10asia "Placebo: Why chose music? Because we didn't want day jobs", Jul'13

Translation from Korean by Eunice


British rock band Placebo are now heading towards their 20th year since the formation. So many bands from the 90s who enjoyed the heydays of Britpop are now gone, but Placebo are still going strong. Sexy, distinctive and seductive sound may have been the secret of longevity? One of the secrets is not to lose their original color whatever genre they try. In 1996, their debut album 'Placebo' came out, about 10 million copies were sold. They have a worldwide fanbase. In September this year their 7th studio album, 'Loud Like Love', will be released. Placebo will be performing at 'Jisan World Rock Festival' (Aug. 2~4, Jisan Forest Resort) as one of the headliners. They are planning to play tracks from the new album. Here's an email interview with the three members: Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forest:

Q. I understand it will be your 4th time to play in S. Korea since your first visit for 'Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival' in 2006. How do you feel about coming back to S. Korea?

Placebo: We have good memories in S. Korea. We look forward to our visit this time. What makes it special this time is that this will be our first live on stage with our new album. I think we'll get nervous. First show of a tour always makes you nervous.

Q. You're releasing your 7th studio album in September. Tell us about the new album.

Placebo: It's like a collection of 10 short stories connected by 1 theme. 1 theme was viewed and analyzed from various perspectives. Hopefully this new album is a reaction to our previous album. We used a lot of guitar sound in the last album, which made the sound a little American. The new album has lights and shadows, more colors and tighter weave. Another thing is that we used tablets for many parts while making this album. We used them a lot, new technology is really incredible. iPad became a very important tool for many people to listen to music. I once went to a seminar on the history of electronic music and synthesizer was the most important invention 40 years ago. Now, we make music in our recording studio with traditional instruments like piano and guitar and iPad.

Q. You formed the band in 1994, it'll be 20 years soon since your debut. Did you think you would last this long?

Placebo: I can't explain why we last this long, still make music together. If we could put that in words and make a book, it would've been a best seller. In 1994, when we weren't that big, we never thought that we would become famous. The biggest motivation for us to make music was not to get day jobs. We thought we could continue to make music as long as we could make a living and pay the rent without working in offices. Everything happened so fast. Actually it took us a few years to realize that we could continue to make music for a living. We enjoyed our luck for the first 2, 3 years then we went back to our 'normal' lives but not entirely normal. In retrospect, it's incredible that we are still a band.

Q. What are the best and worst moments of your band career?

Placebo: Lots of great moments. Some of the great moments are when we were on stage together with our heroes: David Bowie, Jeff Beck and Robert Smith. Worst moments are when we had to find a new band member. It's hard when your band members leave because they were like your family. But a change like that is also necessary for a band to survive.

Q. All of your albums are like your babies to you but which album do you think represents Placebo the most and why?

Placebo: I would be in doubt, asking myself whether I should continue to make music if I didn't think our new album was the most important album. For that reason, the most precious album is 'Loud Like Love'. If I preferred our previous albums, I'd be questioning our existence itself.

Q. Either electronic or rock, you maintain your own unique style whichever genre you try. How do you create and keep your style unique?

Placebo: Finding that balance is a difficult task indeed. In every album, we try to make our sound better and more matured. So we seek and try something new. But we should keep unique Placebo sound. Or it makes our fans don't want to listen to our music any more. It's all very interesting. We try not to work by a certain set of formulas. If we did, we would've been making music very similar to our first album. We work hard to stay interesting, to satisfy ourselves and to make music that we like so the people who listen to our music feel the same as we feel.

Q. What's the most important thing when you're playing a show?

Placebo: The most amazing show happens when the audience and the band meet somewhere in the middle as both try to reach out to each other. The synergy creates magic. Euphoria is formed between the band and the audience. That's when we, as a band, are true to our instincts. No plans, just enjoy the moment and freedom. Reaction of the crowd is crucial to make a show a success. Communication with the audience creates pure emotions which are not from your brains but from your souls and that's why we can forget about everything else and focus on our feeling on stage. Those moments are the cure for us when we are exhausted from an endless tour.