The Stranglers [Interview]

January 17, 2012 | By:

At Rock Industry we have always been big fans of great bands and when we got chance to bounce a few questions around to an all time great band like the stranglers, you guessed it we jumped at the chance. Heres what they think on the music industry, growing old and their new album ‘Giants’. Our guy Neil Short put a few questions to Jet BlackNS: When did you start recording for the new album  ‘Giants’?

JB: Around late May / early June 2011….

NS: What have you been doing since the  release of ‘Suite XVI’ up to the beginning of the recording of  ‘Giants’?

JB: Touring both at home and internationally, international festival appearances and song writing from time to time.

NS: You’ve been described previously  as new wave, art rock, gothic rock and sophisticated pop – what would you  describe your new album as?

JB: An album of Stranglers’ songs.  It’s probably better to leave the perceptions, to those who perceive, since – as you point out – we are seen and described quite differently around the world.  In any case, we are far too close to the creative process to be able to ascribe it a classification.

NS: What methods did you use to record  this album (how did you record this album)?

JB: Quite ordinaire really, for this era at least.  Each song multi tracked onto a hard drive.

NS: Have you done anything different  with the production of ‘Giants’ compared with the production of your other  albums?

JB: Well, it was quite different from some others, notably the earlier ones which were mostly played ensemble in one or two takes.  That style of recording, popular at the time, is now widely regarded as dated and too expensive in the long run because of the extensive studio time involved. To-day’s technology allows for recording to be achieved much faster and cheaper.  No bad thing since recording the old way is pretty much impossible in view of the diminishing returns from the recording process.

NS: What was it like recording an  instrumental for the first time in 30 years?

JB: Exactly the same as any other track but without a leading vocal.

NS: You are said to be the  longest-surviving and most “continuously successful” band to have originated  in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s – what do you attribute your  success to and how does this compare with the likes of other punk bands from  that era such as the Sex Pistols?

JB: In the first place, although it must be self-evident, people must like what we do.  Without an audience, a band cannot survive.  Apart from that, the single enduring principle has been persistence.  We never stopped what we set-out to do and I understand that the Sex Pistols were a one album band, so there is no comparison.

NS: Which one of you is the  oldest?

JB: Me.

NS: You’ve got a forthcoming UK tour  to promote the album, are you planning an international  tour?

JB: Yes indeed.  We start touring again on March 1st in Leeds U.K. and continue for the whole of that month.  That is then followed by a European leg which covers France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany and Holland.

NS: How long is your UK tour going to  be?

JB: One month – March:

NS: Are you planning to hit the  festival circuit this year?

JB: It’s a bit early to talk festivals but we’ll probably do a few.

NS: What’s your most memorable  show?

JB: That’s extremely difficult but possibly the Royal Albert Hall show – which was recorded – and which included an all girl orchestra.

NS: You’ve been around for 35 years  and seen a lot of changes, what is the most significant change in the music  industry in your opinion?

JB: There have certainly been masses of changes in the industry.  In the first place, it hardly was an industry in the beginning, but evolved very quickly. To-day, like many other industries, we have been affected by the advent of the internet.  That is probably the most significant issue because of it’s wide implications.  The benefits of it are the undoubted advantages of a wider dissemination of the artist’s work.  On the other hand, it has facilitated the cost free distribution of music.  Fine for the consumer, but disastrous for the artist.  Now, with fewer artists able to survive in that climate, the consumer has unwittingly changed the nature of what music is now available.  Whether this turns out to be to the good, or otherwise, remains to be seen.

NS: With the state of the industry and  the availability of illegally downloadable music, how have you managed to  survive in today’s market?

JB: With great difficulty.

NS: Have you got any plans to record  any more albums?

JB: With one only just completed, it’s hardly at the top of our ‘to-do’ list.  More pertinent perhaps, is whether the future allows us to plan a new one.  Who knows?

Words: Neil Short