“WE TOOK SOME ACID AND
SAW THE CITY HALL ON FIRE“
Therapy? are on
ME: How are you?
Andy: I’m really good, thank you, yeah. We are really enjoying it, we’ve been touring last year. We’ve released new record in September. We’ve started this year with really good shows. Tonight is the seventh show and six of the shows have been sold out and that one show that wasn’t sold out had just a handful of tickets left. For us it is amazing because some of the places we hadn’t sold out concerts in years so it’s very good, we’re all healthy and happy.
ME: I’d like to go back to the past a bit here. Did you have a
Andy: Oh yeah. My favourite “Troublegum” track now funny enough, is “Nowhere”. It never used to be my favourite cause I thought it was quite a simple song and it was like a speeded up Thin Lizzy-meets-The Ramones and I thought „anyone can write songs like this“. My favourite song back then would have probably been “Unbeliever” because of Page Hamilton on guitar [of Helmet] and it’s got a really really good groove. Lyrics and voice was more like Joy Division which is more my kind of music and in recent times we play both songs in the set and we’re gonna play both tonight but I think I’ve going back to “Nowhere” again but just didn’t really like it back then.
ME: A friend of mine told me, when I told him I’m doing an i
Andy: Oh wow tell him, thank you very much. That’s really cool, wow.
With a lot of
friendsit was like The Beatles and The Stones or either like Discharge or GBH. I was a Discharge kid, and my younger brother he was GBH crazy, he had a GBH banner on the back of his biker jacket and I got Discharge, the dove and the banner, that was my thing.
ME: I wanted to ask you something I found funny. There’s an album “Church Of The Truly Warped” by GBH and I haven’t listened to it in a long time. It was my brother’s CD and I just found it
Andy: I don’t know that album! The only GBH album I own is “City Baby Attacked by Rats”. And I’ve got a “Sick Boy” 7″. But I don’t have that album.
ME: This is a 1992 album. It’s the last song on the album and it has like maybe 2k views on Youtube. A bit more metal sounding…
Andy: Is it a good record?
ME: Yeah it is. It’s a good record. It’s got great riffs. It’s maybe more metal that what you’d expect from GBH. It’s funny that those riffs sound like you were maybe inspired by them.
Andy: I would admit it, I’d be honest! A bit of “Trigger Inside” is “Ain’t No Feeble Bastard” by Discharge. I’m always very honest about what my influences are. I think the thing was whenever I was a kid, with a lot of friends it was like The Beatles and The Stones or either like Discharge or GBH. I was a Discharge kid [laughs], and my younger brother he was GBH crazy, he had a GBH banner on the back of his biker jacket and I got Discharge, the dove and the banner, that was my thing.
ME: How about the Stones and the Beatles stuff?
Andy: Whenever I was younger I didn’t like The Beatles. My mother and father actually saw The Beatles, they played in Northern Ireland in the
ME: That’s the huge one, yeah.
Andy: I don’t like “Sgt. Pepper” that much cause I think I’ve probably heard it too much over the years, everyone was into “Sgt. Pepper” and “The White Album” is the one I like the best.
ME: To me it’s probably the other way around, as a kid I really loved The Beatles, all the harmonies in the songs and stuff and The Stones, I’ve got into them really like the last year, the last two years I really dug into the stuff. And I like their weird 80’s stuff, I was born in 1983, so all the 80’s albums, Rod Stewart too.
Andy: Oh yeah.
ME: I rediscovered him last year and there’s so much good stuff there.
Andy:“Atlantic Crossing” is a great record.
ME: Definitely. There’s also that funny stuff, sugary pop of “Body Wishes” too. Like I always liked it subconsciously probably because I was born back then and it’s the type of music that stayed with me.
ME: So speaking of great records… Do you have a
Andy: Probably “A Moment Of Clarity”… Which I didn’t like at the time. I really loved the track when we brought the album out cause the album was a funny one for me. I liked “A Moment Of Clarity” and then a review came out that said it was a terrible album and “A Moment Of Clarity” sounded like Meat Loaf [laughs].
ME: Oof! [laughs]
Andy: So I kinda thought „oh no“ but I think that’s probably my favourite track on it now.
