Therapy? - Bring on the 'Disquiet'

February 24th 2016
Internet (Online)

I always said Joe needed Therapy?, now he has had some!!!

Joe Denby manages to tie down Therapy? bassist Michael McKeegan for a few question on their new tour and album.

Music TrespassHow are you today?

Michael McKeegan: Really good actually, we did a few shows over the weekend. We got home Sunday night so just getting a few bits and pieces down at home and then we’re out early tomorrow to make our way to Sheffield and then we’re doing another three shows this weekend, so it’s all busy but it’s good.

Music Trespass: So how’s the tour been going so far?

Michael McKeegan: Really good actually we were out in January covering Europe. We did two weeks of regular shows covering the new album and cover the career of the band. This run that we started last weekend is the 'Infernal Love' show, so we we’ve been playing the album all the way through and then doing a second set which about fifty minutes of a more condensed set of the regular show. It’s been good it’s been “So what head are we wearing tonight?”. The shows have been great, all have been packed a couple have been Sold Out!!! and all round there’s been a great atmosphere.

Music Trespass: So you’ve been going back and forth, how much of the new album 'Disquiet' have you been playing.

Michael McKeegan: Well 'Disquiet' came out last March so back then we did a three to four week long tour where we played about ten songs from it every night. We’ve done for the last three or so albums where we say “right, we are going to play all of the new album or at least 90% of it” They are great songs to play and they have been going down really well. They kind of have become standard fan favorites already.

Music Trespass: It’s all about finding that balance isn’t it? A band like yourselves can come out and play a whole new album in full and yet some bands would be crucified for doing so.

Michael McKeegan: Well it depends doesn’t it if you take say, AC/DC for example, it’s a very tight rigid and don’t get me wrong amazing formula. So it would be weird for them to play ten new songs. However we’ve always been a bit restless and there may be elements to our sound that might repeat and have been there since the first album but there has always been a bit of a twist that’s always kept things fresh and it’s always kept it fresh for us and hopefully for the audience. One thing since we’ve now been going for twenty six years is that we have a luxury to be able to go on a plate. “Here you go, here’s all of 'Troublegum' or 'Infernal love'” or we can chuck in some songs that haven’t been played in fifteen years or something like that. One thing where we are lucky is that we have had hit singles and people can connect with them; some only get one or none! But when you see the reaction of the audience to a Hit” it’s hard to be cynical!.

Music Trespass: Lets talk a little bit about 'Disquiet' it’s been out for nearly a year now and normally when I talk about a new album it’s not out yet or it’s brand new, so I think it’s nice to talk about an album where reactions are more settled.

Michael McKeegan: Yeah, like you say people have had time to digest it now. We started actually started playing some of the songs a year before the album was released which is something we hadn’t done in a long time. Nowadays bands don’t really road test new material like the old days but we felt, you know what?. We’re a band this is what we do, we tour and we feel it’s a great way to feel out songs and doing that  as well a playing something like eight songs from the album on a recent run of shows the songs have really become part of the Therapy? cannon so to speak. But yeah, I’m really over the moon with the album looking back at it. Once an album is done I tend not to listen to it as you play the songs live and you’ve revised the songs so much while recording them but driving back home from a show recently 'Tides' came on the radio and it really hit me, I thought it sounded great.

Music Trespass: Did you wonder who it was and listened to the end to find out and thought “Oh Sh*t!”

Michael: Yeah, You know! But it was great listening to it with fresh ears. I really think it’s one of our top five albums.

Music Trespass: The artwork is quite hard hitting. Let’s talk about that.

Michael McKeegan: Well the artwork was by the same guy how did 'Troublegum, Suicide Pact' and 'Brief crack of Light' albums. He also directed a video for us. He’s a performance artist. We normally give him the album and he gets into the lyrics and presents us with what he comes up with. Because they are stills from a performance there’s always certain energy to them, it’s like he’s sitting there while someone takes the picture it’s a snapshot of a performance. He did a famous piece called 'Rope' where he kept wrapping rope around his head which sounds simple but it’s actually quite dangerous, the lack of oxygen and the stress on your neck. As edgy his work is there’s a sense of humor in there too, granted it’s very dark but it’s there! The one we’ve used this time, I just saw that image and it just stuck. That and the title I thought it just fit perfectly.

Music Trespass: What’s with the 'Tides' EP that was released with this run of shows.

Michael McKeegan: Well we were always going to release three singles and the first two were digital. So this time we thought we would go the old school route and release it in a physical form. We had two left over songs from the album session and a remix we were working on.

Music Trespass: What’s your take on the industry right now? On one side your hearing of people quitting bands because the simple can’t afford to do it anymore then on the other hand there’s the vinyl resurgence so that indicates downloading has lost it’s novelty. How has the changes affected Therapy?

Michael McKeegan: A lot of bands self release records, I know it’s ridiculously tough. Some people ask me for advice and I say “Mate, I’ve no idea” we came through at a very different time and musical scene. We’ve been very lucky. Our music was put out to a lot of people and people back then liked a physical copy. Also we didn’t just write three singles and a load of filler so people invested a lot of time in our music. Plus we toured and toured and toured, in the early days we didn’t just do fourty minute sets and then fuck of to the bar, we did ninety minutes set of just play as long as we were allowed. We made sure things looked and sounded right. Anyone can make a great sounding record and I think people today are swamped with stuff.  We’re not from a time where bands worried about how many “likes” they got on Facebook you know what I mean?

Music Trespass: Unfortunately it’s the labels and booking agents that make a big deal out of that though.

Michael McKeegan: I know but it’s not very tangible, don’t get me wrong I’m very excited about the state of modern music. I love that you can get lost down the worm hole of Bandcamp or YouTube and find something that wouldn’t get through to you on the usual channels but we did benefit from being on MTV and Radio 1 back in the day before things went crazy. When things started to change labels tried to ignore it rather than embrace it and that was a real missed opportunity.

Music Trespass: People can say what they like about record labels but that old way of recording a demo and sending it off and hoping you hear from them. That old way did filter out a lot of sh*t.

Michael McKeegan: Yeah you know, Look there’s massive pro’s and massive cons to a lot of it. There is definitely a mentality out there that music is free. Yeah there’s streaming etc and there’s money out there but none of it translates to petrol in the van or food in the belly or paying your rent. However it has forced people to rethink things. It makes you think about the important things and what is fluff that doesn’t really make the band any better. I see young band all the time that have more road crew and more equipment than us and I’m like “Guys that’s all your money” But all in all it’s an exciting time to be in music.

Music Trespass: So what’s next for Therapy?

Michael Mckeegan: Well we’ve got some festivals booked and we’ve got some ideas so soon we’ll be working on a new record. We don’t want to force anything obviously we’ll get in a space and knuckle down but it will have to up to speed before we commit to anything.

Music Trespass: What have you been listening to lately?

Michael McKeegan: Well!!! Voivod’s new Ep arrived in the post this morning! Which is great, there’s a really cool cover of Hawkwind’s 'Silver Machine' on it which must be a tribute to Lemmy. There’s also a Techno artist called Surgeon from Birmingham. Sometimes I like to listen to instrumental music it’s nice to just drift along. Sunn o)))  I got it a while ago but only got round to it recently it definitely a head phones album also Danny McCormack (The Wildhearts) has got a new band, he sent me some stuff recently and that’s sounding great.

Music Trespass: I’m glad to hear that. It will be good to see him back on good form. I think everyone would like to see him back at his best.

Michael Mckeegan: Yeah it sounds really good. He always lands on his feet, he’s certainly back on form.

Interview by Joe Denby 

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