Photo: Goran Kljutic www.urbanmescalero.com
Interview with Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Neil Cooper
With more then twenty years behind them Therapy? are still going strong and with the release of their last year’s Crooked Timber the band has created one of the best albums of their career.
The band proved yet again that they are a band who keeps challenging themselves and their fans while at the same time remaining true to their roots.
Live the band is one of those bands that you need to experience, weather you like their music or not. Live their otherwise dark music turns into such an intense and positive experience mostly due to the bands engagement and obvious enjoyment of playing live. Now I’ve seen the band live more times then I can remember and be it when they played huge open air crowd on the top of their commercial career og 40 people on that infamous storm night in Copenhagen the band spreads the joy of playing live and energy, which puts the smile on the faces of the crowd.
The band is still touring in support of their album and we caught up with them on this year’s Sonisphere Festival in Milovice in Czech Republic where they played together with The Big Four and number of other bands such as Alice In Chains and Fear Factory.
Much like always (even in their email interviews) the whole band showed up for a talk about the album, playing live, playing Bosnia, playing Denmark, toilet talk, forthcoming live album, new studio album and much more.
MR: First of all, I wanted to ask you about the latest album, Crooked Timber, who is in my opinion one of the best albums of your career. The album is not that new anymore, but you’ve been playing it live for a while now and I was wondering how do you look at the album at this point?
Andy Cairns: I really like personally and I think it’s on of the best ones we’ve done and we were just sitting and choosing the songs for the setlist tonight and I mean we have twelve albums you know and we picked couple of songs from Pleasure Death and three songs from the new album and you know it’s tough sometimes, you don’t want to leave the songs out, because I really think that it’s one of the best ones we’ve done and it got some of that classical Therapy? Sound that I imagine in my head like the stiff from Never Apologize, Never Explain and Bebyteeth. You know it got all of the stuff that I really like. I mean I really like the Rhythm zone it as well.
Neil Cooper: I think that Crooked Timber is one of those album that, when we toured we made a conscious effort to play the majority of the album every night and throughout the whole tour that worked, you know. Sometimes don’t translate live, but that one album that almost every track worked live.
Michael McKeegan: Yeah, when we play it live, it sounds really good, you know.
NC: The audience and everything just works and it feels great to play.
MR: I fount that there are lots of aspects to this album. The way I see it is that there are some heavy guitars there, but also a lots of guitar sounds that ad the mood to the song, which is somewhat contradiction to that raw and loud rhythm section. Is it playing the new songs live a different kind of challenge for the rhythm section that it is for instance on “Teethgrinder”?
NC: I don’t know really (laughs).
MM: The good thing about these songs is that they are very comfortable to play, we didn’t want to make it like too jerky or anything. Before we did the album we looked at the tempos and maybe moved things up a bit of down a bit, I mean that sort of things, but I don’t really overanalyse it too much.
NC: I think sometimes when you listen back to the record, you obviously don’t listen to your own record very often (laughs), but when I do listen to it I think that the nice thing is that to me it sounds like we are all listening to eachother, each of us have our own space and I think with that record it really worked.
MR: So you have this great record, but how did people react to it live?
AC: Well we did two tours with it. The first tour in Europe all the songs of it and it’s a very very intense record and because we played the clubs it worked very well. We played the track from there called “Exiles” and “Enjoy The Struggle” as well and they are somewhat of a risk songs with those melodic courses and even stuff like “Magic Mountain” which is an instrumental, you know we thought should we did this, it’s a nine-ten minutes longs, you know. I just think that it’s good to do a lot of it and just such a dark record and such a intense record, it’s quite draining, but it’s brilliant to play.
MM: It’s like when you go to the gig and you almost feel bit uncomfortable, because we do play with conviction and intensity, because we all are rally into it and the audience can see that. Even somewhat more odd songs like Any mentioned “Magic Mountain” which is this long instrumental reacted positive to it.
MR: Now three of you have been together for four records now and personally for me it really feels like a band more then any other since Fyfe left in the mid 90’s. To me it really feels like an entity on the records and I didn’t have a chance to see you that much lately, because you don’t come to Denmark anymore (laughs).
MR: ….I mean last time I saw you in Denmark was on Shameless tour and that’s a while ago so I have to travel somewhere else to see you, it cost me buck, but nevermind.
