Meursault's Neil Pennycook talks touring, recording and Plastic Animals
The power-folk group are working on a new album following last year's Something for the Weakened
Fronted by the booming and distinct voice of Neil Pennycook, power-folk act Meursault have been offering their delicate, tender musings for over five years now. They put out their debut album, 2008’s Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues, the first ever release on Edinburgh DIY imprint Song, by Toad Records, and last July brought out their wonderfully-titled third release Something For The Weakened; arguably the band's strongest release so far, as endorsed by impressive critical praise from Pitchfork, Clash, and the BBC.
This weekend, the band's singer and lyricist Neil Pennycook will bring his platoon of folk musicians to Edinburgh's Liquid Rooms as Meursault launch Haddowfest's new monthly club night on Friday 26 April, with support from Withered Hand, and solo projects from FOUND members, Lomond Campbell and River of Slime. The List caught up with Neil just as Meursault returned from a brief European tour...
Hello. Good tour? What did you get up to in Austria and Germany?
There wasn't much time to take in much culture unfortunately. It was quite a compact tour in the sense that we had a show every night and the majority of our days were spent driving. You get to see a lot of pretty amazing sights (especially in the more mountainous areas, though sadly, you're restricted to gawp at them from the confines of a VW Transporter.
Your third album Something For The Weakened was a bit of a triumph, and got very good feedback from fans, blogs and press alike. Subject matter included philosophy, nihilism, and existentialism. You seem to be a man well-versed in literature...
Everything I have learned has been from comic books and jazz-mags.
We've heard you're recording again. What subject/theme take precedence on the next record?
Top secret I'm afraid. I find it can take away from a piece of work if the themes/ideas are explained before people have had a chance to hear it. Also, there are about twenty songs to choose from at this point so it's hard to get an overall feel for the (finished) record, that'll change over the next wee while as songs are whittled down and the album starts to take shape.
Do you have any collaborations planned for it?
Again, I don't want to give too much away. I'll give you one clue… it's not Prince.
Your three albums have all been released in two-year increments. Will 2013 see a break from this tradition?
Not sure yet... we'll just have to see how long it takes us. Thankfully, we're not in a situation where anything has to be rushed.
You're initiating Haddowfest's first monthly club night on 26 April. Can we expect anything special from Meursault on the night?
The line-up will be slightly different this time. I wanted to move away from the more orchestral stuff we'd been doing and bring back some of the rougher elements which are more synonymous with the first two albums. I suppose this show marks the start of a new approach which has been adopted in mind of recording the new material.
You've chosen Withered Hand and Lomond Campbell & River of Slime as your 'friends' on the line-up, can you tell us why you picked those acts specifically?
Quite simply, it'd been a while since we'd all shared a bill and I was given the opportunity to handpick the line-up. It's a bit of a blessing to consider such talented people as your friends and I'm sure they'll put on a great show. Both acts have been playing new material at recent shows and if what I've heard is anything to go by then I reckon we'll be in for a treat.
Thanks Neil. Last but not least, you're a figurehead for the wonderful music pushing itself out of the city of Edinburgh. Who from the capital has been getting Meursault excited?
Plastic Animals. Amazing band. I love anything that reminds me of either Faust or My Bloody Valentine (except My Bloody Valentine, strangely).
Meursault perform as part of Haddow Fest Presents... Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Fri 26 Apr. Also performing will be Withered Hand (solo), Lomond Campbell & River Of Slime (of FOUND), plus a DJ set from Ally McCrae.