<Sideline No.24 Sept.-Oct. 1998>
The legendary and enigmatic And Also The Trees recently played Belgium
promotion tour for their now self-released new album.The Trees have always
special band to me, apart from the crowdy cliche scene, away from the beaten
They've always been themselves, carrying their own image and identity though the
years and over the releases. They're to music what poetry is to literature. A
neverending source of images and feelings easy to perceive and experience,
but still so
hard and difficult to comment and describe. We met the singer and frontman
Trees who not only commented his record, but also told us about the aborted demise of
the band and their enthusiasm in loosing themselves into their texts and
Can you tell us more about the recording of your new record?
A. What happened was that after the previous album we had some problems
in music business. We
did the tour and really enjoyed the tour. We almost decided that we would
quit you know!
It was too difficult to carry on. The audience's response was good, but the music business; the media
was bad. It's not not that we got bad reviews, we just didn't get any at
all! And it was demoralising.
I don't mind if we get bad reviews if people are at least listening to
the album and hearing it.
They wouldn't even listen to it ! We nearly stopped, and then I called
my brother and said I wanted to
do another album even if we don't make any money. Just for ourselves and
the people who like the
He came over to Switzerland where I'm living with all the equipment. We
did lots of the work there in
the mountains. And in February this year I came home to England and we
went to Cornwall to record
the final vocals and do the mixes. The original drummer played on 2 songs,
but he wasn't able to keep
drumming because he had to get another job, he's a designer.
We were lucky enough to meet the new one who really enjoys the new stuff.
We played London for the first time in 6 years and our former drummer came
to see us, it was the
first time since 1980 that he hadn't played with us ! And he came to see
And Also The Trees and
said it was really good to see us from the front and not form the back (laugh). He didn't to leave the
group, but if you want to lead a normal life, then you can't be in the
group any longer I don't complain
here, it's my choice.
But if you're in an underground band making money is pretty tough! You
don't have a regular income.
Now it's great, we're touring, but there's lots of time when you're just
working on music or lyrics, and
I don't want to sound to financially influenced but it's the reality of
it! And we're a known group, but
we're not like somebody like Nick Cave, there's quite a big leaguer in
between. He has gone beyond!
Do You feel you still have the same motivation today?
A. Yeah, we do the label thing ourselves. It's much easier. You know the
music business is a big
game that takes a lot of energy. You have to make concessions, etc. I hate that side of it and I
But now we're making all ourselves I feel more comfortable about it. Before
this we were on a label
in Birmingham who were releasing ambient dub and techno music. They did
Future Sound of London
and a few big compilations. And he heard that album and wanted to sign
the Trees. So we decided to
quit Normal. We thought something different could happen cos it was a different label. And it was ok,
he was enthusiastic, he wanted the Trees to be a big band in England. If
he wanted to try, he tried!
But he was in front of a wall! It all got very depressing you know, we
sent out 80 cd's for promotion
in Great Britain and did not get one review! There's just no excitement around And Also The Trees in
England! You have no press cos you don't gig, but you can't play when you
have no press! Forget it!
Hmm I'm not bitter about it, I don't want to concentrate on England, that's
all. I don't want to think
England is the centre of the universe. We just want to play our music.
Tell us more about the front-sleeve of the new CD?
A. Yeah!! Aah! It's from a set of playing cards that I bought. We're all
interested in this area of 50's.
Some time the spirit of And Also The Trees emigrated to America. And when
we were thinking one
photograph of one of my playing cards. That's the one! It reminded me of
the last track of the album.
Highway 4287, a song about this highway where there's a concentration,
people are thinking, it's
about their feeling, and we play these cards when the juke box plays kitsh
You have kitsh songs on the album, there's also one with jungle break beats?
A. The members of And Also The Trees, we're all interested in different
kinds of music. We play the
music we want to hear and we want to play. And the direction it goes is the one we feel comfortable
with. We're trying all time to do something new, but still And Also The Trees. If there's a particular
style we like it will come out on the album.
You were nervous on stage tonight?
A. Yeah. It's because we haven't toured for 2 years. We got one gig in
England which was fine. We
arrived to the venue at 3 and had a very very short soundcheck. But after 4 songs I was more
relaxed.It's all right being nervous, it can sometimes out something.
Tonight you played together with Breathe Of Life who belong to the gothic scene. Isn't
it boring for you to play for such dark audience?
A. Well, it's a different question cos there's a section of the gothic
crowd that only wants to hear
Sisters Of Mercy and other bands copying them. And that's all they want
But you have a section that like dark music but they're more expensive, they like Nick Cave, Chris
Isaak, I don't know. It's not because they look like the gothic audience.
It would be easy for us to say
no we don't want the gothic audience any more cos some of them are very
progressive. They're open
to hear new tracks, new ideas from groups within that sphere. But we've
a varied audience and I like
Tell us more about the writing process of the new album's texts?
A. Well, when I was working on the vocals I had lots of books that might
be appropriate, opening
them on the floor, then I just picked up a book and snag whatever came
into my head and sometimes
I would pick up lines. And what I had after this session was a lot of vocal lines that didn't make
sense. I thought I didn't want to kill myself on the lyrics for that album. I wanted it to be more simple,
I tried it but it didn't work! Something was missing, and that was the
lyrics, they didn't have the depth
so I had to start again. It took me another year to loose myself in the
music and to write what I really
wanted to write. The rest of the band hate me in the end cos it takes me
so long to write the texts and
I'm very difficult to work with.
I hope you won't stop your career now...?
A. I told you, I thought to stop during 2 months, but then there's a big
hole! I have a good feeling
about this album any way. We loved doing it. We think it's worth doing.
The main thing is the music
not the music bizz.
Did you do anything else during your break?
A. I sang in a rock a billy band. It was the first project I ever did away from the Trees. We made a
lot of cover versions and my singing got better because of that experience.
We did cheesy easy
listening cover versions playing casino's and so. We even did an easy listening
cover of Ace Of
Spades by Motorhead!
In conclusion, which is your all time favourite song by the Trees?
A. Hmm Slow Pulse Boy. It's such an old song, '86 or so, and I still get
the kick playing it today.
And when you play a song so many times and you still love playing it, then
it must be a special song.
Bands always say, yeah it's from the last album, cos it's the best, blablabla.
This song will never seem
to date for me! It is still alive! It's different.
Back To Article Page
Back To Top