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Quietus Exclusive: Download 65 daysofstatic Track From New EP - PLUS Q & A
Simon Jay Catling , September 17th, 2010 10:50

Get 'PX3' here - plus, a Q & A with the band and news on their new EP and tour dates

Friends of The Quietus and esteemed coves, 65daysofstatic, have given us a track to give away from their new Heavy Sky EP.

You can download 'PX3' by using the widget below. The EP will be released on October 25, with a UK tour scheduled for the same month.

Band members Paul Wolinski and Joe Shrewsbury also chatted to The Quietus's Simon Jay Catling about the new EP, the reaction to We Were Exploding Anyway and becoming power mad...

A new EP out despite We Were Exploding Anyway only coming out 5 months ago; the band must be in a creatively rich vein of form at the moment?

Paul Wolinski: Perhaps. We definitely were by the time we were in the studio making the record. All of these tracks were recorded and mixed at the same time, so the EP is more of a companion piece to the record, really. They're not b-sides - we really like these songs. But none of them fit on the album for one reason or another. But we always wanted to get them out somehow.

Joe Shrewsbury: When we started to write the album, we were very aware of all the things people had said about our previous album, all the music we'd put out... everything we'd asked people to experience because of us really. We wrote a lot of music and threw it away, and then we gradually started to relax after several long years of tour/record/tour/record.

When we finally went into the studio, we had about 20 tracks, and after another round of quality control, we were left with the tracks on the album, and these tracks. So these are just the tracks we left off the album because of the album we thought we were making. It's like a shorter, weirder album in it's own right.

Is it a continuation of the dancier-edge of the album, or are there bits that were too different to fit in?

JS: A bit of both really. The opening tracks are very, if not more, dance orientated than the album, while the end is a huge wall of tape loops and guitars. We filled the middle with some glitch and some strange dance/drone things that there was no room for anywhere else. It's quite a journey.

PW: Yes, both of those things. 'Sawtooth Rising' and 'The Wrong Shape' are booth more dancey, definitely, but then Pacify and PX3 are probably a bit more old-school 65. Pianos, noise, kinda big-sounding. Then Beats Like a Helix is basically just two minutes of drum'n'bass. 'Guitar Cascades' is probably the strangest thing on there, because it's mostly just ten minutes of massive noise with a kick drum underneath it and a mournful guitar outré… Basically I guess the EP is a mixture of all the avenues we didn't have time to properly wander down. It doesn't flow in the same way as our record hopefully does, but there's definitely a lot of variety on there. Apart from singing. There's still no singing.

With the emphasis very much on creating an album to be played live this year, I guess the EP follows suit - how did that change the atmosphere in the studio? A freer environment to work in?

PW: Kind of. We haven't really talked much about what happened in the studio in any interviews, but just before we went into make the record, we hired a producer. At the time we thought this was a good idea but when it came to it, we realised that it just wasn't working. Halfway through the two weeks of studio time we could afford, we had to put a stop to it. He left, and we started the recording process again. The fire that was burning in us that last week - recording those 17-odd tracks that made up the album and now this EP, from scratch - was like nothing else we've ever gone through. I'm not sure if it was a 'freer' environment, but it was definitely an exciting one. Next time we're gonna start hiring people purely so we can sack them. We've gone power mad.

JS: Actually, these tracks are probably a little more studio based. That's probably the reason one or two of them aren't on the record. The track we're giving away here ('PX3') is playable live, for instance, but it won't have the luxury of one guitar being fed through five separate amplifiers at once, which is what you're listening to on the recorded version.

To answer your question properly though, it meant that we were free to concentrate on actually piecing the album together sonically in the studio, and recording it right. We'd literally done everything we could in the previous 18 months in terms of arrangement. So we knew these were the best versions of the songs we had, and we just had to get them recorded right.

There are a couple of alternative versions of some tracks that'll probably surface at some point, but for the most part, we chucked anything that didn't work away. Very liberating.

There's already hints of it in some of your more recent tracks, but could 65 daysofstatic ever abandon the traditional guitar,bass,drums axis of a band go completely digital?

JS: I think we'll continue to use whatever instruments are needed to make the music work. It would be an exercise in discipline to limit ourselves to electronic equipment, and I think we're interested in applying discipline to what we do - it's something we don't feel we had a lot of when we started out.

PW: When we first started, we were nothing close to a traditional band template anyway. There were no drums. I didn't play the guitar at all (arguably I still can't) and just had a sampler and keyboard. There was no drums at all, only electronic beats, and we made much noisier, much more dancy stuff than our eventual first albums 'proper'. When Rob joined on drums, it opened up things for us in amazing ways and we learnt how to translate all of that stuff into a much more effective live show. So… this last record felt more like an evolution to us than a radical departure. But it was a lot of fun. I would guess that we certainly won't tone down the electronic elements with whatever we do next, although I can't imagine we'd ever actually abandon actual instruments. Where would the fun be in that?

With the recent Edinburgh Festival show as well, it seems at the moment there's a real attempt to change perceptions on how your music - and possibly the band - might be received?

PW: A little bit. The Edinburgh Festival world was entirely foreign to us; a great and confusing experience. I wouldn't say that we fit in, exactly, but it was certainly a nice feeling to know that we could be playing Sonisphere at the weekend, and then four days later be live-soundtracking some contemporary dance at the Fringe. We probably made a huge mistake 9 years ago when we decided to call our band '65daysofstatic'. Everyone who has never heard of us thinks we're either an emo band or massive post-rock mediocrity. Everyone knows it's a lot cooler if your band is a single word, preferably a noun or a verb. We should probably have paid more attention to our haircuts too. Oh well.

