martes, 6 de marzo de 2018

Placebo will play at the Meltdown Festival 2018 curated by Robert Smith from The Cure - Tickets on sale 15th March

Very proud to announce that Placebo have been asked to perform at the 2018 Meltdown Festival, that this year is curated by Robert Smith from The Cure. The festival takes place at the Southbank Centre, London.

Tickets go on general sale 15th March, please watch for further announcements regarding ticket links.

domingo, 4 de marzo de 2018

‘We embraced the rock n' roll lifestyle with enormous enthusiasm’ - Brian Molko Interview - October 2017

Photo credits: Isabella Finzi

Placebo Interview with Brian Molko: ‘We embraced the rock n' roll lifestyle with enormous enthusiasm’

Brian Molko reflects on the alternative rock band’s career as they wrap up a retrospective 20 Years of Placebo tour.
Tuesday 17 October 2017 for

Photo credits: Claude Piscitelli Flickr

“I'd rather we were considered a marmite band than for us to be seen as inoffensive and easily forgettable, so I don't have a problem with generating love or disgust for our band; that's not an issue for me at all!”

It’s fair to say that Brian Molko, lead singer and songwriter for Placebo, the band he’s fronted now for 23 years, is well aware of their reputation for garnering praise and scorn in almost equal measure. As is made obvious from the quote above, he is perfectly at ease with such a perception, even historically going so far as to positively encourage disdain from those who he himself holds in contempt.

It’s exactly this desire to goad, challenge and confront that has made Placebo one of the most interesting and remarkable bands of the past 30 years, even if the majority of the British music press were initially too busy trying to work out the sexuality of individual band members to notice. After all, what band ever achieved anything worthwhile by straddling the middle of the road? “We had the capability to deal with the press at the time; it was a bit like pouring petrol on a fire” he says, before adding with a cheeky grin which implies that he might not be entirely serious “we’re far more sensitive these days.”

Given Placebo’s history with the press, one might think that Molko would be at best wary, at worst down-right hostile towards journalists. When I meet up with him prior to a rehearsal for the last leg of the band’s current retrospective tour however, any fears of a frosty reception are allayed almost immediately. Instead this afternoon, he proves to be warm, friendly, engaging and never too far away from erupting into fits of laughter. He speaks slowly in that familial, nasal tone that gives Placebo one of the distinct characteristics that people either adore or abhor and provides, considerate, well-thought out answers to all my questions, even being so gracious as to extend our interview not just once, but twice.“We got thrust into the limelight very quickly and we embraced our early success with a lot of glee’ he says between drags on a cigarette and with a glint in his eye.

‘We had this feeling of utter disbelief, as if we were naughty schoolchildren that had fooled everyone and were about to be found out any minute. So we embraced the rock n' roll lifestyle with enormous enthusiasm, as I think every young band should, you know? It's a rite of passage and it comes with the territory. We were surprised by how well the first album did, particularly when ‘Nancy Boy’ got to number 4 in the charts and we had to perform it on Top of the Pops; that really had never been a part of the plan! Our motivation was simply to never get a job in an office; we expected to hopefully be able to pay the rent and put food on the table and we would have been very satisfied with that but the universe had different plans for us. We stuck out like a sore thumb in a music scene where Britpop was king; the timing was accidental but it also proved to be rather fortuitous for us.”

Resultado de imagen de Brian Molko david bowie

Bolstered by this unexpected serendipity, Placebo pranced cocksure and panda-eyed into a musical landscape awash with macho posturing and male bravado. Their heroes, Lou Reed, Marc Bolan and David Bowie among them, had all pushed the boundaries of androgyny and sexuality in the 70s but Placebo found themselves thrust unwillingly into a musical landscape that, broadly speaking, had little time to confront the prudish attitudes of the bourgeois.

“I wanted to challenge the homophobia that I was witnessing in the music scene” says Molko. “I wanted anybody who was slightly homophobic to show up at our gigs and think 'Oh, I really fancy the singer. She's hot!' only to find out later that the singer was called Brian, which would hopefully lead them to go home and ask themselves a few questions. Of course the cross-dressing was an aesthetic choice but for us, it was also a political act; that was a very big part of what we were trying to achieve at that time.”

Twenty-one years have passed since the band first came into public consciousness and Placebo are still here whilst Cool Britannia is most certainly not, replaced instead with a more overt, pervading sense of fear, bigotry and xenophobia – in 2017, we’re about as far away from the pervading mid-Nineties attitude of incandescent national pride as it’s possible to get. Placebo had the common sense not to ride the Britpop wave, which in 1996 was already beginning to show signs of dissipating, and have consequently remained whilst so many of their contemporaries fell by the wayside. In fact, one could argue (as Molko does) that Placebo are more pertinent now at the beginning of the 21st century than they ever were at the end of the 20th.

