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BRMC Interview Köln 2007
Talking to Peter Hayes in Cologne's Prime Club, 18/11/2007Well, I have to start by complemeting you, because with „All you do is talk“ you have written one of the most beautiful songs of all time, at least if you ask me.Well, thank you.I get goosebumps almost every time I hear it. So, what was the inspiration for it and how did the process of writing it take place?We kind of stumbled into it, I guess. We were doing a rehearsal, it just came out of a tuning, a strange tuning on a guitar, well, not that strange really, but… All I can really say is that it came out of getting tired talking about music. (laughs) That was part of what it came from. And then it delved into a bunch of other things as far as its meaning. It came out of a kind of rehearsal with the band.Could you probably stop the speculations about whether “All you do is talk” is going to be the next single by simply telling me which song IS actually going to be the next single? Or does releasing the “American X” EP kind of substitute the release of an additional single?Oh, I don’t know if there’s going to be another one. The American X EP kind of thing was a way to get out some more music and kind of keep the album in people’s minds. Yeah, it’d be nice if “All you do is talk” was a single. There’s another really beautiful version of that song actually that has no drums on it, it’s just intrumental and it’s vocals, a really great version. We kind of wish that we had that on the album without the drums, but… We talked about it being a single but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. If it does, it would be us funding it again, I think. I think the record company is done with the album.I’ve always hoped you were probably thinking about giving your fans a treat by releasing a kind of b-sides collection. Is the upcoming release of the “American X” EP a first attempt into that direction? And will we also be able to get it in Europe?Yeah, it may only come out here, actually. Maybe. Do you mean b-sides from all the albums?Yes.Yeah, there’s talk of that. We just haven’t put it together yet. We did an album called “For murder”. That was a lot of b-sides. But it wasn’t really ever released, I’m not sure why. I mean, we made a couple of thousand copies that went around to a publishing company. But, yeah, we never really released that in the main whatever-you-would-call-it. But yeah, someday, hopefully. We always kind of shy away from that stuff a little bit because it, I don’t know, I mean it’s a … (pause). I’m not sure why but it always seems like bands do that when they run out of things to say (laughs). Then they come up with the compilations of their singles and their greatest hits and their-da-de-da-de-da. And it’s kind of like you do that when you get kind of… when you need time off. So it might be coming soon. (laughs)It’s just that I realized it’s kind of hard to get hold of certain songs. The Howl Sessions EP for example.I think it’s on iTUnes.Yeah, but I want to have it “physically”, not just on my computer.Yeah, that’s all strange stuff. I mean, we had a bunch of them pressed up and bought them from the record company to sell them ourselves out on the road. I’m not sure if we have any of those anymore, they may have sold out, but that’s how we’re doing it. We buy a whole bunch of them ourselves and just sell them. Somehow record companies make it complicated. I don’t know why. I guess their opinion is it’s not a valid enough money maker for them or something, I don’t know. You know… So that’s why we do it ourselves, because we know our fans want to hear our music. We cannot try to dodge them as much as possible.In your forum I once read that, referring to the “uh, somebody” in “Berlin”, your music would make people want to “uh” somebody. And I myself have to admit that I find some of your songs incredibly sexy. Are you yourselves aware of this sexiness? And while Franz Ferdinand once claimed that they wanted to make music girls can dance to, would you say that you want to make music girls can get bedroom eyes to?I like the idea of including all of it. That’s it, really. I think dancing and… (pause) sex and Rock ‘n’ Roll and anger and frustration all go hand in hand, along with love. I think it should all be involved in music, a little bit. That’s it, really, you know. I mean there’s no thought of trying to do any one thing. We try to include all of it in all of them.Another favourite song of mine is “20 Hours” which I luckily got by buying the 7’’ version of “Berlin” in London. How can it be that this beautiful song ended up as a b-side and not on the album? Did this happen just out of practical reasons, e.g. because it wasn’t written yet when the album came out, or is there more behind it?It was actually written for “Howl”. I think it was recorded as a song for “Howl”. The song’s been around for a long time as far as it was… No, I think it was already around for the first album, actually, that song. (pause) I don’t know, our mistake. I mean, it would probably have been better if it was on the