Interview with Stefan Olsdal - Plovdiv Bulgaria 03.07.17
Interview by Vassil Varbanov
Interview by Vassil Varbanov
HEY STEF, HOW ARE YOU?
I'm good, I'm good.
YOU'RE WELL INTO THE "20 YEARS" TOUR, HOW HAS IT BEEN SO FAR?
Well, we're almost one year into the tour and it's a celebration, you know. I think it's time for PLACEBO to embrace its past and just celebrate with the audience that has been there for such a long time with us.
YOU GUYS HAVE MAINTAINED A 3-4 YEAR GAP BETWEEN ALBUMS. SO, WHEN CAN WE EXPECT THE NEXT ONE?
Ah, the million dollar question! I don't know, we've been on tour now for a long time, since the 7th studio album LOUD LIKE LOVE. Then we did the MTV Unplugged and now we're doing the retrospective. So it's been real busy with lots of touring basically. Once this tour nishes, sometime by the end of this year, we'll be looking to have a bit of a break and then go and make the next record.
WHAT IMPACT DID DAVID BOWIE'S PASSING HAVE ON YOU, BOWIE AS A MUSIC ICON AND SOMEONE WHO ALWAYS CHAMPIONED PLACEBO AND ALSO COLLABORATED WITH THE BAND?
It was an immense honour for us to share time with him, both onstage and in the studio. It was from a very early stage of our career that he kind of came "on the scene", so to speak. For us it was amazing to have someone of that status to come in and basically endorse us and our music. It made us feel that what we were doing was actually ok. Obviously with such a hard-working, prolic and gifted artist, it was a case of trying to learn as much from him as possible and listen to all the things that he had to say. So it was an honour and a learning curb for us, absolutely.
THE WORLD IS CHANGING FAST. HAS THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST CHANGED AS WELL?
I think every generation thinks their generation is the last, that "the world is gonna end when I die". We're quite narcissistic that way. Nostradamus.
predicted the end of the world hundreds of years ago. I think we like to see an end to the world, because there's an end to our own lives and it's very hard to get a grasp of what it is to be alive, it's a very abstract concept. So yes, the world is changing fast, but is always has been. I guess what we're living through now is a technological revolution where technology is advancing at such a rapid rate, that is is hard for us humans to see what impact it actually has on our lives. Is the radiation of my cellphone to my head right now gonna give me brain cancer? Maybe. Is this connection that we have through social media, is it bringing people close together, or is it making people more alienated? And is this powerful tool helping music, or hindering it? PLACEBO as a band have always embraced technology. In the studio we like to use machines and computers because they have something new to oer. I think you'd be very restricted to not use new tools that come with technology. That said, a piece of software isn't gonna write you a song or make you a better musician. So the artists will continue like they always have since the dawn of time, when they were painting in caves, it's just a part of human nature. The internet has made a lot of music that wasn't accessible before, accessible to people. At the same time it's providing too much information. So I guess the art is going to be in nding what's good for you and for the many artists and musicians, to give them a new audience and for them to be able to make a living.Those are the challenges.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS HELPED THE BAND SURVIVE THIS LONG AND ALSO HAVE ITS OWN IDENTITY? I think it's to always follow what is true to you. Just to do that, even though it may be very unpopular at the time. And also to follow your own vision even though external factors may tell you you have to do this and that to be popular and successful. It's basically been that, following our own singular vision of how we want our music to sound like and how we want to express ourselves. If you do that and it feels right for you and you go to bed at night and don't have problems sleeping, then you can acknowledge it's good, good for you. It's as simple as that. Along the way we've had to make some eort to make sure we put on the best shows possible, write the best songs possible and try not to repeat ourselves. But all those things come on the side. Now, 20 years later, it's just me and Brian left, so we're just sticking to our musical vision, together, and trying to make the best of it, while making sure that the people we surround ourselves with and the people we tour with are all part of it somehow.Trying to make it as real as possible and not turn it into a cold-hearted business, which can happen as well.
WHERE DO YOU SEE PLACEBO IN 20 YEARS AND WHAT DO YOU DREAM TO ACHIEVE THAT YOU HAVEN'T THUS FAR?
To be honest I didn't think I'd be here, talking to you. I thought I'd be dead by now and I certainly didn't see my life moving ahead from this point. So it's a strange time for me now cause I almost feel like I've been given a second chance or have been reborn and I'm thinking: "Oh shit, what do I do now? Life isn't over."But you have to move forward, just like the world does, just like children do and grow up. For us it's just a case of doing what's best for us right now, which is the tour. I hope we can continue to have the strength and the ambition, the re in 20 years time, to take this band further.
YOU'LL BE PLAYING A VERY ANCIENT ROMAN THEATRE HERE. THE BAND YOU'LL BE PLAYING WITH, YOU'VE PLAYED WITH THEM A NUMBER OF TIMES BEFORE. IN THE UK WHEN THEY WERE CALLED IMBECILES & the POISON UMBRELLA, AND THEN AT YOUR LAST SHOW HERE, WITH THEIR OTHER BAND - BABYFACE CLAN. DO YOU REMEMBER THEM?
Yeah, one of them helped out translating too, when we were doing interviews way back. So yeah, we remember them. It's gonna be great to play with them again. It's an amazing setting where we're gonna be playing. It's always a pleasure to not play another sports hall and to play an arena that was purpose built for the visual arts. So we're looking forward to it. And personally I'm bringing all my solidarity with the lgbt community that has been going through a rough time in Bulgaria. I hope we can celebrate together in an amazing setting.
AH, I WAS JUST ABOUT TO ASK YOU IF YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE FANS HERE, BUT YOU ALREADY SAID IT - COME AND CELEBRATE!
Yeah, celebrate, even in the face of adversity. I empathize with the struggle of a lot of minorities. I consider myself part of a minority - the lgbt community. It's a ght that we continually have to ght. All I can say is just be strong, come ,y your ag high, hold your heasd up high and let's make it a memorable night together.
Sources: radiotangra.com Listen to the interview / Article: http://bit.ly/2tlRhN1
Photos: Eventim.com, easytouristguides.com
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