Interview Filter


HELLO AND WELCOME TO TERRORVERLAG. I HOPE YOU HAD A GOOD START INTO 2009? DID YOU HAVE A BIG PARTY OR JUST WITH A FEW FRIENDS? Ross Carter: I had a very quiet one. I was tired. I think I actually fell asleep. I partied last year with Chris. Maybe I’ll only celebrate in a big style every two years so I can spend extra time recovering! Nic Johnston: Log fire, Country cottage & the girlfriend. Glen Wisbey: I had a quiet New Year with the girlfriend and some friends. Am not a big fan of New Year Chris Taubert: Unfortunately I got a bit eager and had my party the night before, so I missed New Year. FOR THE BEGINNING IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU COULD INTRODUCE YOURSELF SHORTLY TO OUR READERS… RC: Hello. I’m Ross Carter. The singer, the vocalist, the lyricist, the antagonist. Whatever you want to call it. NJ: Hi, Happy New Year. I’m Nic Johnston, the guitarist in Blue October GW: Hi I am Glen Wisbey. I play keyboards and write the music. CT: Hello, my name is Chris Taubert and I play keyboards and sing backing vocals. I am also in charge of Sonics for the band IF I SEARCH FOR YOUR BAND NAME IN THE NET, I FIND TWO RESULTS: BLUE OCTOBER UK AND BLUE OCTOBER FROM HOUSTON. HAVE YOU BEEN MIXED UP A LOT WITH THEM? RC: Yeah, people mix us up sometimes. I don’t know why. We couldn’t sound more different. Even the American press get it wrong on occasions. It all adds a bit of intrigue, excitement and fun to something that could have been so straightforward! NJ: No, not in the UK GW: Not much in the UK but we do seem to get a few emails from confused Blue October USA fans. CT: By name only, but musically we are on different busses. They are rubber stamp rock, and we are electronica. AND WHICH BAND HAS BEEN THERE FIRST? RC: I believe that we had the first official release but who really cares? We’re proud of the name and what we have created for the people who know us. That’s our legacy. They (Blue October USA) have their own. NJ: Us of course GW: I think it was us who had the release, so going to say us. CT: We were formed in 1996 and I started working with the band from 1997 in a remix capacity. LAST NOVEMBER YOU HAVE RELEASED YOUR LAST ALBUM „WALK AMONGST THE LIVING“. WHAT DOES THIS TITLE MEAN TO YOU OR WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL US WITH IT? RC: I have an unstable mind. I used to believe it was a millstone. Now I feel it’s a hereditary talent handed down by aliens. Oh, the album title, yeah, my strange mind used to take me away from the real world on many occasions. I would ‘live’ in a place where there was only me. I would be oblivious to anyone else. I would avoid human contact. Sometimes though, I would suddenly snap out of my psychosis and get a compulsion to be out there in the busiest of places where people were. I used to say I needed to ‘Walk Amongst the Living’. Don’t we all? NJ: You’d have to ask Ross that one but to me it means a more rock-sounding album than the previous ones GW: This is Ross’s territory; he comes up with the album titles. This title was sent to me while we were still mixing One Day silver, One Day Gold. I think he has the title for album 5 already. CT:I ain’t got a f******* clue, I work with the music and Sonics, this is Ross’s area HAS THERE BEEN ANY FEEDBACK ON YOUR FOURTH STUDIO ALBUM YET? RC: I am delighted to read the early reviews. They are really positive. What’s satisfying is people are picking up that, yet again our musical direction is not exactly the same as our last album. Something we strive naturally to achieve. We’re never going to please everyone, but we can never be accused of sticking to a tried and tested formula. Which would be very safe and extremely boring. NJ: Yes, & all good GW: Yes and all very good, we are all pleased with the reaction we are getting from fans, new and old. It makes the long hours in the studio worth it. CT: Yes and all has been very good, the feedback from people who have got the album and friends has all been very positive. Working in a band is very different from working on your own. In a group you have to work with different elements to build a finished product. On this one I am very happy with the album as it covers the whole spectrum of electronic music. FOUNDED IN 1996 MEANS THAT YOU FACE YOUR 13TH YEAR NOW. WHAT ARE THE REASONS THAT THERE ARE ONLY 4 ALBUMS AND 4 SINGLES SINCE THEN? RC: Remember I told you about my isolated mind. Well, there are some disadvantages! Ask Glen… NJ: We’re perfectionists GW: I think our biggest cause of the delay in getting albums out quicker is Ross, when we were working on One Day Silver, One Day Gold he disappeared for about 6 months due to a mild case of depression so this does have an effect on completing the albums, but on this one he was good all the way through so maybe we can do the next album quicker. CT: I was involved at the beginning (under the name of Chew-Z) doing remix work and production. There was never an urgency to release an album, it was a case of getting the sound right rather than putting out an average album. But in the last 3 years we have stepped up our writing and live shows. And for the first time we have involved an external producer Steve Travell. RELEASING SINGLE AND ALBUM SEEMS TO BE A KIND OF TRADITION. IS THIS INTENTED? RC: It’s nice to give people a ‘taster’ of what is to come which is the single. I don’t think we’ve released as many singles recently as we used to though. Yes, I think