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 

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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. 
ALL IMAGES ARE FOR SALE £65 FOR UP TO A3 PRINT SIGNED BY HIMSELF


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   / Storywww.davetonge.com




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.



A CHANCE MEETING

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.



AN INTEREST IN SOUND

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.


WRITING WITH GUITAR RIG

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.

GOING FULL ELECTRONIC


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?


MORPHING FROM STUDIO TO LIVE

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.

PREPARING SAMPLES FOR A TOUR

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.


USING GUITAR RIG LIVE

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.



MASSIVE AND KOMPLETE IN MAINSTAGE

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.




ALICIA’S KEYS

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 


viernes, 27 de octubre de 2017

6 things we learned at Placebo's Brixton Academy show



Photo credits: Zoran Veselinovic



6 things we learned at Placebo's Brixton Academy show



by Paul Beal for teamrock.com 26.10.2017

PHOTO GALLERY show 1  / show 2 

We went to see Placebo at Brixton Academy (23/24.10.2017), and these are the things we learned


Last October, British alt.rock stalwarts Placebo announced that they’d be heading out on the road to mark their not-inconsiderable 20 years as a band. The tour, they said, would be a showcase of hits and fan favourites – a setlist which would correlate with their recently-released retrospective album A Place For Us To Dream.

This week, that tour culminated with a double-headline slot at London’s Brixton Academy. Returning full circle to where they began in 1996, the band promised a show tailor-made for fans. But did they manage to deliver? Here are the things we learned.


Placebo fans really, really like Placebo

The excitement and anticipation levels within Placebo's fans are sky high before the band even make it to the stage. Take, for example, the split second of a video projection – cast onto the back of the stage slightly before time – which prompts a deafening frenzy of cheers from the crowd.

When the band finally appear (after a video of super-hit Every You Every Me is aired – more on that later), you’d be forgiven for missing the opening notes of fan favourite Pure Morning as the whole of Brixton Academy explodes into life. Which is understandable, really, since this is a song they’ve not played live since 2007.

Placebo really, really like their fans

Placebo are known to have an absolutely rabid fan base; diehards who will follow them to the ends of the Earth and, most likely, back again. Brian Molko acknowledges this when he gives a shout out to the front row, recognising many faces who’ve travelled thousands of miles to see the band he readily admits is “for outsiders, by outsiders”.

This, of course, means that when Brian reveals that he completely lost his voice two weeks ago and he’s not fully recovered, there’s no need to worry about whether these songs will lose any of their power. This crowd have got his back and they’re ready to sing the hits right back at him.

Placebo still attract a diverse crowd

While it’s not surprising that a band like Placebo – who have played with concepts such as gender identity, sexuality and mainstream attitudes towards masculinity throughout their career – bring in a crowd that’s incredibly diverse, it’s telling that even 20 years on, it still lends the show a noticeably different atmosphere to your average rock gig.

The piano is not a friend to Placebo

When Placebo are doing what they do best, they’re fantastic. But when they change pace, the set starts to flounder. Such is the case when Stefan Olsdal plonks himself in front of the keyboard which has been dragged to the front of the stage and embarks on a run of piano ballads which dampen the energy in the room significantly.

While there’s nothing wrong with slowing down the pace of a set, in this instance it just goes on for a little bit too long, failing to pick up again until Without You I’m Nothing kicks in. However, once that’s over with, they manage to drive it on home with a solid run of bangers right until the set closes, with songs like Slave To The Wagereminding you why Placebo have been going this long.

It’s a 20 years tour… but they didn’t play their biggest hit

As we mentioned earlier, while proceedings kick off with an extended video version of Every You Every Me projected onto the back of the stage, Placebo make the odd decision to… not include it in the setlist. We know, we know; no one would put together a Placebo setlist and not include Every You Every Me… apart from, it seems, actual Placebo.

Don’t worry, the early ones still sound great

The whole set is a fine-tuned fan’s delight, peppered as it is with classics that haven’t been given an airing in years; songs the band themselves don’t consider their best work, but which we've been desperate to hear.

Pure Morning and I Know sound absolutely huge, and no doubt benefit from the band being fleshed out since they were originally released. If anyone had doubts over whether their older material would sound weak in comparison, that thought is quashed from the moment they step on stage.

