An interview with The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s frontman Anton Newcombe

 

Imagine you are sat opposite your most respected lecturer, the sometimes tedious lecturer, who quickly asks you “what did I just say?” when he suspects you weren’t listening.

Except you’re sat in an abstract-shaped recording studio in Berlin, with double windows and ‘floating floors’. Surrounded by sitars, tambourines, guitars, drums, bongos, mixing desks and piles of vintage and new vinyl, collected from all around the world.

Except you’re sat with someone, also as respected as your strict lecturer. Someone who doesn’t, and would never need to ask if you are paying full attention, but asks anyway.

You are sat with one of the most experienced, intelligent, expressive, unpredictable, artistic and in depth musicians to have ever created ‘art’.

 

Its all being live streamed on his very own TV show to hundreds of fans.

 

Art means many different things to The Brian Jonestown Massacre front man, Anton Newcombe.

Art is the plastic doll heads wrapped in toy snakes sitting above his record collection.

Art is his 14 studio albums, 13 EP’s, five live albums, five compilation albums and ten singles.

Art is one of his film soundtracks.

Anton shares his art with fans across the world on his TV show, Dead TV.

 

This is one of the first interviews I have been lucky enough to be left speechless about. An interview that has made me re-think some of my life choices and views.

I hope it has the same effect for you guys, so stay tuned!

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DRENGE INTERVIEW

An interview with Eion Loveless, Drenge

 

How are you feeling today? Do you guys still get pretty excited/nervous to play big gigs?

 

Tonight, not particularly nervous, we played here (Southampton Guildhall) a few months ago, with Wolf Alice, so its quite strange to be back at a venue you were at just last month, and we will be back here in February, so we’re kind of used to it now.

 

So I watched your video yesterday, throwing the Sun in the bin, are you quite political within your lyrics? Or is it just outside of your music?

 

I wouldn’t say we’re overtly political but everything that I write about in the songs is about something, we live in the world, it’s more about situations where politics could impact on people’s life, or job perspective, I dunno political isn’t the word I don’t think, I mean it is but… it’s not about The House Of Commons!

 

So do you think its important to express your own views within your own lyrics? Or do you sort of try and steer away from being too controversial would you say?

 

To be honest a lot of people don’t really listen to our lyrics, with our band lyrics, they’re kind of more about, I try and write from the perspective that, the most possible people could understand what the song is about and empathise with it, because rather than writing from a very specific, narrow point of view, with very specific references and stuff, I just feel more comfortable writing so I can reach to more people.

 

If you’re very specific about certain people, or places, or names and stuff it can sometimes get a bit weird, when I write I try and write with a very open vocabulary.

 

So youre in a band with your brother, do you find it quite hard if you bicker or is it easier as you have grown up together?

 

Its very strange, most people when they’re in their early 20’s they’re very stranged from their brother. You only see them at Christmas, or weddings, but we see each other every day.

 

Its fun, I wouldn’t be in a band with him if we didn’t get on, we’ve been touring for three years so we’re used to it!

 

I read in an interview that you guys used to play a lot of parties, do you still do that now, do you miss being able to do it if not?

 

I don’t miss playing just parties. I remember at parties people weren’t particularly interested, they would put up with it. And now if I was to like pick up a guitar at a party, people would be like…ahhh… (sighs).

Id rather just chat to people at parties!

 

 

How would you say from your debut album to your album Undertow, your sound has changed?

 

We had never been on tour before, so we toured a lot and we also had a massive amount of time to record the second album, which we didn’t on the first record. It just meant that we’d go in everyday, if we didn’t have anything to work on, we’d go back and work on something else. I don’t know, I haven’t listened to the two records side by side… I probably should.

 

But I feel just as if the performance of the band got a lot stronger, I feel like the songs got more interesting and more listenable.

 

I know Ive compared you to Nirvana, and so have a lot of people, what has been your favorite comparison so far?

 

Damon Albarn compared us to The Talking Heads, which was like, he said one of our songs sounds like Talking Heads, I don’t think he was talking as in like ‘it sounds like Talking Heads’ it was more like, there’s things that happen in that song, that would happen in a Talking Head’s song.

 

You wouldn’t see David Byrne on stage like… rocking haha.

 

I saw you guys at Wolf Alice and the crowd was pretty mental, what goes through your head when you see the crowd literally beating the shit out of each other?

 

Our music might not suggest it but I’m all about peace and love, I get really edgy whenever I see it, I’m like fuck! Maybe the next step will be an acoustic album!

 

The other thing is people get quite pumped up for our shows, it allows them to release energy and not have to like, buy tickets to go see Slipknot, a band you’d more associate with hardcore moshing I guess.

 

I guess you used to do that when you were younger anyway, finding yourself in the mosh pits!

 

I was always in the pit, and then I went into a mosh pit about a year a go and realized I was to old. You’ve gotta have open arms, no fists, you’ve gotta make sure if someone falls over you pick them up! You gotta smile, you gotta look after everyone there, its not just about beating everyone up and doing a weird type of dance.