“The message that we bring when we go anywhere and play a concert is a message of tolerance, understanding and acceptance and it’s quite a wonderful thing, because what Placebo became very early on, was a band for the outcasts, the misfits, the square pegs in the round holes. We didn't set out to do that but that's what we became and of course myself and Stefan [Olsdal, Molko’s musical partner since the band began in 1994] grew up feeling like we didn't fit in and just by virtue of being honest and open about that, we appealed to a great number of people who felt that there wasn't necessarily a voice for them. And that continues to this day, this really big community that has grown around us and identifies with what we represent.”

This current tour, titled A Place for Us to Dream – 20 Years of Placebo, marks two decades since the release of the 1996 self-titled debut album (for fans of pedantry, the tour began in 2016) and enables the band to look back on their career thus far, an uncharacteristic move for the band. Molko has always been startlingly honest on his feelings towards some of Placebo’s earlier material, to the point where, these days at least, he seems to have become his own harshest critic.

“I was terrified at the beginning of this tour” he confesses. “I was quite frightened about the prospect of how I was going to feel re-visiting a lot of this old material for 18 months. I was struggling to make an emotional connection to those old songs, which is kind of why we stopped playing them in the first place. If we were less contrary and more career-driven, then we would just play what people want to hear but performing is an act that fills our souls and that means that we need to get something out of it too. We're not interested in stepping out on stage and simply trying to make everybody happy, because that would be a mistruth. What we are interested in is telling our truth and in order to do that, we need to have an emotional connection to the music and the audience, otherwise it's merely a mechanical act and personally, I'm not interested in engaging in a mechanical act in front of thousands of people.”

All of which makes the idea of a retrospective tour seem less a place for us to dream and m
ore a place for Molko to re-live a monotonous nightmare night after night for the best part of a year; so what changed? “After the first couple of gigs, I realised I could make a connection through the sheer joy and love that was coming back to us from the audience” he says. “It was really quite overwhelming when they heard these songs which we had buried for so long. I realised that making people happy is actually an extremely rewarding experience and that became the fuel in the tank for us. The audience is vital in a live situation, you need to have that interaction with them, otherwise it's very difficult to perform and when they hear ‘Pure Morning’ or ‘Nancy Boy’, they go absolutely wild!”

Ah yes, “Pure Morning” and “Nancy Boy”, two of the most beloved songs in the band’s back catalogue (they’re currently the 4th and 9th most played Placebo songs on Spotify respectively) and in keeping with his contrary character, two of the most derided by Molko himself. If one were to cast a beady critical eye over the band’s body of work, it would be difficult to acknowledge either song as the absolute pinnacle of their career but by the same token, neither deserve heaps of scorn either. What is it exactly about these two songs in particular that causes such anguish for the author?

“’Nancy Boy’ I consider quite a naive piece of writing; it's so simple that it's borderline moronic in a musical sense. I've never had a problem with ‘Pure Morning’ musically, but you have to understand that we wrote it during a B-sides session once the album was finished. It was never intended to be a single, but the record company heard it and went 'there's your single'. And we said 'really?' If I had realised it was going to go on the album, I probably would have spent a little more time on the lyrics but I was more interested in how we were using loops and new techniques in the studio at the time.”

It was also around this time that the band collaborated with David Bowie on a re-recorded version of the title track from their sophomore album Without You I’m Nothing, arguably the band’s most beloved and cherished record to date. “That song is very misunderstood” says Molko, “it is not a love song, the narrator is suffering from pathological low self-esteem. It’s about co-dependence, feeling like you don’t have an identity without somebody else.”

Inevitably, the song has taken on a whole new meaning with a far deeper resonance for Molko since Bowie’s death in January 2016. In Placebo’s early days, when critics were taking seemingly every opportunity they could to make cheap swipes at the band, it was Bowie’s patronage that garnered them credibility in the eyes of a music press that were dumb enough to be disorientated by a bloke in a dress. As was his wont, Bowie took the band under his wing, making regular live appearances with them, inviting them out on tour and providing sound counsel and mentorship.

“We’ve been flashing up images of David whilst playing ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ on this tour and some nights it's been such an emotional experience that I've come very close to breaking down into tears" Molko confides. "There was a point during the summer where I said to Stefan 'I'm not too sure if I can play this anymore, it's tearing me apart'. But I’ve got over that now and instead, it has become a celebration of who David Bowie was and the impact he had on me as a human being, as well as a musician. The best advice he ever gave us was 'whatever you do, never lose your spontaneity'. David was always one for taking left-corners and going off on tangents and I think he infused a courage in us to do exactly that, to constantly re-invent ourselves. So yes the significance has changed, it's become a lot more about David for me, which is ok. He's kind of constantly with me at the moment, which is quite sweet and I reflect on our conversations, on his advice and what it was like to see him play every night for five years when we were touring together; he's like my guardian angel!”

