Exclusive: Liars Talk Yorke & Sisterworld Remix Album

Angus, Aaron and Julian explain how to email Thom Yorke and befriend the Melvins

Could it really be that it’s only a matter of days until Liars unleash their formidable Sisterworld onto an unsuspecting public? Indeed it could – visit the Sisterworld here.

Not only have Liars reinvented themselves yet again to create one of the best long-players we’ve heard in ages, but they’ve gone the extra mile to ask musical peers, inspirations and fellow travellers such as Alan Vega, Chris & Cosey, Deerhunter, the Melvins, Devendra Banhart and the Melvins to contribute remixes and/or reworkings of all the tracks on Sisterworld. We recently spoke to Liars about the remix project, and asked how it all came about:

Angus Andrew: It panned out amazingly. It felt really weird because no one said no. We thought of people we really admire and we’re not gregarious people so contacting someone who you really admire and perhaps you only really know a little bit is really daunting. You kind of swallow . . . you just do it, even if you’re scared.

Say for example someone like Thom Yorke. In the terms of alternative rock, Radiohead are the biggest band in the world, arguably. How does one go about getting him to appear on one’s record?

Julian Gross: Well, you know we’d been lucky enough to tour with them so we had a little bit of a foot in the door.

AA: I remember my problem with Thom Yorke was ‘How do I get into an email conversation with Thom Yorke without getting into an email conversation with him, you know? I was really scared of having to begin this back and forth kind of thing. I was trying to write it in a way that would avoid that and just have to be answered yes or no. And then I wouldn’t have to get involved in this long involved process and it took me a long time to figure out how to do that.

JG: Is that because he’s someone that you kind of idolize in a sense? And you don’t want to have that back and forth with someone like that?

AA: I don’t want to have a conversation with people that I think well of because I don’t want them to find out what I say. You become afraid of revealing.

JG: Oh my God! They’re going to think I’m an idiot! Oh God, I’ve just revealed that I don’t know anything!

AA: I’m afraid that they’ll ask me what the best Johnny Cash record is and I won’t know what to say.

JG: But at least it’s on email. "Ah, I’ll just have a quick look at wikipedia about Johnny Cash before I reply."


What are the most surprising songs on the second disc?

Aaron Hemphill: For me the Chris and Cosey one. They’re my heroes as far as music and art go. Chris and Cosey’s albums under that name have a new found relevance in the wake of bands like Night Jewel and Glass Candy and I love the fact that they draw influence from it. Or maybe they don’t but I think there is a connection and I’m not criticizing that. I think it’s great. People should check out Chris and Cosey. Writing an email to them and getting a response was amazing. And I really like the Pink Dollaz one. Maybe this will be a way for people to get into a group that they never would have before.

AA: It’s not my favourite but the one that I’m most excited by is Pink Dollaz’ cover of ‘Scissor’ and it’s probably not the easiest one to deal with. And this group of girls attacked the song in a way that I would have asked for if I was involved to ask for that kind of thing.

JG: I think the most exciting one for me is the Melvins. Being able to work with the Melvins and to even say that Dale’s kind of my friend maybe is awesome.


AH: [incredulous] Dale’s kind of my friend maybe?

JG: I think we might have possibly reached the point where we could possibly say that we might be friends.

AA: You want to get engaged to him.

JG: I do! I loved Dale before even played drums and I knew there was something special about The Melvins. So watching them when I was growing up and then doing something with them on a record was cool. That was pretty exciting.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today