Part two of Bunf's interview on the release of Phantom Power
Last updated: 24 November 2008
Do you enjoy playing live?
Only if we think the sound is up to it, if we're giving it a good shot. Sometimes some of the best rock things I've seen are totally controlled, tight, but really in your face as well. And that's like when your footy team's playing well - it's magic! But sometimes with our set there are a lot of extremes, so maybe there's a lot to take in in a small place. Glastonbury, on the other hand, is a totally different buzz for me, because you're almost caught up in the whole thing anyway. It's less personal, really if there's more audience there. But we put on our tradition of the show with technical difficulties thrown in for good measure. We didn't have any visuals after we started.
Did you have the yetis on stage?/p>
Yeah. There's criteria to be a yeti. You have to be rhythmically sound. You've got to have some sort of mojo, you know.
You're touring the UK later this year. What can people expect from that?
I think we're going to kick ass, basically. We've been away for a bit, and we just want to blow people's heads. It's been a long time since we've done that, and felt like we've done it to people. We're going to have a hard think over the summer, because I don't know what it is yet. There's talk about mono. You can be even louder in mono, apparently!
When you played Out Of Control at Pesda Roc it was incredibly loud.
Yeah, it sounded very loud from where I was standing. It's great when that happens, when you have the capability of going for it. And everyone in that tent got it at the same time. It's difficult to do sometimes.
One of the biggest surprises at the gig was when you played Hermann Loves Pauline. Didn't you always find it too hard to play?
We used to have an eight track doing the backing clicks for it, a timecode thing, which basically messed it all up for us. But we started rehearsing and just decided we'd do it. I don't know why we didn't do it that way in the first place! We'd never played it for three years, thinking we couldn't. We get into that sort of situation a lot.
Are there any songs you all dislike playing?
I don't think there are. Because even if I don't like playing it, I still like the song. It's a bit like a busman's holiday then. But that's just my opinion. And who am I? I'm just the guitarist!
How did you feel when Phantom Power was leaked online?
Fine. It was great. It was a relief that people actually wanted to hear it. We weren't worried about it harming sales at all. That's what you want to hear, when people are talking about it before it comes out. It probably made more press than our Sony machine did at the start of it. The funniest thing I heard was Madonna trying to get round the pirates, and the geeks got her back. It was class - just don't mess with them!
It's kind of weird the way artists seem to go into a cold sweat when they find their material is being listened to. But the big record companies are going to close it all down anyway. It'll probably take a Madonna to be the first to charge for downloads. I think they're probably just waiting for bands to be the first to put their head on the block in a way, because it could backfire.
With regards to the future, will it be another two years before the next SFA album?
Probably not, actually. We'll have itchy fingers, I think. We might put out the techno album after. We want to put it out properly. I think Cian's starting to get contacts now. We've tried to release things like that ourselves through the normal routes, but it's difficult to try and get it through. So they've given us a choice now: if they don't want it, we can release it ourselves if we give them two weeks notice. It's very good for us. [laughs]
SFA have been together for 10 years now. How do you keep things so fresh? Many bands hit the difficult fourth album and then that's it for them.
I know, yeah. What was our fifth album? Our fourth was Guerrilla, wasn't it? If you count Out Spaced. So it was Fuzzy Logic, Radiator, Guerrilla, and then it would have been Mwng. I think that's probably why - for some reason, I think we just outfoxed everyone on our difficult fourth album. It was a period with Creation stopping, and you don't often get record companies folding. A lot of bands didn't know what to do. I think that's what happened to us: we found ourselves doing what everyone else thought was career hara-kiri.
You said earlier you think every album's the last one.
Oh yeah. I think Mwng was definitely one of those!
Surely after this time you're in a good position, though.
I think maybe only after Rings we started feeling that we had a stay of execution. We got an award nomination, which makes record companies suddenly realise you actually exist. Until then you're something floating around in the ether. The door's only open when somebody's actually said, 'Oh yeah, you're really good'. And after six years...
But if it all fell apart, would you ever go back to teaching?
[laughs, long and hard] F***ing hell, never!