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interview: Wire

Dimitris Antonopoulos spoke with Colin Newman, Graham Lewis of Wire for their new album, their concert in Greece, "Two Minutes", I.M.F., "100 club" and "Roxy".
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Having 35 years of existence in music, they celebrate it with many concerts all over the world. On the 13rd of March The Wire will be in our country for the first time. The show will be sould out for sure!

Dimitris Antonopoulos spoke with Colin Newman, Graham Lewis of Wire for their new album, their concert in Greece, "Two Minutes", I.M.F., "100 club" and "Roxy".

First of all,your NEW album’s great! So,tell me the story about 'Red Barked Tree'!?

Colin: Firstly thanks for the compliment! Really the story begins in 2006 when we got together as a 3 piece after Bruce's departure in 2004. We took a decision we wanted to continue and would continue even if Bruce didn't want to come back. There had been a lot of destructive stuff happening around the band (not Bruce's fault) but we took a clear positive decision to move forward. I think in many ways a lot of positive things have flowed from this. When Bruce left there was pretty much an album's worth of material in some kind of form.

Those things that Bruce had taken some kind of part in went towards "Read & burn 03" and the rest plus some new things went to "Object 47". In the period spring '08 to spring '09 we did a lot of shows with Margaret Fiedler as our live 2nd guitarist.  This period really built our confidence in playing and really set the scene for RBT. My feeling with RBT was that we needed to get beyond assembly as a process. Most people who don't record in major studios end up using some kind of assemblage to make records.

It's very convenient but I felt we could make a better record by employing a different method which was to actually to write the songs first! I wrote a bunch of songs on acoustic guitar, some with Graham's words and some with my own. Graham came with a 4 pieces which were fundamentally bass & vocal. We booked 4 days in a studio in London and learned and recorded the basic arrangements, just the 3 of us with an engineer.

We had a further 2 day session in another studio, the rest was me working through the material and making it sound good. Everything pretty much stays faithful to the basic arrangements, there are appropriate additional sounds but I really wanted to represent the band in the production.

First time in Greece! How do you feel really?

Colin: Absolutely the first time, never even been on holiday! Excited to see a new place!!

Graham: I've visited twice on holiday. Once when I was suffering from pneumonia and my wife and I stayed up all night nursing a poet's dog which seemed close to death...we drip fed him water and successfully rehydrated him...he pulled through. The poet rewarded us with his friendship and protection.
It is always exciting to work somewhere for the first time...I shall bring a camera to film the high stepping sentries in Athens.

Can you tell me some details about 'Two Minutes'? It's my favorite song you see....Very 'catchy', very deep...

Colin: ha ha I'm not sure it's that deep! For me "Two Minutes" is like "send" done much better, drums recorded in a nice live room & a proper bass line. The voices are almost totally random; it's a bunch of tweets from my twitter timeline from the day I did the vocal. I just added a bit of gratuitous swearing :)

Graham: Colin was very enthusiastic when he sent me the track... his instructions were that I didn't intellectualize it...I put it into Logic (composing programme) and wrote the text I heard in my head when I listened to the track...I recorded my vocal as quickly as possible, did a little editing and repositioning and sent it back. My favorite line is : "The umbilical chord twangs"....an image which stretched my mind.

Art Punk? What a word..(!) How can you really describe your music nowadays?

Colin: To be honest I don't thing wire is any more ANY kind of punk. We simultaneously come from about 8 really different musical places... I think it defies description :)

Graham: ART is adequate enough...the other label not accurate...our music nowadays? GOOD?

?And what about the UK music scene in 2011? Is there something really new & fresh?

Colin: There's always something but so far in 2011 I've actually been away from home more days than at home! First of all in Australia & New Zealand and now around Europe.

Graham: I don't know if you'd call it new...but the work of Australian composer Alan Lamb is as fresh as it gets.

We've been 'on air' together, on my Rockzone radioshow at Kanali Ena 90,4 FM ('Kanaliena.gr') just a year ago..so, Colin told me that it’s clear that tough times are ahead for Greece' (because of the IMF) and he was right. What about UK?

Colin: I'm hardly wise; it was all over the news! Well I didn't vote for the current government and I think their cuts will do as much harm as good but the UK's situation is very different to Greece's

Can you tell me something about the legendary '100 club'...?It’s really sad..end of story? How do you feel about this?

Colin: I hope the current attention will give it the boost it needs to be a viable business. London can be very tough. You have to play the "right" place or you end up with half the audience..

Graham: In the late 70's I used to go there to skank on a Wednesday night...John Lydon was always there dancing too.
The loss of a venue is always sad.

And what about your 'old days' back in 'Roxy' in a few words..? What a period...

Colin: I'm not much of a nostalgic person really. It had its moment and now it's a shoe shop. The Roxy gave us our first gig as the classic 4 piece (see "Live at the Roxy - April 1st & 2nd 1977" on our label pinkflag) but it was other venues followed by lots of touring that really made us better known.

Graham: The Roxy was fantastic for a few months...I used to go every night anything was on...I hardly slept in this period. Being in love, operating as a free-lance fashion designer and teaching one day a week...
I remember with affection nights with Colin getting drunk and dancing to The Damned...

And closing the interview, 3 of your favorite albums ever really? 

Colin: Today's selection will be -

1.    Clear by Spirit
2.    Can't Buy A Thrill by Steely Dan
3.    Selected Ambient Works (Vol 1) by Aphex Twin

Graham: Today's_
1.    Sound System -Lee Perry
2.    Neu -Neu
3.    Soundtrack Work 2 - Teho Teardo

Tomorrow it will be different...

Thank you very much!

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