I interviewed the one and only Amanda Lear and this is her favorite song. Coming soon on The GROUND Magazine
I interviewed the one and only Amanda Lear and this is her favorite song. Coming soon on The GROUND Magazine
In part one of our interview with Archive they talked religion, art and Americana, and now they get real with Hunger TV, telling us why they’re imaginations are better than porn and why Lady Gaga needs to stop thinking she’s Madonna.
Read it on HUNGER TV
YOU DESCRIBED ‘WITH US UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD’ AS AN ALBUM ABOUT LOVE IN A NON-FORMATTED ARCHIVE WAY. HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THE ‘LOVE’ THEME?
Danny: We simply wrote about what was going on, it is quite honest.
Darius: If you listen to Pollard’s vocals, they are crazy, fucking crazy.
Pollard: It is love in a very realistic way. We all have experiences and I had one of those relationships where you never knew how it is gonna be, totally fucking fiery and feisty, she was really fucked up and really on my case sometimes. It is real, this is the thing, it comes from experiences without making candy coded shit up. “Take My Head” was much more romantic.
LOOKING AT YOUR VIDEOGRAPHY ONE CAN NOTICE A LOT OF CLOSE UPS, LIKE IN ‘VIOLENTLY’ OR ‘BULLETS’. HOW DO YOU APPROACH YOUR VIDEOS?
Darius: We are always trying to discuss it a lot at the moment, we are making two videos very close together but I don’t really know. Let’s be honest here, in an ideal world, I don’t think there would be music videos, music is much more powerful, you need to feel it when you hear a note. Quite honestly the most beautiful thing about music is that you haven’t got a visual representation. The beautiful thing about The Beatles is that they haven’t a visual reference, beside the Abbey Road’s insides. It is a clear thing to me, imagine a video for fucking “Because”.
Danny: It is like watching porn, I don’t need it. My imagination is so much better. Listening to music is something real, a much better experience than seeing it.
Pollard: Ideally we like to work with people who have their own impression, that have a strong connection with the music. We are always hoping to find somebody that fits just like… the right person for a relationship or friendship. In my perspective, there is no difference between music and visual. When you listen to music you have a visual experience with your imagination. Visually, anything that looks strong and powerful looking at it. It is a lot about imagination, music and lyrics open to interpretation
YOU COMPOSED THE MUSIC FOR MICHELLE VAILLANT A FRENCH FILM BY LOUIS-PASCAL COUVELAIRE. WHAT OTHER TYPES OF FILM WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMPOSE FOR?
Danny: A porn. No, it is a hard thing to say. I like Johnny Greenwood’s soundtrack for Norwegian Wood and Ennio Morricone’s work. The Mission for example.
Darius: 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest movie for me. They used Strauss’ music and it was crazy, nothing was compromised in that movie. Also Vangelis’ Blade Runner and the music of Snowtownis fucked up, so emotional.
Pollard: Something that has the same intention and articulation, that we actually know it is going to be interpreted visually as our music. It has to match, Michelle Vaillant did not match, the music was great but the film was shit. It is a fact.
THE LYRICS FROM RECENT TRACK ‘SILENT’ AND ‘INTERLACE’ ARE VERY SHORT TRACKS, ALMOST JUST LIKE POETRY. EXPLAIN YOUR WRITING PROCESS.
Darius: I wrote with Pollard the end of a song called “Invisible”, the rhythm kept going always more progressive and Maria came around. We got into it but I did not have any song for Maria and Danny was not there, he was on a crazy weekend. We came up with this amazing melody as it is and she wrote the first lyrics but then we were stuck. We didn’t have any chorus and Danny came in very drunk and said “silently I love”. That was it and it is pretty much Maria’s character in the song, she is a very silent person.
Pollard: I would have loved to release “Invisible” but it did not fit in the album.
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?
Danny: I am hungry for wine and cheese.
Darius: That’s a very interesting question. I think it is a difficult time for musicians, the radio is so insane, everyone is chasing this madness. I am hungry for honesty, being true to what you do artistically. The film industry suffered a lot more than the music. When you wanna make a film there is a lots of money involved, music has still lots of alternatives, you could make a song in your bedroom. There are great bands coming out I was in the Foals’ last night. You always have to compromise for money if you want to make a film. Massive compromises, it is very difficult to find a great movie.
Pollard: There is a huge gap between people who do it because they have worked for it all their lives and this star-mania X-factor reality. It is misleading for young people who would like to make music. We understand this is what we love and we will fucking do this until we’re dead, sorry if it sounds cheesy. Personally, I am hungry to have people making great music for the love of music, to forward music so it is no longer retro, it is no longer played off to the idea of the past. It is not copying, it is original because you know the history, the present and you sing the future, to me that is very important as an artist. I feel like what we are doing is something different and original, no matter what press we get, we don’t have money surrounding us. As a band we always do what we love, it may sound cheesy but when you listen to all of the shit and all of the money pumped into these cheesy stuff and sounds, even in Italy and you know it most of all. We were talking about all these artists in the rest of the world and we were scared. They have money and not for the right reason or their talent, come on, Lady Gaga you will never ever be half as good as Madonna it is just the way that it is, sorry. The thing that music and films do have in common is that music does not depend on a medium like any other art form. You don’t ask people if they do you like music or films? You ask what film do you like and what kind of music they like. Music is more honest, everybody will always gonna understand music. Whereas you can take a Van Gogh to a tribe in the Amazon and they might use it to fetch a hole in their roof because they don’t understand the impression of what it is as a painting. There is no medium for us.
