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Appliance are James Brooks (guitar/vocals), David Ireland (drums) and Michael Parker (bass).
The Exeter-based group are a 3 piece band whose sound is bigger than that of most mere 3 pieces. They are often described as a post rock group, but their music goes far beyond that, and is intelligent music for music fans who want that bit more from their music.
Their earliest records appeared on 7" and 10" vinyl, and, limited to just a few hundred copies each, appeared on a variety of different labels. The band are now signed to Mute where they have released to date three albums, 'Manual'(1999), 'Six Modular Pieces' (2000) and 'Imperial Metric' (2001).
Appliance's fourth Mute album, 'Are You Earthed ?' will come out in February. I asked the group some questions about the album, and their history to date.
PB : The new record, 'Are You Earthed ?' is a return to your earlier
guitar sound, whereas 'Imperial Metric' is more electronic based. Why did you decide to go back to your earlier sound
Appliance : The new record is not really going back as 'Imperial Metric' had guitar on it. You are always learning from the last record, so this is more developed.
PB : 'Are You Earthed ?' has been put back by 4 months. Why ?
Appliance : The album has been put back because we didn't want to put it out during the Christmas run up. We are instead building up our profile by touring lots.
PB : Why did you decide to give it that name ?
Appliance : The record was called 'Are you Earthed ?' because it is named after a track from the record. It was a pionient title that hints at the fact that everything has to remain rooted, be it electrical or in nature.
PB : Are you still happy at Mute ?
Appliance : Mute has been sold to EMI so it has all changed. It takes ages to get paid and the LP put back was mainly due to their marketing structure.
PB : You're always on the road ? Any favourite places ?
Appliance : We haven't toured that much this year because we have been recording, although we did some work on the LP in Berlin which was great. Touring in Europe is always good as they treat bands really well over there, especially in Greece. Other favourites include the Botanique in Brussels which has a really good festival once a year. We're still waiting to go to America though. Maybe we will with 'Are You Earthed ?'
PB : You used to have a fish backdrop. Has it retired ?
Appliance : The fish backdrop has gone now.Once you have toured fish for a year or so you need to give them a rest. We flushed them down the loo!.
PB : You filmed a recent gig at the London Arts Cafe. Will you use any of the footage ?
Appliance : The Arts Cafe footage was used on our last single 'Land Sea and Air', along with the fish footage and some aerial images from a small plane. There is also some crowd footage from the show so look closely. It may surface on our website at some stage.
PB : How involved do you get in the process of making promo videos ?
Appliance : We tend to be quite involved with videos. We collected most of the images ourselves (apart from the ones that we are in), be it the fish from aquariums or aerial shots from a small chartered Piper.
PB : Do you have any plans to do anything with DVD ?
Appliance : We have no DVD plans at the moment. Everyone seems to use them to fill in quiet gaps between proper LPs, and the content seems to be generally lacking.
PB : Is it possible to describe the average, if there is one, Appliance fan ?
Appliance : The average fan is male, quietly spoken, teetering on the obsessive. They all seem to want their records signed, which we find quite flattering. There tends to be more boys than girls.
PB : A lot of the guitar lines on the new material is reminiscent of Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen. Is he an infuence ?
Appliance : Yes, Will Sergeant is a very good guitarist. James likes guitarists who play intricate notes rather than power chords. Tremelo is always really important to the Appliance sound. We supported them last year in Belgium which was great.
PB : Do you write music all the time, or only when you need to ?
Appliance : We are in the frame of mind for touring now which is all consuming.
PB : As punters, do you prefer vinyl or CD ?
Appliance : It depends what it is really. Vinyl is a wonderful format, but sometimes not practical. We wouldn't buy CDs second hand though, if they looked all beat up. They don't age very well, jumping and scratching quite easily.It's a shame vinyl is not distributed much, apart from through Rough Trade of course.
PB : A few of your singles have appeared on coloured vinyl. Do you choose which colour they will be ?
Appliance : Yes, we have full say on the colouration of our records. How about that for control!
PB : What is the most enjoyable time you have had as a band, and the favourite band that you have supported both as a band and as people ?
Appliance : The best time the band has had was when Michael got out of a sauna in a Frankfurt hotel and rolled on a snowy flat roof then leaped into the swimming pool. He was trying to induce a heart attack, but to no avail.We supported Pulp but they were a little aloof. Six by Seven are a good band, both musically and as people.
PB : What other plans do you have for the future ?
Appliance : Our future plans include a European tour with Wire and more tours next year till we drop or are dropped.
PB : Thank you
More information can be found about Appliance at both www.appliance-music.co.uk and www.mute.com
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Often described as a post rock group, Appliance's fourth album 'Are You Earthed ?' finds them moving away from electronica and back to their earlier guitar sound. Anthony Strutt chats to them about coloured vinyl, record deals and the album's long delay
Anthony Strutt chats to former Appliance guitarist James Brooks about his latest project, instrumental solo act Land Observations, and its second album, 'The Grand Tour'
Reconditioned - CD Box
Comprehensive three CD collection of radio sessions, B-sides, early EPs and unreleased tracks from Exeter-based experimental trio, Appliance
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