Growing up in Northern Ireland we listened to everything and when we recorded “Infernal Love” we were listening to The Afghan Whigs, Nick Cave, Scott Walker
andDepeche Mode, things like that. To metal fans and “Troublegum” fansa lot of them were like, “well, maybe we should go and listen to Deftones instead”
ME: I had a magazine, I think it was a Metal Hammer and the review I remember it was something like „grown ups?“, something that was not favorable. We had a radio show at that time and it was hosted by Jadranka Janković, she was a metalhead reporter and she is still famous. She played a lot of albums on radio, whole albums and I remember when “Infernal Love” came out, she played it and I recorded it on tape and loved it, got the CD later. I knew “Troublegum” and I loved it and this was something different. At the same time it was the time of “Murder Ballads”…
Andy: Yeah, that was what we were listening to. I know a lot of metal fans couldn’t understand because growing up in Northern Ireland we listened to everything and when we recorded “Infernal Love” we were listening to The Afghan Whigs, Nick Cave, Scott Walker and Depeche Mode, things like that. To metal fans and “Troublegum” fans a lot of them were like…
ME: “…what’s THIS?!”
Andy: “well, maybe we should go and listen to Deftones instead” [laughs]. But yeah, “A Moment Of Clarity” is my favourite track off that record.
ME: Maybe mine too. “Bowels Of Love” is also great and “Diane” of course but “A Moment Of Clarity” is maybe the strongest track on “Infernal Love”.
Andy: Yeah that’s the one to me that’s still sounds… It’s aged really well, it hasn’t dated.
ME: Do you still play it live?
Andy: We’re playing it tonight actually. Haven’t played it on this tour yet but we’re playing it tonight.
ME: Great! Thank you. Do you remember Peter Gabriel‘s studio?
Andy: Very much so, yeah, I loved it. I’ll be honest, I love the studio and it would be great if I went to make a solo record or a record that wasn’t a Therapy? record, it’d be amazing. For a rock/punk/metal band… It’s not really… It’s amazing studio, it’s got like five different studios and we recorded in the big area and it’s got a glass floor… Have you ever been there?
ME: No, unfortunately not.
Andy: It’s got a glass floor and the river runs underneath it, it’s insane. A&M records, we’ve done “Troublegum” and they said, where do you want to do your new album, so there were five studios that were available, one of them was a hall which was a Van Morrison room, they took us around a few of them and I walked into Real World studios and I thought “man this is so brilliant, it would be so great to be creative”, amazing place. We stayed in little houses, done like little village huts, it’s
ME: There’s one thing I noticed production-wise, I don’t know if you remember that. In “Misery” there was like a phasing issue with the distorted guitars.
Andy: I think it’s the tuning. I think what happened was the tuning that I was using on the track “Unbeliever” too, D-A-D-A-D-D, so it just sounds like a drone. Al Clay who produced “Infernal Love” wanted to get something with guitars and he got a 1957 Telecaster and a really old Gibson 335 semi-acoustic and he liked the sound of them but in that
ME: But it sounds great! It sounds disctinct.
Andy: It’s the tuning thing, and the Telecaster and the 335, we thought about it, and we thought let’s put distortion on them, it might help. But that’s what it is.
ME: I like “The Boy’s Asleep” very much and I like “Semi-Detached” pretty much. I’m kinda sad that… Well, sad is maybe not a proper word but I have a feeling that it wasn’t as big as it maybe should’ve
Andy: That album, to me, I think it’s a good album but it took too long to make. And I think cause we took three years to make it, we lost a lot of focus on how it should sound. And there
Andy: Yeah I know, it’s probably why it sounds like that [laughs].
ME: When did you quit smoking?
Andy: Ooh… 2007. I haven’t smoked since then, yeah. I think I tried to give up smoking when my son was born in 1999 and it took me a long long time eventually to completely quit in 2007.
ME: I never smoke, maybe just a couple of times [laugh] but I suppose you felt a lot better, like healthier since you quit?
Andy: I’ve lost a little bit of
ME: Any story about “Six Mile Water” maybe?