With this tour seemingly as good a time to reflect on their career as any, I take the opportunity to ask Molko if there is a particular song that he is most proud of over the 100+ he’s written for the band in the last 23 years. “Every single band wants to do two things; 1) they want to write that one song that is such a big hit that they never have to work again. And 2) they want to write a song which transcends the identity of the band itself. I think we finally managed that ourselves with the last track on Loud Like Love which is a song called ‘Bosco’. You don't need to know anything about Placebo for that song to grasp you emotionally or to connect with the story in that song because it is so vulnerable. It transcends the band's identity, it can exist without needing any context from the band in order for it to have the desired emotional impact. In my eyes, that's the making of a timeless song that can go on to mean a great deal to people long after we've shuffled off this mortal coil.”

But what of the future of Placebo? Molko reveals that he is currently writing songs for the band’s as yet untitled eighth album, a project that will no doubt become the main focus of their 2018. “I'd like the next record to reflect the pain, frustration and violence that we're seeing on the news on a daily basis” he says. “I'd like it to be a record of the times because I've lived in London for 27 years and I honestly have never seen anything quite like the political climate we’re living in today, both in the UK and in the US. We’re going backwards rather than forwards; everyone’s on edge and a sense of fear pervades with terrorist attacks and world leaders threatening to wipe other countries of the face of the planet. And alongside that, I also believe that we’ve entered the most narcissistic age that I've ever experienced in my lifetime thanks to the way that technology has developed. I don't necessarily think that level of self-entitlement is healthy for us as a society. These are very inspiring times for artists and creative types.”

jueves, 1 de marzo de 2018

Digital 21 & Stefan Olsdal on Tour 2018

Digital 21 & Stefan Olsdal on Tour.


18.03.2018 Madrid - La Casa Encendida

20.03.2018 Madrid - Televisión Española 

24.03.2018 Berlin - Kantine am Berghain

26.03.2018 London - Hoxton Sq Bar & Kitchen

Details and ticket links below:

Sat March 24th - Berghain Kantine, Berlin

Mon March 26th - Hoxton Bar + Kitchen, London


See you there ❤️

#ThanksForSharing xxx

Riverman Management

Riverman Bangkok

X-ray Touring

Melt! Booking

Crosstown Concerts


domingo, 21 de enero de 2018

Interview: Brian Molko of Placebo on new record ‘Loud Like Love,’ the band’s evolution, and the most vulnerable moment of his career

Photo: Joseph Llanes 

Interview: Brian Molko of Placebo on new record ‘Loud Like Love,’
the band’s evolution, and the most vulnerable moment of his career

OCTOBER 18, 2013 BY ANNIE ZALESKI for Vanyaland Music & Beyond.

Placebo’s shows in New York and Los Angeles this week aren’t your typical “U.K. band hits the U.S. and plays shows on the coasts” tour: These appearances, capping off tonight at the Wiltern, mark the U.K. trio’s first shows in America since 2007. In the ensuring years, the band has experienced some rather seismic turmoil, including a significant lineup change (the departure of drummer Steve Hewitt) and a split from their long-time record label.

The band’s seventh studio album, last month’s Loud Like Love, shows no signs of these fractures. Familiar touchstones — jagged electric guitars, electronic pulses and Molko’s nasally yawps — mingle with brittle moments such as glassy piano. But the record is unquestionably a step forward for Placebo. Molko’s voice is strident and at the forefront of every song, making Loud Like Love’s lyrics its centerpiece.

Thankfully, his songs are compelling and erudite — from their use of several choice Scrabble words (i.e., bellicose, baleful and sidles) to the harrowing, sparse “Bosco”, which details someone gripped by addiction and shame. Earlier in the week, Molko chatted from New York, and although he cautioned he was a bit jetlagged — “Pardon me in advance if I sound like a space cadet” — he was supremely articulate and honest about his vulnerable songwriting, Placebo’s relationship to their back catalog, and how Loud Like Love coalesced.

Annie Zaleski: I read that some of the songs ended up on Loud Like Love might have been earmarked for a solo release for you. How did they become Placebo songs? What made them more appropriate for the band?

Brian Molko: Well, we needed the material more than anything [laughs]. Normally, we take about six months off after a two-year world tour before we reconvene and start writing again. This time around, we took more like 12 months off. And I wanted to keep my writing hand in; I didn’t want to fall out of practice.

It wasn’t as if I had planned to make a solo record and release it. I just wanted to see if I could do it without the guys, because if I was to do something — and record something — then I would have to play all the instruments myself.

And I also set up another restriction for myself, and that was I wasn’t allowed to use any distorted electric guitars, because I didn’t want my night job to sound like my day job. It’s really important to stress that it was more of an experiment for me rather than a release-driven thing. I just wanted to see what would happen if I wrote without Steve [Forrest, drummer] and Steph [Olsdal, bassist/guitarist].

Photo: Joseph Llanes

And because of those restrictions, instead of using the usual tools that we would use in Placebo, I went to pianos and drum loops and vintage synthesizers and acoustic guitars. 
Because of the way we stumbled into making this record, we started recording it without kind of realizing that we started working on a new album. We just signed a new deal; we met this new producer who’d come recommended by some friends of ours. Universal said, “Would you like to go into the studio just to try something out?” 
And we had such a good experience with Adam Noble, that it began to feel like we had started work on our seventh album without actually really realizing it. But because we hadn’t set our usual time aside, our writing period of two, three months where we would just focus on that, we didn’t have enough material to make a whole album.

