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Engineers - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 21 / 1 / 2011

Engineers - Interview


Anthony Strutt chats to British shoegazing band guitarist and vocalist Engineers' Mark Peters about his band's recent line-up changes and fourth album, 'In Praise of More'

Engineers are a British shoegazing band that was formed in London by Mark Peters(vocals/guitars/keyboards), Simon Phipps (vocals/guitar), Dan MacBean (bass) and Andrew Sweeney (drums) in 2003. The group have recorded both a mini-album, ‘Folly’(2004) and three full-length albums, ‘Engineers’(2006), ‘Three Fact Fader’(2009) and ‘In Praise of More’(2010). While the first two releases came out on EMI offshoot, Echo Records, the latter two albums came out on Kscope a sub-label of Snapper Records. ‘Three Fact Fader’ was unreleased for three years after Engineers split from Echo Records. Both Dan MacBean and Andrew Sweeney left the group amicably after ‘Three Fact Fadar’ was finally released and were replaced last year by acclaimed shoegaze producer and multi-instrumentalist Ulrich Schnauss, Daniel Land (who also fronts the band the band Daniel Land and the Modern Painters) on bass and Matthew Linley on drums. ‘In Praise of More’ was largely written and recorded by Mark Peters, with some help from Ulrich Schnauss. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Mark Peters after one of Engineers’ first gigs in London in their new line-up. PB: I first became aware of Engineers after buying ‘Folly’ in 2004. Did you do much before then and when did the band form? MP: There was an EP called ‘Home/New Horizons’ which also had a different mix of ‘Home’ on it, and there was also a CD single, ‘Come in Out of the Rain’ as well. PB: Did they both like ‘Folly’ come out on Echo? MP: Yes. PB: So there was no indie thing before that? MP: No, the two guys that left, Dan and Andrew, and I had been working together, for a long time before that and in other bands for about seven years. PB: Did they have a similar sound? MP: Yes, in some ways. There was more of a psychedelic, heavy aspect. We started writing more melodic stuff when we got Simon in. Then we felt like we had something that people would connect with. PB: Why the name and why not “The” Engineers? MP: It's pretty lame really. Every band out there is called “the” something or others, The reason the name came about was we worked on the first album for about a year - This was before we had anything to do with a label - and I lived with the guy who managed us at the time. It was just me and Dan then and we were just producing and engineering really, and he said, “You are not really a band, are you? You are more like engineers" and we thought, “Hmm. There we go.” PB: How would you describe your sound because there is the calm of ‘Home’ and ‘Forgiveness’ and then there is the My Bloody Valentine side and then there is another whole bit in between? MP: Yeah, it's all different elements. I love rock and roll. I love the Beach Boys and they provided a lot of the ideas for the first album. The shoegaze thing was part of that sound really and we fused them together. We also listen to a lot of orchestral music. PB: In recent times nugaze has become fashionable through labels like Sonic Cathedral and ClubAC30, but your sound has more of the original shoegaze sound, where it is multi textured and multi layered. Do you agree? MP: It was never about that. We never did things because they were trendy, I like electronic music. I never feel like I have to be in with whatever is in. I just like all types of music. PB. I saw you guys play a few years ago at the ICA and that was ear bleedingly loud, You were much quieter tonight. Why have you quietened down? Is it just the way the new songs are? MP: I think it's mainly because most of the new album was recorded at home. When you are playing in a more intimate way, that's just the way it comes out. There was no big plan. PB: ‘Folly’ was 2004. ‘Engineers’ was 2005 and ‘Three Fact Fader’ and ‘In Praise of More’ were quickly produced as well. Why was there such a big gap between ‘Engineers’ and ‘Three Fact Fader’? MP: We were with Echo when ‘Three Fact Fader’ was finished in 2006, but it basically gathered so much debt that the label couldn't afford to release it. After three months, we got tired of it and other things came up. We just thought we would wait. We never did split up and I even wrote songs with Dan at the time and about an album's worth of material. Then Sasha the DJ did a remix of one of the tracks and put it up on MySpace, and people started asking what is going on and if was ever going to come out. Then KScope came along, said that we were the sort of band they needed and offered to sign us. PB: How would you say that ‘In Praise of More’ is different to the other albums? Daniel Land: (Who has just joined Mark Peters): It's a hard thing to say really, because most of it was done at the time of the last line up and finished before Ulrich and myself joined in full time. Ulrich was playing in the last line up, but wasn’t a proper member at that stage. This album is Mark's solo album bar the last two or three tracks. How it has affected the sound we won't really know until we record some new stuff. MP: It's just the beginning really. Weird things happen. It felt like it wasn't going to start up again, and now it's really solid and everything is positive again. I am glad how everyone tonight related together. PB: Thank you.

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Always Returning (2014)
Imaginative and well-constructed fifth album from electronica-influenced shoegazing band, Engineers
In Praise of More (2010)
Three Fact Fader (2009)
Forgiveness (2005)

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