There are few bands in 2004 that can quite captivate the listener in a complete contrast of emotions like Aereogramme, we speak to singer/guitarist Craig B about the release of impending mini album "Seclusion", touring the world in a beat up transit van and... skeleton xylophones
So what have you been up to over the recent glorious summer?
We have been doing our normal crappy jobs to pay the rent and any other spare time has been spent on the recording/ filming /release of our new mini album. It been a good summer for me anyway.
How are you feeling over the impending release of your new "mini" album Seclusion?
Maybe I shouldnt be answering these questions because im such a miserable sod but honestly, im not really looking forward to the release. I have been so proud of all the work that has been put into this record. I think everyone has pulled together so well and all the things we wanted to do, we did. Im so proud of this and yet im well aware that this bizarre mix of eclectic music / horror film / press photos of us drowned in a bath etc.... is difficult to digest and won't be bothering Keane's grip on the charts any time soon. Of course I wouldnt be happy making music like Keane but speak to me in a couple of months when we have toured for a few months and we are back to living on the breadline and I will be doubting my very existence. No really, I will.
How do you feel Seclusion represents Aereogramme in 2004?
Very well actually. We decided to experiment with the songwriting and it has birthed this strange behemoth called "the unravelling" which is the backbone to the whole idea "seclusion". I usually write the songs on an acoustic but this time Iain came up with the main idea on the computer and it felt great to sing over something someone else had written. So I think we will be incuding this process in future recordings so I think it's opened up a whole new way of working for us. "seclusion" feels like a balance of the old Aereogramme and the new.
You played a rather unexpected support slot with Thursday which received rather mixed reactions a few months ago, how were the shows for you, and how did you handle the more bitter reactions from those impatient thursday fans?
I handle these things very badly. Getting abuse from a group of kids who haven't even grown pubes yet is very depressing but the tour got far better after the first horrible night in manchester. To be honest (i really shouldn't be doing this) we probably did suck in manchester because we didnt have our own soundguy or crew wiping our arses and we were put on after "Million Dead" which wasn't a great idea either. All cedit to "Thursday" though. Most bands of their size are usually bullied into taking along some crappy major label backed haircut band to brainwash the kiddies again and "contribute" to the touring cost (i.e. a huge buy-on) but "thursday" ignored all that and chose us which I have nothing but utter respect for.
Also, you've toured with ISIS, and also Aaron Turner did the artwork for Seclusion. Is there anyone else around at the moment you'd love to tour with or work with in the near future?
Mike Patton. I'd love to tour with Tomahawk purely to see what kind a strange life Mike Patton lives. I have a lot of respect for him as well in that he has created "Ipecac" records,this odd playgound for weird bands. I think an aereogramme/Isis split would be a beast of a record as well.
You seem to have a fondness for mixing complete chaos and calm beauty in the space of 30 seconds while not taking anything away from the music itself, how hard is it for Aereogramme to capture these kind of mood's in the recording studio?
It terms of finding the "moods", it's no problem at all. There is always anger or sadness or joy in my life everyday and this is exagerated to a stupid degree when you are in the studio. The music we make is a direct reflection of how we feel. I don't want to live a flatline life. I go through a whole range of emotions everyday and so it makes pefect sense to make music like this. It also makes me a total nightmare to live with but thats another matter.
Are there any songs you've released or played live you regret looking back at them?
I know this isn't the same for everyone in the band but I don't regret a single song. There are many instances where I think I could have improved on my playing or I have written a new part after playing it live for months and you wish you could go back and add it in but I have never regretted a song. They are all very personal expressions for me and they continue to be so.
Are there any instruments you'd like to try and use on a future Aereogramme release that you think you could benefit from, as the band have had their fair share of dabbling with Electronics, Strings etc
I would love to get into the organic sounds that hold together a "Tom Waits" record. I want to record us playing on a xylaphone made out of human bones or using metal sounds for the percussion. Actually, if you listen carefully to "zionist Timing" from "a story in white" you can hear us battering on beer kegs. True.
Where's the favorite place you've ever toured?
Germany has the kindest crowds / the U.S. is so huge that it constantly changes and continues to keep you interested / Norway is jawdroppingly beautiful and Holland is always a good laugh for obvious reasons. Switzerland beats them all though. It really feels like another world and travelling through the Alps in a tiny beat up van is something I would reccomend to anyone.
Who were your favorite bands growing up?
The rest of the band all have their own influences but mine can be summed up with this list - Elton John / Michael Jackson / Fugazi / The God Machine / Red House Painters / The wedding present / The boo radleys / Metallica / Mark Eitzel / Aerosmith
Who's the most interesting band you've seen or heard in the last 12 months?
I think others in the band would say "secret machines" but I haven't heard the whole album yet. I don't go out much. Im a bit of a hermit really but the one song that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up is by a band called "KNUT" and it's a song called "h/armless". Oh God! It's genius.
What does the future hold for Aereogramme after Seclusion?
God Knows. I really love our position for all the freedom of expression it brings but bugger all people buy our records. I don't really want to say what I think will happen but I don't think we will ever give up making music. As "Neurosis" said in a recent interview, there is no need for bands to ever split up. You just need to change your priorities.
And finally, if you could create a musical supergroup from any era, who'd feature and why?!
Oh no. I can't answer this because I will get my plums parted by the others for not including their faves. It wouldnt work either, I mean, imagine a supergroup consisting of Otis redding, Jimi Page and the Messuggah drummer? Urgh. Keep them seperate!