we’ll have to change that. I feel a new single coming on….. NJ: It’s a good tradition I think GW: Well it’s a tried and tested method that has worked for years, I say if its not broken don’t try and fix it. CT: It’s like Cookies and Milk, Fish and Chips it just works well like that. THE THIRD SONG “LET ME SEE“ HAS BEEN RELEASED AS THE SINGLE. WHY DID YOU PICK THAT PARTICULAR TITLE. RC: I loved the song anyway. It was emotionally, very special to me but I think Steve (Travell) particularly thought it was a good choice. We took a chance with a ballad, as it’s not a true indicator of what else is on the album. NJ: GW: This was used for a promotion campaign that we were doing in America. This was one of the first songs that we wrote for the album CT: This is one of those things where there was a vote and I lost. This was released for a promotion campaign we did 6 months before the album was finished, its not a fair representation of what the finished album was going to be. This may have changed had we had other tracks in a more complete state. LET’S GO BACK 13 YEARS. HOW DID YOU COME TO MAKE MUSIC AND HOW DID YOU START TOGETHER? RC: When Blue October UK formed, I wasn’t the original singer. I didn’t sing on the first singles and the album Incoming. That was Barney. Tragically he died very unexpectedly. I was doing my own music in another band. My life somehow crossed paths with Glens. It’s a long story. Another interview perhaps, but fortunately, here we are today. NJ: That’s one for Glen. He’s been around since the beginning. I’ve been involved for about ten years since he came to my studio to mix a track & I played some acoustic guitar for one of the their songs GW: Barney Miller and I formed the band, I answered an advert in a music magazine and we met up and had a chat and decided to have a go working on some songs. We wrote the songs that formed the basis of the Incoming album and then we sent some songs to Todd at A Different Drum and he signed us on the strength of those songs. Unfortunately just after the release of Incoming Barney died. This came as a shock and at the time I did consider to stop writing, but we had recorded a new song and had been planning to release the song Believe as a single. So we released this with remixes and an unreleased song in 1999. After this through the help of friends and family I started to work out what to do next, I had known Ross for a while and we spoke about doing some work together. This turned into the tracks for the Stranded single and continued into the Preaching Lies to the Righteous album. After that it was the next single then album and now we find our selves here. CT: I have known Glen since we were teenagers and both of us have worked on many musical projects over the years. My involvement with Blue October has been since 1997 doing remixes and sound production. From the Mistakes single I got more involved with the band co writing the b-side as well as working on the remixes. After this I was asked to join the band on a full time basis. AND AGAIN BACK TO THE FUTURE: „WALK AMONGST THE LIVING“ CONTAINS STYLES FROM GENRES LIKE SYNTHPOP, ELECTRO AND WAVE. IS THERE A REASON FOR THAT MIXTURE OF STYLES? RC: No reason. You laugh, you cry, you get angry, you feel guilt, you feel sadness, you love, you hate. Genres? Emotions? They’re the same thing really. Oh, yes, and we like synthesisers too!!!! NJ: It’s sort of evolved naturally; we’re kind of a mixture of guys GW: Well we all like different styles of music, which come through on the album. CT: We have all brought in our personal preferences to the band. This album shows all the different flavours of music we are all into. When I heard the finished album and played it you could sense the different elements of this band shining through, which brought a smile to my face. YOUR LYRICS DEAL WITH LOVE, MEMORIES, DREAMS, LONGINGS AND LIFE ITSELF. CAN I CLAIM YOU TO BE (NEW) ROMANTICS? RC: I am a failed romantic, lost, “in the vacuum of my heart”. My lyrics are a testimony to this. Do you not agree? NJ: Well I’m definitely a romantic, just not a ‘new’ one GW: I am a bit of an old romantic. CT: I buy my girlfriend flowers, so I guess I am romantic. YOUR LYRICS ARE VERY MOVING AND TOUCH ME EMOTIONALLY. HOW DO THEY EMERGE? DO YOU THINK OF TOPICS OF YOUR OWN LIFE’S, OR DO YOU WORK ON PHANTASIES, DAILY LIFE OR INCIDENTS ON THE NEWS? RC: Thank you for telling me. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that they have that effect. My lyrics come from a place that I’m feeling at any given time. I would say, a hybrid cross between real life and fantasy. If I was an author (book writer), I think I would excel at fiction. NJ: GW: Over to Ross on this one CT: Music comes from the soul, lyrics come from Ross. WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL HEROES AND HOW MUCH ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY OTHER MUSICIANS/ BANDS? RC: I’ve given up on hero worship. It will only disappoint you. I can tell you who I like right now. Today it’s Ladytron, Goldfrapp and Shiny Toy Guns. Tomorrow is another day. NJ: Oh God where to start! Everything from Motorhead to The Flaming Lips. You can guess I like guitar music GW: The list could be quite extensive, I like many bands, I am listening to the Kaiser Chiefs, Ladytron, Kraftwerk and John Barry at the moment. Each band or musician can have a different influence on me it maybe the style of production or a sound, I am very big into