NME.COM

FRET BOARDS OF KANADA

Montreal instrumental band being hailed as the new [a]My Bloody Valentine[/a] sent us this spectacular e mail manifesto...

When NME decided to do an On interview with GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! Montreal's strange and exceedingly beautiful (the music, not them personally) instrumental combo, they decided they wanted to do it by e mail.

These are the responses to JOHN ROBINSON's questions. You have to admit, it beats the usual fumblings of: "We just do what we do and if anyone else likes it, that's a bonus, man."

dear john, we answered yr. questions in one big chunk... did the best we can... photo is included as an attachment... e-mail if you need clarification... answers should be credited to all of godspeed... hope you are well...

...deader from the getgo a slower sort of exploding that leaves you empty sometimes, especially w/the frozen rain and disconnect notices...

FIVE YEARS now w/this band staggering through it slowly, w/the bus & the van and the filthy carburetors always mocking us w/mutters&groans... just to dream sometimes maybe of the freer sound, knowing that it can't ever be pinned down; you look at it too hard or think about it too often &the thing just disappears... and always w/the slow boiling crises- sometimes sick sometimes in mind, body, & heart w/the jangling nerves and worried postures... nine of us now, still doing the song & dance in spite of or as best we can, the lonesome gospel of mostly wondering why, and the shadows of a million late-nite almost van-crashes still trailing behind our heels...

and making w/the tape loops and other highbrow accoutrements, it gets a bit too easy to forget that we still gots to make it about the filthy dirty smelly hotel2tango in all it's ragged-assnesss, w/the bad air and the unpaid bills and the 'willfull obscurity', like not wanting to talk at all hardly about structure or form, wanting only to tell this little story to the other ones, the ones who have, or will soon, build or sustain or try to endure, the little secret communities worldwide- a picture in our heads of tons of us worldwide nodding our heads always quietly in agreement w/occasional lowkey communiques or rumours...

related reviews
CD: Godspeed You Black Emperor! - 'f*a*-'[/url]
Live: Godspeed You Black Emperor - London Highbury Garage[/url] tour dates
Click for the gig guide[/url] and we're all nervous just like the first time, and drunk on top of it too, and play too loud and miss the changes &laugh or cry; and all of it because of or only for the split seconds in that mess when you can forget yr. name and yr. petty hatreds and distrusts of all of us lost in this sicksicksick world which blinds us so young and leaves us hollower- for a second we can forget it up there and that's why we wanna rock just like zeppelin 9 and leave the high ideas behind mostly... WORK WILL SET YOU FREE, it's the truth- a rumble from a ruined speaker to maybe bring the gov't. down one sorry heart at a time....

we dedicate it to mile end still, and the people who get the point still, which isn't even about this band or rock&roll records at all... we dedicate it to the scene that never has been but always will be soon... we dedicate it to every prisoner in the world....

sort of inadverantly, we mounted a pretty ambitious project w/this band... how do we sum up what we've found ourselves in the middle of when we are so often overwhelmed, mixed-up, drunk, & helpless?... some bands probably have it easier than us... some bands have leaders, some bands have costumes, some bands have lyrics, some bands get asked easier questions than we do... we're happy trying to explain what it is we do, we just want a minimum of control about how these often personal issues are represented and summarized... nobody owes us anything, we know that; we don't actively pursue interviews or media exposure, BUT, when we're asked, we reserve the right to define our own terms and boundaries... to us, this is the most obvious thing in the world...

we don't trust what other people choose to do w/our words, ideas and feelings... everybody knows that you can't sum up the complexities of what people actually feel in a chopped up quote...

if other bands choose not to question the inherent reductionist tendencies of contemporary rock criticism, then that's their decision... our few nervous encounters w/rock journalists have left us feeling regretful... it's like a ridiculous game of broken telephone, but the person at the end of the line broadcasts what they thought you said to hundreds of people... it's inherent, and once you accept that it's inherent, then the next obvious dilemma is how you choose to limit the possibility of distortion...

