Echo and the Bunnymen - Ian McCulloch interview

14 September 2005

Echo And The Bunnymen

Echo and the Bunnymen - Ian McCulloch interview

Echo and the Bunnymen - Ian McCulloch interview
Echo and the Bunnymen - Ian McCulloch interview
Echo and the Bunnymen - Ian McCulloch interview spoke to Ian McCulloch one of the most legendary and influential artists of our time at the carling weekend.

Here we are at Leeds festival, are you a festival lover or hater?

Some of them are OK, I think I prefer the ones in Europe to British ones. It's never going to be the same as your own gig is it? I wouldn't be bothered about watching too many people either. The line up for this year's festival is a pretty good bill though, it would be nice to see the Pixies but we have to get going after the show tonight. I like to have a few home comforts.

Are you enjoying being back on the scene?

Yeah, I am, definitely. With a new album coming out in September it's brilliant. Last year we did do some festivals and the year before we did some too. But now we have some new material it's pulling everything together. Saying that tonight we only have 45 minutes so we are only playing one new song, we didn't want to play a set full of new stuff to a festival crowd, I don't think it's the right time to try something new.

What has been going on since the last Bunnymen album?

Well I released a solo album last year. There were some personal health things, not to do with me but it did prevent us from doing things for about a year. So there wasn't really a proper reason for us being away so long, it was just the way it happened.

Did you enjoy doing your solo work?

Yeah I loved it. This is a totally different thing with the Bunnymen. I love doing both. I do think the songs I now write for the Bunnymen have been helped and improved because of my solo work. A lot of people say there isn't so much difference between my solo stuff and the Echo stuff, there probably isn't too much of a difference because I do write all the chords and melodies. I think the Bunnymen has more of an edge though, especially with the new album, it's mega I think it's the best album. I've heard in the past 5 years.

You got back together in 1997 for Evergreen. What prompted you to reform?

I think we just had a yearning to get back together and start playing and recording together again.

From the first single Back of love' to present single Stormy Weather' how do you think your style has changed musically?

I think now we have firmly decided what we want to do. I think that this is our blueprint it is our template. Now, the music really sounds like it is ours where as earlier on we had a lot of different elements in there from our influences. I was listening to Siberia the other day with a friend who hadn't heard it in the studio and it occurred to us that our sound now is totally unique. Looking at this year's line up for this festival there is so much derivative stuff, well saying that there are a few unique bands like Iggy, Iron Maiden and The Pixies & Us. But an awful lot of it stems from something else. That doesn't mean necessarily that they are bad, just not unique.

Siberia comes out next month. How is it all looking?

It's looking great at the moment. We got our first review by the observer and they said it was brilliant. They gave it four stars out of five, I don't know what happened to the fifth star because it a five star album. Its mega, every song tells a story and it's the most melodic album we have ever done.

Every song tells a story?

Yeah, they are usually personal reflections. They are all about something. Usually they are about me and my life.

Flowers was considered to be very much a typical Bunnymen album, would you say Siberia is as or more recognisable?

Flowers was my least favourite album, I don't think we had the spark. On this one it's just mega. I think it is the most complete. I think it has kept our sound but it's not like we have tried to re-hash an old album. It was such an easy album to make. We just had sparks flying around the studio.

How was working with producer Hugh Jones?

It was great. He was the perfect person. Even though we haven't worked together for 20 years it all just fell in to place. He understood what we wanted and he also understood about the contrast between Will and I because we are 2 parts of the same axis. Hugh worked as a perfect conjurer between the two of us. It also wasn't just about us two this time, the band were totally fantastic, We have all been together for a few years now so we all know what makes one and other tick. It's not just about Will and I being polar opposites; even though we are not. I write songs with melodies and Will doesn't he comes and brings us brilliant riffs. Hugh worked well because he made me really listen to what Will had been doing and made us work on it.

So did you think a third person really helped with an independent view?

Yes definitely. We gave one another the space throughout the songs. By and large it's Wills guitar that compliments what I do anyway. But I think a third person stops a lot of unnecessary friction in the studio. As much as that can work sometimes I think you can wish the other person wasn't there. That has happened to us on certain albums in the past but now all of that has changed; it makes for a really good group.

Did you get the chance to record much of the album together?

We did, we rehearsed as a band for about a month before we went into the studio. We all knew our parts. But when it actually came down to being in the studio, Hugh was working for 18 hour days and most of the time he only needed one person at a time so he just allocated individual slots. I always like singing at night so I would usually have those slots. It wasn't a case of us avoiding one and other or anything, that's just how Hugh likes to work.

Did you know that Killing Moon was going to be featured on Donnie Darko?

They asked us and we said yes. I think it sounds brilliant at the beginning and then the stupid director did a director's cut and put an INXS song there and moved Killing Moon to the middle of the film. I think he messed it all up. It's completely changed the feel of the film. Killing Moon has been used on a few films actually; I guess it must have quite a filmy sound.

What else are you really passionate about?

Liverpool, I love Liverpool , My Kids and loved ones and Beauty I love beautiful things such as cities. Nature takes care of its own beauty I guess but for me cities have this thing beyond the people who live there. Like Liverpool , I feel it has a power that creates it and makes it beautiful. Other than Liverpool I love New York , Sao Paolo, Toronto is really nice and Paris is definitely one of them. I think Brussels would be up there too. I know it really well cause I have friends over there, I think it has a melancholy feel to it that I really like. I'm great at cooking too!

If cooking is a forte of yours what is a clear downfall for you?

Cricket!! I'm crap at it and I now hate it! It's a rubbish game. I'm great at table tennis and crap at tennis.

26 years in music. Has it got any easier over the years?

It's always to be brilliant so it's about the same!! It's getting easier to write songs. I write all the time. I have loads, too many songs that I want to record. When I have enough time I'm going to do some more solo work too with a piano, some cellos and a guitar and just put it together in a week or so.

What's next for you?

The album is coming out and we then have a tour throughout the UK , Europe and America . I love touring America ; it's great they have great cities like San Francisco , Boston , Chicago and Illinois . We are going to Brazil and Australia too so by the time we finish all that it will be the New Year and we will come back to do more stuff in Europe.


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