Saloon - Interview

29/05/2002, par Gildas | Interviews |
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Guillaume believes that the album is more upbeat than the singles. I think that it is less upbeat than the concerts. What was your mood while you were recording?

Amanda: The singles were consciously more immediate and more about the moment. For the LP we wanted more of an experience. For the first two years of our career the opportunities to record the LP just didn't arise. We didn't want to wait for a record label to fund it; we just knew when the time was right. The album took a long time to record and mix because we wanted it to be as good as we could make it. You won't have to wait as long for the next one though (hopefully!).
Michael: Hungry - all the rhythms were done before lunch. I really enjoyed doing the brass and percussion overdubs though. The room we used really suited the sounds.
Adam: A mixture of stress, tiredness and nervousness about making our most important record to date entirely on our own. The choice of songs had all been made before we went in there. It was consciously less upbeat though. So many debut albums are just about capturing just the rawness and energy of a band live, which can work perfectly at times; such as the first Electrelane album. But being difficult sorts we all wanted to do something a little more: to make a record that is about the space, and the feel, where the sound between the noises can be heard. We wanted to make a record that suggests a wonderful journey rather than just a slap in the face.

There is a definite coherent and consistent "feel" throughout the album; is it a conscientious effort? What did you want to achieve in terms of production?
Amanda: When we recorded it we wanted each song to sound different, but to also fit perfectly as a whole. It's the production that gives the whole record its consistency. I think it's what makes the LP better as a whole.
Adam: It's that the production articulates the voice. I can't stand albums that are "bitty". Where certain songs have clearly been produced more and had more money spent on them in order to mould them into a singles, you can almost hear the cynicism dripping off of the studio walls. "In Utero" is a perfect example of this, where the raw voice of the album and the artist has been compromised in the search for the quick buck.

Most of the tracks were recorded ages ago, then mixed a little bit later do you still like the choices you made? Were you frustrated by the delay or was it a work in progress?
Michael: It's not frustration, it's foreplay.
Matt: Yes we're still happy with the choices we made, we were learning at the time and it shows, but I think that's important about the record - it's the best record we could have made at that point. It's very frustrating though when you have a piece of work you're really proud of and it's just sitting on your bedroom shelf gathering dust.

The Saloon live experience is quite different from your various recordings, somewhat faster, louder and generally bursting with energy, why the difference?
Michael: If we get a 30min set, that's just 30 minutes to impress the audience and give them a sense of all the sides that make up Saloon. If you've got the album you'll be playing it over and over - so we could afford to be more subtle and persuasive in its arrangement.
Matt: We enjoy the dynamic of playing live, from our quietest songs through to the faster louder ones but I think our punkier, more aggressive influences come through when we're on stage, something borne of the need to make an immediate impression on an audience

Do you think that there is something typically English about your music ?
Michael: If anything it's that internal eccentricity and cold humour which has always been influenced by Europe, from Tristram Shandy to Jarvis Cocker.
Adam: Well there's certainly nothing American about it. I suppose we touch on obvious East Coast influences but not many more. I hope there is nothing typically English about our music. The most English thing about us is the slight folk rock influence we have from acts like the eternally hip Nick Drake or the eternally un-hip Fairport Convention. England is such an arrogant country though, its music business was one of its last great exports but even that is dead on its feet. Coming from England means nothing in the States now.

Who wouldn't you like to be compared to?
Michael: Garbage, The Corrs, Belle & Sebastian. Beth Orton.
Amanda: Emmanuelle.
Adam: Chris de Burgh, Beautiful South, Dexy's, Phil Collins,
Alison: Belle & Sebastian, Slipknot.
Matt: Anyone that the journalist might think is an easy option

What is making you tick at the moment?
Michael: Musically - Mike Ladd; Her Space Holiday; Telefon Tel Aviv, Television.
Amanda: Call and Response, Nancy and Lee.
Adam: Roy Budd, Printed Circuit, Sandy Denny, John Wyndham, Kraftwerk, Truffaut, ESG, Delia Derbyshire.
Alison: out of contemporary bands: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Mercury Rev, The Warlocks, The Soundtrack of our Lives, BRMC, The Bellrays, The Shins…
Matt: Electrelane, Hood, New Flesh, Ocean Of Sound by David Toop, City Rockers and Rephlex labels

What is next on the Saloon agenda?
Michael: Hopefully some more European adventures!
Adam: Probably doing more f*cking interviews.

The last question comes from Guillaume and has to be left in French.... Some things are better left in French : "Alison, que fais tu pendant less 40 prochaines années? tu veux pas venir jouer du viola un peu chez moi ?"
Michael: You Dirty Old Man!
Alison: what? hey, Guillame, I never turned up to my french "a" level classes…only the nouvelle vague ones…ask me in english and maybe I'll consider…..

 

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