 

I saw on one of your interviews that youre a big fan of Robbie Williams, did you ever manage to get him on your guest list?

 

My girlfriend’s mum is Robbie’s biggest fan; his manager was at our label talking to our label boss, and then someone went “Eion! Your girlfriends mum loves Robbie Williams!” then because o that conversation, my girlfriends mum got tickets to go and see a dress rehearsal in like a big hanger, about 8 people there, Robbie did the entire show.

 

Obviously you guys play big gigs, festivals and smaller gigs, which do you prefer or are they all similar experiences?

 

I think we get a really healthy dose of all three. We never get bored of them, towards the end of festivals youre abit like… sigh… another big crowd, theres no sound check, you’re abit like what we gonna do with all of this time, yeah small shows are really intense and fun. They all have massive plus sides and not many negative sides.

 

Is there anything we can look forward to from you guys?

 

At the moment I’m on tour mode and that finishes on Saturday, ill get home, ill probably just have two days to just chill…

 

And what do you do to chill?

 

I usually go for a walk, cook a bit, just normal stuff! Heroin… I get all of my zeberas out… yeah.

ALBUM REVIEW//NGHFB – CHASING YESTERDAY

 

There’s not been a day since Oasis split up when a reunion hasn’t been mentioned. Noel Gallaghers new album, along with his ever growing success seems to be a massive ‘fuck you’ to these rumours. As the saying goes, why would Noel need any more fame or money by reuniting the 90’s band?

Following from his first solo album, his musical capability seems to be ever growing. ‘If I Had a Gun’ was one of 2011 most popular alternative songs, Gallagher seems to have used the same technique with Chasing Yesterday to create the hype, by releasing his undoubtedly most popular song ‘In the Heat Of The Moment’.

The First Song of the Album ‘Riverman’ has tinges of Pink Floyd Riffs, leading on a more heavy rock sound In ‘The Mexican’. Primal Scream psych riffs make an appearance In ‘The Right Stuff’ whilst legendary guitarist Johnny Marr joins Gallagher in the last song of the album ‘Ballad Of The Mighty I’.

Gallagher seems to know his audience well, cooking up an album featuring all genres of alternative music. Yet again, he has stepped up his game and released what could be the album of the year.

9/10

AN INTERVIEW WITH DMA’S

DMAs are one of the biggest upcoming bands at the moment, originally from Sydney, they promise a unique concoction of Brit-pop and indie with an Australian twang. We caught up with acoustic guitarist and songwriter Johnny to talk about the future and inspirations.

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This is your first gig in the UK in your tour, any venues in particular you’re looking forward to playing in Britain?

 

“Yeah actually I heard about this one now (The Joiners) through a band called Bad Dreams and they said it was a good venue, nothing really in particular.

It’s all pretty new for us, we haven’t toured really extensively in the UK so it’s all pretty new, I’ve heard of the one in Brighton, the Green Door, they’ve got cobblestone floors or some shit, and then I’ve heard good things about the deaf institute as well in Manchester.

I’m looking forward to going to Europe as well, 5 weeks ago we did different parts of Europe but once again, not extensively.”

 

We read in an interview that your first gig was when you hadn’t actually released anything yet and it was extremely crowded, how did that come about and how was that for you?

 

“It was a little bit daunting because we weren’t sure what the response was going to be like, we had one song released, that was getting played on the radio and we did that intentionally, we had seen bands in Sydney, I think you see it with any big city, you cant just go around playing three times a month, people get bored and your friends stop coming to your gig, we kind of purposely took time in writing the tunes and then to try and get songs played on the radio after never playing a gig.

And we did our first gig and it was crazy, there’s an old motorcycle store near where I live, we built a stage in there and hired a PA off our mates, probably around a 400 capacity venue, we had to turn 150 people away.

It was like ‘wow all these people are here to see us!’ and we were so new, even though we have been playing as a band for years it wasn’t like stage fright, it was just nice to see them all get involved.”

 

You played alongside The Black Keys and Tame Impala at the Governors Ball, how did you manage to get that and was it a challenge?

 

“We’ve got a badass-booking agent! That’s about it; it was our first time really going around America properly. You get to a point where, a stage is a stage and you get up there and do it. We would like to go back in a few years and step it up.”

 

 

What’s the response been like for your latest album ‘DMA’s’, have you had much attention on social media sites?

 

“It’s been great, its gone as well as it could have, we’re not one of those bands that’s going to scream to the top 40, but at the same time it’s like, we released the mini album kind of thing, and all this touring has pretty much been building up for us for when we release our debut LP, which is coming out in late February.”

 

Where do you guys take your main inspiration?

 

“It’s all pretty diverse, I know for me I’m a big Dylan and Springsteen fan, also bands like The La’s and Oasis, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, lots of big American bands, The Jesus and Mary Chain.

