Liars at the Forum
Angus Andrew from Liars phones in from the road before their stop at the El Rey theatre on 2/22 with No Age. I recommend you pick up tickets here as it could very well be a special tour ending show.
AC: How is it going Angus?
AA: It’s good mate. How are you?
AC: Not too bad. The proverbial first question for you..How is the back holding up?
AA: It’s fucked man. I got no other way of saying it. I don’t know if you can print those words but its not a hundred percent. Its getting there slowly you know the grease in the joints are loosening up. I am certainly not the nimble guy I was a couple of years ago.
AA: Where you calling from?
AC: I am calling from Los Angeles.
AC: I am stoked for the El Rey show.
AA: It’s going be dope man. It going to be great.
AC: I thought the tour would be sponsored by Icy Hot.
AA: (Laughs).. Mine would be Tiger Balm. I like that stuff.
AC: I caught your show with Interpol at the Forum and was blown away. How was that tour?
AA: It was a big venue that one. The tour was great . It was really fun man. It was a bit of a challenge for us in that we were not playing to the normal kind of people that we play to or in the normal kind of setting. Anytime you take someone out of their comfort zone and plop them into somewhere that is challenging inherently good things will happen and I think we all benefited a lot from that tour.
AC: I know you did some late night shows with Interpol as a one off. Is your back going to prevent you from doing anything like that with No Age?
AA; I don’t know. We haven’t talked about that yet. Its funny I am not sure why. I think we will eventually do that. We probably should do that at the El Rey. That would make the most sense wouldn’t it? The thing we did with Interpol was partly based on the fact that it was one of our birthdays and that was a birthday present to get us all on stage and play dub music. I am sure we will end up doing it with No Age at some point. Probably on Dean’s birthday.
AC: Is Jared Silverman (Guitars/bass) taking over the Guitar/Bass duties for you?
AA: There is a couple of songs that I still have to play bass. We were going to get Randy or Dean to do it. I am sitting down when I perform and playing the bass isn’t too hard. So I have got it on my knees but it would have been fun to get Randy or Dean play though.
AC: With each of your albums being stylistic departures, How difficult is it to construct a setlist?
AA: It can be tricky. I think the first thing to deal with is the technical aspect. There are some pieces or parts of albums that we made that require quite a bit of equipment or a different array of equipment then the ones we used for the more straight forward rock songs that we have been playing on the new album. I think that kind of determines most of the decisions we make. We want the songs to work. So if we have trouble with sorting out the technical aspect. We will make it happen somehow. There is a limit to how much gear we can actually bring. In a sense we try and pear it down to the songs that are played to the best of the instruments we carry.
AC: I was also impressed with The Liars Sessions that you made available to download. What was the driving force for releasing these to the public?
AA: Aaron and I work pretty hard on our demos. When we write songs, we record those songs on our own first playing all the instruments and we try to make demos the best we can so the other guys in the band can hear it all and understand it. Sometimes they become so good we find it hard to let go of the demos for the real thing. I think what we were interested in doing this time was after we release the real album that we wanted to release all the demos as well. So that people could hear some of the work we had done individually and how they slightly differ from the album tracks. They are the same songs just played by us individually.
AC: You could definitely tell how either how much or how little they changed compared to the final album version.
AA: It's interesting. We have a lot more of those and will be doing a lot more of that.
AC: If you could release those it is a great window in terms of how you operate.
AA: Yeah! We got a lot of stuff like that basically for every album. One day. One day we will do that.
AC: What are some of your favorite guitar pedals that you use on stage or in the studio?
AA: We are all in love with most of the Boss pedals. We use a lot of pitch shifting, delay, and reverb. The actual types of pedal really vary a lot depending on a) which country we are in b) how much money we have at any one time. I think the pedals are only as good as the ideas behind them and a lot of the ways we utilize them is by miking things that have already been miked so you have a constant kind of feedback thing on instruments. So we will mic the drums with a pitchshifting pedal and that will come out of one of our amps that they put back into the P.A and it cycles for a real interesting effect. Its not just in relation to the type of pedal. Utilizing it in an interesting way which I think is the most important part because obviously we can all walk into Guitar Center and buy it all. But we can't afford that! (laughs)
AC: I guess that gives more meaning behind the statement that no Liars show is ever the same.