album, as far as giving this album a bit more depth and stuff like that, but… Maybe we overthought the album too much. So it ended up as a b-side.It’s just that when I sat down and listened to it for the first time, I was like “Why is THIS song a b-side?”Yeah, we do that ourselves the same, you know, as far as it gets complicated trying to put together the sequence and all that, you know.I have to say that your music has a very high bandwith, with such songs as “All you do is talk” that are touching and beautiful, rocking tunes as “Whatever happened to my rock ‘n’ roll” or “Berlin” or psychedelic songs as “Red Eyes and Tears”. And finally, when I first listened to “Need some air”, I had the impression that you also had the ability of producing indie-disco songs, because this is a song I can easily imagine lots of people dancing to in a sweaty club. Was that probably the intention of writing the song?That song Robert wrote with a guy from another band, uuhm, I forget the guy’s name, I think he goes by Ming Vauze or something like that, his stage name or something. I’m not sure if that band’s even around anymore. I think we tried him out as a third player. We have a guy named Spike that was coming out with us. I think we were trying him out to do bass and guitar and certain things and Robert was playing music with him and his band. I guess they asked him to come in and help write. And they didn’t do anything with that song, just from my understanding. So Robert kind of finished it and that’s all I really know about that.Last summer you did a tour with Kings of Leon. What do you think about the discussion that Kings of Leon should rather have played as YOUR support? And are there any anecdotes you can tell our readers about? To be honest, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall backstage.(laughs) It was nice of them to ask us out. It was pretty eye-opening, as far as we’ve got on to a certain level in America, which is playing maybe 800 or 500 seat room or so, you know. And we’ve been doing that for three years. We’ve been doing that for seven years. We worked our way up to it, as far as playing in a 150 seat room. And we’ve been at that place for a long time. Except for Los Angeles and New York, those two places we can play a 1000 seat room. But that band… they’re playing 2000 seat rooms in every city, well, not every city, but, you know, in a lot of towns.(Somebody in the background starts banging the drums [doing soundcheck], Peter stands up and makes sure we’re not interrupted anymore.)Uuuhm, where was I…? Yeah, and 4000 in New York, you know. So, that was an opportunity to… like I said, it was an eye-opening. It was like “Wow, there’s a lot more…”. (laughs) You know, we were going to these towns where we’d been in seven, eight, ten times, playing the same club and walking in and it was like “Holy shit, there’s a theatre here that holds a lot more people”. And we’d kinda go “Fuck. We’ve got a long way to go to do that.”Well, from what I read the fans on the Kings of Leon site were very enthusiastic about you as well.Yeah, yeah, they were really nice to us. Yeah, absolutely. It was great. They showed up early, you know. I mean, I got the impression they were the type of people that heard about us, decided they didn’t like us a long time ago, but then decided “Well, we’ll show up early, just to see them giving a shot”, you know. And that’s great.Taking their second chance then?Yeah, it was nice. It was good. It was good fun. They are nice guys, too.What about the Split EP with Kings of Leon? Was that a kind of reuslt of the tour?Yeah. Yeah, a little bit. I thought that was, uhm… (thinks). Yeah, basically. (laughs)Anyways, do you ever look into your forum or on your MySpace page yourselves? There have been the absurdest speculations about what your secret nicknames might be.No, I never log into that stuff. I don’t have a MySpace account. I don’t look into the forum, I don’t have a place to get into my band-thing either. Yeah, but I visit them once in a while. I’ve answered a couple of things, you know. Most of the people asking questions about what harmonicas do you use for certain things and I try to answer those questions through David, the guy who runs it, and then… I try not to delve into that world too much, I guess.But looking into your forum is always a pleasure, at least for me, so did you know that there actually is a campaign for the, as they call it, “1.51 song”? It is a snippet of an unreleased song of yours, probably called “BRMC”, which can be heard on the mini documentation (or “the holy document”, as they call it) you can see on the internet. And your fans long so much for a release of this song and respectively hearing it as a whole, that they have even been thinking about how they could make you release it.One guy wrote this:If there's a way to hurry up a release of an unreleased track it could be by butchering what we have of the track and the band could get the real thing out there to rid the world of the abhorations that we made.Bottom line here is what I think 'b.r.m.c.' (1:51) would (or could) sound like. I just looped a bassline in with the intro of what we got from the documentary.Well, I’m not quite sure what that song is… there is two songs…No problem, I can play it to you, I’ve got it here on my mobile phone.Okay, cool. There is two songs on that that are unreleased.