MR: ….So does the band feel like on entity, because no matter what, we have a “new” drummer here (pointing to Neil), he’s only been with you for eight years now (laughs).
AC: I think it’s because we make it interesting for ourselves it never gets tiring and the next record will be different then this one and I think that keeps it interesting. We go on tour and we have to be able to play all this different songs live and that too keeps us on our toes. We are listening new music and new bands all the time and we take some of that in the studio. And you know if we only went out and play stuff from, say Troublegum, we’d probably get tired, you know. You know I was in the toilet today…
MR: … well thank you for sharing that with us (laughs).
AC: (laughs) and there were two guys from a band, I don’t know from, which bad they were because I couldn’t see them because I was on the other side and one guy says to the other “I can’t wait till this shit is over so I can go home”. And I mean I hear that all the time. But you know, if you’re changing with your songs, your music and you know that makes it fresh and interesting for you.
MR: I know that you have visited some countries that you didn’t visit that much before or at all, like for instance Bosnia where you played both in Sarajevo and Banja Luka.
MR: Well I am from Denmark, but I was born in Banja Luka
AC: All right
MR: When I’ve heard that you were going to play in Banja Luka I was like “I neeeeed to see this gig”, but unfortunately I couldn’t take some time off at that point. So what I was wondering is how is it for you going to places like that, you know the places, which are unknown for you.
AC: It’s brilliant I mean, where we from and when we formed the band we moved to Belfast and being Northern Irish you know, nobody really came to play Northern Ireland beck then and you know whatever bands would come to play it would be a big deal. Faith No More came and played and AC/DC played. And you know now we are in the band and you ask us to come and play and we’ll come.
NC: I mean we are rally lucky yo play in the band and to get invited and I don’t think that we were ever invited and then tarted badly. So the gigs have been good and the crowd was great and that a fantastic thing. Like Andy said, you have people who just don’t like touring, but we do we really enjoy it. You know if we turn up and something happens like, the shower doesn’t work or whatever, it doesn’t really matter as long as the show happens, we’re happy.
MM: Yeah, we were rally lucky to be able to play around the world so we don’t need to play the same country all the time. So we go to lots of different places and we always get these great invites and Banja Luka was great, it was different kind of experience for us.
MR: The gig was at that old castle called Kastel, right?
MM & NC: Yeaah!
MM: Just a beautiful setting, down by the river it was very very nice.
MR: And now we come to the part of just about any interview, and that’s the “what’s-next” part of the interview. So what are your plans for the future?
AC: We’ve just mixed a live album to which we recorded 40 tracks and I think that we will put 36 on it. “Lonely Crying Only” and “I Am The Money” for example weren’t that good so we can’t use them. We might not be able to fit 38 tracks on a double CD so we might end up with 36. While we were in studio we recorded some really old songs in different styles so there will be three CD’s – a double live CD with some 36-38 tracks on it and the bonus CD with some rerecorded stuff like the new version of “Prison Breaker” and “Animal Bones” and then we go into a studio in November or December to start a new record.
So after the tour we’re gonna go to Derby where Neil lives to rehears for the new album which will come out in next March. So the live album in October and then a new album in March.
MR: Great. Now I just have to ask that be it that you are Therapy? The band who always changes musically , but at the same time stays undeniably Therapy? I was wondering if there is a specific way you are going to take on the forthcoming album?
AC: Personally the way I hear it when we are jamming, the rhythm stuff that these two guys are playing is gonna get even more out there. It’s going to be sort of deeper and darker.
MR: Listen guys it was a pleasure to talk to you and I’m looking forward to seeing you play in couple of hours…
AC: Listen hopefully we’ll come to Denmark, we’ve haven’t got any requests you know. Norway asked us back, Sweden we’re going back to so Denmark should be next.
MR: Where in Sweden are you playing?
AC: It’s in two weeks time it’s a rock festival
MM: Getaway Rick Festival
AC: Yeah! I mean if anyone form Denmark asks us to come back we’ll come. I mean Denmark has been bit cold on us for a while, not that many people were interested. If we get asked we will come back, if you know anyone who wants to book the band get them in touch with us.
MR: I’ll do my best, I actually have few places in mind already. Thank you for taking time to talk to us.
THERAPY?: Thank you.