'Earshot Interview' - 5th April, 2003
A new album wants to be presented and so do Sneaker Pimps, with a modified cast (Joe Wilson takes a "time out", is replaced by Ian Pickering). After a long soundcheck and problems with the computer that was supposed to control the visuals for the evening but did not work properly, Chris Corner and David Westlake have been able to spare their time between soundcheck and performing for an interview.
How was the tour so far?
Excellent, it was a liberation because we spent so much time in the studio and it's good to get out there, to live, to get drunk and to sit around.
Do you have the same visuals every day?
We had many visuals that we filmed, but we made new ones on the tour, which are just text, simple text. We wanted something to watch. So every night it's the same visuals from the computer.
How are you with the new songs? Are they hard to play?
We still practice.
What can we expect from the new album? How will it sound?
It's kind of an extension of ''Bloodsport''. We wanted to keep it raw and trashy. I think it sounds like a three-piece thing.
More guitars or electronic samples?
It's a bit different, it's more of a performance with electronics in the live sense, so it sounds more like a couple of people using synthesizers in a room than a computer playing synthesizer.
Is the album already finished?
It's not quite mixed yet, but it's finished. If we go back, it would only be details that we change, we would not change any songs.
When will the new album come out?
In late summer, although we are picking up quickly, it takes us a long time to bring out the records for some reason, there is always a problem. But you can already hear it. Bringing the record to the shop always takes a long time with us. So hopefully summer.
Will it also appear on DVD?
No, that's a bit confusing because we're working on the 5th album too. We changed our plans a bit. We wanted to make a movie and a soundtrack, but we had so much material that we thought the movie would take a long time, so we used more upbeat material to at least publish that quickly to keep people happy while we continue with the movie for a while. The movie will follow on DVD a little later and it will be slower, more lyrical, poetic.
What kind of movie?
It is a fairy-tale. An eerie fairy-tale. A black fairy tale. We've written three chapters and we're not sure yet how the end will work, but we'll come up with that. We are on the try.
Did the political process influence you on writing for the new album?
The key political developments in England came only after we had written the songs, but there is something in the songs that goes well with the war. There are songs that, in combination with the lyrics, have taken on a new level of meaning. We are against the war in Iraq, to make that clear. It is very difficult at the moment to be British because I believe that the majority in England is against the war against Iraq, but the government does not listen to these people. We have the biggest protests England ever had and nobody hears them! We feel powerless, confused and ashamed of our country. In any case, one is unconsciously influenced by it.
Would you also say openly that you are against the war? Some bands have already been kicked off their label because of something like that?
Yes, of course!
In England, as is America, there is a healthy anti-war movement. It is too important, it is absurd to say nothing against the war for commercial purposes only, so it must be said openly. Since we tour Europe, we feel obliged to say it more often. We were at the demos in London, there is such a big approval against the war. When we are here, you realise that people believe that just because we are British, we must make it clearer that we are against the war.
Should artists argue more than others against such things?
I would not change the way I make music. But I think you get influenced somehow and as an artist you also have the right to give your opinion and not to say an opinion, but it's just not funny, people do not find it interesting if you have no opinion. But in the past we have always resisted the explicitly political. We were always interested in politics between two people, smaller, more intimate situations, love affairs. And there's a lot of politics in love affairs: diplomacy, etc. We found that these are good metaphors for more encompassing things. Since the war, there is more reason to articulate and express one's opinion.
Back to the album, was Joe Wilson involved in the songwriting?
No; he was never involved in it, not even in the recording process. Ian, who is playing with us now, is an original member, he has always been there. But we are a strange band, we change, we change everything; the people, the instruments, sounds - everything is open to change and there is no reason to limit yourself, to stick to something. We have the freedom to change everything at any time. Everyone agrees and we are still part of the same group and it's bigger than Sneaker Pimps. We have other projects, Joe is still there.
Who does exactly what with you?
Good question. This album is different from others - although of course they all differ - in the beginning it was recorded in the bedroom, like ''Becoming X'', with which we went to the studio. The second one, ''Splinter'', was recorded in the studio, ''Bloodsport'', in the open country and on the fourth album we come back to the bedroom because it's so cozy and because the bedroom is in Chris' house, he did most of the work.
When you start programming, do you know exactly what you want, or do the beats come up while recording by accident?
Sometimes something happens by accident, it depends on how fast we do things. We tried to be very fast on the new album. We tried to use similarly arranged sounds, so it sounds like the same drum kit and the same with the other instruments, so it probably sounds very simplified, like a band. In the past, we wanted to make everything sound different and have tried every sound and discussed it for a long time and it took a long time to bring something together. This time around, we found a good drum sound and decided to use it on the whole album. A new approach for us and so has the album consistency.
Do you see ''Bloodsport'' as a concept album, not related to the lyrics, but how the songs fit together?
I see it as a kind of journey. I think we've done that a lot in the past and the new one sounds more like a big song. Maybe we will come back to the story stuff.
There is a German version of ''Loretta Young Silks''. Who translated the song and where can you get it?
The song was translated by a friend of ours because we do not really speak German, not really at all. The song is not regularly available in the trade, it was sent alone to promotion, to radio stations and so on.
What about the remix of ''Loretta Young Silks'', that Brian Molko from Placebo wanted to do for you, a long time ago?
It still does not exist. Brian is just a lazy person!