LIFE [17/09/2019]

LIFE’s new record, “Picture of Good Health” is one of the best records I’ve heard this year. Mainly because it’s direct, intimate, true and different. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend it. Also, I had the pleasure to interview Mez Sanders-Green and ask him not only about their record, but also about his views on mental health – a topic very close to my heart. Enjoy.

Your second album “Picture of Good Health” is very personal. Most bands/musicians go only as deep as writing about love, heartbreak and occasionally grief. I can imagine, it was hard to open up about your struggles and mental health.

Mez: I found it therapeutic writing about my personal struggles. It gave me relief and a space for me to process my thoughts. I found love whilst writing and now the pain seems to have gone.

Describing your new record you’ve mentioned, you think all of you had a breakdown at some point while making this album. It’s only your second album, was it hard to decide on a topic?

Myself and my brother share lyric duties and one thing we have stayed true too is the fact that we will always write about what is going on in the present moment. What’s going on for us. What’s going on for other people. This way I think our lyrics resonate more and can be dated to specific themes and events, which is vibe when you listen back. I guess we like to write a commentary on everything in the present and current surroundings so this can be broadly political – like on our first album – or more personal like on the new one!

Your song “Thoughts” stayed in my memory for a while after listening to it, especially because of the repeated “I was thinking about sex, I was thinking about booze”. You also mention food and death, if I’m not mistaken. Why those words?

FOOD. SEX. FOOD. BOOZE. DEATH – it’s how the world spins.

In the same song you also mention various social media. Do you think social media are good, bad, do they help or harm their users?   

I think in general social media can be dangerous. It’s driven by a ‘like’ culture. As a youth worker from Hull (my hometown) I’ve seen how unattainable beauty is glorified by social media platforms and despite what they say it has the counter affect on confidence building. It can result in anxiety, bullying, isolation, depression, grooming and all sorts of fucked up mental health issues. It also occupies your time; time when we could just be human and ourselves.

One of the most draining aspects of being a musician is touring. How do you cope with it?

The best way to cope is to have fun, look after your self mentally and physically and make sure everyone in the band are on the same page as you. Talk to one-another and be best friends. Then you can go out there and believe in your music. Touring is ace.


In an interview with DIY magazine you’ve mentioned working for a local youth organization called The Warren. Are you still involved in any projects there?

I finished at The Warren a week-ago however I will be staying involved in a couple of projects one around music and mental health and one about talent development of young artists and industry knowledge called 53 Degrees North. The Warren was/is an inspirational place and very much needed considering youth provision across the UK is being squeezed and flushed down the toilet. It’s disgusting how the world looks at young people, we need to take a long hard look at our governments and learn to empower you people not isolate and segregate them through top-down services and traditional education.

We are past days when life was easier, but what do you think would need to change in the world/society to help people cope with mental struggles and prevent suicide?

We need to create openness and space for healthy dialogue. We need to remove stigma, taboo and labels. We should be proud of individualization and embrace it. We should encourage love and hope and not project fear.

Do you have any advice for young musicians out there?  

Believe in your art and never give up. Look after yourselves. And tear it up!

You can find LIFE’s new record here.

dEUS [04/04/2019]

Last month I had the pleasure to speak to Tom Barman, dEUS frontman, about end of hiatus for the Belgian band, their plans for the future, the 20th anniversary tour of their album ‘The Ideal Crash’ and the side projects.

I’ve read a fascinating interview from 2012 published in the guardian. Sam Richards (the interviewer) stated, that many bands tend to slow down entering their 3rd decade, while in 2011 and 2012 you’ve put out two albums just 8 months apart and won an award. After that you’ve slowed down. Do you think he jinxed it?

Tom: (laugter) No I do not think so, because actually, I didn’t slow down at all or just did slow down with dEUS. I actually started another band called Taxi Wars, with which we are going on tour in November. It’s more a jazz outfit but in a funky kind of way. And we’ve just finished our third album, it’s coming out in September and we’re going on tour and we’re definitely going to come to London, which we already did a couple of times. After 2012 I’ve started writing my second movie, did a program for Dutch TV and the aforementioned new project. So all in all I never did [slow down]. To me it didn’t feel like a break at all. But on the dEUS front it’s been pretty quiet. So we’re going to break the silence with the new album, which we will start working on after the tour. So no one jinxed it. I think it was the only way out, a hiatus. It’s interesting, how working together for so long could be explosive. Especially if you know our history. Now the creative hunger is there again and that’s all what you would want. I think it’s just a way to go ahead.

So, you’ve decided, now it’s the right time to come back.

We were looking very much forward to this tour and that’s going to drive us forward for the next album. It’s been a while, but we’re ready to record. We’re definitely ready. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of ideas. I have no idea what it’s going to sound like or what style it’s going to be. It’s going to be completely different than whatever we did, but so I can’t talk about, that because I’ve no idea. I can only say, we just feel like doing it.

Lots of bands change their style and experiment, which changes a trajectory of their career.

We’ve done that with almost every album. I mean, there is a recurring atmosphere about our last two albums. “Keeping close” was very dramatic, very heartfelt. And then the last one, “Following sea” again kind of like eclectic and different. I feel, you need to change. We’ve had a great new guitar player for the last three years. So that already helps. And he’s a completely different character. So that’s going to lead us into some kind of a direction. We’ll just follow the guitar player.

That was my next question, because You and Klaas are the only original dEUS members left. Do you think letting people go brings a benefit of new energy?

I didn’t really have a choice now did I. So you know, we made one album and two people left, I won’t discuss the reasons why. They were kind of ridiculous, you know. I mean, everyone of us was young and up their egos. I didn’t have a choice, but if I did, I don’t think I would stop them from leaving. We would have completely exploded if we would have stayed together, we would have killed each other on the first tour. We’ve made pretty good albums after that first, because of it exploded straight away. There are two sides of the coin. I wouldn’t personally trust bands that stay together for 30 years in the same line of public trust. You know there’s something fishy there, right? I don’t want to elaborate too much on that, but if I could put this in a Smiley, this would be suspicious looking Smiley. So there you go. It’s been a weird trajectory, but it’s alright, you know, it’s been our path and the tickets for the tour are almost sold out, so that’s very heartwarming. People didn’t forget about us.

Are you looking for an instant chemistry with the people you want to play with?

Oh yes. It’s got to be right on many fronts, every new kid on the block has a special role to fulfill. I remember my role was to calm everything down. You know, we just needed to calm down. So that was my role in the beginning. But every time we needed somebody, who’d be able to shake things up. Every kid is chosen for that particular role. As vague as it may sound, instinctively you’re not going to choose first safe option, which we haven’t.


It’s not your first gig in Poland, isn’t it. You’ve played here few times already. I know, it’s been a while, but do you remember how it went?

Yes, I remember. We were four hours late. Our drummer got stopped at the airport, I think it was a passport problem would you believe it. It wasn’t anything too wild, just a forgotten passport. We got stopped at the border and we couldn’t move. We were in constant contact with the Polish organizer and agent and they were so kind to keep the people entertained. When we arrived they were like well ready. That was the first time in Warsaw. And I loved it. I also have memory of the second time in Warsaw, because that’s kind of a morbid memory, a tragedy in my friends circle, which I found out of on the streets of Warsaw the night before the show.

Oh I’m so sorry.

Thank you. We played a very good but a very emotional show. I remember it quite well. That must have been ten or eleven years ago. No, it’s got to be earlier than that. It’s going to be 2006. I also remember the show in Gdańsk. This time the story is lighter and funnier. I’ve bought a really nice long shirt, which looked like a dress on me. It was stretched down to my shoes, it looked fucking cool, so I decided to wear it that night. I appeared on stage, ready to rock, but the monitors in front of me were so high, you couldn’t see it. I remember standing on the wages just to make sure that everybody saw it. So ridiculous!

Let’s focus on lyrics for a moment. In the interview from 2012 you’ve mentioned you were tired of singing about yourself. Not all songs on Following Sea are personal, some are your reaction to the news and what was happening in the world. Should we expect new songs following the same pattern, also touching on the subject of politics?

I’ve made different albums, wrote the lyrics from different angles. I don’t think, anybody’s waiting for a guy in leather trousers with an earring to sing about politics and telling people what to do or what to say. So I never really like political or even topical song writing and that’s not going to be my thing. That’s not what I meant. What I meant is, I need to have myself as a subject, but it doesn’t have to be literal. I’m just that kind of a songwriter. I’m not the one that’s going to invent stories, like Johnny Cash or Cage did. At one point you think “okay, that’s getting more personal”. I think you have to experiment with all sorts of idioms, because it’s interesting and it’s fun. Then you get into another phase, you meet somebody, have strong feelings and you want to talk about them again. So I think that’s not gonna be a very personal album, lyrically, because I just did one like that for Taxi. I think I’m going to go pretty abstract and wild with the new album and I look forward to that, but it always will have personal angle. I can’t do it differently. I need to know what I’m singing about even on a very abstract level. Otherwise I just feel like a ventriloquist. I need to have a connection to my heart or to my brain or whatever, it has to have a personal angle. That’s just the kind of guy I am.

Yeah of course. Is there a slight chance you could tell me, how long we have to wait to see some new material?

First of all, I’m terrible with deadlines. I always ignore them. You should never trust me when I talk about dates. It’s always wishful thinking. I mean, all I can say is, we will start with a vengeance and utter abandon after this tour which is like September. So that’s all I can say. Another thing is, I’m going to make the soundtrack with dEUS for my new movie. The writing is almost done. So there’ll be plenty and it’s gonna go in all directions and I think it’s going to be exciting.

I mean you have a very dedicated fan base. And I think they will wait for whatever is coming. They were waiting this long and they can wait a bit more.

That’s good, it’s heartwarming to hear. I just hope they know that we never really stopped working. We were constantly recording and gathering ideas.

Looking at the reality of the music industry and the record sales and all the uncertainty about the future, did you ever had any doubts about coming back as dEUS?

Well that’s not something, that’s really going to stop me. Never. It’s just one of those things. You try to get lucky. You know life is still about putting bread on the table. But apart from that, this decline in record sales has been going on for 10 years now. We have a management who make sure that we get our Spotify and YouTube money, if there is any to get and share and make sure that the deals are good. But apart from that, I’m so happy I’m not a beginner, starting a band. It must be so hard for them. Don’t forget that we started in the 90’s which was the golden era of a combination of money behind you and quality music in the charts. We can only think with a lot of nostalgia to those days. Right now there’s very little money and the music is not very good, is it.

