65daysofstatic: Retreat! Retreat! (live)
Sheffield has given us its fine share of indie-pop (see Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Richard Hawley), but in the murkier depths of the steel city lurks a more experimental noise rock, full of static and surprise, and blissfully free of kitchen-sink dramas. 65Daysofstatic are the enigma British music, taking elements of Aphex electronica, then turning up the distortion and bringing post-rock confusion to the fore. And brilliantly so. Scott Barlett answers the questions.
2009 sees the release of your first live album, Escape From New York. How does the intensity of one of your live shows translate to records?
Not very well. Our first two albums, we tried to catch the loudness and rawness of our live shows, because we know that's where we excel. Both of those two records were done very quickly, for very little money, so we hit it a few times, but didn't have the time to properly nail it. If we were Rocket From The Crypt, or a punk band, we could do it live in a room with well-placed microphones and it would sound great straight off the mixing desk. But with all the noise we make, when we do it live in a room with well-placed microphones, it just sounds like muddy thunder. On our third album we deliberately tried to make something that didn't sound like a live show.
This new live album I think is the closest we have got so far to catching what we aim for. We were really lucky, cos The Cure let us use their Pro Tools rig, which was the biggest piece of music technology we have ever seen. Think it might have been sentient. There's probably a bit too much reverb in places (I hate reverb), but that's cos it was being played in Madison Square Garden, so can't really complain.
What were the reasons behind creating a live record?
Well, we weren't sure if we were definitely going to do one until the opportunity to properly record our New York shows came up. We have always tried our very best to never release anything that isn't worthwhile, and sometimes live albums have a hint of extra-money-making about them. But when we got the audio back to Sheffield and into a studio to mix, it sounded fantastic. That - combined with the fact that a 65 co-conspirator by the name of Caspar Newbolt made a road-movie of the tour, which has some awesome live footage on it - meant that we suddenly had a package that felt like it might be a worthwhile addition to the 65 output.
Is playing a live show still one of the highlights of being in a band?
It is the best thing about being in a band. No question. By a long, long way.
Are there plans for another studio album soon?
We are writing it at the moment. We're setting the bar far, far higher than we ever have and are trying to work out how to get over it. 'Soon' might not be quite right. 'Soon as possible' might be better.
What's the process behind the creation of a 65daysofstatic song?
I wish I knew. It would make this whole thing a lot easier.
You don't create the sort of music that panders to an idea of commercial accessibility. What's the motivation behind your music?
To get out the sounds inside our head. As far as I can tell, all anyone is trying to do is communicate what is inside of them. There are no words for a lot of things. So it's just trying to find other ways to say it. And say it really, really loudly. And if people can dance to it, then that's good too.
You've supported The Cure in your time. How was it playing to the audience of such a huge, respected band like that?
The Cure audiences were really open-minded. We did a lot of shows with them all over Europe and America, so the reaction to us was up and down. But mostly, they seemed to appreciate the fact that The Cure were making the effort to show them something different, rather than letting an identikit-major-label band buy themselves onto the tour to pedal their brand-friendly goth-pop, or whatever.
What else can we expect in 2009 from 65daysofstatic?
In April we're doing a UK and European tour to test out a bunch of new songs. There's lots of other bits and pieces throughout the spring and we'll be getting out to as many festivals as we're invited to over the summer, all the while writing and popping in and out of the studio, working on the new album. Because of the way record-releasing works these days, it's looking less likely that the album will actually come out until 2010. But you never know...
65daysofstatic play King Tut's, Glasgow on Apr 22.