My Rock (France) "Placebo douché en plein coeur", Jul'13

Translation by Laetitia

Showered right in the heart

Four years after Battle For The Sun, Placebo comes back in top form with Loud Like Love, their 7th album, indie and very modern, throughout the failings of love in a touching simplicity. More sensitive than ever, the band made the honor to give us the first interview since the creation of this jewel of alternative rock.

Placebo came back last year for a particularly intense gig at Rock en Seine. You seemed to take great pleasure on stage that night...
B.M: I think our energy was fed by the creative process we were immersed in at that time. It took place at a time when we were working on songs for the EP "B3". At the time we got in the studio to record one and only single, just one song. Then we thought fans would like to hear more, that's where the idea of the EP came from. While we were in the studio recording "B3", the idea of working on a full album insidiously came in our minds. Spontaneously, we were already writing Loud Like Love. It's in the heart of this creative whirlpool the Rock en Seine occured. Unconsciously, our performance was influenced by all the good things that were going on in the studio. In the past, we still have all premeditated, but for the first time everything came naturally. Placebo has become a sort of wild animal, I mean, we now follow our instinct. It gives a new dynamic and it makes things more exciting. And it's normal to be up in France, this country is like our second home.

Stefan just before being on stage, you've told us you were very nervous about the Rock en Seine gig.
S.O: Yes, but it's very good to feel this nervoussness before going on stage. Even today, I still have that same ball in the belly I felt at the time of our our first show in a small bar.
B.M: I, myself, have also a lot of anxiety before a concert. I mean, even today for this interview, I am extremely nervous. As Stefan said, it's a stress that is healthy, it means that we still have an appetite for risk, we do not take things for granted but instead we give ourselves fully into what we do . We are not invincible, every day spent in Placebo is a challenge and this is what drives us to move forward. Without the ball to the nerve, there would no longer have this sense of urgency which characterizes our music.


"B3" sounds very differently from "Loud Like Love." Should we see this EP as an experimental parenthesis?
B.M: In general, we write new songs with the idea to not repeat ourselves. It's in this context that we did "B3", ie trying by all means to avoid playing into the hands of automation and forget our old habits. It's a way to rediscover ourselves, to surprise ourselves.
S.O: This EP has changed the way we look at our music, and it certainly influenced the writing of "Loud Like Love", opening up new perspectives...
B.M: It is very strange for us because this is the first interview we give about this album and we have not yet analyzed the process. It's very fresh in our minds, it is difficult to take some distance ... We have not intellectualized "Loud Like Love", we're trying to understand what led us to conceive this album. Maybe you'll help us (laughs).

"Loud Like Love" was recorded in London, where you've recorded "Meds". What pushed you to go back there?
B.M: the RAK studio is a very special place, it's a bit like traveling back in time. It has nothing to do with the other professional studios which are often chic and luxurious. It has a rock'n'roll spirit, very 70's. It's a bit uncomfortable and roots.
S.O: It's as if the place had not changed since its conception in 1976.
B.M: It's easier to focus entirely on the music without being distracted by something else. But if we went back there, it's mostly because we've never found a place that has a room to record the drum parts.
S.F: It's amazing, there is wood and space ... my instrument sounded like nowhere else !
B.M: It's something we learned with experience. Finding a place where the drums sounds good is essential , it pushes us to give the best. That's what I call a springboard for inspiration (laughs).