And I said, “Well, you know, I have been working on these things — on these songs here — in my downtime. Are there any of them you guys think that we could put a Placebo twist on?” I put five or six songs forward, and the three that ended up on the record were “Too Many Friends,” “Hold On To Me” and “Scene of the Crime.” With [the latter two] I had done quite a bit of the recording already, so it was bringing in my embryonic, skeletal recordings into the studio with the other guys and then playing around those things and building on that. And “Too Many Friends” was a song that I had played on acoustic guitar, which was transformed into a band thing. That’s kind of why and how it happened.

I did notice that the music lets lyrics and vocals take center stage — that stood out to me. It’s compelling; you really need to listen closely. I feel like there aren’t a lot of records today that require or demand that kind of listening.

The one thing that I don’t really have a great deal of insecurity around [is] my ability to sing. I’m insecure about most other things, but not about that [laughs]. So it’s good to have that one thing, you know? That I feel very confident about. Adam Noble, our producer, really encouraged me during the mixing of the album, really encouraged me to have the courage to push the vocals very, very much to the forefront. And because I see this record as a collection of 10 small fictions, based on my own experience and my own feelings around relationships over the past 20 years, I feel that I’ve been able to use the device [of] storytelling, which I think I’ve become a little bit more adept at, create songs with characters.

Paradoxically, because of that, I’ve been able to be more honest, more direct and more personal. Because it perhaps lacks the confessional nature of some of our previous work, but when you write with a confessional nature, with it comes a sense of self-consciousness. When you’re creating stories based on real events and real things you feel, these stories have narrators and characters. You’re able to embody them with more personal stuff.

Placebo - Bosco - LLL 

The theme of the record, it explores various kinds of love but from different perspectives — platonic, lust, obsession, dysfunctional and yearning. It’s a very consistent theme. The characters, “Bosco” especially, I listened to that and was like, “Wow.” The character is so deeply flawed, which makes it interesting.

That’s kind of what I consider perhaps to be the most vulnerable moment of my career, in terms of approaching a subject that’s kind of… a relationship that’s kind of torn apart by addiction. I’m very, very proud of “Bosco,” because I think it points toward a bright future for the band. In many ways, it’s a song that doesn’t need the band’s identity — doesn’t need Placebo’s identity — to infuse it with meaning. It can almost transcend our identity and exist within its own context, without needing to nestle on the shoulders of Placebo in order to give it some kind of meaning. It can exist in its own world.

That’s something bands try and often fail to do. If they sort of realize it once in their career, then they’re really, really lucky. Fleetwood Mac have done it several times, written these classic songs that will live forever, and don’t need the band’s identity to have meaning. We’ve started to do that with “Bosco.”

If we can continue, then the future for us can be quite bright. It doesn’t necessarily even sound that much like a Placebo song, and I’m very encouraged by that. That means that we’re still free, and we’re still pushing the boundaries of what our songwriting can be. Hopefully we haven’t started to repeat ourselves just yet.

As a songwriter, what brought you to that point that allowed you to be so vulnerable?

It has to do with very much with my very dysfunctional relationship with Placebo’s back catalog. There are moments that I’m very proud of; there are some moments where I wish I had been in the room a little bit more, where I feel that I let a few things slide, like perhaps I should have paid a little bit more attention or worked a little harder, edited a little bit better.

This time, it was very, very important to me to set the benchmark high in terms of writing. I found the process actually quite difficult. Let me put it this way: Coming up with melodies when the three of us are in the room together, it comes pretty quickly and pretty easily, because we have a chemistry with each other as musicians. Writing music, it’s quite an abstract pursuit. And you pull things out of the ether.

Once that’s done, I’m always faced with this blank page — I’m always faced with this question that’s kind of like, “What the hell do I have to say? What do I have to say to the world?” Sometimes I panic. This time, I really, really wanted it to be almost literary in nature. And I wanted to write stories… I wanted to make it so personal that it was universal. I wanted to write stories that every single listener could live out their own individual story through it. When it became apparent during the writing process that there was a theme emerging, I realized that the album could be 10 songs about relationships, in one way or the other, but that are different. Or in fact the entire album could be looked at as one relationship in 10 different stages in their relationship.

When you think of the first song “Loud Like Love” being perhaps the first initial euphoric rushes of infatuation, and innocent discovery and youthful abandon, to “Scene of the Crime” being the first moment of transgression, to all the way through to the second-to-last song, which is “Begin The End,” which is the point in a relationship when you realize that you’re still in it, but you’ve passed the tipping point, that you know it’s over even though it’s not physically over yet. And then to “Bosco” which is kind of an apology and a search for redemption. I find that really interesting too, that it could be 10 songs about ten different relationships — and also the whole album could be seen as one, at different stages.