That’s a nice way to put it.

I mean it’s nice that they get dressed up and put a show, but we don’t tend to think too much about it, do we? It’s a completely different way of consuming music. I’ve got to be honest with myself, I can consume music differently in the sense that it doesn’t mean much to me, to listen to new bands. Music doesn’t mean as much, as it did when I was 20. And that’s just a reality of life. And of course, I still listen to music and of course I still love it.

Coming back to the interview from 2012 – you’ve mentioned Balthazar being one of your favourite bands at the moment and that they’re going to have a great future. Are you still listening to their music?

(Laughs). Yeah, I’ve heard the singles. I think that there’s a new direction there, which I was anticipating, because I thought they were rebooting themselves a little bit. I saw them live and they were very good. I follow them as much as I can and go and see them live. I mean I do listen to new music, nothing comes to my mind right now, but I’m on Spotify. I try to follow new interesting bands. Whenever I read something or hear something, I try check it out.

Balthazar [14/01/2019]

Let’s kick it off with talking about the singles you’ve put out to promote your upcoming album. First you’ve released „Fever“ and two weeks later „Entertainment“ came out. Was that on purpose?

Jinte: The thing is, the label wanted „Entertainment“ and we wanted „Fever“ (laughter). We love „Entertainment“, of course, we’ve put it on the album, but we didn’t think of it as the best introduction song. So we wanted to come out with something more ambitious at first. „Fever“ was this perfect shot for us.

Maarten: „Fever“ was always perfect for us to put out first. It’s also the opening track for a reason.

Jinte: When you put out the song without an album, it always feels weird, because you don’t have a context. We’ve felt like, “Fever” was the only song you can out and it’s still a mystery what the album is going to be about, but it’s also very intriguing. While “Entertainment” is more obvious radio song.

The music video for “Entertainment” was shot in Pekfabriek in Antwerp. “Fever” is as mysterious as is can be, I couldn’t find any information about the location you were shooting in.

Maarten: It was Lanzarote. We’ve finished the album and wanted to go on holidays. But our manager wanted us to record a music video for “Fever” before we can go anywhere.

Jinte: So we combined it, went for the holiday with our director and shot it. That’s how we made the video.

It’s well directed and kind of makes you think of a short movie.

Maarten: It was just a trailer. What’s going to happen in the end, maybe we will kill each other, or something. In a “True Detective” manner, the main characters are searching for the truth, a murderer, building a case. But when the plot evolves, they realise, what they were looking for was a purpose in their lives.

Jinte: The movie is still in progress.


I hope so, it does fall into my aesthetics. Are you already planning another single release?

Jinte: We’ve actually shot one yesterday. That’s why we’re so tired. Is it going to come out?

Maarten: Monday, I think.

Jinte: Monday. It’s called “Wrong vibrations”.

That’s one of the songs I fancy. Which leads me to my next question. Do you have a favourite song on the album?

Maarten: All of the songs kind of need each other. It’s like a big family of children.

Jinte: The thing is, we’ve had some many children and we’ve picked our favourites, that’s why they’re on the album. If we didn’t like them, they wouldn’t make the cut. But also it depends on the day. Today is Monday, so for me it’s “Wrong faces”.

Maarten: I like that one. I like them all. For me it’s “Grapefruit” day. What’s your favourite?

It’s a tough choice. But I would say my absolute favourite is “Wrong faces”.

Jinte: Really?

Yes, there’s something in this particular song.

Maarten: That’s good, because it’s totally not a single.

Another interesting thing about your album is the cover. It’s a photo of African wild dogs. I’ve spend a second searching for them.

Jinte: On Google? It’s the second picture. (laughter) Since December 2017 we were working on the album. We’ve rented out a house for like a week, we were still on tour with our solo projects. It was one of the first sessions we were writing there. We’ve found one of the national geographic magazines. On page seven or so there was this picture of the dogs, they looked like a band, which fitted the whole vibe. Colours, the African soil.

Maarten: There was also an interesting article about the dogs, how they live and form a sort of a wolf pack. They chase their pray for  like 100km.

Jinte: Are you sure it’s a 100km?

Maarten: 200km. It’s sometimes like we feel like chasing the muse.

Jinte: They’ve became our Mascote from the beginning.


You’ve mentioned the solo projects. It’s so cool, you are so supportive of one another. You don’t really see that in the industry, sometimes it leads to a so called beef between the artists.

Jinte: We’ve always wanted to start a beef. (laughter) But we just love each other so much. Sorry, what was the question?

There was none, I just wanted to give you a compliment.

Jinte: Ah, thanks.

It’s your forth record. Maarten, you’ve said in an interview with IndieSpect you’ve started the band at 17, put out your first record at 22/23 and almost 10 years later you’re putting the 4th album at 31/32. Are you feeling like you’ve found the sound you would like to be remembered for?

Jinte: When I look at the first album, I think it’s logical the way we were back then. Not something essentially I want to be remembered by. I think I will think the same way about this album. About every album. That’s the reason why you’re making more albums. It’s just the correct sound for who you are now. But I hope it will change.

Maarten: I would like to use the metaphor of the dog chasing the muse. We’re not biting her neck yet. It’s more about the process.

So you’re still chasing the bunny.

Maarten: It’s about the growth, not the destination.

You’re spending two days in Warsaw. What’s next?

Jinte: Italy, I think. We’ve never done so much promotion. It’s the first time we’ve spent two days in a row in Poland.

You’ve also played few times in Poland last year.

Jinte: Yes, we tour a lot. I came here two times, every time it was great. Poland is on the regular tour schedule.

How do you find it? The crowd, the fans, the venues?

Maarten: Great. The first time we came here was it together or alone? I don’t remember.

Jinte: You expand your territory, so we could come to Poland. People are very warm and enthusiastic. So it was cool to see it grow, even with our solo projects it grew further. We’re very grateful.

I’m glad to hear that. Thanks so much for your time.

Editors [25/11/2018]

As everyone is saying, this year was filled with good and bad, with challenges and surprises, positive and negative. For me, it was a struggle for my mental health, but I’ve managed to stay afloat. That’s why I saved the last interview I’ve done this year for its last day. I think, this one is by far the best and most meaningful interview, I’ve done.

You’re always on tour, I didn’t expect to see you in Poland that quickly after your last concert. You’ve played in Warsaw in April, roughly 7 months ago.

Justin Lockey: Yes, it’s the 5th time this year, plus we’ve played probably 6 acoustic shows. It’s a lot, for one country. But I love coming back to Poland. We’ve played like 20 shows in Germany only this year.

I can understand that. Germany is such a huge country. And the big cities are spread all around.

It’s fucking enormous. I drove across the entire country in like a week. It’s going on forever.

You’re touring so much. How do you cope with it?

I don’t really, I have a hard time touring. It’s incredibly difficult, that’s why I travel on my own. I don’t eat well, or I don’t eat enough, so I lose lot of weight. I have two wardrobes of clothes at home, one for when I’ve just got off tour, since my clothes don’t fit me anymore. And when I get fat again, when I’m at home, there’s the other one. True story. I have large and medium. When I go on tour, it’s large. And I come home a medium. I struggle with it quite a lot. Not with the shows, nor with the people. I don’t struggle with any press, anything like that. I just struggle with the general lifestyle. When you’re constantly unsettled. And mix it with excitement, which is very close to fear. Then time it by thousand, that’s touring.

That’s sounds ridiculously hard.

It is ridiculous. Some people like Tom and Russ take it lighter, for me it takes a lot of energy just to get to the venue. With all the other rituals, for me to be in place, to have a good show. I’m always tired, when I’m on tour. Because I travel by myself. Because I’m always on edge. I run out of energy twice as fast as normally, I can’t catch enough sleep. So on days off I’m just whipped out. Today’s Warsaw, tomorrow Bratislava. And then I’ve got a day off in Linz, Austria. I’ll probably sleep for like forever.

It sounds so terrible, but I perfectly get it. I also need to have routine. Right now I’m sleep deprived for ages and being on the edge.

Yes, for me it’s like having two lives. One is when I’m on tour, which is chaotic. I like flying, don’t mind driving, cause I can see countries when I travel. When you travel on a bus, which I won’t do, you arrive in the venue, you see inside of it, which all are the same. Then you do show, then you get back on the bus, it’s already night time. You travel in the night, so you never get a chance to see the country. It’s just a line of venues. Whereas when I drive on my own, I can see everywhere. I stay in little towns and stuff, in the middle of nowhere. I’ve been to towns, you just wouldn’t visit, ever.    

And that sounds super cool.

I like that side of it. I’m happy, when it’s just me, my thoughts, someone else’s car. Just having a good time. I don’t even listen to music most of the time. I just think. And then I turn up, say hi to the guys, do soundcheck, have a little nap backstage and then do a show. And then, like tonight, I’d be heading to a hotel straight offstage and fly to Bratislava tomorrow.

Sounds busy.

It is, but it’s kind of a false routine, I’ve got it all on my phone, know where I’ve got to go and what to do. So today I woke up, was supposed to go to the train station, take the train and come to Warsaw. And then tonight I would have just got a cab, went to the airport and sleep. But this morning I’ve got up to the fire alarm. The kitchen was on fire. So I had to get out of the hotel and wait till they could tell me to get back in to get my things, so I’ve missed the train. I had to hire a car and drive. It slightly upset my routine today. But it’s fine. I spend a lot of time in airport hotels. I see train stations, airports, flying doesn’t make me nervous. I spend a lot of time on an airport hotel bed, watching the news. That’s touring. Rock and roll.

I was asking about it, because a lot of musicians struggle with the routine and they go into drugs and/or alcohol.

You know why they struggle? Because it’s very bad for mental health. Generally being a musician these day and age is very bad for your mental health. It’s because musicians and generally creative type people are genuinely or generally prone to depressions, anxieties and/or panic attacks. It’s the worse career ever. But at the same time it’s the most rewarding career, because you create. But what you find, everywhere you go, every band and crew, every venue, every festival is just a hot mess of mental illness. Yet nobody says anything. Right after we went to Europe, one of my other bands mates killed himself. It was in April this year. He was a singer of another successful bands as well. He went missing and was found dead. The only difference between him and the next one is, he sang about it, so it wasn’t really that much of a surprise. But it’s always a surprise. He’s not the first and definitely won’t be the last.


