"An Interview with Stefan Olsdal"

Vima Newspaper, Jul'99

13 Jul 1999

Placebo are one of the most discussed bands of British pop for the past five years. And how couldn't it be so since their frontman is the most ambiguous persona of today, Brian Molko, after, of course, Marilyn Manson. They are a multi-national band, created in 1994 by Molko, who has grown up in Luxembourg with American, Italian, and Swiss blood inside him, Swedish bass player Stefan Olsdal and English drummer, Steve Hewitt. We were given the first dose of their special synthetic prism by the song "bruise pristine" and the English press needed nothing more to notice them, since the song was accompanied by Molko' s declarations on bisexuality, in a such comfortable way that reminded of forgotten times of British pop.

Their first album was one of the best samples of independent pop and last year came the amazing "Without You I'm Nothing" which was considered by many the best album of the year. Their appearance this year at the Rockwave is almost certain to receive positive comments since their sound is the closest to the one the "rock audience" prefers. We were informed about their appearance by the bassist of the group, Stefan Olsdal.

You were recently in the U.S.A. on tour?

Yes and with a lot of success I must admit. From Oklahoma to Kansas, from Carolina to New York and Los Angeles. We were surprised people knew our songs and came prepared.

Wasn't your appearance provocative?

Of course it was! Specially in Oklahoma there were lots of dresses. (laughs). There were many rednecks at that concert and I think that if we didn't play so loud, we could have been at least lynched. But we made it to gain their respect even with dresses on.

What do you expect to find in Greece?

A lot of sex and heat. If Greece is anything like any the other Mediterranean countries, I think we're gonna have a great time. Considering the time we will spend there, I hope we will be able to enjoy some sunsets and drink ouzo, isn't that what you call it?

Yes. Do you like the rest of the bands that will appear before and after you on the day of the festival?

I adore Deus, whose I am a big fan. I've seen them many times live and they are great. I have a small problem with Blur. This new song of theirs gets on my nerves whenever I hear it. It's coy and it reminds me of these stupid love songs that have to end in "baby-baby".

I've been watching your interviews from the beginning of your career and I see that all reporters talk about the way you look and the way you dress. Was that what you were thinking about when you fixed this band?

You're absolutely right when you say that. This just happened because when we begun we were very young and vulnerable and we spoke openly to the public about our sexual preferences. But this is how part of the Music Press works. It likes rock 'n' roll cliche's. Instead of asking us about our music, they ask us about the drugs we take and the people we have sex with. That's life, I guess.

When are you going to record new material?

After summer festivals we will return to the studio for our first new songs. We will come to Greece, then we have some other things to do , and we'll see about the future.

Have you considered collecting all your b-sides in one record so your fans can have direct access to this material?

Yes, we are planning to do that because many people ask for it. But this will happen after our third album.

What is your third album going to be like, What will be different about it?

I think it will have more technological elements. There will be computer sounds in this album. We did to albums with the basics, guitar, bass, drums and vocals. This time it will be more modern, but of course, with the specialty of Placebo.

About your co operation with David Bowie on Mark Bolan's song "20th century boy", will we ever see it on record?

The only thing I can tell you is that we are preparing something very strong. It will be our great surprise, so keep your eyes and ears open.

What will there be in your program in Greece?

I don't know how much time we will be given, but there will be mainly songs from "Without you I'm nothing" and of course, the singles from "Placebo". And they're gonna be played really loud and electric.

Do you think British music is going well?

There are many bands I like, for example Belle & Sebastian. I didn't like the new songs of Chemical Brothers and Suede, because I think they are almost like their old ones, and I hate Stereophonics and Catatonia.