It’s like a short story collection in that way.

That’s what sets it apart from our previous work. We’ve written about love and desire and abandon and loneliness and disconnect before. But I don’t think it’s ever been so concise, and I don’t think we’ve had a unifying theme over a whole record before. But now that we’ve done that, we won’t do it again on the next one [laughs]. Every single new record is a reaction to its predecessor — that’s what informs most what the new record is going to be in terms of, we don’t want to do what we’ve just done.

Loud Like Love’s predecessor, Battle For The Sun, was very, very much a band trying to find itself again because we’d had a personnel change in the band, the first time in 11 years. And that was quite a traumatic process for us. So we had a new guy in the band, Steve Forrest, and we were trying to figure out who we were now.

With Loud Like Love, enough time had elapsed where we had become comfortable with ourselves again. That’s why we were able to be so emotional and so vulnerable and so direct with that vulnerability. I’m really, really proud of how bare this record in terms of what it’s expressing emotionally. We really let the listener into who we are, what our soul looks like, through these songs. We’re not hiding behind anything anymore.

That can be very frightening, too, I think. It’s not an easy thing to do.

No, but I think when you take that risk, when you make yourself that vulnerable, then people really, really get it. In a way, the more personal you make something, the more universal it becomes, because essentially we’re all made up of the same emotional stuff. And apart from politics, what else is there in life? [Laughs.] Apart from relationships, that’s all that’s left — that’s all that there is, and that’s all that we have. It’s taken me a long time to realize that.

I was interested that in another interview you mentioned you had rewritten a lot of your back catalogue songs so you can still connect with them. Besides “Teenage Angst,” what are some of the other ones you’ve decided to rework?

There’s “Twenty Years,” which we’re playing at the moment, which is very different from its original version. There’s a song off the last album, called “Breathe Underwater,” which we’re playing at the moment as well, which has gone from being a very fast, extremely frenetic punky song, to a piano-driven ballad not too different in mood to “Bosco.”

It’s almost like what we did with Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” I grew up listening to that song, and I always thought it was an amazing song, but I thought the tempo was too fast. It didn’t give enough space for the real emotion to shine through. When we decided to cover it, I really, really wanted to slow it down so that [there was enough space to express] what was really going on — the fear and the abandon.

That’s often what we end up doing. We see ourselves as the rock band, so when we first start writing, we’ll write with a certain punky urgency about it, because we’re happy to be back in the rehearsal room making a lot of noise. But then we’ll realize that perhaps the actual emotional point of the song isn’t really necessarily getting across. And then we’ll slow it right down and make it very sparse and very, very bare. Through that, we’re able to give these songs a new lease of life.

I respect that . You have to do that — you’re not the same person you were 15, 20 years ago.

Yeah, exactly.

Photo: Joseph Llanes

You look at someone like U2, and it’s like, “How are they still relating to the stuff they wrote 30 years ago?” It’s a challenge, I would think.

Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, we’ve been a cursed with a very, very much lower boredom threshold than perhaps U2 have [laughs]. In order for us not to have a completely dysfunctional relationship with our back catalog, we feel the need to rewrite them in order to breathe new life into them, so that we can play them live. If we don’t feel emotionally connected to the song, it’s very difficult for us to perform it. For us, it’s a lie — we’re not being emotionally honest. We’re sort of phoning it in or going through the motions; it’s mechanical. That’s dishonest. That’s what we have to do, often with some of our most popular material, is change it, so we can continue to play it.

Trent Reznor recently re-did the early Nine Inch Nails song “Sanctified” on their tour. It was unrecognizable, but it really brought new dimension and meaning to the song.

I’ve often found that if you can take one of your band’s songs and strip it all the way back to just a vocal and an acoustic guitar, or a vocal and a piano, then it’s the sign of a really, really good song. Similarly, if you can rewrite it four times — like we have with “Teenage Angst.” That’s a song that refuses to die. That’s a classic, because if you cover it in three different ways, then it has to be a classic [laughs].

I read in another interview that you took off part of the time in between albums to focus being a parent. How is it for you balancing music and family?

The fact that people don’t buy records anymore doesn’t make it any easier, because it forces a working musician out on the road a hell of a lot more than it did maybe 20 years ago. But as my son’s grown up with me being around for a concentrated period of time and then being away for a concentrated period of time, he’s kind of grown up used to it. I suppose it’s not so shocking; it’s kind of what he’s used to.

And then during the summer holidays, every young boy loves the idea of a bus that you can sleep on. In a way, his favorite thing about going on tour is the tour bus. He’s been doing that since he was about five, and I totally understand that. Because it’s a vehicle, and he’s a young boy.

And a tour bus has cool things that are not supposed to be there — like refrigerators.

Exactly. Absolutely.

