Time Out KL "Placebo Interview", Mar'10

24 Mar 2010
by Lim Chee Wah

Brian Molko of Placebo got all witty on Lim Chee Wah when they spoke prior to the band’s first ever gig in Malaysia

How has your music evolved throughout the years?

Like a fish that crawls out of the water, grows legs and walks.

In your latest album, ‘Battle for the Sun’, you featured some brass and string arrangements, what brought about this change?

Our decision to use brass was inspired by our love of soul, reggae and Beatles’ records. We’ve used strings before; check out ‘Pierrot the Clown’ from [the album] ‘Meds’.

Your previous albums were quite bleak but you described your latest album as having a bit of hope. What brought about the light at the end of the tunnel?

Each new album starts as a reaction to its predecessor, which is the biggest influence of all because it determines exactly what we do not want to do. With that in mind, and with a little distance for perspective’s sake, Stef and Idecided that ‘Meds’ was a very claustrophobic and monochrome album that offered hardly any hope to the listener. Thus it seemed logical to make a new album bursting with colour and optimism. Having said that, whether we did so or not remains up for debate.

Do you think pessimism (or heartbreak, or depression) makes you a better artist?

Absolutely not. It does make you a very good drunk, though.

What’s it like having Steve Forrest in the band who is significantly younger than the rest of the two members?

It’s good to have someone gullible in the band to mess with.

The band’s sexuality has become an identity for you – do you think it’s what makes people attracted to you?Did youdecide to be honest of who you are as a statement of empowerment?

Both attraction and repulsion are created by such honesty. Empowerment can only be achieved through the courageous and political act of standing up to be counted.

Is it a driving force in your music?

Yes, especially during the primal act of performance. Sometimes I feel like a stripper, in the sense that I am making myself emotionally nude.

People often see your goth attire/make up as a distinctive characteristic of Placebo.Was that an influence from your music direction?

I wear make-up and have black hair. Why does that make me a goth? Look at Cher – she wears make-up and has black hair, does that make her a goth?Show me a picture where I look like a goth and I’ll show you a picture of me and Cher getting it on.

You have played with and opened for many people, including Billy Corgan and Robert Smith. Who do you think has the biggest impact on your career?

David Bowie. He was somewhat of a mentor at the beginning of our career.

There’s been some bad press about how the authorities in Kuala Lumpur reacted (rather negatively) to big international artists who planned to or had performed here, like Beyonce and The Black Eyed Peas. Has that discouraged you from coming here initially?

I am always very happy when The Black Eyed Peas receive bad press. Beyonce, however, is a very significant artist and a true star.

1994 to 2010 is quite a long time for a band; do you think you’ll outlast U2?

I would like to outlast Leonard Cohen. 

Have you started working on your new album? What will it be like?

It will sound like the first scream of a newborn baby.

Source: timeoutkl