Broadcast – Trish Keenan

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Interview by F Piralla

Broadcast are Birmingham based pop/rock band at their second album HAHA SOUND out in August 2003. Following the success of their first album THE NOISE MADE BY PEOPLE (2000), Broadcast are promoting their new EP PENDULUM. Here is the interview with Trish Keenan, singer of the group.

So, you’ve been pretty busy promoting your new EP…

Yeah, we have.

I listened to PENDULUM yesterday and I can’t quite decide whether you are a rock or a pop band. Where would you position Broadcast in the range of music available these days?

Both pop and rock. It’s quite obvious really… To me it’s both of those things.

What inspires you?

Poetry and novels. You know stuff like Williams and Robert Crealy. Do you know them?

Emm… no.

Well just stuff like that. Poetry and novels.

You have quite a lot of dates lined up for your US tour but only five in the UK. Why is that?

Demand. We’ll probably be doing shows as well. All sort of things are coming up gig wise and we’ll be doing loads.

Will you be doing some of the festivals? You’ve played at Reading once already.

I don’t know. We’ll be doing lots of bits and bobs throughout the UK but there’s no point telling you because we don’t know what yet, you know what I mean?

During your tour in the States in 2000 after the release of your first album THE NOISE MADE BY PEOPLE, you were considered one of the best support acts. How does it feel to go back as the main artists?

What do you mean? We had our own gigs as well. Anyway it was great and the crowd was fantastic there.

Do you prefer to play in the US rather than the UK?

Yeah! Looking forward to it. Better crowd in the US than UK, don’t you think? They’re more approachable and big as well. Yeah, definitely prefer the US. I always feel judged by the home critic, you know what I mean?

During your last tour you put up an unusual show of lights and images. How is it going to be this time?

We’ll try to do something different but we don’t have a massive entourage.

Your new album HAHA SOUND is due to release in August 2003, could you tell me something about it?

It’s much happier. Not as happy as the last one but more optimistic. There’s a beautiful production and a lovely little church song. And we’ve changed the drummer. We are no longer with Richard Stevens. We are working with Curtney O’Bullock and he’s amazing. He’s really, really great.

MINUS TWO featured on the EP was recorded with the collaboration of the Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre. How did that came about?

We worked with Richard Whitelaw. We gave him lots of samples and he put them together. It’s an academic track. There’s an academic angle to the track. An academic approach. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just something I noticed. When I listen to anything contemporary or classic… I don’t know, I can’t quite explain it…there’s a subtext that you don’t have in pop. With pop it’s either take it or leave it. I do love an academic side. I don’t bring an academic side to Broadcast but I appreciate it as an outsider. James, he would, but I don’t. It’s not me.

When will you start writing again?

I will start very soon. Hopefully before the new album comes out.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

I had writer’s block. The only thing you could do is just keep writing. I read ‘Triggering Tan’ by R. Hugo; it’s a creative writing instruction book on the philosophy of writing. It’s very good – pass it on! I also read Alan Carr. It’s a way to interpret your own thoughts. It’s important to know how to stop your inner thoughts treadmill. You know what I mean?

So these books are also a source of inspiration…

Yeah, definitely.

Which aspect of your job do you enjoy the most? Writing or performing?

You miss both. In small chunks it’s all enjoyable. I work behind bars and believe me it’s crap. So I like every part of the job in small chunks.

Is there anything you would like to add to what’s been said?

Yes, the artwork. On the new album we have amazing artwork by Julian Hays. It’s a post-modern poster with a maze at the bottom, which projects these cubes. There’s a political meaning in it. It’s a vacant maze, not a communication maze, but it keeps on projecting these cubes. Oh, I wish you could see it. The way he uses the senses…

Will you try to recreate the atmosphere of the artwork on stage?

No, you never can. We’ll just go with the craziness of it. Complete noise craziness. And the drummer. He’s fantastic. I mean if you don’t like BROADCAST, fuck it! Come to see the drummer ‘cause he’s really, really good.

Well, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you. And sorry it took me a while to get into it. When you’re beginning to enjoy it, it’s over. I haven’t done interviews for a while and it’s like acting, you know what I mean?