arrowHome arrow Written arrow Interviews 2002 to the present arrow Zillo magazine talks to all the band members! Sunday, 19 November 2017  
The Church
  All I ever wanted to see...was just invisible to me.
 
Home
News
FAQ
Written
Lyrics (ext. site)
Discography (ext. site)
Image Gallery
Video and Audio
Guitar Tab (ext. site)
- - - - - - -
Buy Church Music
Links
Contact Us
- - - - - - -
Old Shadow Cabinet
Top Sites

Official band site
Official Site

 

Discography and Lyrics
Discography, Lyrics, Tours

 

Hotel Womb - Bulletin Boards Dedicated to the Church Fan
Forums

 

 

Steve Kilbey's blog
Steve's blog


Immersion Music - Peter Koppes' label
Peter's Labels' Site

 

Spacejunk - Tim Powles 
Tim's Studio Site

 

Marty Willson-Piper's Official Homepage
Marty's Facebook

 

 Heliopolis - a Steve Kilbey site now hosted here

Steve Kilbey fan site, 

(archived here)

Zillo magazine talks to all the band members! Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 April 2009
Originally published at http://www.zillo.de/ this interview was sent to subscribers of The Church's newsletter on April 2nd 2009.It is mainly about Untitled #23, of course.
MK-Zillo   

you named your latest EP after a legendary super-continent called “Pangaea” … why?


the ep was called pangaea because its like the feature track
its also the only track which is also on the album
its about the process of being part of something big
and then becoming separated
the structure of the e.p. was never really planned out
at the end of putting everything we had together
it seemed like these four tracks would go together well
a few different ideas of what the church gets up to

SK-the church



MK-Zillo  

You are one of the few bands where every musician plays an equally integral part in the music, with all of you swapping instruments and doing lead vocals at times. Is this kind of approach (a collective of equally strong individuals) the most productive for you to work with? Who makes the decision which songs will make the album in the end?

i think it has become important for us that when we write music
that we record it in the same configuration as it was written
so if marty was playing drums as he was on space saviour
or playing bass as he was on operetta or deadmans hand 
thats how we record it
everybody plays instruments differently
we all have a bang about on all the instruments searching for new songs
i guess i generally end up as a kind of chooser because
after all i'm gonna sing it 95 % of the time


SK-the church


 
MK-Zillo     

The “Coffee Hounds” EP features a Kate Bush-cover that you also played live when you played in Berlin a few years ago. Was recording this song for a release an afterthought from playing it on tour?

I have noticed that you seem to enjoy doing cover versions of songs that were originally recorded by female singers (“Dancing Barefoot” on the Gold Afternoon Fix Tour coming to mind) – is there any reason for this or is it just incidental?

we started mucking around with this ages ago
i had an epiphany one day
that the band could do a good version
we recorded some of it and played it in europe in 07
its always challenging to take a womans song and reinterpret it as a man
you can home in on different aspects in the lyrics and delivery
its always an interesting exercise


SK-the church



MK-Zillo   

You have been playing and recording for three decades now. How is being a part of The Church now different from when you first started out?


in some ways we are exactly the same
we still have the same mission
which was to boldly go where no other guitar band has gone before
to try to transcend
to try to make truly marvellous music
over the years we have learnt so much
forgotten so much
accepted n rejected so much
all of us can play so much better now
and sing better too
but at the very heart of things
our goal remains the same


SK-the church
 


MK-Zillo     

Is “LLC” a nod to the term “limited liability company”? If yes, it is quite an unusual subject for a song…

LLC stands for Little Love Central and refers to my 2 year old son's ability to bring smiles to everyone's faces with his manner.

PK-the church



MK-Zillo           

With your latest batch of releases: “Shriek”, “Coffee Hounds”, “Pangaea” and the new album “Untitled #23”, you decided to go completely independent on your own record label Unorthodox Records. What was your reason for this decision and will this be the path you plan to follow for the future?

Independence has always been the ideal way for an artistic entity to operate and now with the internet and inexpensive technology for recording, it is more accessible to be independent. Also major labels don't have the power to influence the media that they once had so it is a more openly competitive industry.