We’re from Sydney, in our generation you can get into anything you fucking want. Most of my friends, they’re not that narrow minded, they listen to absolutely fucking everything, cus’ its all cool for its own reasons.”

 

What is your ultimate goal? A certain festival or a sell out gig?

 

“Not really man. I try not to get too excited, what’s been working for us you know, if you just focus on the songs, the rest of it will come, so I try not to think too much into it, go with the flow. “

 

Do you have any opinions on the current music scene? Such as chart music or the current issue with NME going free, do you have any opinions on this?

 

“I think there’s always people writing great tunes, I think that music is at a really exciting time because it’s like you know, the whole electronic production thing is coming in, to be honest I try not to put my opinion out too much, whenever I see someone doing it, I think, what people like and what people get from music, it’s so subjective to who you are, and people use music for fucking thousands of different reasons.

That’s your reason for liking it so why would you try and force your opinion on someone else, when it takes a lot of very fucking beautiful people for this world to go round, it’s bullshit if you think your opinion is that fucking important.”

 

So is there anyone you’re currently listening to? Any new bands you guys think we should check out?

 

You should check out these guys actually, (Crown Of Thieves and The V2’s), our bass guitarist is in a band called Au.ra and check our Pop Strangers.

I got really into Tobias Jesso Jr.’s album, he had an album called ‘Goon’ which I was listening to a lot, obviously like the last tour I was listening to the latest Tame Impala album which was sick. Recently I’ve just been going back to my roots, listening to Joni Mitchell cus’ I love her lyrics, she’s amazing.

Heaps of Van Morrison, I really like acoustic driven stuff which is probably why all DMA’s tunes are written in acoustic, one thing people notice about us is that acoustic is a pretty prominent thing, in Sydney when we first started, there weren’t really any Australian rock ‘n’ roll bands doing that, and it probably stems from a lot of that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOSSOMS INTERVIEW

An interview with Blossoms

The five boys from Manchester squeeze awkwardly onto the sofa, which is used to being sat on by excitable bands about to play at The Joiners, a venue described by The Arctic Monkeys as “a place where you have to play to get started”.

Sound check is finally over and after watching Blossoms muck about on stage trying to get the sound of Myles Kellock’s keyboard perfect for their first gig of the tour, lead vocalist Tom Ogden jokes around by playing a few Oasis tunes before the interview.

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The band agree on Brighton being the place they are most excited to play on their tour, “Myles is convinced it’s called Brighton ‘cus it’s always well bright”, says Ogden, “yeah, I reckon Bedford must be full of beds”, admits Kellock.

The atmosphere changes from lighthearted to moderately serious as Donovan tells me of a recent problem the band had with a festival.“We played Strawberry Field Festival and they never paid us, there were only about 200 people there…” – “Yeah and half of the festival had to go home after we played ‘cus it was dead windy or something”, interrupts Ogden. “We heard the owners fled the country!” says Salt as Donovan lightens the mood with a joke about selling their own bodies after not being paid. The word ‘bastards’ is muttered under one of the boy’s breath.

The band decide it’s time to start talking music, and it kicks off with talk of main inspirations. ‘Class Clown’ of the band Donovan throws in “Rick Astley!” along with Abba, courtesy of guitarist Josh Dewhurst who has kept quiet until now.

“But on a serious note”, Ogden announces, “The Doors to Arctic Monkeys, everything in-between from The Smiths to Oasis” – “But we do love Abba” adds Kellock. Salt mentions how their music is also inspired by film – “We make all of our own videos as well as our own tour videos, one of our videos is inspired by a 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film called Vertigo, the song’s called ‘Madly’.”

Along with this, Blossoms have invented their own sub-genre ‘Ethereal Nostalgic Sonance’. “Some people can take it as a little bit pretentious when you read it, the majority don’t understand what it means, they just label us as Psychedelic which is really lazy and pisses me off”, says Salt – “well we are playing for Club Psychedelia…” Donovan adds sarcastically. Ogden suggests calling it ‘dark pop’ while Kellock says “a lot of people say its sleazy as well, sexy” – here Ogden talks about a 50 year old man saying that to him last night and Dewhurst adds, “that’s what we go for you see, 50 year old men.”

Questions then turn to which musical era the band would fit in to the most. “If there was a warehouse and every floor was an era, like five floors, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, we’d fit in every one”, Salt says confidently. Donovan adds – “We’d be the lift!”.

The Coral’s James Skelly, who took a liking to their music and style, has recently approached Blossoms.“He produces us and he’s a friend. Basically we have a demo out called ‘Blow’, which we recorded ourselves, he heard it and loved it then got in touch. We bonded and became friends.”

If working with Skelly isn’t enough for the boys, they will be supporting The Charlatans in their next tour. This leads on to talk of who they would love to support if they had a choice.

Salt: “Neon Waltz”
Ogden: “Arctic Monkeys!”
Kellock: “every year The Smiths have been rumored to play Glasto…”
Ogden: “not gonna happen…”
Donovan: “said that about The Stone Roses! Oasis of course, we’re from Manchester.”

