Robbie Wojciechowski caught up with the fantastic 65daysofstatic the day after there headline date @ Koko after an extensive tour touring new album ‘We Were Exploding Anyway’. Which is an absolutely fabulous record. They discussed everything from Rihanna’s newest album Rated R to Film Production and the goverment pledges on illegal downloading.
You’re in the closing stages of your first world tour. How’s it been and what’s the reception been like?
It’s been good man, it’s been really good actually. This stretch is 5 ½ weeks so, and this is only the 2nd day off so It’s all getting a bit fuzzy around the edges.
Sounds good. Right, when it comes to live shows you seem like a band that never holds back. Would you say that aesthetics are an important part of your performance? And is it deliberate?
I’d say it’s important, as long as it’s not too calculated I guess. We’ve always wanted to put on as gooder show as possible, and we’ve always been envious of bands that are much bigger than us, that can do amazing things with live shows and visuals, like really going to town and making the best of things. So yeah it is important, but we don’t practice performing with them. Like, once upon a time, they said ‘You should always play a show like it’s your last’ and we’ve always stuck by that no matter how many people we’re playing to, or how big the place is. It’s always, play our hardest. We always live by that rule.
Yeah definitely, so on the topic of live shows. How’d you find the perfect mix between live instruments and electronic ones?
It’s hard man, it’s hard because we always strive to make electronics as live as possible, and I think at some times we do get, just because we’re a band with a lot of other things going on. It’s easy for us to get accused of using backing tracks, because of like the live album. But if we were purely a dance band, you wouldn’t get that because you’re always usually standing behind a lot of equipment. And I guess the truth is about electronic music, is it’s always pre recorded in one sense, even if it’s samples or something there’s only so much you can do with two hands. Finding the balance for us, has been more about like, us deciding that improvisation wasn’t really for us. We’re not doing live electronics in the sense that we’re building a song every night. It’s always just us playing the recorded version of the song and more about recreating it with lots of stuff.
I’ve read that of late, you’ve used a more keyboard based setup, what spurred the transition?
Well it started out much more like programming and like a live drummer, and I slowly learnt to play guitar, badly and then we took a different route for a little while, and the emphasis became more the live band. We produced 3 albums really quickly, and then took a big break from writing this one. There were a lot of things going on in our heads about what we wanted to do, like make it playable the whole way through, but also enjoyable because we knew we were going to be touring for like 2 years so we wanted to have fun and put on a good show and such. So, those kind of ideas led us naturally to synths and laptops and controllers, because there things we can carry, and manipulate. Like guitars aren’t really comparable.
Yes, very much so. Would you say your music’s designed to have a euphoric effect on people?
Yeah, yeah, if it’s not euphoric it’s hopefully cathartic at least. I think this record is a lot more hopeful than some of the other ones. I think it’s possible in the past that we were coming across as a very serious wordy band and that’s the last thing that we wanna be. We wanna be able to dance and move. There’s enough sadness in the world nowadays as it is.
Cool. What’re you all listening to at the moment, and is there anything you want to recommend?
We’ve just finished playing the UK dates with a band called Nedry. They’re fantastic. What’s even better is we watch them live every night and we know they’ll be even better in a year time. But other than that, there’s not been much, communal listening, because as times gone on you start to get battered and what time you’ve got for yourself you keep. I’ve been listening to Danny Wortecker an awful lot, it’s strange at first but he’s grown on me big time.
You’ve remixed the likes of Christina Milian and Justin Timberlake, but who’s next on the agenda?
Before our sets we always do like a 20 minute/30 minute mix while we switch over, but recently we’ve done a nice Lady GaGa and Rihanna mashup. Rude Boy and Telephone are surprisingly compatible.
Yeah, they’re not to bad to mix around, I’ve had a little touch and grab at them myself.
Yeah, they’re different tempos but once you kind of mix it, it works. But yeah, Rihanna’s great, although most of the new record isn’t.
I personally prefer Rihanna’s old stuff to anything, not a fan of Rated R myself.
Yeah, Rude Boys a corker of a single but the rest are just filler tracks.
Yeah, definitely. So illegal downloading is a big issue at the moment. You being a fairly certified band. What’s your views and how to tackle it?
It’s easier for us than record labels, but I think it’s not something people should try to tackle, because it’s not going to go away. It can’t be combated unless you close down all kind of rights. Like enforcing this 3 strike thing that the governments proposing which they’ll almost certainly bring in. You shouldn’t be targeting fans of music, for downloading music. I would much rather 20,000 people download our songs for free than 5,000 buying it, because it’s getting out to more people, which is the whole point in the first place. It’s much easier for me to say that than the record label though. Theres a new world, no point in trying to hide from it. Just innovate.
That’s an interesting one, because the thing about the government. Have you seen the study saying ‘most people that illegally download buy more than the average consumer’.
Yeah, I can totally believe that. Music lovers are always going to appreciate the stuff associated with a record. A records always more than just the music, at least the good ones anyway. I think that’s the future, it’s selling less things but making them more intricate. Making them much more worth to buy.
Following on from that, what spurred the change in record label recently?
It just seemed like a natural move, it was like the right time. Monotreme were the best, purely because they just don’t have a business model in any conventional sense. It’s run by a women who still has a full-time job, plugging bands who wouldn’t normally get exposure. And, that’s amazing. But if she kept 65 on, she wouldn’t have been able to cope. So it made sense to step up, to a label who are still small in many retrospectives, but we’ll see how it goes.
Completely off that point, other than the last words of Adolf Hitler, you’re very vague about the origins of your name. Why?
Ha, well, yeno, it’s like before all the downloading and such, it’s all very different from the way things were. And it’s very hard to hold any kind of mystery about a band. Like a band like us, we have no choice but to embrace social networking and communicate with our fans. And we’re creating this sort of community and we need to find people to share this ‘thing’. Once you do that you break values down, in good ways, but you lose prestige. But to build up all these stories around it and then just squash them, seems pointless.
It’s great that you can have that kind of connection with your fans, because most bands when they get somewhere nowadays completely remove themselves from all that.
Yeah, we’ve always find that crucial with us, and if there is a good future ahead. Properly enhancing the power of the internet, then you can cut out all the middle men.
Finally, before a career in music, what did you all dream of doing?
Well, before all this, I did a course in uni on film and had vague pretensions to do something in that. Like soundtracks in films was a big thing for me. So always music for me, and then I met Joe in Sheffield and he was a few years younger than me, and basically just dropped all ambitions other than 65. We’ve all been doing it so long, it’s kind of eroded any other ambitions. Unless you’re doing it as hard as you can, then it’s really hard to make being a band work.
It’s good that you say film, because you’ve obviously finished Uni now and such, but have you ever done much with film since?
We’ve not really had the chance to, but we’d all love to do a film soundtrack in the future sometime, that’d be fantastic. We’ve done a bit of radio soundtracking, and we’ve made little films for our website which is cool. And the live DVD. So it’s something we’d love to do in the future.