Danny: It is like a language spoken by anyone.
Darius: I do love Van Gogh but that is another story. I have seen “The Sunflowers” The National Gallery borrowed, I did this tour with the religious stuff, Gauguin and Van Gogh, some paintings got lend from Amsterdam. They have amazing colours, it is extraordinary, this guy cut his ear off but I find his paintings so optimistic. Everyone says they are intense but to me they represent freedom! His art to me is freedom. This is the beauty of the world.
My interview with ARCHIVE founders Danny Griffiths and Darius Keeler and vocalist and guitarist Pollard Berrier
Read Part I on Hunger TV
ARCHIVE is a British collective who, despite gaining success outside the UK in the last twenty years with their progressive sonorities, is still little known in their home country. Their latest album ‘With Us Until You’re Dead’ fuses orchestral and soulful elements and deserves more recognition, so, along with founders Danny Griffiths and Darius Keeler and vocalist and guitarist Pollard Berrier, we searched for a quiet central London pub to meet up and have a chat. As ‘a quiet London pub’ seems to be an oxymoron we ended up in a little cafe in Covent Garden and just like long time friends, with the help of a few beers, we chatted for hours about the music industry, America, the Pope, soundtracks, religion and even Van Gogh.
LISTENING TO YOUR ALBUMS IS LIKE GOING ON A TRIPPY JOURNEY, IF YOUR MUSIC SEND US ON A TRIP, WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF IT?
Danny: We move around a lot and I think that life at a very specific time is the ingredient. What you are inspired by most of all can be really anything, like sitting here listening to people’s stories. We can’t recreate that specific moment and when we do the album it is a different time and happening in our lives. We were observing a lot during the recording of ‘Controlling Crowds’ but this time around with ‘With Us Until You’re Dead’ it is more personal, it is about love.
Darius: When we do an album we don’t think about the songs as separate entities, it is all about the whole piece and I think that even if the process becomes spontaneous, we always try to do an art piece, a consistent piece of work.
Pollard: Our latest album has a very similar vibe to ‘You All Look The Same To Me’, it has atmosphere, a minimalist approach and has that space that the last couple of albums did not have. There is a strong cinematic element and it is emotionally stimulating. It is like saying something without saying too much and ultimately people has to listen to it so the ingredients are difficult to find within the band alone.
AFTER ALMOST TWENTY YEARS YOUR EVER-CHANGING LINEUP COUNTS ELEVEN MEMBERS. HOW DOES THE CHEMISTRY AMONG ALL THESE PEOPLE IN THE COLLECTIVE WORK?
Danny: It could be all so fucking wrong because we are so many different personalities. Everyone has their own ego and it could not work but it does.
Darius: It is a sort of miracle that it works, it is important that everyone has their own space and this is peculiar to the fans too. Holly only comes and sings 2-3 songs live but it is so important. Maria, Pollard, Dave as well and John our bass player has an extraordinary space.
Pollard: Bands are all made of the same format and set up. We only care about the music and making it together without caring about how we are made up.
FROM SUZANNE WOODER TO HOLLY MARTIN AND MARIA Q, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN THE FEMALE VOCALS?
Danny: It is not easy for someone to just come in into The Archive. You may feel used or something and just getting into singing the songs is not easy. In the end it is just about the way of singing. Pollard for example was very comfortable from the beginning as were Holly and Dave. There is a lot of democracy and it is like a pact of like-minded people, a netting thing.
Darius: I liked Pollard’s atmosphere immediately, I felt like I could communicate with him. It was exactly the same with Holly, when I met her I instantly knew I could communicate with her. It is not an easy thing to work with someone who make the kind of music we make so it is very important that we are able to communicate firstly and then personality. Communication brings out your way of writing. Pollard’s voice and the way he writes is different from the first time we met. Music changes accordingly as we work and communicate .
YOUR TOUR FOR THE LATEST ALBUM RECENTLY WRAPPED IN LONDON. WHY THE BELLS INTRO THAT OPENED THAT SHOW?
Danny: The bell intro was actually our tour manager’s idea, Alex. We went to Greenwich and we recorded it. I thought it was a very British thing. We did not think it would express the national identity, it was a way to kick into the first song ‘Wiped Out’, and then ‘Boom’ with ‘You Make Me Feel’. From a certain point of view I was not sure about it.
Darius: There is such a diverse group of people who do it from old women to young beautiful girls. A voluntary group of people. We filmed it and originally we wanted to show it on a big screen but Dan did not like the idea. The Catholic bells are quite sad, the priest bells are boring and dull. If you go to Paris and hear the bells at The Sacre Coeur they are in a minor key. You are going to hear the bells soon again as it is going to happen again on record. You’ll hear all the bells ringing together at one time. It is called firing.
