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Interview with Archive

One of the highlight of the Festival "Jardin de Michel", the interview of Danny Griffiths and Pollard Berrier at the end of their show, the 2nd of June. An improvised and relaxed interview during which the two members of Archive talk about their last album, their projects and their point of view about what music should or could be...

Trip-Hop.net : We've been following you since the very first beginning and it's really a chance for us to interview you.

Danny Griffiths & Pollard Berrier : Pleasure, real pleasure.

Trip-Hop.net : We wanted to know amongst our staff, about With Us Until You Are Dead, why an album of love songs ?

DG : For us, we just react to what we've done before. Off to Controlling Crowds, we decided that we wanted to take on that part, and we had many love songs so why not recording them? We just sat down and well, a lot has gone in our lives...

PB : A lot of songs are quite personal. We were all going through similar things at the same time. We need to get out of that trap, the prison of Controlling Crowds because it was so confined and intense that it was a natural step to do love songs.

DG : And we love the love songs, you know. It's the most natural thing to write about.

Trip-Hop.net : We were a little destabilized by this album because we were used to listen to your music as a protesting music...

PB : Social issues... But they are still some out there, there is, when you look at Damage, Conflicts, there is social messages in there.

DG : There is a lot to be read in these songs.

PB : That's what we like, we like to let it open to interpretation. We always come back to reflecting what's happening in society, what's happening in politics, and use it as inspiration anyway.

Trip-Hop.net : This album got a new voice, bluesy voice, Holly Martin...

PB : Very soulful voice...

DG : Yes, she's amazing. She's a good find ! We were talking about having another female voice of Archive, for the collective and through some people we knew, we met Holly and her voice was just yeah, fucking bright, she's only 22 and got a lot of confidence...

PB (whispering) : Never said a woman's age...

DG : The fact that she's 22 doesn't matter, she just sets all into Archive so easily and she loves the fact that she could write about anything she can say: "Can I say the word fuck?". "Yeah, sure, say anything you fucking want, it doesn't matter. Sing what you want to be singing about.". And she's like "Yeahhh".

PB : She's one of our team and she's great.

Trip-Hop.net : I read she was 5 when Londinium was released...

PB : I wouldn't be surprised, she's born in 1990.

DG : Fucking hell, no one is born in 1990 !

Trip-Hop.net : In a lot of interviews, you've been asked if the title, With Us Until You Are Dead, is a message towards your fans, but I wonder if it's more a message towards other members, those who were gone, those who can come back...

DG : Well, it wasn't supposed to be a message to anyone. To us, it was one of these lyrics in Conflicts, which is "with us until we are dead". In that song, it was more about these thing, the emotions, the ups and downs, the pain and happiness and fails, all of what is never going to change, no matter how much you think you put yourself out. It will always be with you.

PB : When it came to titles, we all have different interpretations but you know, for me, it was more the words represent things that will never leave you, in your lifetime. These things that you carry on, through your soul, through whatever else. It's a very broad interpretation and spectrum of things. Once we find something like that, we can all find an interpretation and then we know we got the right title.

Trip-Hop.net : You recorded this album in your kitchen?

DG : A lot of it, yes. ! All the vocals for Wipe out...

PB : and Stick me in my heart and some of Damage...

DG : We did most of the vocals in my kitchen and then we recorded a lot of them but some of them just sounded so great, there is all this noise in the background...

PB : It was the atmosphere ! It was a nightmare for our engineer, Jerome, but, you know, at the end of the day, it's part of the atmosphere. When you get these texts, these feelings, that time, that place, there it is. It was one take, and just done.

DG : My neighbours weren't so happy about that but it's alright.

PB : And they had dogs running upstairs and they were mad for ages so that's fine. It's all even in the end.

Trip-Hop.net : You've got another room in mind for the next album?

PB : Well, we already finished the next thing...

DG : We just finished one album. It's gonna be a really interesting project. We are writing the next album.

PB : We are working on 2 ahead now.

DG : We just came out of the studio and it sounds amazing. We are working in the studio but we do some writing in my kitchen at the moment still but we are taking ourself away from the studio to write in the country...