He points out how Salt doesn’t particularly like Oasis, which sparks bickering between the boys. This quickly ends when Dewhurst shouts, “SEAN PAUL…fucking yes.”
The interview draws to an end as the band start to joke about their tour managers sun burn on his chest. Quickly distracted and eager to get on stage, Blossoms stumble up and get ready to play the first gig of their tour.

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AN INTERVIEW WITH BOBBY GILLESPIE

 

Sat in a cute, hidden café I wait restlessly for Bobby Gillespie’s arrival. After what seems like hours, he breezes through the park, dressed coolly wearing a pair of black shades he greets me with his famously warm smile as he slouches down on the chair. I ask him if this café is his local and he replies with telling me this is where he used to buy his sandwiches from before he started his day, then quickly moves onto the history of the small town on the outskirts of London.

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“This is actually home of Mary Wollstonecraft, who takes credit of being the first ever feminist. She lived around here, she’s got a book called ‘The Rights Of Women’, do you know Mary Shirley? Who wrote Frankenstein, that’s her daughter. Next door to here is a humanitarian church, which is kind of a non-conformists church and someone has spray painted her image on the wall.” Gillespie later takes me to this image on a quest to get a picture to remind me of the interview.

“There’s lot’s of radical stuff around here, a lot of non-conformists – pretty cool, you know?”

 

After sharing his knowledge on the town, I decide to take advantage of his political/feminist views and get political. I bring up a quote he made a few years a go – “We always saw music as a revolutionary force” and asked him to explain.

 

“I think what I meant was, we saw it as the ability to transform individuals and inspire them to be creative for themselves and to also be creative to other people, you know creative groups, I think the main inspiring force for me was punk rock. Before punk rock I never knew I could be a creative person, I had no idea because of different things, you know? The way I was educated and my family. The life that was available to me was the industrial life, which was a life of working and there was no plan of going to art school. All of the arts and creative fields, my family never had that frame of reference maybe. No schools thought that I could be a creative person.”

 

This all seems bizarre for a man who created Screamadelica, the album that won NME’s most druggiest album ever and peaked at number 8 on the official UK album chart upon its initial release. Not to mention his role in Jesus And Mary Chain as well as Primal Scream.

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Bobby continues on his punk rock realization: “I was actually working for my father at the time, he got a job for me and he pointe me in the right direction but other than that, the teachers never gave a shit about us!”

 

“When punk happened that was the epiphany for me, the central message for punk rock was ‘anyone can do this’. If you had a strong enough idea and you’ve got a message you want to put across, making a fanzine or artwork or taking photographs, there are creative things demographically for everybody and you can express yourself. I never realized that. Punk for me was an epiphany and that’s what I meant by a revolutionary force.”

 

“Punk happened in the 60’s and I was too young to realize that but now I know there’s a crack in the force field of nothingness and a lot of people were inspired to do something that wasn’t just obeying orders and settling for their allocated life and made them think. It revolutionized my life and a lot of other peoples life.”

 

“I think Acid House in the late 80’s had a similar kind of power. You reach a certain age in your life between maybe 16-25 when you’re really looking for a sense of identity, looking for people exactly the same as you and music is a unifying place where you can meet like minded people. You can grow up in your street or your area, you hang out you play football, you do whatever you do with certain people and it’s cool for a while and then you get to an age and you go one way or another, for me, it was Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

 

“Me being a Punk caused problems, with our studs and long hair, people were threatened by it. I had to make a choice and it was to be a Punk.

That then lead me to literature, art and films. I owe everything to Punk Rock, Johnny Rotton and Malcom Mclaren. Malcom was the one that pushed the idea that ‘anyone can do this’ and I think that what he meant was that he wanted to see, instead of people looking up and being spectators, he wanted everyone participating and being creative. And it was empowering, it took the power away from the superstars, because there was this illusion that only these incredibly talented, wealthy glamorous people could do it, and everybody else was just kind of ‘under’ them.

 

“Punk came and smashed through the screen, it slashed the screen of illusion, suddenly we’ve got guys who feel strong enough to then write about it, sing about it, make films about it, do something about it, and to me that is an incredibly powerful message.

 

After hearing about Gillespie’s punk days I decide to bring up a one of his own quotes which caused slight controversy…”kids aren’t as political now”. As soon as the quote is brought up Bobby laughs and takes it back.

 

 

“I might have to take that back actually, because I don’t know if ive got any right to say that because I’m not hanging around with teenage kids, occasionally I do, I got to a club and I have friends that are younger, and ill talk to people there. They feel strongly about this stuff and they go on marches and stuff. So maybe what I meant was they’re aren’t enough bands or maybe I wasn’t hearing them. Me and my friends were all talking about it and saying ‘why is there none? If you’re young you should be outraged, the choices that have been presented to you, we were outraged and angry when we were teenagers, we had more chances of a well paid job as well, but we were angry and you always have that when you’re young. So I think maybe it wasn’t criticism to young people, it was more puzzlement at “why aren’t they angry?” it was more of a cultural critique than anything I guess.”