AA: That's true man. It is impossible to get the acoustics right. Its always a real challenge to walk into a club and get things to sound how we want to. You are right its never going to be the same due to too many variables.
AC: I think that's why I go to a lot of shows and would see bands more than once because you will never know what you are going get.
AA: Oh yeah. Absolutely. I agree with that one hundred percent. I think that is something we were able to expand on the Interpol tour because they are quite a perfect, seamless, and flawless band that sounds much like their album. It was our job to try and represent the side of live music which is sort of the opposite of that. It is hard to even determine what we were playing.
AC: I think it was great in that you provided the perfect contrast to Interpol.
AA: We became aware of that pretty early on and that was something we enjoyed.
AC: If you could tour with any 4 bands, Who would they be?
AA: Wu Tang Clan. Does that count as a band?
AC: Yes..If they are still technically together.
AA: They are! I think they are doing a tour soon.
AC: I think some of them left. I forgot who.
AA: They are suing each other that's for sure! (laughs)They are still trying to keep it together. I would like to open for Bjork that would be fun. Do they have to be alive?
AA: Definitely The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Then maybe the Velvet Underground would be cool.
AC: That would mesh well!
AA: That would be a good little tour that one wouldn't it? (laughs)
AC: When you did Drum's Not Dead you had a whole bunch of short films behind the album. Any plans for any movies or a DVD accompaniment with the latest album?
AA: No. This last album the project spanned the table of six months from writing to finishing the record so we did it really quickly and our intention was to try and get it out as fast as possible. I think in that way of working was quite different to way we did "Drum's Not Dead" which was quite extended and had a lot of time to work on those films. This time we gave our work out to directors for the first time so we had a few videos made by fairly professional people which is very new for us because we have never gone down that road before. It is sort of interesting to take yourself out of the creative process. In terms of what we did on "Drum's Not Dead" this has been the exact opposite actually and quite interesting in that way.
AC: Almost like a minimalist approach, but the album is great and when you recreated some of those songs live it was really good.
AA: Yeah..It's fun. I think that is kind of also why we made this record to play some of those songs live especially being able to have Jared with us it just means we can rock heavy. We have never be able to do that before with guitar solos or anything like that.
AC: On “Plaster Casts of Everything” is that guitars or synths in the beginning of the song?
AA: Its probably a lot of both. I think that if you listen to the demo its definitely a Fender Rhoades keyboard played through a MXR distortion pedal. It kinda sounds like a guitar or a distorted bass. Most of the songs I wrote for that album were written with a Fender Rhoades Bass organ through enough distortion so it sounds like a guitar. In the studio then we backed that up with some real guitars and Aaron threw on some stuff there. It is a pretty even mix but the genesis is definitely from a keyboard.
AC: “Clear Island” is another song that has me fooled in terms of is it guitars or synths.
AA: It is the same thing. Another one which was written exactly that way as well. A Fender Rhoades keyboard and then the guitar riff is a pitch shifting thing.
AC: Is that how you approach writing songs that you start on the keys first?
AA: It is a pretty new thing for me actually and I haven't written that much on a keyboard before. This record for some reason it all seemed to happen for me. I am not a great guitar player but I think I can play the keyboard a little better. It came a little bit more natural.
AC :Well I know you got the show in Chicago tonight?
AA: Yeah! It is going to be a big one!
AC: Good luck with that and I will be anxiously awaiting your show at the El Rey!
AA: I going to work on putting something together with No Age so we can do something special for you.
AC: Yeah! If you let me know. I think it would be great. Thank you so much Angus for your time.