brief chat with one of the most innovative bands of the last five years.
And a suitably brief introduction to the piece as their answers were
all short and sweet. Still, Broadcast's Trish and James were more than
willing to answer my questions - even if they HAD heard them all hundreds
of times before!
AD: Why is the new album called "Ha Ha Sound"?
Trish: It comes from the Japanese genre of films about mothers. It basically
translates as "Mother sound", and I think the title sits well
with the nursery-esque moments on the record. I always liked the idea
of voicing a laugh as well because it's such a natural thing. And I
thought it looked good as a title in a deadpan kind of way. It looks
nice as a word.
AD: Fair enough, so why has it taken you an age to follow up "The
Noise Made By People", especially when, from what I can gather,
the new album was ready by christmas?
Trish: Well we wanted to release an e.p. first. We kind of thought it
was the best time to do so - it's all about the best time. For example
it would be pointless releasing it at Christmas when you get all the
old grannies and children buying the crap that comes out at that time
of year. We needed to find the right window. Oh, ok, it's a record company
AD: I thought so. Now then, when did you first realise that your
music was going to be so far from the norm and be so influential?
Trish: Hmmm (Pause). Quite early on. (Pause). Oh I don't fucking know.
The first single was accidental anyway. We just recorded a 3 or 4 minute
song for a laugh and it just took off from there. If you get sucked
in to being a commercial band you're always going to be pushed in a
certain direction by record companies and peer pressure. I've never
wanted to do that.
AD: Have you ever been tempted though, to write a surefire hit, in
order to get some more money in the coffers to do exactly what you want
Trish: There's no such thing. I don't think I could do it anyway. Weirdness
is too ingrained into my way of thinking. The band that merged the two
in the best way were definitely the KLF who seemed to be able to write
hits by numbers. If you're gonna be calculated, the songs need to come
from a very genuine place for the writers and you've got to not give
a shit whether people like it or not.
AD: Ok, now you went to the trouble of building your own studio -
and then you never bothered using it for "Ha Ha Sound" - why
Trish: We didn't really like the sound of it - especially the drums.
So it was recorded in a church hall in the end. We were trying to get
all of the elements - the key elements - to come together, and it all
seemed to click together in there. The songwriting, the recording, the
acoustics - they all just clicked. It's a bit like dart throwing, where
you need elements of posture, sight prasody...
AD: Sight what??
AD: Oh right. Never heard of it.
Trish: Really? You should look it up.
AD: Um...ok....you're not going to tell me what it means then?
Trish: (laughs) No. Anyway James is going to do the second half of this
interview, so I'm going to pass the telephone over to him now.
AD: Oh ok, thanks Trish. Hi James. Right, my first question to you
is this - you seem to have been unfairly compared to Stereolab since
the beginning of your career, a band that I think you sound nothing
like. Why do you think you always seem to get that reference?
James: Yeah that does seem to be the case for a lot of people. I dunno,
call it the British Reserve I suppose. I think it's probably all down
to the fact that we have a female vocalist like they did and we were
stablemates of Stereolab. It's funny how journalists will then just
presume you are the same because of something like that. I think it's
probably just laziness on the part of the media.
AD: What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
James: (long, long, LONG pause) Er...I don't know. I can't think of
AD: Oh well, it's a difficult question. Anway you seem to have been
influenced by many forms of art. Which one would you say has had the
biggest effect on your career?
James: For me it's cinema, because it seems to contain all of those
other art forms within it - films include music, art, sculptures and
so forth. Everything encompassed into one.
AD: What's the best thing about being in Broadcast?
James: Independence without a doubt. When we started we had our own
visions, and as time's gone on we've been able to develop that without
any interference from a third party.
And that's it. My interview time is up...although I'm sure about
half of it was taken up by that pause from James. Still, never mind,
for those of you with an open mind and who enjoy creative music with
a rather strangely eery feel, Broadcast's "Ha Ha Sound" album
is out now.
Interview: Tone E