Mosaic 2012 Interviews: elbow

By Patrick ChngEvents - 23 February 2012 12:00 AM | Updated 29 February 2012

Mosaic 2012 Interviews: elbow

British band elbow has a reputation for being innovators. Critics and music aficionados have love them since they released their debut album “Asleep In The Back” in 2001.

elbow fans in Singapore are understandably eagerly anticipating their first concert here at the Mosaic Music Festival.

We managed to get Guy Garvey (singer), Mark Potter (guitarist), Craig Potter (keyboardist), Richard Jupp (drummer) and Pete Turner (bassist) to answer our questions about music festivals, the creative process and more.

elbow has been nominated three times for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, winning once for 2008’s “The Seldom Seen Kid”. Do you guys consciously push yourself creatively with each album?

Craig Potter: We are always trying to push ourselves creatively. Album to album and song to song. Each time we write a new song, it has to have something unique about the vibe and style for it to make the album. We like making new sounds by combining different instruments together a lot.

How important is it to be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize? I’m sure it made a lot of music fans take notice of elbow.

Potter: It's always an honour to be nominated for the Mercury music prize. It's also great exposure for any band that are nominated and often bands that wouldn't get that exposure otherwise. It was amazing to win and it opened lots of doors for us.

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How does the creative process work in terms of songwriting, instrumentation and music arrangement?

Guy Garvey: No rules really, which is one of the reasons we’re still doing it 20 years down the line. To date, I’m the only lyricist but that isn’t a hard and fast rule. The song can start with a few words, a drum beat, a guitar riff or a discovery of a new noise and everybody writes for each other’s instruments. The band also edits my lyrics and I consult them throughout the lyric writing process.

You’ve cited Genesis, Radiohead, U2 and Talk Talk as influences. Any new bands that you guys are into right now?

Garvey: We love The Walkmen and I really like M83 and Grimes.

You've played numerous festivals. Which festival has been the most amazing so far?

Potter: Festivals are probably the most fun part of any band’s touring schedule. You get to hook up with friends in bands you've met over the years, check out each other’s sets, then get drunk and bumble around getting in to mischief. There are so many festivals around these days, I think we played around thirty last summer, so the details can get a little hazy.

I’ve never had a bad time at Glastonbury as a punter or as an artist and we've been lucky enough over the years to have had several "Glastonbury moments" on stage. The most overwhelming happened last summer. We're in the dressing room minutes before the show and could hear a huge sounding crowd singing along to "Hey Jude" this began morphing into our song "One Day Like This" until the whole field in front of the pyramid stage were belting out 'throw those curtains wide" etc all of this before we'd played a note… it was safe to say we were in for a good gig!

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Where has been the most unusual venue you've played at?

Potter: I'd have to say the strangest place we've performed was as part of a Greek festival on a contaminated beach. We were told not to go in the water as our shoes could melt. We weren't on stage until 3am and the act we were following consisted of painted naked ladies playing instruments made out of tree branches. There were also crosswinds of around 50mph coming off the ocean which carried our delicate music pretty much out of the country never mind the festival site.  

What’s the best thing about touring?

Pete Turner: Being out on the road with friends, drinking, eating well, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds.

Who is your favourite headlining act that you’ve supported?

Richard Jupp: It would have to be our support tour with Doves for our first album, "Asleep In The Back ". It was our first proper tour of the UK and to be asked by our friends and heros was a great honour and incredible experience. They showed us how it was done.

Catch elbow during the Mosaic Music Festival 2012 on March 18, 2011. Tickets $40, $60, $80, $100 from Sistic.