Andy: Yeah! Sixmilewater is a river and initially I grew up in a town called Ballyclare which is ten miles from where Fyfe [Ewing, former drummer] and Michael [McKeegan, bass player] grew up and they lived in a place called Larne and there’s a connecting river called the Sixmilewater cause it’s six miles long. It runs from their town to my town and it’s one of the few places whenever I was a kid where all my punk friends and metal friends, we would go down the Sixmilewater and we would get beers and a ghetto blaster and we listened to GBH, Discharge, UK Subs, The Ramones, Venom, Metallica, all those. When Fyfe left the band by 1999 I was beginning to think, maybe we could have said goodbye in a better way in the band and it was almost as like a song sang “Six Mile Water” is what joined Fyfe, Michael and me because it’s the water that runs between us. The story I think it’s, that night we took a mad acid we saw a City Hall on fire. Myself and Fyfe used to live in Belfast and one night we took really really strong LSD after a band rehearsal and we went out to see the sunrise in the morning and while we watched the sunrise the City Hall in Belfast which is the main government building and it had a big dome on it, because we were both tripping on acid we felt the City Hall was actually on fire. That’s what the lyric talks about. It’s almost like saying, maybe we didn’t part like as the best of friends but you know, I’ll always remember that night that we had and I’ll always remember that there’s a very strong river that connects us.
ME: It’s the experience you had together.
ME: Regarding acid, do you have some music experiences, listening to some music while on acid and hearing something you’ve never heard before?
Andy: Yeah, my favourite album to listen to on acid was, and it sounded completely different for me, was “Zen Arcade” by Hüsker Dü, the double album. Another good album is Funkadelic, “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow”, that sounds amazing on acid. Yeah, but I think the one for me was the time I listened to Hüsker Dü cause you don’t think of Hüsker Dü as an acid band really, because they are hardcore but it’s a very very psychedelic record. And I remember how I had an amazing night with Funkadelic, “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow”.
ME: I know “Maggot Brain” more but I know that album too. But yeah it’s funky, it’s very lively and vibrant.
Andy: Yes, that’s it, yeah.
ME: Do you still play “Exiles” live? I remember you played it in Kragujevac in 2012.
Andy: We haven’t played it recently. Michael actually mentioned it the other night and said we should bring it back. I was never really happy with the way it sounded. I’m happy with the album version, I really love the album version, but live it never sounded as good as I think it could have done, so we did talk about, when we finish this tour, maybe rehearse it and look at the arrangement over, see if we can make it better.
ME: That track really stood out from “Crooked Timber” to me, it’s just like an anthem. I dunno why, maybe it’s something about the hooks.
Andy: The thing initially when I wrote it, the bass line and there was a lead guitar, cause I wanted to write it like a “Screamager”, so inititally we tried “na na ni ni nu nu ni ni“ [sings the melody] and we got in with Andy Gill the producer and he said, “well, that’s the bass line, make that a bass line, make it more like dub”, cause at the time we were listening to a lot of dub records, dubstep, electronica. So we flipped it, the guitar riff became the bass line and then I came up with this little high pitched bit. But I always liked the chorus, I always loved the chorus.
ME: Do you have some favourite dub records you’d recommend?
Andy: “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown” [1976 record by Augustus Pablo], it’s one of my favourite ones. And “Super Ape” by Lee “Scratch” Perry [1976 record by The Upsetters] which is fantastic. They are probably my two favorite ones, yeah.
ME: “A Brief Crack Of Light”, I really liked that one. To me it sounds a bit stronger than the 2000’s albums. Like you found something again on that one, because the last three albums sound really great. How do you feel about that album now?
Andy: Yeah I know what you mean. I really like that record and I really like the songs on that one. I think “Crooked Timber” and “A Brief Crack Of Light” are very artistic records. We were listening to very esoteric, different music from rock and punk. The critics liked the record and our fans… It was maybe too much for them at times. I really like “A Brief Crack Of Light” from the 2000’s and I know if you talked to Neil our drummer, his favourite is “Never Apologise Never Explain”. My favourite is probably “A Brief Crack Of Light” from that period. And that was a lot of fun to make and it was probably a really good session. “Crooked Timber” was quite difficult cause it took a long time. I really like the track “Ecclesiastes”.
ME: Me too. The one with the vocoder and stuff.
ME: Was it the first time you experimented with the vocoder?
Andy: It was the first time we used it on the record. We tried it on a track called “Maccamorabi” which was never made. I bought this vocoder, Electro-Harmonix Voice Box.
ME: Yeah, I’ve got one too.
