Radio XFM, Brian Molko Interview, Jul'09

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How are you doing today?


M: I’m actually in a very good mood today.  I’m surprising myself.

Is that a quite rare occurrence?

M: no, we just flew back in… we had some crazy traveling and we just shot a video yesterday and I thought I was gonna be completely exhausted, not have a voice today. I think there’s a really good vibe in this venue, in the Roundhouse.

Have you played here before?

M: we played here an opening for Suede I think in 1997…. When it was still like a stable. It was the coldest gig we’ve ever ever done. But yeah, the renovations’re fantastic. We soundchecked earlier and there’s a really good vibe in here.

I think it’s gonna be an exciting gig, there’s a lot of fans queuing up outside. It’s one of those gigs  you can win tickets to so maybe it makes it more special as well.

M: yeah, a little bit more kind of anticipation and a bit of more festive atmosphere, I think. 

You’ve done a lot of festivals this summer and there’s more to come. Will it be nice to have a break and have a roof for a night?

M: yeah, it’s really nice for the sound not just kind of dissipate in the air, you know. And it’s the similar thing with the energy. At festivals you have to work twice as hard because of that and also because you also try to win over a bunch of people who haven’t necessarily come to see you. So it’s nice for the energy to kinda be contained today. And so you can have a bit more of relationship with the sound itself. And the audience isn’t so far away from you so you can actually see the whites of their eyes which I always prefer because it makes me work harder.

Okay, you kinda based now as a band and obviously massive over there. Is it nice to come to London and feel a bit like a homecoming?

M: well, we all live in London, you know. We just don’t spend a great deal of time here cause we’re always traveling. There is a definite feeling of being a homecoming for us, it’s always been a very important place and we always wanna shine here. I think sometimes it’s harder because your average music fans are exposed to so much more high quality music in London than say Czech Republic, for example. You kinda have to pull a few more rabbits out of your hat.but that’s ok. That’s absolutely fine.

[…] The next time you’re back I think is Reading and Leeds festivals. Are you excited about going back there?

M: I’m always excited about playing Reading and Leeds, it’s the classic rock festivals and we’ve been playing it since I think ’98 so slowly working away on the bill. So yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be a good one this year.

What kind of memories do you have of this festival? Is it classic, I mean we have the two big ones, Glastonbury and Reading..

M: they are different in character, aren’t they? I think one of my finest memories was being by myself and watching Bjork headline on the main stage. Nobody wanted to come with me, everybody was like ‘no, we’re gonna see the Foo Fighters in the tent’. You know, Bjork is one of my favourite artists. So I think she has the most tremendously unique voice and she’s ver brave for all the choices that she makes and I just really really admire that. And she always pays attention of every aspect of it, of what it means to be a musician and a performer. I think some british bands look like as if they have just walked out of the pub which I think is a little bit unfortunate when such an artist as Bjork pays so much attention to details. And I just remember staying, being there completely mesmerized and just taking on a journey really. And that’s what we kinda try to do for our audience now. 

You said that some artists look as if they have just walked out of the pub. I think there are quite many female artists who are following that Bjork line.

M: it’s not sort of a normal thing to do and every day thing to do to sort of step up on to a stage and present yourself to an audience. I mean, of course, it’s a performance and there’s a certain contrived aspect to it. You have to realize that, it’s not just everyday life. And I think people who come to the show do want to be transported whether they are transported completely into a different reality by seeing something like Fish n Spooner or something or whether they just really wanna sort of get down and forget about their troubles  like they’re watching the Beasties or Kylie or something. People want to be brought out of themselves. And I think making an effort when it comes to the performance and when you present yourself to an audience, it’s one step towards that, it’s one part of it, you know. It’s very important.

So I guess your challenge for looking ahead is when you come back to do the O2.

M: absolutely. Yeah. And I’m really looking forward to that. I think it’s a really big statement. And I think it’s gonna be a night of pulling many rabbits out of many different-sized hats. 

The gig is in December, so you still have some time to come out with some rabbits.


M: I suppose … sometimes in my fantasy world I would like to bring fire eaters and sort of like a circus troupe on stage and everything, you know.. but that might sort of distract from the music. And sometimes I wanna do kind of …. I would like the band to be the aka Tina review and have dancers and singers.

That’d be amazing.

Maybe one day it would be like that and maybe at the O2. it would be a good opportunity for us to bring a horn section or string section in. and you know, we’re kinda thinking about that, so.. we’d like to make the evening really special. I think it’s a massive statement for us particularly cause we don’t get a great deal of support from the media but our fan base has been growing just kinda very gradually over the years so there’s a certain amount of indication there and you want to reward the faithful. 

Looking back over the 15 years of career and 6 albums, there are a lot of fans there. How do you come out with the set list? Do you play for you or for them?

M: you have to play for you. I mean, you write for you and you record for you. You hope that other people will appreciate that, understand it and wanna spend time with it but if you don’t write it for you then you’re not connected to it. And we believe that if we just went onstage and did kind of a greatest hits set and play the bunch of songs there, we don’t feel connected to it anymore. It would be a falsehood, almost a lie, it’d be sort of going though the motions as an artist when not being connected emotionally to what you’re performing so how can you expect other people to be connected emotionally to it? We’d like to leave a lasting impression, to leave the stage having moved the audience emotionally. So we feel in order to do that we have to be connected to what we play. We don’t ever wanna go on stage and lie. It’s taken us perhaps 6 albums to get to the point where we can actually find songs in our back catalogue that we really really like. (laughs) but tonight, since it’s the more intimate setting and since it’s been recorded for itunes as well, we’re going to kinda very much showcase the new record. But there will be some choice cuts from the back catalogue. 

We’ve been playing a lot For what it’s worth on XFM, we love it. What’s the next release gonna be?

M: the next release in the UK will be ‘The Never Ending Why’. 

Ok, can you tell us a bit about that and the story behind it?

M: you know, as I’ve lived with the song for about a year now, sort of realized that it’s a very spiritual song, very eastern in a sort of like philosophy and kind of a Buddhist song. It’s kind of about the questions that’ll never get answered. Anybody who has an interest in sort of meaning of life will eventually come up against the brick wall of these questions like ‘why is there so much suffering in the world, why is there always pain?, why is there disease?’ you can spend your entire life trying to figure out the answers to these questions and you never will. And the song is kinda saying you must accept the fact that there will be no answers and try and get the best out of now.

Do you have a release date yet?

M: September, 7th.

Thanks Brian, it was nice to meet you.

M: thank you.