Following an eight year career, three albums, much touring across Europe and the UK with bands including Oceansize, Porcupine Tree and Placebo, Pure Reason Revolution finally decided to call it a day. After an emotional final performance, I caught up with their guitarist, Jamie Willcox, to discuss highlights from the band's career and prospective plans for the future.
It seems to come as a shock to people that you're splitting up so soon after the release of Hammer and Anvil - what's it like from your perspective, was it just a natural process?
I think with the albums it was a definite natural progress. We switched labels a few times. For us, after Hammer and Anvil, we felt that it was time to maybe call it a day. We loved Hammer and Anvil - for me it was my favourite album - but at the same time I don't think that it was pushed in the right direction. As a band we all felt, 'is this going to be the same next time?', so we all just decided that, possibly, it might be good to call it a day. But we didn't want to do it without saying a big thank you and stuff and seeing some faces and having a good time - we love touring.
Was it hard during the final few gigs - did you ever have any second thoughts about splitting up?
I'm not sure - I mean, yeah, we're always going to be in two minds, but it's been a labour of love for a long time. We love what we're doing, but sometimes it's a real uphill struggle. Here [Heaven, London] it's been amazing; so many people turned up, it's been unbelievable. If we got that every night, no way would we split up! At the same time, these shows did prompt a lot of people to come out. I guess that's due to The Dark Third, because that's a lot of people's favourite album, so they come out to see that - we appreciate that.
What's your favourite gig from the past few years with Pure Reason?
My favourite ever show was in Italy - it was a festival, we were supporting Placebo. It's my favourite ever show ever that we've done - apart from this tonight, because it's sentimental, and y'know. But the highs are going around touring Europe, the UK - doing stuff like that has been amazing; it's been unbelievable. Without sounding too corny; if you guys didn't come, we wouldn't do it.
Care to list some of the favourite bands that you've played with?
Oceansize, Losers - which is really good, having Losers supporting us - I love these guys, and their new stuff is just phenomenal; it blows me away every time I hear it. Mew - amazing, Porcupine Tree - amazing, Blackfield - amazing. We haven't supported any bad bands!
That's a pretty good run - and I think it shows with your crowd, they reflect that - there are a lot of fans of all of the bands that you've just mentioned, particularly there are a lot of Porcupine Tree fans at Pure Reason gigs.
We've played a lot of shows with Porcupine Tree - you know, Steve [Wilson] he's a good mate.
So what are the members' plans for the future?
The future - I don't know. We're all doing stuff. John produces a bunch of stuff, he does, I think it's KC Blitz, with another guy - which is great, a lot of remix stuff, and I think there may be some solo-y kind of stuff coming from it. Chloe wants to do a solo record. Paul drums for Red Kite, [of whom] Dan Fisher was on stage tonight. We were going to get Tom Bellamy as well but I don't know what happened. I DJ and do production stuff and remixes, and I do another band as well. We're all going to be doing stuff - and together as a group of guys and girls we'll all do stuff together. You know, if I need a vocal I'll get Chloe involved, because she's got a great voice and she's a mate.
So we should all keep an eye out?
Keep an eye on the Pure Reason Facebook. We'll put everything up on there - and our individual ones. I'd probably say don't follow mine unless you like a lot of crap coming through as well as a lot of good.
Great Jamie, thanks a lot!
All images © Rob Harvey