Sources: Vanyaland 

Visit us on Facebook: Placebo Anyway

domingo, 14 de enero de 2018

Dave Tong about Brian Molko and Placebo back in the 1990's

Photos by Dave Tonge

Dave Tonge Brighton/London based photographer. All the images here were taken by him. 

Teenage kids sometimes u just want to shake them and shout , "Just don't do it, please!!!" Sorry where was I ......

Photo by Dave Tonge

Colorado, late 1990's I'd been sent out to shoot a cover story for the NME
Brian wasn't playing ball though, sun glasses on, scathing and bitchy to all around him, fuelled by the fact the Times journalist we were travelling with insisted on calling him place-boo. 

I'm sure it was as genuine mistake to begin with, then trying to style it out, he continued throughout the time we were with him. "He loves it, he likes people taking the piss!" Was his drunken reply to me, later that day in the bar, after a shit day trying to get a story, I wasn't convinced.

Photo by Dave Tonge

Photo by Dave Tonge

Photo by Dave Tonge

I'd heard a couple of tracks, I quite liked them, so I was looking forward to the gig. 

Not a big venue, that's always good and it was packed even better. There was a solemn mood in the dressing room, it's often the case before a gig. 

Personally it's the thing of nightmares for me, performing, but hey. A grabbed a couple of snaps, see previous post and the lead shot in this post. 

I saw Brian properly for the first time, yes the dark glasses had gone, but he was vulnerable, alone. I started thinking that the timing of his rise couldn't of been worse. Apes like Liam Gallagher were lurching around, desperately trying to look hard, championing laddism, while this nasaly sounding little Goth, openly bi sexual, tried his best to impress a football and stella obsessed music press, he had no chance! 

He strolled off meekly to the stage and strangely i had a brief pang of concern for him, I hoped he'd be OK, wtf!

Photo by Dave Tonge

Photo by Dave Tonge

Photo by Dave Tonge

They blew the top of the place, absolutely burnt the house down, are they normally good, or was I drunk? 

The energy backstage fizzed in the air as me and the journo Roger Morton, joined them to drink it in. 

Poor old Roger tried doing an interview of sorts, but said something that offended and got shouted down ( see pics), as I flirted with Stefan, damn that man was sexy!

Photo by Dave Tonge

Photo by Dave Tonge

Probably half an hour in total and we got everything we needed, nothing from the previous 2 days got used.
One of these shots was the cover, there's a challenge!

Sources & Photos: Dave Tonge IG   /

Placebo feel the love

Placebo feel the love

 by Bob Gordon
Thursday, 24 August 2017

There’s something inherently Placebo about the documentary the band have released while in the midst of their 20th anniversary.

Placebo: Alt.Russia follows vocalist/guitarist Brian Molko and bassist/co-founder Stefan Olsdal along the Trans Siberian Express, with the latter stopping along the way to interview local artists.

The doco has won five international awards and is as far from a self-congratulatory summary of two decades of achievements and tribulations as you could get.

“We’ve always followed our own gut instincts and always tried to forge our own singular path artistically,” Molko says.

“We’ve never made careerist decisions. It’s just not part of our DNA.

“So when we got to Russia we were like ‘How many documentaries are there out there already about a band going to a different country and what a band experiences?’ Like, hundreds. So let’s not do that let’s do something else.

“I think it’s that particular angle which has brought originality to the film which has sparked great interest and led it to winning many awards.”

The anniversary commemorations are, however, playing out on the road. The 20 Years of Placebo World Tour sees the band revisit their back catalogue like never before.

“It took a great deal of crying and pain for me to get to the point where I could actually do this retrospective show,” Molko laughs.

“At the start I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible for me to do it on an emotional level. But as we started to do it the response from the crowd was just so euphoric that that’s what we started to feed from — the euphoria we were creating in the audience.

“That’s what’s giving us the energy to do it and making it a lot of fun.”

While 1998’s Every You Every Me is the most played Placebo song in the band’s concert history, other hits such as Pure Morning and Nancy Boy were long buried and, in Molko’s words, have been “exhumed from the graveyard for this tour”.

The love from crowds has made the frontman take a second look at older songs, albeit with a critical eye.

“I think now I’m a little less harsh in terms of my opinions towards them,” he says.

“I recognise their essence, whereas before I just thought that they weren’t well written songs and they were naive and that I’d written much, much better lyrics since.

“We’ve reappraised the value of their naivety, their innocence and their spontaneity, I suppose. Seeing how much they mean to people can be quite a joyful experience.”

Photos: Placebo World IG
Interview sources: The West Australian

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sábado, 11 de noviembre de 2017

From studio to stage with Placebo’s Bill Lloyd

From studio to stage with Placebo’s Bill Lloyd

by Danny Turner for Native Instrument Blogs

Every rock band needs a good tech guy, and Placebo has certainly been grateful over the past 20 years for the contribution of William Lloyd. The former member of Faith Over Reason has been an integral member of the alternative Brit rock giants, not just plugging holes in the studio but coming up with creative ideas and on-stage technical solutions.

