In the year since Pennyblackmusic last spoke to A Place to Bury Strangers last April on the night of their first UK show at the London Barfly, they have been immensely busy.
Their self-titled debut album, which had come out in 2007 in the US, was re-released in the United Kingdom on Rocket Girl with five extra tracks. There have been several singles on both vinyl and CD and they have toured both Britain and the United Kingdom constantly.
The group, a three piece from New York, consists of Oliver Ackermann on guitar and vocals, Jono Mofo on bass and Jay Space on drums. They play noisy and ear-deafening sonic pop. Like the Velvet Underground, they are an acquired taste and like that band also they have a Welshman on bass.
In our second interview with A Place to Bury Strangers, we spoke to Oliver Ackermann before a headlining gig at Kings College in London.
PB : It has been a year since we last spoke. A lot has happened to you since then.
OA : It has. Definitely.
PB : What have been the highlights for you ?
OA : We did a tour with Nine Inch Nails which was amazing. We have done a few more tours as well both with other bands and also with ourselves as headliners. Those have been amazing too. We have recently signed as well to Mute.
PB : Excellent news.
OA : So we are excited about that. We have also been recording the next record for them, and we are almost done with that.
PB : Prior to Mute, you were signed to Rocket Girl in Britain.
OA : Rocket Girl released our debut album last year. There were some extra tracks on that and they released a few singles too. Things have been going really well. The girls that run Rocket Girl are lovely.
PB : Was the Rocket Girl version of the album re-mastered or cleaned up at all from the original version ?
OA : It's all the same.
PB : The extra tracks have all been released on tour 7 inches in the US. Were they the same versions as those on the CD album ?
OA : Yes, as far as I'm aware. There might be the odd different intro or something, but that’s all.
PB : The seven inch version of your recent single, ‘Missing You’, contains a demo version of that song. I love that version of that song.
OA : That was recorded when I took a trip out to Virginia. It was recorded between midnight and 4 a.m. None of my friends were around so I went to our old studio and I recorded that demo.
PB : There have been a lot of remixes on the B sides of your singles. Is that because you didn't have time to record any more new songs ? A lot of those remixes in particular have been by the Clapp. Is that a band ?
OA : The Clapp are a two people project, I thought those remixes were fantastic. We were a bit unsure what songs we wanted on the new record, so we are holding onto all the new songs for that record.
There is something like five extra songs on the new release, and we have decided we are not going to re record them. I think on the next set of singles there will be more songs on the b sides.
PB : Is the new album completely written ?
OA : Yes, it is all written. We started working on something like eighteen songs. Then we narrowed it down to eleven so that we can take it to a place that will fit on the album. The best tracks will be on the album. It could be ten or eleven.
A producer has co-produced the record with me this time, This guy is Andy Smith. He has done lots of top 40 bands and he has been Paul Simon's engineer for the past 15 years. He understands a lot about the science of music, which will make this record have more of an impact.
PB : Mute are a decent label.
OA : I can't believe it.
PB : Legend has it that the 10 inch pressing of ‘To Fix the Gash in Your Head’ has blown up two record pressing plants. Is that true? I can't see how pressing a record could do that.
OA : I have no idea either. When it happened the first time, there was a press release saying it was too loud and how it broke the machine. We thought it was funny. Then it destroyed the next one. We were like, “What the f**k !” I don't know how it broke it, How could it break a machine?
PB : What are your plans for the future ?
OA : We are touring at the moment. We will have a few months off in which we will do some recording and work on some new stuff, then we will do a few shows in New York and on the east coast of America, I guess when the album's out there will be a lot more touring.
PB : Thanks for your time.
OA : Thank you.