melody and structure so I will listen to many styles if there is something I like in there. CT: I think all people are influenced by what you here from childhood to present day. A great experience is to hear an album for the 1st time, and I have experienced this many times from our lord and master Gary Numan to people like Japan, David Sylvian to more contemporary artists such as Spiritualised, Irresistible Force, Ultra Marine, Thievery Corporation, Fila Brazila, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Orbital, the Orb, Primal Scream and many many more. IT TOOK 2 YEARS TO FINISH THE NEW ALBUM. WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG? RC: IT REALLY WASN’T MY FAULT THIS TIME!!!!!! NJ: I think that’s because we were probably our own biggest critics. As I said before, perfectionists. GW: We decided to use a producer for the first time as we have always produced ourselves. So we got Steve Travell in at the start to work with us and help push the band in a new direction, so he took the demos and rebuilt the songs from the bottom up, listening back to the demos you can really hear where we were and how we have progressed to the sound you hear on the album. CT: I think you can quite possible blame me for that, when we were working at the studio in Shoreditch, London me and the producer would get stoned and then the production would slow to microscopic proportions, soon after this I was banned from the studio. WHAT CAN YOU REVEAL ABOUT YOUR LIVE-GIGS? DID YOU HAVE ANY VERY NICE OR EMBARRASSING EVENTS YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH US? RC: I love playing live. The excitement, the nerves, the crowd. Fantastic! Embarrassing event was walking into the dressing room at Madame Jo Jo’s in London only to come face to face with the topless female singer of one of the other bands. I was embarrassed. She didn’t blink. I still have dreams about it to this day! NJ: Sharing pre-gig eye make up tips with Ross is always a highlight for me GW: Playing live is great but I do find myself in constant state of panic worried that the laptop will stop or one of the keyboards will not work. CT: At one of our gigs most of the village where I live came to see us and they took over Madame Jo Jo’s and was acting like it was the village pub… IF YOU WERE KING OF ENGLAND FOR ONE DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? RC: I would play “Spinning On the Fullstop” to the whole world instead of doing the annual speech on Christmas Day. NJ: Abdicate GW: Play a free concert in Hyde Park CT: The rest of the band has voted that I cannot answer this question. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL OPINION TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS AT THE MOMENT? WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF CD, MUSIC AND THE ROLE OF THE UK MUSIC BIZ IN SPECIAL? RC: CDs are dying because people are letting them die. Through human greed, ease of digital downloads and also the culture and mindset of modern technology. Music will always keep regenerating in some form or the other and the UK will be at the forefront of this I’m sure. NJ: The ethos of the punk & later the independent music scenes is finally coming through with the internet. The power has swung in the favour of the musicians over the business (with the exception of bloody Simon Cowell), which can only be good thing. Creativity is winning over banality & corporate greed. GW: I think we are being drowned by a series of karaoke singers thanks to the music industry greed and programmes like X Factor. I hope this changes and people start to go out and discover new bands and music but when it is delivered to your telly every Saturday some people do not bother. CDs are losing out to digital downloads but will always be around. The internet is helping independent bands have more control on how there music gets out to the public be it via CDs or digital downloads, this puts the control back in the hands of the bands and away from corporate greed. The UK music scene has always and always will be at the front of producing some of the best music and bands in the world. CT: The UK has always had a healthy musical history and always will do. I think that CDs will shuffle off this mortal coil and great sadness to that, to have an album in your hands, to look at the artwork. If you lost your computer with all your pictures, videos and music its all gone…… A NEW YEAR IS BORN. DO YOU HAVE NEW PLANS, IDEAS AND MUSIC FOR THE NEW YEAR? RC: I’m on a journey through dark and twisting roads. I can never quite see what’s around the next corner. There are many ideas and music in abundance. Planning however, is not my forte. I just roll the dice and hope for snake eyes! NJ: Just to get out there & play GW: We are planning new live shows for this year, we have a new single in the pipeline and a couple of side projects. CT: We are busy working on our live tracks for upcoming shows. We are also working on remixes for our new single. We are also planning to release a Chew-Z album, which is basically Glen and me. MANY THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW. THE LAST WORD WE LEAVE, AS ALWAYS, IS UP TO YOU – MAYBE THERE IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY? … RC: Everything ends… NJ: Metempsychosis GW: Take a walk amongst the living, you never know what you may find.. CT: Long shore drift it’s a menace to mankind…

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