(I get my mobile phone out and play the snippet of the song to him [thanks hunkillah])Yeah, that’s “BRMC”, yeah. We should rename it “1:51”, I guess. There’s a couple of songs, “Evol” is from that session, there was a song called “Seasons” that was on that. I don’t know if “Evol” is on that documentary, but “Seasons”... Yeah, they’ll find their way out. I think the idea was… the reason why we had it… We’ve been debating re-recording them or just trying to remix them and we never really had the moment to. They’re on tape somewhere and so you got to take the tape and then you got to transfer it to digital and then you got to… you know. We just never had the moment to do it, really.So what else does happen in this song? Is it just instrumental or are there any lyrics?Yeah, there’s lyrics. (starts humming a tune, thinks) I know the chorus is “I don’t need no one, I don’t want no one, I ain’t got no one”. That’s how it goes.And another song that is shrouded in legend: Have you ever thought about releasing the mysterious “Blown Away” as an album track?Oh! Uhm… No. The only thought with that song was giving it to somebody else to play. It’s a very… I don’t know. I played it once at a record store and I kind of took a random poll on what people thought whether we should release it or not. I was doing the “Howl”, actually, I forget… There was a record store, I don’t think it was in Germany, but it may have been. And I think the consensus was “No, don’t release that song, it’s not good.”And are you also thinking about a new album already? If so, do you already have an idea what it’s going to sound like?Uhm, yeah. But I’m not going to tell you. (laughs)Now, what do we have to make of “666 conducer”? Can you confirm that this song is actually NOT about the devil? There seem to be people who refuse to listen to your music anymore, because they think that this song points to the fact you might be in league with the devil.Oh, really? “In league with the devil?” Wow. That’s a good one. What were you asking?Just whether you can confirm that this song is actually not about the devil in a positive way.Well, it is somehow about the devil, yeah. I mean, but I don’t know why that would make… I mean, why not talk about the devil if you’re going to talk about God? Yeah, well that’s how it gets. Fair enough. If you’re going to listen to it with the word “God”, it makes no difference to me. If you believe in one, you’ve got to believe in the other. And if you don’t believe in either one of them, there’s still a world of people that do believe in that and that are affecting your life. That’s the way I see it. You know, I mean, there’s people killing or George Bush and evil-doers. This is another way of saying, you know, these are bad people. It’s just nonsense, as far as I’m concerned.Your recent album “Baby 81” has two different album covers. Why so?(doubtfully) Does it?Yeah.Oh yeah, yeah, yeah… it does.We have a different one in Germany.Is it just a guitar? Or is there the girl?There’s the girl with the glasses.The girl with the glasses, yeah. Yeeaaah, that was a… I don’t know how to explain it. It used to have a slip cover over it, you know, just a cardboard slip cover that has a guitar and then you pulled that off and then you got the CD with the girl on it. The record company didn’t have the money, didn’t want to spend the money to buy that little piece of cardboard. (laughs) That’s why it came down to two different ones.Who decides that kind of thing? Because, you know, there are always people who are not satisfied with what they can get and keep asking “Why don’t we get the plain, white one, with just the guitar on it? Why do we have the girl with the strange glasses?”Well, we didn’t mean any offense by it. (laughs) The guitar came last, actually. The whole thing with the girl was supposed to be it. There was a whole deal about how it was built. And inside the glasses there was supposed to be a wheel that went around and changed the picture. Kind of like how our website goes. You know, when you click on something, the glasses change. That was all supposed to be tied together. But that didn’t happen. So that’s why it’s the girl, really, cause that’s where it started. It started with that idea and it was actually a really good idea. But it just never worked out, as far as we didn’t get it done in time.Robert once said about the album that it’s dirty and it’s beautiful. What do you think or what do you think he could have meant by these dirty and beautiful aspects in the album?Of this album?Yeah.What’s dirty and what’s beautiful? (thinks) I don’t know… I don’t know what he means by that, you know.What is your opinon then?I don’t know. The way I see it is we did the best we could at the time. And I’m proud of that. Hopefully we’ll get to do it again and make another one.Yes, hopefully.
BRMC Interview (2007)