 

“It could be a generational thing or an age thing, it’s definitely a cultural thing. I think that with punk bands, in the 60’s – 1968, this was the time of a revolution, the workers revolution, black power, the feminism movement, the working class, and trade union power and gay rights, late 60’s early 70’s it was rising to the surface and marginalized voices were being heard. They were revolutionary times. Rock n Roll kinda reflected that.”

 

“The guys that I’m talking about they would have been teenagers in the late 60’s, they were the kind of guys that formed the punk bands, so the early 70’s and mid 70’s I always remember it being – I was quite young but my dad was a trade union leader and stuff so there was a lot of policy in the family. There was lots of strikes, there were blackouts, there was the IRA, the Mainland Bombing Campaighn, a fucking civil war.”

 

With great regret, this is the part where my phone got stolen at a festival after the interview, which is why it’s cut short. Bobby and I spoke for another hour about the punk days, his new album and political out-rage.

Hopefully one day I shall get the chance to fill in the missing pieces, other than that I hope you enjoy what I have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW//PEACE -HAPPY PEOPLE

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It seems as though the four piece indie band, who have beaten the likes of Swim Deep, Fat White Family and Circa Waves in the race to the top of the alternative charts predicted England’s sunny weather and mastered the album of the summer before anyone else.

Peace’s choice of name for their newest album is a little weak on the creative front, especially as it contradicts many of lead singer Harrison Koisser’s lyrics, where lyrically, this song isn’t the strongest, it portrays tinges of lack of confidence, predominately in his song ‘Perfect Skin’ with the chorus “I wish I had perfect skin, I wish I was tall and thin”.

The band seem to refer to a number of issues circulating the media, including the uproar of feminism and the male stereotype, Koisser questions his manliness and sings “If we’re living in a man’s world, I’m a girl, I’m a girl, I’m a girl”.

Peace have left their grunge tone behind for their last album ‘In Love’ and have moved on to a more Stone Roses/Primal Scream sound, noticed mostly in ‘Gen Strange’. They have cleverly ordered each song in a way which we wouldn’t realise that really, most of the introductions to each song sound extremely similar, along with the lack of Koisser’s vocal variety.

‘Imaginary’ is your classic repetitive pop song, with its verse “you make me feel like, you make me feel like, you make me feel imaginary” several times, it’s hard to not find yourself skipping to a different song.

Peace have managed to stay in the media’s eye since their first album, the extent of their fan base was shown predominantly on Record Store Day 2015 when thousands of super fans queued up for hours to get their hands on Peace’s 12” Happy People LP.

The drumbeats and guitar riffs from both Boyce and Castle act as a slight distraction from the not-developed-enough lyrics, the album offers much more pop than the last unique/grunge album. ‘Someday’ has a Pop-Punk depression feel to it, something maybe that ought to have been left in 2008.

‘Fur’ shows Peace’s most Britpop influences, with a Gallagher-like whiny voice by Harrison, along with the tedious lyrics: “nothing matters when you’re wearing fur, I can’t keep myself from her”, as controversial as it may be, could this just be One Direction disguised as fur-wearing hipster lads with nose rings?

The whole album seems misleading, bouncy, upbeat and merry instrumentals are joined with lyrics of a deeper meaning. With an impressive eighteen songs on the deluxe album, the Koisser brothers along with Douglas Castle and Dominic Boyce have produced an emotional rollercoaster in cd form. Something other bands with a similar fan base and sense of style can’t quite seem to get the grip of.

The album has its ups and downs, relating to issues and more personal lyrics that wont take much learning from their fan base to sing along to when playing live, however the poorly thought out lyrics take away any hope of a modern version of The Cure. Peace seem to have done it right with the first album, building up their followers and releasing RSD goodies as a sort of bribe to not notice the rushed album.

Maybe next time Peace.

5/10

 

TALKING POLITICS WITH HAPPY MONDAY’S DANCER BEZ

 

Mark Berry, otherwise known as Bez, is struggling to juggle between not hitting his head on the low roof of the night club’s cellar and pour his triple vodka and god knows what. Greeting us with a warm smile and friendly hug we get straight into a passionate conversation on The North of England.

 

We’re going to ask you first about your reality party, how is it all going for you?

 

“This thing about recent affairs, with Jeremy Corbyn, cus’ if you look at our policies as The Reality Party – look at our manifesto, what Corbyn is saying is exactly what we’re saying pre-election.”

 

At the time I was saying ‘why am I stood up doing this?’ Labour should be doing it. I kept saying this at the time cus’ I couldn’t believe that we’ve got into such a position myself just dancing with The Happy Mondays – that compelled to set up a political party. There’s something drastically wrong isn’t there?”

 

Do you feel now that political parties are supporting us or do you think you could do a better job – or who could?

