The UK part of the tour is not so mammoth. Just five or six dates, I think. I’ll show you a handy graphic to let people know what to expect from them, based on the work of Edward Tufte, whose design classic The Visual Display of Quantitive Information is an essential read for anybody who is trying to articulate things/destroy language.
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding your new album, how far along are you with that?
It’s finished. We’re promoting it at the moment actually, doing Q&As for websites, things like that. It’s out soon on Superball Music.
Brilliant, so will it feel good getting out of the studio and back onto the road?
It will do. Right now we are out of the studio but based in a small, dusty box we laughably refer to as a rehearsal room. From this space we hope to emerge in a few weeks, bent of spine with knees as broken as marathon runners’, holding aloft the new 65days live show that we will be touring from the end of September.
You’ll be heading to our area twice, specifically ArcTanGent festival, will it be a little daunting heading up such an impressive bill of acts?
It will be daunting yes, but it’s a great line-up and we’re friends with a bunch of those bands. Given the nature of the bill, I imagine that the crowd is going to be full of people who go out of their way to seek out and support slightly strange, very noisy music, so we’ll be in our element. We’ll be terrified, but in our element.
In Bristol, you’ll be coming back to Thekla, which always stands out for bands on tour… what are your memories from playing the venue in 2009?
Well, it’s an old steel boat, so it’s a lot like getting pummelled repeatedly by huge slabs of noise, because everything that comes off the stage bounces around for a bit and then slams back into you, but on a time delay. It can get a bit confusing. At the same time though, you’re on a boat, which is great. And Bristolians seem to enjoy dancing.
So, you said recently that you’re going to launch a surprise attack on the entrenched mainstream music… does this mean the album will shock people?
Did we say that? It certainly sounds like the naive brinkmanship/melodramatic rhetoric that comes out of our mouths. Sounds a lot like an ant launching a surprise attack on a dinosaur. That said, dinosaurs are extinct, and ants are not.
I don’t think the record will shock people. I am having a hard time imagining what genuinely shocking music would or could possibly sound like these days. In fact, I’m no longer entirely convinced that music alone is an adequate tool for describing life. 65 is, sadly, ‘gothic high tech’, rather than ‘favela chic’, I think. (See Bruce Sterling’s output for the past few years for a fuller description of those distinctions).
Trying to soundtrack the way the world has twisted itself using regular instruments is akin to Don Quixote flailing at windmills. The soundtrack to humanity and what we do to each other should be generated by algorithms that dig through one of those servers in that NSA data centre in Utah, sampling, sorting and tagging by harmonic content. You could build an orchestra of meta-data and cross reference it with a unique audio footprint made by somebody somewhere hacking into Shazam or the iTunes database and combining all of the audio footprints in their databases to create one, ultimate song. That would be shocking.
We’ve not done any of that. We just worked really hard to try and build accurate representations of those noises/shapes in our heads, put them together, and made an album called Wild Light. We’re really proud of it anyway.
Lastly, you recently dropped fans a cryptic looking message on your page… is there anything big we can decipher or do we have to find out ourselves?
Probably, anything that we do on our Facebook page is the four of us refusing to relinquish the power of social media to any third party, i.e – record labels, promoters, press people, etc. The upshot of this is that we are incredibly bad at promoting ourselves and often miss out important pieces of information when we are trying to ask people to pre-order our record, or buy a t-shirt, or whatever.
Therefore anything cryptic is most likely us bluffing our way through this murky, decaying world of broken capitalism, hoping that people will take pity on us and throw money in our general direction even though, more often than not, they’ll be punished for it one way or another. Torrents are so much more seductive than an online store’s P&P prices, aren’t they?
It’s tough to be so reliant on such a fundamentally broken system, but then, we’re all kind of in that together these days, aren’t we? We’re lucky that we’re only railing against the lack of release-day digital-downloads rather than a deathly military coup.
Certainly a few things to mull-over there, my head hurts.
Thanks for your time James, we’ll look forward to seeing you tear up ArcTanGent in the near future.