It’s like going camping. Have you got the tin opener to get your beans opened?... (Trish laughs) You’ve got everything to think of.

Trish, do you feel more exposed being the singer and the front woman?
Trish: Yeah… well I don’t know really because I’m only me you know… I can’t get into anyone else’s head, but yes there is a moment of that. Not as a woman but just as being a focus, because I’ll look down and I’ll see a lot of the eyes are on me when I’m singing, so I try not to look down too often… It’s like vertigo and bum notes keep happening… but that’s part of it, you just have to get on with it, get into it.

How did you realised that you could sing?
Trish: I can’t… (James laughs)

Tim: Oh come on…

Trish: It’s “when do I realise that I can’t”…

What was the thing that made you say that you could do it?
Trish: I don’t know, it’s something I’ve always done. I wouldn’t say that I’m like a pro, a bloody five octave range vocalist or anything but I’ve always been into writing songs and that’s just been part of me, expressing my songs really…

You’ve got a very identifiable voice and style. Is it something you’ve worked on?
Trish: No actually, no… (looks slightly embarrassed). I wouldn’t say I’ve…

Tim: It’s just your natural voice isn’t it?

Trish: I’ve got a singing book that has got all sorts of exercises so there’s a little bit of myself training that goes on, but only so I can save my voice because you do get a lot of tension so it’s just finding the most comfortable way of… you know… I like a spoken voice, I don’t like a big old singy-songy bluesy ballsey kind of voice. I like a quiet speaking and singing voice if you know what I mean…

Do you have any kind of aspiration at becoming as identifiable as people like Liz Fraser or…
Trish: God no… that’s very technical singing that!

I’m not necessarily refering to the style, but more to the fact that she has such a recognisable voice...
Tim: I kind of think you are anyway. Liz Fraser is quite an extreme example because who else sounds like her? Because of what she did. (Trish agrees).

James: I don’t think you sit down and think “woey I really want to be”… I don’t know… “everybody sings like this so I’ve got to find a new way of singing”. It’s just what comes out naturally.

Trish: You can only go from what you listen to. Again, it goes back to that filtering through you know… The voices that I like are those kind of smaller voices, and that’s why I like a lot of the French sixties pop singers, because it’s so easy, it’s just like it’s dropping out, there’s no big push going on or over-elaborated vocal lines. It’s very very direct spoken voice almost, and that’s what I really like you know, that’s what goes in and that’s what comes out.

You’ve been previewing some songs from the new album recently. What has been the public’s reception to these?
James: It’s difficult because they don’t know them, but it’s been going pretty well actually, especially in America really. I think because when we play live we enhance the dynamic aspect, we perform as dynamically as we can and try to put as much in the performance and I think it comes across. Obviously, they’re never going mad, you know… it’s like if you go and see David Bowie, if he sings his old songs, you’re going to be screaming and shouting and singing along, and then he does a new one and you’re going to be like… (looks at his watch with a bored look – rest of the band laughs)… Ours aren’t quite that bad though…

Tim: They’ve been received really well actually. For us, playing them, we don’t consider them as new songs in the set. It’s not like “this is where this happens in the set”; you just accept it and I think the audiences seem to have accepted it too.

Trish: I think that for seven new tracks that we’ve been doing live… I never really considered that people would turn off or something. That’s what happens when you’ve been away for so long.

You’re music transcribes very well live. Is it difficult to reproduce what you do on records?
James: You have to work on it. It’s not something that just happens by accident. It takes a fair bit of work and listening and going “this is not quite right, we need to change it”. As in any group you make preparations to make it work. We’re still pretty much the same people, so it’s always going to have an element of continuity to it. There’s always Trisha’s voice, there’s always my… amazing bass playing, and Tim’s average guitar playing (band laughs)

Tim: My great sheet of noise I think you’ll find (winking at James).

You usually play in the dark, with films projected in the background. Where did the idea come from?
Trish: Yeah, Neil, the drummer was asking that, because we’d been rehearsing in normal daylight and when we got to do the first gig, in L.A., we were doing the sound check and we were checking that the projections were alright. We hadn’t had a chance to refresh our minds because we’d had a long flight and it was a long set up, and then he said “any chance we could have the lights turned back on?”

Tim: “Can we have some lights on please?”

Trish: and it was like ‘no, this is it” and he was like “you’re fucking joking me, they’re playing in the dark”

James: He’d never played in the dark before. It was quite funny.

Trish: And he just thought “I thought you were just testing the projections, yeah the projections are fine, now turn the house lights up” and it was like “no Neil, this is it”. We saw him panicking, didn’t we?...

James: It kind of comes from seeing the Velvet Underground playing. It’s not literally that, but I just think it works. A lot of bands these days will have just a little screen above them showing some imagery…

Trish: That’s rubbish.

James: We like to be part of the imagery. I really like that.

Tim: I think that’s where it comes from, because it was the first time anything like that happened, Warhol did it first you know, before all the West Coast or any of that, and it just looks brilliant. And we’re quite a static band because we’re quite busy concentrating on trying to get it right.

Trish: We’re not a performing kind of outfit.

James: And all the imagery is collected from car-boot sales and stuff, it’s all kind of old science imagery and stuff. I just like the way it looks. We’re not sort of saying “oh isn’t this funny kind of imagery kitsch” you know, we genuinely like the mood of it when we’re playing.

So it’s like another layer, like the graphics for the albums…
Tim: Yeah, you can disassociate you know… or your environment changes because there’s nothing worse than staring at some hairy bloke playing the guitar… maybe you can transcend that with images that can lift you out of some grotty venue round the corner and instantly you’re somewhere, off…

James: It amazes me how people still want you to be there with your foot on the monitor going “come on” (does some rock-ish gesture). It’s never appealed to me that. I like more of an experience you know when I go and see a band. I don’t like someone shoving their genitals in my face… (band laughs)

Tim: That’s not what you were saying last night (laughs)

James: Yeah, under the right circumstances… (more laugh…)

Interview done on 10 June 2003 in North London
Thank you to Trish, James & Tim and Lauren.

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