22. feb. 2013

The Pineapple Thief - It’s a curse as well as a blessing (english version)

English progressive rock band The Pineapple Thief will finally stopped the have a concert in Slovenia. So in preparation for the concert we exchanged a few words with the driver of the band Bruce Soord.

1. We can't just pinpoint the kind of music you’re playing, yet we can put The Pineapple Thief in the same drawer as some of the best modern progressive bands today, such as are Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Anathema or even Marillion and Radiohead. Do those comparisons give you justice and were they influential to you in some form?
I think when you’re doing the kind of music TPT is doing and we’re on the label we are on (Kscope), comparisons to the major players are bound to happen.  I must confess, I wasn’t influenced by those bands initially.  It was only when reviews started mentioning them that I actually checked them out!  I do struggle to figure out where my influences come from because I listen to such a range of styles, from traditional 70s prog, through to all kinds of metal, pop, rock, avant-garde and modern progressive.  I CAN say that Steven Wilson has been very influential on a personal level.  He has offered a lot of good advice and was instrumental in hooking me up with Kscope back in 2006.  I really can’t fault that man.

2. And if I continue from the first question, how do you feel about your music being categorized?
It’s a necessary evil!  I do sympathise with you – how on earth are you going to let your readers know without making comparisons?  Everyone gets categorized  but hopefully when people discover you, categorisations become irrelevant.

3. You started with The Pineapple Thief as a solo project, where there any doubts around you, that this is not it (record labels ...)? If yes, what was your answer to that?
I was lucky because back in the beginning, I was on a very small label.  So there were no expectations and subsequently very little pressure.  Of course, the major labels weren’t interested but I didn’t care.  I was only in it to make music. I didn’t think I’d still be here 13 years later talking to you!  I think that’s the key to our success, because even now, I feel very little pressure.  I’m lucky that the band is on the up and more and more people are discovering us.  But after doing this for so long, the motive is still purely about the music.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to sell a million!  But writing songs I am proud of is the true motive.

4. I know it’s probably a frequent kind of question but still; The Pineapple Thief is oddly enough title for the band not to question its origins?
That’s a good question – but I think the band name is so weird, it actually prevents me questioning our origins.  If that’s what you mean.

 5. Your latest work ‘All The Wars’ is kind of set back from more of its progressive styled predecessors to more streamlined approach of songwriting. This was also one of the main critic from fans as well as the critics. Are you trying intentionally to break through to more mainstreamed channels or is it just a natural progression of band’s creativity?
I do hear that about us, but if anything I’d say All the Wars is more progressive and a deeper record than it’s predecessor (Someone Here is Missing).  I love progressive music and I can hear so many progressive influences in there, especially in songs like ‘Give it Back’ and ‘Reaching Out’.   But if you can make a song work with a simple structure, like ‘Build a World’, then that’s just as important.  I can honestly say I’m not trying to ‘intentionally’ break through to a bigger crowd.  If I was that calculating, then my songs would be really shit!  I guess people will have to believe my sincerity when I say I just write what I want to write.

6. Having the string section on album, pushing the boundaries even more?
It certainly opened up a lot of possibilities.  The organic power of an orchestra is unbelievable.  I feel very privileged that I was able to use one on All the Wars.  It’s certainly changed the way I am writing at the moment.  I’m not saying the new album will be covered in strings, but I have a better idea of what I can DO with strings now.

7. A lot of time and effort has obviously gone in to composition and production, are you an perfectionist?
Ha, yes!  It drives me and everyone who knows me quite mad.  My wife hates it when I am writing and recording albums because I turn into a man possessed.  It’s ALL I think about.  So when it’s all done and dusted, I tend to drink quite a few beers to celebrate.  But I think you’ll find that most people in my position are perfectionists.  It’s a curse as well as a blessing.

8. What was the inspiration behind releasing a disc of acoustic versions of the songs on All the Wars?
It was because I wrote all the songs, initially on acoustic guitar.  As I have a good studio at home, it was very easy for me to record new versions of the songs.  It also allowed the wonderful string arrangements to breath.

9. Could you explain the significance of the cover of “All the Wars”? Sometimes it seems that visual aspect is almost a dying art.
Artwork always comes when the songwriting is finished.  I knew I wanted something fairly abstract but it had to be relevant.  When I saw Mark Mawson’s photography, I knew it was right.  It gets the mind working – what does it mean?  The colours, fighting for dominance.  The whole, is it an explosion, a jelly fish, or just a random shape?  It’s what ever you want it to be, which to a certain extent is what my songs are about.  And I’m lucky Kscope love making the physical product so special.  Which, as you hinted, is keeping the visual aspect alive.

10. All the Wars video, whose story was that?
Not mine!  I purposely let the director do what he wanted.  It’s very bleak and obviously different to what I wrote the song about.  But it’s still a relevant interpretation of the song.

11. There is a great deal of fan interaction with you (band) and your activities (asking individuals to send in photographic representations of the songs on the album -  Instagram, TPT Army ... ). Do fans also guide you in any way, to be what you are, to be better?
The fans are so important.  I simply wouldn’t be here without our followers.  But I don’t think I let them guide me musically, although I’m sure that subliminally, when you know a song gets the audience going, you want to repeat that formula again.  And I think fans feeling part of the band they love is extremely important.

12. What kind of visitors come to your gigs? Because I can easily imagine seeing some metal header next to a hipster and somewhere in the back a Steven Wilson fan (Which is some kind of a compliment considering the variety of fans).
It’s exactly that.  I can honestly say we’ve had people ranging from 12 year old kids to an 88 year old guy and everything in-between!  I really like the fact that we appeal to such a variety of listeners.  Yes, not everyone gets us but that’s not my aim.  A lot of bands seem obsessed with attracting ‘young’ audiences.  I really don’t care who is in the crowd, as long as they are human!

13. To sum everything up, your life with your music and band in one word. What would that word be? Why?
Privileged.  To be able to write songs, to have a wonderful band of friends to do it with and to have such wonderful support from the people who listen to us.

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