– How would you describe These New Puritans to those who do not know them?
i’ve always had trouble doing this. that probably says something about us as a band – we want to be free to confound expectations, if that’s where the creative momentum takes us.
i suppose more simply, TNP is now me and my twin brother, from a place called Essex in england, making music, performances, and images which desire to be absolutely direct and absolutely unclassifiable.
usually in conversation i lie, and say we’re a medieval folk reggae band, or any random jumble of adjectives. we also used to say we’re lighting designers when we were in airports.
– “Inside the Rose” arrives six years after “Field of Reeds”. Why did it take so long?
We wanted to get it right, and sometimes that takes time… In this case too much time! We felt like it was now or never, maybe this would be the last album we’d ever make, so let’s get it right. And in between we did some soundtrack work, some commissioned pieces, a live album, toured with 60 piece band of brass and glass … And moved to a new country, to Berlin, and set up a studio etc etc…
– What are the inspirations in your last album “Inside The Rose”?
it’s inspired my all the extremes of life. all the moments that totally overwhelm you and break all the rules you had in your head. moments that turn everything upside down. extremes, both good and bad. i like art like that, i don’t want to listen to a song about going to the shops.
both me and george had the instinct that no matter how unorthodox or music-industry-unfriendly the musical idea , it should be put in the clearest, sharpest form. I always like music that is sharp, not abstract, and we followed that instinct.
– How has your music changed over the years?
it’s changed a lot.
beat pyramid was a bunch of teenagers wanting to make an album that has none of the characteristics that an album normally has. we were in a conservative musical environment – and we were being influenced by Missy Elliot; hip-hop; rhythms from dancehall; writing songs about numerology and the apocalypse, and Michael Barrymore having a wank! We were pursuing our own channel!
being influcened by those things and having eclectic taste sounds normal now, but was strange then.
then hidden we really became TNP properly. it opened up and we were inspired and had the chance to make things about which we have total conviction and belief, and that’s continued. we’re grateful for that, it’s a veyr lucky position to be in.
– What are your favourite artists and musicians in this moment?
at the moment i’m listening to Digital And Spirit – a great drum and bass duo from the 90s. it’s very strange and dark, probably not what you’d expect if you’re not aware of that scene of dark / ambient dnb from london at that time.
also the album Let’s Dance , especially the song Ricochet . i love that rhythm, it’s hard to tell where the ‘1’ is and where the ‘3’ is, everyone feels it differently.
and the song The Pink Room from the Fire Walk WIth Me soundtrack.
– Plan B. If you weren‘t a musician, what would you have done?
i would have probably followed my dad into doing building work. me and george used to work with him as teenagers, shifting rubble from building sites into skips. things like that. it taught us a good work ethic – but i was terrible at it! i’m quite impractical. so if i wasn’t a musician, i’d probably be a terrible builder!!
– Who would you like to collaborate with for a song?
hildegaard von bingen.
– The last question is for your fans. What are your favourite book, actor and movie?
book – the secret histories by procopius, or master and margherita by bugakov, or triste tropiques by claude levi-strauss
actors – denis lavant , buster keaton , peter falk
movie – i saw Flight of Passage by the guy who made Embrace of The Serpent, last night. wow, what a film. i have so much admiration for what it must take to make a film, i’m in awe of film people.