The other side of the medal is, if you’re a musician and not working in music, you still experience the same struggle. It’s fine that I have the routine, but at the same time…

… not pursuing what you want to do. The thing is, nowadays it’s harder to make the living out of music. Back in the 90s or beginning of the 2000s people were still buying records. So people could probably get by without touring. Nowadays touring is the only place you make money. So we’re kind of fucked both ways. But you try to throw yourself into it hoping, you come out the other side untouched.

It all depends from a person I guess.

It all depends for a person and the people you surround yourself with. I have very understanding band mates, who know when to leave me alone, they don’t question my crazy ways of getting to places. And don’t ask questions if I need help. They are there for me. It’s especially needed in a male situation. If there was no bravado around mental illness, more lives could be saved.

I think it’s still the stigma surrounding the genders. Women can speak about it and worse case scenario they would be called mental. With men, you can’t show emotions or weakness.

Not so much, unless you’ve got a great group of people around you. That helps a lot. There’s so many strains of anxiety, depression all around, not just in music, but everywhere, because the world goes so fast now. Everything seems so sped up, to the point where it’s really hard to stay on top of what’s happening, without trying to plan something. You get constantly back away with texts, emails, Whats app, Instagram, all this. We lived fine without it before. But now, if you’re not in it, you’re kind of at the bottom of a social pile, I guess. Which is horrendous, but I just switch my phone off. It’s hard to keep up. But then you’re on tour and trying to do both at the same time it’s just impossible.

We’ve tackled this pretty depressing topic.

It’s fine, I’m quite open about it. More people in bands should talk about it. I’ve seen people affected or struggling. And no one says a fucking thing. And you know, no one will say a fucking thing, because the sooner it gets out and someone wants off and stop the world for a second, then nobody’s making money. Look at all those fucking pop stars. They get minced through the mill. They’re out 365 days of the year, until they’re dead. A lot of it could be ambition and stuff like that, but a lot of it can evaporate persons mental health. And nobody talks about it. But it’s happening everywhere. Sex, drugs and rock&roll is probably the old way of coping. The only thing people see, when they come to the show, is us walk on stage. All smiles, putting a show and having a great time on stage. That’s just 1% of the day. The rest of it is fucking boring. It’s shit. Boredom and depression. You’re away from your family, seeing Europe in winter, it doesn’t raise your spirits (laughter). I can easily understand why people descend to drugs and alcohol. If you’re already susceptible to be addicted to things, then you’re fucked. And again, nobody’s gonna stop everything for you. The moment everything stops, the moment everyone stops making money. The end of the day, it’s also the business and the job. I’m not selling being in a band, am I? (laughter)

We did talk about it last time, didn’t we?

Yes, we did. I’m not saying it’s bad, I think the positive thing is making the records and being creative. But it’s mixed with the dread and the fear of touring. It’s like everything, never what you’ve expected until you get there and do it. And then when you do it, you might just go on. But you never know, what your life could be like, if it’s just in your imagination.

Public Service Broadcasting [15/11/2018]

Last year I’ve had a pleasure to meet J. Willgoose, Esq. for the first time. The interview was brief, which was mostly my fault. I was lucky enough to have a do-over only a year later, with a result I’m happy with. Here you have it:

First of all, I wanted to talk to you about „Every Valley”. Last December you were playing underground, 320meters to be exact, in Guido Coal Mine. How was it?

It was great and really strange experience. I kept reminding myself about being 320 m underground. The room was great, and it seemed like a normal concert, except it was underground. It came after a very busy, very long year for us and it was kind of a great thing to finish the year with. The hardest thing about it was probably the fact, that the coal industry in Poland is still a big thing. Obviously, there are difficulties to it, there are problems starting to arise, the same we’ve faced 30 years ago. The hardest thing was feeling kind of like Dickens’ ghost of Christmas future. Bringing those messages was showing how not to do it.

I’ve told my parents about the concert, which was streamed live in the radio and showed them your record. They did listen to your concert and liked it. They both are miners. You were playing on the 3rd of December, the day before Barbórka, miners day, a huge thing in Poland. Was it more stressful for you, knowing the significance of this day?

I think we were relatively isolated from it before coming. I’ve read about the miner’s day. We’ve had some dignitaries, who looked very official and a bit intimidating. But normally you’ve got enough on your mind trying to play the music. Especially, when you’re on the radio, focusing on what you’re doing. Avoiding any extra responsibilities, you’re just trying to get on with it. It just made a very interesting experience. Not like many bands would have.

I’ve checked some statistics, of all of your albums and where they’ve ended up the year of their release. “Every Valley” was second in New Zealand.

That’s not the real chart, unfortunately (laughter). We’ve got very excited about it…

But in the UK it ended up on the 4th place. Did it change your life in any way? Did it made you feel out there and more publicized?

Maybe. You know, it’s a level of achievement no one can take away from you. It can end tomorrow, and someone would still sit in an office somewhere and talk about it. It gives us a layer of a general accomplishment. I don’t know if it changed our life in any way. Touring around in the UK the production of it was to the point where I remember seeing it during rehearsal and saying: “this is really good”. Nobody can convince me, that it’s not. Because it’s unarguably good, powerful and emotional. And it’s all been shown in a lot of ways. It’s the level of shows we were always hoping to do and are able to do now.

I was scrolling through your twitter account. Most of the posts are promotional. What caught my eye was a retweet of Howard Goodall tweet about the EU/UK visas and how it will affect the music industry. In light of yesterday’s events, what are your views on the matter?

I think, every time you’re trying to speak about it, you get some angry person shouting at you and telling you to shut up. But when you try some logical facts on them, they actually stop replying, which tells me everything I need to know. I think, we’ve got the responsibility to talk about it. This is our reality as a band, this is our industry. It’s really great that we have artists like Ed Sheeran or Bob Geldof speaking their mind. I think people find it very easy to just assume, millionaires don’t care about them. But actually, it’s not about them, it’s about small bands and the crew, the people, the whole industry. How many thousands of people’s lives depend on easy touring around Europe. And to be isolated and throw that away is worrying. I think maybe that level of success, that we have now, makes you more accountable into saying something. I don’t think with one tweet I will end the whole thing, so I’m actually quite pleased to speak up and be honest about it. We’ve definitely lost quite a few angry people that way, but I don’t really care. I want to be able to speak my mind, respectfully and based on reality, then just say nothing.

Is it easier to write about politics, or history?

I think those two are the same thing, ultimately. I took the conscious decision with the last album, to tackle a more political aspect of history with miners strikes. Very divided subject across Britain, still. I don’t think we did speak heavy about it, to also tell people what to think. We’ve laid it out in a way to kind of interest people in the subject. I would never try to write something fake, that sells. If you’re not challenging or even asking people questions, it’s a bit boring. I don’t really want to be that way, even if it means being a bit riskier.


And now you’ve focused on marine history.

Yes, it’s a side project, a little offshoot I would say. It’s not a subject, I would have chosen myself. It was kind of a commission almost from BBC, of how the ship was built. It’s an interesting challenge. How to show people what my experience was like, the scale of it, getting back to how many people died. We were trying to make something light-hearted, that would drag people away from the terrible tragedy for a second, away from the Cameron picture. Just for them to look at this enormous ship, how it was built and what happened to it, what shouldn’t have happened to it. That’s what we were trying to do. It’s like a mini challenge almost. It also kind of delayed our next album.

I’ve listened to the EP before watching the video for “White Star Liner”. I wasn’t quite sure, if it was only about Titanic, or about the whole company. Then I started thinking, 4 songs can’t be about all of the ships, because not all of them sunk.

I think Olympic was the one, that didn’t sink, Titanic and Britannic did for sure. Recording “White Star Liner” was an attempt to tell the story of Titanic, which is so loaded, the phrase, the image. The name is not mentioned at all on the EP, but it is about Titanic obviously. It was a way to make it fresh on its own, to make you think about the ship and what it represents.

I’ve had this image in my head. In the video, I think almost at the end, there it is, Titanic. You’ve wrote under the video the following: “For the pedants out there (us included), yes, we know that’s the Olympic in a lot of shots and not the Titanic, but there is more footage of the former and it’s used in a purely illustrative manner.”

There really aren’t many videos about Titanic. It was 1912, there are really not many videos, it was a challenge for the archive to find anything.

What stroke me about it was, this huge ship was sinking for 2 hours and 40 minutes. It’s so long and at the same time so little time. So much time for more people to evacuate, but so little taking the size of it.

Especially because it was referred to as the unsinkable ship. I guess that’s the uncertainty of life. It’s a tragedy, so many people have died. What’s terrible, so many people refused to recognize, what was happening, even though they knew about it. When the ship hit the iceberg and the inspector came to the bridge, he said the ship is going down, and it’s going down quickly. I think the main reason, they didn’t have so many lifeboats, was, they presumed, if they sunk, it’s going to be a very slow process. They didn’t foresee, what happened, happening. It’s happening in various aspects of life, sooner or later the reality strikes.

This reminds me of a comment Donald Trump made about the camp fires in California. It was something among the lines of people being responsible for it, not the climate change.

There’s no limit of this man’s idiocy, is there?

I’m afraid not. My last question. Any ideas for the new album?

Yes. I’ve been preparing for it for quite some time now, reading about various topics. The Titanic stuff kind of jumped in and pushed things back. But it is more of a solid thing, which I can’t reveal now. I don’t want to. I’m always quite protective of my ideas. It won’t be next year, though.

We’ll wait patiently then.

Yep, people wait for the things they care about.

Thank you so much for your time!

Shame [06/05/2018]

May this year me and a colleague of mine were invited to interview Shame, a great UK band. As the venue was pretty small and there was no quiet place for us to go, we decided to catch some sun and “fresh” air, sitting in a parking area behind the building. There it is:

How are you feeling about tonight?

Eddie: It’s gonna be a long night, we’re going to get a plane at 4 in the morning.

Sean: Back to London.

Josh: With WizzAir, worst airline in the whole fucking world!

I thought AirBerlin was the worse.

