Thursday, 15 October 2009

We Fell To Earth

FREE MP3: We Fell To Earth - Lights Out

So what the deal with the name? are you aliens or angels?

Richard: Do we have a choice?

You could be meteorites I suppose.

Richard: That’d be alright, you wanna make a mark don’t ya?

Nice big crater yeah. So is there any meaning behind the name then?

Richard: The man who fell to earth was around in both our lives at the time we were thinking of names and it was suggested.

I wouldn’t have thought Bowie was a major influence?

Richard: He’s certainly an inspiration, but not a major influence at this stage.
Wendy: There are some sounds of some Bowie records that we are inspired by.

You both love of krautrock, How do you respond to people who see you as more trip-hop than kraut rock?

Richard: Half time beats with double time percussion is something massive attack have done in the past but they are not the originators of that sound. Because we have female vocals people say we’re like Portishead or because there’s a half speed beat they say it’s like Massive attack. Sometimes it’s quite ambiguous. We’re not uncomfortable with those comparisons.
Wendy: Doesn’t trip hop rely on samples? That’s the difference, I think. We don’t use samples.

Do you think you think your experience working with bands like UNKLE and QOTSA has contributed to the fact that WFTE have gained so much attention so quickly? Or is it more to do with being played on TV programs like Gossip girl and CSI NY?

Richard: We haven’t been to America yet, but because of the fact we were used on Gossip girl, numb3rs, prisoner and CSI, we get an amazing amount of hits we get on a daily basis. The fact people respond that way is a blessing. It’s great to have that and be able to anticipate going there to play; it’s going to be interesting.
The sync thing is different here. There’s all these shows that sync a lot of interesting British music but most of them seem to be in America at the moment.

Are there any TV programs you wouldn’t like to be associated with?

Richard: I don’t watch TV. Neither does Wendy. We don’t need it. There’s a certain point where a line has to be drawn with TV programs and adverts. We’ll make that decision when it arises. But up to now we’ve been happy with what our music been used for, it’s great kids are finding out about us.

Why did you choose to base yourselves in grey old England, rather than California where you seem to have many ties?

Wendy: I’ve visited England twice before and I really liked it and I know several English people in the states and I get on really well with them. So when Rich called me about doing some work I said “shall I come over there?” And when it started going really well in the studio it got to the point where I had to be there all the time. We had already started working here and Rich has a great studio.
Richard: My studio was also an important factor. These facilities make it possible for us to actually do something. Over the years I’ve accumulated a bunch of stuff so it’s cheap for us to be in the studio everyday and just experiment with stuff.
Wendy: It’d be nice to go to the desert someday and do some writing. I found the idea of coming here really inspiring because it’s new and different to what I’m used to. There is so much going on in the music scene its exciting so I decided to come here.

I read that you guys have been influenced by the desert landscape, is the grey sky and ancient architecture of London also an influence?

Wendy: Yes. Those things you mentioned illicit a certain feeling which must come out in the music somehow because those feelings can manipulate your creativity. It must be a hybrid of what was going on there and what happens here.
What experiences from your day to day lives are incorporated into what you create and how you perform?
Rich: Everything really. It’s interesting how and when things come out as well. Really chance meetings with other human beings which are completely random but have a kind of important impact on your life. Just one meeting can change the course of how you do things in the future.

What is it about the current musical climate that you think has resulted in the kraut rock revival?

Wendy: I think it’s definitely begun.
Rich: It seems like it’s been going awhile. Bands like the horrors have been influenced by it and it’s exciting to feel like there are other bands we could play with and their fans will be really into our music and vice versa. All these bands coming together, it creates, I don’t wanna say scene, but its cool when different bands can share fans. If there had only been one rock and roll band then rock and roll wouldn’t be as big as it is today. It takes a few things coming together to take things beyond a certain level.
The new flaming lips record, which we’ve been lucky enough to hear, it’s kind of proto-punk but the rhythm section is kind of more constant…
W: repetitive, hypnotic.
R: It has kraut elements.

Like Neu?

Richard: Neu! Has the super straight beat. It’s like that but they are more offbeat. That record, I have no idea how they made it, but it sounds like they were jamming for fucking hours.
W: It’s unbelievable
R: It’s mind blowing, its so improvised but just sounds like the best fucking jam since can.
The kraut rock revival could be seen as part of a more vague resurgence of psychedelic music in general. It’s interesting that people are looking for music that makes you zone out.
W: without trying to sound too hippy dippy, I think a few people with really good taste in music have got hung up on the kraut thing recently and it just sends out a wave through the artistic community. Eveyone’s picking up on it and thank God, because it’s really good and intelligent and inspiring and has this hypnotic quality that gives you a break. Like a nice break from the chaos of everything that’s been going on in the world for the last year or two.(sigh) It’s kind if meditative, all these hypnotic grooves and stuff. I’m so happy about it.
R: Bands like Faust, Neu! Can and any others we can mention, they need as many props and as many mentions as they can get for the rest of time basically.

