Sunday, 3 April 2011

Gerard Langley talks 'Anti-Gravity', pt. 2

We pick up where we left off the other night....

A2: Time for a couple of slightly tongue-in-cheek questions about the Fall(!) You probably get a bit tired of being compared simply on the basis that you and Mark E Smith both sing in an unconventional way - but a lot of people are fans of both bands. Is it true that you were the inspiration behind the Jazz Butcher song ‘Southern Mark Smith’??

GL: I was a fan of the early Fall I suppose. Haven’t been aware of too many comparisons myself. As for ‘Southern Mark Smith’ I really don’t know about that. It never occurred to me but when it did it seemed quite likely. Pat (the Butcher) is quite cagey about that kind of thing so I wouldn’t expect him to give me the right answer if I did ask him. He did tell me once he had our first press release photo out of Sounds on his kitchen wall, so it would make sense. I’ll give you his number and you can ask him. I wouldn’t trust the answer though.

A2: A lot was made of the last Fall record being MES’s ‘mortality album’ as he had been in hospital, and the last song in particular ‘Weather Report’ got a lot of attention because it was such a departure from the rest of it, being very reflective & full of references to ‘whirlpools getting wider and wider’. You had ‘Adulthood’ on the last album and now ‘Cancer Song’ closes this one in a vein that reminds me a lot of ‘Weather Report’ – ‘I looked up and saw an unattainable land’ and more directly ‘I’m not afraid of dying, just afraid of living too long’. Without wishing you into an early grave(!) do you think it’s inevitable that you’ve become a more reflective writer?

GL : ‘Cancer Song’ is partly about the illness and partly about the star sign. The line you quote is actually “I looked up and saw an unattainable lass”, later “an attainable lass” and is a sort of quote from a traditional folk song from an early Nic Jones album. I’ve no idea what you mean by a reflective writer. Silvered?

A2: On the subject of that song, there's always an epic closing song on a Blue Aeroplanes album. Which one are you most fond of?

GL: There you go again, asking me to have favourites. “Built In A Day”? “Sixth Continent”? “X Celebrity”? “Autumn Journal XXIV”? Someone came up to last week while I was watching an all-girl band called The Barronesques compete with a morris-dancing troupe at a street party in Bristol and said “Soul”, the last track on Tolerance, was his all-time favourite Aeroplanes track. So maybe it’s that one.

A2: Flying above the earth and/or looking down on it, has been a favourite lyrical motif for you – ‘A map below’, ‘Up in a down world’ and probably some others that I can’t think of at the moment. But that seems to have crept into album titles recently too. We’ve had ‘Altitude’ and now ‘Anti Gravity’ – what’s next? The stratosphere? Or some space travel-themed album?

GL: If I knew what the next title was, I’d have used it for this album.

A2: Seriously, what’s next? Obviously last year’s single China Brilliance Automotive was left off the album - have you much other new material recorded?

GL: There are quite a few out-takes, some about 12 minutes long, none of them mixed, some without final overdubs. I imagine we’ll start writing new stuff soon, though. Don’t like to get stuck.

A2: You’ve also done a few volumes of the self-released ‘LIT’ series, the last of which was the William Blake / David Axelrod one – any more of those planned? And how are you getting on with your mythical Definitive History of Rock??

GL: Yeah, there’s a new LIT on the horizon. And my History Of Rock is neither mythical nor definitive. It’s extremely personal, opinionated and argumentative.

 A2: Why vinyl-only? And what are your plans for the album after that? Will there be a US release?

GL: Why not vinyl-only? No one asks “why download only?”

A2: Finally, you’re playing Bristol on May 20th to launch the album and to mark a year in charge of the Fleece. Any other live shows planned yet?

GL: Yup. The Garage in Islington. June 7th. Be there or be square.

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