Interview with Brian

Kerrang , 04 January 2003

"Apart from causing havoc at the Kerrang! Awards back in august, things have been quiet on the Placebo front lately. That'll be because Brian Molko's band have spent the past six months recording the follow up to 2000's "Black Market Music" at four different studios in London with Jim Abbiss (The Music/DJ Shadow). Introduced with a "trashy, full on punk rock" single, "Bitter End", on march 10th, the album sees Placebo moving into more experimental and electronic territory. The full track listing is as follows- bulletproof cupid, English summer rain, this picture, sleeping with ghosts, bitter end, something rotten, plastecine, I'll be yours, second sight, protect me from what I want and centrefold. "It's not really that filthy," says Molko. "A lot of it cuts through all the bullshit and goes straight to your heartstrings. I don't think we need the filth anymore."

Brian Molko spills the beans on Placebo's "emotional" new album.

What does the new album sound like?

-There's more electronics on this record, more beats and more of a dancefloor element to it. It doesn't turn its back on the vibe of Placebo, but we've taken a few more chances. We're not trying to be wilfully obscure; we're just trying to spread it out a bit more. Melodies we'd usually do on a guitar we've played on other instruments to keep the sonic palate exciting.

Have you been listening to a lot of electronic stuff?

-There's been a really exciting club scene around electroclash now, it's really free and very punk. But I've been listening to the Flaming Lips a lot. The album isn't as wacky as they are, but they use a lot of unusual sounds in a way that we're trying to do.

Which track will most surprise die-hard Placebo fans?

-We've got a dub-reggae track about child abuse called "Something Rotten", which is abit strange. And there are a couple of moments that are quite DJ Shadow, and some full on rock. It covers a lot of ground.

So the album's more serious than earlier records?

-It's more of a collection of love songs. The whole trashy, dirty thing we were about when we were 22 we can't do now because we're 30. The songs were written over the space of about three years, so they run over a long emotional period in our lives. There are joyful moments on there, but it's quite a pensive and emotional record.

What was the atmosphere in the studio like?

-We wanted a producer who was going to push us in a different direction and give us a kick up the arse and Jim Abbiss certainly did that! When someone has equally strong ideas as you have, the power struggles arrive, but through that tension and battling you get much better results. Most of the session was perfectly harmonious, but there were moments when you had to fight for your ideas. That was good, it makes you hungry again. It's a surprising record. It's even got tubular bells on it!"