Yeah, even the sex pistols said that kraut rock was an influence.

Wendy: And P.I.L right?
Rich: And even pieces of Joy Division, you know the early stuff.
Wendy: It’s just like really simple, soulful, repetitive grooves with really small deviations from time to time.
Rich: That’s the hypnotic element, you can just get lost in its great that were back to that point in time.

There are ancient disciplines in many cultures such as Australian aborigines or Native Americans where they chant and induce a meditative mental state without the use of drugs.

Rich: We could get really deep here.
Wendy: You can get onto a level of stillness from the repetitive sounds. It’s a good place to be. It helps to quiet the mind.

It’s good that there is music that can have that almost spiritual effect.

Wendy: It’s like spirituality sneaking around the back way.

There seems to have been a significant change in the world of electronic music. In the past few years it’s moved from the energetic dance element to more introspective and perhaps less easily accessible psychedelic music. Do you think this element has always been there lying dormant?

Rich: I think there have always been pockets of everything. There are cycles in music when things become popular again and sometimes artists add something new to the cycle.

What do you want to add to the cycle?

Rich: First and foremost – ourselves. We want to communicate with people at a level which will inspire them to create something else and take it even further.

Tonight at the garage – what routines do you have in preparation for you performance?

Wendy: I like to put on Jefferson Airplane and sing along with Grace Slick.
Rich: I’ve learnt most of the words now haven’t I?
Wendy: yeah! Poor Rich, he’s forced to deal with it.
Don’t you like Jefferson Airplane?
Rich: Yeah I do but I can’t sing along with the force she does. It’s fun though; we’ll probably end up doing it live.
Wendy: Yeah, I want to.

How do you expect the listener to react to your music?

Wendy: maybe to get them in the moment, to make them aware that they are in the room with us. Usually, people come and they stand there and they don’t leave and they watch. They just watch and they don’t talk. I appreciate that. It’s cool. I know what’s it like, when I go to a show and I might be a bit bored, how I react. We get cheers in between songs and the other night there was one guy who was really having a good time, with his hands in the air and he may have been on another planet but that was cool. After all the work we put into it, it feels really good. We didn’t know what to expect, live. We were concerned with just pulling it off and making all the sounds happen. We’d never played together but when we played there it was like the icing on the cake to see people react to what we’re doing.
Rich: You never know what to expect. We’ve been building this over time.
Wendy: We just take things one step at a time and one song at a time. Just trying to create something that the both of us were satisfied with first, we’re kinda selfish that way. We had a feeling that we wanted to create, it’s very rewarding when you put it out there and see people like it.

Going back to your cultural influences, how do you think your very different backgrounds affect the different ways you approach music?

R: we come from polar opposites in a way. Wendy comes from the rock end of the spectrum whereas I’ve gone from djing and looping beats to learning to play guitar and singing. We meet in a place where it’s like Wendy has to play some cool guitar parts to impress me and I come in with the synth stuff, she calls this Simon says. We challenge each other and we have to keep each other excited about the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes we have to go beyond what feels natural.
W: we have to compromise but also push each other’s boundaries. We have to ask can we go beyond that? It’s painful at times.

Does it get quite heated in rehearsals?

W: uuuuuuuurm…yeah.
R; yeah definitely
W: we’ve had our moments in the studio but I’m so glad we persevere. When I met Rich I felt like it opened a doorway. Before, I had been doing the same thing for quite awhile. He pushes me and I’m doing things I didn’t know I had in me. I really appreciate that I always want to have that.
R: That works both ways.
W: I don’t know how solo artists can go and make all these records. My hats off to them but I would get bored I would be like I’m gonna go and do underwater basket-weaving now because I’ve done the same thing 8 times. With we fell to earth I’m constantly being pushed in new directions.

So that’s where Bowie comes into it then? The constant reinventions?

R: It’s funny you mention him because we were both listening to the low record and it has a spirit which is unbelievable. He’s given kraut his salute at an amazing time in his career. So yeah, he has helped us out along the way.
W: He’s been like a spiritual guide for us with the creation of this record.

He’s your guardian angel

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