Interview - These New Puritans
their October UK tour, which starts this Friday in Manchester and hits The Sage
in Gateshead on Friday October 18th, I had the chance to interview Jack Barnett
from These New Puritans for NARC Magazine. A very thoughtful, intelligent interviewee.
Due to space constraints, not all of the material would fit in the magazine
piece, so here's a full transcript of the interview.
On the vinyl, the division of the pieces into three suites is especially clear. How did the idea of dividing the tracks in this way come about?
Basically this music is in the tradition of people writing music about how they feel. To an extent when you go through things personally and have strong feelings then you have to match that in your music or at least try. Or that's how I felt this time. It's no good writing about some obscure species of slug or something that I don't know. Music is expected to be trivial and ironic these days but I just want to do something and mean it a hundred percent. I feel like standing up for that in music. I've lived every second of this music.
Fragment Two is by Daniel Askill, who we worked with on the video for We Want War. He's close to the band and is kind of part of the inner circle now. If you don't know our music, I'd say go and watch the We Want War video on YouTube, it's a good introduction. We went to New York where he lives and works and filmed all the foreground stuff in what used to be The Hit Factory, where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller. Quite an odd place as it's now half been turned into flats and half is still there, but they're not allowed to use it as a studio for some reason to do with the flats, so it's used for all sorts of stuff. Then Daniel shot all these epic landscapes in the background in various locations. Some of the middle ground stuff is actually photos I took of the Thames Estuary near Southend, where I live. It's all a patchwork that was put together by the digital effects studio that has done the new Superman film and all this kind of thing. Organ Eternal is by Willy van der Perre. He's a friend of George's. He took some aerial photos of us for the artwork of the album, which are incredible, and we wanted to continue that idea into the video for Organ Eternal.
It was great fun. It was only our second gig as a band – madness. In fact it was Elisa's first because for the previous gig which was in Tokyo, we got Salyu, a Japanese pop star, to sing with us. That's another story. But Hollywood Bowl was a good gig. Björk was very nice. She had asked us to do a remix last year and it went on her Bastards Remix album. But Hollywood Bowl is this massive venue that's made out of a natural 'bowl' in the landscape with seats going up the side of the hill. the venue staff had all been there for decades and were all quite jolly and part of the furniture.