PK-the church


MK-Zillo    Speaking of iTunes… what do you think of the current development that seems to point away from physical sound carriers (to be frank: I hate it. I like to have the physical pleasure of holding a record in my own hands ;-))

I know what you mean but in the future there will be complete artwork to be downloadable and printed (as big as a vinyl sleeve even) when the climate effect of shipping materials will be reduced. The music itself will be less expensive due to less warehousing costs.


PK-the church



MK-Zillo   

Church-albums often end on an epic note, but “So Love May Find Us” is not only one of the longest (next to “Chaos”’) but also one of the IMHO most elaborate ones. It quite literally blew me away. Was the song the result of a jam or was it something following a predefined concept?


 "The result of both,  SLMFU was initially a jam that was then defined
 by the overdub process- the concept being one of building themes in
 isolation following the natural path of the jam and directions implied
 by the initial instruments- more often the bass- with a commitment to
 allowing the piece to go where ever it could, and applying different
 sounds and instruments with no intention to repeat or create choruses or
 refrains. For example building on a simple random bass melody with a
 full mellotron orchestration that morphs into a vocal verse, and then
 entirely disappears never to return."-  


TP-the church



MK-Zillo 

With “Shriek”, you recorded a sound track for a book. While being quite unusual, it is not your first stint into combining music and literature, with Steve’s “Earthed” album and book coming to mind. How did the project come into being?-

 "The band were approached by Jeff VanderMeer the author who is a huge fan, with
 the idea of music to accompany a short film to launch the book-  we
 agreed and did an initial session jamming to descriptives and images
 from the book- cut together by engineer Jorden Brebach it was sent off
 and Jeff used what suited for the film- SK and i then recorded some
 spoken dialogue and voices as per Jeff's script-
 Later i asked SK to consider dropping some random vocals over all the
 music (used and unused) so we might have a "soundtrack " album of sorts-
 having already started by using vocoders to give melody to the spoken
 dialogue-.......on the day SK chose to read and sing and react to the
 book script itself, in mostly 1st takes and improv, the results of which
 i then mixed up with the music and sequenced into an album- which we
 believe must be a first of some kind- a unpremeditated sonic
 illustration of a sci fi book with authors words brought to life "live"
....   amazing."


TP-the church



MK-Zillo 

Structually, the EP reminds me of the big art rock albums of the Seventies… with a series of shorter and more compact series of songs forming a virtual “a side” , culminating in a long, epic “b side”. Was this intentional or did it just “sort of happen?”


Well, we had 14 tracks with vocals and a number of unfinished pieces. At some point you must decide which pieces you are going to pursue. You must decide what works well together as a sequence of songs. You must consider time elements. You must consider the styles of songs and how they work together. An album is more than a set of songs. It can be thematic for example. A concept. Even albums of 3 minute pop songs make sense in a certain order and their placement on a record needs to be thought about. The dynamics of how songs work together, the mood created by the opening track; the journey of the album. Also CD’s are often too long and we had 80 minutes of music to consider, the EP felt right at around 30 minutes and the album felt right at around 50 minutes.

With this album there seemed to be a thread suggested by the ten songs we had chosen. With Pangaea as a focus track for the EP, adding these three other songs made another compatible selection of songs. Although I like your theory in regards to the Art Rock albums of the seventies. This is of course only 4 tracks and always an EP despite it’s 30 minutes of music (the same length as Let It Be by the way, sorry that’s a tangent). Perhaps Meddle by Pink Floyd is a good example of what you are getting at with Echoes and the other shorter tracks.

On the EP we have the first 3 songs sung by different band members. Often this break from SK doesn’t affect the flow of the album, it’s just another aspect and it’s not necessarily the fact that they were different singers but different kinds of songs that made them break the mood. Steve always has a certain yearning in his style as well as some darkness and mood and in this case these two other songs just seemed a bit too straightforward next to the other tracks. So we separated them and put them on the EP along with So Love May Find Us, which at 17 minutes would have made the album way too long, and suddenly both EP and album made sense.

Having said that we will be including them in the double Vinyl release with So Love May Find Us taking up the whole of Side 4 with its 17 minutes. This is because the vinyl isn’t one continuous piece of music. It is split up on to 4 sides where as the CD is 50 minutes in a row. Somehow this makes a difference. Sequencing the vinyl was very difficult and tracks have had to be changed around due to the time limitations of each side. I tried to split the songs up into two sides and make it a single album but it just didn’t seem to work. It’s a strange thing but sequencing is an art all by itself and in this case the vinyl version works much better as a double album with the extra tracks and the digital versions work much better separated into an album and an EP. Of course these days with iTunes you can very easily go off and create your own sequence and have a different experience from the music, you can even invent your own climax, change the ending of the film.

