Therapy?– Enjoy The NoiseFriday, 29th March 2013
Blistering.com: As you were playing them were you looking at each other thinking “I hope you think it’s as shit as I do?”
Cairns: Well the first track we did we went in and it was something in our minds that could have been on fucking Troublegum and I felt like an uncle at a wedding playing a Green Day cover. It was fucking embarrassing. We all kind of looked at each other and we stopped and I was going, “right I’ve got this other idea.” We started playing that and Neil just threw his sticks down and went ‘this is AOR bollocks’ [laughs] and we just went, “yep.” So we just went onto phase two which was the more experimental end.
Blistering.com: Dragging in obscure references and jazz.
Cairns: It’s the sort of thing we listen to. We were trying to explain to the record label, we were getting all excited cause there were a couple of bits on the album where we were putting in bits of dubstep, cause we were listening to an awful lot of Skream, Benga and Kode 9 and one of the lads from the record company, Demolition, they’re lovely lads, brilliant record label, we were sorting of saying to him this is the dubstep bit. And one of the lads turned to us: “what the fuck is dubstep.” He works with rock bands so we’d to explain it to him. It’s one thing that we’ve found, when bands get quite successful. When we got successful in the 90’s what we found it was quite different. We’d go and hang out with other musicians, for want of a better expression, our peers. So it’s the 90’s somewhere and we’d turn up at a festival and there’d be all these bands we knew. It’d be a great big chum-fest with all these bands who were our great pals. And all they’d be talking about would be the new mixes and maybe say have you heard the new Tool/Perfect Circle/Alice In Chins/Pearl Jam/fill in the blanks/Chilli Peppers record. All these people were on major label’s, had a bit of success and now these were the circles they were moving in. Whereas Michael’d be blasting Merzbow records in the dressing room and Neil would be playing these really old funk kind of records or Graham [Hopkins, former drummer] at the time he’d be listening to obscure techno records. So our record collections were never that of say someone like U2 and the Chilli Peppers. But these people’s idols or icons when started are Springsteen, Dylan, the greats. You’ve got a blueprint and if that’s what you want to work for that’s grand. When we were selling a lot of records our biggest heroes had probably sold about a thousand records between them at that point.
I find myself all the time… I did an interview a couple of weeks ago for quite a big rock publication in Europe and the girl who was interviewing was going “what are you listening to at the minute?” “Hair Police, they’re a band from the mid-West in America. A noise band.” ‘Okay, what else?’ “Ipecac Records have put out this record by an Italian band called Zu. Three piece, saxophones.” ‘Never heard of them. What else do you like?’ “I like Benga, Skream and Kode 9. Dubstep.” ‘What’s dubstep?’ and you kind of think I’m not making this shit up. This is what I listen to. If you ask Michael what he’s listening to he’ll tell you he’s listening to some bizarre black metal band that’s probably put out 50 CD-Rs or something on cassette and Neil will be listening to some obscure, funk, Lafayette Afro band from New York in 1970. It’s kind of like, that’s the stuff we listen to, so there’s no point putting on some metal station and try and catch up.
Blistering.com: Well, it should be a case that if you’re going to be playing new songs, off your new record, it should be music that you want to play and have a connection with.
Cairns: Exactly. And we’ve never ever done that. There’s been a couple of faux pas we’ve made in the past song-wise, but that’s been down to arrangements. Something like, “My Voodoo Doll,” which appeared on High Anxiety. I’d written it like Jesus And Mary Chain mid-paced noisy thing, like that, but at the last minute the producer and Neil kind of panicked a little bit and we ended up doing it kind of more like thrash metal, Garage Days Metallica and I think we made the song sound like a throwaway pop-punk thing. That’s the thing we’d occasionally do but never for commercial reasons, just at the last minute.
Blistering.com: But having so such a lengthy career you’re going to make mistakes.
Cairns: Of course, yeah.
Blistering.com: Having listened to Crooked Timber, I think it’s a very good album and as I said it has a lot in common with Suicide Pact – You First, in my opinion. Your odd, awkward albums seem to stand out more.
Cairns: They are. I think it’s because they don’t get lost in the generic rock pile. I’ve always found that. The first album we ever did was Babyteeth which had free jazz bits on “Loser Cop” and big, screechy noise guitar on “Animal Bones” and I think a lot of the people that stayed with us for a long time, that’s, it’s the same thing you just said that I agree with, it’s those kind of slightly more awkward albums that represent the band’s spirit better. That’s probably that kept us around. Ironically enough they’re the ones that people go back to the most. Whenever we listen back to, on tour and we decide do something off an album we haven’t played for ages, it’s always something offBabyteeth or Never Apologise, Never Explain or Suicide Pact that we think “fucking hell, what we’ve done there was quite, I wouldn’t say clever ‘cause that makes us sound like smug prog-rock bastards, what we’ve done there is quite interesting. It wasn’t just generic.” We always surprise ourselves when we go back to those records. We were talking to Southern [Records] last week about re-mastering Babyteeth and Pleasure Death.
Blistering.com: For a joint release?
Cairns: I dunno, we’re still in negotiations at the minute but I got a call from Harvey Birrell who produced the records, obviously at the minute Crooked Timber’s the main thing, so we’re going to wait until that’s out and about. But he’s talking to Southern about remastering them, putting them out with extra sleeve notes, we’ve got tonnes of photographs from back in the day. Those records have never been off Southern’s catalogue, or Even Touch ‘N Go’s, in the States, they’ve always been in print, which I’ve always found strange, because Semi-Detached has been out of print for quite a while and I don’t think Universal have any intention of re-releasing it. While Babyteeth and Pleasure Death have always been available. Maybe that’s someone trying to tell us something. Leave the fuckin’ melodic punk where it belongs in the 90’s. Get on with the rhythm and enjoy the noise.
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