Interview – Engineers

July 31, 2009 by  

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Following the Engineers’ return to the public consciousness with their glorious second album, Three Fact Fader, we caught up with Mark from the band to discuss their mini hiatus and the recoding of their new album.


It’s been four years since your last album, what have you been doing in between?

The album was nearly finished by the end of 2006, and the record company stopped being a record company that released records and became a publishing house. So rather than just wait around for it to come out on a different label we’d though we’d just have a break because we’d had quite an intense process of recording, and we wanted to wait to find the right label.

When did you decide to come back together again when?

When we realised we could get a little bit of help with finishing it off in the way we wanted to, there was just a couple of tracks we wanted to add to it and tweak what we’d already done. The last two tracks were written at the same time as everything else but we never kind of finished them.

What was it like working with Ken Thomas?

Fantastic…he’s a great guy. He’d not yet done the Maps M83 stuff; he didn’t know what Shoegazing was before. It was mainly to do with the fact that we know his daughter, and she said you should meet my dad, you’ll really work well together. We’d met with John Leckie and we were going to do the album with him. We’re from Manchester and it’s always been like ‘it would be great to work with John Leckie’, but when we met him, although we had a lot of common ground, we felt we had a little too much, we needed someone who was a little bit more neutral and who would sort of subtlety help us be ourselves oppose to being another great Manchester band. He helped us realise how we wanted to present the album, oppose to like this has got to be commercial, this has got to be…

Was it a purely organic process?

Yeah, totally. The first album we did in London even though we was in our own space I think you get into the rhythm of life in London, so we went to a studio in the North in the middle of an industrial estate and we just like through paint at the canvas, just tried a variety of different methods. It didn’t take long to record. I think we started it in March 2006 and finished in about 6 months.

The new album is a heavier, denser record when compared to your debut, was that conscious decision?

We felt it was quiet a stylised perspective doing those records, we were always aiming at a finished thing oppose to getting performances down which we could then treat however we wanted to. Of course the fact we worked in Rockfield and the recording was done on tape, and we just had much better equipment this time.

What was you listening to at the time?

Well, for me contemporary music hasn’t really done anything for me for years until just at the time we started writing. We started noticing there was quite a lot of interesting stuff coming out of America, most notably Deerhunter. We also listened to a lot of jazz and then lots of classic indie like The Breeders, Sonic Youth and then a lot of classical music.

Do you have anything special planned for your forthcoming gigs?

Yeah, Sweeny our drummer is working on an hour long film, we got a really good lighting guy in as well, and Ulrich Snauss is going to be playing with us. We’re never going to go back to playing the Bar Fly we’re at the stage now where we want everything to be special. I think our sort of music needs visuals.

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