Andy: Yeah and I love it! And I was using it at home a lot and brought it to the rehearsals one day and the band went “uh-oh” [lots of laughter]. And we used it for one song called “Maccamorabi” which is about an old asylum in Northern Ireland. The thing about it [the voice box] live is that I find it quite temperamental so our sound engineer Richard, he bought one and said “look, I’ll operate it from the FOH” so whenever we used it on the “A Brief Crack Of Light” tour it was great but you know whenever it was at my feet… You know you have to hit the right chord.
ME: And pronounce it at the same time.
Andy: Exactly right and live with me jumping about like that, it sounded awful. We did it for the song “I Am The Money” on an album called “Shameless” and we tried to use the vocoder for the chorus to make it sound huge and somebody in the audience said
ME: You mentioned esoteric bands you were listening to, do you remember which ones?
Andy: It changes all the time, I really like electronic music. There’s a label called Hyperdub that I really like and they do things like Kode9. One of my favourite electronic artists of all times is called Burial.
ME: Yeah I know him. When “Untrue” came out it was so big.
Andy: Yeah cause I think “Untrue” is like, a lot of people find this hard to understand but I think “Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division, the first Black Sabbath album and “Untrue” are all very similar in atmosphere.
Andy: They are not similar musically, but it’s all melancholy. It’s kinda late night, all three albums remind me of darkness and small neon lights and loneliness. And that’s why I like it so much.
ME: Yeah, that makes sense. What kind of amps do you play now? Are you endorsed or not?
Andy: Well the record label we’re on is Marshall, which is the amplifier company, so it was a part of the deal that I got two Marshall 800‘s, a Marshall 900 and a Marshall Jubilee head. I’ve used Marshall since 1992 on the “Nurse” album. I’ve also got a Roland Jazz Chorus which I use on albums just for clean guitar and I’ve got a tiny little Blackstar, 5 watt amp which sounds amazing when it’s cranked. But it’s mostly Marshall for the things I want.
ME: So live do you prefer the Marshall 900 or the 800?
Andy: Up from 1992 until last year I always used 900‘s. Even though I had an 800. But then Marshall brought an 800 to our rehearsal place because we signed our record deal and I tried it and it just sounded phenomenal. So I’ve been using 800‘s on this tour.
ME: I remember at the Arsenal fest you put the cabinet the other way round [so the speakers were facing the drummer and not the audience].
Andy: That’s right, yeah.
ME: Probably because of the bleed into the microphone?
Andy: Yeah well, I run two cabinets. One of them is a very standard Gibson/Marshall sound but the one behind is quite bass, there’s lot of bass in it so whenever I’m singing [makes a boomy sound] and so I face it the other way.
ME: A friend of mine, actually a bass player asked me to ask you if you drink beer and if you have a
Andy: I haven’t a had a drink in seven months. Not for any particular reason.
ME: No alcohol at all or just beer?
Andy: No alcohol. But I do drink alcohol and I enjoy it. My
ME: You mentioned electronic music, are you into Autechre or Aphex Twin maybe?
Andy: I like Autechre better. Aphex Twin, Michael is a massive fan of, I like Aphex Twin a lot. I remember we were doing “Suicide Pact – You First” in 1999, we had a lot of Aphex Twin playing, just for the vocal effects. Autechre I like a bit better. I like old electronic stuff like Brian Eno and people Tangerine Dream.
ME: More ambient, background music.
Andy: Yes, more ambient.
ME: If you weren’t a musician, do you know what would you do?
Andy: I don’t know. I did at school, I did English Literature and History of Art. If I weren’t involved with a band it would probably have something to do with the English Literature. I read a lot, I’m interested in literature and i’m interested in art. I would probably have been a writer. Not a fiction writer but probably would have ended up writing for a living, I think.
ME: Would you ever play in a heavy metal band?
Andy: I have played in a heavy metal band! [grins] Whenever I was 17 there was a band called Slakk Alice and it was, a half of the set was covers and half of the set was their own material and they lost their bass player and at that time I was listening to R.E.M. and I grew my hair long. So I’ve gone from punk stage to bands like Hüsker Dü and Henry Rollins, I grew my hair long to look like those bands. The band asked me “do you like heavy metal?” and I listened to Black Flag and stuff. “Do you know any Ozzy Osbourne or Maiden?” So they had like 2 or 3 gigs so I played bass for them. It was like “Crazy Train”, “Mr. Crowley”… So I played in a heavy metal band. And the rest of the guys they were full like battle jackets and Flying V’s. It was good fun I actually enjoyed that!
