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Place to Bury Strangers - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 19 / 6 / 2015

Place to Bury Strangers - Interview


Anthony Strutt catches up with original and founder member, Oliver Ackermann from New York-based noise rockers A Place to Bury Strangers to talk about their just released fourth album, 'Transfixiation', and life for the band since leaving Mute Records

A Place to Bury Strangers are a New York City–based American noise rock band, which currently consists of Oliver Ackermann (guitar/vocals), Dion Lunadon (bass guitar) and Robi Gonzalez (drums). They have now recorded four albums, the self-released 'A Place to Bury Strangers' (2007), 'Exploding Head' (2009) which came out on Mute Records, , and 'Worship'(2012) and this year's 'Transfixiation' (2015), both of which have been released on the Dead Oceans label. For our third interview with the band, and our first interview since they left Mute, we spoke to Oliver Ackermann at a show on their current tour at the Bodega in Nottingham. Oliver also makes guitar effects pedals in his studio, Death by Audio. A Place to Bury Strangers are the loudest band around, outside of MBV.Think of a combination of Sonic Youth. the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, and then turn the sound up. They are a band to shake you up, and that will leave you pleading for more. PB: You released one album 'Exploding Head' through Mute. Was your deal just for one album? OA: No, it was for a two or three album deal, but all of their record contracts became null and void when they left EMI. Everyone was offered the chance of re-signing to Mute, and they asked us if we wanted to re-sign to them. We thought about it, but we had this feeling that the grass was greener on the other side. Dead Oceans, the label that we are now on, are fantastic. Mute was fantastic though. PB: While you were on Mute, it was good as well then? OA: It was amazing, so much fun. We got to hang out with a lot of the other bands on Mute. PB: But you didn't tour with Depeche Mode? OA: No,we didn't. PB: Not that you wouldn't have wanted too? OA: No, I would have done. PBM.For the new album, has the writing process changed now that you have Dion and Robi in the band? OA: In some ways. They are super-talented and super-tight musicians. You never know though when the best inspirations are going to come. It just sort of happens. PB: How did you come across Dion? I believe he was in the D4, wasn't he? OA.Yes, he was, We were looking for a bass player after your previous bass player Jono Mofo left. We tried out a few friends, and he was one of them and the best. We actually had a choice of two. We were going to split a tour and use both, and it was at second show, and Dion smashed his face with his bass. There was blood all over the place, and Robi and I just looked at each other and said, "This is the guy" (Laughs). PB: Is Dead Oceans an American Indie label? OA: Yes, it is one of the last independent labels that is truly independent. They do stuff in a really good, sweet, laidback way. PB: So, it's not an indie owned by a major? OA: No, it's like one of the only truly indie labels left. It feels like you are dealing with your friends. PBM: Death by Audio is the name of a guitar effects pedals company that you set up, isn't it? OA: Yes. PB: But wasn't it a studio as well? OA: It was a set up studio. Other bands practiced there as well, and we had a live venue in our house and workshops and stuff like that. PB: It is finished now though, isn't it? OA: Yeah,it's closed. PB: Does that mean you haven't got a studio anymore? OA: I have two, really crumbly home studios. One is at the pedal factory, and the other one at home. They are both kind of up and running, and I have done some work at both of them. It was a crushing blow to move out of there. I had put so much time into that place and wiring it all up. It will take some time to find a new place. PB: You are still making the pedals though? OA: Totally. PB: Do you have any problems at venues when they hear how loud you play? Are you sometimes asked to turn things down? OA: We often have problems, like the guitar being louder then the PA. You kind of have to think then about what you want to do. Do you want to hear anything else? PB: So, it's a compromise? OA: Yes, you have to. PB: When you demo, do you ever think about doing it on an acoustic guitar? OA: I don't own an acoustic, so I don't know (Laughs). PB: So, everything's electric? (Laughs) OA: Yes. PB: Now that you are four albums in has your songwriting technique changed over the years? OA: I think so. I'm more aware of what it takes to try and write a song. PB: Are you always writing then? OA: Yeah, totally so. PB: Did a lot of 'Transfixiation' come about after a period of group experimentation? There is a lot of really weird stuff on it. OA: Yes,there was some of that stuff. We wrote all the songs together, and so it comes from a lot of different places and is in a lot of different styles. We record as much live as possible. PBM. You did one recording 'Tried to Hide' for 'The Psychedelic Sounds Of The Sonic Cathedral', which was a 13th Floor Elevators cover. OA: Yeah. PB: Did you choose that track? OA: Yes. It was one of my favourite songs of theirs. We thought it would be cool to do a version of that song. PB: Are you going to see their reunion in Austin, Texas? OA: Of course, we are. We are actually playing with them at the Austin Psych Fest. PB: Are there bands you have toured with that you felt a connection with? I know that you toured with the Jesus and Mary Chain. OA: We did some shows with them. We didn't feel a connection with them, but definitely though with Darker My Love and the band we are touring with now, September Girls? PBM: In the last few years My Bloody Valentine have reformed and delivered a new album, Slowdive reformed and have had a smashing year, and now Ride have reformed. Do you think your band has paved the way for their return, by suggesting that there is now a new market for loud music in the live arena? OA: Maybe my band isn't as popular as any of them (Laughs). PB: But in their heyday you probably were as big as them when they first started out? OA.Yeah,maybe. PB: It's only in the last twenty-five years that their legend has grown. OA: That's a really good idea. Perhaps we should do that. PB: What are your future plans? OA: We will be touring for a few more weeks. We will do some random shows, a a few festivals, record some music at that time, then a few more tours, including one here we will in the Fall, and then we will try and release a new record as soon as we can. We will see what happens. PB. Thank you for your time.

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Place to Bury Strangers - Interview

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Place to Bury Strangers - Interview

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Interview (2008)
Place to Bury Strangers - Interview
New York-based trio A Place to Bury Strangers have just released their self-titled debut album, , which is an atmospheric combination of psychedelia,shoegaze and space rock. Anthony Strutt speaks to them about it

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