Sean: I’ve never been on AirBerlin.

Josh: We’ve taken WizzAir on the way back from Off Festival and the seats were literally facing forward.

Eddie: I’d call it 85 degrees. And it was also around 4am.

Sean: It was horrible.

Rock star life, what can you do.

Sean: I don’t think they serve champagne on WizzAir.

Don’t think so.

Eddie: Do you know the band IDLES? They were on the same plane and their guitarist is a dentist. He literally had to go to work after we landed. We were flying from Poland at 3 in the morning and he had to be at work at 10 am.

Charlie: (exiting the building) We’re talking about Off Festival?

Josh: And Wizz Air.

Charlie: Aren’t we taking Wizz Air today?

Josh: Yeah.

Charlie *sight*

Sean: I think their planes are the ones that used to transport convicts, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when we went to Off Festival, they had those little things for hooking up ankle cuffs into the seats. No more fear of flying.

So, you’re experiencing a proper déjà vu right now, I guess?

Eddie: It’s a pretty different situation, but you can say so (laughter)

Josh: It was a great festival.

Sean: Yeah, it was.

I’ve heard, wasn’t there though.

Josh: I remember it was really really hot. We’ve only seen sun in Poland.

Really? Today’s weather is great, just the right amount of warm.

Sean: Well, I still got a little sunburnt yesterday.

Josh: Last time we went to the park, we also got burnt. What was the park?

Eddie: A park with a palace.

Sean: But what was it called? Something with K. It’s near the old town, a massive park.

Oh, right, Park Krasińskich!

Sean: That’s the one!

Ok, let’s get down to business. How are you guys doing, second show in Poland.

Josh: Very good.

Charlie: We’ve got a day off here yesterday. We could properly relax and see the city this time. We’ve seen the old town, walked around and shit. Sometimes all we see is the inside of the van and the inside of the venue. It’s tiring.

Sean: It’s quite depressing.

Charlie: It’s nice to see the city, it’s a really nice place and it’s fucking cheap.

You can actually go around and no one’s bothering you.

Charlie: True.

Josh: It’s a cheap and nice place, well maybe not for Poles.

No, it’s not the cheapest for us, Warsaw is the most expensive place in Poland.

Charlie: Not for us. (laughter)


Sean: Prices here are less than half the prices in London. We had this extravagant dinner last night.


Charlie: No, that’s the tourist trap.

Sean: We’ve been in a fancy place in the old town, had the pork knuckle thing. And it was like 800zł.

Charlie: No, it was 67 pounds.

Ok, so 67 x 5, more or less.

Charlie: It was under 600zł.

You’ve done this before, arriving a day earlier? It was New York City, was it?

Josh: It was an extreme version of it.

Charlie: We’ve went there in November. It was our first American Tour. None of us has ever been to New York before. We just said, we want to be able to see it, have a little bit of holiday there.

Eddie: If we turned up like late a day before the show, we would be horribly jet lagged.

Sean: It was amazing. New York is just a ridiculous place, like London on crack. It doesn’t ever stop. Which is obviously a massive cliché, but it’s true, it’s a 24h city. You guys actually have it here, with the 24h alcohol shops.

We do.

Sean: That’s pretty good.

You don’t have it in London?

Charlie: We have 24h off-licence shops.

Sean: There’s only maybe a handful of 24h bars.

Josh: I don’t know if I’ve ever been to any of them.

Charlie: There are some clubs.

Eddie: Mosquito bar. That’s the only one I know.

Sean: It smells like vomit.

Eddie: But you can get a curry out there.

But your vodka is not as strong as ours.

Sean: I’ve had some really nice vodka yesterday. Żubrówka. It’s the one with the bison on the label.

Charlie: You can buy that in London.

Sean: You can find it, but it’s a copy. Not a real one. Looks similar.

You need to go to Polish shops in London.

Eddie: There’s a Polish deli near my house. I always get a ham there.

Charlie: I get the bread.

Sean: Polish shops are great. They have crazy strong beer as well. Like the black Tyskie.

Josh: All of our friends drink Tyskie and Żywiec.

Sean, You’re actually really good at pronouncing polish words.

Sean: No, I’m really not. My mom’s best friend is Polish. She tried to teach me something, I was like “oh this is really hard”. It’s fucking hard.

Yeah, I know. Fortunately for us, we don’t need to struggle. According to statistics, the more difficult language than Polish is Chinese.

Sean: Me and Charlie get Mandarin lessons at school. And we were so bad at it.

Charlie: So bad. The writing is like an art.

Sean: Speaking is one thing, writing is another.

For me personally it would be impossible. I can’t draw at all.

Sean: Exactly. I would write something and the teacher would be like “no, you need to write it the other way around”. For fucks sake, I can’t do this. (laughter)

Josh: It’s like learning to speak again.

Sean: You remember the story of a woman, who went into a coma, when she woke up she could only speak Chinese. She’d never spoken a word in Chinese in her life. I don’t understand how it’s physically possible, as she went to coma and now she can only speak Chinese.

That’s a real problem right there.

Josh: She probably had Chinese television playing.

Sean: There must have been something that was just feeding her Chinese into her head. Cause now she can’t even speak English. The interview’s kind of hilarious. (laughing)

How can she not remember any word in English? That’s just sick. Speaking of which. May is the Mental Health Awareness Month and I wanted to talk to you about how do you cope with endless touring. You’re so young.

Sean: Everyone has their sort of breaking point. If you’re touring constantly it’s easy to just keep going until it’s too late. Bad things can happen, but you’re just learning to not to push yourself too far.

Josh: It’s almost quite helpful, how much we’ve done it. Cause we’ve all learned what not to do.

Charlie: Everyone has their own coping mechanism. Just like anything in life. I’m 20, the rest of the guys are 21 years old. So to be able to see the world in an unorthodox way and still do what you love is incredible. But it’s like Josh said, we’ve learned how to do it.

Sean: Everyone’s learning from their own mistakes.

Eddie: When we’ve started doing it, it was quite easy. Being in a new city everyday, getting free booze. You kind of feel the need to make it out of wherever you are, as much as possible.

Sean: You also need to sleep. It’s funny, cause we’ve played gigs with bands with members quite older than us. They’re kind of where we were the first stages, when we’ve just were like “let’s get fucking hammered”. People get kind of confused, when they see us not partying. You just can’t do that every night. You can try. (laughter)

Charlie: It works short term.

Eddie: It always ends and ends in tears.


Isn’t it easy to just give in? With drugs and alcohol?

Charlie: A lot of people use it as their coping mechanism.

Sean: Which can be quite destructive, but maybe works for a bit. I think one thing that was quite formative when we started was The Queens Head Pub in Brixton. Which had a lot of people going to that pub, that were just like fucked by the music industry, a lot of them had problems. And the thing that was scarring in an interesting way was a lesson about personal limits.

Eddie: But also at the same time we would be there, trying to rehearse, we would see Fat White Family, once a month or something. They were at the same point we are now. They would go away quite fresh faced and were coming back kind of disheveled.

Josh: I think we’re better in dealing with touring.

Sean: Not that it’s a competition. (laughter)

And what about critics?

Sean: I find some of them really funny. Cause there are some people, who get very creative as to show you exactly how much they hate you. A very recent example, our KEXP session just went up online and one of the top comments on our YouTube video is “this is gonorrhea in audio form”.

Charlie: With a barf emoji next to it.

Josh: I thought it was a good thing.

Sean: No, it’s not a good thing. The Guardian article that was written about our album, the comment section was just about 700 comments of pure abuse. Start to finish.

Charlie: I think the end of the day we don’t really give that much shit, because at the end of the day we never dreamed we would be in the position we currently are in. All the comments are humorous to us.

Charlie: We’ve had all the criticism before from being in Queenshead, doing years of gigging with everyone around us. Our mates not really liking our music that much, our parents wanted us to do school, our teachers wanted us to do well in exams. We all had to do jobs. So in the end of the day it’s paying off, being able to go around the world, touring, selling out shows, having an album out, stuff like that, it’s an accomplishment. We’re not writing our music for anyone but ourselves. We’re not trying to impress anyone apart from ourselves.

Josh: The fact, that we are where we are right now, it’s crazy enough.

Sean: Criticism is always funny.

Eddie: It’s also funny, because regardless if people are saying good things, or saying bad things, at the end of the day, people are still paying attention. That’s what matters really.

Josh: Unless everyone picked at us. It would hit me a little bit, if everyone thought we were terrible and we were big, because people laughed at us. That would be another level of any press is good press. I think we get a decent press.

Sean: The thought of an old white dude sitting on his laptop, writing “I fucking hate those little pricks” just makes me laugh a little bit. And there are plenty of those people around.  Warms my heart.

Were you ever playing for one person?

Sean: So many times.

Charlie: Yes. For a year. Three gigs a week. And I was working and doing my A levels at school.

Josh: We were never a really cool band. We were never a band that would turn people down. We got an email and were like “Oh shit, we gonna play this barbecue!”

Sean: You’re having a party by the river? Let’s do it!

Charlie: We gigged so much when we started.

Sean: We didn’t say no to a single gig ever. And a lot of bands, who actually want people to think they’re cool, just decline most gigs.

Josh: I think it’s a good tactic.

Sean: It works for some people, but for us, we were just like, well we kind of suck, so if we get as much practice as we can, it only gonna be a good thing.

That’s true. You learn while performing.

Sean: We’re still doing it. We probably need to book another tour, we’re still not good enough.

Eddie: At least that’s what our booking agent thinks. (laughter)

Sean: Someone’s gonna kill us.

We’ve came to a point where we should discuss politics, don’t we? Wanted to talk to you about Brexit a bit. Your song directed to Theresa May is the worst love song ever. It’s not a bad song, don’t get me wrong. But if I had something like this written to me, I would think there’s something seriously wrong with me.

Sean: We got attacked in a really terrible tabloid a couple of days ago. The Sun.

Josh: It’s the best tabloid to get attacked by. (laughter)

Sean: We’ve got a message from our management, just to let us know, The Sun is going for us today. We saw this article and it was like “Shame on you!”, then they had the lyrics to Visa Vulture and they were saying how we did receive the grant from the government.

Charlie: They’re saying Shame to Teresa May for giving us a grant. They’re saying shame on you to the minister.