Lloyd joined Placebo in the early-‘90s as a roadie, but as the band became increasingly reliant on his expertise, his role evolved far beyond that. Today, he not only serves as their technical advisor, but strategizes their transition from studio to stage, where he also plays bass and keyboards.

We caught up with Bill at the O2 Brixton Academy during Placebo’s latest round of UK concerts, as he further explained his creative and technical role in the band.


I first met Brian Molko at the Edinburgh festival in 1993. I was supporting Jeff Buckley with my first band Faith Over Reason and he was helping his friend from The Kills with some crazy off-hinge theatre production. I met him in the pub, got chatting and thought he was interesting. I was also working for a record company at the time, so asked Brian to send me a demo tape of him, Stefan Olsdal and their original drummer. It had four or five tracks on it and I was immediately blown away; it’s how Placebo got their first management deal.

Because they were very inexperienced and didn’t really know anything about gigging, I started driving them around, helping them to get some equipment together and did their sound. As the band developed, I became Stef’s tech and did a tiny bit of programming. I delivered the gear for the first two album sessions, but didn’t stick around much for Without You I’m Nothing because the producer just wanted to crack on with it.

I came back during the last week just to hang out with the boys and pick the gear up, and that’s when they told me that they wanted me to play live with them. Basically, there were a lot more parts on the new record and they couldn’t do it with a three piece, so I started playing bass and keys on the second album tour. At first, I used to play behind the cabs because they wanted to keep it to three members on stage [laughs], but after a while they said, no it’s silly, come on stage with us.


I was always interested in sound. At school I did the sound at plays and productions and started to learn about it. I bought some amplification gear so my band could rehearse and used to get involved in the mixing and recording using a basic four track. I also got into synthesis at an early age. I liked a lot of the early ‘80s synth bands like Depeche Mode and OMD, but also hip hop and rock. My first synth was a MiniKorg-700S, which I bought for £50, although it’s probably worth a grand now. It was analogue, very simple and had what’s called a ‘traveler’ so you could do swoops. It was fun, and a great way to learn.


I get involved in the writing sessions, especially in terms of recording and mixing. I also do some guitar programming, help them get sounds together and take notes on how the sounds were created and what pedals we used. We use Guitar Rig a lot for guiding the guitars, so I’ll set that up and programme them ready for recording. When the producer and engineer get involved, I’ll let them get on with it, but I’ll still be alongside the boys setting up pedals and dialling up sounds. They’re quite particular and like to get hands-on with everything, but they’ll usually ask my advice on a few things.

The studio environment is perfect because you want the recording to be as clean as possible. It’s very rare that you’ll find studios with decent isolation booths, so we’ll track everything and get the drums down first with Guitar Rig guitars, so there’s no bleed on the drums and it’s all coming direct into the headphones.

Guitar Rig has speaker simulations, so you can create a bit of air and it really works a treat. It’s got its own guitar patches, but you can plug the guitar in and it will emulate speaker cabs, pedals and amplifiers – or any combination. It’s very rare that what we do on Guitar Rig actually ends up on the record, it’s just a guide, but it creates a real intensity and the vibe of playing through a big rig, even though you’re just playing through a computer.


There are a few songs on the new album that are more electronic rock-orientated, but the blend’s good I think. The song “Exit Wounds” starts with samples, loops and crazy noises, but when the guitars kick in it lifts it into the rock world.

Nobody knows where we’ll take the music in the future. I just bought a Roland modular synth because the boys are quite keen on dirty synth sounds at the moment, but whether it gets on the record, who knows?


That’s the main part of my job really. I don’t really think about that side of it much while we’re recording because we just want to concentrate on making the record, but when we come towards the end of an album session, or during mixing, I’ll start thinking about how I can translate the songs to the live arena.

The boys give me free reign to consider what samples to use and whether we’re going to play them live as a long sample or chopped up. We prefer to play live as much as possible and don’t like to track anything, but we’ll bring clicks and loops in and out and I‘ll play some loops as well. Brian doesn’t always like to come in at the same spot every night and sometimes waits a bit to add dramatic impact, so we like to keep everything flexible.


There’s always been synths, pianos, loops and samples on all the records. Maybe not so much on the first album, but we play a couple of songs from that on this tour so I sampled sounds from the original and augmented them with digital samples and emulations. From the second album onwards, there’s always been lots of loops and samples. Even the drumming tracks have some studio trickery, but we try to keep everything as live as possible.

I do most of the programming at home. I’ll usually take the studio sessions and start looking at them, chopping up the obvious bits straight away. Then we’ll get together for a pre-tour, pre-production session in a small studio. We’ll get a block booking, and while the boys relearn how to play the stuff live, I’ll be throwing in the samples and loops to see what works.

If a track has a loop in it, I’ll always make sure the loop is ready to go and clicked up for the drummer, and if there’s a lead line that’s really particular to a song, I’ll make sure that’s ready to go too, but I’ll also throw in atmospheres, re-programme sounds on-the-fly and add in a bit of distortion or speaker emulation, again using Guitar Rig, which we use quite a lot because it makes the samples a bit dirtier and more real-sounding.


