Interview – 65daysofstatic
May 17, 2010 by Neale Ross
65daysofstatic return with their 4th LP “We Were Exploding Anyway”, a stunning album that sees the band yet again push their electro-rock sound into another dimension. The band are currently in the finishing stages of their UK and Ireland tour and Addict Music caught up with guitarist Paul Wolinski for a chat about life on the road, their remix competition and working with gothic rock legend Robert Smith.
How’s the touring going so far?
It’s going really well, this is our second day off in five and a half weeks, and it just feels strange!
Have there been any shows that have stood out for you so far in the tour?
Well, there haven’t been any bad shows; some have been bigger than others. We were in London last night, at the Koko, which was our second biggest UK show and that was pretty special. Sheffield was the biggest one and that was pretty special too.
Sheffield was a bit of a homecoming for you guys, I guess it was really good fun?
It was! In the end yeah, but I mean the nerves before it were ridiculous. It was a long day leading up to that show and we couldn’t spot anyone in the crowd we didn’t know. It was really nice and it was quite an indication that place (the Octagon) was very big for us.
Was there a particular city in Europe that you enjoyed this year?
Yeah I mean they’ve all been pretty good and we still kind of consider ourselves lucky to be playing over there. We played in Innsbruck which was our first Austrian headline show, and it was a tiny show, but it was amazing to be there and have the kids come out and dance. Brussels as well was a really big deal for us because it was the Domino Festival and we headlined there, and one of our first ever European shows was supporting Mogwai at that festival about four or five years ago and that was terrifying. Now we’re back there and we’re headlining it, and Fuck Buttons were on before us as well and they’re a brilliant band, so that was kind of intimidating. But you know I think we stepped up and in the end it went down okay.
How is the new material going down live with the fans? How have they been responding to it?
Its been going really well actually, so much so that when the tour started we sort of assumed that the album had leaked because it was if as everyone knew the songs because they were so enthusiastic about it and dancing and moving about, and we then found out that it hadn’t leaked. I guess people just went crazy for it straight away.
The new album is currently being streamed on your MySpace page, was this the band’s or the label’s idea?
It was kind of both of us really, I mean there’s still so many record labels with this kind of head-in-the-sand attitude to the internet, but anyone can download our album in about two minutes if they want to, there’s no point pretending otherwise, so we’re more interested in getting people to hear it and getting people to like us and be fans of us. There are still many people who do like physical copies of records and we’ve put a lot of effort into the artwork as well. We really wanted to make something that was like the CD – this 1st edition CD comes in like a hardback book style case and it’s a nice thing to own. So the MySpace streaming was more about just getting the word out and getting people excited.
You also recently uploaded all the individual parts to “Crash Tactics” on Soundcloud for a remix competition. Have you had a chance to hear anybody’s entries yet and if so have there been any you’ve enjoyed?
I’m deliberately waiting because this is the first time we have done this and this thing is running until the end of May. I’m really excited about it, but I just figure that anything that I’m going to like I’m just going to listen to again and then I’ll start having favourites or whatever, and it’s not fair for the people who are still working on them and haven’t submitted them yet. So I’m just going to wait and listen to them in a big chunk.
65daysofstatic have always had this amazing blend of rock and electronics, how did this sound first come around? Was there any particular artist that influenced this style?
In the very beginning there were two big things that were happening for me and for Joe (Shrewsbury) as well when we really got going. At the Drive-In had just released “Relationship in Demand” and it was a really exciting time for guitars in music and they were so much a band that you could believe in. If I had been five years younger I would’ve had got posters all over my wall and I’ve had some posters anyway because they were amazing and they really put everything into being in a band. The second thing was people like Kid606 who were doing really interesting new stuff with like bitcruncher and glitching and really kind of mashing up laptops and electronica and pushing that into somewhere entirely new. I find it really kind of interesting because, well what Kid606 was doing, and people like him, was much more modern and innovative then At the Drive-In in some ways but you’re never kind of going to match the kind of thrill of being in a live band. A group of guys jumping about on stage and being really chaotic and noisy – its always going to be much more exciting than just watching one guy on a laptop, no matter how much exciting the music might be, you’re never going to have the same sort of attachment to it, or at least that’s the way it looked anyway. To put a long answer short, combining those two things just seem to make total sense to us because we were all listening to all of this music and no-one seemed to be kind of trying to put it together and we wanted to hear that, so we started making it.