Sean: I don’t think she knows we’ve even received this grant and it was definitely not her decision to give it to us. (laughter)

Josh: We’ve written this song long before Brexit was even a thing.

Eddie: That was when she was home secretary and was basically trying to deport as many people as possible.

Josh: That’s when we wrote it and then she became prime minister. We still haven’t released it. So we thought, fuck we have to do it now. It’s kind of sad, we didn’t do it before. We could be like “hey, look at us”.

Sean: It’s not because she’s a prime minister. We’ve always hated her! And that was quite funny about the newspaper. I couldn’t really believe that.

Josh: We should show people demos with a date on it. Like early 2015.

Charlie: Fucking Brexit.

Sean: Yeah, Brexit. I don’t know how many more times I can bring myself to talk about it.

Eddie: It’s just a shadow.

Sean: Yes and it’s not going anywhere. I wasn’t expecting it to happen immediately. But I was expecting like 2 years on, maybe some things might have happened. Nothing happened though, since everyone’s realized, it’s not gonna work. It was just this sort of hyped wimp idea. They just randomly called a referendum and everyone was like “Yeah let’s do it!”.

Eddie: And it’s basically bullshit. That the NHS is going to get more money if we leave. We left and they realized it’s gonna be the opposite. Everyone just went “Oops”.

Sean: They are targeting the working classes. Almost every nurse in the country is a nurse from an EU country.

Eddie: And then people start complaining. If they want to go to Belgium for example, you have to pay like 7 pounds for a visa and everyone’s like “This is outrageous!”. What did you fucking expect?

Sean: The funniest thing is that The Daily Mail, which is another awful newspaper, they were promoting Brexit so much and were well in favor of Brexit. And because now it affected something like travel to the EU and the front page of The Daily Mail like 4 months after Brexit was like “Outrage!”. And seriously, what do you think it’s about? We want to leave EU, but we still want a free access if we want to go on holidays and stuff. We sustain ourselves largely from touring Europe. And the European Union. It’s easy at the moment, we can just drive to France and when we’re in Europe, we can play and do, what makes a small part of our living. If it ends up with us being forced to get a visa, it can get a lot worse, with restrictions for us going there.

Eddie: I don’t. (laughter)

Sean: He’s lucky, ’cause he has an Irish passport.

Eddie: No Brexit for me.

Sean: Ireland knows they can’t do that. With all do respect.

Eddie: It’s peak for the Scots as well, cause they voted to remain in the UK under the condition that they will remain the part of the EU. And obviously England voted to leave.

Sean: And it was basically just England. Northern Ireland and Scotland they don’t want to be a part of it, they hate us.

I’ve heard some rumors.

Sean: They fucking hate us. No one really likes us.

Well, we like you.

Sean: Thanks. (laughter)

You’re welcome.

Eddie: Two Polish people like us!

Sean: People in Poland are friendly to us. Americans just think we’re some mystical creatures. They are super enthusiastic about everything. You say one thing like “I’m gonna get a beer” and they are like “OMG I love beer!”. Yeah, me too man, how crazy is that… (laughter)

Thank you for a talk, get some rest before the show!

Editors [04/04/2018]

Editors is one of those bands, which never let’s you down. I’ve had a pleasure to see the British quintet twice this year. First, during a meet and greet event with fans and press, which was also a prelaunch listening party of their album Violence, and second after just 2 months, before their concert in Warsaw.

I wanted to ask you about the event, that happened a month ago in Warsaw. You presented your new record to press and few lucky fans a month before its release. How often to you do such events and how do you feel about it?

Elliott: This is the first time we’ve done that kind of thing.

Justin: Well, we’ve met fans and stuff before.

Elliott: True, we’re meeting fans after shows, but that kind of event was the first for us. I was slightly nervous about the performance, how it’s going to go, how it’s going to be. What the atmosphere is going to be like. But it actually was super fun.

Justin: I thought it was great. It was a cool place. Everyone was really cool and low key. Everyone was in the mood.

Elliott: Yeah, the atmosphere of it was relaxed. Which is nice, it’s not like we get real doubt to do this. We had a chance to have a real conversation with everyone.

When I think about it, it has to be super stressful, playing new record and looking at people listening to it, see their faces and their reactions, knowing you’re being judged.

Elliott: Luckily, I wasn’t there to witness it.

Justin: It was alright, actually. I think, if you love the band and you get the chance to listen to their new album first, with the band, I think it’s cool. I would be totally up for that. As a band member, it was strange, I’ve never done this before, but everyone was really cool. Everyone was like “alright, let’s listen to your record”. You know, sometimes you go to do signings and stuff and it’s just like pretty intense. Everyone gets shifted along the line and have 20 seconds to say everything they want to say.

Elliott: Yeah, I don’t think signings are that nice for fans. They are not that nice for us either.

Justin: Where during the party everyone was waive around, talk, have some beers, not be so uptight. It was cool, also a nice spot. In a nice part of town. And in a nice city.

I was digging through some past interviews. You were always compared to other bands, sometimes it was Depeche Mode, U2, Joy Division. One time you were described as an antidote to Coldplay. How do you see the comparisons?

Justin: I don’t own any Joy Division records. I listen to U2 probably once a year. Depeche Mode, I guess we actively listen to now and again in the dressing room.

Elliott: We exist in the world, where those bands are, around the dark emotional music. I am cool with it, I’ve made ease with it.

Justin: It’s a bit dramatic. You pose next to Depeche, and we are in the same area of music, kind of dramatic, theatrical gothickness, which certain people are attracted to. We like playing it, we like making it, we like people to see it.

Elliott: Those comparisons are cool bands, I am really OK with it. I personally would go much more with U2 than Mac DeMarco. (laughter)

Justin: It’s just what it is. I mean, the Coldplay thing. Coldplay released one of the biggest songs in the last 15 years. Everyone write Coldplay, because they are successful. And they are one of the most successful bands in the world.

Elliott: They have a bunch of incredibly great songs.
Justin: They released the songs people will be born to, get married to and die to. How many bands can say that? Queen, The Beatles, Stones, Coldplay.

And Maroon 5.

Justin: True, Maroon 5.

Is there any band you would want to personally be compared to?

Elliott: It’s already happening. I don’t know, REM, The Cure. Basically, the bands who have careers. And they’ve made records, that changed people’s lives. They’ve changed, developed and grown, they’ve pushed things forward.

Justin: Bands, who tell a story, not just make one or two records and then disappear. Tell a story of a time. As people grow at the same time as the band. You’re never the same person you were when you’ve made the first record and when you’re making the sixth. And neither is the person listening to it. They may be teenagers when you release the first album, they may have kids, when you release the sixth. And they find out all of a sudden, that their lives are hard to navigate. It’s nice to be a miserable soundtrack to it. (laughter)

And you always evolve. When people say you’ve evolved and put out a totally different record, then you started with and they don’t like the electronic part of the album, I personally think it’s bullshit. Everyone evolves in one way or another. You wouldn’t put something out, you’re not feeling comfortable with.

Elliott: Right, every band wants to do something satisfactory, you’ll always find people, who won’t like it really. They would say your attempts are wrong. You can’t win. They are focused on something and think, that’s the way it should be. If you don’t like what we do at the time, that’s fine. The same thing goes with other bands.

Justin: It’s natural. If you stay around and do the same thing forever, you’ll just be a really boring band. You’ll be bored with what you do and there will be few hardcore fans, who will stay with you. The venues will just get smaller and smaller, until you’re left with just that one person, who only likes the early songs. And it’s like meh.

So actually, you start with one person and you end with one person. The cycle closes.

Justin: You’ve got to move on. There may be a record fans started with and they will always love this record, but may not follow the band for the rest of their careers. The trick is, to just keep moving and see, who follows along the way.

This is the definition of having a great fan base.

Elliott: We’ve been very fortunate.

I’ve spoken to some of your fans during the event last month and there was this one girl, I remember being super excited, jamming to every song. She is a very lovely person.

Justin: It’s good when you see a reaction. In a completely unrelated country, in a completely unrelated time. That your music affects someone halfway around the world, in a way you would never really expect.

“Cold” is my favorite, also am super happy about “No sound but the wind” being put on Violence. When I was growing up, Twilight Saga was huge and I am thrilled I have a vinyl with one song I loved from the franchise soundtrack.

Elliott: It’s nice to do it properly as well. The first version of the song was recorded in Tom’s bedroom. We feel like, with rerecording this particular song, we’ve really done it justice.

In another interview, you’ve talked about young bands, who are trying to get to the top right now. You’ve said, that they stand no chance, if they don’t wow everyone on the first take. If they are not showing the full scale, they have, they will be forgotten.

Justin: It’s tough, because everything a band does is documented from day one. It’s on social media, someone has a bad opinion, like “I saw this band and they are fucking terrible” and then all their friends are going to think they are terrible. And who’s fucking great on their first record? No one is really that great on their first tour.

Elliott: It’s really tough, everything is under the microscope. For band starting right now it’s really hard, I really do feel for people. And you see the grass roots pull away from it.


But isn’t it easier for bands to be heard, because of social media?

Justin: It is easier to put out a record. But the whole machinery behind the band, having the label in place, it’s much tougher. Labels don’t fund guitar bands anymore.

Elliott: It’s easier to put it out there. It’s easier to record a song on your laptop. So when you write a song as a band now, you probably play it two or three times, before you record it. When back in the day we wouldn’t be able to record…

Justin: … until we went to the studio. We had to be so well rehearsed.

Elliott: And that’s exactly when you’re good as a band, practicing and playing.

Justin: I could wake up tomorrow morning, write a song, record it in the afternoon and finish it in the nighttime. Label it in the night and put it out the day after.

Elliott: Which is brilliant.

Justin: In some ways it’s brilliant. For some kind of music it’s great. But if you are trying to make something that is real, or has emotional depth to it, which involves a visual element to it, use the craft of making a record and put the songs together, you need time for that, you need support. And then unless you’ve got your band on certain sides, you don’t really have that support in place. Which makes it harder, since you always need to find the way of doing things. Especially for guitar bands it’s really hard, because you can’t afford to go on tour, since there’s no one supporting you. You can’t cover your expenses, you’re out of pocket. You’re already out of pocket anyway cause you decided to be in a fucking guitar band. (laughter) That means, if you’ve made this decision, you’re not that great, since it’s not a good place to start. It’s better to be a DJ instead. It’s fucking easier! (laughter)

Let’s go back to your album for a second. Why Violence?