PB : And it's really nice: horses and silence...

Trip-Hop.net : I've already seen you on stage 3 times, here in Nancy ; have you a fondness for this sunny area ?

PB : Yeah, we love it. I do remember infamous encore that we didn't played because we didn't had time on the festival...

Trip-Hop.net : Don't you want to buy a house here?

DG : We can't afford to buy a house.

PB : Not anytime soon. None of us own a house so... When we can buy houses, maybe we can think about buying one somewhere else.

DG : It might take a few years time.

PB : We're still working on to get that.

DG : I't's really amazing : People will think that we have money and stuff but we put all our money back into the band so we can pay stuff and records.

Trip-Hop.net : You've been on stage for several months, in several festivals during the summer too in France... How do you make it?

PB : Nearly 30 gigs yeah... 26 now but we'll get nearly 30 gigs through the all summer. We just love it. It's just like everything you take it at the moment, you make it and one day it's done.

DG : It's hard work too because, for example, we go back to London in the morning and we leave on Wednesday, it's one day at home, and then 56 hours of driving to play for 2h50. There is a lot of that : Long journeys. It's strange for us to play short sets.

PB : Even tonight the show is one hour and it's like "Where does the time go?"

DG : But I quite like doing short sets...

PB : ... in and out festivals because you get vibes from the people, you can walk around, chat with the people, see other bands. It's good fun... Sometimes, we pack at like 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning and we don't go on until 11 or 12 at night.

Trip-Hop.net : Who snores the loudest?

PB : Not any in the band, it's the crew !

DG : In the tour bus, there is a snoring section. Tom, the tour manager and Maria, there is a chorus of snoring and we are in the quiet section !

PB : And I have a very sweet nordic snore, only coming out in special occasions, usually after a few drinks.

Trip-Hop.net : How do you feel when performing Controlling Crowds in front of an hypnotized crowd?

PB : When we were writing, I always pictured that would be the irony, the picture of the irony of Danger Visit, Sing Along, just the fact that it's society we are all dancing to the beat, we are all dancing in the same system. And yet, no one ever sing along with me. But for Controlling Crowds, we never wanted any control or anything. It was a representation of the control that is basically in governments, in politics and power in anything... So playing it loud is a great release.

Trip-Hop.net : Your fan base has more than doubled with your last two albums. Do you want to conquer US?

DG : Yes, we do want to conquer America. But it's not about conquer, we just want to go and play, we love it. US is just another stepping stone. It's not gonna be easy...

PB : To play in new territories all the time is great for us.

Trip-Hop.net : You released your last album on your own label. What about DangerVisit Records?

DG : We finished our contract with WEA, so we didn't wanted to resign on a major again. We've got a way with a company based in London which is PIAS or Co-Op... Well, it's gone eventually through Universal. You've got the option to go through you own label. It's just nice to have a bit more freedom. We just do what we want. They are a bunch of young people who are excited and appreciate music. The problem with majors, there is a lot of people who work in companies who really love music but they don't even know if they've got a job next week. To them, it's not easy to really promote something. So we've decided to sign to Co-Op. They're just happy with everything we do so far.

Trip-Hop.net : What do you think about the concept name your price? Can you do the same experiment than Radiohead with In Rainbows?

PB : I think the fact that people have to remember about Radiohead is that they are a very very established band. People have made a big deal about this "Name you price"-thing but we're coming in an aera we've never seen before, a media revolution basically when it comes to CD, films, anything digital basically. There hasn't been a real way to sell it seriously because of download. I don't want to criminalize anybody for downloading things when it's free to everybody. But I think if you already get the level Radiohead had, yes, it's a very cool thing to do. But what people don't realize, especially kids, when I was a teenager, all the efforts and all the time and the finance and efforts that go into making a record, and you have to think about all the people involved, the crew, the band, you have to think about what the record company take from the top of that.. We just want to make music and that's all we want to do. Just make the best music possible but...

DG : ... It's easy when you got few millions in the bank...