ME: Do you maybe have a favorite metal album?
Andy: Favorite metal album? Ummmm… AC/DC is rock n’ roll
ME: “Powerage” maybe?
Andy: “Powerage” yeah! I like “Powerage”. I like the first Iron Maiden album a lot with Paul Di’Anno singing.
ME: “Killers” is also great!
Andy: “Killers” is good as well, I like that. UFO “Strangers In The Night”. Modern metal… I kinda like more hardcore like Converge and things like that. Tribulation from Sweden, they are kind of death metal. And I recently got a great album released on Relapse, it’s called Devil Master I think. They are all young kids. When you look at them they are
ME: It’s great when young bands like 18-19 year olds record albums. The whole goth/doom/black metal scene was kids basically but there’s like great albums.
Andy: Amazing albums. That’s one genre that I know because of Michael, early stuff like early Mayhem records they sound incredible. And I mean obviously it was just shitty gear and shitty amps but there’s something in them which… I mean if I sat down with the same amp and the same gear, it wouldn’t sound like that. It’s almost if there is an ambience, cold ambience in them, which is incredible.
ME: In a lot of those records, like Emperor, Burzum, In The Woods…
Andy: Yeah there is, and I don’t know what it is but it’s fantastic.
ME: Something probably geographically too. The coldness, the woods, the dark.
Andy: Yeah. We met Mayhem. We did a festival in Sweden three years ago, Sweden Rock. Michael is a massive Mayhem fan so he brought some of his records to be signed. And he got in chat with them and those guys are all into UK comedy like “I Am Alan Partridge” and “Fawlty Towers”. So at the end of the night I went in to get Michael cause we had to get on the bus and go and him and the drummer of Mayhem [Hellhammer] were talking about “Fawlty Towers” and Alan Partridge [laughs]. So we were all sitting talking like Alan Partridge the comedian and it was so brilliant cause he loves comedy and they were just coming out with all these catch phrases.
ME: Do you know “Only Fools And Horses”?
Andy: Yeah, it’s great.
ME: It was huge in Serbia.
Andy: Oh was it?
ME: Yeah, it was big it’s like everyone knows it.
Andy: That’s brilliant.
ME: …and the Mayhem singer, he is Hungarian.
Andy: Attila Csihar.
ME: Yeah, I’m not sure if he lives in Budapest. It would be cool if he showed up tonight.
Andy: He sang on a Sunn O))) record as well. “Sunno” or “sun”, I don’t how to pronounce it.
ME: Yeah, it’s pronounced like “sun” only.
Andy: He sang on one of their records, didn’t he?
ME: Yeah, a couple of ones actually.
ME: “Monoliths & Dimensions”, that’s the best one, yeah.
Andy: That’s a great record.
ME: Yeah. With an orchestra and even some Miles Davis trippy stuff.
Andy: That’s right, there’s a song by Alice Coltrane on it as well.
ME: And finally, the last question. I saw on Instagram you mentioned some movies you were watching on the bus. Do you have a favourite movie from last year maybe? Or some movies you’d recommend?
Andy: I liked the “BlacKkKlansman” a lot. I saw a Polish movie called “Cold War” recently which is in black and white, which I thought was incredible. “Isle Of Dogs”, Wes Anderson movie with the animation, I liked that.
ME: We need to watch it. [saying to Jovana, the photographer]
Andy: I thought it was brilliant. Um, what else… A film about the Irish famine called “Black ’47”. There was a huge famine in Ireland in 1847 and the movie was good. That’s what I’ve seen recently.
ME: Thank you very much.
Andy: Thank you very much it was lovely talking to you.
ME: Have a great show and hope we meet again in Serbia.
Andy: I hope so, I hope so. Serbia we wanna come back cause it’s been such a long time. We’ve done three shows there and loved every single one of them. I’ll ask the agent, we’re getting the calls since the last two albums, we’re getting the calls from people to come back and play, so…
ME: It’ll happen for sure.
Andy: Yeah, I’d really like to get over and I’d like to spend a bit of time in the country as well. I’ve always enjoyed any time I’ve been there I really really enjoyed it. I think the Serbians and the certain Northern Ireland people are quite similar.
ME: I’ve heard that from lots of people, but I haven’t been to Ireland yet.
Andy: Yeah I think they are very very similar. Yeah, thank you so much it was really good meeting you! See you again soon I hope!