Student Weekly "Rock survivors hit Bangkok", Mar'10

March 22, 2010
by Tatat Bunnag

As all local rock fans will know by now, renowned British band Placebo were back in Thailand recently promoting their latest album, Battle for the Sun.

Formed in the mid-90s at the peak of the Brit-rock scene, Placebo - singer and guitarist Brian Molko, bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Forrest - have survived 15 years of rock 'n' roll decadence. Along the way the band has won fans around the globe with their six studio albums and numerous hits, including "Nancy Boy," "Pure Morning," and "Every You Every Me."

Student Weekly recently had an exclusive chat with Brian just as the guys were gearing up to rock Bangkok at this year's Tiger Translate festival.

Student Weekly: Is it true that you guys recently recorded in Thailand?

Brian: Yes, we spent five days at Karma Studio in Chon Buri. The studio was amazing and we recorded three tracks before leaving to play at the Soundwave Festival in Australia. The combination of a top quality studio and great environment made for a very productive five days. We'd love to record there again.

Student Weekly: Your new single "For What It's Worth" is doing well on the Thai charts. Can you tell us about that song?

Brian: "For What It's Worth" was one of the first songs we wrote for the new album. The lyrics are about how bad it would be to have no friends. Luckily it's not about me!

Student Weekly: Do you think that Placebo's sound has changed much on your new album?

Brian: We were a bit happier when we made this album, and that's reflected in the music. There are a few more pop tracks, which is definitely unusual for us! It is not that we're changing direction - the band is just evolving as our circumstances change.

Student Weekly: Some fans have said that you're not performing as many older songs these days. Are you consciously focusing on newer material?

Brian: We have so many songs to choose from, but we tend to play songs from our more recent albums because they represent who we are today. There are some songs, like "Pure Morning," that we'll never play again because I don't like the lyrics.

Student Weekly: Is it true that you fainted onstage at the Summer Sonic festival in Japan recently?

Brian: Yes, I was exhausted. We'd just flown from the UK to Japan, then to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and back to Japan again! I also had to do a lot of interviews during that time. Everybody in the group was tired, and in Osaka I just ran out of energy.

Student Weekly: How do you manage to keep doing well when so many people download music illegally these days?

Brian: The bulk of our earnings come from our live performances. I can't really get my head around the fact that people get music for nothing. If you stay in a hotel or eat at a restaurant, you have to pay for it. But people think that they should get albums for free.

Student Weekly: How do you maintain your international popularity after all these years?

Brian: We just do our own thing and try not to follow trends. We don't listen to advice about what we should or shouldn't do, and stick to our principles.

We put a lot of effort in to our live shows, and that has earned us a loyal fan base, which we're very thankful for. And we also manage to write good songs!