On "Loud Like LOve", there's this very special indie sensibility there were on your first albums, but with a modern sound.
B.M: I think our producer Adam Noble, helped us finding our essence. He is a fan of Placebo and though he didn't tell clearly, I think he wanted to make the kind of album that redefines the career of a band. He really pushed us to highlight our strengths, our very special fields and to put them together in the right way. It's hard to describe, but he has restored a form of synergy within the band, so much so this recording has been an incredibly positive experience. It wasn't work, just passion. I remember every night in the taxi that brought me back home, I was amazed by the fact music still gives me chills. Getting up in the morning to play, how lucky we are ! Magic is still there and that's what keeps our youth and our innocence alive.
S.O: It's hard to analyse the whole thing, but, in my heart, I feel "Loud Like Love" is the album Placebo has always tried to do. It's really complete and it may be the one that suits us best, in the sense that we haven't got any outer influence. It sounds like Placebo and that's what I'm the most proud of. As a comparison I would say that Placebo was a body awaiting transplantation, and Adam Noble would be the ideal body. "Loud Like Love" is proof that the transplant went perfectly, there was no rejection, but total assimilation by the body. He perfectly understood us and took us where we needed to go.
B.M: It may have something to do with his age, because for the first time we worked with a producer younger than us. Our previous producers were people of a different generation who grew up with cassette recorders and old techniques. So they were forced to use ProTools and other technologies. With Adam, it was the opposite, he learned to work with computers, he knows exactly how to handle them. He pushed us to do things we've never done before, such as using our mobile phones and our tablets as instruments. It's so refreshing to discover that, to become kids again (laughs).


Let's talk about "Loud Like Love", the opening song is immediately listed as one of the new classics of the band.
S.F: It came to us alone, very easily, as if it has written itself. We were in Spain, deep in the night, all naked, jamming and trying to find a good guitar line ... We had glimpses of "Loud Like Love." Carried by the excitement, we ended the song the day after.
B.M: There was a real cohesion between us, now very rare alchemy where each member of the band has the same vision and goes in the same direction without talking. It is truly the song that has chosen us, and not the opposite. It has influenced the album and has shown us the direction in which we had to go.

The theme of love, throughout the album, comes from that direction?
B.M: Definitely. But these aren't ten songs in the "I love you baby" theme." It's about strange love and a celebration of broken hearts, especially the last songs of the album. We needed lots of courage to talk openly about love. We don't want to lock ourselves in clichés of this genre. But behind the dark clothes, I think we're nothing but a bunch of hippies (laughs)! You can use all the black you want, you cant hide forever its inner light.

Some titles are very moving, "Hold On To Me" in particular...
B.M: That song deals with the absence of love and the reaction of a human being to what may be called a craving. The narrator uses in the first person and in the middle of the song, there are strings coming out of nowhere. It is a transformation, we enter the spiritual realm, as if the narrator is one with universe and humanity, aware of being part of something much bigger than his desires. It is a way for me to say that love transcends the human being.

It's very Buddhist...
B.M: Well... Yes, you're right. Buddhism has had a strong influence on my way of thinking ... It pushed me to see things from another perspective. Congratulations, you're right, it's true, there is a real connection between Buddhism and the song, who deals with the quest which will lead us all into something more important that everything we will never have.


The lyrics of "Rob The Bank" seem to be an echo to"Follow The Cops Back Home". Is it deliberate?
B.M: In fact we noticed that after we've already recorded and mixed the song. Afriend told me about it the first. The theme of "Rob The Bank" is simple, but very deep. that is to say: "You can commit the most horrible things, crimes and robberies, as far as you come back home to make love to me." It has nothing to do with recession, the economic crisis and the riots that took place in England. The bank robbery is only a pretext to express a decidedly sensual desire.

One of the best songs "Begin The End" is very progressive. It starts with a certain fragility and ends in a psychedelic chaos, as if was turning in a bad trip.
B.M: The link with psychedelia is interesting, because the first version was very long, around 25 minutes. It was hypnotic. Stefan said at that time he had a transcendental experience. It was a sort of weird jam between Fleetwood Mac and Radiohead (laughs). What do you want, my first musical love was psychedelic rock. When was a teenager, I listened to the Grateful Dead while smoking (laughs). This song is about the pain when you realize your relationship is ruined. You can no longer hide the fact this union is doomed to an end and then starts the beginning of the end ... Literally, we can say the theme of that song is acceptance.

Who's Bosco you mentioned in your song and who took care of you when you were drunk...?
B.M: (long awkward silence) It's hard, very hard to answer this question. It's such a personal text... It's full of regrets... I think it's the most intimate and honest song I have ever written. The song is a way to offer my sincere apologies to someone... It would be too difficult for me to tell more about it, I'm unable to give more details. I've never been this vulnerable in a song. With hindsight, I believe in the "Nancy Boy" era, in the 90's, I never thought our band would be able to do a song like "Bosco". It's so far from where we started...