Soord (formerly with Vulgar Unicorn) started the band Pineapple Thief back in
1999. They have just released their new album 'Tightly Unwound' via the new
label K Scope and for lovers of progressive music in the style of Elbow or
Radiohead this album is a 'must have'...
What are you currently up to? (recording, gigs, plans)
New album was released yesterday. It's weird, it's all new to the fans but it's
been with me for 12 months; I'm just thinking of where to go next. I've just
upgraded my studio (I always like to get nerdy in between albums) so I'm now
venturing up to my blank canvass to see where it takes me. As for gigs, we're
quite busy at the moment in the UK and off to Poland in September. But we
desperately want to get out more.
Could you take us through the new album 'Tightly Unwound'
The song writing process was a bit weird for this one - my wife had just been
through a very high risk pregnancy. We lost our first baby after 5 days as he
was born very early.
Then we found out
she was pregnant with twins. Problem was, after 18 weeks the same thing threaten
to happen. We were told it was 'all over' until a consultant suggested a risky
operation that 'might just work'. Well, the op went ok but it meant the next 20
weeks were tense to say the least.
I didn't do any
recording as I was having to care for my wife. Miraculously the twins were born
healthily. It was then that all the tension was released and I just had to
bottle it and take it to the studio and write.
Even though we had
two small babies, I would run to the studio when I could, 3am-6am was always a
good session! In retrospect I have no idea how I survived. I was knackered, but
I found energy from somewhere.
The songwriting process? I've nailed it down now. I write on the acousitc; hum,
strum, mull it over in my head, in the car, down the supermarket. When it has
matured in my brain, I take it to my studio and lay down the tracks. I don't
tend to mess around as much as I used to.
One thing being a
dad has taught me is that I don't get time to faff about - in the studio, plug
in, away you go. Don't even think about it. I actually think it's a blessing.
I've ruined many a song by tinkering with it...
How did you hook-up with K Scope and what are you hoping the label will be
able to do to get the album & your music out there?
It was actually Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree who hooked me up with Kscope.
When I sent them my stuff, they phoned me almost straight away. I must confess,
previous to signing with Kscope I was a little jaded; I hadn't actively sought a
I was settled with
the idea of releasing low-key albums to my fanbase. But now I've seen what
Kscope are made off, it's made me realise that I really have to get my music
heard. They are a nice bunch of people, professional but with the air of a true
independent. It feels good to be there. The fact that the new album is available
everywhere now and the digital distribution (last.fm, itunes etc) is something
we've never had before.
What sort of set can fans expect on your next set of live dates? Also are you
seeing your profile on the rise in the UK?
We're playing everything bar 2 tracks from the new album, and throwing
favourites in from the previous albums. We've always had a dedicated fan base,
but our profile is definitely on the up in the UK. I think a lot of people had
clocked our name, it was just difficult to get hold our stuff. The next 6 months
is going to be really interesting. We're set up, for sure. But I know it's a
tough world out there...
What have been the live highlights so far for the band and who ideally would
you like to tour with & why?
Good question! We played Holland last September - to see so many people turn up
for us, singing along to all our stuff was wonderful. We will never forget that.
Plus the bloke at customs in France knew who we were - you know you've made it
when you can't get through customs without having to sign a CD!
highlight was a gig we played in Manchester last week (May 17th 2008). It was
our best performance by far. It was almost as if we all of a sudden we knew we
were ready to get out there with the big boys. Which leads me to your question -
I'd love to play with Elbow, Beck, Deus.
A lot of people
want to see us open for Porcupine Tree - obviously that would be great but we
have always been compared to them in reviews because of our similar names. I
personally think we sound a million miles away - yeah, we both play rock, a
little bit progressive. That doesn't make us clones!
You have had some positive mentions in 'Classic Rock' magazine but the print
media seems to be behind the online media in promoting the band. Why do you
think, in the UK especially, it is so hard to get decent printed media coverage?
How important has the internet been for the band in promoting yourselves?
The internet has been huge for us. Ever since I released 'Abducting' in 1999. I
remember back then we had 'mp3.com' - a slow trickle of fans came to me from
there. That started the ball rolling. Things really took off when we got our
website sorted out.
The forum there is
really active and they were directly responsible for getting the deal with
kscope (they were the ones who bombarded Steven Wilson to get in touch). But
like you said, the printed media is behind. Classic Rock is great, they seem
very open. But a lot of the mainstream media seem to be obsessed with the
current, insular UK music scene. Yeah, I like the Klaxons and the The Kooks, but
if you don't sound like them, look out...
Will K Scope be looking to re-release the band's earlier albums and would you
be keen on doing the re-release package other bands favour with bonus tracks
I would definitely like to re-mix & re-master the albums (all the stuff for the
obligatory sticker!). I do feel torn that it can be construed as 'milking the
fans', but at the same time, I feel they need a bit of a polish.
I wouldn't want to
go too far though. All my albums exist in a time and a place. There is lot of
'bonus' stuff lying around my studio, I have to say. So I think I'll have to go
for the full sticker: 'Remixed, digitally remasterd with exclusive bonus
How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of
advice would you pass onto budding musicians?
It was certainly a slow boil. The first break came when Cyclops Records, a small
independent, got in contact. We released albums (under my previous band) and
never really got anywhere. I then got in a 3 piece band and spent 2 years doing
the 'industry thing' - touring the Camden circuit, playing to 'music bods'.
Then all of a
sudden, a very close friend died. I had a sea change - I quit that band and did
the first TPT album which Cyclops kindly agreed to release. I really didn't have
any pretention at that point. I did JUST about well enough to warrant a second.
That did a LITTLE bit better. So I did a third. Then I found myself with a small
but dedicated fan base. So I did a fourth....
My advice? for what it's worth:
1) Keep writing
songs. No matter whether you think your songs are the greatest since the
Beatles, they probably aren't (otherwise more people would notice). I listen
back to my early stuff and they all suck. Don't keep flogging them. Write new
2) Don't waste
time chasing the majors. Gig as much as you can, get a web presence, seek out
the small independents. If you are good, the momentum will build and the bigger
boys will come to you.
3) Playing a sell
out gig to your mates every week doesn't mean you're any good, even though they
are all drunk and cheering.
4) I repeat, DON'T
GIVE UP. It's out there.
What do you like doing with your spare time outside of music?
Keeping the beer belly at bay - playing football, racket sports and stuff. I
love cooking - I can cook two things amazingly well; curry and pizza. It's
driving the missus mad as it's not all that balanced! I love having a beer with
my friends down the local. I do the usual - watch a lot of films, listen to a
lot of music. Read. Oh, I have to be a dad to my 15 month old twins, I almost
forgot about that!
Message for your fans...
You know it, I know it. I wouldn't be typing this if it wasn't for you.
Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.
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