This Et Al
Chris Lowe 01/05/2008
Bradford/Leeds based This Et Al are a band that weighs in with quite a few pounds when it comes to high energy rockin' and their brand new release with the North's penultimate new label On The Bone titled 'The Figure Eight EP' packs more than just a few punches. It's there first release since 2006's debut album 'Baby Machine' so it's been a while boys. But how are these motley rockers finding life at the moment? I spoke to Wu to find out how life is treating them.
How did the debut album go then? Were you happy with the release? And how come it's taken this long for the new release?
Wu - A year is actually quite quick for us, haha. We've actually been at work on this EP and writing for the next album for quite some time, since October / November. Our old bass player left in July last year so we had to rehearse a lot to sort that out. Baby Machine wise, I think we'd grown to hate it a little by the time it was all done, we'd been playing the songs so long and the whole release process took so long, about 18 months, so we were happy for it to be over and done with in a way, but we were still proud of it. We were happy that it got the little attention it did, we managed to get it released across the globe pretty much (which is a good feeling) but we felt it was overlooked, alas people are idiots, generally…
I've listened to the EP numerous times and I must say it's a real treat. It has a very varied sound with instrumentals, vocal choirs and many dips in volume. Will we see a new take on 'This Et Al' for the second (difficult) album?
Wu - Well I think you have to, evolve I mean, I know it's an obvious thing to say, but the main thing we wanted was to get more scope to the sound, BM is very intense and in some ways, very one dimensional. We wrote it over years as a live band and recorded it as a live band. This time round, we hadn't even finished Medicine Hammer or Ice Age before we went to the studio, we did it purposely and booked an extra day so we could mess around, have a laugh with it, get drunk yada yada. Figure Eight is different in a sense, its more like BM, big, dumb, fast and loud; we thought it was a good match as it showed we still had that aspect but also some kind of progression evident. I think the 2nd album will be even more of a progression on this, more refined, it'll probably sound more like a 'record' as opposed to a 'compilation' like BM.
Does the EP have any underlying messages or a theme or is it simply a new collection of songs. I noticed the artwork and can see a plague doctor floating around a river. Are we all doomed?
Wu - Yes, we are all doomed, I'm with David Icke. In all honesty, I had some real trouble writing lyrics for it, I think I'd become a little obsessed with making more and more demos and trying to kick against that 'live sound' thing, I hadn't left myself enough time to get a reaction to the material. I think more often than not lyrics are a reaction to the music and in this case, it became more about a collection of songs than an underlying theme. Steve penned Medicine Hammer and Ice Age as poems and miraculously they just happened to fit really easily. I did Figure Eight, which ironically enough is complete nonsense and has about 3 lines in the whole song. The artwork was done by a girl called Diana Sudyka from America, we came across her (ooh matron) on the web and she's an amazing artist, we were pretty honoured to have her work on it. We'll be completing a pretty doom-laden video very shortly!
Has work begun on the new album as of yet and who will you be working with to release and produce it?
Wu - We have some of the tracks written but there's a lot to finish yet. Once this EP shenanigans is finished we'll be right back to it. I'm sure we'll be working with James Kenosha on the production side, we have a very a streamline way of working now and he just gets better and better. We're currently in 'talks' with On The Bone about future releases at the minute (which basically means we drink pints of gin and wrestle naked).
I see that your tour is taking you all over the UK in April and May but will you be crossing the channel again as well soon and can we expect to see you at some festivals this summer?
Wu - We'll be doing a world tour of arenas once our second LP is out, but we'll be working on the LP from when this tour is done till after summer. We're definitely doing Moor Fest with Grammatics, Chrome Hoof and a few others in Ilkley, Yorkshire (early August) and we're currently working on the rest.
What have you been listening to at the moment? Any tips for 2008?
Wu - I still listen to a lot of stuff from round here, I think Grammatics and Dinosaur Pile Up will be big in 2008. Laura Groves is another one who will probably go big this year. I don't really get much time to listen to an awful lot of music, I listen to the same 5 or 6 albums over and over. I've become obsessed with The National, I also think the last Subtle album was overlooked commercially, its absolutely amazing. Recently got into Daughters, Burial, Future Of The Left, all sorts really.
Is Leeds still a thriving melting pot or just a cup of soup now?
Wu - I think Leeds is still great and love being round here, loads of mint bands, but it has become a little saturated, too many gigs I think and some bands are playing far too much. We were probably guilty of it earlier on but we've only been playing every 3 or 4 months in recent times. There are a few poor venues, poor nights and promoters but on the flipside there's loads of exciting stuff happening all of the time, you're a bit spoilt for choice at times, and a great DIY attitude.
When can we expect a release dates for this second album as the anticipation will kill me very soon!
Wu - I reckon we'll have a release date by the end of summer and then hopefully have it out before the close of 2008. We have something in the pipeline at the moment so we'll keep y'all posted. Make it so.