These New Puritans, New Album, Tour, TotalNtertainment, Manchester

Photo Copyright © Harley Weir

10 Questions With… These New Puritans

“We did a gig in Hong Kong, in a big family restaurant and about 500 kids from the suburbs of Hong Kong went absolutely insane and just tore up this restaurant.”

On March 21st, experimental group These New Puritans will be launching their new album, Inside The Rose, at the ICA in London with a collaborative performance featuring music and installations along with a band performance. The album will see release the next day so we spoke to Jack from the group and the event and their sound.

1. Thanks for your time. You’ve got the event coming up on March 21st, how close is it to what you had imagined with you came up with the idea?
“Oh yeah, it’s really coming together. We’ve got Freya Don who made the Inside The Rose video and she’s got these incredible fabric works and she’s building a structure and we’ll be performing in it. We’ve got Harley Weir and a load of other collaborators who are producing other video stuff which will be projected as we play and, yeah, it’s going well.”

2. How did the concept come together?
“I suppose we thought it would be good to do something that wasn’t just your standard gig to launch the album. To be quite honest it’s more my brother George whose worked on the event so I feel like I’m not the right person to talk about it really. But, yeah, we’re going to get these scaffold structures which Freya will be draping fabrics off. We’ll be premiering the new music and it’ll be the first time we’ve played with the new band so it’s a lot of firsts for us in one day.”

3. You’ve already said you’re working with a lot of collaborators on this. Did you have any particular artists in mind?
“Well, Harley Weir, she’s an amazing photographer. Harley’s stuff is about sex but not in a cheap, tacky way. It’s something we wanted to do with the album, it’s a shared thing. It’s a fantastic thing when you’ve find somebody whose sensibilities just fit with yours and there is no friction. It makes things so much easier. There’s no real criteria about who we work with just so long as we feel close together about how we see the world. If you start from a disparate perspective the best you can hope for is that you become a little closer but, if you start together, you can diverge in interesting ways. ”

4. When you wrote the material for the album, did you have a visual show in mind?
“No, not really. The music is the starting point and always has been but I also can’t imagine someone who is outside the process comes in and super-imposes their visual ideas on your music, that seems.. I can’t even comprehend how that would happen. It’s always really George, my brother, who is in charge of the whole visual world of the music. We’re twin brothers so I have more of a lead in the music and he has more of a lead in the visuals.”

5. How does the writing process work with you two?
“Well, I have tendancy to write lots of stuff and lots of music and then he’s very good at refining it down. I suppose the other good thing about being brothers is that there is no kind of niceties. All of those are stripped away which makes it kind of brutal when people come in from the outside but, actually, it means you get to the heart of things so much quicker, you don’t have to tip-toe around worrying about egos or feelings. We both try to make it as good as we can.”

6. You’re going out on tour at the beginning of the April. Will there be a visual element to the show following on from the event next week?
“Well, I’m really excited about it as we’ve put together a band and it’s a four-piece. Live we’ve had everything from two members to fifty members interacting with the show. For this one we wanted something a bit more flexible and a bit more agile. If you play with an orchestra it’s very hard to change things – like a container ship, once you’re on course, it’s hard to change it. What is nice about this is we’re more flexible. There’s moments of real brutality but also moments of real stillness. I like that contrast.”

7. Going forward then, do you have any plans to develop it into something bigger?
“We have plans that we’d like to do but, really, for now, I just think we’re going to go with this then see where we are after that in maybe six months time.”

8. Are there any artists that you’d like to collaborate with who you haven’t worked with already?
“There’s lots of dead artists I’d like to collaborate with. Maybe Francis Bacon, I don’t know, it’s all people who’ve been dead for hundreds of years so maybe we missed out there. There’s tonnes of people I really admire but I wouldn’t really want to collaborate with.”

9. You worked with Sintii, a Taiwanese producer. How did that come about and how did the relationship work given the distance?
“The magic of Google. We were just looking about for singers. There’s tonnes of good producers out there but this song demanded a female singer. The electronic producer Toxe retweeted us on something and Sintii had been a fan of TNP and she had all our albums so she was really excited. She’s coming out on the European dates to sing a few older songs with us. She’s got her own style, her own voice and she just sounds incredible. We should really go out there and do some stuff because our first album sold more in Japan than anywhere.”

“Some of our best gigs have been out there. We did one, there is no venues out in Hong Kong, in a big family restaurant. They moved all the tables out and all these kids from Hong Kong went absolutely insane. About 500 kids from the suburbs of Hong Kong just tore up this restaurant. Someone stole my jacket which I really loved and the promoter told everyone we wouldn’t come back unless the jacket was returned. I got the jacket dry-cleaned and returned in the post two weeks later. It’s really nice though to have people appreciate our music.”

10. Thanks for your time, just to finish then, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
“We need a holiday as we’ve been working really hard. We want to work on some new music and get something out as we’ve got almost an albums worth of material finished. There was fifty songs for the album so hopefully we’ll put out some new music. We’ve got the UK tour and the European tour coming up first then, well, we’ll see from there.”

Full April UK dates as follows:

Wed 10 MANCHESTER Yes | Support from VESSEL
Thu 11 GLASGOW SW3 Warehouse | Support from VESSEL
Fri 12 LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall | Support from VESSEL
Sat 13 HEBDEN BRIDGE Trades Club | Support from VESSEL
Wed 17 LONDON Tufnell Park Dome | Support from VESSEL
Thu 18 BRIGHTON Patterns | Support from VESSEL
Fri 19 BRISTOL Thekla | Support from VESSEL