Elliott: I think it comes a little back to what we were talking about. It’s not so much about Violence in the record, but about the outside world. 24/7 on your phone, rolling news, hyper political reality.

Justin: Left to right noise 24 hours a day. You kind of lose the fact of what’s in front of you and the people you have all around you. What Tom’s trying to get out in his characters, he praise and sings through in the record, is that ability to switch off the outside world briefly, to acknowledge the human connections, which is all that comes down anyway. That’s pretty much the summation of the album. It’s the unit of human connection.

What I actually like about this album is that it’s not an album you can play as a background to a party. You need to focus, when you listen to it, you immediately just go into thinking.

Justin: It would be a bleak party, if you played it as a background. (laughter) There’s a couple of tracks you could jam to. If I came to a party where this record was played, I would be like “Oh man, I’m not staying here long. This is a dark party”. But yeah, this is a very focused narrative, which sits well with the political world we live in. Like you said, you can just dive straight into it, listen to it. Which kind of reflects how we’ve been making it, very focused.

There are not a lot of records like that these days.

Justin: We’re old-school. And old. (laughter)

Elliott: We tried to make a record, not just one song people are going to buy. We worked on every single song and every single track, so we could make the best of it. It’s a very big compliment, that you’re sitting, listening and pay attention to it. That is our aim. As a band we still believe in a record, as a concept and the body of work.

On the album cover you can see and feel violence.

Justin: That’s just the genius of the photographer we worked with, Rahi Rezvanim, who took our picture. It just looks like painting. It’s crazy, I didn’t know you could do that.

There are a lot of emotions, the face expressions especially.

Elliott: What I like about it is, everyone has a different interpretation of it, of what the scenario is. Which is great.

Do you have one favorite song from the album?

Elliott: It’s funny, but they change. At the moment, because we are on tour, my favorite one is “Counting Spooks”, because we are not playing it at the moment. So if I hear it, I’m like “ Oh, I didn’t hear this one in a while”.

Justin: I can say this one as well, cause we’re not playing it every night. When you play the same songs from your record every single night, none of them can be your favorites. They can be your favorites to play live, so in a different way. But actually my favorite track on the record is “Counting Spooks”, all along.

Elliott: Mine is “Cold” actually.

So it’s actually like, when you want to hate a certain song, put it as your alarm clock ringtone. Goes the same with the set list.

Elliott: It changes the perception of the track.

And how was working with Blanck Mass?

Justin: It was really easy, cause all we had to do was to bring him up, that was pretty much the process. We were listening to some of his music, as we were looking for people to work with. And I’ve sent through a message with Blanck Mass’ track, a pretty heavy one. We’ve made a decision to maybe try to work with him and I called him up. I said “hey, do you want to work on some stuff?”. He said “yeah, let’s do it!”. We’ve sent him some stuff and he sent us back what he was doing. And that’s how the relationship stayed. We didn’t meet him for the making of the entire record. I’ve met him after the show, like 3 months after we’ve finished. He was so drunk. But it was great. It was a good time.

Best friendships start with alcohol.

Justin: True. It was just great to work with him, we left him to get on it and we wanted to change nothing. We didn’t want to remix anything, we just let him do, what he wanted to do. We left him with the ability to do that.

It’s not a common thing, to give all the power to a music producer.

Justin: No, but we are quite open. If we have an idea and we feel comfortable with it, we go for it.

Elliott: If we don’t like it, we don’t like it. But you have to be able to try.

Justin: You have to be able to get the best out of people. We were not trying to shape his mind, we told him to do what he wants to do and then we see what we like.

It paid off.

Justin: It totally did.

Thanks for the talk!

Ghostpoet [18/02/2018]

Let’s start with the name of your record Dark Days+Canapes. According to Google Canapes means small sandwiches.

Fancy snacks, to be exact.

Why dark days and fancy snacks?

It’s kind of like an equation. Those two things kind of represent the characteristics of the world. What we’re experiencing, depending on your standing in life. It’s a mixture of yin and yang, the poor and the rich. I like riddles, that’s kind of how my style is.

It’s so cryptic, to be honest.

It’s also about the artwork, I like how it looks, the shape of the words. That’s important for me.

When I was listening to your record, one song in particular made me feel really emotional, sobbing, but at the same time I felt like we are taking every day for granted. It was Immigrant boogie. Which lead to my next question. What are your views on what’s happening in the world right now?

I wrote that song, because everyone’s been exposed to the topic personally or through the media. I must have seen the killer story of washed up bodies on the Mediterranean beach and it was the energy, it was so shocking. I didn’t sit down and write it straight away, but it was almost burnt into my brain. When it came to writing things for the record, it came out like this. It’s not a political record, I have to keep saying it, because I don’t want it to be misconstrued. It’s just about shining a light on a particular issue, that we’re all thinking about. I just wanted to write about it, start a discussion, not just read about a shit’s gone down in the newspaper on page 22, while next page is Hollywood gossip.

In an old interview, you were talking about the beginnings of your career, 10 years of pushing yourself to the limit, to make it work. When it finally happened, you’ve got the best recognition there is for a new artist. A nomination for a prestigious award.

I was definitely living a life on reflection, I was doing what I had to do to pay the bills, with the feeling I should have been doing something else. But I didn’t know what that was. Music was a hobby and something I did in the evenings, when I finished work. I just got lucky, putting music on the Internet, back then it was MySpace. A person I knew recommended it to somebody else. They saw something in it I didn’t see myself. And I got the opportunity to release a record. I decided myself, to work as hard as possible. And because of the path I’ve chosen from the very beginning, where I’m not trying to make what you call pop music. I want my music to be popular, but on my terms, not based on what is right for the charts. So, I knew from the very beginning it’s going to be a longer journey for me. It still is. It’s great I can go on 30 days tour around Europe. I’m not playing arenas, but am playing for more people nowadays, than before.

Would you have any advice for new musicians?

Stop making music, it’s done! (Laughter) No, I feel that it’s getting harder, unfortunately, so I don’t want to say “Yeah, keep working hard, you’re gonna get there!”. Not everyone will, because of the nature of the business. The fact, that people are not buying records, they can stream it for free means that your revenue stream is very limited, from the business point of view, if you can’t play live. Again, I was very lucky, where I could get over the years, with a band, play live, it’s very difficult to do now. I would say: “try as much as possible to be unique”. It’s so easy to just do whatever everyone else does. To take a particular sound, make a hit record with a very common sound and lyrical style, to appear to a major label, with ideology of what is a good song. It’s easy to do that. I feel, with stuff like that you have maybe a hit, if you’re lucky.  If you’re really lucky, you may have a few. After that you’re done. But if you’re unique, you reflect yourself on others, weather it is positive or negative, but it’s honest. Honesty will last longer, then being on chart hits. That’s my advice. Be yourself, don’t be a sheep. The whole world is crowded with sheep.

This is a really good advice.

This is just my opinion. I’m just a grumpy old man. (Laughter)


I can’t feel the grumpiness! (laughter) In another interview, you’ve said “I would do music for a Double Decker, a cheese and onion sandwich”.

That was misconstrued again! I didn’t say that, because I hate cheese and onion sandwiches. I would never say that. It was along the lines, that I would do music for pretty much nothing. It’s really weird how the Internet works. (Laughter) Right now I wouldn’t do it for nothing, because you have to know the value of what you do. Music was a hobby, music is still a hobby. I don’t do it because it’s my career. I do it, because I love doing it. I do it because it’s part of me. Integrity is important for me, it’s not about just making music. If I’m not inspired to make a song, I’m not going to just do it, because I have to. I’m very lucky, I’m in a position, where I can do that and I feel it’s important not to take it for granted.

Your record really stands out, there are not many of those these days. A lot of records sound exactly the same.

It’s a shame, unfortunately. There are definitely people trying to do something different. It’s just harder to get to that now. Because of the way everything is send out, from streams, to radios and releases. It’s out there, but it’s harder to find it.

Would you pull your music from streaming services?

Yes and no. It’s like, you have to play the game. Being in my current position, if I took out my music, it wouldn’t benefit me. For example, here, no one knows me. So, to me, taking my music off streaming services doesn’t make any sense. Maybe Adele did it, some of the big stars did it. But, when you’re on that level, it’s not going to affect you. It would affect me. I’m for and against it. I think it’s important for people to buy music, because it’s a craft. It worries me, that there are children being born now, brought into a world, where music is free. Music is obviously not like building a furniture. It’s not like a physical thing, where you have physical end results. I think that’s the problem, people can’t get their heads around the fact, that there’s a lot of hours, that go into making a record. And a lot of money. A lot of sacrifice. It’s unfortunate, that the end result is a digital file. When you compare that to a piece of furniture, that we’re sitting on or looking at, it’s difficult to see an average person getting their head around it. I don’t see us going backwards now, I don’t see us becoming a society, where people are starting to buy records again. That’s done. And streaming is great, when you’re a music lover of any age and want to discover music, something like Spotify is great. I have a Spotify account and it’s great. The music I have discovered because of it is unbelievable. I would never be able to do that going through records in a record shop. It’s amazing, but it would be great for people to get a decent wage for what they do. A music career is potentially long lived but it’s very tricky, because you don’t have a monthly pay check. Some people do it, if they’re lucky. You never know, where you’re going to be from month to month. It would be great, if it changed, but if it doesn’t, you just have to adapt and look for the ways to make it.

I think vinyls are coming back, so maybe not in our lifetime, but sometime after, the idea of buying music could be back for good.

Potentially, I actually like the fact that it’s coming back. It’s like you don’t have vegetables for a long time, you just come to a point where you need to have veg. I think with vinyl is so much like a need to have a physical thing connected to music, creating an urge to buy records again. It’s great, really cool. I just never expected it. I really just thought it was done, once we started to go digital and streaming started to become a must. It’s interesting to see it develop.

I really do think it’s coming back. I think everything is coming back at some point, in fashion, in music, in life. There’s a limited amount of what we can use. And then the cycle begins again, and again, and again. Everything comes back eventually. I went deep with this philosophy, didn’t I. I don’t know, if it’s true, but in one of the past interviews, you’ve mentioned, you were afraid of going on stage and playing live.