Between 50 and 70% of the bass playing is done live, but we’ll use Guitar Rig live for emulation to make the samples sound a bit more gritty with some air around them so they’re a bit less clinical-sounding. I use the Leslie Amp in Guitar Rig quite a bit because it adds distortion on a couple of key tracks. It’s basically a Hammond organ speaker cabinet that has a rotary effect, and it’s brilliant. I think Guitar Rig sits better with guitar music. Pop music is more clinical and the punters don’t care about what sounds you use, but in rock it’s good to be a bit more individual and use a programme that sits well with the guitars and can dirty stuff up a bit.


We use Mainstage live, because it’s like a big mixer. It hosts all the soft synths and samples and you can actually play samples from it, although I’ll normally do that within the Logic ESX24 sampler or use Kontakt. Because we use 14 channels of samples, Mainstage is great for mixing all of those, sending them and adding effects. Being a fan of ‘80s reverbs, I love Komplete’s RC48 reverbs, which I use a lot. I’ll also bring in Logic delays, Massive, and third-party plugins like Sylenthand assign them to different channels.

The layout on Mainstage is great. You can do keyboard layering, key zones, all your mutes, and see them really clearly. We’ll use Massive for some of the lead synth sounds because they work brilliantly. The guy who assisted the producer on our last album always tells us to go straight to Native Instruments when starting a mix. In fact, I just did a mix for TV and ended up using NI plugins for most of it. When we’re on the road, we might do a TV or radio show and we’ll often prefer to do our own mix. I’ll get a raw live feed from the front of house and use NI plugins for filtering, reverb and compression. I especially love NI’s SSL emulations; they’re fantastic.


Although we use real pianos on the album, Alicia’s Keys software does a lot of the piano emulations live. We’ve recorded some fantastic pianos in the studio using a great Yamaha rack, but the software is getting quite close now. Unless the listener is a real nerd, they’re not going to pick up on the difference.

We’re controlling Kontakt with Roland pianos, which have their own sounds anyway. You can’t replicate the feel of a piano and how it reacts to being played, but Alicia’s Keys is close enough. We tested it against other software companies and it came out on top. It sits well with everything and reacts really well live.

Sources: Native Instrument Blog / Photos: Native Instrument Blogs and other unknow sources.

miércoles, 1 de noviembre de 2017

An unusual concert review - Placebo Live at 02 Brixton Academy London 23.10.2017

An unusual concert review - Placebo Live at Brixton Academy - London - 23.10.2017  

by Virginy - Placebo Anyway Team member 

So I'm back home now for a week, time to tell you something about my trip.

But this is not a concert review, so don't be disappointed...

London is a beautiful city but you need a lot of time 4 days are too little and the chaos before took longer than the journey.

When everyone had his ticket, mine was still not there, RyanAir cancelled lots of flights, because of a post strike I could not pick up my new credit card and last but not least we couldn't check in to hotels after midnight, not so good when you leave plane after that time, so we had to spend our first night sleepless at London Stansted Airport.

Next morning we went to London Dungeon for an excursion into English history with Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper.

At lunchtime we could finally check in at our hotel in Brixton and later we went out for dinner with some amazing people I couldn't wait to meet.

It was a funny evening and I guess the waiter in the pub had the best turnover for a long time... :)

Next morning at 9 we started queuing for the concert. There were already about 20 people before us who spent all night out there.

Of course we met some cute people there like the big guy from Norway with his daughter. (Just read a post of him, but can`t find it anymore).

Unfortunately, there are always some unfriendly or rude fans too but luckily most are really nice people.

After a chaotic intake, I finally made it into the second row, but we were all separated.

Photo credits: Virginy 

Anyway standing in front of Brian was great but after the first song it was clear that his voice had not yet recovered.

At "Jesus Son" there was only a simple "come" instead of a "cooooooome" someone said it was a little bit like hearing a Placebo song covered by Placebo and yeah, it was, not bad but different...

Photo credits: Paul Grace 
A few songs were cancelled ("Lazarus", "Space Monkey", "36 Degrees", "Lady of the Flowers", "Teenage Angst" and "Running up that Hill") so it was a short concert but I was thankful they played cause O2 Academy Brixton is a very lovely historical place for fans like me.

Photo credits: Virginy 

Later we went to the Placebo for Grown-ups After Party to let the night fade away with lots of crazy people and good music.

Photo credits: Virginy 
The PFGU team made a really good job and gave us the chance to meet people from all over the world, thx for that again.
After only a few hours sleep I had to leave this wonderful city again but I'm sure I will be back^^

A big hug for everyone who accompanied me, especially Amandine, Katrin, Gunther, Mayte, Niall, Katarzyna and to you, Mr. Norway, too.

Was a pleasure to meet you all, hope we can repeat this soon.

Until then have a nice time.

♪Virginy♫ - Placebo Anyway