Your live shows are exceptionally tight and well performed, what kind of set-up do you have for these performances? For the electronic sections is there much room for improvisation?
That’s an interesting question that, there could be if we wanted to be, but it’s never really been our strong point because improvisation is always spruce – there’s a fine line between being interesting and self-indulgent. We’ve spent so long practising and so long writing the songs we’re always trying to like shave all of the fat off them, and make them as concise and as focussed as possible. So once we’ve got to that point, anything that we add back into them seems to kind of lose the urgency somehow. If we were perhaps a different sort of band it might be nice to (improvise) you know, like there’s a big dance breakdown and everyone’s dancing and we’re going to add a few more cycles of a drum breakdown or something. There have been occasions when we have taken out live set-ups that are capable of us doing that, but as times have gone on it just seems… we have more fun playing fixed arrangements and then doing the cool live electronics within the framework and the skeleton that people are familiar with, so they know when it’s going to peak at the right time. So that’s the way we do it, we do lots of live electronics and it’s all very interactive these days but we don’t improvise in that sense.
How does the band approach writing music together?
(Laughs) I wish there was a nice and simple answer to that! It would have been useful to know. We have a lot of either tea or coffee or cigarettes, we meet at the rehearsal room and we think about starting to make music for a little while. It’s fair to say I suppose with this latest album more ideas have come electronically than any other way, but sometimes it’ll start with guitars or some drumbeats, or even just a chord sequence you know, we just haven’t quite like found the right instrument to play it on and it’ll go through about a million different versions like every song on this record has had a lot of different… I was actually just listening to some demos this morning just to remind me how long we have been writing this record and how distant the relations like the songs have become of themselves, there is a thing that’s called “Dance Dance Dance Version 1” on my iPod and it’s basically a different song, there’s like one sample that made it through to the very end of the final album, its crazy. So the approach is between computers and rehearsal rooms back and forth and back and forth.
The Cure’s Robert Smith brilliantly provides vocals on “Come to Me” what was it like to work with him?
It was great. We didn’t spend time in the studio together because it was an idea that came really late, and we were so busy with everything else like finishing the record. We sent him the song and he recorded the vocals at his studio and sent them back and basically gave us free range for us to do what ever we wanted, which you know, was a lot of trust being placed on us but really flattering. It was great that he was up for it, and working with him when we toured was an absolute pleasure and all four of them are really wonderful guys and have helped us out a lot.
It was great that the Cure had you guys as a support act a few years ago as they could have just easily got an average major label act to tour North America with them instead. Did you enjoy playing over there in all the crazy large venues and arenas?
Oh it was absolutely wonderful. And the American ones especially was great because we sort of had these two tours we used together because The Cure took a day off every other day, so we were booking our own like tiny, tiny shows. So one day we would be in an arena in Washington or something and the next day it would just be this tiny little 100 capacity bar somewhere downtown and there would be twenty 65kids there, but because they were our fans it was just as exciting because they were our first ever headline American shows. The whole experience was phenomenal and obviously ending in New York at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall…
Wow, I bet that was epic!
Yeah, I mean we’re so lucky you know? Not many people get to say that…
You’ve played in Madison Square Garden and Radio City, fantastic!
So what’s next for 65daysofstatic after the tour then? What are your plans for the future?
There’ll be some festival bits and pieces. We’re doing something really interesting in the summer which is very different for us… I’m not allowed to talk about it just yet, but in the next week or two once we’ve signed some contacts and it’s definitely happening, we’ll be talking about it. So that’ll be the summer and then in the autumn, we’ve got plenty of stuff left from doing the album sessions and we’re going to do something cool, something a bit more interesting then just putting out a second single – but we don’t know exactly when its gonna be yet – but as soon as we get off tour, we’re going to get stuck in to it and make the most out of what we got and make something that’s worth people’s time, and of course its an excuse to tour again.
“We Were Exploding Anyway” is out now on Hassle Records.