That’s true.

Is it gone now?

Yeah. That was just in the beginning. I was like “Oh God, I’m so scared, oh the anxiety!”. Now it’s just like, I’m doing the job I love, why should I be scared of it. Some people, I know personally, find it very tricky to go on stage, because of their anxiety. In the beginning, I’ve written these songs not really thinking, they will be listened to by people other than my friends. Some of it was personal, some filled with my emotion on the line. And I didn’t know how to get that out on stage. I was overthinking it too much. Projecting myself during a performance, if the music was right, what if it goes wrong. That kind of stuff. With time I’ve learned to accept shit happens and ultimately it’s just fun. I am lucky in terms of music. But it’s just fun. I take it very seriously, but I don’t take it too seriously. Because then it becomes something else and I just want it to be fun. That’s what I’ve learned over time.

If it wasn’t for music, what would you do?

I would just do stuff, I am doing right now, I have a coffee shop, a radio station in London, where I live. I would like to stay connected to music one way or another, promoting interesting music, that’s what I always liked to do. That’s basically it.

Most of the people answering this particular question say, they would go back to corporations or what they were doing before.

Four, five years ago I would probably have said the same, going back to the job I was doing before. I’ve came a long way. I can’t give up, what I have now. Who knows what the future holds.

We don’t know if we are going to live tomorrow.

That’s true. So, the best is to live in the present.

Thank you so much for your time. See you in a bit!

Cigarettes After Sex [07/12/2017]

Right now you’re kind of big deal, but let’s talk about the beginning of your career. I know it was hard to achieve, what you have right now. How do you feel about it, if you had to compare then and now?

You mean how I feel about the shows? It’s simply amazing. When I go back to how it looked before, I remember, we were playing shows in our hometown El Paso, they were pretty little attended. Obviously no one really cared about us. We had a few fans, our friends, but mostly we were not making an impact on the music scene in El Paso. We went to New York, same thing happened. We played a show for, like, one person. Not something I would like to revisit. It was pretty rough. But it didn’t matter; I was there because I love music. So I didn’t need an audience, really. But at some point we uploaded stuff on YouTube and it kind of led us to success. It almost looks like it happened overnight, but we were working on it almost 8 years. It’s pretty wild, but I got used to playing the small venues and great big shows.

It all started in 2016, it was this great boom, then you started putting out songs one by one, sort of teasing the album. How does it feel to finally see the whole thing out, seeing people singing along and jamming to it?

It feels like exactly what you would wish for, that people are getting the album in the exact same way, helping them in tough times and good times as well. It’s just beautiful and it’s nice to see the love returned, what you put out there comes back to you.

Since all the band members were changed, you’re the last “original” one standing. How did you choose the new members, was it totally accidental, or is there some sort of story to it?

It’s strange, because it happened in a very casual way. Cigarettes After Sex was a solo project to begin with. So I was just playing with people live. But it wasn’t till 2012 when I actually had a band to record the songs together, they were all on record. I’ve never done that before. Our keyboard player is playing with me since 2009 and recorded in 2012, so he was like always in the band. At that point, when I left El Paso and went to New York, I was trying to play with some other musicians as well, but they weren’t really cutting it. I just happened to see Randall Miller – bass and Jacob Tomsky – drums; they were playing in another band, sounded great together. So I just pouched them. Phillip and I met in El Paso and Randall and Jacob in New York. We make sort of like an even split, 2 New Yorkers and 2 El Paso guys.

What about your inspirations and the music you actually listen to? Is it the same kind of music, or are you secretly head banging to Marilyn Manson when no one is watching?

Sure (laughter). It’s actually pretty eclectic, but I can go from pop to rock, it can even go to something like metal, like Metallica’s Master of Puppets. So it’s just kind of round the map. I just always listen to music, writing. Why am I saying this is, the songs deep lyrically are making the deepest impact on you. Of course those influences are not the ones I want to spend the whole day with, so I just keep them in a special drawer and reach for them when I need them. But what I will listen to depends from my mood, so sometimes it’s deep and sometimes it’s a silly pop song.

Are you also a fan of today’s hits, like Despacito?

Yes. This is one of the songs you just hear everywhere. Or like Bodak yellow.

This song kind of sinks in. But I’m more of a Miley Cyrus kind of girl, when I need to recharge.

Me too. I like Wrecking Ball and Party in the USA, Adore you, just to name a few.

Since she came back, she seems to be in a very good place, personally and artistically. What about you? Are you feeling like everything is just perfectly in the right place right now?

It’s strange, because we’re always on tour. I mean, it’s amazing, but it sort of interrupts the creative process, since I’m used to writing all the time. So I can’t just focus on creating, since I can’t relax and get to it. We have some great shows behind us, Bratislava, Warsaw, South America and India. Then we go to Australia, Mexico, later we just go back home and focus on the new record. We have two months break, so I’ll just spend those days creating.

Are two months enough?

Not really. We usually write the instrumental part really quickly. But lyrical part usually keeps us a bit back. We have the music already. Now it’s just the matter of lyrics, which I need to sit with and start writing, which is going to be a little tough. So I need to see what I can actually do in two months’ time and if I can actually accomplish anything.


Are you a big star in your hometown?

It’s a good question; I haven’t been back for a while now. I am going there for Christmas. So let’s see.

In a small town you’re always recognized in some way, since the beginning, everybody knows everybody and is in everybody’s business. Is New York better for you personally and creatively? Or were you overwhelmed with the freedom you have in a big city?

I think I’ve spent so much time in El Paso, I kind of absorbed it and there’s nothing else to do for me. After graduation I’ve made a decision to be more serious about music, to create and be sitting here with you as well. So I went to New York to make it happen. New York provides opportunity and inspiration, there are so many great venues, bars, things to see. And actually the next thing to be is to go international. El Paso was like “Oh I know things here, but I can’t stay here”. It felt like people were not interested in the music scene. In New York it felt like people were actually enjoying music, when they joined the band.

Why New York? Why not Los Angeles, for example?

I don’t know. I went there and I thought it was just for fun, but then I started thinking of artistic heritage, all the artists, that come from New York , it’s like unparalleled for me, like Ramones, Martin Scorsese, Andy Warhol, a staging list of artists I think were just unbeatable. To get to that and say “I want to be in this world”, I had to go to New York and try.

I know you’re not playing in America, touring all around the world, but after all those shootings like Manchester and Vegas, does it cross your mind before you go on stage?

I think it is somewhere behind my mind, but I don’t want to be scared, it’s out of my control. It is the same kind of scare, when you’re afraid of being hit by a car. It’s not something predictable. Obviously it is a huge tragedy and there’s no concrete reason behind those shootings. So I choose to not be scared.

How do you feel about America today?

It’s interesting. It’s weird, since we’re so disconnected from it, but I’d say tumultuous, with the president, a big crash, all the crazy ideas, it’s just kind of a mess. When you’re there, people seem happy, but when you go online, it feels very crazy. Online, people are always arguing.

And how do you receive Polish fans? Are they crazier than any other crowd?

I remember the first show, we played in Kraków. People were cheering and singing every line of the song. They were so enthusiastic and so kind to us. We are really so grateful.

This show has sold out status for a while now. It doesn’t happen often. You’re adored here, why do you think people are digging this kind of music?

I think what we provide it’s kind of meditation for your mind, that I think we all just need to slow down our thoughts, before we get too overwhelmed with everything. And every song can help to put it off a little bit. I think music provides us with an escape.

And if music was off the table completely, where would you be?

I would definitely be a filmmaker. And if not this, I would be a painter or something. I love film making as much as music, so I think I would be at home, directing or writing screens. It’s something I actually attempted to do before.

So I’ve read in an interview, all the musicians you played with before 2012 at some point left music and just chose normal jobs. Is that true?

Not exactly. There was always a really casual atmosphere in the band. So the door was always open and sometimes we were just splitting up. Even with the smallest reasons, when people were just unable to go on tour. It’s part of being in a band.

For those eight years you were not touring, what were you doing? Since everyone needs to earn money somehow…


Luckily for me it was always music. I was playing in jazz bands, playing in restaurants and bars. The only job I’ve had beside music was in New York, where I was managing a theater.

No washing dishes, nothing like this? You’re living the dream! Thank you so much for the talk.

MEW [28/11/2017]

To all of you who not once in your life had listened to MEW, danish super formation, with captivating vocals and music, you’ve missed on something special.  I was super lucky to have an opportunity to speak to MEWs bassist, Johan Wohlert just before their concert in Poland. We’ve spent 30 Minutes on talking music and I have to admit, it was one of those interviews I won’t forget.

This is not you first time in Poland, correct?

No, I know the band played here about 10 years ago at some festival.

I think it was Off Festival in 2010.

Exactly. Me and Jonas visited Poland on a school trip, we were in Krakow and Auschwitz, it was quite interesting and we had a great time. Being so young and traveling first time without your parents is just like Woo Hoo!

How do you feel about a first solo show in Poland?

It’s exciting, obviously I don’t really know what to expect. I think it’s very cool, that we get a chance to play in a country like Poland. First of all it’s not that often that you tour in eastern Europe, yet we’re so close, an hour on a plane from Denmark. It’s kind of silly, that we’re not spending more time here. I hope it can be one of many shows, because what I’ve seen from the city so far, I think it’s lovely. I think one of the most interesting thing of being in a band is the cultural experience you get, it’s nice to play, but it’s also just fantastic to meet different people, see cities and experience different food. I like the traveling part of it.

Did you try pierogi already?

No, I hoped we will get a traditional polish meal for dinner. I love all the sausages and cabbage, but we were served Hawaiian food. Which was nice, but pretty far from what I’ve hoped.

I’ve read in one of your past interviews, that you’ve put out “Visuals” pretty fast, faster as opposed to your previous records. Do you think the process is better like this, with less planning and less overthinking? Or is it better to go for it and take your time?