Pollard: You would be surprised how scientific it is. They have a whole system of notations just like when you read music, about when to pull and when to pause, all the different types of pulls and swinging. There are specific rules, it is amazing there is a whole mathematical system. How they ring the bell, what tempo you have got to keep your feet on the ground at all time, it is amazing, I have a lot of respect to that. It is an European thing, Catholics are set in a way that they are not prone to change much and to scientific innovation and technology. We tried to make the bells sound all together at the same time, and it is nice to have the contrast of all of them, it builds the tension and get into the firing bit.
YOU CLOSE THE SHOW WITH ‘BULLETS’ WHICH IS ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
Danny: What annoys me more than anything is that we were told we shouldn’t have “personal responsibility” as a lyric because it was like telling people what to say, think and do and now I am glad we didn’t listen to him because, personal responsibility is exactly what it is, what do you think? It is taking your own responsibility and the whole point is listening to the song and question this thing. I am sat here drinking wine and it is my personal responsibility.
Darius: The whole ‘Controlling Crowds’ project was during a very difficult time for anyone in this strange and moral world lead by obviously moral leaders.The lyrics made sense in that time world, morally world, leaders, the lyrics made sense in that time where there was something strange about our leaders? You got me thinking now… Rome invented the Pope and that is the mad thing. I was seeing a very interesting program about Emperor Constantine, he murdered his wife and son, he was a murderer, it was a period of utter madness and then he started Christianity and used it to beat the enemy. Now the Pope has a Twitter account… brilliant. I can’t stand religion and let me tell you why, I can’t fucking stand the fact that Christians, Muslims and Jews make fun of the Greek Gods. How dare they say that it is weird that there was a Greek God of wine or of orgies? Why is there any difference or is it any more weird than they having a God with a fucking load of prophets? How can you judge all the prophecies and fables? It is madness and moreover, it makes everyone feel guilty in the end. There is some fucking twisted idea of this God thing.
Pollard: It is about personal freedom in an era that is so fucked and you want to be able to do what you want to do, that’s it. Being able to live your life the way you want to and trust yourself without being a sort of masquerade. For example the media loves to portray America as a country of freedom saying there are less murders because there are more guns… I love it there but it was Rome first, then England and now America that is ruining the world, you can take your pick where is it all started. Every single country is ruining the world.
Danny: If you wake up in America tomorrow you will be dead.
Pollard: In Mesopotamia they had terms for the words sin and evil that we use today. In aramaic the original word for sin is an archery term that means you missed your mark, try again. Whenever you said the word sin in aramaic, what Moses and Jesus spoke, they had an organised group of old people who were talking about problems that you could had and walked you through them with wisdom. Evil, is when you missed the target completely and you have to realign your life. Those are fact on the origins of those words and religion has taken it to make you feel guilty rather than you just messed up, try again, don’t think about it, you are not gonna go to hell. Something so fundamental has been turned into this.
1999′s ‘TAKE MY HEAD’ IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE ALBUM. DOES HAVING YOUR OWN RECORD LABEL MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR YOU NOW?
Danny: We never liked that album, it was a bad time for us.
Darius: We are working with a label that deals with independents. It is brilliant and it has an independent way of thinking. This makes a profound difference for us, I will never ever sign to a major label company ever again in my life. The freedom and the passion of the people involved who actually love music and stick with you is amazing. Companies like Warner Bros. do the first video, single, it goes to radio and then the album. Two weeks later they go like “Thank you guys, we have got the Red Hot Chili Peppers to do now” and every single band has the same treatment. We already had two videos and singles and we just recorded the third video, ‘Stick Me in My Heart’. Promotion is going on every week from different countries and they are all working really hard. To be honest with you Archive is our world and we enjoy it more than ever. We have got the new album coming out in June and we are touring next year.
Pollard: They look after us and work for us without us having anything to do for the first time. They license individually to every territory to companies and they do their best to make it successful. It is more than you can ask for especially in these days and age where there are so many 360° deals like Live Nation does and fortunately because people love our music, even if we will make it in America, we will never go for a 360° deals this is the beauty of the foundation of Archive, something so strong that we don’t have to listen to those people and hopefully we will never have to.
YOU HAVE HUGE SUCCESS IN EUROPE. DOES IT BOTHER YOU THAT YOU’RE NOT AS POPULAR IN THE UK?
Danny: We never had anything solid in the UK before. We did not know what we were doing.
Darius: No because we are excited to conquer it now with the new label. We messed up so bad in the past, we had two big deals, half a million in one record company and two hundred and fifty thousand in another so I understand they are scared. In the future we are gonna be touring the UK and playing in Ireland for the first time before a bigger tour in autumn. Hopefully we will perform at festivals as well, I hope we get Glastonbury, just a little tent. I am also very excited about Glasgow in April. When we played in Milan the first time, there were fucking 40 people, this year was sold out and next time there will be 250.000. It helps when you are playing because you express your whole as a band, it gets people, there is only so much that you can do with a CD.
Danny: The fans who are gonna turn up will love it.
Part II coming soon on Hunger TV
Read it on Chasseur Magazine