there are nine people in our band; for us to come to agreement on anything often involves laborious discussion and debate.... it's a struggle for us to find a unified voice musically- sometimes we manage to pull it off, often we don't... ultimately, we strive to present the same unified voice when talking about the music we make... for us to allow someone we don't know access to that sort of process wouldn't serve anybody's interest, it would only translate as noise, confusion and contradiction...

this is the reality of godspeed, there's nothing we can do about it... we do the best we can...

it's probably not a coincidence that this whole trend among bands towards willfull obscurity and obliqueness really began rolling after the awful media spectacle that "indie-rock" became post-nirvana... near-silence has become the norm of an awful lot of bands lately... we're not unique in keeping our mouths shut, and we definitely would encourage more bands to shut up... at the same time, nothing's more alienating than the guy in the corner who doesn't say a word, and only stares....

we're trying maybe to tell a story sometimes of where we're at... trying to tell this story w/out using band photos or mundane biographical information... the story maybe is about nine people trying to learn how to get along better and all play at the same time w/out stepping on anybody's toes... or maybe about being confused mostly about why we're doing this at all...

we're not good at this game, even if we tried harder we would be bad at it; so we keep quiet mostly, but you shut yr. mouth, and other people speak for you or about you, it's a terrible heartbreak to constantly find evidence that people still don't get the point... what we want to talk about seems easy to explain, but on the pages of yr. magazine these words are going to seem oblique, self-important, naive and obscure... it's a thing that keeps happening every time we shoot our mouths off... how do you talk about not wanting to be even minor rockstars in the context of an interview whose only real purpose is to sell more records?

so the question becomes; how does a band that makes music w/out any lyrics communicate anything specific at all? right now the tactic becomes us doing an interview where all we talk about is not liking interviews, and trying to explain why contemporary rock journalism negates the possibility of any sort of cultural or political change...

there is always a global underground, the music industry feeds on this underground everyday, they take our ideas and our cultures and sell them back to us... the whole game is rigged to leave us powerless, to force us to communicate w/words that are no longer our own... any ideas we have about not being a conventional band are rooted in a desire to stay situated in a place where we won't be chewed up by an industry that consumes bands like so many shitty ass hot dogs...

we sell out in tiny ways every single day, in our own small misguided ways we contribute to the continuation of a state of affairs that we find abhorent... some decisions are easier to make than others; recently we were offered an obscene amount of money by an international banking conglomerate in exchange for the use of one of our songs in a television commercial... it's easy to say no to the devil's money when he makes blatant offers, it's harder coming to terms w/the smaller ways we suck corporate cock everyday...

we know we're just the tiniest purple feather in a really obscene dogfuck burlesque show- WE KNOW THIS WE KNOW THIS WE KNOW THIS; we just wanna talk a little bit about architecture while the fat male stripper shoots pepsi bottles out of his asshole... is that so wrong?

and it all ends up like this, the sound of nine people confused and overwhelmed by the task at hand...

but there's gotta be happiness in confronting sadness and confusion... to us, the music we make isn't just about sadness, it's also about hope and endurance in the face of real economic and emotional adversity... we don't want to make music for people to wallow in... alls we can do is try hard to link our own struggle as a band w/the music we play... they're inseparable, these two things... lately it's all we know...

if people use music as a way to confront and accept their own sadness or unhappiness, then the key maybe is to try to link sadness to dissatisfaction, and to try to universalize this dissatisfaction somehow, otherwise you end up as just another celine dion on the maudlin heartbreak train... it's something we have to give more thought to, and work harder at achieving... we don't want to encourage self-pity; ideally we'd like to make music that would make our friends feel better about getting out of bed in the morning...

love, godspeed you black emperor!

Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s 'Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada' is out now on Kranky records. Click here[/url] to listen to a sample.

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