It’s a good question. I think it really depends on what kind of record you’re making, depends on the strength of the songs. I mean, the Beatles made some pretty amazing records pretty fast, so did Led Zeppelin and lots of other great bands. If you have 10 great songs, I don’t see, why it should take you that long. But I think the type of music we play is very multi-layered, has a lot of details in it, it usually takes a long time to put it together. So it usually takes more time not because we sit around and do nothing. But I think it was important for us to prove to ourselves this time around, that we actually could make a record in two years’ time. In a lot of ways that’s really healthy for you as an artist, to do something, while it still feels relatively fresh. But I also like, when you can take your time and get super nerdy and go back and forth. Making this record fast was something new for us and therefore it was exciting to see if we could actually pull it off.

I wanted to ask about the cover. It’s kind of Halloween-ish, like the mask for Día de los Muertos.

Yes, it’s kind of weird. It was a bit of a coincidence, Jonas does all the live show visuals, had this idea to put a kaleidoscope effect on a computer, when you use the kaleidoscope circles and place them right, they start to kind of look like a face. Jonas said “It kind of looks like a mask, what if we took that from a computer and project it onto our faces”. Honestly we had no idea, that it would end up looking that cool. We actually needed a cover and in the past we always let other artist do it, but this time I was like “Jonas, you’re so good at coming up with all these imaginary fantasy creatures and you do all the live visuals, why don’t we for once try to create a cover, that actually looks like a drop of what we do live.” So one evening we just tried projecting the kaleidoscope effect onto our faces and the first time we did it, we were like “holy shit, it’s so fucked up”, but in a good way. It looks beautiful and really weird, it looks organic, because you can actually see, there’s a human face behind it, but it also looks really processed, computery. There was just something in it, I have never seen anything like it. Then we’ve made a music video, where we used the same technique, we’ve also project a full body suit onto Jones’ naked body. And it just looked really cool. It almost looked computer generated, but at the same time it looked really organic, because it’s all real. I really like processed human art, when you know there’s a human element, but it’s also something that looks otherworldly and inhuman in a way. I think it’s quite interesting in a way. We took this one picture of Jonas, it’s him on the cover, with the mask on and that one picture in particular was like “wow”. It was so MEW in a way, it looks so much like something we would do.

Fun fact, people all around the world have a different interpretation of the cover, because masks a very integral part of their culture. In Denmark we have no particular meaning for masks. But we get asked a lot, if we were inspired by some particular culture.

I think it’s so simple, yet so complicated. There’s just so much going on, you can’t stop starring at it.

I love the facial expression of Jonas, he looks spooked, yet you can tell he has his eyes closed, when you look at it closely. I think it’s the cover I like the best. Not to take away anything from the stuff other people have made for us, but I just think, I would want that shit on my wall. And I don’t think I would want any of the other covers framed, but that one I just think is a piece of art.

There’s always a favorite child.

I don’t know if “Visuals” is my favorite MEW record, but it’s definitely my favorite MEW artwork.

This record is actually more popish than edgy. Obviously every band evolves with their music, progresses and goes forward in one or the other direction. For example Linkin Park were really hard-core and then they went pop. Their fans were not really pleased with the change and we all know, how the story ended. Were you afraid of, how people will react to “Visuals”?

I know what you’re saying and as a band or as an artist I would never do what they did. It seems a little desperate to me, like you’re so much in doubt in your own abilities, that you let some pop producer make songs for you and you put your name on that. No. But I do believe, that every artist should try and evolve. And every artist should try and go places, they haven’t gone before. But obviously there has to be some kind of coherence. There has to be a sound that you recognize, or an element that you recognize. We would never make a jazz record. Like instrumental jazz. If we did, we would need to call it something else, not under the MEW moniker, never. We will always be between what we believe is MEW music. As we lost the guitar player, it was obvious we would do something focused a little more on bass and drums. The freshest thing we could do was to make the songs slightly shorter and make sure all songs had some great choruses. It’s not a straight up pop record, it definitely has elements of pop music we grew up with, which was the cool pop of the 80s. Anything from Kate Bush to Eurythmics. We find huge inspiration in song writing like that. I think in particular on this record it just felt like, we were doing a kind of Talk Talk record, where guitar is almost a background, with a groovy sound, cool keyboards and stuff like that. More pop melodies than more crunchy riffs. But I do miss big crunchy riffs every now and then. So I can imagine us making something heavier next time around. We always try to do the opposite of what we did the last time.

As you are a trio, were you thinking of recruiting the fourth member?

Mads, who plays guitar with us live, he did all the guitars on the record. Obviously the songs were written already, so what he did was more like add guitar part to the songs. But I guess, that guitar approach fitted really well with the songs, that we had. They were not written with big riffs in mind. They were written with bass, drums and keyboard. I also left the band from 2006 to 2013. And they kind of just continued as a trio as well. And I think that sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s difficult, I could imagine next time we write an album, we would probably want to write it with a guitar player. Maybe with Mads, or someone else. This time around it just felt good just to be the three of us. The process was really easy and smooth. There were no big creative arguments, we all kind of knew what we want to make and how to make it. It’s the first record we produced ourselves as well. What was important for us, we kept the whole process internally and easy. We would have died, if we had to create another record like +-, which took forever and was really tough to conceive. I think you can tell, the record is pretty easy, when you listen to it. We weren’t forcing it. We were also pretty well rehearsed, so it didn’t take too long to record it.

You are a band, which stays in the same genre and always puts your sound first, not copying and going with what’s easy and popular at the moment. I guess, you would never go as far to put out a pop song, like “Despacito” or “Anaconda”, or whatever is trending right now. Why do you think people are obsessed with this kind of music?

It’s a big question. I don’t know if I want to know the answer. I think it’s dictated to people in terms of media, what record labels expose people to. I think it’s the same old song. Anytime you see anybody get success with something, a hundred others will copy it. And we just live in an age, where people are just super scared of taking risks musically, because “fuck then I can’t live off of it” or “I’ll lose my fans on Instagram”, whatever the fuck it is. And that’s why everybody just sounds the same. If I turn on the radio, first of all I can’t listen to it, if we’re talking about the mainstream radio. It stinks. I wouldn’t even call most of it music. It’s some kind of OK beat and an auto-tuned vocal. You can’t tell who’s Kanye and who are the posers. I can’t fucking tell who’s who. I think it’s the major problem, no matter what age you live in. Art is about being unique. Art is about not sounding like the other guys or girls out there. When you have this whole copy machine thing it’s pointless to me. Why would you want to sound like Justin Bieber, if you could sound like yourself. I have nothing against Justin Bieber, he’s probably a nice guy. But it’s just this whole mentality. I think people are lazy. This turns into a big talk, the whole thing about having a little bit of knowledge about any topic at your disposal it’s great and convenient, but it makes people so lazy. It makes them stop searching, being curious. Same goes with music, which is getting dumber and dumber and dumber. I kind of lost faith in music for a long time. I think it’s so boring. I really had quite a crisis in my life, because music used to mean everything to me. And when you’re constantly exposed to so called music, which sucks, you just can’t believe how anybody would ever listen to it and find it interesting. When music just gets to be this backdrop for spending time with your mates or cooking. I needed to revisit some of my youth heroes and bands I grew up with, to sort of regain my trust in music. When I reheard some records, I was like “fuck me”, there’s a reason why I loved it as a fourteen year old. There’s a reason why it blew my head off. Because it’s so full of nerve and angst and life and flaws and imperfections and it’s so human. These days it’s just plastic, everybody sounds the same. No matter what, that is a huge problem. Maybe a lot of bad pop music came out in the 80s, but at least the good ones were so easy to tell who’s who. Everybody had their signature sound. That’s not the case today.

I think, the worse is, it’s mostly auto-tuned.

Yes and it’s done by guys with laptops, who just sit there and think it’s a great career. Career as a songwriter is the most unsexy thing ever. It’s so blunt. You would never in a million years catch me doing that. But as a musician, it definitely hurts a little bit, when something that you’ve kind of devoted your life to becomes so blunt and just pointless. I am just waiting for some band to come and kick everybody’s ass. I need it so bad. Like Rage Against The Machine, or someone like that. So I can go like “fuck me, they mean that shit!”. I’m really longing for something like that to happen. That would be the best.

You and me both. I am just tired of auto-tuned pop.

Pop is great, if it’s done well. Right now there’s no point in it.

I’ve made you angry with this question, didn’t I?

No, you’ve made me sad.

I’m so sorry.

I think it’s an interesting discussion from pop cultural point of view, as to how to stay curious as a human being. I like a good documentary on HBO and I like to check a football score on my phone, to have everything available on my fingertips. So it makes me lazy as well. I just think, I am very aware it does. So I try to fight it every now and then. But I feel it on myself, that I’ve become less of a curious person, by having all this access to all the things all the time. I just remember living with records for weeks at a time. When we grew up, we were forced to hear all the not famous songs on the record as well. And in the end those songs were probably the ones you liked the most. But these days it’s like, nobody wants to spend an hour on listening to the eight songs, that are not the hits. Fortunately for a band like us, we have fans, who love all the songs. No songs mean necessary more than others. It’s seen sort of like a whole and people really dig the experience in the whole universe of it. I think it’s an extremely fortunate position to be in as an artist, because it makes it worth writing 10 songs. And not just say “well, fuck the other 8, we will release 2 and go on tour again”. It’s so rare I find a record or even a song that I really like. And I know, every person, you always have this window typically between I guess fifteen and twenty, in terms of your musical education. That’s where you really sort of open to bands or artists, when you develop your musical taste, which will follow you for the rest of your life. It will always be a reference point. But imagine having fucking Nicky Minaj’s music as your point of origin. You’re fucked then.

I’m the 90s child and I have a similar point of view on the topic.

What did you dig?

When I started, it was Marilyn Manson, also early Linkin Park records, then I went through the Emo phase.

My Chemical Romance?

You know it! My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, 30 Seconds to Mars and many more. I loved it, I still love it. I am a rock and heavier music kind of girl. But in what I do now, I need to be into all sorts of music. It doesn’t necessary change my taste, but I like some of it.

I think there’s good music in all genres. I love “The Mechanical Animals” record. It was produced by Michael Beinhorn, who did 2 of our records as well. I just think it’s one of the best records he’s done. It’s a personal preference. I love this whole glam rock vibe, it sound super good. It sounds really organic, they were on fire. If on occasion I DJ, I always play “I don’t like the drugs, but the drugs like me”. It’s such a groove song!

That’s one of my Marilyn Manson’s favorite songs! Thank you for your time, am looking forward to seeing you in a few on stage.