 

“At the moment we need a voice in opposition, from someone who is suffering. We cannot allow what is going on, what’s happening is we’re moving into corporate dictatorship, with this thing called TCIP and all that – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, you should check it out, basically it’s a corporate dictatorship and its got to be stopped, or there’s so much going on, one hand we’ve got the extreme left opposition with Corbyn and Labour, extreme right in Farage. He has really scary speeches at the moment, appealing to the country, a mad propaganda going on.

 

What I fear the most, you’ve got all the British army, all sworn to elegance to the Queen so, my fear is that they want to start this dictatorship and the best way to create it is chaos.”

 

How do you feel about Corbyn not singing the national anthem?

 

“I don’t give a fuck do you know what I mean? Cus’ at the end of the day I truly believe if humanity is ever gonna experience peace in our time we’ve got to get rid of the blood line and get rid of religion, cus’ religion is custodial and if anything was to be ‘delivered by a fallen angel’ it’s custodial.

 

We’ve got to stop fucking believing in Satan man, stop fucking religion, get rid of the bloodline and then we’ve got peace on earth.”

 

Just as Bez starts to get lost in the controversial conversation on religion and… Satan? We’re interrupted with a very important statement.

 

“I fucked up your joint Bez!”

 

So obviously you play live with the Happy Mondays, what do you prefer, DJ sets or playing live with the band?

 

“I guess I prefer doing nothing if I can! One of my favorite things is doing fuck all. Just hanging about chatting. If it weren’t for The Mondays I wouldn’t be in the position that I am now. I’m so lucky to be in this position. But I love all occasions, all variety, any social event…where’s that bottle of vodka gone?”

 

“Dunno but ive got martinis”12079501_1686137124953472_6234992584465006954_n

 

“How dare I say no to a martini!”

 

So Bez, what do you think of the current music scene, will it ever be as good as the 90’s?

 

“What the sad thing is, is through the 90’s and The Mondays, that era, was the last of the whole fashion/music business, unfortunately comes to an end, don’t think them days are ever gonna come back. Not on that sort of huge popular scale, but now we have all of this great underground music on offer and there’s so much of it it’s unbelievable, but the sad thing is with programs like the fucking Voice or x-Factor…

 

Is that shaken or stirred?”

 

The plastic pint glass of martini mixer distracts Bez and it seems we’ve lost him for the night, he dances over to fuel his drunken state before he takes to the stage for his own version of the Hacienda nightclub.

 

Interview by Ruby Munslow and Briony O’keefe.

AN INTERVIEW WITH PETER DOHERTY

 

 

Bournemouth is drizzly and wet, but the atmosphere is buzzing.

The Libertines are playing the BIC Centre later on and Pete and I are walking to his tour bus, his hand holding down one of his infamous hats onto his head.

It’s hard to walk even a few meters next to such an influential poet, with fans coming from all directions, confessing their love for a flattered, humble Peter Doherty, who takes the time to chat to each of them.

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After taking some fresh air at the beach, we head back up to the hotel.

The Hilton is all it’s imagined to be, the hotel room belonging to Peter Doherty, is all it’s imagined to be. Like a Tracy Emin bedroom art-piece cluttered with typewriters and guitars, overlooking the view of Bournemouth.

After getting to know each other a bit more, we clink our cider bottles, light our cigarettes and begin the interview, Pete with his guitar on his lap.

 

 

~

 

So this is your second to last gig in the UK, have you had any gigs that have really stood out for you, you’ve thought “fuck me that was special”?

 

Yeah, normally you find it’s one that everyone agrees on, so you sort of go along with the flow like Manchester, after Manchester everyone was like “fucking hell that was amazing!”

Even if I had had a rough gig, which I don’t think I did, I’d be saying it was the best gig because everyone has a buzz from it. It’s normally a bit of a jinx for me Manchester, I always seem to have a mad time in Manchester, I either freak out and cancel it or I do something stupid and I go off stage and break my guitar, I don’t know what it is I always felt, a weird aggression in the air, I was a bit worried before hand but it was a belter.

I think I broke the duck finally, it was important for me, to be honest.

Glasgow, traditionally was always like, everyone always says it’s an amazing crowd, again I was worried with the arena, I thought “am I gonna dull the edges of it all?” You know when you’re in small venues you can take the edge off it but it hasn’t at all, its just been like, playing a really intimate gig, you know?

It’s hard. We were all a bit worried about… selling out or whatever, selling out as in selling your souls, not selling all the tickets. Which I don’t think has happened.

 

I heard about the Nottingham gig, after there was some fans outside and you did an intimate gig?

 

Oh yeah we did, yeah yeah.

 

How important is it for you to do personal, intimate gigs for your fans? Or does it just sort of happen, without really thinking about it?

 

Yeah, when you meet someone as you’re disappearing into the bus, someone who has been waiting there at the gig, they’ve got a lyric tattooed on their arm, and they look you in the eye and tell you they’ve been there for three hours, in the cold. What can you do?

