STAR INTERVIEW: Album launch for Therapy?

Therapy? Picture: Tom Hoad
Therapy? Picture: Tom Hoad
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Northern Ireland trio Therapy? return to the Roadmender in April, touring in support of their new album Disquiet which was released this weekMARCH23.

Last year, the band celebrated the 20th anniversary of their lauded classic Troublegum, playing the album in full across the UK and its successor Infernal Love at the Sonisphere festival.

A sequel of sorts to the multi-million selling 1994 classic, Disquiet is a confrontational, challenging and venomous record, which brings back a more melodic edge to Therapy?’s sound.

WOW spoke to frontman Andy Cairns about last year’s anniversary shows and their new album.

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Looking back, did you enjoy celebrating the 20th anniversary of Troublegum?

“The gigs were fantastic, we had a great reaction for one of our most loved albums.

“It was really good fun for us to do, we know the songs really well and our fans know them inside out. The show at Nottingham was one of the highlights of the tour.

“Because we were way ahead of ourselves with the writing and recording of Disquiet, we thought why not. It was only going to be eight gigs so we thought, ‘Lets celebrate it with the fans’. It was great to do.”

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Was there many songs from Troublegum you had to invest time into relearning?

“There were songs we hadn’t played for years like Brainsaw and Unrequited.

“We had a different drummer then and Neil Cooper hadn’t played some of those tracks.

“We needed to make sure we could get the sound right and that we were playing properly.

“Neil plays in the same way Fyfe Ewing did so he caught on pretty quickly.

“Some of the songs were a lot trickier than we remembered.

“We always thought Troublegum was pretty straight forward - three minute songs of discordance noise and energy. However, some is actually quite crafty in the way it’s arranged.”

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Were you worried at being able to recreate the intensity of the album?

“The energy was fine, it’s inherent in those songs when you start playing them and you can’t help but go with it.

“At one point we were thinking of recreating a show from 1994 and were looking at old set-lists.

“When we looked back they were very short - I’m surprised we got away with it. Our old sets from 1994 were only about 40 minutes long. If you come now, we’re playing for about one-hour 40-minutes.

“We only played for 50 minutes when we headlined Brixton Academy which is outrageous. I’d want my money back. The punk rocker in me thinks three hour sets are insanity though.”

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Manic Street Preachers also marked the 20th anniversary of The Holy Bible last year and you joined them on stage in December. How did that come around?

“I’ve known James Dean Bradfield as a friend since 1992, we’ve always kept in touch.

“He knows how much The Holy Bible means to me, it’s one of my favourite albums of all time and we were lucky enough to play a bunch of shows with them in 1994.

“He had asked me if I wanted to get up and play You Love Us with them. I told him if they were putting it in the set, I’d love to.

“He went way beyond the call of duty with his hospitality.

“When we had them on tour I watched them every single night. On stage they are crushingly loud, which might surprise some people.

“I played onstage with Sepultura in the 1990s and I can honestly say the Manics’ on-stage sound is louder.”

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Although Disquiet isn’t a direct successor to Troublegum, you’ve said it takes some of the immediacy and anthemic qualities of the record. How influenced by it were you?

“We wanted to write something more anthemic again.

“Some of the songs on our most recent albums have been long winded and maybe take seven minutes to say something which Troublegum opener Knives did in one minute 50.

“We went back to the ways in which Troublegum was written and that was at the back of my mind on Disquiet. When we started writing material I needed an ‘In’ for the lyrics, some kind of focus.

“I thought ‘Where would the guy in Knives be thinking 20 years later’?

“Still Hurts is an answer to Knives. If Knives is impotent rage, Still Hurts is someone still questioning but not with a blind sense of malcontent.

“We haven’t written Troublegum 2 but it was an entry into how we were going to write this time.”

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Did you have an eye on writing something with a more commercial edge?

“It’s been such a long time since Therapy? bothered the charts, we’re not daft enough to think after this length of time we might have another crack at it.

“However, we wanted to be more direct. We’ve had a tendency to meander on the past couple of albums.

“Crooked Timber is an example of a really simple song with a Krautrock beat but it ended up seven and a half minutes long.

“Of course, there’s nothing I’d love more than to sell millions of copies of every album we release.

“I would love more people to know who the band are. Troublegum charted across the world and I’ve gold disks to show for it.

“But you have to do things on your own terms. When you start looking down the road of trying to make something happen it’s a folly and you know yourself which makes it worse.

“A few years ago a record company asked if we would try and write some singles, like Teethgrinder.

“I said we don’t do things like that but we decided to go into the studio and we wrote four tracks.

“We were half way through and we looked at each other and said ‘This is rubbish’.

“Instead of sounding like Troublegum it was sounding like bad Blink-182 cast offs. It was dreadful. “We binned them. No one will ever hear them.”

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Disquiet was produced by Tom Dalgety who recently worked with Royal Blood. What did he bring to the record?

“We were very lucky with Tom, We’ve known him for years and had always wanted to work with him.

“Just before the Royal Blood album was released he said he’d do it. If we’d of asked him a few months later I’m sure his price would have gone up!

“He brought a lot of the textures and made Disquiet sound it sound big without being overproduced.

“Some of our records in the past have been confused and overproduced.

“There’s a truthfulness to this record which isn’t too glossy. It sounds vibrant.”

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What’s your favourite track on Disquiet?

“Deathstimate is my favourite. I was trying to write something like a lost David Bowie riff.

“I had the melody and I explained to our producer what we were trying to do.

“I wanted it to sound like Portishead playing Black Sabbath.

“Tom and Neil set up drum loop which he played along with and then I played along with guitar and sang.

“There was a lot of thought about the construction of the track and how we wanted it to sound.”

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Therapy play the Northampton Roadmender on April 20.

For more information, visit www.theroadmender.com