Interview with John about the album “Nocturnal Manoeuvres”
What do people who speed in built-up areas miss?
It’s a track about thinking collectively. The rise of individual growth has laid waste to our ability to display collective strength. I like the symbolic gesture of an individual driving whilst the car filled with water.
Do you sometimes get lost in the speed of capitalism, consumerism and life itself?
Thankfully I have a job that I love – being in and managing this band – and it enables me to be conscious of my actions on a day to day basis. I like the way a band can offer a vehicle for collective experience, and if songs can encourage people to think twice about their daily experience – beyond the repetitions of capital growth – then that’s very satisfying to us both.
Your songs are critical of society, so you might think that music could change something in the listeners mind or is it just to unload your own pressure and share frustration with the audience?
As mentioned, it’s always satisfying when people delve deeper into the meaning and creative stance of the band. If we can promote the importance of culture through our activities of the band then that’s one a success. Our modern world has always tended to judge success on profitability, so it’s important to tell a different narrative through persistence.
You choose less is more as your mantra, how hard is it to not overload your musical compositions to leave enough space for lyrics left? „Power Out For The Kingdom“ is a good example for balancing lyrics and music.
I don’t think we necessarily discuss this in too much particular detail nowadays – it’s more an inbuilt knowledge developed through practice. We’ve become aware of how to build layers within our limitations, especially as we don’t have the choice to just add in another guitar line. The limitations probably made us more discerning when arranging songs, making sure we give the power where it’s needed most.
Your music seems very physical to me, not music to play halfhearted. So do you, execpt from praticing the music, work on your physical condition before a tour? Much sleep, less alkohol and smoking?
We both understand the physical demands of the show, so try to keep in a decent-ish shape for tours and in general life. The band is a lot to manage both physical and mentally, so it’s very important on the whole. I stopped drinking 4 years ago, so that has been a massive help with my energy levels. We’re not as young as we were, put it that way!
I’m not really sure about the album artwork, what does it show? Is it the backstage entrance to the stage?
Our first album “God Speed In The National Limit” depicts the Crystal Palace Bowl in a park in South London near where we used to be based. Having seen a photograph of the backstage area, we felt like we wanted to conceptually invert the first album – on the third – and show the interior. The guardians of the Bowl kindly let us in and our good friend photographer Paul Grace captured the daylight that lights the space through one of the ceiling portals. It was an image that loosely associated with all the themes we were discussing with regards to the title “Nocturnal Manoeuvres”, so we felt it was perfect.
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