And on another tangent, I was always one for listening to an album as a complete piece but it seems to have gone back to individual songs since the digital revolution. That’s fine, but as you mentioned in your earlier question about holding the record in your hands, having it, touching it, feeling it. The culture of  sitting down and listening to the whole thing from beginning to end, cover on your lap, getting up at the end of side 1, flipping it over....it was all part of what I refer to as the “indoor” experience of being a music fan. I’m very happy that this record will be released on vinyl for all these reasons. Then there is the lovely warm sound of vinyl. These days people don’t seem to have stereos, turntables, CD players with real speakers to make the most of the sound and although vinyl is making something of a comeback, the stereo remains a thing of the past. There was a time when everyone had a “stereo” albeit of varying quality. Getting your speakers set up in the right place was an essential element of your front room. Those days seem to have gone and these days a punchy little mini system for your iPod seems to suffice. But it’s reassuring to think that convenience and cheapness isn’t everyone’s criteria for listening to and attaining music. Many boutique labels are giving fans the opportunity to own high quality new releases and lovingly researched reissue packages of their favourite artists on both CD and vinyl. I hope the church can continue to aspire to that at the same time as making the music available to the masses as downloads should they wish to attain it in that form.


MWP-the church



MK-Zillo 

At the moment, none of the Unorthodox releases have distribution in Europe… with the only way to get our hands on these gems here being via mailorder from you directly or via digital download on iTunes. Are there any plans on distributing the material in Europe as well?


We of course want to have our records available everywhere in the world but it’s hard to justify manufacturing records for Europe/North America AND Australia. CD sales are so down that you can’t be sure you will sell them. The compromise is mail order. It raises the price because of Postage and Packing but it allows us to have a source of high quality physical stock that the fans can get their hands on. We have made this record in Australia on our own Unorthodox label through MGM distribution and it will also be manufactured through Second Motion Records and Red Eye distribution in the USA. We are hoping that someone in Europe will take it on. We will let everyone know via our webpage and mailing list if and when this happens.


MWP-the church



MK-Zillo 

Why did you name your new album “Untitled #23”? It probably refers to the album being your 23rd full-length release, I am guessing…


Well yes and know! It depends how you count them. If you add up all the compilations, Best of’s, B-sides, Jam albums, I think it is 31 albums. But depending on what you leave out you can make it add up to #23. I had this idea to call an album Untitled #XXX whatever number, a while ago. We got a little stuck for a title that suited this selection of songs and this title was resurrected. In the end it fits very well with the artwork which looks like modern art paintings from an art gallery, often titled in this way, but it is actually photographs I took of old walls in the town of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico last year. The art hopefully reflects what the band does; being more than the sum of its parts.


MWP-the church



MK-Zillo 

Are there any plans for another European tour?


Always planning to make Europe work but it is essentially a financial question with all the band except me living in Australia. It costs a lot of money to have the band walk on stage in Europe and although there are some places that we do well such as Amsterdam, London and Madrid, generally the numbers are not good enough to justify the cost. Not sure what we can do to change that in this current climate. I suppose we are a specialized thing and you either love it a lot or you don’t investigate it. I wish we had a bigger profile in Germany and the UK two of the biggest European markets, but beyond London we simply don’t.
We always loved playing in Italy and have done a lot of great gigs in different cities in Europe over the years, but without being based there it makes it very hard.
We are looking at it as a possibility.


MWP-the church


MK-Zillo 

What are your next plans?

Our next plans are to tour the USA where we can draw sustainable numbers to our shows. We will start in California in early June and head across the country finishing possibly in Canada or at least the North East. It’s not quite finalized yet but the announcement of dates there is imminent.
Most Read
 
top


Mambo is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.
design by mambosolutions.com
Page was generated in 0.023062 seconds: Left = 0.009193, Top = 0.009128, Main=0.009541, Right = 0.012960 Bottom=0.009723

 
0 queries executed