Placebo know what their fans want, and when they come back on with an encore of Nancy Boy, the Academy explodes into a mass of flailing bodies. Even though Brian’s voice has suffered over the years – prompting him to sing this one an octave lower than normal – there’s no denying the power this song has, as fresh and vital now as it was 20 years ago.

Sources: Teamrock
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More Placebo concert reviews 


miércoles, 25 de octubre de 2017

Digital 21 & Stefan Olsdal - The Big Shot Interview 2017


Digital 21 (a.k.a. veteran electronic producer Miguel López Mora) and Placebo bassist/guitarist Stefan Olsdal teamed up and started making music remotely from their home bases of Berlin and London. The result is their triumphant debut album, Inside, featuring a cadre of guest vocalists from all over the world, including Cuushe (Japan), Margrét Rán from Vök (Iceland), Helen Feng from Nova Heart (China), and Julienne Dessagne (France/Germany).


The cinematic album boasts the techy romp “Who Are All Of You” featuring Dessagne, who is one half of genre-bending Saschienne with Sascha Funke. It’s driven by a sinister synth-driven grooves and Dessagne’s enigmatic voice.

Ahead of Inside‘s release on October 20, we wanted to know more about their project. Instead of asking them questions, we turned the tables and asked them to interview each other.

Read on to be a fly on the wall for their chat about music, inspiration and their captivating debut album.

Digital 21 interviews Stefan Olsdal

by Darren Ressler 09.10.2017 for BigShotMag  



Name three songs of our album that touch you and why.

Stefan Olsdal: “War”: I think we fused the string quartet with electronica perfectly on this one. The ferocity of the synths and the tension in the strings convey the title well, and the opening chords get me every time!

“Spaces: Margret Ran brought this piece of music alive with her heart wrenching vocals. The instrumental was one of the first we wrote and evolved into something majestic.

“Symmetry”: I’m a sucker for a pop song, and this is the one from this album for me.

Which are your favorite places on earth?

Right now it’s my home in London. I’ve been on the road for a long time and I’m feeling a little vulnerable at the moment. I need my comforts! My apartment is my safe haven from the chaotic and uncontrollable world outside.

Cuushe?

Adorable. Soothing yet cutting vocals on “Symmetry.”

Julienne Dessagne?

Fiery. Crushing vocal delivery on “Who Are All Of You.”

Helen?

Soulful. Contemplative and experimental vocals on “Human.”

And last but not least, Margrét Rán?

A natural. An singing Icelandic force of nature on “Spaces.


Your favorite instrument?

Right now it’s my Martin Tenor acoustic guitar from 1946. Four strings and short neck, and tuned like a cello.

Music is…

My lifetime sparring partner.


The album is called Inside. What’s inside your head right now?

Digital 21: Right now I’m working on the “Toi et Moi” video clip. So “Toi et Moi” in my mind nonstop. After finishing a video, I hear the song in any sound of the “real” life … in the wind or in the sea. And I see the images everywhere.

What would you take to a desert island: A Moog synth or a string quartet?

Both! But if I have to choose, then string quartet for many reasons.

I can hear the album work in a club as well as a seated theatre. Was this the intention?

The main thing is to make our music and our sound. We can enjoy the beauty of a silence in a quiet song and the beauty of a scream in a club song, playing on a big stage. You know I prefer small places, but I always fly playing music. So big places are okay to me as well.



What qualities of voice did you look for in female singers?

I love voices with texture. Voices that can touch you from the insides. But the main thing is always the song.

After touring with Placebo around Europe, where do you want to perform this album live most in the world?

The place of the next gig. Anyplace. I only stop my mind when I play music live. So that is very important to me.


The artwork that you did for the cover reminds me of an August Strindberg painting of the sea. Are you an alchemist like him?

No. I don’t have time for anything else!

“War” is a powerful title. What are two of the most powerful songs on the album for you?


I have to say three at least, or I will feel bad about it. “Spaces,” “Toi et Moi” and “War” (all their versions, so they are seven songs actually). Sorry I cannot choose only two.

Music is…

The only thing can save me.



Digital 21 photo credits: Image by Eli Martin. Live image by Javier Alonso & Marina Sanz.
Sources:  BigShotMag  
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