PB : You can do that when you're already "OK well, we made this one and we're already famous around the world, we are already rich". That's not us, we don't even own a car, we don't even own a house, we are still paying rent. But we love it, we do it for the love of it and not anything else.

Trip-Hop.net : The concept of Bandcamp for example, it is good for new bands, young artists?

PB : Sure, if you look at Artic Monkeys and all that, that was promoted by the listeners, by people who appreciated their music. And that's genius. If you can do that, if you can find, generate enough push and excitement, if you can play out enough, old school, as people used to : you play alive and you keep playing alive and you generate a buzz, and you give free demos, free listening... In the old days, smaller bands could make money from CD sells and they could actually do alright. These days, only the big top sells, the billions sells, the popstars, the Amy Winehouse, the Adele, and all these sort of things. It's a representation of what is happening in society. The middle class is being taken out, we are only left with the rich and the poor. The poor have wonderful ideas but it won't necessarily be heard because it's being spotted, in between... Until you have this polish pop sound and then you jump two levels up. I think it's quite interesting what's happening. But for really young bands, they do it because they love it... the passion, that's the main thing.

Trip-Hop.net : If I say Royal Albert Hall and symphonic orchestra?

DG : We hope !

PB : Some day. We're about to announce another show in London we're very proud about and we won't say anything about but... We get there.

Trip-Hop.net : Like Deep Purple?

Both (chuckles) : Yeah, Phil Collins has been there, and the Pink Floyd and Gilmour have been there... They've all been there !

Trip-Hop.net : Do you have any advice for Trip-Hop.net ? Some album we could reference, some artist you like, new discovery ? Or music you're listening to ?

DG : I listen to a lot of hip-hop, that's my original loving music, Public Ennemy probably being my all time favorite.There is 7 L & Esoteric (Mic Mastery, from their first LP The Soul Pupose, 2001) . I don't know if they are still running, but their hip-hop from back in the days is still quite unknown... That's really good stuff. But I mainly listen to old hip-hop, old school stuff, not new things.

PB : If you love rock stuff too, a band that got a new release is Hookworms (Pearl Mystic on bandcamp), it's pretty cool too. It's like a cross between Jane's Addiction and this progressive, very drawn out thing. There is a lot of stuff every year. Last year, it was School of Seven Bells (album Ghostory), Chairlift (interactive video of their single single Met Before), so many new albums that are brilliant.

Trip-Hop.net : A lot of first albums in trip-hop genre, Maxinquaye from Tricky, Londinium by you, Blue Lines by Massive Attack, Close The Door by Terranova, Dummy by Portishead... Now these albums are legend. Do you think it's more by nostalgia from listeners or because it was a revolution in sound?

DG : Some of them came at a time it was needed. For me it's a combination, because I grew up with all the same, with these people, the Massive Attack sound before they were Massive Attack... And I grew up listened to hip-hop which they did, and listening to soul music which they did, and then the house came in, we were all doing to that, we were all taking drugs, we were all taking good time, it's the blend from that mood that was needed. Then it started noisy, the moment was very special for a lot of people . For me, Dummy was absolutely blowing away and still now, every sound is... well, great music...

Trip-Hop.net : I have to admit it : I'm a huge fan of Londinium, my first album as musical awareness...

DG : I'm very proud of this album.

Trip-Hop.net : You were talking about hip-hop. Will Rosko join you again in the future?

DG : Well, he's part of the collective. Hip-hop to me needs to work in a certain way. The reason he's not singing on With Us Until You Are Dead is that we knew that we would do an album of love songs, and Rosko said "I'm not going to do hip-hop on love songs". He completely understood and he did his own album that is really good as well...

PB : and that's something that get video done for it so that's really cool...

DG : For massive hip-hop, I wanted to have Rosko back for Controlling Crowds because I wanted to have this element. It's another voice to sing in a different way but his energy is amazing. But you can't do it just for the sake of it. So, there is no reason why not. It's just that it has to be the right time. That's why Archive is a collective.

Trip-Hop.net : One last word ?

Both : We're just happy to be there, everybody banging their head... We wish everyone the best...

Propos recueillis par : Lacar.
 

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