2009 saw The Big Pink‘s debut A Brief History Of Love, quickly making Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell one of the most buzz worthy live acts in Britain and beyond.
We hooked up with Milo in a Berlin hotel lobby to talk about their new album Future This and found out, that not only had he announced the new album with a “Lost”-like imagery on the band’s website, he also watched the complete series in one go. As we became seriously impressed, we checked for more influences on their new album.
When I first read the title of your new album, Future This, I felt like: Ok, we’ve been told A Brief History Of Love. Just where are we heading now?
We’ve always been not scared of both titles, you know? I think A Brief History Of Love was like a history of what went on and what had been written and how we felt at that time. Whereas I think this record is a lot more positive, it’s us drawing a line. Everything in front of us is the future. So Future This is just a statement, it doesn’t really mean anything. But it means something, if you want it to. You know what I mean? It’s complicated. But then not complicated. I like it, because it’s like a verb, like „Go, fuck yourself“ or whatever… Future This!
Here’s my second thought about your album title: Being a kid of the 90ies, I was reminded of Cher’s ‘Do You Believe In Live After Love’.
Wow! I really did love that track with the fucked up vocals and all. Everyone used to copy that, but this was like the original thing: Pitching vocals, everyone did that from there on. Well, you know, it’s a guilty pleasure. My whole life is based around guilty pleasures.
Talking about your new album makes people say the word ‘vibe’ a lot, talking about the new ‘positive vibe’ in your sound. To be honest, it’s there.
I’m sorry, I’ll stop using it, I’m not going to say it once in this interview. The V-word is a good word, quite a dated word from the 60ies, a hippie kind of thing, but it explains something, that is unexplainable. As much as music I like clothes and I like books and everything. Like Stüssy clothes, do you remember their ads from the 90ies? It’s all about a global tribe and thinking positive. That is really stuck in me especially while doing this record, writing about, what I was into as a kid. Skating and a lot of graffiti, mainly.
If I’d say your first album was sheer melancholy, would you agree?
It’s bitter, it’s melancholy, a horrible time, me being so burned out by relationships. Dealing with horrible, nasty and bitter people, who dragged us down and that’s, what we were in. So we were writing songs about it. And then, to go out and play that on the road for a year and a half and revisiting these bad times every night was really tough, so the new record kind of wrote itself. We wanted to feel good.
When Robbie and you revisit these feelings from your past, while playing live, can you even separate whose bad feelings are written into your songs?
That’s the funny thing, that it’s both of us. It both happened simultaneously within a few months. And then we found each other. It brought us together, that we both kind of burned out. And then we started making music together and that became the theme, without us even knowing about it. Our feelings are exactly the same, we’re like one person.
Do you feel like you created a monster at times?
I think, we have created a monster in ‘Dominos’, that song of the first record. Especially in England, it is such a big song there. It kind of ate us up a little bit, it became bigger than the band.
But then „Stay Gold“ is the first song on your new album and it opens up with a similar intense beat. Now that’s some decision to make?
I guess, it was a kind of footbridge. Personally I didn’t want to put that song there, I would have chosen „Give It Up“, which is more like an R’n’B jam. Because this record is different, it’s not like you’ll find ten ‘Dominos’ on it. There’s a lot of space and shit around it.
You’ve been joined by many musicians on tour, constantly developing your sound…
Oh, a lot! Colossally developing.
…then just the two of you went back into the studio. How difficult was being a tag team again?
Really easy. I think, with this band we’re pretty steady. We always tried to make a classic kind of music, something our dad would listen to. We could have done whatever we wanted, could have been really experimental. But we really tried to write classic rock songs. No – not rock songs but ‘classic songs’.
I like the way you just corrected that. So is it pop music that you do?
Do you know that band WU LYF? They coined this phrase ‘Heavy Pop’ and I wish we had coined that, it’s a good one.
How much are you and Robbie still working together as friends having fun? Or have you become ambitious about your success
It’s weird, you know? This stage of our record, like this interview is the most job-like part of it all. We have to be at a meeting, another meeting and so on. The rest of it isn’t really like that, although you have to be at the show. But getting up at five in the morning and catching a flight to Berlin is infinitely better than what I could be doing. Which is working in a pub or in a shop, which I’m sure I will do someday. One day I’ll be happy to be working in a record shop.
I just try to picture you and Robbie in the studio, I bet you spend a lot of time in there and made it a creative space. Who does what in there?
Robbie painted the walls, so I hung the pictures. The studio is completely black: Ceiling, floor, wall. On the ceiling is an old black parachute, there is a black sofa, black table, with our equipment on it. I hung the pictures of Public Enemy, Professor Longhair, an old Mardi Gras musician from New Orleans and a picture of William Burroughs and his look. On the floor there’s just wires, pedals, books, guitars, keyboards, magazines, take away boxes… We did it all in that room, four months all in the zone.
The Big Pink – Future This, released on January 13th via 4AD