JS: Well, I think we're just really proud of our versatility, and we're really willing to try new things out. You can't just tour Europe twice a year for the rest of your life - people will stop coming. You have to find new and interesting ways to get the music out live. It was a really good experience for us, to perform at Edingburgh. It was the first time we weren't focus of people's attention - at least not visually, so everything went into making the sound match what was happening in the performances of the dancers.

How did you find the Edinburgh show? Did you feel cut off from the audience by playing behind the film or was it quite liberating without everyone's eyes on you?

PW: Both of those things. We played quieter, and we played a lot of stuff that we have never played live before - a lot of stuff from the 'Destruction Of Small Ideas era. It was a lot easier to play those delicate things without being in the context of a '65 show', which is generally far too hectic to get across that kind of subtly. At the same time though… the interaction with the audience is one of the most important things at a show, so being cut off like that… It's not the kind of thing I'd like to do all the time. But it was a good thing to try out.

JS: It was strange not to engage with the audience directly, but it changed the focus of the playing so much - there was suddenly so much more room for error with the way we were cueing the music and matching the dance. We normally play songs very fast and very close together, so you don't get time to think, and we're so used to doing that, and making that better, over the last six years or whatever, that this came at a perfect time. Because we really felt with our We Were Exploding Anyway show on our regular tour that we'd finally achieved a level we'd been aiming at for a long time; I mean, we worked really really hard to make it that way, but we fixed a lot of the technical issues that have bugged us as a band, and we really nailed a set, or a group of sets that embraced everything we'd done, but that were also so much fun to play for us, because the new album is so much fun live. And really, we're still touring venues very similiar to the ones we started out in. I mean, Koko and places like the AB in Brussels are much bigger than a lot of places we play, but, the night before Koko, we played the White Rabbit in Plymouth, which is... well, it's small. It's like those places i remember playing from The Fall Of Math. And really, that's what our live show is for - it fits those venues. And the majority of the places we play are that kind of size.

And we finally feel able to fill the space - whatever it might be. It's much harder to pull off those small shows successfully than it is bigger shows - because you have to be so aware of how all the technology you use sounds through a smaller PA in wherever. So it's like working backwards from the larger shows. They're actually pretty easy because there's room for your stuff, for your ears, and for other people's ears.

You've been around a long while now as a band. How has the inter-band relationship managed to evolve and adapt to sustain yourselves for such a long period of time?

PW: We communicate only using semaphore. We have a custom built splitter-van when we tour, so all the four seats face away from each other. And you know those blinds that they put on horses so they can only see straight in front of them? We all wear them up until stage time, so we can pretend the others don't exist.

JS: We're really good friends, more than anything, and we've spent a huge amount of time together. So I suppose we've learnt to give ourselves more space these days. There have been times where we didn't get on and whatever, but in the end, it makes you better mates. That's fucking soft talk though. We're in a band and we travel around playing music and getting pissed. It's amazing.

As you're giving us this track away to us as an MP3, and as everyone seems to enjoy scratching their beards about it at the moment - how has the internet affected you as a band personally?

PW: It's hard to tell. I think after 5 years of beard scratching, in the next couple of years things are finally gonna start happening and will be a lot clearer once we're out the other side. We're about to relaunch our website with a new webstore - the emphasis being on making worthwhile things for fans to buy, rather than simply expecting them to fork out £10 or more for music they can download in five minutes for free anyway. By the time our next album rolls round, I think we're gonna be embracing a whole new model, and a whole new way of thinking. I'm not sure what our record label will think about that, but whatever…

65daysofstatic will play the following live shows as part of their UK and European tour:

October 6 -Central Station, Wrexham

October 7 - New Slang, Kingston

October 8 - Concorde 2, Brighton

October 9 - Vera, Groningen (Holland)

October 10 - Swingfest, Essen (Germany)

October 23 - Brainwash Festival, Leeds (DJ set)

November 7 - Effenaar, Eindhoven (Holland) - with Civil Civic and Nedry

November 8 - Hafenklang, Hamburg (Germany) - with Nedry and Tall Ships

November 9 - Lido, Berlin (Germany) - with Nedry and Tall Ships

November 10 - Blue Note, Poznan (Poland)

November 11 - Conne Island, Leipzig (Germany) - with Nedry and Tall Ships

November 12 - Schüür, Lucerne (Switzerland) - with Civil Civic

November 13 - Kiff, Aarau (Switzerland) - with Civil Civic

November 14 - Tunnel Club, Milan (Italy) - with Civil Civic

November 16 - Nouveau Casino, Paris (France) - with Nedry and Tall Ships

November 18 - La Botanique, Brussels (Belgium) - with Nedry and Tall Ships

November 19 - Melkweg, Amsterdam (Holland) - with Nedry and Tall Ships

November 20 - Joiners, Southampton - with Kong

November 21 - Arts Centre, Norwich - with Kong

November 22 - O2 Academy, Oxford - with Kong

November 23 - O2 Academy, Leicester - with Kong

November 24 - Palace, Aldershot - with Kong

November 25 - Academy 2, Manchester - with Kong

November 26 - CAMP, London - with Kong