And then by the time you’ve got some drinks off the bus and a guitar, relax a little bit, sometimes it can be a bit stressful meeting people all the time, the photos and that, then again it’s the ones who don’t want the photos, they just want to shake your hand or, I don’t know, tell you they love you.

I don’t know I do tend to get, we tend to get drawn in, it’s always spur of the moment, it’s not “we’ll meet you outside in the car park”. Most gigs we have just been like… I think we got as much from it as they did.

One girl she was there, she had to be at work at 6am, and it was already 1am, it was just really magical.

Takes us back a bit to the place where we started out, which is just to find people really, and bring people together, you know? That communal thing about music, you used to get it with football, stand up at football in unity.

More and more that’s the working class, its been eased out, I mean after those shootings in Paris, they made it illegal for a while to be gathered in a group with more than ten people, it’s not like a conspiracy theory like saying they’re using this to control people, but something like that, especially in a country like France, that’s like heavy stuff you know? Not to be allowed in a group of ten people you know…

 

You’re playing in Paris on your European tour aren’t you?

 

I live in France now, I have done for a few years, being told you know, that as a grown man, for example you can’t smoke a cigarette in your own car, to me there’s something a bit obscene about it, especially the bloke that made that law, Justice Taylor, I don’t think he’s ever stood up at a football match in his life, d’ya know what I mean?

I need to feel there’s still that unity there

I just find it strange that at the time, people didn’t do anything about it, just letting all of these laws pass, letting society change in these huge ways, it’s almost like these people are just vacant and numb to it, so gigs now, when you get that surge and you see that crowd, it’s just the music that’s powering it, kind of everything we set out to do, just to find people and bring them together and I love that.

 

Well lets face it, The Libertines have had a… let’s say ‘colourful’ career, I’m sure you’ve seen some things. At this point, what is it that makes you really buzz now?

From when you first started it was the fame and the fans, it was a new thing to you…

 

Yeah for a time we were really fame hungry, ‘fame hungry chancers’ we were once described as, that did kind of spur us on, things like that, fame, money – you cant deny it.

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Now I feel it’s come to a place where I need to feel at one with the boys like. Especially Carl, I need to know that he trusts me and believes in me still, I need to feel the same about him, you know?

That’s what it’s really all about for me and it not being contrived, not feeling like we’re just doing it for the money, I need to feel there’s still that unity there and that friendship there, cause that’s something that’s been so messed up through the years, its hard to believe at first, that we were actually doing it for the right reasons.

When you’re playing arenas, there is a lot of money involved, there is a huge crew, all these buses. To turn around and cancel a pub gig last minute for example, is not such a big deal, to turn around and if I have to say ‘no I cant do this, I’m freaking out I cant do the gig’ I don’t know… there’s almost so much pressure now because there’s all this army…

And I know Carl will always just blame the drugs you know? And I need him to know that I’m there, and I can be relied on, when he said to me the other night that he had recognized a change and that he could see I was trying, it meant a lot, so yeah.

 

So can you tell me what went through your head before you were just about to announce the news about the band reforming?

 

I really wouldn’t know I couldn’t really remember… I suppose just hoping really, that people would be excited you know? I should give him a bell actually, get him down for the interview…

 

Pete fiddles with his smashed up iPhone and laughs at something he’s just remembered, he shows me a video of him and the boys on the tour bus partying in the early hours, it’s no wonder Carl is still in bed…

 

Also cause he does that Instagram thing, that thing you put photos up online on, so say when he came to visit me, before we got back together and announced the big gigs, he said “right I’m gonna put the photo’s up of us together” to see how people would react and to see the numbers of views or whatever, so I mean that was a big part of The Libertines cause it means a hell of a lot when people see…

 

This links on to another question, so obviously you had your first period of The Libertines, then you broke up then you came back again, social media is so powerful now, more powerful than ever, did you ever consciously notice that when you got back together?

 

I got well into putting stuff online in the early days of The Libertines, but I drifted away from it before social media all really started.

Like that guy on the street just now, said ”I’ll Tweet you” I went to make a point of saying “no, no I don’t do that” but Jai, turned around and made me look a right plonker and said “yes you do”, but he’s my manager, he does it all for me.

You can create a perfect image of yourself and of your life

So it’s a conscious thing not to do it, I feel, only personally I know its great for advertisement stuff, it dilutes things for me, I have got to be really wary of stuff like that, I know if I get into Facebook or something like that, it’s one of those things I know I’d spend too much time on it, it would distract and dilute everything I did, instead of writing a song, or living my life, id be writing about writing a song, or writing about my life instead of living it?

It doesn’t happen with the typewriter for example, so I kind of stay away from that a little bit, but I don’t think for a minute it’s going to go away, I can see the importance of it, its just this other world and I would never criticize it, its just basically another reality I wouldn’t dip my toe in.

