Bangkok Post "Placebo", Mar'06


Placebo have been in the business for 12 years. Brian Molko (vocals/guitars), Stefan Olsdal (bass) and Steve Hewitt must have seen it all, and they let you know it. 

In person, they appear formidable, and demand the kind of respect rightfully reserved for rock stars of their status, without being overly cocky. 

Formed in 1994, Placebo descended the darling status with hits like Nancy Boy and Bruise Pristine taken from their eponymous debut album in 1996. Without You I'm Nothing followed two years later with the classic title track featuring an admiring David Bowie. 

The new album is set for a mid-March release. 

Your new album will be called 'Meds', where does it come from? 

BRIAN MOLKO: Meds is short for medications. I think it kinda makes sense, you know. All the people who live and inhabit the songs in the album are under some form of anaesthetic, whether it's chemical, emotional or spiritual. And I think during the song writing process, it sort of interested me - the different form of anaesthetic that people use in order to get through the day, to survive. I suppose this album to a certain degree explores that. 

Is there anything different from your previous albums? 

BM: It's very different from the last album [2003's Sleeping With Ghosts]. The last one was very very electronic. This one is very much about the sounds of guitars. 

You must have accumulated a lot of experiences over the last 12 years, do you feel that it shows in your songs? 

BM: Obviously, your personal experiences and everything that go through influence the way that you write songs and what you write about. But it's not immediately what you draw all your inspirations from because if that were the case, we would be writing songs about airports and tour buses. We're writers, and the act of writing itself creates some kind of an alternative reality. It is within itself a fiction to a certain degree; however inspired by real emotions and true events. 

You've got REM's Michael Stipes and The Kills' VV on the new album, how did that come about? 

BM: They're friends of ours. When we went into the studio, we didn't write songs with collaborations in mind, but these songs were crying out for other voices during the recording process. So we just started thinking about who would be appropriate, and who would be surprising, interesting, and powerful. And these are the people we came up with. It's not about trying to impress people with our collaborations. It's about who the songs really really needed. 

There seems to be a lot of new bands at the moment. 

BM: I think there are as many shit and good bands as there were in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s. I think when you historically look back on music in the past, you look back at music with rose-tinted spectacles, you remember the good stuff, and you forget all the bullshit. It's not getting better, it's not getting any worse. It just looks and smells different. 

Aren't there any new bands that get you excited? 

BM: Yeah. I like Autolux, White Rose Movement, Davendra Banhart, Anthony and the Johnsons, and Rufus Wainwright. 

You've been together for a long time, how are your relationships? 

BM: Oh, we hate each other! 

STEFAN OLSDAL: Still don't want to get married! 

BM: He doesn't know what he's missing.