You can create a perfect image of yourself and of your life, which is probably handy you know when you’re fifteen and you can create this new identity of yourself

 

I’ve seen it myself, it kind of terrifies me a bit, it will obviously never become obsolete it’s always gonna be there…

 

The first time I ever saw you was at Hyde Park, of course it’s The Libertines, it’s going to be mental, did you expect that? What was your reaction?

 

I don’t think we did, I think we were all absolutely shit scared that it was going to be a bit drab or something, we didn’t dare think that the park that we used to just busk in sometimes you know, or like hang around in.

I remember on Christmas day my dad took me and my sister down there, took the bus from my Nan’s down to Hyde Park, he took his tracksuit off and jumped into the fucking Serpentine and swam.

Hyde park is kind of special to me and to think that we’d do a gig there in front of sixty thousand people, it was amazing. I remember in the morning looking out the hotel window, looking out and seeing a lad, he had his ticket in his hand as well, he was just walking around in his union jack suit on, he had a wicked hair cut, I just thought this day is gonna be wicked, I thought this is what it’s all about, just bringing people together, basically just being part of someone’s Saturday, being a sound track to a few people’s lives or anybody’s life.

 

Was there not a slight sense of irritation when people kept climbing up the bell tower?

 

They didn’t stop the gig because of the lad on the bell tower, we were like “go on carry on man! Knock yourself out on the bell tower!” we loved that.

It took me a little while to be able to stand up for myself.

A guy died of a heart attack in the mosh pit before we came on and people were just being squashed and carried out unconscious, kids who’d never really been in a mosh pit before I don’t think, one girl was dressed in stilettoes and a tiny little skirt and she was like being handed over the top completely unconscious.

 

You just don’t go to gigs dressed like that, do you!

 

Probably not no, it wasn’t because of the bell tower though, Carl just made a comment about that it was because people just kept getting squashed. It was really, really dangerous at the front, older blokes just going ape and you mix that with loads of young kids.

They just kept saying, “stop the gig and tell them to move back!” and yeah we had one death.

 

So it’s been a journey, have you noticed a change of your crowds?

 

It’s really hard to predict it or to notice, it’s impossible, first of all the crowd seems to be staying young, in England and in a lot of places, it’s just a complete mix, I can remember kids, who are now coming with their kids, if I lock eyes with someone in the crowd that’s it I’ll forget the lyrics, I’ll just get drawn away, easily distracted.

 

So your new album title “Anthems for Doomed Youth” is that literal? Do you really think we’re doomed?

 

All youth by nature, it has to be doomed! There has to be a point where the youth ends, it doesn’t necessarily have to end in disaster, I don’t know it’s a little bit pessimistic isn’t it!

It’s still a beautiful world in many ways, but its also extremely fucked you know… you’re getting me all sad now! Just innocence being exploited is just the worst thing for me, something like bullying or taking advantage of someone its… I don’t know.

I kind of think when I was younger, at school when someone was being bullied or someone had a go at me I would never say I was ever a pussy but I was never someone who got walked all over, but sometimes I think its difficult to believe in yourself, it took me a little while to be able to stand up for myself.

I had to learn from certain people in my life, one of them was Carl as well he had this kind of ‘umph’, it was kind of attractive and a little bit sort of violence… violent people because I admired the way they could stand up for themselves, that can sometimes turn incredibly wrong but there’s a difference between an aggressor, and someone who wont back down.

I always really admired that in people, but its not a quality I really have, it took me a while to be able to… I think when I was younger, I used to get off a little bit on going to football matches and seeing violence, you know? It was quite an exciting thing, people get really turned on by it.

 

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Growing up in Stoke yeah I’ve seen it, seen people fight over football as such, saw someone get bitten once

 

I got bit on the lip once, in Wolverhampton I think it was, by a bloke yeah! It was really strange yeah, it was really strange.

 

That must have fucking hurt!

 

Yeah he had already head-butted me, cause I was wearing black nail varnish, and he really took it personally, but he really took it personally like I’d done something wrong, I hadn’t done anything!

 

When Pete and I first met he found out about my middle name being Tuesday after The Stones, he begins to sing the lyrics and we’re mislead into a conversation about our family tree’s.

 

Are you fully British?

 

I am but there’s Irish in there, my Dad’s Dad was Irish, and my Mum she’s from Liverpool, her mum and dad are from Liverpool but my great grandmother was Russian. So Irish and Russian.

 

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~

 

His hat is placed on top of my phone and we switch from interviewing to exchanging favorite songs.

I show him Grinder man and he show’s me The Beautiful South, there’s a strong sense of friendship formed as we chill out and finish our drinks.

There’s a knock at the door and Carl Barat walks in, we exchange hugs and the pair dissolve into conversation about their last gig.

It’s time for Pete to get some rest, Carl is off to see his family and I’m off to get ready to watch the band, wearing the biggest smile I’ve mustered up in a long, long time.

 

Having had the chance to spend a few hours with one of my biggest idols, on of the kindest, most expressive and captivating person I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

 

 

 

Interview by Ruby Tuesday Munslow